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manga - hmm? to side

chemistryisfun in ghostsugar_rp

Caught Red-Handed [closed to Sumire]

It was a peaceful Friday afternoon, second week of school and there wasn't a peep in the long hallway of B building's ground floor. The shadows were growing longer as seventh period neared an end. Outside the windows the cherry blossoms had exploded into full bloom, scenting the breeze with delicate perfume. A lone bush warbler was still singing to pass the time in the hedges outside, as students studied away quietly inside. Yuzuya wished with all his heart that he could leave this day still and sweet and pretty as a picture, let it end unspoiled. But that wasn't really an option at this point.

He swept through the door of the school nurse's room, clutching his right arm over his head in a paper towel. "Sensei?" he called softly, as if afraid of raising his voice here. "Murakami-sensei?"
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Sumire came out from behind the curtain that hid her medicine closet from view. Her day had been summarily boring, there wasn't so much as a paper cut today, so she'd spent the afternoon cleaning her supply closet and re-arranging the bandages for easier access. "Yes, what is-- Oh, Shibata-sensei!" She really shouldn't have been surprised; a week without Shibata Yuzuya managing to injure himself would be a miracle in and of itself. Still, he looked whiter than some of Kikuryou's ghosts.

The nurse went to work, immediately, pulling out the big kit that held various Shibata-specific instruments in it. "What happened to you?" she asked, keeping her tone patient and calm while pulling out antiseptics and iodine swabs, a pair of tweezers, and gauze. It would be important to keep him talking, because all that red seeping through the paper towel was alarming. Sumire motioned for Yuzuya to sit down, while she prepared to treat him.
"I-I was just setting up for class tomorrow," Yuzuya explained, meek. "I don't really know what I did, it all kind of ha-happened too fast." He swallowed and tried to hold his hand tighter above his head. The growing ache in his arms was making it a battle.

"Um. I cut my hand and it's bleeding," he explained to her, as if it weren't completely obvious. Then he dropped his gaze to the floor. "I thought it was best to come s-see you. I'm really sorry, sensei," he said quietly. "I know you're busy."
"No, it's fine," Sumire soothed, pulling away the paper towel and depositing it in a biohazard bag. She put his hand in a shallow basin and cleaned away the blood with a saline solution.

"That's what I'm here for," she added, assessing the wound and pulling out glass carefully with the tweezers as they presented themselves. "What did you do today? Tell me what you had for lunch," she asked, as she worked, lifting her eyes to check and make sure he hadn't passed out.
"I um, today? I taught. O-of course," Yuzuya added, unable to watch as she worked. His shoulder muscles twitched as a particularly large bit was removed, and he bit the inside of his lip to remain still. "I was explaining suspensions. Um, and actually that's what I had for lunch. Cup-o-Noodles, that's a suspension too..." he trailed off, unsure what else to say. "Um."

Her hands were moving carefully and quickly. Yuzuya could see them in the blurry bit of his peripheral vision not covered by his glasses. Murakami Sumire had very white, graceful hands. It was probably the first thing he'd noticed about her.

He fell quiet. Outside the window a bush warbler trilled.
Seemingly satisfied, Sumire continued to pull glass out. There seemed to be so much. Sumire smiled at him to help keep him calm and looked down at his hand, fishing the last piece of the glass she could see out. "Do you feel anything in your hand, still? Or have I gotten it all?"
Yuzuya flexed his fingers slowly when directed. "I, I think there might be a tiny bit in there," he managed, pointing at his pinky with his left hand. "I don't think it's big, but I kind of feel it. It's sharp. Ow."

Sumire raised her eyebrow at his somewhat weak explanation and straightened his pinky, holding open the wounds with her fingers and peering inside. When her minor myopia managed to thwart her, she pulled her reading glasses down from the top of her head and looked again. A noise of triumph escaped from her lips when she found the glass piece and pulled it out with a final, tiny plink into the bloodied saline.

