PLEASE SEE INDEX PAGE FOR DISCLAIMERS & OTHER CHAPTERS
Chapter Notes: Written for the schmoop_bingo prompt "Sick in bed".
Chapter 20 :: Friday the Thirteenth
By A. Magiluna Stormwriter
++ Dana ++
The very thought of getting into a vertical position right now makes my stomach turn flip-flops that would make an astronaut puke in zero-g. And just thinking about floating in zero gravity further encourages the puke reflex. Just as I reach for the trash can, the bedroom door opens and Kerry walks in with a cheerful smile on her face, medical bag slung over a shoulder.
"How are you feeling today, Dana?"
"Get out!" I croak and gesture back toward the door she just entered.
Bad move, Dana Scully! The coughing starts again, and I am helpless to stop the spasms from wracking my body. By the time the paroxysm finally stops, I am drenched in sweat and utterly exhausted. Kerry's hand feels incredibly cool and comforting against my cheek and forehead.
"You're still pretty warm, Dana," she says slowly. "And I see the coughing hasn't eased up at all." She shakes her head, but the motion makes me feel nauseous again and I close my eyes.
"Seriously, you need to stop rocking the bed, Kerry, or you're going to be wearing whatever's left in my stomach."
Kerry chuckles and takes my wrist in her hand. "Well, that answers my question about whether or not you've eaten anything. Are you keeping anything down at all?"
"Monica's trying to poison me with Pedialyte."
"I told you that I'm doing no such thing, baby," Monica says with exasperation, her voice coming from the direction of the doorway. "I'm following Kerry's instructions to help you get better."
"Then Kerry's trying to poison me with Pedialyte."
That blessedly cool hand rests against my forehead again, stroking gently. "If I was going to poison you, you'd have been dead a long time ago," she replies, and I can hear the amusement in her tone. "We need to get your fever down a little more. Monica, can you go run a bath for Dana? Let's see if that helps."
I try to shake my head, but the thought of moving in any way has my stomach lurching again. It takes several slow, deep breaths to settle the rumbling back down. What in the hell is going to happen when I have to stand up and head into the bathroom?
"Oh god, Kerry, I'm not going to be able to make it to the bathroom."
"Don't worry about it, Dana," she replies. "We'll take care of it. You rest here while we set everything up, okay?"
"Really not planning on going anywhere while you're gone," I retort crankily, then suck in a breath as the bed lurches when she stands up. "Oh godů"
I must have fallen into some sort of sleep-like stupor after Kerry got up because the next thing I can remember is being set in the tub. The cool water feels like the softest silk ever touched by human skin. The realization that there's something wrapping around my body comes next. Oh, that blanket's going to be hell to get dried once this is all over. But I don't care. I'm finally feeling just the slightest bit less painful, and that's all that matters to me at this point.
"Open up," Kerry's voice intrudes on my temporary calm.
Without hesitation, I do as she says and swallow down the contents of the spoon's curved surface. "Mmm, lemony," I murmur.
"Good. You can taste something finally. Now let's hope this stays down."
Cracking an eye open to stare at her, I can see the bottle and spoon in her hand. "What is it?"
"Codeine-laced cough medicine." She turns to Monica. "Just make sure she gets this every six hours until the cough's gone. And if it gets worse--"
"Call you immediately," Monica finishes the sentence. "I know. And I'll make sure she gets the other meds, too. How long do I keep her in the tub?"
"Oh, I'm not leaving yet," is Kerry's reply as she levers herself back to her feet. "I want to see if this bath helps with the fever or not first. And now I'm going to go snag some of that coffee you have brewing out in the kitchen."
As she heads out of the bathroom, Monica comes to kneel next to me. "How you feeling, baby?"
"The water feels so cool. Thank you."
She smiles broadly and leans over to press a light kiss to my forehead. "You're welcome. You know I'll do anything to help you get better, no matter what it is."
"I'd rather not be sick at all."
"Yeah, same here." Monica has the grace to blush at the realization of what she's said. "But we'll get through this together. One cold is not going to kill either of us, even if we may feel like it will. If it could, we wouldn't have lasted this long, right?"
I nod slowly and blink sleepily. "What the hell was in that cough medicine? I'm exhausted all of a sudden."
She smiles and wets a washcloth to stroke it across my face and neck. Sighing happily at the sensation, I close my eyes again.
I really need to know what Kerry put in that cough medicine she gave me. I don't remember falling asleep in the tub, nor do I have any recollection of Monica wrestling me out of said tub and back into bed again. All I know is that her voice drags me out of the dream I was having, and I'm not sure I want to leave just yet.
"Come on, baby, wake up. Open those beautiful blue eyes for me."
Monica chuckles and strokes my cheek. "Now I know where William gets that from. And here I thought it was me and my love of lounging in bed with that beautiful woman I love."
"Flatterer," I mutter, forcing myself to open my eyes.
"There you are," she says with a smile. "How are you feeling?"
