Bunkai 20: Sickness

During the final month of training, the spores of flowers seem to grow pollen faster than usual resulting in trainees, soldiers, and officials to grow ill. The only known treatment is to take specially made medicine and to sleep through it. Sadly in that current time, many people within the palace and outside the walls fell ill: sneezing, coughing, and fever. The doctors were busy during that time and yet the trainees still had to do their duties and could only have time off if their sickness got worse.

Currently only five trainees were able to perform their duties: Lee Kou, Shiro Ran, Toshio Hibiki, Seto Kumi, and Megumi Yoh. Suha stood before these five trainees sniffling as he spoke with a raspy voice.

“I have your duties written down, so I expect you all to finish them,” stated Suha, before coughing into his clenched fist. All five of them nodded accepting their duties from Suha. Megumi took her written duty from Suha and exited with the others.

As they walked down the hall, Lee groaned looking at his written duty.

“I swear, if he was sick then he shouldn’t have written these scrolls. They’re covered with phlegm and why does my duty say to map the hallway floors?” complained Lee. Seto nodded in agreement and added, “I don’t think cooking the horse stable is a duty.” Toshio chuckled.

“Better than mine. Mine says, ‘to trash Lord Tomo’s study,’” stated Toshio. Lee and Seto laughed. Shiro glanced at his duty with a raised an eyebrow.

“Why do I need to fix assassinations in the budget archive? I wasn’t even aware we had assassinations in the budget archives,” stated Shiro. Lee, Toshio, and Seto burst out laughing clenching their sides.

Megumi opened her scroll and read her duties out loud to the others.

“Lord Suha wants me to torture Lord Tamoya’s study and to change the library quickly making sure the books are in orbit?”

The others, except for Shiro, were laughing till they fell on the floor. Megumi closed her scroll sighing.

“I understand what he wants me to do, but I better inform Dr. Jima of Lord Suha’s condition,” stated Megumi. The others nodded in agreement recovering from their laughing fit. Megumi walked pass them and said, “He should be in my room by now to treat my roommates, so you guys better get to work.” The others nodded again watching Megumi disappear down the hall.

Lee scoffed and said, “I’ll MOP the floors first and then I’m checking on Boshi and Riku.” Lee walked down the hall away from the others.

“Well CLEANING the horse stables doesn’t take that long, so I’ll check on my roommates,” stated Seto before walking off.

Shiro walked into a different hall and said, “I’ll fix the ASSIGNMENTS in the budget archives as instructed and then check on little Chestnut.”

Toshio scratched the back of his head smiling.

“I’ll TIDY Lord Tomo’s study.”

Toshio was about to walk off, but stopped in his tracks remembering something.

Now that I think about it were the other trainees in outside training supposed to return today?

Just outside the Capital’s gates, four carriages were rolling in being led by four different soldiers. Within one of these carriages were Youko Tai and Bakura Hoshi with Tomo Matsu, age thirty-one, sitting across from them. Youko sneezed into a red handkerchief and groaned.

“I hate the time of pollen,” muttered Youko, sneezing again. Bakura chuckled fanning himself.

“Pollen or no pollen, I am quite glad to be back in the capital. Jogo Province was too stuffy for me,” stated Bakura. Youko sneezed in response.

Tomo ran his hand through his beard and stated, “I admit I am disappointed that you two didn’t enjoy Jogo Province as much as I did.”

Bakura smiled and said, “No offense, but unlike you we weren’t raised in Jogo Province.”

“Point taken,” chirped Tomo. Youko sneezed again and groaned.

“I just want to go back to the palace so I can recover in my room,” stated Youko in a stuffy voice. Bakura chuckled grinning at Youko.

“Are you sure you don’t want to see your beloved ANGEL first?” asked Bakura in a rather slick voice. Youko flinched in his seat turning red in the cheeks.

Tomo smiled and stated, “Bakura has been saying something about an angel to you, so can you tell me who this angel person is?” Youko gulped averting his gaze from Tomo.

“It’s not really important,” muttered Youko. Bakura nodded and added, “It’s not important that his precious angel is a man.” Youko glared at Bakura, while Tomo’s eyes widened in surprise.