"There. Now for the not-fun part," she murmured and began to bandage his hand. "You really shouldn't eat just a cup of noodles for lunch, Shibata-sensei," she chided as she carefully applied pressure to the bandages.
"I was under the impression that the first part hadn't been much fun," Yuzu murmured, wry. He flinched as she pressed down on the cut. Ouch. "If I was supposed to be having fun, maybe we should go back and do it again?"

When she leaned close he shifted, leaning back slightly to maintain proper distance between them. He ignored her comment about his lunch, as usual. She always said weird little things like that. Don't eat this, don't smoke that. Part of her job, he guessed.
"Well, if you're up to witty repartee with me, you must be feeling better," she replied. "So, can you tell me how exactly this happened? You weren't very clear before, sensei." Sumire ducked her head apologetically, but her tone remained firm. Sumire wondered what it would take to get some vegetables down Shibata's throat that weren't re-hydrated or high in sodium. His gallbladder had to be taking a beating.
Yuzuya rubbed the back of his neck with his good hand. "I didn't think that was particularly witty," he explained as if apologizing. His cheeks flushed a little and he looked to the window. "I was just t-telling the truth."

Sumire was putting something on the cut on his pinky that stung like a mother. He braced himself against it. What kind of pussy was he if he couldn't take some simple first aid without whining? "Well... I was setting up for tomorrow in the lab. There's a beaker of water and it boils and the steam heats a suspension and it is supposed to separate-- well, I, I'm sure that's kind of boring, to you, so never mind..." Yuzuya winced as she applied pressure at a place that hurt.

"A-a-anyway, there was a noise behind me. I looked and there was a book falling from the shelf by the window, where I keep the ones for the kids to borrow. It kind of flew... well, I should say fell... through the air. Then another and another. It looked kind of like dominoes." Yuzu blinked rapidly, remembering his surprise. His heart had pounded like a rabbit's, and his skin had crawled.

"Then the bunsen burner m-must have malfunctioned, I think, the heat went on high." Here Yuzuya paused to take a long breath. "Then the beaker I was holding cracked and before I knew it, it had kind of... It just b-broke in my hand."

His eyes were fixed on his feet in shame. The stupidest things happened to him, honestly.
"I told you that room was unlucky," she replied with a gentle wag of her finger. She'd been unwilling to step into the science lab since she was 15. "But you don't ever believe me." Sumire had heard rumors as a student, and there had even been a (hastily covered up) suicide in the room once. Sumire didn't know why they just didn't take her very good advice and seal up the room. It was probably because Lab 3 was the best lab room, she decided. Ono was stingy where her grandfather wouldn't have been. Shibata-sensei was just the unlucky guy that had been stuck with the room.

But then, her grandfather probably saw it as a rite of passage. Sumire sighed to herself and finished wrapping up his wound. "Keep this dry and clean, and if anything happens to it, you have Ren-chan--I mean, Ito-sensei take you to the emergency room." Her voice brooked no argument when it came to her Clear and Direct Orders. "Understand?" He wasn't very good at following her Orders, either. She looked up at him to make her point.
He smiled gently and just this side of patronzingly at the school nurse's superstitions. "I don't think it's that the room is 'unlucky,'" he told her. "It's just me, try as I might I always screw things up." He looked down at the bandages on his hand, flexed his fingers lightly. "I'm starting to wonder if I have a knack for it," he tried to joke.

A light breeze stirred the cherry trees outside the window. Yuzu watched the flowery boughs sway in the wind. "I think that the trees are blooming earlier this year," he remarked, offhand.
"Don't change the subject," she replied. "You're an excellent teacher, from what the students say about you." And the science lab was unlucky. He just didn't know how unlucky. If Sumire was a less superstitious person, she might have agreed, but the rookie teacher was just too nice.

Obviously, there was something wrong with the room. Onitsuka had troubles with it, and that was before his hair went totally white one day. Now that she thought about it, she wondered what had happened to the science teacher from her rookie year. Her grandfather had said he'd suffered a nervous breakdown, other people said that he'd been haunted by a ghost, and still more believed he quit and went to join a different school. "You're far too hard on yourself, Sensei," Sumire added, and had the distinct feeling of a pot calling a kettle black. She started to put away the bandages and things, and pulled a shoulder sling from her Shibata-Specific Case.

