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I'll Take Care of You (I Will)

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It doesn’t hurt that bad. Really. The first five seconds it kind of felt like acid was in his arm but after a few minutes, it was more like boiling water. So, definitely a decrease.

“Ae, I thought you were dead,” Pond says, flicking him in the forehead. “I don’t know why you think it’s funny to get me excited like that. I swear you’re a tease.”

“Pond, stop flicking him,” Earth says from the driver seat. “We’re trying to cut down on his injuries not add more.”

Pond pouts. “It was barely even a tap.” He crosses his arms and glares at Ae. “And besides, if Ae hadn’t decided to illegally slide tackle me we wouldn’t be in this mess. It was like he seriously was a bullet. Maybe the height factored in.”

Ae leans over and hits in the back of the head with his left arm. At least one still works. “You were offsides you little shit,” he bites out. “And it wasn’t even illegal. I was gonna slam into you but I slipped.”

“That was punishment for being a bad person. Sometimes karma is automatic.”

Ae really has to concentrate on not punching Pond so he doesn’t ruin his other hand. It really wasn’t even that bad. Yes, he’s aware that he shouldn’t have been running that fast on slippery grass. And yes, he’s aware that, in theory, his elbow going numb and turning a very sickening purple color wasn’t ideal, but he was fine. He just couldn’t move it or wiggle his fingers very well. No big deal.

Earth stops the car in front of the ER. “Take Ae inside,” he says to Pond. “And I mean go inside and sit with him and help him fill stuff out, not just push him into a chair and leave.”

Pond rolls his eyes. “I’m getting really sick of you not letting be my authentic self.” He opens the door and helps Ae get out. “Where are you going, anyway? Why can’t you sit with him? You’re basically the coach and you’re leaving a hurt teammate? For shame!”

Pond fans himself and places a hand against his forehead to simulate fainting. Ae steps on his foot.

“For your information,” Earth says as he puts the car back into drive, “I have a date. Be good. Bye.” He pulls off.

“Come on, Pond, I’m injured.” Ae grabs him with his good arm and tugs him inside. Luckily, the room is mostly empty save for a couple of coughing children, a guy with a bandage across his forehead, and an old man with his foot in the cast.

“What if we get the plague?” Pond pulls himself closer to Ae.

“What if you grew a brain?” Ae snaps back, walking to the front counter. “Can I get a form, please? I think I sprained my elbow or something.”

The woman behind the desk looks at him from over her glasses. “Pink forms are for sickness and blue is for injuries. Just go ahead and fill it out.” She goes back to typing.

Ae hands the blue to Pond, scoffing at his annoyed look. “I can’t use my dominant hand, asshole.”

They go back to sit down and Ae leans against the wall, gritting his teeth as he jostles his arm against the side of the chair. Maybe she should’ve accepted the ice Chaaim had offered to go get. At least then it would’ve numbed it some more.

Pond gets up and takes the form back to the woman at the front desk. He sits back down next to Ae and pokes at the shorter boy’s elbow. “It looks dead,” he mutters. “You think they’ll have to amputate? That’s a shame, too, considering it’s your masturbating arm.”

“Pond, I’ll pay you to shut the fuck up,” Ae says with a glare. “It’s not my mastrubation arm you idiot.”

“Right. Because you’re painfully nonsexual. You know, you could really milk this with the ladies. Girls love an injured man. They’re gonna wanna get food for you at the canteen, or carry your backpack, or lean over you to grab some school papers and then they’re boobs are, like, in your face-“

“Pond.”

Pond sticks his tongue out. A woman pokes her head out of the door to the left. “Ae?” She asks. Ae thanks the universe that he’s finally able to escape.

He cradles his arm as he walks, really hoping that this won’t take long. He would be fine with just a bandage.

The woman leads him to a room further to the back and points inside. “Take a seat right here and a nurse will be with you in a moment.” Ae nods and takes a seat.

As he sits, he makes a face as he thinks about Pond’s words. He’s not nonsexual. Just because the idea of some pretty nurses coming in and flitting over his injuries doesn’t make him start drooling doesn’t mean he’s not interested. He’s just…never seen someone that fits his type that’s all.

He looks down at his arm and pokes it. He winces as a shock runs through up to his shoulder. As he’s examining the extent of the bruising, he hears the door click as it opens.

“Hello,” someone with a soft voice says. “I’m your nurse. I’m going to check you out.”

Ae looks up to tell them that he’s fine, really, and that all he needs is a splint, but his words die in his throat.

The man in front of him is the most beautiful person Ae has ever seen. He’s dressed in a loose white jacket which really doesn’t help the angel metaphor Ae has going in his head, and the way the sun is filtering through the blinds plays on his already rosy cheeks and turns him golden really isn’t helping either. Even in this heat, he isn’t sweaty, just flushed. It’s definitely nothing like how Ae looks when he’s hot.

