Festivals in Ishigami village were a lot more plentiful than they were in the old world. Every month, there was a new festival celebrating some newly invented holiday that only he and Senku didn’t know about.
There’s plenty of food, music, and partying that’s supposed to last through the night until dawn. As someone who never really got to go to festivals because he was too busy, Gen thought they were actually a lot of fun.
That night had been no different except for the new menu item that was made for the ramen stand. A new soup that was meant to bring variety to the ramen stand was going to be added, and to make sure it was actually edible, they were giving it a test run at the party.
All was well and in a controllable order.
Despite outward appearances, Gen liked order better than he did chaos. Order was easier to move with, while chaos was like a choppy sea. One that he had to work really hard to be able to manipulate if he needed. With order, he’s also able to keep people out of learning too much about him.
It was a good system in case Gen needed to make a drastic change to his alliances in the future.
Of course, he didn’t keep everything a secret. People would never allow themselves to trust him if he did, which is why he only lets certain truths about himself out.
If you asked anyone in the village what Gen’s favorite flower was, they would tell you that it was black nightshade. But unbeknownst to most people, Gen also had a least favorite flower. An innocent enough and widely known flower, and yet it was one he could never associate with. Not in food or medicine or even in his shows.
It wasn’t his fault he had an allergy to sunflowers.
It was something Gen had gained from one of his family members when he was born, but he didn’t actually know that until he got hands-on experience.
The first time it happened was when he was still young and in primary school. A kid he didn’t know brought an entire bag of sunflower seeds to share with the class. He got offered some, ate it, and ended up spending the rest of the day crying in an emergency room.
From then on, he was ordered to carry an EpiPen wherever he went, despite his allergy not being so common and easy to trigger. At least that’s what Gen thought.
The next time it happened was when he was well into high school and having dinner at a restaurant. He had ordered a salad as an appetizer which failed to mention on the menu, was drizzled in sunflower oil. Even with the EpiPen, he didn’t make it to the main course.
Then he made double sure to avoid anything with sunflowers. He always asked at every restaurant, cafe or diner if they used it, he wore gloves and a mask if he had to be around them and always had a viable excuse to get out of any situation that involved them. The only people that knew about it were his manager, family, and himself, and Gen wanted to keep it that way.
Now, after the petrification event, meeting Tsukasa, Magma’s attack, the Grand Bout, Hyouga’s attack, and his ultimate betrayal of the Empire of Might, the last thing that happened to be on Gen’s mind was his allergies. They weren’t getting much variety in their food anyway.
Fish, the occasional ramen, and wild berries or vegetables were the only things on the menu. Cotton candy as well, but those were a rare treat now that they’d run out of sugar crystals.
He had to admit; it was probably not a good idea to not at least run it by Senku. Even an off-handed comment would’ve been better than keeping silent about it. At least it would be at the back of Senku’s mind and stop any “why didn’t you tell us” conversations, if it did happen.
But with the small number of cooking materials, the chance was very low. Wasn’t it?
“Like I told you before, Senku. You may be the chief of the village, but you can’t change the village tradition.” Kohaku said.
“Even if the gods you’re worshipping don’t exist by science?” Senku countered, taking a sip of the fresh broth he had brought over minutes ago for the group to eat.
“Just because science can’t solve something yet doesn’t mean that something doesn’t exist, Senku-chan.” Gen smiled, taking his own sip of the warm liquid. “Try and get around that.”
“Shut up, mentalist.”
The group burst out laughing before continuing to a new topic, modern world beliefs, and myths. Gen wasn’t that much of an expert on the subject, so he opted to listen more instead of adding in.
It was another few minutes into the new conversation that Gen first started feeling odd. He had been midway into gulping down another spoonful of the broth they were sampling when that familiar sensation grew inside him. But that was impossible. Maybe he had just eaten some weird new substitute that Senku used to replace food items they didn’t have. Like the ramen noodles with their lack of wheat.
So Gen chose to ignore it on the whim that it would disappear. It didn’t.
The sensation kept growing and growing until he couldn’t ignore it anymore. He felt his stomach rolling around uncomfortably, and his mouth starts to itch. Despite only ever having two reactions in his life, he still knew the signs like the back of his hand. Was it even possible? He had only been eating the soup for about 5 minutes, and he was told all the ingredients of the soup beforehand, so why was he getting a reaction now?