"Here, put your arm in this."
Yuzuya's eyebrows shot up, knitted in the middle. He stared at the sling in Sumire hands. "Wh-wh-what? No! That's silly," he objected. He stood and backed away from her, waving his good hand. "I'm not wearing that!"
"Yes, yes you are." Sumire set her jaw stubbornly, and the resemblance between herself and the principal was strong. "You need to keep it up so the bleeding slows. Please don't be difficult about this, Shibata-sensei." Sumire was not adverse to using her charms, and let her lip pout, ever so much in disappointment. "I care about sensei's health."
Yuzuya winced visibly at Murakami-sensei's girlish pout and backed up a few more steps, desperate not to look at the eyes she was giving him. He tripped over a small tray table, stumbled, and caught it just in time to prevent the jar of cotton balls on top from spilling everywhere.

"No," he protested-- despite a twist in his stomach that said he should just do whatever she said when that lip came out. "T-think of this reasonably, sensei, that won't help. You're supposed to elevate things above the heart to slow bleeding. A sling would just hold my arm at my side, so it won't be any good." Yuzu stepped behind the little tray table, as if counting on the jars of cotton, gauze, and Anpanman band-aids for defense against the pretty school nurse and her sling.
"And you can't hold your arm above your head indefinitely," she pointed out, "and we can adjust it to hold your arm up at the proper level." Besides, it wasn't as though his ribs were far above his heart. She demonstrated on herself, just to prove to him. "So please stop fussing, you're upsetting my tray of bandaids."
"But Murakami-sensei," Yuzu countered, circling around to get behind the chair he'd been sitting in. As Sumire advanced toward him, he wheeled the chair between them defensively. "If, if I go around with that on Ono and Sakai-- everyone's going to make comments about it. I'm already considered incompetent and bungling enough as it is. I need to keep this discreet." He grasped the back of the chair, as if it might help him shield himself somehow. "Think about it from my perspective, please. Bandages are a lot easier to hide."

"Please," he added beseechingly. He inclined his head and held out his hands to her, palms pressed together (despite the sting that caused). "I'm begging you. I appeal to your human compassion for spastic rookie teachers."
Well, damn, he'd gotten her there. Shibata didn't need to be in any more trouble - though she personally felt Sakai and Ono were tiptoeing at harassment. But what about his health, Sumire? she asked herself. "But if they see those bandages, aren't they just going to make the same comments?" Slightly irritated, Sumire leaned back against her desk and put down the sling. If he was going to be this way, it would be impossible to get him into it unless she made someone hold him still so she could adjust everything.

Really, she needed to have a harder heart, Sumire decided. She was being too softhearted. "Fine, fine. Find a way to keep your hand above your heart, and for the love of God, keep away from beakers for a day or two." Her lips thinned into a disapproving line, and she crossed her arms under her breasts.
How in the hell was he supposed to stay away from beakers? He was a science teacher, for crying out loud. But he couldn't say that to her, could he? Yuzuya tipped his head to the side, his brows furrowed in thought. "I, I felt that just-bandages is less noticeable, with long sleeves," he explained weakly. "I didn't mean to... I just, I don't want them to think..." He trailed off, uncomfortable. The irritated look on Murakami-sensei's face was driving arrows through his chest.

Sure, he'd made a resolution to stick to his guns and assert himself a bit more this new school year. But he'd been foolish to think that he'd be able to keep that up even in this room.

"Well... H-how about a compromise," Yuzu suggested, straightening and stepping around the chair to approach her. He put out his hand for the sling. "I'll wear it a-after I get off of work? It's only a few more hours. And then all weekend." He lifted his eyes to hers, with a shy smile. "Would that make it better?"
Sumire's frown deepened as she considered it, and it made her feel bad - guilty, even - when Yuzuya seemed to shrink in return. "It won't make it better but it will have to do," she sighed and handed him the utilitarian, navy blue sling. "Especially because I will have Ren giving me reports." Whether the Home Economics teacher wanted to or not. But since they were in the same building, and Sumire was sure they hung out together more than Ren hinted.

