"Man, you look like shit."
Ryuji's voice just barely cut through the busy sounds of the morning commuters on the train platform. In truth Akira might not have even registered the blond approaching if it weren't for Morgana wriggling out of his school bag to stand his front paws upon the boy's shoulder.
"As tactless as ever Ryuji, haven't you ever seen someone with a cold before?" the cat let out a sigh and fixed Ryuji with a glare.
"What? He does!" Ryuji defended, leaning forward to get a closer look at his friend as he spoke.
He wasn't wrong, Akira's normally pale complexion had taken on a decidedly sick tone and the restless sleep he had gotten the night before was evidenced by the dark circles sagging beneath his eyes. As if to illustrate the point further, Akira sniffled loudly.
"It's nothing, just a cold. It'll pass in no time." he waved his hand to reassure Ryuji as the train pulled into the station.
Ryuji didn't look convinced. "If you say so, should probably stop by the nurse's office before class just to be sure. And don't worry about Mementos today yeah? We've got plenty of time to work on those requests."
Akira went to protest, but Morgana cut him off with a teasing tone. "Even you have good ideas sometimes. I'll make sure this guy goes straight home to bed once class is over." With that said, and the train doors opening before them, he dipped back down into Akira's bag with a flash of his tail. Akira frowned after him, adjusting the bag on his shoulder as he joined the crowd shoving their way into the train.
Akira was never more grateful for Kawakami allowing him to ignore lectures. He sniffled behind the surgical mask he'd gotten from the nurse as he stared into space, her words on today's subject going completely over his head. He had already taken some of the medicine he had bought from Takemi on the train, but his headache had still definitely gotten worse.
At least the day was almost over, staying upright much longer didn't really feel like an option. The group chat had been blessedly quiet, Ryuji had probably filled the girls in before first period. It would have been boring if Akira had much sense of anything that wasn't being clogged with mucus. Even Morgana was giving him a break, only offering a word here or there for most of the day. When the students were finally dismissed the teen wanted nothing more than to go home and sleep for several years. He waved goodbye to Ann and headed out immediately, wishing he had thought to bring a scarf with him as a chill ran down his shoulders and across his back.
As he trudged along toward the station, sniffling and feeling a bit out of breath, he focused on nothing more than getting himself on the train and getting home.
That is until a paw squished his cheek in, attached to a rather irritated cat.
"Hey! Stop zoning out! You think I like hearing the same sappy pop song next to my head over and over? Answer your phone!"
Sappy... pop song? It took Akira a few seconds of blinking through the haze in his brain to register what Morgana was getting at. He hadn't even heard his phone from inside his school bag past the din of the crowd. Morgana dipped down into the bag before emerging a moment later with the phone gingerly held in his mouth, said sappy pop song blaring and Yusuke's picture on display.
"Oh. Thanks Morgana." Akira took the phone and answered, pulling his mask down under his chin as Morgana gave him as exasperated of a look as a cat was capable of making.
"Hello?" came Yusuke's voice from the other side of the phone, a tinge of worry to it. How many times had he tried calling?
"Hey Yusuke, sorry I didn't hear the phone." Akira did his best to not sound nasally.
"...You sound awful. Are you all right?" Apparently he had failed spectacularly, Yusuke continued to speak without waiting for a response. "I suppose you being sick explains why no one else is at Leblanc. I thought it was strange that even Futaba wasn't here when I arrived."
Ryuji must have forgotten to text their only non-Shujin member.
"Ah yeah. Sorry, I should have texted you in class. We're gonna cancel Mementos for today. I feel bad you came all the way there... Wait around and I'll heat you up some curry?"
"Nonsense. You shouldn't be worrying about others if you're feeling under the weather. I can-" Yusuke cut himself off there, seemingly struck by an idea. "I've just had a thought, though I should get to work straight away. Be careful on your way home. I'll be seeing you soon."
The call ended before Akira had a chance to object. He pulled the phone from his ear and stared at the call time under the picture of Yusuke's face, taken over their summer break while he had a turn attempting a gambling video game. It was one of Akira's favorites of the boy, the look of half concentration and half frustration so unlike his normal expressions. It had taken him some time but Yusuke had managed to finish the game before the day was done, even after refusing the cheat codes Akira offered.
While he was lost in his own mind, the train pulled into the station. He pulled his face mask back up and slid his phone into his pocket rather than troubling Morgana if Yusuke needed to call again.
The ride itself was uneventful, mostly students chatting amongst themselves and cracking jokes. Akira opted to stay standing, knowing he'd risk falling asleep if he sat in one of the seats. He held onto the handhold as tightly as he could, willing himself to stay upright, as every sway of the train upon the tracks threatened to topple him over. Each passing moment made his bag feel like Morgana had taken to snacking on lead bricks.
Eventually he stumbled into Leblanc, happy to find it blessedly empty of customers. Sojiro lifted a hand in greeting and then gestured toward the stairs. "Your friend is upstairs waiting for you. Take some medicine and get some rest, okay?"
Akira blinked wearily at his guardian.
Sojiro managed to read the expression somehow, giving a wry smile. "Futaba let me know you weren't feeling well when I brought her some lunch earlier."
Ah. Of course she’d know. Just how often was she hacking into his phone and listening in on him?!
Without further conversation, Akira trudged up the stairs to the attic.
There sat Yusuke, having arranged the room similar to their hot pot party, chopping leeks with a borrowed knife and adding them to the earthenware vessel on the portable stove. The whole room smelled faintly of chicken broth and cooking rice, not that Akira himself could smell it.
"Ah! You're back." the artist immediately abandoned his work, crossing the room to help Akira out of his uniform jacket and taking his bag. Morgana wriggled out almost immediately.
"Go to bed!" he scolded once he had reached his usual perch by the stairs.
