Art by @Melo9ba on tumblr
I remembered the day I read and studied about vestigial reflexes.
It was probably very much late at night, as I did most of my revising whenever I had the time after my classes, and couldn’t bother to fill up my weekends due to varsity meetings and games. As I opened a new list of bullet points to jot down the most important facts about vestigial reflexes, I found myself in the library as I studied.
Vestigial reflexes are bodily responses that have lost their original function and aren’t longer needed in the human body.
My fingers worked quickly as I paraphrased the textbook chapter.
Reflex. Lost original function.
As an example, goosebumps are a reaction in mammals and apes to bunch up their fur in the cold. Humans aren’t in need of such functions anymore, but the reaction stays the same.
I let my pencil trail over my forearm, the metal tip catching slightly and grazing at the small hairs as a shiver ran up my spine suddenly.
With a shake of my head I refocused on the chapter while the tingling sensation stayed vividly present on my arm.
The ink of the pencil formed new words on my notepad as I continued to summarize.
No need for such functions, therefore vestigial.
The reflex that produces goosebumps is called pilomotor reflex and is now a different bodily reaction. It can be set off by tickling sensations, strong emotions such as fear or euphoria and other sensations.
Pilomotor reflex, reactions: tickling, strong emotions, etc…
As I finished the page I let the pen fall down onto the textbook and closed my notebook.
The black leather texture was caught by my fingers as I trailed over it with an absent mind. I looked at my now probably cold coffee in front of me and bumped the reusable container with my finger.
The cup almost tipped over and I quickly caught it as my eyes widened, my tired head clearing up a little just from that small kick.
My phone buzzed in that exact moment, and I lazily grabbed it to check the notification.
Oh, the results from my class schedule.
I had hoped to get in a couple of rare classes next semester, especially since I’ve tried twice to get into that one anatomy class with professor Takeda. I had heard from my upper classmates that his class was the most interesting and actually as he had some connections, he would always write letters of recommendation to the dean of the medicinal school department.
I knew that my grades weren’t bad, but in a highly competitive field like medicine it was important to have a built up network from the start.
Just getting my credits with a pass and waltzing into any med school wasn’t my intention, I had worked hard to get a scholarship at this university for my medicine studies, and I planned to keep it that way.
Four years of pre-med, five years of med school and three years of residency.
As my mind pooled around the fact that I would actually become a doctor at some point, my stomach dropped again for a moment.
Why this again?
Another ring of my phone temporarily drove me out of my thoughts, and when I checked the message pop up, I raised a brow at what I found.
[Tooru Oikawa – Anatomy and Basics -20xx- allocated place] [achieved]
My lips curled upwards a little, but a sick feeling to my stomach was still prevailing.
Why am I remembering this now?
My nose was already clogged with the scent of dense caramel, as her hands prodded at my shoulders with way too much care.
Mikoto was obviously trying to be careful and not hurt me, even though I wasn’t sure how that could be possible, but her light touches made my body react even more.
Misaki’s hands were warm and calculated, her procedure was quick and her scent of orange blossom was close to herself as she worked calmly on me. I was even able to flash a grin as she worked, not feeling in any way too uncomfortable.
Maybe it was because I was used to frequent physical check-ups and even the atelic trainer of our team was female so I paid no mind to it.
But the omega’s hands were cold, which occasionally sent shivers down my spine. I had to hold extremely still, sometimes shifting my body weight to another leg to feel more comfortable. The fact that Mikoto only used her fingertips and barely ghosted her fingers over my skin made it crawl and goosebumps formed on my arms and neck.
Oh my god.
With a defeated feeling I let my head lull down so as to not look absolutely crushed by such a small and innocent individual, who kept mumbling apologies when I shivered.
Misaki scolded Mikoto multiple times to actually palpate the skin properly, which just elongated the whole process further. Every time she had to start from my neck again to do it correctly I cursed in my head.
It wasn’t that I felt violated or weirded out by the touch, it was the realization that other students where watching, the scents clinging to my nostrils as it shifted from slightly burned to sweet, her breath against my collarbone as she walked to the side and worked on my chest, and her eyes that were focused on everything but me.
Takeda had told us that physical reaction would be very normal in this class, and I felt extreme gratitude that I didn’t have any immature guys sitting here.
As her entire palm moved over my chest, I grunted involuntarily.
Covering it up as I cleared my throat, I felt the omegan scent sporadically shifting to a very stressed one, and she quickly finished the percussion on both sides while I caught her frantic eyes jumping from corner to corner.
With a quickness that was a little too much, she almost escaped back to her stool, and as I looked up at her I hoped that the heat in my cheeks was just adrenaline.
Time flew after that.
There were two very nervous students that I haven’t seen before, probably freshmen and a guy my age who wasn’t very talkative.
All of them elicited similar reactions out of me, but after the first round I was just able to mask them a lot better.
Mikoto’s gaze hung on me when I looked away, vice versa.
This is way too awkward now.
As if our whole relationship wasn’t rocky from the start, with the incident and all, it just continued to get weirder and weirder.
The only place where I hoped that we both felt comfortable was the lab, especially after the courses when we had to work on our own.
And then this.
The clock indicated that the class was almost over,a dn Misaki gave me the cue to wear my shirt again.
Quickly, I poked my head through and smoothed it over myself quickly. With slow steps I moved to the seat next to Mikoto, and she threw me a tiny smile.
Relief washed over me suddenly, and I realised I was afraid to maybe have scared her in some way.
“So that was something huh?”, I asked loosely as we were instructed to take our bags and leave.
“Yeah”, she chimed, a lot more relaxed but still a blush on her face.
“Are you okay?”, the question was probably unnecessary to ask, as I didn’t expect an elaborate answer from the omega, but she smiled and nodded at me.