“Is there something sunflower in here?” Gen asked, haphazardly putting the bowl down. “Seeds? Oil?”
“We used the oil to simmer vegetables and then added broth to it once it was finished.” Senku smiled confidently while Gen felt his pulse quicken. “Call it a healthier twist.”
“Fantastic.” Gen muttered as he stood up, though it sounded more like “antastik,” since he can already feel his tongue starting to swell.
“Everything alright, mentalist?” Senku asked, also putting his bowl down.
“Fine.” Gen managed to say though it was way too high pitched. He needed to get away from all these people and take some —
Gen stopped cold in his tracks. They were in the stone world. There was no medication for him to take.
Senku turned his body towards him, making the others halt their conversation to look at him. “Gen?”
“Mmm.” Gen moaned, not really answering as he frantically flitted over his options. Alright, don’t panic Asagiri Gen. Senku will think of something.
Senku looked at him, weirdly before his thoughts clicked. “Don’t tell me you’re allergic.”
He felt embarrassed to admit it, but the sharp swell of feeling his throat tighten threw that shame out the window. As soon as Gen nodded, Senku immediately bolted up and forced Gen to open his mouth to examine him.
“Shit, your throat is closing.” Senku cursed with a frown on his face.
Gen looked at him with faked disbelief because that much was evident to him. He could feel panic start to weave itself through his veins. What would happen if he didn’t have any medication at all?
“Senku?” Chrome also stood up and peered over Senku’s shoulder. “What’s allergic mean?”
“Yeah, what’s going on?” Kohaku stepped up beside them too. “Why does Gen sound weird?”
“Allergic means that his body is reacting in a bad way towards a specific item,” Senku explained, letting go of Gen’s mouth and making him look up at him. “I’m gonna go ahead and guess it’s the sunflowers.”
Gen tried to smile, but it didn’t have the same effect as when he was normal.
“Right. Let’s go.” Senku grabbed Gen’s wrist and hurriedly pulled him away from the party and to Chrome’s shed, while the others followed. Gen was partly aware of the fact that he had started whining halfway through the hurried walk. His chest was getting tight, and it was harder to breathe properly, especially since they were practically running.
After some heated effort to climb the sheds ladder, Gen was immediately put to lay down on the ground by Senku as he took on the doctor roll.
“Lay down and lift your legs,” Senku ordered, moving an empty pot under Gen’s raised legs. “Rest them on here.”
Gen complied, resting them down and promptly covering his face with his sleeve. Tears had begun gathering in his eyes from the sheer absence of relief, and he didn’t want to be seen like this. After retrieving a blanket and tucking it around Gen’s small frame, Senku crouched down next to him and took one of his hands into his own.
“One squeeze for yes, two for no. Got it?” Senku asked, only continuing after Gen nodded slightly in understanding.
“Did you carry epinephrine in the old world?” Gen squeezed once for yes, making Senku groan. “Of course you did.”
“Are you dizzy or lightheaded?” Two squeezes.
“Can you swallow?” One squeeze.
“Are you nauseous?” Two squeezes.
“How many reactions have you had in total before today?” It wasn’t a yes or no question, but using his other hand, Gen was able to articulate the amount using his fingers.
Senku sighed before motioning that he was going to recheck Gen’s throat. Meanwhile, the others stood around the hut, watching the scene before them unfold with uncertainty hanging between them.
“Senku?” Chrome broke the silence. “What’s happening to Gen?” He asked, general concern laced in his voice.
“A moderate allergic reaction to the sunflower oil we used in the soup,” Senku muttered mainly to himself, only furthering the other’s confusion. “And unfortunately, sunflower seed allergies can mimic peanut allergies in terms of symptoms and severity.”
Luckily, one universal cure had been made in the old world to combat allergic reactions.
“We’ll need epinephrine,” Senku said while moving to stand up. Gen immediately clasped his hand and started whimpering again, obviously panicked at the thought of being left in the state he was in. Senku crouched down again with a look of exasperation on his face.
“I know.” Senku smoothed Gen’s hair out of his face. “But you need medication, and I’m the only one that can make it, you know that.” He smiled reassuringly. “Just hold out a little longer, okay? You should feel a little better soon, anyway.”