“A man, I thought this angel person is a woman the way you reacted,” stated Tomo puzzled. Youko glanced at Tomo with reddened cheeks.

“I assure you that I only see him as a friend,” stated Youko. Bakura nodded and added, “A friend that punched you because you tried to remove his shirt thinking he might be a woman.” Youko glared at Bakura, while Tomo’s eyes seemed to grow wide again.

“You thought he was a woman?”

“Only for a while,” stated Youko. Bakura chuckled and stated, “It sometimes still crosses his mind or is it wishful thinking?” Youko slammed his hand over Bakura’s mouth glaring at him. He looked back at Tomo and said, “The person Bakura mentioned is just a friend, a MALE friend. End of story.” Tomo nodded, even though he still looked bewildered.

Youko sneezed and coughed before releasing Bakura. Youko hugged himself leaning his head against the door. He thought of Megumi turning red in the cheeks.

I want to see him.

In another carriage, Ichigo Goh and Suiji Yan were sitting opposite from each other. Suiji sneezed in his seat and groaned.

“We just had to come back in the time of pollen,” muttered Suiji. Ichigo nodded sniffling.

“The time of pollen isn’t this bad in Go Province,” complained Ichigo. Ichigo peeked through the carriage window and saw the palace in the distance. Ichigo groaned hugging his legs to his chest. Suiji groaned looking at Ichigo.

“Let me guess: you don’t want to see Megumi Yoh?” asked Suiji. Ichigo nodded.

“I was at peace being separated from Megumi and now I have to see him again,” stated Ichigo in agony. Suiji sighed and then coughed.

“I admit I don’t like Megumi, but the way you avoid him is like he’s the plague. I feel a little sorry for him.”

Ichigo’s facial expression looked saddened.

“I just can’t stand to look at his face,” muttered Ichigo. Suiji placed a hand under his chin in thought and stated, “I sometimes wish he would wear a mask.” Ichigo nodded and added, “If he wore a mask, I can at least talk with him again.” Suiji chuckled before coughing into his fist.

“That’s not happening,” stated Suiji. Ichigo nodded with a saddened expression.

In the carriage next to Ichigo’s and Suiji’s, Rumiko Hashihara and Genba Tendo were sitting across from Kogoro Tai. Kogoro was writing in a red covered journal, while Genba read a book and Rumiko wrote on a blue covered journal. Kogoro sneezed into his sleeve with a groan. He looked at the two trainees and noticed that Rumiko and Genba seemed to be unaffected by the time of pollen.

“Are you immune?” asked Kogoro with a scratchy throat. Rumiko glanced up from his journal and said, “I guess you could say that. I stopped being affected by the time of pollen when I reached my teens.” Genba glanced at Rumiko and Kogoro and added, “I’m the same.” Kogoro sneezed into his sleeve again.

“Consider yourselves lucky,” muttered Kogoro. Rumiko chuckled. Rumiko peeked from the carriage and saw a rundown clinic being prepared by some men. Rumiko smiled closing the curtain of the carriage.

“Why the smile?” asked Genba peeking away from his book. Rumiko smiled at Genba.

“I’m just relieved that Lord Xian kept his word.”

“You did mention before during the Imperial Exams that Xian Lian sponsored you. How did you get his sponsorship?”

“Well he approached me after I volunteered to teach in a temple. He told me that my knowledge was great and that I should take the Imperial Exams. He even offered to sponsor me. I refused at first, but then he told me that he would support my clan starting by repairing my father’s clinic. I then agreed.”

Genba frowned looking away from Rumiko.

“I had to work for three years trying to get enough money to take the two exams and you got a sponsorship. You sure got it easy, Rumiko.”

Rumiko scratched the back of his head.

“I still had to work hard to get one of the top positions,” stated Rumiko and then paused remembering Megumi when he first saw her in the exams. Rumiko frowned crossing his arms.

“The one who got it easy is Megumi Yoh.”

“Megumi Yoh?”

Rumiko nodded.

“He got the top rank in the Qualification Exams and in the Imperial Exams. You tell him something once and he immediately knows how to do it. To top it off, I heard that the emperor favors him.”

Genba nodded and added, “It does sound easy.”

Kogoro suddenly cleared his throat getting Rumiko’s and Genba’s attention.