“Hi,” Ae blurts out. Is his mouth open? His mouth feels open. He should close it. “It’s not that bad, really.”

The man laughs. “I’m Pete. It’s my job to see how bad it is.” He puts his clipboard down on the table and opens the cabinet. Even when he talks like he’s an authority, he does it in the softest voice Ae’s ever heard. It’s like he’s asking Ae to take care of him. And what’s he going to do? Say no?

Pete slips on some plastic gloves and sits in the chair next to Ae’s place on the long blue recliner. The plastic over crinkles as Ae shifts. “What happened, Ae?” Pete asks with a small smile. Ae is pretty sure his lungs have left the building.

“You know my name?”

Pete laughs again and his ears turn a little red. “It’s on your chart.” He puts his head down and looks up at Ae through his lashes.

Yeah, Ae’s going to die.

“Right,” Ae sputters out. “I was playing soccer and I slipped and hit my friend. I think I bent it wrong.”

Pete nods and gently lifts his arm. “It’s not broken,” he says with a smile. “It’s just really badly sprained. I’ll dress it for you, but it might hurt a little if I move it too much. Is that okay?”

Ae nods. With how gently Pete has his elbow in his grasp, Ae isn’t sure that hurting him is even possible.

Pete reaches over and pulls some gauze and alcohol out of the drawer. “I’m going to clean the scrapes and then I’m going to wrap it, okay, Ae?”

Ae nods again. The way Pete says his name sends something through his body. The closest think Ae can think of would be like that one time he let Pond get him drunk. It’s like hearing his name in that sweet voice makes all of his higher functions shut off and replaces his blood with thick honey.

“How long have you been working? As a nurse I mean.” Ae blinks. He hadn’t meant to talk. Well, he had mean to, but he still wasn’t overly sure what he was going to say. He had just sort of blurted it out. He had wanted to be funny, or say something interesting-

“A month,” Pete says sheepishly. “My cousin owns the hospital. But I promise that I went to school and got certified and everything. I always wanted to be a nurse because I like helping people. It makes me happy to know that I can help Ae’s arm.”

Ae nods. “You’re good at it,” he says. “Very gentle. Most of the time when I come here they’re a little jerky. Kinda mean, you know? But you’re….great.” He smiles and hopes he doesn’t sound as stupid as he feels.

Pete does that thing again where he purses his lips and lowers his head. He swipes some alcohol over the small cuts on Ae’s arm. “Thank you, Ae,” Pete says. He furrows his brow. “You said ‘most of the time’. Does Ae get hurt a lot?”

Ae doesn’t know how to handle the way Pete says his name. He thinks he gets what Pond was talking about when he was going on about excitement at being pampered by someone you find pretty.

“Not a lot,” Ae amends quickly. He has the weirdest urge to keep Pete from feeling upset. “I play soccer, so I get hurt sometimes. I’ve only been here a few times. It’s really not that bad. The last time I came was because my friend hit me with his cleat and cut my leg. It wasn’t bad. It barely even hurt.”

Pete pouts a little, at that. “And you’re okay now?” He puts the alcohol swab down and the picks up the gauze. He pauses to look fully up at Ae.

“Yeah, Pete. I’m okay.”

Pete smiles at him and begins to wrap. “Be careful,” he says. “It won’t be good if Ae gets hurt too much.”

This is probably the most flustered Ae’s ever felt. No, not probably. It is. Having Pete in front of him like this, below him, almost level with his waist and leaning against his thigh has him feeling more and more stressed by the second. He simultaneously wants to kiss his pretty cheeks and pin him against the door.

“It isn’t so bad,” Ae says, looking Pete in the eye, “if I get to come here and see you.” Pete’s blush deepens. Ae regrets the words immediately. “I’m sorry. That was inappropriate. You’re just trying to do your job. I shouldn’t have…said anything.”

He runs his good hand through his hair, wondering if he jumps out of the window he could walk away with minimal damage.

He was being creepy. Pete was just doing what he was supposed to and Ae couldn’t even think past his attraction. Coming in here and flirting with Pete while he was working? He was being an asshole. Pete probably had to deal with this all the time.

Ae frowned.

What if he did? What if other guys came in here and flirted with Pete? What if they ogled him or touched him? Ae didn’t want anyone doing that. No one but-

“I’m sorry, Pete,” he says again.

Pete finishes wrapping the gauze around and looks up at him. “It’s alright,” he says. “I don’t mind.”

“Because you get it all the time?” Ae does his best to mask the bitterness in his voice.

Pete turns around and tucks the gauze back into the drawer. “No,” he says without turning around. “Because it’s coming from you.” Ae takes in a breath. “If Ae wants to talk again…I’m done with work at seven.” He smiles, a little but Ae can tell he’s worried. Ae never wants him to worry again.

Ae smiles and rubs his hand over the gauze. “Then I’ll see you at seven.”