“How does that work?” Chrome asked, needy for an explanation.
“From what I can tell, this is a uniphasic reaction.” Senku continued to confuse everyone who wasn’t from the modern world but relented and explained what it was. “Uniphasic reactions are most common, which means your symptoms will get better within an hour even without the meds. But we should make some adrenaline anyway. You’ll still need it even if you get better the hard way.” Gen nodded, understanding what Senku was getting at. The doctors in the old world had explained that to him too.
“Oh, what’s adrenaline?” Chrome asked, throwing his arms up in exasperation.
“No time to explain, we need it quick, or he’ll rebound.” Senku ignored him as he rifled through different shelves to get a piece of leather to write on. “Kohaku, you’re the fastest. We’ll need a goat.”
Senku’s actually pretty proud of it.
When he returns to the hut, Gen is still in the same position as when he had left, barely half an hour before with Kaseki watching over him. Gen’s still wheezing a little, and the color has drained from his face, but he’s still alive and mainly conscious, so Senku takes it as a good sign. He tapped Gen on the shoulder and waved the needle and liquid in his line of vision, signaling his intentions.
Gen nodded and moved to expose his thigh, making sure his yukata covered himself still. Once he was ready, Senku positioned the needle in the right place and pushed, letting Gen squeeze his opposite hand’s wrist as he clenched his eyes shut.
It only took a minute or so as the epinephrine worked its way through Gen’s system and relaxed the muscles around his airways so that they could open up and work better. Once it did, Gen practically sighed with relief. His wheezing stopped, and his eyelids fluttered up and down with exhaustion.
“Don’t fall asleep just yet, mentalist.” Senku nudged Gen’s shoulder to wake him up. “Need to make sure no other symptoms follow.”
Gen grumbled but kept his eyes open and stared a hole into the ceiling.
“Okay, Senku, can you please explain what’s going on now?” Chrome begged as Suika poked her head up.
“Is - is Gen dying?” She asked.
“No, no, he’s not, Suika.” Senku was a little taken aback as was Gen who’s eyes widened before looking at Senku expectantly. “Why would you think that?” Senku asked.
“We have people in the village who’ve gotten sick just like this,” Kohaku answered for her. “Not many survived.”
“That’s because you don’t have the medicine to combat it. But rest assured, Gen’s very much alive and will stay that way.” Senku patted Suika’s watermelon mask.
Suika shifted but started smiling nonetheless. “He will?”
“He’ll be uncomfortable for the next few hours but -.” Gen groaned at that. “He’ll be fine.” Senku finished.
“So Gen’s not dying?” Kaseki asked.
“Not in the least.”
The old man laughed, clapping his hands together. “That’s good to hear.”
“Yeah, some proper rest, and you’ll be back up and running by tomorrow,” Senku said, turning towards Gen, who was still unabashedly staring at him before rolling his eyes and flipping over to face away from the group.
Hives on his wrists and forearm have started making their appearance if Gen’s scratching is anything to go by, making Senku wince a little at the upcoming rashes he knows Gen will have. Once everyone had settled down, Kohaku gestured for everyone to leave Senku and Gen alone and return to their huts for the night. Kaseki opted to go back to the party that’s still going on, while Senku was just grateful that everyone had left.
When he turned back to the mentalist, he was fast asleep and snoring softly. Senku smiled, reaching down and soaking a cloth in the cold water from the wash bin they had brought in earlier. Ever so gently, he placed the cold rag on Gen’s wrists to help with the hives while Gen moaned in relief in his sleep.
Senku suddenly felt himself frown. They had been fortunate that this was just a mild reaction and not something bigger that needed immediate medication that they didn’t have. Had the situation been worse or occurred earlier in the year, then Gen might’ve not made it. The thought makes Senku frown even harder before he looked back at Gen’s sleeping face and let himself relax.
He was okay.
“Since when have you been allergic to sunflowers?” Senku immediately asked the minute he stepped into the lab where Gen was hanging around in.
Gen felt himself tense at the question before resigning and responding. “Since forever?”
“Who knew, the expert florist would be allergic to flowers.”
“It’s only sunflowers.” Gen winced. “I just can’t work with them.”