“You think Megumi has it easy, but he works as hard as any of you. I know that he goes to the library late at night during Fridays to get his studying done and he has to do soldier training because he was ordered to. From my experience, the training he’s receiving would have made a normal person abandon the training out of exhaustion. He’s strong, intelligent, and devoted to his goal of being an Official, so I would appreciate it if you didn’t belittle his efforts.”

Genba and Rumiko bowed their heads to Kogoro apologizing. Kogoro suddenly sneezed sending snot on their faces. Rumiko and Genba wiped their faces with disgust in their faces.

In the very last carriage sat Sasuke Harada and Keisuke Saotome. Sasuke sneezed and then groaned.

“No wonder Lord Tamoya decided to stay back in Ryu Province,” mumbled Sasuke. Keisuke nodded in agreement coughing into his sleeve.

“Well we had to come back to continue our training here,” stated Keisuke rubbing his red nose.

“Training? With us in this condition, we would be sent back to our rooms to recover.”

“Good point,” stated Keisuke, before sneezing.

Sasuke rubbed his nose and smirked.

“I bet that kid is feeling just as miserable as us,” stated Sasuke.

“Megumi Yoh, right?”

Sasuke nodded and chuckled.

“That Megumi is so cocky just because he got the ranking of Diyuan.”

“Well he did get the position even though he never went to a Scholar Academy,” stated Keisuke. Sasuke groaned leaning his head against the door of the carriage.

“That kid is too smart for his own good.”

“Agreed.”

As the carriages approached the palace gate, Megumi, on the other hand, rubbed her ears with a puzzled look.

My ears feel like they’re burning.

Megumi shook her head and finally headed into her dorm room, where Kiku was indeed treating her three sick roommates. Kiku placed a wet towel over Reiji’s head before he noticed Megumi closing the door behind her.

“Do you need something, Megumi?” asked Kiku, not expecting to see Megumi.

“I just needed to inform you that you need to treat Lord Suha. His condition from the time of Pollen is getting worse.”

Kiku nodded and added, “I will go to him after I finish my treatment on the trainees.” Kiku wiped sweat from the brow.

“Over worked?” asked Megumi. Kiku nodded and suddenly perked up. He glanced at Megumi and held her shoulders making her flinch.

“I have a lot of patients throughout the palace to treat and my assistants are ill as well, so I need help.”

Megumi pointed at herself and asked, “You need my help?” Kiku nodded and added, “The antidote you made last month for Miroku was extraordinary and your treatment on your roommate when he got poison was also well done. I have no doubt in my mind that you can help me during this time.”

“But I have my duties to do.”

“No problem, I’ll let Lord Suha know that you are helping me and get you excused, so please, please help me.”

Megumi could see the desperation in Kiku’s face and nodded.

“I’ll help.”

“Thank you, Megumi.”

Kiku handed Megumi a slip of paper and the medicine and said, “I just need you to treat one person.”

“One person? That hardly helps you with your load,” stated Megumi puzzled.

“Believe me, you treating this person means the world to me.”

Megumi sighed nodding. She walked out of the room making sure to close the door behind her. She then opened the slip to see who she was treating. Megumi grew pale as she read the name on the paper: Yuki Ki. Megumi was about to run back into the room to refuse Kiku’s patient, until she remembered the desperation in Kiku’s face. Megumi groaned and walked down the hall looking for any Official to lead her to Yuki’s room.

Megumi had been in the palace for nearly three months, but she had no idea where Yuki’s room was located. Megumi suddenly saw a familiar person up ahead: Yosei Ai. Megumi waved her arms calling out to Yosei. Yosei smiled at Megumi when he spotted her.

“I see that the time of Pollen has no effect on you,” stated Yosei. Megumi nodded and then approached him. She bowed her head to Yosei and stated, “It’s been a long time Lord Yosei.” Yosei nodded.

“It has and I see that you are indeed growing more mature,” stated Yosei. Megumi lifted her head giving her thanks. Megumi then asked, “Do you know where Yu…I mean his majesty is staying?” Yosei raised an eyebrow at her.

“You mean the emperor’s chambers?”

Megumi nodded.

“Why would you want to go in there?”

