PG-ishy, for light language and cuddlyness.
(Omake pending... maybe. I have much fanficcing to catch up on after my 1 month break.)
It was mainly pride that kept Jean Havoc from taking actual sick days. He had always been told that he would make himself ill if he continued smoking, so in spite of his general outward amiability, there was a subtle hint of spiteful satisfaction he felt when he succeeded in pointedly not hacking up a lung, and making sure everyone knew about it. However, even the strongest and most strong willed of men can fall victim to some of mother nature's most wicked guiles- the common cold, or whatever the hell this year's sadistic mutation of it might be, and thus, he was forced by some various levels of physical restraint to remain in his bed, his lungs filled with more fluid than he cared to hazard a guess at, and his hooky playing comrade Cain in the kitchen doing his best impression of a domineering housewife as he dilligently chopped vegetables, taking brief pauses to call out to the day's patient to just keep the thermometer under his tongue, darn it!
He sighed, poking listlessly at the damp towel on his forehead and caustically wondered whether the last time he had been treated like this was before or after he had learned to tie his own shoes. He had argued to the best of his ability for Fury to just let him go to work that day, and when he had resigned to that fate, it had taken a draining amount of fervent insistence that it was definitely not neccessary for the both of them to take absence that day, lest people start to suspect things about the two supposed 'room mates', but the argument was all for naught, and Sergeant Major Fury made the call into headquarters that both he and Lietenant Havoc were ill on that particular day, verbosely adding that it was a perfectly normal occurance for individuals who live together to get sick at the same time. In the end, arguing against the younger man's bizarre sense of maternal instincts only left him more drained than he had been upon waking up and trying as hard as possible not to cough for just five minutes as he stared down the barrel of the cruel device known as a thermometer, which stoically seemed to glare right back at him with it's demonic red lashes and beady mercury eyes beneath it's uncomfortable glass casing.
With the thermometer in lieu of a cigarette and a very uncomfortable expression, he tried fruitlessly to remain unaffected by his uncontrollable urge to cough until kingdom come, on the off chance that perhaps Cain would see it as an improvement and let him have his way and at least take a half a day of work. So he folded his arms, tried to resist the urge to chomp on the glass end as he was fond of doing to his cigarrette filters, and when the spectacled significant other came back into the room to check on his condition, he smiled confidently, a big mistake, for he took a deep breath as he did so, which reminded his raw throat that it was agitated by any intrusion at all, and that included normal breathing. Far less dignified than he had planned, he ended up doubled over, coughing violently into his fist, the thermometer miraculously unscathed as it made a projectile trip onto the cold hardwood floor beside Fury's feet. The caretaker clearly did not like the results he found after reading the indicated temperature, as he shook his head and leaned over, seating himself on the edge of the bed to feel Jean's forehead. The lieutenant had to roll his eyes.
"You're acting like some sort of mother hen today," He commented with far more weak rasping than he would have liked. The accused poultry imitator shook his head and replied,
"No, I've cared for chickens before, and hens really aren't the most attentive of mothers. They have an odd tendency to step on their own chicks."
Havoc wheezed and decided to drop that little comparison before Fury got any funny ideas into his head. Before he could make a change of topic that somehow still pertained to his disdain for being cooped up all day, he encountered a spoon hovering in front of his face.
"Swallow it," Fury instructed, firmly holding the spoon in one hand and a small bowl in the other.
Havoc turned his head suspiciously and eyed the odd speckled fluid he was being offered.
"What is it?" He ventured to ask, cursing himself for talking again, as that brought more irritation and forced another short set of coughs.
"It's a mixture I made of honey, water, cider vinegar, powdered ginger and cayenne pepper," Fury said, seeming almost hurt that his mixture hadn't been happily taken just because he had offered it.
"The hell are you trying to do to me?" Havoc rasped, shying away even more, as he finally caught a whiff of the stuff, "It smells like... like... God, it just dosen't smell normal; I'm not betting it tastes any better."
"It's no worse than regular cough syrup you'd find at the pharmacy," Fury argued, still insistently pushing the spoon forward.
"Yeah, well that's-" The patient grabbed for a justification, "That's normal; that's made by doctors, professionals. That's stuff I know would work."
"Hypocrite. You wouldn't quit on your tobacco just because some 'quack' told you to," The amateur healer was now frowning in frustration, "Just take it, and I promise you'll feel a lot better."
