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“That was definitely all your fault,” says Hinata, standing up on the pedals of his bike and wobbling a little. “A hundred percent.”

“It’s my fault you can’t spike?”

Hinata squawks indignantly and puts on a burst of speed, pedaling hard towards the spot up ahead where their paths diverge. They’d both had to stay late doing drills after an incident with a ball and Asahi’s face, and once they’d finished Hinata felt like he might have finally had enough of racing Kageyama for one day. Apparently that’s not the case.

He glances over his shoulder to see if Kageyama is following him, and that’s when disaster strikes.

Hinata slips as he rides over a rough patch of road, going down with his bike in a tangle of limbs and metal. He was riding slow enough that it wouldn’t have been a big deal, but he lands weird, knee catching against the chain, and he can feel the skin there getting absolutely shredded.

“Ow,” he whines, rolling free of the wreckage and clutching the wound. He’s all scraped up, but the knee is the worst, and his hands come away bloody once he realizes it’s probably not a great idea to push all the tiny pieces of gravel embedded into them up against the cut.

“You dumbass,” says Kageyama, ambling over to where Hinata is still lying on the ground in agony. He makes no move to help, because he’s a fiend. Hinata squints up at him angrily, but he notices Kageyama’s face changing when he sees all the blood.

“Get out of the street,” he says, still gruff but now also sounding a bit alarmed.

Hinata groans, but doesn’t move. There are no cars coming anyway, and his knee hurts really bad. His whole leg does, in fact. Both legs.

Kageyama curses under his breath and half-rolls Hinata back up onto the curb. Hinata lets himself be rolled, even though it’s not a very cool method of transport. The pain slowly starts to recede, and as Kageyama lets go of him he sits up and attempts to brush gravel out of the cuts.

“Hey, idiot,” says Kageyama, crouching down next to Hinata and looking into his eyes. “Can you get up?”

He sounds like he’s worried but trying not to sound worried, which is annoying enough to have Hinata clambering to his feet.

“Obviously! That was no big deal.” To illustrate this point, he reaches down to wipe at some of the blood still oozing from his knee. It gets everywhere, and Kageyama raises his eyebrows until they disappear into his bangs.

“You can’t go all the way back to your house like that,” he says.

“Well, I have to,” says Hinata, even though privately he sort of agrees. He makes a move to climb back on his bike, but before he can Kageyama yanks him away from it by the back of his shirt.

“Just come to my house,” he says, frowning and not looking at Hinata as he says it. “My mom can look at it or something.”

For a second Hinata just stares, mouth hanging slightly open. It’s not like Kageyama to be this helpful.

“Okay,” he says after a few more seconds of watching Kageyama glare at the ground. He really does want to get cleaned up before he heads home, anyway. “I can walk my bike, though.”

Kageyama grunts, and they set off, going straight past the street where Hinata would usually turn.

“I’m only doing this because everyone will blame me if you pass out from blood loss on your way home,” Kageyama informs Hinata as they walk through his front door.

“As if I would pass out,” says Hinata derisively, even though he does feel a little bit woozy every time he glances down at his leg. He thinks that’s probably more about how messed up it looks than the blood loss, though.

Kageyama calls for his mother, but there’s no answer.

“I don’t think she’s home,” he says finally, turning back around to Hinata and shrugging.

“Great,” says Hinata, resisting the urge to look down at his leg again.

For a few seconds Kageyama just stands there, watching Hinata come dangerously close to dripping blood on his carpet. Hinata peers curiously into his face, but he can’t tell at all what’s going on in there, except that Kageyama looks just as scary as usual.

“I’ll do it,” he eventually says, abruptly turning around in that way he has and disappearing down a hallway, leaving Hinata alone in his living room to wonder what Kageyama plans to do.

Figuring he’ll probably come back eventually, Hinata heads over to the couch and sits down. There’s a box of tissues on the coffee table, and he uses one of them to try to mop himself up a little. He’s more or less stopped bleeding, but his knee still hurts, and all the smaller scrapes are stinging like hell. To distract himself, he looks around Kageyama’s living room for embarrassing family photos.

Before he finds any, he hears the sound of running water in the kitchen. Then Kageyama appears, wielding a fistful of soggy paper towels in one hand and way too many bandaids in the other. Tucked under his arm is a bottle of something that looks like it stings. Hinata stares at him dumbly for a few moments before realizing that Kageyama is actually taking this job seriously. Abruptly, this whole thing feels kind of embarrassing.

Before he can voice any concerns, Kageyama kneels down in front of the couch and starts patting the wet paper towel wad against Hinata’s biggest cut. Hinata flattens himself against the couch cushions, expecting to have to jerk his leg away at any moment because of Kageyama being too rough. He’s careful, though, holding Hinata’s ankle in one hand and cleaning around the edges of the cuts with the other.