Megumi frowned and stated, “Dr. Jima is overwhelmed, so I volunteered to help him. He told me to treat one patient: his majesty.” Yosei noticed Megumi’s displeased look and chuckled.

“You indeed have it hard, Megumi,” stated Yosei. Yosei pointed down the hall and said, “The emperor is down this hall to the left. His room will have the symbol of the eight immortals, you really can’t miss it.” Megumi nodded and gave her thanks before running down the hall.

Yosei watched her run off with a smile.

Even if it’s hard, I believe he will persevere in the end.

Megumi ran down the hall and then took a left. She was only able to take a few steps before she saw a double door with the seal of the eight immortals on the front. The seal was round and segmented into eight parts with a symbol of each of the immortals in each segment: Go, Eva, Eru, Jogo, Ryu, Suo, Shi, and Rei. This seal represented the symbol of Yulan and the person who held the seal was always the true ruler of Yulan.

Megumi had no doubt in her mind that this door led to Yuki’s bed chambers. Megumi held the handle of the two doors and took a deep breath in before pulling them open. The room was almost completely dark except for a single candle light. Megumi could smell lily incense in the air, which she knew was used to lessen the effect of the time of Pollen. Megumi managed to light a nearby candle and lifted it up to eye level. Using that small light, she found her way to the king sized bed in the corner of the room. Megumi glanced into the bed and saw Yuki moaning in his sleep. Megumi noticed the red in his cheeks and his shallow breathing.

He must be really suffering from the fever.

Megumi shook Yuki’s shoulder saying, “Yuki, I need you to wake up. Come on Yuki.” Yuki opened his eye a crack and glanced at Megumi. Yuki suddenly shot up from his bed sitting up making Megumi flinch back.

“Yuki?”

Yuki glanced at Megumi with a glazed look, but then that glazed look was filled with anger. He yanked out a sword from under his covers and swung it at Megumi. Megumi jumped back avoiding the sword.

“What the Hell Yuki?” yelled Megumi. Yuki was standing on his bed glaring at Megumi with his sword in hand.

“I won’t be deceived. You’re an assassin here to kill me!” yelled Yuki. He lunged at Megumi swinging his sword down. Megumi karate chopped his wrist forcing him to release his sword. He attempted to pick up his sword, but instead fell forward feeling dizzy. Megumi groaned glaring down at Yuki.

“Seriously Yuki, you really shouldn’t move so suddenly especially with a fever.”

Megumi bent down to pick him up, but to her surprise, Yuki grabbed her wrist and yanked her down. He went on top of her taking his sword into his hand.

“I won’t go down that easily,” stated Yuki, with glazed eyes. He brought the sword down, but Megumi redirected it forcing it into the floor next to her head. She brought her knee up kneeing Yuki in his stomach. Yuki gasped collapsing on top of her. Megumi shoved Yuki off groaning.

“Stupid Yuki,” muttered Megumi. Megumi suddenly heard Yuki getting up and prepared to fight, but gasped when she saw Yuki crying sitting up.

“Yuki?”

“Why are you so mean?”

“Mean?”

“I just wanted some shaved ice,” cried Yuki. Megumi groaned and said, “You never told me you wanted shaved ice and you were trying to kill me.” Yuki suddenly stopped crying and grinned at Megumi.

“My, my, it seems a delicate flower has been sent to me from the heavens.”

Megumi cringed at Yuki’s seductive stare.

“Say what now?”

Yuki went to Megumi placing his right index finger under her chin.

“Such wonderful eyes and delicate looking lips. I wonder if your lips will taste like strawberries.”

Yuki leaned toward her lips, but Megumi immediately punched him away with anger in her eyes. Yuki fell to the floor with reddened cheeks.

“Stupid, stupid Yuki!”

Yuki shot up to his feet chuckling.

“You are one challenging assassin,” stated Yuki. Yuki was swaying back and forth chuckling. Megumi cringed realizing now why Kiku didn’t want to treat Yuki.

Yuki becomes crazy during the time of Pollen.

Megumi clenched her fist and punched Yuki in the stomach making him gasp and pass out. Megumi caught Yuki sighing in relief.

“You really are troublesome.”

