Well, I certainly did not expect the sudden increase in views of this au fic series. But I am very happy! Thank you thank you and welcome welcome! I hope you enjoy what I have to offer!
So let’s get to it! More Nagizuru for the world to enjoy!
And yes, part of this chapter was inspired by @rufus-in-space’s tag on @valictini‘s recent post. And @karugoround‘s art of it. I had to.
Finally, the day had come. At long last. Hajime had gotten permission from his superiors to move Izuru Kamukura back into his bedroom. He saw that message and practically leapt out of his chair. This was fantastic news. Izuru could leave the solitary confinement chamber.
It was a little after breakfast when he got this notification. He was glad about this, as it meant he could get straight to the point instead of needing to complete certain tasks first. So with some extra energy fueling his gait, he walked over to the elevator.
He was a single floor below Izuru’s floor. It was convenient for his job, as he could easily travel to his charge’s rooms. The possibility of being able to attend to Izuru’s needs swiftly was a reason for this. His superiors at least considered that when placing Hajime’s room on the floor below. On the floor with everything necessary for Izuru’s daily needs, such as food and clean linens.
So it didn’t take long for him to arrive at the door, scanning his card and entering. “Forgive my intrusion. I have good news, sir.”
The pale man slowly rose from his bed, smile ever present. “Oh? Pray tell, what could it be?”
Hajime beamed as he answered. “The scientists think it has been a sufficient amount of time from the last disaster. You can go back to your nice room. We can go now if you want.”
Izuru hummed, his own smile widening a bit. “I shall be able to gaze out the window once more. That is most excellent news. Very well, let us be off.”
Then nothing. Izuru simply sat there with his smile, making no move to stand. This greatly confused Hajime. “Um… sir? Is… something wrong?”
The experiment’s head tilted, as if the answer was obvious. “I have been injected with sedatives recently. I have little strength. I don’t believe myself to be capable of transporting myself to my room. So now, my dear caretaker, what will you do?”
Hajime stood there in shock. He wasn’t… suggesting what he thought he was, was he? To carry him? But the longer he thought about it, the more certain he was that it was correct. And it made his face flush deep red.
But he had a job to do. And he was determined to do it the best he could. So if Izuru needed to be carried, he would do it. He could do this. He needed to.
Repeating that in his mind, he walked over to the bed. “I understand. I shall help you get there.” He turned so that he was kneeling with his back to Izuru. “Climb on. I’ll get you there.”
He could practically feel the intense gaze on his back while he waited. But he dare not move, waiting patiently for what came next. His only warning was the soft rustling of the sheet, then the thin, light body of the Ultimate Hope positioning himself on his back. “My, my. You certainly are perceptive. And quite willing. Excellent traits to have for one in your position.”
Hajime stood back up, arms keeping a tight, but gentle grip on the thin legs. He felt the long arms drape over his shoulders, one hand grabbing his chain. “So strong. So capable. The doctors don’t realize how lucky they are with hiring you.” Then Izuru leaned in close, his warm breaths landing on the back of Hajime’s neck. “But I do.”
Those three words sent a shiver down his spine. He was so close. And with this position, there was practically nothing Hajime could do to change the distance. Izuru had trapped him. He was fully under the experiment’s control.
Fighting the storm of feelings, he took a step to test his mobility. And it proved to be quite easy. Izuru was extremely light, most likely from the minimal amount of food he was provided and all the sedatives. But that wasn’t something to focus on now. He had a location to get to.
That’s what fueled him to begin moving, walking carefully to not jostle his passenger. They exited the room, the door sliding shut behind them. He found himself commenting aloud, “I hope that you won’t have to go back to that room for a long time. I can’t imagine spending that much time in there with nothing to do. I feel like it would drive me crazy.”
A humorless chuckle arose from the one he was carrying. “A nice sentiment. A kind one. If only your hope was possible. Man takes great lengths to protect themselves from a perceived threat. The staff here are perfect examples of this.” The chain was gripped harder, tugging it so it was pulled taut. “And who’s to say that we aren’t already in Wonderland? That we aren’t already mad? Delusioned with fantasies of what is impossible?”
The brunette was grateful that the collar was a fixed shape and didn’t restrict his breathing when pulled like this. But even still, he found himself stuttering. “F-fantasies?”
“Yes, Hajime. Even I have fantasies. And what of yours?”
The brunette nervously swallowed. “I… think we should get you to your room.”
“A not-so-subtle attempt to change the subject? Could it be that this is territory you are not comfortable sharing? Hmmm?” The grip loosened, chain slipping from the pale hand. “Very well. I shall let it go for now.” The arms then tightly wrapped around his chest, the warm breath now on the shell of his ear. “Hurry on then, my dear caretaker. So that I may have you all to myself in our own little world.”
Every section of Hajime’s face turned red. How was he supposed to function after being told that? It actually made him pause in his tracks, too stunned to move. He stood there frozen, with the Ultimate Hope on his back.
That was, until a finger poked his chest. “As curious as I am to know exactly how long it would have taken for you to recover from this, I would prefer to be on my bed. So proceed, Hajime.”
That helped him begin moving again, wishing to fulfill Izuru’s desire right away. No more was said throughout the rest of the journey, to Hajime’s slight relief. He scanned his card on the reader, the device beeping and opening the door for him.
The second he looked into the room, he felt his annoyance levels rise. “They didn’t keep the room clean. Of course they didn’t.” There was dust everywhere and it was obvious that the laundry hadn’t been done at all either. He would have to do it all and do it now.
