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>>silent lucidity::

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Disclaimer: Don't own, don't sue.



Falco sighed, leaning his head back against the tiled wall and looking at his watch. Two in the morning. This was not how he had been planning on spending his Friday night.

While at work, Joey had remarked he had found a great gothy dance club downtown, would he and Leon like to accompany him to it, double-date style? And Falco, missing dancing, couldn't say no. Happily, Leon was delighted at the idea, and they had splurged on new outfits only days ago. Heck, even of this morning the plans had still been in effect, though Leon had work up feeling somewhat crappy.

They had been in effect until a little under an hour before they were going to leave for said club, which was when Leon dove headfirst into the bathroom and emptied his stomach. And had basically been in here ever since, apparently struck down with some sort of 24-hour flu bug. Falco had called Joey and explained what was going on, and the skunk was sympathetic, giving him a list of suggestions to try to rein in Leon's stomach, and asking if they wanted to try again next week. He had said sure, and now here he was.

Two in the morning, Saturday, taking care of his pathetically sick boyfriend.

He was startled out of his reverie when the toilet flushed, Leon sitting back on his heels and hugging his ribs with a moan. There wasn't anything left in his stomach, hadn't been for hours, and he was pretty sure he had ruined his new shirt, just to cap it off. Even as he sat there, the choking coughs started again, his body trying righteously to eject what just wasn't there anymore.

Arms wrapped around his ribs, and Falco pulled him back to sit against the wall, handing him a damp washcloth. "Feeling any better yet?" He asked somewhat lamely, lacing his fingers with Leon's.

"No." Leon choked out, leaning into him as he wiped his face off absently. "God damn, what did I eat?"

"I checked online. As it happens, there's a new flu bug going around. Cold-blood specific. Looks like you've gotten hit with it."

"Great, how long does it last?"

"At most two days, according to the medical websites." Falco took the washcloth and lobbed it in the hamper, standing and pulling Leon to his feet, dragging him to the sink. "I know you hate it, but use my mouthwash or you'll destroy your teeth."

"Thanks, mother." Leon made a face, nearly wretching again at the taste, only staying on his feet because Falco had his arms securely around his waist. "You have no idea how sore I am." He moaned once he had spit, leaning his arms on the sink, shivering weakly. "My chest hurts so badly."

"I can sympathize." Falco sighed and scooped him up, stepping sideways through the doorway with Leon cradled in his arms. Leon's only response was to tuck his face into Falco's chest, one hand curling into Falco's shirt. Falco sighed, stepping into the bedroom and setting him on the bottom bunk, looking down at the smaller figure. The shirt had already been discarded, leaving the reptilian bare waist up. He was wearing loose jeans decorated with chains, and combat boots. Leon looked back with groggy, half-lidded eyes, coughing more. "You can't sleep in that, no way."

"Mn. Probably not." Leon agreed.

"Pants off. Now." Falco crossed the room, going through Leon's dresser drawers.

Leon started giggling. "You have no idea how long I've wanted to hear that." He managed to say around another spasm of coughing, swallowing bile with great effort.

"And just think, the next time I say it, it may even be sexual!" Falco faked shock, setting a folded pair of sweat shorts and a tank top next to him — what counted as pajamas for Leon. "Regardless, I want you stripped out of your club clothes and in this by the time I get back all right?"

"All right, all right. Where are you going?"

"To make you some chicken broth and find the crackers. If we don't get something in you, you're going to drop ten pounds before this is over."

"Old cures work the best?"

"Hell, I'm flying by the seat of my pants here ok?" Falco spread his hands. "I've never had to take care of anyone anymore."

&quopt;I do note you haven't taken my temperature."

"That's because the only thermometer in this apartment is specifically marked 'not for reptilians.' I'll be right back." Falco left the room, coming right back with a large plastic bowl and setting it next to the bunk, then going back to make the broth, sighing as he opened his spice cupboard. It had been honest, he had always been the one taken care of when he was sick. If it hadn't been so late, he would have called his mother and asked for advice. True, Fox got sick a few times a year, but he was somehow self-reliant about it, somehow managing to take his medicine and drink enough water without being told. So, Falco was relying on half-remembered moments from his childhood.