Megumi placed Yuki back in his bed making sure to place his sword as far away from the bed as possible. Megumi could feel Yuki’s fever rising and looked around the room. To her relief she saw a bowl of iced water next to the bed with two rags. She grabbed one of the rags and lifted his body up slightly, so she could wipe the sweat from his body. She then grabbed the second rag soaking it into the bowl of water. She strained the rag making sure to leak the water out and then placed it onto his forehead.

“An ice pack would be nice, but I shouldn’t leave you in this condition,” stated Megumi. Yuki suddenly moaned in his sleep making Megumi look at his face. Megumi pushed aside his long hair from his face and smiled.

“When you’re asleep like this, you look kind of adorable,” whispered Megumi. Yuki smiled in his sleep whispering, “Megumi.” Megumi frowned.

“Now only if you wouldn’t open your mouth,” whispered Megumi. Megumi suddenly remembered the medicine and pulled it from her pocket.

He needs to take this.

Megumi found a pot of tea on the far table and grabbed it. She poured the powdered medicine into the pot making sure to mix the medicine into the tea. When that was complete, she poured a cup and held it to Yuki. She made him sit up and held the tea to his lips.

“Come on, Yuki, you need to drink your medicine.”

Yuki moaned in his sleep turning away from the cup.

Megumi sighed and muttered, “Well it is hard to drink especially when you’re barely awake.” Megumi stared at Yuki and then into the tea cup of medicinal tea. Megumi sipped the tea into her mouth and then pressed her lips onto Yuki’s. Megumi forced the tea into his mouth. When the tea was all in Yuki’s mouth, Megumi removed her lips from Yuki’s with a sigh.

Megumi laid Yuki back down on his bed only to notice the bliss in his face. Megumi raised an eyebrow wondering what Yuki was dreaming about.

Yuki could feel his mind wandering as he slept. He found it hard to breathe making him feel miserable, but his misery disappeared when he saw Megumi standing before him with a bright smile. Yuki embraced her and leaned in to kiss her, but before their lips could connect, Yuki’s eyes opened.

Yuki could see the ceiling illuminated by the light of two candles. He sat up groaning. A wet rag slipped from his head making him raise an eyebrow. He picked up the rag wondering how it got there and that’s when he realized that it was the time of pollen.

“I guess Dr. Jima treated me in my sleep.”

Yuki suddenly heard footsteps and looked to his side. At the far table, he saw the object of his desire, Megumi, preparing what looked like shaved ice.

“Megumi?” stated Yuki in a hoarse voice. Megumi glanced at Yuki.

“Finally awake I see…and sane,” stated Megumi. Yuki nodded wondering what Megumi meant by sane. What confused him even more was why Megumi was in his chambers. Yuki looked around and asked, “Where is Dr. Jima?”

“Dr. Jima had other patients, so he asked me to care for you,” answered Megumi. Yuki was silent and then felt great gratification toward Kiku Jima that he was close to tears of happiness. Yuki snapped out of his thoughts when Megumi held a bowl of shaved ice to him.

“What is this for?” asked Yuki.

“Your throat is sore, so I made lemon honey shaved ice for you.”

Yuki took the bowl of shaved ice thanking Megumi. He took in a spoonful and felt the cold of the ice and tasted the sweetness of the honey and the flavor of the lemon. He swallowed the treat feeling no pain as it went down his throat.

“It’s delicious,” stated Yuki. Megumi sat in a chair next to his bed and stated, “I’m glad. Make sure to thank your servants for being close by. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have made the shaved ice.” Yuki nodded taking in another spoonful of the shaved ice. Yuki suddenly felt Megumi’s hand against his forehead making him fall still.

“Your fever has gone down at least,” stated Megumi. Yuki suddenly grew hot making Megumi gasp.

“Why did you grow hot?” demanded Megumi. Megumi looked at Yuki’s face and noticed that it was red, but he was smiling. Megumi groaned and whacked Yuki’s forehead slightly making him flinch.

“Seriously, don’t make your fever rise just because I’m near,” scolded Megumi. Yuki nodded, but there was redness still in his cheeks.

Yuki stared down at the bowl of shaved ice with a warm smile.

“I’m sorry that my fever rose, but you have no idea how happy I am to have you in my chambers,” whispered Yuki. Megumi scratched the back of her head.

