There was clatter around the room and Hirano’s eyelids felt too heavy to open them. He could feel sunlight burning through them. When he recognized he was feeling like shit, a cold hand landed on his forehead. On instinct Hirano nuzzled the hand that was on him, completely sure who it belonged to. The relief he felt was instant and he didn't want to move away, and likewise his roommate did not make any effort to back out.
“Do I have a fever?” Hirano asked when he finally opened his eyes and saw Kagiura’s concerned look.
“It seems like you do, your face is burning, Hirano-san,” Kagiura said as he caressed Hirano’s cheek. He even checked behind his ears too for good measure.
“Is that so or is it just an excuse for you to be touching my face this early in the morning?” Hirano chuckled when Kagiura’s hand moved back to his forehead.
“You’re so shameless, Kagi-kun.”
Hirano sat up but felt like the room was spinning. He had to support himself by holding onto Kagiura's shoulder. Alright, he thought, this was clearly a hecking fever.
"Should I stay with you and take care of you?" Kagiura asked, his voice soft and caring. It reminded Hirano that his sweet roommate was, in fact, the third of five siblings and must have had to take care of his little sisters at some point too. Despite the fever, his concern warmed Hirano in a nice way.
"It is okay." Hirano reached out to pat Kagiura's head and ruffle his hair. "Go to practice.'' The way his cheeks were flushed red was too adorable and it almost made Hirano want to agree to have him stay. Almost. "I will go to the nurse in a minute, I promise"
"I can take care of myself," Hirano interrupted Kagiura before he could try to convince Hirano to stay. If he tried, Hirano would be too weak to tell him no and at least one of them had to go to class. "Your practice is important, right?"
"But Hirano-san is important too."
Hirano couldn't help but hide his face on Kagiura's shoulder. He knew they were probably wasting time but his smile had gotten so big that he was embarrassed. How could his boyfriend be so open about his feelings? He loved that but it was also his biggest weakness.
"Go to morning practice. When you come back in the evening, you can take care of me," Hirano bargained with his roommate. It was the easiest way for both to do what they needed to as responsible students and not stay together and snuggle all day instead.
"I will come back as soon as evening practice ends then!" When Kagiura replied, Hirano smiled again: convincing his boyfriend to agree on something had become fairly easy. Though Hirano was still weak for the puppy eyes and the honesty Kagiura was armed with.
Once Kagiura finally left, Hirano went over to wash his face, change his clothes and head over to the nurse’s office. He was told to better avoid going to class and not overexert himself so his recovery would be faster. Winter was not an easy time for anyone and it was better to not put his teachers and classmates at risk.
Hirano started to worry about Kagi-kun, who had been too close to him that morning and the probability of getting him sick too. But ultimately he knew it was easier to finish a marathon with no physical endurance than convincing Kagiura to stay away.
And frankly, Hirano didn't want that either.
Finally alone in their room, he laid down on his bed and closed his eyes, inhaling deeply. He couldn't smell anything because his nose was stuffy but by this point he had memorized the scent from Kagiura's "hidden" snacks, mixed with the smell of clean blankets and the soap the dormitory provided. It felt a bit silly to call it a homey fragrance because it wasn't entirely nice nor was it his home. He was just living here with a bunch of other dudes. However, because Kagiura was living here too, where he had imprinted all of his being onto this room: his honesty, his passion, his stubbornness, his love. Hirano couldn't help but feel like he belonged here.
Home is where the heart is, anyways.
It was impossible to feel any more blessed by the way he had experienced highschool. Yeah, there were still a few months left before he had to graduate and face more challenging paths for the sake of the future he wanted to pursue. And there was a person he wanted to treasure for the rest of his life now. He had found goals to achieve and a person to catch him on his most tiring days.
Hirano sighed as he looked over the other bed in the room.
Calling Kagiura his boyfriend was still so new to him. Though a little embarrassing to say even to himself, but not because he was any less enamored with him. Being feverish was probably sending his mind into a foggy state more easily than normal, because he had started thinking that he was missing Kagi-kun, and it kept increasing by the second. Hirano looked over to the clock on his headboard but there were still a couple of hours until Kagiura’s school day was finished.