She looked over his hand again, "Don't get those bandages wet, please." It was her responsibility to keep the whole school healthy, from the Principal to the maintenance man, to the smallest first-year. There was pride on the line!
Hearing this decision from her, Yuzu's face broke into a timid smile. "Thank you very much, Sensei." He ducked his head to her twice in gratitude and backed away, sling in hand. "I really appreciate it." Yuzuya looked around the room, wondering what to say next. "I, I um. Please excuse me, then," he managed, and turned to make his way to the door.

Halfway there he realized something alarming and turned around. "Wa-wait, if I can't get the bandages wet," he asked, pointing at his now-doctored up right hand, "How am I supposed to shower?"
"One handed," Sumire replied primly, as though it was the most obvious answer in the world. "If anything, I'm sure Ren-chan will be happy to help you." Even as she said it, the nurse watched Yuzuya turn an interesting shade of red. "It will only be until Sunday, and then I think you can switch to smaller bandages." She smiled.
Yuzu's eyes practically bugged out. "No thank you," he declined sharply. He had a budding friendship with Ren, and that certainly did not include spongebaths.

"How would it be if I taped a baggie around it?" He mulled this idea over, looking down at his hand. "That might hurt coming off." What kind of tape would be best? Packing tape? That was wide and sticky, sealed well but would probably be rough on the skin. Electrician's tape would be more gentle coming back off... He'd have to shave the little hairs around his wrist if he wanted to use this plan. Which would look weird. Not that there was anyone who'd notice, though. "I wonder if latex gloves, maybe with a rubber band around the wrist..."

This was a problem that required some thought. He'd have to try this out, of course with the left hand in case the baggie or glove leaked. Which one would prove more watertight? And would he still be able to use soap with his waterproofed right hand? Soaping with the left hand might be hard to do. He frowned, going over the details in his head.
"Or you could just keep your hand in a dry place. In nursing school, we used a plastic bag, it should help with you. Just use a rubber band," Sumire suggested. Her heeled toes bumped against the wheel of a rolling chair, as she considered how he would be able to keep it from getting wet. But it already looked as though he were tackling the problem, and some little part of her wondered if leaving him to this would have Ren knocking at the door in the middle of the night, intent on stealing her bed.

"But try using whatever is feasible at the moment, sensei. If the bandages get wet, you can call me, and I'll fix them for you." It wasn't such a bad idea, really, and it would get her out of the house if she thought of herself as "on-call."
At this Yuzu's face darkened with embarrassment. "Oh no, I, I couldn't b-b-b-bo-disturb you any more than I already do here," he objected, staggering back. "Well. I appreciate your help, sensei, thank you. I have to go," he blurted out. He turned and hustled to the door, trying to keep his walk cool and confident.

Yuzuya made it successfully all the way to the door, when he turned to look at her over his shoulder one last time. "Thanks again," he said, offering Sumire a gentle smile. Then as he took another step without looking, he walked smack into the doorframe with a resounding thud.

Sumire gasped, but he covered the side of his face that had bashed against the doorjamb and waved a hand. "I'm okay," he assured her before she could say anything. Yuzuya couldn't bear to turn around. Humiliated, he rushed out the door and took off down the hall at a blistering speed.

"Shibata!" Sumire could hear a male teacher bellow out from some distance. "No running in the halls!"
The nurse sat down on her stool and reflected for a moment. A whole year since he'd been here and Shibata hadn't changed very much. It was a shame, really. If the ghost in that science lab chased him out, Sumire would be very unhappy. Ren too. Kikuryou was being ruled by the Old People, with Ono, not her grandfather, leading the charge. With debilitating rules and insane requirements, to boot. She ticked off the names of the youngest teachers in her head. Herself, Ren, Shibata, Kramer-san... Not that many, all things considered.

Well, they just had to set this school aright, was all. Sumire nodded to herself, dusted off her immaculate black skirt and stood. The day might be over, but she still had so much to do!