It had been a full and productive day of training, now that everyone was well enough to participate. Unfortunately, Aki had to leave early, because she had realized that she left her backpack at the boys’ house. Crow offered to accompany her.
He was strangely silent on the subway ride, biting his lip and fixedly staring at the floor. Aki began to grow nervous. She thought that he had forgiven her earlier that day, but what if he still harbored a grudge? Ultimately, she decided to leave him to his thoughts.
The reason for this behavior soon became clear, however. As soon as they got to the house (with Aki unlocking the door), Crow rushed in and dove face-down on the sofa. He bit down hard on a pillow, but that wasn’t enough to completely muffle his cries and curses.
Aki was rather disoriented at this turn of events, but tentatively asked, “Is your arm bothering you?” as she shut the door behind her.
Crow spat out the pillow and snapped, “No, I’m just practicing for the Olympics. Of course it’s fucking bothering me!”
“Did you take some medicine for it?”
“None of that shit works!” Crow practically screamed. Aki fought back an impulse to grab her bag and run. She couldn’t leave him when he was like this, even if he hated her guts. After all, she guessed that she was his girlfriend, or close enough to it anyway.
Had he been in this pain all day? He’d acted normally up until they left. Poor Crow. He was simply too stubborn for his own good. If Aki had been in that situation, she was sure she’d be desperate by the end of the day, too.
After a couple of minutes, Crow finally mumbled, “Sorry.”
Aki worked up enough resolve to approach him. When she got near him, she saw that he was actually trembling with the effort to hold in any further noise.
She began quietly, “Look, I know you’re mad at me…”
“Nah…ain’t mad at you anymore. Realized I was mad at myself all along,” Crow interrupted in a husky voice.
“Well…um…I think I might…can I try something?”
Aki wasn’t at all certain this would do anything, but maybe…She carefully laid a hand on his injured shoulder and focused her mind as hard as she could.
Nothing happened for a while, but after about a minute, Crow said, “Hey, it feels a bit better now! Wow…how’d you do that?”
“I’m not sure myself,” Aki admitted while blushing. Then she thought of something else. Just a few months ago she would have been too embarrassed to mention it, but their relationship had made her bolder.
“You know, there are some hormones in the body that can ease pain too. They’re called endorphins. We talked about them in biology class. Certain…activities can cause them to be released.”
“Oh?” Crow asked as he raised an eyebrow. All Aki did was smirk at him as she kneeled at the side of the sofa and unzipped his pants.