In the end, Hirano had tried –in vain– to study for almost an hour, but his fever was not going anywhere and did not leave any room for focus either, which was not helping his cause. Not knowing what else to do with himself, he tried to sleep for a bit.
For a little bit, he had initially thought. But once he woke up to the noises of the returning students of the dormitory, it turned out he had slept for almost four hours. Getting sick on a Thursday wasn’t the best luck he’d had, frankly.
He got up and after checking in with the nurse about his symptoms again he was deemed better than in the morning. He didn’t have a fever anymore but his nose was still stuffy and, at the very least, he didn’t feel as shitty as he did in the morning. The day passed idly as he went to the cafeteria and ate and went back to his room and tried to study some more, which worked slightly better than his previous efforts.
Right before Hirano could lose his mind from having his daily routine so severely shaken, his savior came back.
Without saying a word, once Kagiura closed the door, Hirano stood up from his desk to immediately dash to him and slump into Kagiura’s arms.
"Hirano-san?" Kagiura stuttered, his voice betraying his surprise. Despite that fact, he hugged him tightly. This was okay, Hirano thought, way better than before.
Kagiura, feeling welcome –feeling home– when crossing the door was Hirano's everyday goal. He was grateful to be able to greet him every day with the most genuine smile he hadn’t known he was capable of.
Ever since they met, Kagiura had become an important part of Hirano's life. And when they started dating, the need to hold him to feel complete had grown. Kagiura understood quickly when Hirano felt needy. He would never admit it or say it aloud, but it was a clear understanding between the two of them. The neediness emerged sometimes with Hirano hugging Kagi from behind after study sessions; it would happen after Kagi's weekend practices when Hirano welcomed him with a peck. On very rare nights, it would present as Hirano cuddling Kagi for a while before they fell asleep.
It wasn't an extraordinary occurrence either because each of them happened quite often, some of them would happen on the same day too. But to Kagiura it was special and Hirano knew that very well because his reactions were so honest.
They stayed like that for a while. If Hirano were still keeping track of their time touching, it would seem like a full month compared to their previous 10 seconds arrangement. Besides, Kagiura really liked hugs. Hirano did too, and how could he not? His boyfriend had a talent for them thanks to his large build and his big family upbringing. It was a little unfair how good he was at hugs and cuddles.
"Are you feeling better?" Kagiura asked in between giggles when Hirano had slumped a bit more into him, accidentally nuzzling his face on his neck.
"My nose still feels stuffy but overall I feel better," Hirano replied, his voice was muffled by Kagiura's cardigan and it sounded funny to his own ears, making him chuckle. Feeling happy was so easy with Kagi-kun around. "How was practice?"
Kagiura did a simple spin to leave his bag at the doorstep, not letting go of Hirano, who had forgotten he still had his stuff on him. He pulled Hirano even closer to rest his own cheek on Hirano's head. Their height difference worked well for these kinds of situations.
"It went well but I lost a challenge against a kouhai!" Kagiura complained as Hirano patted him on the back. His beloved was as whiny as always, that was a good signal. "He is not fast but his shots land more often! How can that happen?"
"When we go over physics, I will explain it to you," Hirano replied, already formulating an easy way to explain to Kagiura what was happening.
"Oh now that you mention that! He is good at math, do you think that's why he beat me?"
"Could be a reason, but use this as an opportunity to see where you can improve, alright?"
"Hirano-san, your voice sounds funny," Kagiura inched away to look him in the eyes. There was no malice to his words and he was giggling again.
Hirano really loved seeing him like that.
A year ago he would have flicked Kagiura's nose and called him an idiot, but his present day self lightly gave him a head bump on the nose instead.
"Of course! I am sick, are you trying to pick a fight?" Even though his words were harsh, he wore a warm smile and it made Kagi-kun pout adorably.
Being around Kagiura was nice. It was even nicer to have him love Hirano.
"Alright, enough of this. Let's get you a bath and eat dinner," Hirano declared and untangled himself from the embrace. He silently made a note to himself to get more hugging time later, because somehow it made him feel better.