I consider that question for a moment before answering. I don't remember the last time I had a hard time breathing from the coughing. My lungs don't feel nearly as heavy as they have for the last day -- or is it more than that? -- since this damned fever kicked in. "I've been better, that's for sure, but I suppose I'll probably live. Or did Kerry tell you something different?"
"Damn! She was going to talk to Zo about making me their secondary," Monica says, attempting to pout and failing.
"You know, that pout would be more convincing if you weren't trying to smirk."
"Yep, you're definitely feeling better. Think you can sit up to take your meds and have some Pedialyte?"
Fear gnaws at my stomach at the thought of moving, but I take a deep breath and nod. She moves to slip an arm behind my back, her other hand out for me to grip for balance. We take it slowly, but I manage to leverage myself up into a sitting position. I lean against her as she shifts my pillows behind me before helping me rest back against them. Eyes closing in reaction to the vertigo, I force myself to take a couple of deep breaths, tensing as I wait for the lurching sensation of my stomach dropping to start. When it doesn't, I crack an eye open to glance around the room, relieved that it doesn't dip and swell like it did before that whole bath thing happened.
"Okay, seriously, Mon, what did Kerry put in that cough medicine?"
She hands me the bottle and I study it for just a moment, not seeing anything that would indicate this bottle has anything in it other than what she'd mentioned. Satisfied, I hand it back to her and dutifully open my mouth to take the spoonful of cough medicine from her. That faintly sweet lemon flavor hits my tongue again and I savor it on my tongue for a few extra seconds before swallowing it down. I also take the antibiotics that were prescribed, face screwing up at the bitter taste.
"Next time, this crap goes first, so I can have that yummy taste last," I complain before taking a cautious sip at the Pedialyte bottle Monica hands me.
"I think I can handle that." She reaches behind her and grabs an envelope to give to me. "William requested that I give this to you," she says and leans over to press a kiss to my cheek. "He also wanted me to give you that kiss and said that he misses you, but he's having fun staying with Jimmy and his moms."
The mention of my son causes my heart to clench. I miss him so much, but do not want him to get sick with whatever this plague is that I'm suffering from. As much as I hate to admit it, I am glad that he's enjoying his time spent with Alex, Olivia, and Jimmy. I can tell that Olivia helped him with his card. The penmanship of the word "Mama" on the envelope is all her. Opening the card, I feel the tears prickling in my eyes at the pictures he's drawn for me. Olivia's handwriting states that she has transcribed what William wanted to tell me: that he misses and loves me, and hopes that I'll get better soon so we can have ice cream together and watch Looney Tunes. Sniffling, I hand the card to Monica and reach for a tissue to blow my nose and dab at my eyes.
"Smart kid," she says, putting the card on the nightstand where I can see it. "I think once you're better again and definitely no longer so miserable, we'll have a whole day of watching cartoons, cuddled up on the couch. Think he'll like that?"
"Are you kidding? He'll love it, and so will I." I reach for her hand and hold it next to my heart. "Thank you, Monica, for taking care of everything while I've been feeling like death warmed over."
She shakes her head and tugs my hand back to press her lips against my knuckles. "Anytime, mi corazon. Besides, I just did what Kerry told me to."
"So when did my fever break?" I finally ask.
"About an hour after we got you in the tub. Kerry thinks it might have been something to do with the codeine in the cough medicine knocking you out enough to let the water cool your body down enough to break your fever. You barely twitched when Zo and I got you back in here from the tub."
I flush hotly at the thought of Zo seeing me naked like that. Kerry doesn't bother me, being a doctor, but Zo? Shaking my head to rid myself of the puritanical thoughts trying to make me feel more embarrassed than I should, especially living here at the Ranch, I sigh softly. "I remember taking the cough medicine, and Kerry saying something about coffee; then you were stroking a washcloth over my face."
"Yeah, you basically fell asleep on me then. I just kept doing what I was doing, and kept an eye on you so you wouldn't drown in the tub. When your fever finally broke, Kerry got Zo to help me get you out of the tub. You can be amazingly heavy dead weight when you're out cold."
"Gee, thanks!" I stick my tongue out at her. "You know, after the washcloth, I had this dream about living in a white pumpkin that flew around on the back of a unicorn. I think I was a mouse princess or something, and you were a unicorn. It was very sweet and happy, but also very strange. Stupid fever dreams!"
Monica chuckles and strokes my cheek. "Just be glad Rachel and Dare didn't hear you say any of that. They'd probably try to analyze what it meant."
I shudder at that thought, happy just to let the dream fade into the background of my mind. "So did Kerry say anything about how much longer I'm stuck in this damned bed?"
"Probably another day or so, just to make sure it's gone. And then you're supposed to take it easy for about a week or so, to keep you from having a relapse."
"I don't like it, but I'll abide by her orders. And once I'm cleared to live my life normally again, we're redecorating this room. I am so sick of this color scheme!"
Monica's delighted laughter brings a smile to my face, perhaps the first I've had since falling prey to this damned fever.