Prompt: 066 ~ Sick May 2011©
Fandom: Alice Nine
Focus: Shou x Erika
Word Count: 1,840
Fandom: Alice Nine
Focus: Shou x Erika
Word Count: 1,840
Erika was lounging on the couch, flipping through the channels on the TV blissfully and aimlessly. She was the only one home at the moment and the freedom and peace of the situation was overwhelmingly perfect. Mira was in America, vacationing in LA with her family; Yuuki and Saga were out ‘shopping’ again and wouldn’t be back for hours; Namie had a singing thing of some sort, Erika was still too new to the industry to know exactly what it was, and, of course, Tora had gone with her; Chisa had school to deal with, and without her around Hiroto had decided to tag along with Tora. Erika sort of had school too, but she’d gotten out early because of final testing; her only exam that day had ended well before noon.
She didn’t know precisely what Shou and Nao were up to, but no one had answered her when she’d gone shouting a greeting though the studio complex that the members and associates of Alice Nine considered a second home. It was a musical haven of practice rooms, recording studios, and of course, video games; with a fully stocked kitchen to keep everyone full and fed, and emergency bedrooms to crash in after all-nighters. The boys used the complex for serious work the vast majority of the time, but the girls, with the exception of Namie, rarely came over for anything but fun.
With no one else there, the hangout belonged exclusively to Erika, and she was reveling in it. She was stripped down to a tank and sport shorts, her uniform long forgotten, the warm sun coming in through the windows felt heavenly on her skin as she lounged. It was the happiest Erika could remember being, granted that after four solid weeks of testing her brain had entirely shut off and she couldn’t remember much of anything prior to having first sat down to cram. Anything beyond that felt like it belonged to another lifetime altogether.
After having gone through yet another circuit of the TV’s channels, and having still not found the patience to actually settle in to watch anything, Erika leapt up and grabbed her iPod. Slipping the headphones over her ears, she found her favorite Alice Nine playlist, all of their most excitingly upbeat songs. Erika wasn’t the greatest dancer in the world, but Namie had shown her a few popstar moves, and she was too riled up to sit still. Besides, she was the only one home, so no one would see her anyway.
Erika could have used one of the practice rooms to dance in, but that was far less adventuresome than running wild through the entire studio loft. And while she was the only one there, it was far too tempting to resist. Her jam session was thoroughly enjoyable, exactly what she needed.
She was twirling away at her favorite part of Heart of Gold when she caught sight of Shou leaning in a nearby doorway. It was the arch between the kitchen, the lounge, and the hall she’d been sliding sock-footed through. He could have been standing there for an hour and she might not have noticed. He was chatting nonchalantly on his cell phone and looking her over with a smirk as Erika froze and yanked off her headphones in dismay.
“Yeah, she’s here. We’ll just having something quick to eat and then go check on Nao for you,” Shou was saying as his eyes brazenly and suggestively traced Erika’s rarely revealed figure. “hmm, it’s no problem, Mira, bye.”
There was a short silence after Shou hung up as Erika stood scandalized, and her singer simply smiled in her direction as condescendingly as possible.
“Shou-kun,” Erika managed at last. “Ah, when did you get here?”
“About a song ago, if I had to guess,” he replied, a sickly sugariness in his amused voice.
His smirk was firmly in place.
After a moment of torturing her, Shou took pity and asked, “Have you seen Nao today, by any chance?”
“No, should I have?”
“I told Mira that you probably hadn’t gotten out of your test yet, but she said he was planning on stopping by this morning,” Shou supplied. “She said he sounded a bit weird and wanted to know what we thought of it.”
“Weird? He wasn’t drinking last night, was he?” Erika asked worried. It would have been unusual for Nao to work himself into a fit with alcohol, but with the combination of a leader’s stress and an absent girlfriend, it wasn’t entirely out of the question. Besides, his brand new computer had gotten some sort of bug he couldn’t figure out and there were few things on earth that could frustrate him more.
“It’s probably nothing, Mira wasn’t worried,” Shou soothed quickly. “She just wanted our opinion, but I haven’t seen him since Tuesday.”
“Me neither,” Erika admitted. “Have you tried calling him yet?”
“Just did,” Shou said, showing her the screen on his phone as he hit send.
A second later they heard Nao’s ringtone, it was quietly echoing from one of the nearby practice rooms. Following the chipper jingle curiously, the surprised and perplexed pair found the drummer curled up on the floor beside one of his drumsets. He wasn’t quite passed out, but he was most certainly not entirely conscious.
Erika was crouched at his side in an instant, trying to make sure he was still breathing. Wasn’t he allergic to something? The moment her fingers brushed his skin, she knew the answer, “Oh geez, he’s burning up!”