It was weird.
Before leaving for dinner, each of them took some time to take a bath. While Hirano waited for Kagi-kun to come back, he reviewed his lastest homeworks once again, trying to understand the information as best as he could. It worked much better than his previous attempts which made him realize he was feeling way better since Kagiura had come back.
It used to happen before as well, Hirano thought, but slowly the 'being with him helps me do my best' had shifted into 'being with him makes me be my best'. At some point of the road Hirano had noticed that Kagiura's presence not only made him strive for doing his best at anything he came across, it also made him feel like he was complete and that being happy and good had become the default.
Hirano was finishing the last bit of his reading when Kagiura returned, fresh and content. He sat down on his bed, right next to Hirano and that's when he noticed he had unconsciously climbed into Kagiura's bed. Sometimes, after curfew, they would sit on each other's bed to talk or do other things, so it had become a habit.
“Should we go get dinner now?” Kagiura interrupted Hirano's train of thought and in that moment he noticed his damp hair. He put his book away and picked the towel that Kagiura brought with him.
"Turn around, you should dry your hair first." Kagiura looked at him puzzled and his cheeks were slightly red as well. "We don't need one of us to get sick again." Hirano waited until Kagiura blinked and did as he was told before he finally rubbed the towel on his hair.
"Hirano-san," He couldn't see Kagi-kun but he could hear him pout, making him chuckle; "you are the one who is sick, why are you the one drying my hair?"
"Hmm," Hirano thought of a way to answer that question. He knew why but admitting it out loud was still embarrassing for him. Though it was easier when Kagi-kun wasn't looking at him. "Doing things for you… helps me feel better."
He almost didn’t see Kagiura turning around and hugging him once again. He did it so quickly that he sent them both falling back on the bed.
"You always say these things and I am never prepared for it, Hirano-san." Kagiura sighed while hiding his face on Hirano's neck. He did what he liked best in this position and started running his fingers through Kagiura's hair, it felt nice.
While Hirano was caressing Kagiura's scalp, Kagiura looked up and gave Hirano a gaze like he was the most important thing on the planet. And knowing Kagiura, he was probably thinking exactly that.
Kagiura moved his head towards him in swift motions and that's when Hirano noticed that he wanted to kiss him.
Ah, Hirano was really so far gone. Maybe from sickness or he was just weak for his beloved but he wanted to kiss him too. And so he did: closing the gap between them in a moment of bravery. Hirano thought it was funny that it was probably the third or fourth time they had kissed before curfew. They never agreed on it, it just happened but he liked feeling a little daring because of it.
But before he or Kagiura could attempt anything else, they were startled by a knock at the door.
"Hirano, Kagiura-kun, are you coming for dinner?" Hanzawa called from behind the door. Hirano silently groaned and cursed his cheerful tone that had unknowingly interrupted them. When Kagi-kun chuckled in reply, Hirano peeked his head out from Kagiura's embrace to shout back.
"We're coming!" Hirano hoped his voice didn't sound too strangled from having a plus size puppy on top of him and obstructing his lungs. Only when he heard footsteps fading away did he speak in a low voice again, "I swear, he has terrible timing."
"Let's continue later?" Kagiura suggested as he sat up. Hirano noted he was sitting on his lap and he wanted both to pull Kagiura down again and let the bed swallow him.
He hoped that his face wouldn’t be red once they stepped out of their room.
When they got up and walked towards the cafeteria, Hirano thought that finding a place for himself would be very useful, so no one could interrupt them.
"Did I interrupt something? Your face looks terrible, Hirano," Hanzawa teased with that I-know-what-you-were-doing tone he had started to use on them lately.
"What is there to interrupt? I am just sick, that’s all," Hirano retorted and somehow that made Hanzawa laugh. He kept laughing until they all got their food. Sometimes Hanzawa would eat with them, but frankly, on this day, Hirano wanted to have dinner with Kagiura by himself.
That's when it dawned on him that he was feeling more clingy today, and he couldn't decide whether it was because he was just feeling dizzy or something else entirely that he couldn't recognize.
