Health Inspection

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"Just forget about that creep," Sumiko told Chizuru gently as she sat beside her on the porch, once they were safely back at headquarters. Chizuru stared down at the short sword resting in her lap, the one Kazama had claimed was an oni's sword. "Just because he knew your name and you-know-what doesn't mean he knows everything."

"Mn," Chizuru said somberly, still worried. She didn't know how Sumiko could be so calm about something like this... What if they really were oni?

The girls were startled when someone began coughing very loudly and violently not too far away. They peeked out from around the corner and saw Okita leaning against the side of another building for support, holding his side as his body shook with every cough. Sumiko furrowed her brow. That guy... She'd warned him before they left not to over do it! What did he think he was doing, wandering around at this time of night?

"Okita-san..." Chizuru said softly as she watched him straighten up and walk away.

"Let's go get that fool into bed," Sumiko said, smiling wryly, as she glanced between her friend and her #2 stubborn patient. Chizuru smiled slightly and nodded in agreement. Their plans to waylay Okita stopped being so fun when they reached the spot he had just been standing and saw a few small crimson splatters on the tiled walkway.

"Blood...!" Chizuru gasped.

Sumiko furrowed her brow and bit her lip. It was just as she'd feared. It was starting.

"Ah. Good morning, Sumiko-san," Okita said, glancing up from the rice he was boiling for breakfast. "I see the assassins have failed."

"Assassins?" Saito asked, glancing up from the dish he was working on.

"What...?" Chizuru asked, blinking in confusion.

"He's still mad at me for giving Hijikata-san a heads up about his cold the other day," Sumiko replied carelessly. "Anyway, sorry, Saito-san, but I need to borrow Okita for a moment. A sick person shouldn't be breathing all over everyone else's food anyway," she said, grabbing Okita by the back of his kimono so she could drag him away, while Chizuru took his place in the kitchen.

"So, what's so urgent that you had to drag me to some deserted place first thing in the morning? What are you gonna do if Hijikata-san sees and misunderstands?" he teased, leaning closer.

"I told you to stay in bed yesterday," Sumiko said sternly, crossing her arms. She wasn't going to let him get away with changing the subject this time. Besides, it was starting to become painfully obvious that Hijikata didn't see her as a woman, not romantically anyway. He had even made a comment the other day about her being like 'the younger sister he never wanted'. "Remember what I said: if you don't want to take my word for it, that's fine. I've already admitted I don't have any experience with treating this. But I'm only giving you a couple more weeks to get a second opinion. Find yourself a more experienced doctor and start a course of treatment, before I have to tell Hijikata-san what I think you really have."

"Don't threaten me, Sumiko-san," Okita said, narrowing his eyes as his expression darkened.  "It won't end well for you." What happened to that so-called 'doctor-patient confidentiality' she promised him?

"Even if you kill me, I won't let you get away with pushing yourself to death," Sumiko stated resolutely. She wasn't going to lose another patient. "Chizuru and I saw the blood."

"What?" Okita asked, furrowing his brow, as he backed off slightly.

"We saw you when you were walking around last night, and you had a coughing fit. We followed you a short distance and saw the blood. I didn't think you'd want Chizuru to see you like that if it got worse, so I made up some excuse and put off your scolding till now."

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