"I don't want to," Havoc insisted, suddenly feeling that perhaps his disposition was matching the childish treatment he was being given.
Fury was now putting more physical force into his persuasion, and kneeled over Havoc's torso, pinning him down with a stern glare and a spoon that somehow was still miraculously not spilling anything in his right hand. Under normal circumstances, having Cain straddling him on a bed might have been an ideal situation, but in this case, he found it utterly humiliating to be chastised just to take his medicine like a good boy by a normally demure lover who wasn't much taller than a one famed Elric individual.
He found it odd how Cain had changed since they had been together. The refreshing innocent air of shyness that had first attracted him to the Sergeant Major still remained, but it was slowly outgrown by the emerging bouts of pushyness and stubborn streaks that he would never have initially imagined the tiny man could posess. He didn't consider it necessarily bad that he had grown strength, but in situations like this, he found it particularly exasperating, and though he didn't want to believe he could be swayed over such small things, perhaps it was his current vulnerable condition that made him wonder if it was still worth it. Before he could catch himself, he had uttered out in frustration,
"God, why are you like this? Maybe we just shouldn't have lived together at all."
Tingling cold sensations of regret immedeately filled him as he spat out the guiltily satisfying magic words. Cain sat back, still kneeling over Jean's form and set the bowl and spoon on the nightstand, staring back with nearly emotionless expression at the heated remark.
Jean looked away, red across his cheeks from fever, or from regret, still too pissed off to make a motion of apology so soon. Cain filled the silence for him.
"I know you don't mean that." He said.
Cain lowered himself slowly, to sprawl comforably across the wrinkled layers of blankets, his mouth just close enough to Jean's ear so he could whisper.
"I know it can't all be one sided. And I know that it just sucks for us to be around each other sometimes. But I don't regret it. I don't regret one second of it. Even with all the sneaking around we have to do, and all the white lies we have to make just to save our careers, and protect ourselves from people who just wouldn't understand. I love that I've met you, that I'm able to be with you, live with you, worry with you, tried to become a better person for you. That can't all be just my imagination, can it?"
Jean coughed again, in spite of himself causing the smaller body to bounce on his chest. It didn't feel particularly romantic to be gagging up phlegm in the midst of a moment like this, but Cain still didn't flinch.
"Jean, I just want you to take care of yourself. I want you to still be around years from now. I want to be around you for-..." He blushed, in spite of his conviction, "Forever..."
Havoc turned his head upwards to stare into Cain's vulnerable yet strong wide eyes, at his lips trembling with the tender confession. He wanted to kiss him; to reassure him that it was all going to be alright, and that there really wasn't anything between them as petty as a cold that could split apart what they had together, but Cain already seemed to be motioning to initiate that for him. The lieutenant shut his eyes as he relaxedly waited for his angel to decend upon him with a kiss of apology, and somehow everyhing would be all better.
Instead, his parted lips were contacted with the slip of a spoonful of a spicy mixture that tasted like nothing he had ever tried before, and burned as it went down. He choked on it as he sat up abruptly, tears collecting in the corners of his eyes while he felt the sting of the odd spices clearing his throat.
"You-" He spluttered, reaching out to encase Fury's shoulders in the classic vice for what bullying brothers commonly refer to as 'the noogie, "You- little bastard!" He half laughed this, as Cain squirmed in his grip, and firmly ordered,
"Down!" as though to a jumpy dog. Jean obediently flopped down on the pillow, shocked at how the effect was almost instant. Was it the remedy or the healer?
"You still need your rest," Fury issued this order with his acquired sense of military authority, shaking an accusatory finger at Havoc's face.
Havoc, too content to be annoyed, but rather bitter about having been gypped of a kiss, sighed and replied,
Cain gave a second glance at the ill one, too exhausted to put up a further fight as he pulled the blankets up to his chin, and he smiled, leaning over to plant a kiss on his forehead.
Havoc was more than a little surprised when he found Fury was intent on burrowing beneath the layers of sheets beside him, and he raised an eyebrow.
"What's this?" He asked.
"I need my rest too," Fury replied, shrugging and snuggling closer to make room for the both of them on the single matress, "The soup won't be done for a while now."
"You'll get sick too."
The other emitted half a yawn and drew nearer.
"I know. But it will be a better excuse if I really am sick when we take tomorrow off."