Luckily, before Hirano had to make up an excuse to leave Hanzawa behind, he was called by other guys, so Hirano now had Kagiura all to himself.
When they sat down and started eating, Hirano asked usual questions like how his classes went, Kagi-kun rambled about practice and basketball, commenting on a joke one of his teammates had made; everything he could think of during his quest of conquering the green peppers.
"Hirano-san, you should eat these green peppers!" Kagiura said cheerfully as he managed to sneak a couple of them onto Hirano's plate.
"Why should I?" Hirano laughed as three more pieces appeared on his previously empty plate.
"You are sick! You said that green peppers are good for your health!" Two more green vegetables arrived.
"You cheeky brat, alright. But eat those you have left." Hirano stopped Kagiura's chopsticks before he could add more, "c'mon you have been doing well and we have the same exact amount now."
Somehow they ended up competing on who would finish their food first, which Hirano obviously won because eating green peppers was not a difficult task for him. Kagi pouted at his defeat but when Hirano promised to eat the leftovers for him next time ,he smiled again. Hirano didn't even like green peppers that much but because Kagiura insisted –with puppy eyes, which in his defense: he was weak to them– he was willing to accept.
It was an everyday epiphany that he would do anything that Kagi-kun asked of him.
Before Kagiura had returned earlier, the day had felt endless. But now Hirano felt that the evening had gone by way too quickly. It could also have been the fact that his routine had been severely shaken and that's why he couldn't even feel comfortable in his room, nor could he go to the library to study because the nurse had recommended he rest. But a part of him really liked to think that it was nice missing Kagi-kun so much.
Months ago Hirano kept thinking that being with Kagiura was comfortable and as time passed, his affection and attraction grew every day too.
When they arrived at their room, Hirano realized that he was feeling way better than hours before, not even his nose was stuffy anymore and he no longer felt dizzy.
"You were right, the green peppers helped," Hirano said as he laid down on his bed.
"Your voice doesn't sound funny anymore either!" Kagiura replied and sat down next to him. Only giving a chuckle as reply, Hirano instinctively leaned on his shoulder, finally winding down for the day. Somehow he felt exhausted despite not having done anything special or tiresome.
They tangled their feet as per usual and when at other times they would talk for hours until past curfew, this time around Hirano felt himself dozing off. Big and warm were two adjectives that Kagiura and a pillow had in common, though Hirano would prefer Kagiura most of the time.
"Akki," Hirano called, a little embarrassed. He still wasn't used to calling Kagiura by his first name, let alone a nickname. But he liked the way Kagiura practically sparkled whenever he did. "Turn around."
Sometimes Kagi-kun was a chatterbox and sometimes he was reserved; Hirano loved how easy it was to understand Kagiura through his actions, without needing many words. And as time went on they had found a lot of things the other liked, so much so that simply asking to turn around wasn't as simple, as it meant something else too and Kagiura knew perfectly what it was.
"You are quite needy today, Taiga-san." Kagiura sing-sang his name as he did as he was told and laid down. He was still getting used to hearing his first name from him too.
At first Hirano did not want to reply because admitting he wanted Kagiura to be close enough to cuddle was not his forte. But for his boyfriend, Hirano was trying to be as honest about his feelings as possible.
"I missed you a lot," Hirano mumbled into Kagiura's back after he laid down and hugged him from behind and Kagiura didn't miss a second to hold his hands on his chest.
"But we saw each other at the same time as always?"
"I was alone here, the room is too empty without you making noise." When Kagiura laughed, Hirano could feel the reverberating of his back on his face. He hoped Kagiura could feel his smile through his clothes too. "After you walked through that door and greeted me again, I started to feel better. Thank you."
"Hehe, I guess I'm your lucky charm?"
"You sure are."
The silence felt nice and he was about to fall asleep when Kagiura pulled his hand closer and kissed his knuckles.
"I love you," Kagiura declared, voice drowsy from sleepiness.
"I love you too," Hirano replied and hugged Kagiura tighter.
Perhaps being sick had made Hirano see more of Kagiura being happy and he was grateful for that. Not that he would try to go and get sick again, however he found out that the clingy nature that was hidden inside him was more than welcome.