It was the first day that it could be mutually agreed upon by the couple that Winter had finally lowered its vast, silent head, in respect of the new rule of the boisterous prince of Spring. Tutti looked up from his place by the remains of last night’s bonfire to see Daigo approaching with arms full of water-filled urn. Tutti raised his arm in a small wave, standing up to walk closer.
“That’s more than we need to put out the cinders,” Tutti commented with a small, bemused smile on his face. Daigo set down the urn with a huff, saying nothing, and held up a finger before turning his back.
“Re-light that fire, would you?” the shorter Chimereon asked curtly, and Tutti blinked, wondering what Daigo was planning. He opened his mouth to ask, then sneezed suddenly, a few times in a row, as Daigo slipped into the underbrush.
Tutti supposed he’d get no answers, right then. He glanced at the urn and smiled--it was one that they’d bought at a nearby market, and was shaped in such a way that it was easy to tie onto their pack. The design was pretty, as well--striped in bold, zig-zagging lines, with a practical, sturdy form. Daigo was able to carry it, even full, without much of a visible struggle at all. Tutti found himself daydreaming, his cheeks a little warm in admiration.
Ah, right, the fire! Tutti hurriedly grabbed a stick in his tongue and began ripping up dried kindling grass around the fire to use as a starter. Now, where was that fire kit…
Daigo hunched near the ground, a trained, focused look in his eyes. In his fist he held a bushel of various kinds of herbs and flowers, continuing to pick more with his free hand as he hobbled from place to place. Sprigs of yarrow, a fistful of lavender blossoms… he could almost certainly use some of that leftover rosemary in the tent, whatever was left from their meal the previous few nights. Satisfied with the blend, Daigo straightened his back and adjusted the cloak around his shoulders with a tug of his teeth on the collar. His hands were full, after all.
He made mild haste walking back, for he’d walked quite a ways. But it was hard to speed through the beauty around him—wildflowers, new in their vigor, were sprouting up wherever the ground could hold them. New shoots tickled his ankles as he walked. Spring… was a very good time. New herbs to collect, new medicines to discover… all around, it was a symbol of new life.
Not for Tutti, though, he reminded himself grimly. The poor thing had been sneezing and sniffling for days now, but today was the worst one of all. Daigo had a plan for it—he had a plan for everything, after all—and it was most certainly going to help.
When he returned at last to the camping spot, Tutti stopped in mid-scratch. Daigo’s brows shot up at the rash developing under Tutti’s jawline, and he furrowed them, putting the herb stems in his teeth. He moved closer and carefully took Tutti’s head in his hands, angling it in such a way that he could see the rash better.
“A ‘hello’ would’ve been less startling,” Tutti joked quietly, but let himself be maneuvered around. He felt guilty, worrying Daigo like this. But as beautiful as springtime was, it was difficult to control the effect that the newly escaped pollen had on him. The flowers and trees had barely begun to bud, but it was with a vengeance. “Where’d you run off to… herbs?” Tutti blinked as he glanced up at Daigo’s mouth in the corner of his eye, and when his head was released, he looked up more properly.
Daigo took the herbs from his mouth and gave no response beyond a simple nod. It looked like Tutti had re-stoked the fire--that was good. Daigo strode forward into the tent and disappeared, his tail flicking back and forth where it stuck out, and Tutti smiled a kind of amused, exasperated smile.
And sneezed again. Geez, the air was thick with it out there.
“Maybe once we get to the mountains, these allergies won’t be so bad,” Tutti mused aloud as Daigo clanged around in the tent. Moments later, the doctor pulled a metal basin out. Usually it was used for washing clothes, but last time Tutti checked, neither of them had gotten particularly dirty.
Tutti observed the other with a quiet curiosity, knowing better than to ask questions. Whatever Daigo had planned, it would reveal itself soon enough. As he stoked the fire, he watched Daigo put the urn on the grate covering the coals, letting the water heat up. The methodical, calm nature of Daigo’s actions began to lull Tutti into a trancelike state, his eyes drooping low as he dipped his head and begun to snore softly.
Daigo smiled ever so slightly at the other, brows raising at the quiet snoring sound. He refocusd on his task of ripping the herbs up into small pieces, adding a few of them into the pot as it began to heat. As it began to boil, he hurriedly removed it from the fire, and with a steady hand Daigo poured the steaming water into the basin. He sprinkled a few more herbs on top, watching the bubbles settle down, and snuck back into the tent for a pair of washrags.
It wasn’t long before Daigo gently shook Tutti’s shoulder, rousing the Chimereon from his light doze. “Mm?” Tutti hummed out, blinking blearily. Daigo made a pensive face at the delirious look in the other’s eyes.
“I decided an herb bath would be a nice way to welcome Spring proper, and also chase away its ill effects,” Daigo said almost clinically, but Tutti’s expression focused, and warmed. The forethought…
“Ah, you gathered all of that for me?” he murmured, standing when his wrist was taken. The cold bath in the river the previous day had not done much for his rattling lungs—this, however, he could already tell would do wonders. Daigo’s eyes shone in response, and Tutti leaned in to press a light peck to his cheek.
With Daigo’s guiding hand Tutti settled in the basin, the water up to his waist, and sighed contentedly as he curled his tail around his knees. His eyes flickered in surprise as Daigo dipped a rag into the herb-filled water and brought it to his back, beginning to gently scrub it. “I could do that myself, you know,” Tutti murmured, though his drowsy tone didn’t hold much indignation to it.
“I know,” Daigo stated factually, his voice quiet but firm as he fixed Tutti with a smile. “But allow me to take care of you, just once more.”
Tutti blinked once, a flush rising to his cheeks, before he huffed it away and turned back around, his eyes resting on the firelight. His voice was soft and secret when it came out next, pushing past his foolish pride. “Perhaps many times more, if you’d be willing.”