“Well, at least we know to avoid it now.” Senku fiddled with a beaker on the table to do something. “Wish you had told me, though, so there was less of a chance of you dying on us yesterday.”
“I wasn’t even expecting another experience with the lack of variety on our menu.”
Senku hummed as he fished around in his pocket and pulled out a little white container. “Here,” Senku said, holding out the object for Gen to take.
Gen looked confused as he accepted the offered gift, continuously rolling it around in his hand before popping it open and peering inside. The familiar yet very different looking object had his heart skipping a beat as he recognized what he was looking at. “An EpiPen?”
“The stone worlds first.” Senku smiled. “Make sure you carry it around with you.”
“It may not be an autoinjector, but it still works the same.” Senku pointed at the object to show Gen how it worked. “Just push the knob after you inject the needle.”
“How’d you make this anyway?” Gen found himself asking, making Senku grin wickedly as a chance to explain his science was opened.
“Well there were two different ways. One, we could synthesize it in the lab with methylaminoacetophenone and other stuff you definitely wouldn’t understand, or we could extract it from the adrenal glands of a sheep or goat.” Senku explained. “In the dire time of need, we chose option two.”
“Sorry, I asked.” Gen chuckled, before slipping the box inside one of his overcoat pockets. “I really am grateful, though, Senku-chan.”
“Yeah, it’s no problem.” Senku waved him off. “Just try not to eat any more sunflowers.”
Gen laughed. “I promise.”
Ryusui and Francois were the latest modern world people to be de-petrified in hopes of helping the kingdom with the boat journey. Since it was so hot outside on one particular summer day, everyone decided to take a break from working on the ship to instead have a little get together.
Like a barbeque, but with gourmet food that Francois had prepared.
They were currently eating a seeded bread that was freshly baked and out of the oven, that was giving off the sweetest smell.
“This here is one of Francois’s specialties!” Ryusui beamed as he bragged for his butler. “One of the most desired dishes of any occasion! Truly a fitting meal for anyone under my charge!”
“It is made with the regular dough bread we accomplished before but with an added amount of sugar for sweetness and different nuts and seeds for flavor,” Francois explained.
“This tastes so good!” Chrome practically cried as Ukyo nodded and smiled at the chef. “The sunflower seeds are a good addition, Francois.”
The statement makes Senku stop as he feels his pulse quicken. “Wait sunflower seeds?”
“Lightly toasted sunflower seeds!” Ryusui triumphantly corrects, but it falls on deaf ears as Senku all but throws his plate onto the table and takes off in Gen’s direction, leaving a confused group behind him. Gen was on the opposite side of the field, talking to some of the lesser-known science kindgomers about things Senku didn’t know.
He could feel his lungs burning as he ran with everything he had. “Gen! Don’t eat the bread!” Senku yelled as he skidded to a halt right in front of the startled mentalist.
But it was too late, half the plate, Gen was holding was finished, and the realization was quite obviously dawning on his face before Senku even had a chance to tell him.
“Please tell me you have the epinephrine.”
Gen nodded frantically and dropped everything he had been holding to rifle through his pockets. He practically tore open the box once he found it and took hold of the needle and vial in his hand. All eyes were turned towards him and Senku in concern, which made Gen falter right before he plunged the needle through his clothes and into his skin. He was dimly aware of his hand shaking, hovering centimeters away from his thigh as a million voices tried to inquire what was going on at the same time.
Senku decided to step in when it took the mentalist too long to do what he needed to do, preferring to get it over quickly. He snatched the needle from Gen’s hand before shooing said hand away and practically stabbing Gen in the thigh.
“Stay still.” Senku reprimanded when Gen squirmed and whined at the harsh plunge. “Sorry, just give it a minute.” He added softly, feeling a little bad about being so rough.
The position was awkward, and Gen could feel embarrassment creep upon him, but the impending doom of the situation was distracting him enough not to think about it until later.
Ten seconds passed before Senku gently pulled the needle out, and Gen could feel the effects start to kick in.
“Let’s go,” Senku whispered, grabbing Gen’s hand and pulling him away from the crowd who were gathering around them.
A quick glare told the others to leave the situation be for now, as Senku herded Gen to the hut area. Once inside, Senku sat Gen down in the same position as the first time this had happened and went over his medical checklist again.