“I can guess, I mean you have been making passes at me throughout my training.”

Yuki looked at Megumi with reddened cheeks placing the bowl of ice on the table next to him.

“Then you understand how much I love you, right?”

“Yuki…”

“I don’t want anyone, but you. I love you since I first saw you.”

Megumi shook her head placing a hand to her chest.

“I can’t be with you. I am a man and can’t bear you a child.”

“I’ll make an heir using one of my concubines, but I still want you,” stated Yuki with desperation behind his voice. Megumi shook her head.

“I’m sorry, but please give that heart to someone else.”

Megumi got up and added, “Get some sleep Yuki.” Megumi headed to the door, but Yuki suddenly bolted from the bed and hugged her from behind.

“Yuki?”

“Please stay longer, Megumi,” Yuki whispered in her left ear. Megumi turned to face him, but only met with his lips. Yuki kissed her deeply and managed to let loose her long black hair from the black ribbon. He ran his hand through her hair feeling the silkiness between his fingers.

The moment Yuki touched the back of her neck, however, Megumi snapped out of her initial shock and punched Yuki in the face sending him back into his bed. Yuki placed a hand to his cheek and glanced up at Megumi. Megumi was glaring daggers at Yuki.

“Go to SLEEP!” yelled Megumi and stormed out of the room. Yuki stared at the closed door touching his lips. He remembered the feel of Megumi’s lips and then hugged his form. At that moment all he wanted was to embrace Megumi.

Megumi stormed down the hall rubbing her lips with her right arm and muttering, “Stupid Yuki” repeatedly.

“I’m guessing something happened with the emperor?” asked a familiar voice. Megumi looked up and saw standing before her Bakura and Youko. Bakura was fanning himself with his red fan while Youko stared at Megumi with almost glazed eyes.

“When did you two get back?” asked Megumi, approaching them and momentarily forgetting the emperor. Bakura smiled and said, “About five hours ago.” Megumi glanced at Youko, who seemed to be in a daze, and asked, “Is Youko all right?” Bakura glanced at Youko shaking his head.

“He’s been like this since we returned,” stated Bakura.

“You should put him to bed then,” stated Megumi. Bakura chuckled shutting his fan. He pointed his fan at Megumi and stated, “He refused to rest until he sees you.”

“Me?”

Bakura nodded and added, “He’s missed you.” Youko suddenly sneezed and glanced at Megumi with reddened cheeks.

“I did want to see you, but I was planning on doing it when I got better, but Bakura wouldn’t let me rest until I saw you,” stated Youko. Bakura chuckled and added, “Well you wouldn’t get better until you see Megumi.” Youko groaned and suddenly fell to his knees coughing. Megumi gasped and kneeled to his level.

“We really need to get you to bed,” urged Megumi. She helped Youko to his feet and began to lead him down the hall. Bakura followed close behind grinning.

As they walked, Youko glanced at Megumi from the corner of his eye. Megumi’s very form seemed to sparkle in his eyes. Youko coughed turning away from Megumi.

When they reached the Blue Orchids room, Megumi handed Youko to Bakura and said, “Take Youko to bed, please.” Bakura raised an eyebrow and asked, “You don’t want to enter the room?” Megumi shook her head.

“Riku is in there. He has a great dislike toward me and that could make his illness worse,” stated Megumi. Bakura nodded in understanding taking Youko over his shoulder.

“Be safe now.”

Megumi nodded and walked away making sure to say her farewells.

Bakura led Youko into the room and set him into an empty bed next to Riku’s sleeping form. Bakura smiled placing the blanket over Youko’s form.

“Isn’t it nice that you got to see your angel before bed?” asked Bakura. Youko placed an arm over his eyes with reddened cheeks.

“Why was he born a man?” muttered Youko. Bakura chuckled and stated, “It’s just the way he was born.” Youko groaned rolling over to his side refusing to look Bakura in the eye.

Megumi walked down the hallway with no one in sight. She already knew that she was excused from her duties for the day, so she was ready to head back to her dorm room, but she suddenly saw a familiar face walking on the opposite walkway: Ichigo Goh. Megumi leaned on the railway and waved toward Ichigo calling his name.