“Kageyama, you’re pretty good at this,” Hinata remarks, once he’s calmed down enough to recognize that fact. “Like a scary nurse.”

Kageyama gives him a truly frightening look and reaches for the bottle he’d brought with him. The minute the antibacterial stuff touches his skin, Hinata lets out a howl of misery and tries to snatch his leg away.

“Kageyama!”

Kageyama’s hand on Hinata’s ankle tightens into a vice grip. “Want your leg to rot off?”

“It won’t rot!” Hinata yelps, even though he’s not completely sure of that. Either way, Kageyama ignores him.

He thrashes around for a few more moments, but Kageyama is holding on to him really tight and the smarting dies down pretty quickly anyway. It’s no better the next few times, but Hinata grudgingly allows the worst of his wounds to be swabbed with disinfectant.

It’s over soon enough, and then Kageyama moves on to the band-aids. He brought way too many but he uses every single one, pressing them down over even the most minor of cuts as he glowers down at Hinata’s knees in concentration.

Eventually, he peels the little paper slips off of the final band-aid and smooths it out out over Hinata’s last visible scrape, sitting back on his heels and frown-smiling the way he does when he’s particularly pleased with himself.

“There,” he says. Hinata feels a rush of something weird then, high up in his chest. It’s almost like fondness, or affection, except he’s still mad about the disinfectant.

To keep his mind off it, Hinata takes advantage of their position to ruffle Kageyama’s hair and kick his shoulder.

“Feels great,” he announces breezily, and then yells as Kageyama donkey-punches him in the thigh.

— — —

It’s about a week later when one day Kageyama doesn’t show up for morning practice. Hinata lurks around the spot where they usually start racing each other toward the club room, but Kageyama is nowhere to be found. He’s not at the gym, either, once Hinata finally gets there.

“Where’s Kageyama?” he asks Yamaguchi while they stretch. Yamaguchi just pulls one elbow across his chest and shrugs.

“He’s sick,” Suga chimes in from a few feet away where he’s stretching with Asahi and Daichi. “Stayed home for the day.”

Hinata nods, but he can’t help thinking that there’s no way Kageyama would let a little thing like disease keep him from playing volleyball.

RU coming to afternnoon practice?! he sneakily types on his phone in the middle of math class. Skipping their morning session would be understandable if Kageyama has something contagious, but not coming to either one seems basically sacrilegious.

Kageyama takes a long time to answer mail at the best of times, and Hinata gets distracted messaging Kenma until his teacher snaps at him to pay attention and takes his phone away until the end of class.

By the time he gets it back, there’s a message waiting for him.

Sick, is all it says, to which Hinata replies, wtf?? It takes Kageyama another thousand years to respond to that, but in the middle of lunch Hinata’s phone buzzes twice. Shut up, reads the first message, immediately followed by Bring my hw.

Hinata scowls down at his phone. It’s really something, how Kageyama manages to be annoying as hell even when he’s not physically present.

He sends back a few scathing emojis in reply, but he also goes to Kageyama’s class and gets the homework. After all, no one else is lining up to do it, and if Kageyama fails out of school he can’t stay on the team, and Kageyama not being on the team would suck no matter how atrociously bad his personality is.
Throughout afternoon practice, Hinata catches himself imagining Kageyama sick in bed. He’d probably be all snotty and feverish, without even the strength to frown. For some reason, the thought makes him almost antsy for practice to end, and once it does he gets on his bike and pedals to Kageyama’s house as hard as he can, careful to avoid any errant patches of rough road this time.

— — —

Hinata makes it to Kageyama’s front door without incident, knocking a few times and then shuffling back and forth in the cold as he waits for an answer. He’d expected one of Kageyama’s elusive parents to come to the door and usher him to the sickbed, but no one answers.

Exasperated and getting colder the longer he stands there, Hinata pounds on Kageyama’s door a few more times. His knocks are met with even more silence, and he’s just getting ready to whip out his phone and demand that Kageyama let him inside when he hears the sound of the door unlocking. It swings open, and there’s Kageyama on the other side.

Hinata does a double take, forgetting about the cold for a second out of sheer surprise. Kageyama looks terrible. His hair is in disarray, his eyes are mostly shut, and his complexion is borderline ghoulish. There’s a fuzzy blue blanket draped over his shoulders like a cape, and for some reason he’s clutching a volleyball.

Hinata tries not to laugh, but it’s a losing battle.

“Kageyama, you look so bad,” he says, snickering into his hand and then deftly slipping into the house before Kageyama can slam the door on him.

“Go away,” says Kageyama, trying for scary. He sounds so miserably congested that Hinata almost cracks up all over again, but this time he manages to keep it inside.

“Where’s your parents?” he asks instead, looking around at the living room. Judging from the cartoons playing on the television and the balled-up tissues scattered everywhere, Kageyama has taken up residence on the couch.

