“Pumpkin,” his warbling voice whispered, “don’t cry.”
“I was so worried!” you sobbed into him.
He raised his right arm and placed his hand gently on the back of your head, patting you in comfort.
“I’m too young to die,” he slurred said with a crackling chuckle.
“Never die, ok?” you said in an emotionally wobbly voice, raising your head to look at him.
“I can’t promise you that, honey pie, but I can promise that even after I go I will come back as a ghost and follow you everywhere. So make sure that you and Tit don’t get up to any hanky-panky! Or I’ll haunt you both.”
You laughed, tears still running down your cheeks as you smiled at him.
“I promise, pa, no hanky-panky.”
“Oh ho ho?” Kuroo chuckled from behind you, arms crossed across his chest.
‘Don’t you say a word, Tit,” you hissed back at him, swinging your head back to glare at him from tear filled eyes.
He winked at you and held that smirk on his face, not saying another word, but you knew he could expose you both right there and then if he wanted to.
“Miss,” nurse Patience said from the end of the hospital bed after she had checked pa’s leads and notes, “if I could have a word?”
You nodded at her and wiped your eyes, pulling yourself back off pa and patting his hand, “I’ll be back in a second,” you said gently before walking past Kuroo and following the nurse outside.
“We would like to keep your grandfather here for another 2 weeks if possible, just to monitor his progress. He will start physiotherapy treatment tomorrow and must pass before we let him go,” she said.
“Oh… ok,” you replied.
“As I said before- we are mostly concerned about the left side paralysis,” she added, “he will need help in every aspect in life. Changing, going to the bathroom, eating… it would be a lot of work for you alone.”
But I don’t want pa to go to a home, you said dejectedly, ‘ I just can’t do that to him… or me.”
“You might want to think about your options then, honey, he’s going to need help.”
You sighed sullenly and nodded.
“I’ll think about it,” you said, your brows furrowed with concern.
Nurse Patience nodded and patted you on the shoulder.
“Don’t stress, honey, you have a few weeks to decide what you want to do. We will know where he is at physically once he has seen the physiotherapist and gotten a report from them.”
You nodded again, not really knowing what to say.
“Like I told you before, he has a sparkle in his eye, so I have high hopes that he will improve greatly before his discharge.”
You nodded again with a small smile, trying to think positively about this.
“Thank you for looking after him,” you said to her, “I’m sure he woke up quicker because you were around.”
“It’s been my pleasure. I’m not sure what my husband would say to your pa claiming I’m his wife but thankfully that’s a conversation I will never have to have.”
You chuckled a little as you walked with her back to the room.
“That’s my pa for you, inappropriate comments and jokes are his forte.”
As you walked in, you saw pa and Kuroo have a serious looking conversation and they stopped the minute you two girls entered.
“Back so soon,” pa warbled, the left side of his mouth drooping a little, “I didn’t even have a chance to add you into the will, Patience.”
“Thankfully,” she replied with a sassy tone, “I’m going to retire a divorced millionaire at this rate. All these men throwing their wills at me. My husband is going to wonder if I ran a brothel!”
Pa cackled happily and you smiled at him, glad to have him back again.
It was much later now and pa had already fallen asleep as you and Kuroo left the hospital.
“What did you and pa talk about?’ you asked him curiously.
“You,” he replied.
“Yeah… He made me promise to look after you…”
“But why? Isn’t he coming home? What did he mean by that?” you asked, a little hurt and confused.
“He felt like the nurses would sign him off to a nursing home,” Kuroo replied, “he said he heard them talking while he was under. They don’t think he’ll be well enough to go back to independent living.”
“Well you were there when nurse Patience said the same thing, but I don’t want to put him in a home. He’ll be so lonely there”
“No. He’d thrive,” Kuroo mused, “Imagine all the wrinkly pussy he’d have access too.”
In mortified fright you swung your arm out and punched Kuroo in the side, making him emit that god forsaken laugh.
“I swear to god, Kuroo,” you wailed with embarrassment.
“You know it’s true,” he replied cheekily, dodging another punch from you, then grabbing you in a hug from behind and pinning your arms to your side while he carried you.
“Put me down, giant ass,” you whined, wriggling frantically.
“I don’t have a giant ass, that’s Bokuto,” he replied calmly, still carrying you.
“I don’t want to send pa to a home,” you suddenly said, forgetting your struggling and hanging limp, “Tetsuro…”
He put you down and you turned and gave him the most vulnerable look he had ever seen.
“Hey,” he said softly, pulling your body against his and huggmg you tight, “we won’t let it happen. We’ll exhaust every other options first, ok?”
“Ok,” you said softly, still hugging him, “thank you.”
“I’m always here, short stack, if you ever need comfort just call me,” he replied, taking one hand to tilt your chin up so he could kiss you, “now let’s get you home and into bed so we can practice rubbing parts together.”
“No!” You snapped, “enough rubbing parts together, you need to go home so that we get a good nights sleep!”
“Tomorrow night then?” He asked hopefully.
“I’ll think about it,” you replied cheekily.
The next few days were a bit of a blur. Kuroo helped you look at different options for your pa and you would visit him in the hospital on your way home from school every day and find out how he was recovering.
The physiotherapist was pleased with pa’s speech progress in particular but he still had no movement in his left side so the therapist thought it would be best for him to go into care so that he could be looked after around the clock.
“What if we got a live in care?” you asked the guy, “someone who would live in the house with pa and take care of him?”
“Well, that’s one option, yes, but it would be costly…” he replied.