Ichigo flinched looking in Megumi’s direction. He could feel his hair standing on end when he saw Megumi looking his way from the opposite hallway.

“So you finally returned as well,” called Megumi. Ichigo gulped averting his gaze from Megumi sniffling.

“That’s right.”

“You know, Sakuya came to the palace while you were gone.”

Ichigo perked up and asked, “Really, what for?”

“I didn’t get to speak with him long, but I heard that he is the new Official in charge of Go Province.”

Ichigo looked at Megumi this time saying, “Really?” Megumi nodded and suddenly smiled making Ichigo flinch.

“You looked at me this time,” cheered Megumi. Ichigo turned bright red before dashing down the walkway screaming, “Don’t look at me with that face!”

Megumi sighed seeing that Ichigo still couldn’t stand her.

Maybe I should start wearing a mask.

Megumi continued down the walkway, unaware that she was being watched from behind.

Sasuke clawed the pillar shaking in anger as he watched Megumi’s retreating back.

“You’ve got to be kidding me. That kid is not affected by the time of pollen,” stated Sasuke and then sneezed. Keisuke, who was standing behind Sasuke, sneezed too before groaning.

“Does that kid have a weakness at all?” muttered Keisuke. Sasuke gritted his teeth feeling at that moment that he just wanted to see Megumi sneeze to quench his rising anger.

At that exact same moment, Suiji Yan had returned to his old dorm room only to see Genba Tendo and Rumiko Hashihara already in the room unpacking their things.

“Made it back here before me, I see,” stated Suiji. Suiji sneezed and then rubbed his nose. Rumiko handed Suiji a handkerchief and said, “Use this instead of your arm.” Suiji nodded blowing his nose into the handkerchief.

“Don’t you need this too?” asked Suiji. Rumiko shook his head.

“The time of Pollen has no effect on me,” stated Rumiko. Suiji smirked and said, “Lucky you.” Suiji glanced at Genba and noticed that he didn’t have the symptoms of the time of pollen as well.

“I’m guessing Genba is the same?” asked Suiji. Genba nodded and then glanced at Ryouga, who was sleeping on his bed sniffling.

“Ryouga seems to be just as sick as you, so you shouldn’t feel left out,” stated Genba. Suiji groaned and muttered, “I’m not feeling left out.” Suiji sat on his bed looked at Genba and Rumiko.

“So how was the training in Eru Province?” asked Suiji.

Rumiko smiled as he placed his bag under his bed.

“It was interesting. Lord Kogoro allowed Genba and I to look over Eru Province’s finances and gave us a tour of the corn and rice fields. The Official in charge of Eru Province, Lord Nero, was also very kind to us.”

Genba nodded in agreement and added, “Lord Nero was also insisting that Rumiko marry his only daughter, Fumiko.” Suiji chuckled and then coughed clearing his throat.

“That’s quite an offer, Rumiko,” stated Suiji. Rumiko nodded and then groaned.

“Lord Nero wanted her to marry me, but she insisted that she didn’t want the Sanbing and wanted the Diyuan.”

Suiji frowned and muttered, “Megumi Yoh.” Rumiko nodded and added, “Apparently Lord Nero’s been sending marriage proposals to Megumi for two months, but they were always rejected.”

Suiji scoffed and stated, “Megumi can have any Official’s daughter with his rank, but he keeps rejecting proposals. If he keeps this up, he’s going to be hated.”

Genba suddenly looked at them and stated, “I bet he’s rejecting proposals because he already has a woman.”

“Seriously?” Rumiko and Suiji said in unison. Genba nodded placing a hand under his chin in thought.

“I remember seeing him pocketing one of the letters last month before I went to do my duty. He looked at that letter with such a happy expression and red cheeks. That letter could be from a girl he likes.”

Rumiko shrugged with a smirk.

“It must have been your imagination, Genba,” stated Rumiko. Suiji nodded in agreement and added, “The day Megumi falls in love with a girl will be the day the world freezes over.” Genba frowned turning away from them.

“I assure you that my sight is just fine,” stated Genba and then headed to his bed.

Suiji sneezed making Rumiko look back at him.

“Go to bed already, Suiji.”

