The watery droplets forming in Orihime’s eyes were unexpected, but not surprising. He hadn’t anticipated her to become teary from the compliment, but with how often she tried to keep a cherry demeanor, she rarely seemed to need praises. The auburn haired girl sitting on the bed was smart, intelligent, friendly, and easily one of the best people he knew. Yet, even with those qualities, words of self-doubt had been inflicted on her. Urahara and Hueco Mundo definitely had an impact on confidence and that insecurity was beginning to show.
Chad watched as Orihime kept shyly to herself and attempted to lift the leg. From her obvious strain, it hadn’t healed completely, but was not broken anymore. While the bone had mended, it wouldn’t need the cast, but would at least need a brace. The object would likely require crutches, but at least she would be walking around in a couple weeks. Plus, if it was taking too long to heal, she could always reattempt healing in order to speed up the process. For now though, he could go check back in at the hospital for a brace. With how accommodating the doctor had been previously, it shouldn’t be too hard to get the item.
“Thank you, Sado-kun…but I should probably get some rest, ne? The more I do…the faster I’ll heal. S-So - “
The fake yawn, even while Orihime was turned away, was fairly obvious. The girl didn’t have very good skills at telling lies. Only those who had no observational skills could easily be convinced by the failed fibs. Regardless, what she said had some merit. That leg, even with it not being broken anymore, would need some rest. She had been carried with it from one end of town to the other and only had a single night with rest. Giving it some time with no movement would be helpful.
“…Thank you so much.”
“You really are a good friend.”
The thanks and compliment with a quick smile calmed both his awkwardness and worry for Orihime. While she could be fairly emotional, she could also be strong. It would take some time for her leg and confidence to heal, but at least now she had been found and could be protected. Whether the Hollow attack last night had been random or regular, the appearance of one might mean more. If that was the case, Orihime would need some help, especially in her current state. Once her leg was healed, surely the rest would come along not too long afterwards, particularly if she had also been training on her own.
“You are a good friend as well.” The returned compliment was the highest of truths. Orihime had been an extremely good friend since meeting her. She was naturally a good person, and being on friendly terms just showed more of her kindness. However, just as before, the awkwardness started to rise back up. Not wanting to show that side of him again and not wanting to see the tears swell up once more, Chad scratched his forehead before announcing, “I should head back to the hospital. You’ll need a brace and crutches.” Not giving Orihime time to stop his actions, Chad snatched the key used to open the dorm room and quickly left with a slight wave while walking away.
Feeling a little lazy due to the previous taxi ride, another quick journey was taken to the medical center. There, he found a bemused nurse who became more puzzled at his request. The thought of arguing began to enter her mind, but his size made her rethink that decision. Huffing and puffing while going to get the support objects, she quickly returned with the doctor walking right behind arguing with her. Giving one glance at who was buying the items, the man quieted down and quickly spun his body to return to his office. The nurse, unsure if she should be amused or worried upon returning to Chad, gave him the price for the supplies. Handing over a small card used for his typical payment, Sado gathered up the crutch and brace before walking outside to find another taxi.
“You are a good friend as well.”
Orihime lifted her head from the pillow, staring at him with with a little uncertainty, but felt herself beam all the same. It was not quite as bright and sparkling as usual, but her voice was very much infused with a sweet tenderness for Chad as she said, “Arigatou…Sado-kun.”
After that, she let herself stare at the wall as her head turned, the shadows draping themselves over her face. Perhaps she should try to get some rest after all. It didn’t sound like such a bad idea, and if she could manage to fall asleep, Chad would be too considerate of not disturbing her rest and leave for his own dorm room as well -
“I should head back to the hospital. You’ll need a brace and crutches.”
“Huh?” She looked at Chad, confused, and then understanding broke out on her face as his words were registered. Orihime offered a grateful smile, despite the glimmers of silver staining her cheeks still. She felt her chest swell with appreciation and warmth for her gentle giant of a friend. He’d already done so much for her. It was truly amazing, how lucky she was. Once it dawned on Orihime she should verbally respond, she cried out, “…Ah - um! O-Okay! Thank you, Sado-kun!” She’d called out just in time, she hoped, because right after that the door to her dorm had closed. The corners of her mouth remained upward as she rested her cheek back onto the pillow.
