SP: Chapter 72. Tending the Wounded

I wanna feel your touch
It’s burning me like an ember
Pretending is not enough
I wanna feel us together

So I’m giving in
So I’m giving in
To the trouble I’m in

You are you are, my favorite medicine
You are you are, you’re where the edge began
You are you are, just one last time again

You are you are, you are the trouble I’m in
You are the trouble I’m in
You are the trouble I’m in

—Trouble I’m In, Twinbed (2014) from the soundtrack of the Chinese series: Addicted (2016); modified for simplicity.

 

Kato entered the room to see Takahashi looking out the window with his back turned to Kato. Takahashi stood there in his boxers and a large bandage pad with a bandage wrap wound about him to keep it in place. Kato’s eyes stung a bit. He put down his stuff and approached Takahashi from behind.

Takahashi didn’t turn but instead softly spoke, “Ren, please help me remove these bandages.” Then he began undoing a knot in front of him, pulling the end of the bandage wrap loose and handing it to Kato. The two of them continued to pass back and forth the end of the wrap as they rewound the end up into a ball. As the last turn was reached, Kato gently peeled the giant pad from Takahashi’s back, causing him to arch his back and hiss in pain.

Kato was stunned. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12. He mentally counted the newly twelve distinct bruises on Takahashi’s back. A couple tears rolled down Kato’s cheeks and he quickly stifled a sniffle.

“There is some ointment on the desk, please apply it for me. It will hurt like fuck so please be super gentle.”

Kato reached over to the desk and picked up the ointment jar. He looked again at the bruises. When he was a child, if he was injured, his mother always “kissed his boo-boo*” before she applied any cream or ointment. It always made him feel better. He’s not really sure what made him do it, but he got really close to Takahashi’s back, leaned in, and applied a gentle kiss to the top bruise on Takahashi’s back. This caused a wave of goosebumps to roll across Takahashi’s back, but he made no sound. Kato dipped his finger in the jar and applied a thin layer of ointment across the length of the bruise. Takahashi hissed a little as he breathed through his gritted teeth.

[* boo-boo is slang used with small children or infants to describe a wound, like owie or ouchie.]

And so it went. Kato would kiss a bruise, apply ointment, all the way down Takahashi’s back, swapping back and forth between goosebumps from the kisses and hissing from the ointment applications. After he finished, he placed the ointment jar on the table and Takahashi turned around.

“Thank you,” Takahashi said, practically choking on the words. Kato wasn’t sure if it was thanks for the kisses or the ointment.

Kato looked up into Takahashi’s eyes and saw a glint of the pain he must be suffering. He felt really guilty and spoke up, “You shouldn’t thank me. This was all my fault. If I hadn’t been late, this wouldn’t have happened to you.” A solitary tear rolled down Kato’s face.

Takahashi replied, “I didn’t see you at breakfast, so I squirreled away two croissant sandwiches for you. When I arrived at the classroom, everyone else was there but you, so I left and hid around the corner waiting for you to show up.”

Kato now felt even more guilty after hearing that and lashed out, “You idiot! You were already there on time and you left? Why did you do that!?” The tears started flowing again in earnest.

Takahashi reached out with both hands and cupped Kato’s face, wiping the tears away with his thumbs. He looked into Kato’s eyes and softly spoke, “I was protecting my uke. You are my special property.” With that he pulled Kato close and gently kissed him on the lips.

Suddenly, something quite like lightning passed through Kato’s lips, passing through his chest, catching his heart on fire. It was his first kiss. The lightning spread to all of his extremities and then reverberated back to his heart which was now burning brightly.

Kato finally understood it all: the intense warm and fuzzy feelings he had for Takahashi, the longing, the cravings, the sickness, it all finally clicked. The only word he could think of to describe it all was “Love.”


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3 thoughts on “SP: Chapter 72. Tending the Wounded

  1. Jeongipoom Deer

    Oops, got so caught up in the chapter that I forgot to comment how much the song in the epigraph is appropriate. That song and scene in Addicted is also one of my all time favorite moments in a show. It’s so pure where Bai Luoyin finally synthesizes his mind, heart, and body.

    Liked by 1 person

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