"I'm inclined to agree, it'll be a bit before the porridge is ready. You should change and rest until then." Yusuke folded Akira's uniform jacket and put it over the back of his desk chair. Satisfied he’d made his point, Morgana moved to the table to check out what Yusuke had been up to while they were gone.
Akira didn't have the will to argue, instead moving to grab his pajamas and change. Normally he'd be at least a little embarrassed to change in front of his boyfriend, but the artist was already back to dutifully chopping ingredients and watching his porridge cook.
He was asleep before he hit the pillow.
He awoke some time later to the familiar feeling of Yusuke's weight on the mattress, and the scent of a steaming bowl of porridge. He sat himself up and found a large soup spoon hovering in front of his face.
"I can feed myself you know." However, he allowed Yusuke to bring the spoon to his mouth for a bite before taking it from his hands.
It was delicious, even with his dulled sense of taste.
"If you're certain... Here then." Yusuke allowed Akira to take the spoon, and moved the bowl he had been serving from closer. As Akira continued to eat, Yusuke leaned forward to press his lips to the other boy's forehead. His fingers gently tugged Akira’s bangs up and out of the way, then ran along his scalp and off his neck.
"You're a little warm, but not quite feverish I think. Do you have any medicine? I wasn't able to get some on my grocery run." They both knew he probably didn't have the money to afford it in the first place but let it go unsaid.
Akira swallowed and nodded toward his desk. "There should be a bag of stuff from Takemi over there."
Yusuke turned and saw the familiar bag he sometimes spotted during Palace and Mementos runs. He rose to dig through it. They weren't labeled in any way he could discern but Akira seemed to have remembered this as well.
"Should be a vial with orange liquid inside." he said through a mouthful of porridge.
Yusuke retrieved the proper medicine and zipped the bag closed before also retrieving a sealed water bottle from his school bag and bringing them both to Akira.
Akira steeled himself for a moment before unstoppering the bottle and swigging it down at once. He made a face at the taste and chased it down with a large spoonful of porridge. Yusuke watched him closely as he served himself a bowl and returned to his spot at Akira's side.
"I hope the taste is all right. It's been quite some time since I last cooked."
"I mean, from what I can taste of it it's great." the other boy replied after taking a swig of water.
Yusuke smiled, looking immensely proud. "I'm glad. Finish what you can and then get more rest. I fully intend to spend the night and watch over you."
Akira felt a flush rise to his cheeks, the normal implications of such things getting the better of him. It had been a while since their last "sleep over". But then he had a particularly phlegmy cough sneak up on him and had to remind himself he was in no shape to be having any untoward thoughts.
"You're going to get sick too you know."
"If such a thing should happen, I'll deal with it when it comes. For now, worry about getting better." Yusuke leaned forward again, this time planting an actual kiss to Akira's forehead. They had both finished their meal during their conversation, so he cleared away both bowls and headed downstairs to wash them up.
It really wasn't fair, Akira pouted a bit as he drank another swig of water and pulled the blanket up over himself. He would make sure they made up for it soon.
Rather than being awoken by the presence of his boyfriend or the pleasant warmth of a bowl of porridge, Akira found himself shivering as if he had left the windows open in the dead of winter. An unforgiving chill had swept over his shoulders and down his spine.
Yusuke had set himself up on the floor next to the mattress, working on school work while listening to the sounds of Akira's slumber. The sudden chattering of teeth drew his attention away from his sketchbook and to Akira. He seated himself next to the other boy and moved to take his temperature with his lips once more.
"Ugh! Use your hand like a normal person!" Morgana's familiar voice came from the foot of the bed. Come to think of it, Akira hadn't seen him when he woke up to eat before. He must have gone to visit Futaba or prowl the neighborhood.
Yusuke promptly ignored him, pulling away only after he was satisfied he had an idea of Akira’s temperature.
"You feel a bit warmer than before, it might be a low fever. Shall I turn on the heater? I opened the window to let Morgana in about an hour ago but I'm sure I closed it..." The artist looked up to double check, and found it completely sealed.
He went to stand and turn on the portable heater without waiting for a response, but Akira grabbed his arm before he could.
"No, just stay here. You're really warm."
Yusuke fixed him with a smile. "Very well, are you able to sit upright?"
It took a bit of effort but Akira managed to sit up, shivering all the while. Yusuke maneuvered himself behind the other boy, pulling him back to rest against him and arranging the blanket around Akira's shoulders. He motioned toward Morgana, who curled up in the curly haired boy's lap.
"Is this better?" Came Yusuke's voice from near Akira's ear, his arms wrapping around the other boy's torso and arms as they both settled in.
The chill was by no means gone completely, but the soft warmth radiating from Yusuke and Morgana was doing wonders to soothe it. Akira wriggled a little to get more comfortable, setting his head just under Yusuke's chin. "Much, thanks."
The trio sat in comfortable silence until they all nodded off.
The next morning passed in a rush of disheveled clothing and cat fur. They had overslept by a decent margin and the small attic felt especially so in the rush to get ready.Thankfully, they managed to make it to the station with a few moments to spare.
Akira wore his mask from the previous day but was admittedly feeling much better and said as much to Yusuke as they stood waiting for their trains.
"I'm glad. I hope you will make a full recovery soon!"
"Well I had a pretty fantastic nurse." The curly haired boy said with a nudge of his shoulder. He was thankful for the mask covering the flush on his cheek as he thought of how nice Yusuke's long legs would look in an actual nurse outfit.
For his part, Yusuke didn't seem to have any such thoughts. He just smiled in that way that meant he was proud of the praise he was receiving and waved as his train pulled into the station.
That evening Akira received a picture mail of a wastebasket near overflowing with balled up tissues and an accompanying message from his boyfriend.
"I have no regrets."