“Work,” says Kageyama, flopping back onto the couch in a way that suggests standing up had taken a lot out of him. He sniffles a little, and reaches for one of his gross tissue.

Hinata cocks his head. “Are you alright by yourself? You look kind of pathetic. No offense.”

Kageyama glares at him sleepily. “M’fine,” he says. “Just leave the homework and—”

Whatever he’d been about to say is cut off with an explosive sneeze. The skin around his nose is bright red once he finishes wiping up the considerable amount of snot that had been produced, and for some reason Hinata feels kind of bad.

“You won’t be fine when all that snot fills up your lungs and you drown,” says Hinata. He pulls a fresh tissue out of the box and holds it out for Kageyama, careful not to touch his diseased fingers.

Kageyama tries to scoff, but just ends up wheezing into the new tissue for a little while.

“You can’t drown from that,” he says once he emerges, but he doesn’t sound all that sure. Anyway, Hinata’s mind is made up.

He drops his bag by the door and leaves Kageyama’s pile of homework there too, since he figures Kageyama isn’t in any condition to do much besides contaminate it.

“So where do you keep all your medicine and stuff?” he asks.

Kageyama scowls. “I don’t need you to give me medicine, dumbass.”

“Did you already take some?”

Kageyama just sneezes again. Hinata’s hardly been here five minutes and he can already tell that Kageyama is the worst at being sick.

“If you don’t get better you’ll miss more practice,” he says, trying to sound stern. Kageyama turns even paler at that, and clutches the volleyball sitting next to him on the couch like he’s afraid it’ll float away. “Why do you have that, anyway?”

“So I can practice once I stop feeling dizzy,” Kageyama says, frowning like that should be common sense. Hinata guesses it kind of is.

“The medicine might help with that,” he says pointedly, and finally Kageyama directs him down the hall.

Once he’s located Kageyama’s strangely tidy bathroom and snooped around enough to find the medicine cabinet, he realizes that he hadn’t asked what’s actually wrong with Kageyama. It seems like it might be a lot of things, so he grabs everything that looks vaguely like it might help. When Hinata comes back, Kageyama is on the couch with his blanket wrapped around him and the volleyball in his lap, sneezing up a storm.

“Okay,” says Hinata, dumping his armload of medicine out on the coffee table. “So what’s wrong with you?”

Kageyama shrugs and blows his nose with a loud honking sound. “Flu, I guess.”

Hinata nods, studying the backs of the various pills and syrups he’d brought out until he finds one to combat flu symptoms, popping two of the pills out of their foil packaging and holding them up to Kageyama’s face.

“Here, take these ones,” he says, shaking them around under Kageyama’s nose until Kageyama grabs his wrist and shoves him away. Hinata shoves back without thinking, and his eyes widen when his hands come in contact with very hot skin.

“Whoah,” he says, crowding forward and pushing Kageyama’s bangs out of the way so that he can feel his forehead. “You’re burning up.”

“No shit,” Kageyama grumbles. He seems to flush even hotter, if that’s at all possible.

Hinata forgets about the whole riddled-with-disease thing for a second and feels Kageyama’s cheeks too, and the sides of his neck, just like how his mom does for him and Natsu. Kageyama just sits there and lets him do it, which is maybe the most surprising thing of all. Hinata is pretty sure this sickness is sapping his will to be an asshole.

Once there’s really no excuse to keep touching Kageyama’s face, Hinata retreats to a safe distance on the couch. Kageyama is redder than Hinata’s ever seen him, but he still shivers a little as he pulls his blanket tighter around himself and glances down at the pills in his hand.

“I’ll puke if I dry-swallow these,” he says, tone deadpan. “I might puke anyway.”

“Gross!” Hinata says, shooting up off the couch and heading towards Kageyama’s kitchen to get some water.

“Don’t throw up, Kageyama,” he adds, half-yelling so Kageyama will hear him in the other room as he noisily rattles through all the cupboards in search of a glass. “Or I’ll puke too, and then you’ll puke again, and we’ll both be puking forever.”

He thinks he hears Kageyama make a disgusted noise at that, but by then he’s found the glasses and is busily filling one with water. He’s about to leave once he finishes, but then he catches sight of a dishcloth sitting by the sink. It makes him think of the last time he was here, when Kageyama had carefully wiped all the blood off him with paper towels and then covered him with unnecessary bandages.

Hinata feels that same kind of weird affectionate tug in his chest, and before he knows it he’s back at the sink, dousing the dishcloth in cold water, wringing it out and folding it up.

Kageyama looks like he’s starting to nod off when Hinata comes back into the room. He’s blearily focused on the TV, elbows resting on the volleyball still sitting in his lap. He jumps a little when Hinata puts down the glass of water in front of him, grabbing the pills off the coffee table and swallowing them down with a grimace.