We were close to the gates as I asked myself if it was the right time for a joke. I hated quiet and awkward moments, and felt it was more pleasant to joke over something weird than let it hang in the room.
Mikoto walked through the gate into the hallway first, and I tipped my head back with a smirk to brace myself.
“I mean you really didn’t have to stroke my nip tho”
She froze, which almost made me bump into her, but I quickly took a step around her to avoid the collision.
“Huh?”, I asked, as I looked at her shocked side profile.
“What are ya talkin’ bout hm?”
The ticking of the clock on my dorm wall was the only sound reverberating in my mind.
The soft bed sheets were still a bit cold from when I changed them a couple of hours before, and they had a faint smell of cotton and fresh laundry detergent.
I was sprawled on the bed and shifted uncomfortably, when even after hours of trying I wasn’t able to sleep. Nuzzling my face into the duvet, I grunted lightly at the new wave of thoughts that flooded my head.
The room was darf except from the faint glow of the moon shining into it, as I kept the curtains away and the window opened a little.
A gust of lukewarm wind made its way to me, and I sighed at the pleasant feeling that reminded me of her faint touch that-
I shot up from the bed.
My hand found the nape of my neck as I held it there trying to soothe the sudden rise of goosebumps on my upper body. The feeling slowly trickled upwards until it reached the hairs just behind my ear.
Grunting and rubbing harder on my neck, I let my hands cross over my chest and rubbed on my arms slowly.
Up and down.
I pushed out an exhale and realized I had been holding my breath.
I really don’t have time for this. I need to sleep.
But the feeling of faint taps on my shoulder and neck stayed there as if I was feeling it over and over again.
In the dark, I squinted my eyes at the clock to read what time it was.
Groaning, I let myself fall back into my covers and flipped to the side.
I felt the urge to hold something, and conveniently enough my fingers reached out and felt the familiar texture of the synthetic leather. I sprawled my hand out and felt my entire palm hold the volleyball, with a swift motion I pushed the ball towards me until it touched my torso.
The right side of my body was pressed into the bed and I circled my right arm around the side of the ball while my left arm lamely hung over it.
Eyes fluttering shut, I tried to control my breathing, hoping that would calm me down.
Lids stuttering open again, I looked with disdain at the wall.
No way Atsumu was right about this.
His words successfully destroyed my day, as they kept ghosting around in my brain.
“What are ya talkin’ bout hm?”
I remember his smug face as he looked at Mikoto and me, sizing us up with his eyes.
She on the other hand turned into a whole tomato at the implication, and I must say I felt my heart drop into my stomach as well. Why does it have to be him? I could’ve handled anyone else, made a comment about it or explained it and moved on.
“It’s a misunderstanding! We just came out of an anatomy class!”, Mikoto explained carefully, her hands moving around in the air, but Atsumu only grinned wider.
His eyes were dark, very dark and his scent screamed some sort of aggression, whatever that meant. I felt his scent had a playful undertone despite all of that. His hands gathered at his hips.
The memory alone made me grip the volleyball harder for a second before my fingers relaxed again and I felt transported back to that scene.
Why am I so worked up about this?
It keeps replaying again and again.
“No, no it’s fine, if ya wanna call it ‘anatomy class’ that’s fine by me”, he chuckled dismally and his eyes darted between me and Mikoto before they fixed on me again.
“That’s really not-”, Atsumu interrupted her attempt to explain with a disapproving click of his tongue as his palm faced towards her.
“That’s not what it is right?”, he looked back at me, “right, Alpha?”
I knew what he was getting at.
Most people thought that way when they see an Alpha in general, but how can it be that I hear those words from another one of my kind?
“Oikawa no stop. Wait”
Why am I remembering that now?
The phrase was filled with venom, and for a second I didn’t even realise that I itched closer to him until the scent next to me drew to a fragrance of burnt sugar, not unpleasant yet domineering in a way that was unusual.
Peering next to me to see the omega look very calm at the Alpha in front of me I gulped for a moment as I saw her eyes firmly planted on him.
She was clearly still embarrassed about the slip up, but her whole demeanor changed as Atsumu kept pushing and prodding at our story.
“You’re not really helping your argument with a face like that”
A chuckle rumbled through Atsumu as he let his head drop and brought it up again.
I held my fists together, knowing if I burst right now I would regret it immediately.
And sadly, he wasn’t wro-
“I’ll see yer two some other time, don’t do something too inappropriate”, and with a gust of musk smoke he left, leaving both of us glued to the ground.
Normally I would say something.
I would’ve bit back.
“Oikawa stop. This is not the right time”
I whipped my head to the side in disgust and felt my face scrunched in the pillow.
Oh right. I’m here.
Sighing loudly I felt cold sweat trickle down my forehead.
“Uhh”, a weird guttural sound escaped my lips as I felt the goosebumps again.
With a last plea to finally go to sleep, I closed my eyes.
Swirls of lights danced past my eyelids, the volleyball still in my hands as I pressed it closer to me.
I cleared my throat as I realized that sleep won’t come, so I fished for my phone in a dire attempt to at least do something.
The screen lit up my entire room and I groaned at the bright light in my eyes. Blinking a couple of times I adjusted to the light source and peered at the time again.
Not even five hours of sleep.
My fingers ghosted over the keyboard to text Iwa, but I knew he wouldn’t reply.
[U up?] delivered.
Knowing I would get no reply, I left the screen open and stood up to get something to drink.
Maybe that’ll help.
I doubt it.
Scrambling over to the sink, I grabbed a cup to fill it with water until I heard a notification.
Who was that?
Walking back with the cup at my lips and gulping a swig of water, I peered at the screen.
Am I hallucinating now?
[Still awake?] seen.