“Nao’s sick?” Shou asked, caught between wanting to confirm it for himself and wanting to run and hide from illness. “How on earth did that happen?”
“Nao-shi, you can’t be sick, okay?” Erika crooned at the drummer. “You just can’t be! You’re the one that always takes care of all of us! You can’t get sick!”
Erika kept mumbling at Nao, petting at his unnervingly warm forehead. Eventually, her eyes blinked up in question to Shou. “What are we supposed to do?”
Whenever anyone was sick it was always Nao that took care of them. He took over and told everyone exactly what to do and by the next day no one could even remember the illness having been much more than a sniffle. He doled out tasks with such efficiency that he must have been a doctor in another life, everyone agreed on it. But with Nao as the patient, and some illness that neither Shou nor Erika could accurately judge, they were at a loss of what to do. They didn’t even know what hurt for heaven’s sake!
“I have no idea,” Shou admitted. “I’m calling Mira.”
“No!” Erika swatted the phone out of his hand before Shou had even managed to press a button. “You can’t call her! She’d be worried sick over it if she knew, and she’d supposed to be enjoying herself!”
“She’s probably worried already.”
“You said she wasn’t.”
Shou shrugged. “I said she said she wasn’t. She wanted us to check on him for a reason.”
Erika grumbled. “You don’t have to make her really worried, then.”
The small-voiced command had been croaked from Nao’s throat, and it made both Shou and Erika jump. They’d forgotten he could hear them and respond, as a sick person, he simply wasn’t Nao anymore as they could rationalize it.
“Too bright,” Nao-patient croaked again, rolling away from Erika like she was a living light bulb.
Finally having found something useful he could do, Shou jumped to flick off the lights. The room went instantly black and Erika squinted into the darkness willing her eyes to adjust.
“Now, what?” Shou asked.
Erika had no answer.
There was a moment of silence, and then in the same garbled murmur as before, Nao said, “Cold.”
“Does that mean he is cold, or that he wants something cold,” Shou asked, recalling that the only thing he ever wanted when he was sick was ice cream. Of course that was when Nao was taking care of him so that he never really wanted for anything.
“I think he is cold,” Erika said softly. “We should get him to bed, under nice warm blankets.”
“Now, I’m confused,” Shou said, sighing. “Does that mean he does want ice cream? Or what?”
Erika could feel Nao shaking his head in the dark. She had no idea what it was supposed to mean though. “I think we should still get him to bed, and then get him food.”
Shou opened the door, letting in enough light to see by and making them all flinch at the sudden intrusion of light. The singer, helped in no small way by Erika, helped Nao more or less to his feet, and dragged him more than led him to the nearest emergency bedroom. One he was settled, the healthy pair fled quietly to the common room.
“What do you think he wants to eat?” Erika asked, sighing as she meandered towards the kitchen.
“Probably not, he has that every day, and he likes it dry best,” Erika commented. It’s not a very good sick-day food.”
“What about ice cream?”
“Hmm, maybe, but Nao likes spicy right? I remember Mira saying that he could anything when he had spicy food to encourage him!” Erika spoke up, trying to think of what exactly it was she’d once helped Mira prepare for the drummer. “Do you think we could call someone?”
“Only if we have to.”
“She has school!”
“So do you . . .”
“It’s different. She has real school, I just had testing.,” Erika protested. “Saga and Yuuki will have their phones turned off.”
“Nao’s sick and everyone else is at Namie’s Music Station performance.”
“And Nao’s sick,” Erika repeated sullenly. After a moment, she slapped the sides of her face quickly and pushed up her sleeves. She wasn’t the best cook, but she could manage, she’d be able to make Nao something spicy to eat that was actually edible. Probably.
“So we can’t call anyone, we have to cook him something, and we can’t understand most of what he tries to tell us,” Erika asserted, running over the situation. “We can do this.”
“How exactly can we do this?” Shou asked, amused and puzzled and worried all at once. “Nao is sick. This clearly means the world is ending.”
“It can’t end yet,” Erika protested adamantly. “You haven’t performed Blue Flame at a concert yet and until you do the world can’t end because I want the DVD footage of it!”
Shou just sort of stared at her with his arms crossed and a soft smile on his face as Erika pulled her hair into a bun and turned to wash her hands. She was certainly something else.
“Get me some fresh ginger, won’t you?” Erika asked, scrubbing at her hands. “It’s in the fridge by the eggs.”
Shou shrugged. There were worse ways to spend the final moments he had before the world ended. He chuckled to himself. “Hai, Hai.”