That was when she was startled by a flash of gold, warm light erupting from the right side of her head. E-Eh?! What is that? The light whirled and twirled, spinning, before smacking Orihime’s forehead.
“Ow!” The girl winced and jerked her body up, sitting up slightly in bed and allowing the covers to fall back as her hazel eyes went cross; meanwhile, the light landed on the tippy top of her nose, dark irises glaring into hers. Orihime blinked slowly, stunned. “E-Eh? It’s - “
“WHO ELSE WOULD IT BE?!” The light flew backward and out of Orihime’s reach. She followed the flash of sparkling, golden light. In a burst, a black-haired and very pissed looking fairy was revealed, seething at Orihime pointedly. Floating in the air before her, his angered emotions practically spiraled off of him in waves.
Orihime blinked, again, and then clapped her hands together. “Tsubaki-kun~!” she exclaimed excitedly, her eyes glittering with uncontainable glee. The girl sat up more properly and reached up with both of her hands, gesturing and entreating him to come to her. She smiled from ear to ear. “How are you - oomph!” Orihime’s head thrust back as Tsubaki launched himself swiftly forward, hitting the girl’s forehead with both of his feet.
“HOW DO YOU THINK I AM, WOMAN? I AM ANGRY!” Tsubaki yelled, his little wings quivering. For something so small, fluttery and fragile, this fairy could really shout, not to mention pack a punch! It was why he was so faithful when it came to aiding the auburn-haired girl on the battlefield, she thought proudly. She was so happy he - and then her train of thoughts were broken once again when said fairy zipped forward and with both of his little hands, pinched Orihime’s plump cheek. He pulled with all of his might, making her arms flail out wildly like windmills. “YOU ALMOST GOT YOURSELF KILLED!”
“Wah!” she cried out. “I’m so sorry, Tsubaki-kun!”
Within a few more heartbeats, another fairy had flown out from her pins in a streak of light. “Tsubaki, stop this instance! You are not helping Orihime-sama this way!” The tiny, pony-tailed fairy gave her an apologetic smile when Tsubaki sent a spiteful glare at her, but surprisingly did back off.
“How are you, Orihime-sama?”
Orihime grinned back, rubbing her cheek sheepishly. “I’m just fine. Although, I was hoping to get some help with this…” She wiggled her right leg, drawing the blanket away from it to reveal the cast. “Sado-kun just left to bring me a brace from the hospital. But ah - I’d need this off, first, before I could put that on. It requires a lot of cutting and sawing motions like this -” She illustrated what she meant by making a funny face and moving her arm over her leg, compressing her fingers into a point and going back and forth, back and forth, back and forth; that was when Tsubaki told her to shut up and that he would do it, so stop making that stupid face and annoying noises already! Shun’o scolded him, Tsubaki snapped at her, and then after some more arguing eventually he set to work.
His chiding for Orihime to look better after herself never ceased while he focused on cutting the plaster and fabric containing her leg. All Orihime could do but beam in a self-deprecating way and smile. Once the task was complete, the two fairies discarded of the shredded cast, made their adieus - Shun’o sweetly and humbly, Tsubaki grumpily and with a tad hint of concern - before returning to Orihime’s hairpins. Left behind was nothing but a peculiar, lonely silence.
Laying back down, she pulled her blanket over her shoulders and sighed tiredly. Orihime wondered if she was seriously going to fall asleep at that very moment. As her face reflected wistfulness and fatigue, she contemplated over what would bring Sado-kun to Astraea, lashes fluttering delicately. No, she was not going to get any shuteye just yet, not until her friend returned from the hospital so that she could give him another thank you and a proper goodbye before he left.
Being under her warm, downy covers only gave her a sense of comfort - something she was in desperate need of, or so she told herself…minutes ticked by, and not too long after that, Orihime was drifting off into a deep slumber.