He came back into the room carrying the steaming mug and a stack of unsalted saltines (damn Leon had weird tastes sometimes), and was pleased to see that Leon had mostly followed his directions. The combat boots were off, the jeans discarded. He now sat on the bed holding his ribs, still bare chested, but the sweat shorts were on. Seeing Falco's eyebrow lift, he huffed. "The shirt was too much effort."

"Yeah, right." He sat on the edge of the bed, pressing the mug into Leon's hands. "Drink it. I crushed a one-a-day vitamin into it. You need it, after what you just went through."

Leon grumbled something to the effect of 'bite me, I know' as he took a cautious drink, noted that Falco had already dumped ice cubes in it, and took a long swig. His stomach bitched half-heartedly, but it stayed down, and he sighed. "How the hell did I catch this?"

"I probably carried it to you from work. Apparently while only reptilians are getting sick for the most part, almost any species can be a carrier. And there's at least half a dozen reptilians at work." Falco drew a knee up, unlacing his boot absently, then switching legs. Exhaustion was starting to catch him, he 'd been up twenty hours by his count. "So on my part, I'm sorry."

"It's not your fault." Leon leaned on one of his shoulders, still drinking, almost choking when he burst into coughs. Falco moved an arm to support him as he nearly doubled over, wretching but holding it down. "Ow, ow…" He whimpered when he was done, and Falco sighed, rubbing his back with one hand.

"We need to try to sleep when you're done." Falco remarked, watching Leon pick at a cracker as he took off his boots.

"That reminds me, why did you set me on your bunk?"

"Two reasons. One, I don't want you lunging to get sick and forgetting you're on the top bunk, sounds like a nice way to get a head trauma. Two, I'm tired. I can't lift you that high right now." He sighed when Leon giggled. "Not that these things are meant for two people, but…"

"You could just take the top bunk."

"I don't like top bunks." He stood and grabbed pajamas for himself, turning his back to change. "So, how are you feeling?"

"Like complete and utter crap." Leon grumbled, working on his second cracker and finishing the broth. He could feel his hungry but ill stomach roiling, but he knew if it didn't come up in short order he'd probably be able to keep most of it down. "I hurt like hell. I don't think I'll be able to sleep."

"I can fix that."

"Oh really?"

Falco, out of his goth gear and in a t-shirt and shorts, crawled onto the bed behind him and flopped heavily with a yawn. Leon set the empty mug on the floor and threw the other crackers in the empty bowl, letting himself get tugged down, Falco snuggled at his back, fingertips trailing along his shoulder and arm, almost tickling.

"I don't get sick usually. Does it always suck this much?" Leon asked groggily, sinking into the bed.

"Mm-hmm." Falco, feeling the tenseness jittering in Leon's arm, sighed. "Hush now, don't you cry…"

Leon startled when he started singing, so softly he didn't hear the tune at first. He'd heard Falco sing before, it had been one of the avian's main pastimes when they had been stuck on the planet, but he'd always sung hard stuff — Iced Earth, Metallica, Rammstein. This song was softer, gentler, and Falco's baritone voice settled into it perfectly.

"Wipe away the tear drop from your eye… you're lying safe in bed, it was all a bad dream spinning in your head…" Falco continued trailing his fingers along Leon's bare arm, and smiled when the reptilian started relaxing slowly, unable to help it, being lulled into slumber. Leon himself was trying to stay awake so he could listen, but quickly found himself wandering in the comfortable fog of sleep, still aware of the warmth at his back, the arm that settled around his side.

Falco pressed a kiss to the bare skin showing on Leon's shoulder, sighing in irritation when Leon coughed in his sleep. It wasn't going to be restful, but at least it was sleep, he mused, singing even quieter, staying awake so he could make sure Leon was all right. "I will be watching over you, gonna help to see it through, will protect you in the night…" He trailed into hums absently, resting his jaw on the top of Leon's head. Leon was right, there was something horribly comfortable about sleeping like this. But then again, if they did what was really the point of the bunk beds they bought?

They'd figure it out. He wasn't in any hurry.

I-will be watching over you
I-am gonna help you see it through
I-will protect you in the night
I-am smiling next to you…in silent lucidity