Suiji nodded lying back on his bed. Suiji glanced at Rumiko and asked, “If Fumiko didn’t insist having the Diyuan would you have accepted the proposal?” Rumiko shook his head.

“Why?”

“Just like any other man, I want to marry the woman I love.”

Suiji smiled and said, “The same as me.”

Meanwhile, Megumi entered her dorm room only to see Lee in the room placing a wet cloth over Boshi’s forehead.

“How did you get in here?” asked Megumi looking at Lee. Lee smirked as he revealed a duplicate key dangling from his right middle finger.

“You know that you’re going to get in trouble right?” pointed out Megumi. Lee scoffed gripping the duplicate in his hand.

“Boshi was the one who let me borrow a key and I took that time to make a duplicate. I worked hard on this copy, so I can visit Boshi anytime I want, so if I get in trouble so be it.”

Megumi rolled her eyes heading to her bed. She sat on her bed listening to the calm breathing of Sora and Reiji and the loud snore of Boshi. She looked at Lee and asked, “So is Boshi getting any better?”

“He’s snoring, so he must be getting better,” stated Lee with a chuckle. Megumi rubbed her ears and stated, “His loud snoring takes getting used to.” Lee nodded and added, “His snoring was a lot worse when he was a kid. This is actually an improvement.” Megumi chuckled crossing her legs on her bed.

“I sometimes find it hard to believe that Boshi is the older one between you two,” stated Megumi. Lee chuckled with a smile.

“Like I told you, I’m the mature one.”

Lee’s smile seemed to grow warm as he added, “Boshi wouldn’t be as entertaining if he was the mature one.” Lee suddenly glanced at Megumi making her slightly flinch.

“You know, Boshi told me that when he was poisoned he saw our mother across a river.”

“Boshi told us about that too,” stated Megumi. Lee nodded looking back at Boshi.

“When our mother died, Boshi took it the hardest. He didn’t want to leave mother’s side and when she was cremated, he didn’t want to separate from her ashes and refused to eat. I know it was Boshi’s way of coping, but I was worried that he was going to die too, so I did the only thing I could think of.”

Megumi leaned forward on the bed and asked, “What did you do?”

“I released mother’s ashes into the woods of Jogo Province. Boshi cried his eyes out, but he got better afterwards. It was after that that I learned I had to be the mature one especially when he gets sick like this.”

Megumi glanced at Boshi’s sleeping form and then back at Lee.

“Do you regret what you did?”

Lee shook his head and added, “It was for the best.” Boshi suddenly groaned making Lee flinch and look at his brother. Boshi opened his eye a crack and smiled when he saw Lee in his line of sight.

“Coming to visit again?” asked Boshi. Lee nodded and poked Boshi’s nose.

“I have to check on you,” stated Lee. Boshi chuckled and then noticed Megumi looking at him from her bed.

“Aren’t you supposed to be working?” asked Boshi focusing on Megumi. Megumi smiled and said, “I was excused from my duties by Dr. Jima.” Boshi smirked.

“Lucky you.”

Megumi shook her head with a troubled look.

“I was only excused because Dr. Jima wanted me to watch over the emperor.”

“Did something happen?” asked Boshi and Lee at the same time. Megumi remembered Yuki’s crazy state and groaned.

“Let’s just say that the next time Yuki’s sick, I won’t be available,” stated Megumi with an annoyed look. Boshi and Lee looked at each other and then chuckled.

Boshi then pointed at Megumi and asked, “Why is your hair down?” Megumi flinched and reached to her long hair. She ran her fingers through her hair and remembered Yuki’s kiss. Megumi’s expression changed from annoyed to anger making Boshi and Lee flinch. From their point of view, Megumi took the form of a demon.

Lee stood up and headed for the door saying, “I’ll see you again tomorrow, Boshi.” Boshi reached out toward Lee begging him not to leave him alone.

When Lee was gone, Boshi glanced at Megumi noticing that her anger hadn’t subsided. He covered his face with his blanket with an uneasy look not wanting to know the object of Megumi’s anger.

Back in Yuki’s room, Yuki lay on his bed staring at Megumi’s black ribbon that he managed to obtain. He kissed the edge of the ribbon not caring that his fever was beginning to rise.

Megumi, I love you.

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