The hives started appearing later, and his face was flushed a bit, but other than that, he looked alright. At least his face is not turning blue, Senku thought. This time, they had gotten the meds into him at the right time, and with some cold compresses and cream, the hives wouldn’t be a problem either.
Over the next few hours, Senku stayed by Gen’s side, monitoring him, ready with another dose in case the symptoms returned. By the time the sun was setting, no other symptoms had shown up, meaning the worst was long over.
Senku was about to ask how Gen felt as he was unusually silent when a tentative knock on the door stopped him before he could. Gen nodded, laying back on his bed and closing his eyes to sleep. Senku sighed and walked to the door, opening it, letting himself out, and then closing it behind him so that Gen wouldn’t be disturbed.
There he was met the worried faces of Ryusui, Francois, Kohaku, Chrome, Kaseki, and Ukyo. Senku knew the others wouldn’t be far behind in finding out what had happened.
Before the others could start asking, Senku held out a hand to stop them and rubbed the back of his neck.
“I’ll make this very simple. Gen’s allergic to sunflowers.”
Meanwhile, Gen had never wanted to crawl into a hole more than in that moment. His hives were gone, his throat was open, and he didn’t need bed rest anymore, yet he decided to stay cooped up in his hut, refusing to come out.
He felt embarrassed, of course. Humiliated too. He wasn’t supposed to have a weakness like this. Especially when he knew he should avoid it.
His deprecating thoughts were then interrupted by Senku opening his door and walking over to him, still bundled up tightly in his blankets despite the heatwave. Hadn’t he locked the door?
“Gotta come out sometime, Gen.” Senku lightly kicked Gen in the ribs, making him grumble and move away. “Come on, time to face reality again.”
“It was one reaction,” Senku grumbled, trying to coax Gen out. “What’s the big deal?”
“It was two reactions.” Gen corrected before a visible shudder ran through him. “Two too many.”
“What you can’t have a weakness all of sudden?” Senku asked. “It’s not like you can control what your body can or can’t handle.”
“Really? What are you a child? Get up; I have work for you.” Senku went back to kicking him with no results as Gen didn’t budge. “Seriously, mentalist, I will carry you out of here.”
“As if you could lift me,” Gen muttered.
“Fine, then I’ll just get Taiju to carry you.” Senku raised his arms in surrender and slowly started walking towards the door. “And trust me, if you thought your allergy was humiliating, just wait until Taiju carries you like a baby.” He threw over his shoulder, happy when Gen quickly emerged from the blankets and sat up.
“I’m up! I’m getting up, don’t call him.” Gen pouted. “Happy?”
“Delighted. Let’s go.” Senku said, pulling Gen to his feet and leading him out the door. Gen grumbled a complaint when he noticed that Senku had picked his lock to get in. After a brief walk through the forest, the duo emerged into a clearing that looked out over the ocean. The sun looked like it was about to set and the view was definitely picture book worthy. Gen didn’t realize Senku had sat down until he tugged at Gen’s sleeve and pulled him down to sit next to him.
It was silent between them as a small breeze blew past them until Gen decided to interrupt. “What are we doing here?”
“Isn’t it obvious?” Senku gestured his hand towards the view in front of them. “We’re watching the sunset, mentalist.”
“I didn’t take you as someone who’d enjoy that kind of thing, Senku-chan.”
“I don’t. This is purely scientific.”
Gen raised an eyebrow in confusion. “And how is that?”
“We’re making clocks for the ship, and we need to know the exact time it takes for the sun to set,” Senku explained nonchalantly as if Gen couldn’t see through him.
“We do?” Gen giggled.
“Yes, it’s very vital.”
Gen felt himself relax a little and just resigned himself to whatever Senku had really planned. “Sure.”
It’s silent again but not at all awkward. They sat together for a while even after the sun disappeared and the stars came out. The atmosphere was calm and serene, and Gen felt more relaxed than he had in a while. Gen suddenly chuckled when he realized it took him this long to figure out why Senku had brought him there in the first place. He turned toward a confused Senku and softly smiled, reaching his hand out and clasping the others in his.
“Thank you, Senku-chan,” Gen said, fully expecting another comment about cringeyness but was surprised when Senku just smiled brightly in return. “No problem, mentalist.”