He pulled off the top cover on the bed and tossed it onto the floor before carefully setting Izuru down onto the mattress, tugging the remaining sheets to cover his legs. “I apologize for the state of your room. I’ll begin cleaning straight away. And I’ll bring you a clean comforter, towels, and robes.”
He didn’t wait for an answer, quickly gathering the top cover and the laundry hamper and hurrying out the door. He rushed over to the elevator, calling it and impatiently waiting for it to arrive. Internally, he was still irritated at the other staff. They couldn’t step away from their offices for ten minutes to straighten things up? Of course not. They are simply all above that kind of work. Too important to even think of assisting in this way.
He could have gone on much longer, but the elevator dinged and the doors opened. Thankfully the elevators were quick so he was on the next floor in no time. And so he got to work. He pulled out his own laundry from the machine and placed the more important articles in, starting the machine. He was grateful that it was a washer and dryer combo, as he wouldn’t have to come back to change machines. He set the settings and nodded with satisfaction once it began. He then busied himself with gathering cleaning supplies and putting them on a cart. Once everything was there, he returned to Izuru’s room.
“I have all I need now. I shall begin cleaning,” he announced as he pulled the cart through the door. Izuru had not moved at all save for a head turn. He wasn’t sure if he was relieved or worried about this.
“I see. Take your time. It wouldn’t do if you left any spot unfinished,” the white haired man said calmly, red eyes fixed on his caretaker. It was clear what he had chosen to observe for the time being. He was more interesting to the Ultimate Hope than his window looking outside. Something that made his heart pick up the pace.
But he couldn’t focus on that right now. He needed to clean. So after grabbing his broom, that is what he began to do. There was so much dust and long strands of white hair. Even a few spiders had crawled their way in through the window and had made webs. But none stood a chance against Hajime’s broom. It swept over the floor, gathering it all into a nice pile.
At one point, he knelt by the bed and swept underneath. And as he predicted, several hidden clumps flew out and into sight. He stood back up and walked over to them, fully intending to sweep them all into his pile.
But he had to pause. His working eye had landed on the largest of the dust bunnies. It was so white and looked fluffy, with random tufts sticking out every which way. It kinda looked like…
Glancing back over his shoulder, he saw Izuru laying under his sheets with his smile. With his fluffy looking white hair. With tufts sticking out.
He turned back quickly and snorted with laughter. It was too perfect. He wouldn’t have been able to stop it in any way. But right after the glee had ended, he felt a sense of dread. Would Izuru be offended that he laughed?
“Your mood increased in positivity just now. Why is that?”
The question made him even more worried. Clearly, his snort has been heard. Should he explain himself? Maybe Izuru would understand somehow. So that’s what he decided to do. “Um… the dust bunny reminded me of something. And I… uh… found it funny.”
The red eyes glanced down to see the dust bunny. “Ah, I understand. You were comparing it to my hair. That is certainly amusing.” A few breathy and soft laughs emerged from the eternal smile.
Hajime was stunned. Did Izuru… also find it amusing? Or was he simply imitating laughter and amusement? He couldn’t tell. But he didn’t really care all that much to figure out which it was. He was getting a ticket out, and he fully intended to take it. “Anyways, I’ll continue. Apologies for the brief interruption.”
“Continue as you were,” Izuru said, leaning back against his pillows and closing his eyes. He must have been tired from the drugs in his system. It was best that Hajime finished quickly to give him some peace and quiet.
And so he did, cleaning both the bedroom and the bathroom with speed. And he made sure everything was perfect. Not a speck of dust was visible anymore. It was all tidy once again.
All he had left to do was grab the laundry and return it. Which wouldn’t take very long. So he pushed his cart to the elevator, taking it down and putting his supplies away. The load was complete by the time everything was back in place. Excellent.
Grabbing the still warm clean load, he once again rode the elevator to his destination, scanning his card to allow entry. Izuru opened his eyes to observe him, but not moving otherwise.
“Here, I’ll put the comforter on now. It’s still warm so it should be quite nice,” the caretaker commented as he carefully laid the top cover back onto the bed. He brought it up to the experiment’s chest, tucking it in around the body underneath. His attention turned back to the rest of the robes and towels, folding them up and putting them into their proper places.
Soon everything was exactly as it should be. It filled Hajime with such a sense of satisfaction to have it done. Exiting the bathroom, he went to tell Izuru the good news.
Only to find him holding a shirt and staring at it intensely.
Where… did he get that? He hasn’t left the bed and he knew Izuru didn’t have any shirts. Then he had a realization. That shirt was one of his. It must have gotten accidentally left in the machine when he took his clothes out. And it had gotten caught up in the comforter, sticking to the underside so he couldn’t see it. And now it was in the Ultimate Hope’s hands.
“I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean for that to get mixed in. I’ll take it and put it back,” he apologized, stepping forward with the intention of grabbing it.
Izuru looked over to him. “I see no problem here. Everything is fine. There is nothing for you to return.”
Hajime paused in his steps, very confused. “But… isn’t that my shirt?”
“Perhaps at one point. But no longer. I shall take over ownership of this article,” Izuru stated, folding the shirt and placing it on the windowsill next to him. It sent a clear message. He was not getting that shirt back.
And Hajime knew better than to try and fight the Ultimate Hope. “Of course, sir. I shall take my leave now. I’ll return with lunch at noon.” He stepped out of the doorway, watching it slide shut and hearing the electronics locking in place.
The caretaker allowed himself to slump for a brief few moments, as now there were none to witness it. Today… had not gone as expected. Every plan he had in his mind for the day's events had been altered or different. But he couldn’t find it in himself to be upset by this. Today had even been… good.
Straightening back up, Hajime neutralized his expression. Time to go report to his superiors about the successful transfer.