“Finish it,” Hinata orders when Kageyama goes to set down the glass, because his mom always says that too. Kageyama grumbles, but does as he’s told.

“Okay, sit back,” Hinata continues, getting on the couch next to Kageyama and moving very slowly, like he’s trying not to spook a wild animal.

“Idiot,” mumbles Kageyama, because no sickness could ever completely get rid of his asshole tendencies. He tenses up a little when Hinata pushes his hair off his forehead again, but goes relaxed once the washcloth is in place.

Satisfied, Hinata scrambles back to a more respectable distance even though he doesn’t really want to. It’s chilly in Kageyama’s house, but Kageyama himself is like a furnace.

“Just take it off when it gets warm,” he says.

Kageyama makes an unintelligible grunting noise. His eyes are sliding shut again, but he keeps blinking them back open, not wanting to let himself relax. Hinata tries not to be too obvious about looking, but it’s more entertaining to watch than the TV.

A few minutes later, Kageyama loses the battle, dishtowel slipping off his forehead and soaking a small wet spot into the couch cushion. He’s breathing heavily through his open mouth, a little bit of drool leaking out of the corner and onto his own shoulder.

Once Hinata is absolutely sure that Kageyama is asleep, he scoots a little closer on the couch, just enough to feel his body heat, and settles in to watch some cartoons.

— — —

Some undetermined amount of time later, Hinata wakes up with his face smashed into Kageyama’s t-shirt and a heavy arm around his shoulders. The volleyball is sandwiched between them, pressing insistently against Hinata’s side like a silent round chaperone.

Hinata removes his face from the t-shirt and looks up to see if Kageyama is awake, but he’s still snoozing peacefully. He doesn’t look any less terrible than before, but he’s not coughing in his sleep or anything, which hopefully means the medicine is working okay.

Careful not to disturb him too much, Hinata stretches out, cracking his neck as he looks around. It’s getting pretty dark out, and he hasn’t texted his mom yet, and Kageyama probably doesn’t really need him to stay anymore. Kageyama might not have really needed him to stay at all, if his parents were okay with leaving him here alone in the first place, but somehow it felt like the only possible course of action.

He may not have been the best nurse, but there’s at least one more thing he can do.

When jostling Kageyama’s shoulder doesn’t succeed in waking him up, Hinata tries lobbing the volleyball gently at his face.

Kageyama jerks awake, looking around wildly and immediately groping around for a tissue.

“What are you still doing here?” he asks once he catches sight of Hinata, glaring. Hinata feels offended by this lack of gratitude but decides to let it slide.

“I’m going home soon,” he says, “but first I’m taking you to bed.”

Kageyama balks, and Hinata realizes he may have said that part a little too intensely. “Like, to sleep.”

“I was sleeping here,” Kageyama grumbles, but he doesn’t complain when Hinata jumps up off the sofa and tugs him up to his feet as well.

All the hall lights are off, so Kageyama has to navigate them to his bedroom. He leans on Hinata on the way there, heavy and sleepy, and Hinata tries to focus on not tripping over anything or sinking to the floor under Kageyama’s weight.

Kageyama heads straight to bed once they pass through the threshold of his room, flopping facedown on top of the covers and letting out a muffled groan.

Hinata leaves to go get him some more water and a couple more pills. He grabs the volleyball too, just because it seems like the right thing to do. When he comes back in he can dimly make out the shape of Kageyama, curled up on his side. He sets the volleyball down next to Kageyama’s head so it can watch over him and sets the water on his nightstand.

“Eat something later, okay?” says Hinata, hovering by the door. It looks like Kageyama is well on his way to passing out again, if he hasn’t already, but Hinata supposes that’s just as well. It’s kind of embarrassing, how seriously he’s taken his duties as Kageyama’s caretaker, but that stupid fond feeling just keeps growing the longer he stays here.

“Mm,” says Kageyama, face pushed halfway into the pillow. A few seconds later, he mumbles something so indistinct that Hinata can barely hear it. “Thanks.”

“Wow,” says Hinata, a bright grin creeping over his face. “What was that?”

Kageyama just rolls over so his whole face is pressed into the pillow. Hinata dances over and ruffles his hair, jumping out of the way of the arm that shoots out to swat at him.

“No problem, Kageyama,” Hinata continues, voice coming out a lot more sincere than he’d really meant it to. The feeling is back, so intense that he can’t not do something, he can’t just keep this weird emotion inside his chest for any longer without letting Kageyama know it’s there somehow, so before he thinks better of it he bends over and kisses him on the cheek.

It’s quick and dry, because Hinata may be a hardy young man but he’s not about to catch the flu when there’s volleyball to be played. Kageyama lets out a muffled yelp of surprise, but before he can say anything Hinata is cackling and running for the door, grabbing his bag and heading out into the night.