With the utmost care and caution, I gently led Kiku to the large armchair I positioned in front of the fire. Easing him in slowly, he still winced in pain, causing my heart to sink.
Kiku arrived home beaten and battered, almost blue with bruises: he'd informed me that he'd run into a gang on his way home from work. He'd tried his very best to defend himself without causing anger to the thugs and making his whole predicament much worse, but such efforts meant there was very little he could do. He kept repeating to me: "I shourd've brought my katana. I shourd've!" I'm sure he meant it only to strike fear in the hearts of the rebels, but he believed using his only other self-defence method - karate - would create more harm than good (and I could see his point). He believed the gang to be much larger than the few men he encountered in the streets, so injuring the members that attacked him could lead to a future assault on him, or as he mentioned, even me.
I brought through the first aid kit from the bathroom and a bowl of hot water, striding hurriedly into the living room where Kiku sat. The orange blaze in the room cast long, dark shadows and offered a comforting glow, warmth, and sense of security, but the light only defined Kiku's bruises more, accentuating their colour and highlighting the swelling. Though there was one, deep incision in his right forearm: the thugs used a knife for their final blow before running off, and Kiku used his dominant arm to defend himself. It was a deep wound, leaving a scarlet, dotted trail from the site of attack to the chair he currently sat in.
Flipping open the box, I rummaged around quickly for a cloth or rag. Upon retrieving such an item, I dipped it into the bowl of water before raising it to Kiku's arm. He winced in pain, clenched his jaw and screwed his eyes tightly shut as the sodden fabric touched his wound. I could feel the tears weld behind my [colour] eyes, how I hated to see my Kiku in pain. I gently soothed and cooed to him, trying to soften the hurt, but I knew it would get worse.
Once all the remnants of the scarlet liquid pulsing from his forearm had been wiped clear, I uncovered a bottle of ointment and dabbed its contents carefully into my palms. Kiku helpfully lifted up his shirt, revealing a beautiful body scorn with purple. I carefully massaged his swollen torso, his body tensing a little from the mild pain. I shushed quietly to him, carefully rubbing the ointment deep into his skin. Now with less on my hands, I cautiously moved up to his face, taking extra precautions not to get it in his stunning, chocolate eyes that caught the orange glow of the fire.
"Try not to tense your face while I put this on," I said in barely a whisper, attempting to keep my tone relaxed and calm to comfort him. It felt a bit strange massaging his delicate face, for now it was a little swollen and tender. I tried my very best to sooth his pain without inflicting any more on him. He'd suffered enough, but was still to suffer even more.
Once complete, I retrieved some cotton pads from the first aid box, splashing several with disinfectant. When the bottle was screwed close, I noticed how strong the alcohol was, for it began to sting my eyes and irritate my nose. How would Kiku possibly cope with this going into an open wound!? I swallowed the lump in my throat and met his orange-tinted gaze wearily, for I believe we both knew what was coming next. I took a deep breath and knelt beside Kiku, his wounded limb resting on the arm of the chair. I reached forward and grabbed his left hand, rubbing his knuckles with my thumb for comfort.
"Squeeze my hand when it gets sore, okay?" I stated, to which I received a shaky nod from Kiku. And so I slowly dabbed his wound…
He threw his head back so far it crashed into the back of the arm chair, causing the furniture to rock on its legs abruptly. His face resembled a rejected idea on paper, his teeth bared, the salvia from his mouth catching the light of the fire and making his teeth sparkle. His muscles tensed fiercely, my joints clicking slightly from the sudden pressure engulfing my hand. Yet I watched how on both his hands, the veins and tendons suddenly became incredibly defined and accented, the fire casting shadows on his white knuckles. What caused my tears to simply flow down my face was his heartfelt, genuine compressed screams: groans, wails and cries, in pure, unapologetic pain. He did his best to repress his emotions - as are his ways - but such pain was too much.
The tears rolled down both our cheeks, catching in the light and clinging to our skin. I shushed and soothed as best I could - for both ours sakes - but attempts to ease our pain was futile. Every sharp intake of air, every clenched muscle, every cry of pain, every violent flinch of his head, and every tear of sorrow caused me to simply cry in pain with him. I kept asking myself if I was being too rough, or if I'd used too much disinfectant, believing that half the pain his was suffering was my fault.
My poor Kiku.
I'm so sorry.
When I finally removed the cotton pad from his open wound, the two of us were complete messes: fragile and quivering, dishevelled hair, and faces scorn with salt. We simply stared at each other for an elongated moment as we tried to comprehend how our wrecked forms came to be. With shaky hands, I reached for the roll of bandage and cut off a long strip before reaching up to Kiku's arm. I couldn't keep my hands still for the entire procedure, the thick lump in my throat continuing to remain and the weakness of my stomach didn't show any signs of ceasing. Eventually, however, Kiku's forearm was securely wrapped in bandage. After my efforts, I cautiously met his gaze from the arm chair. With a weak and quivering smile, Kiku opened his arms slowly, trying not to inflict pain on himself, but to comfortingly welcome me into the chair.
My fragile form clambered into his lap, along with a few sniffles from both of us. I rested the side of my head on his shoulder and my forehead against his neck, trying to take in his scent over the strong disinfectant still lingering in the air. He carefully wrapped his arms around me, closed his eyes and nuzzled his face into my [colour] hair, humming contently yet with a hint of sadness from the past event. I opened up one hand against his chest, his heart pounding rapidly on the other side of his skin, letting a few rogue tears tumble from my [colour] eyes and stain his shoulder. The two of us simply sat together in such a manner for what felt like hours, it may have been more. Only the rhythm of our still frightened hearts, slowly easing breaths and the crackle of the fire were all the sounds in the orange-tinted room. Tucked up in Kiku's caring yet shaking embrace, my body attempted to relax, but at least I knew one thing for sure: Kiku was safe now, and that's all that matters to me.