|In Sickness and in Health
Author: Kei the Average PM
Poor Captain Haddock is run down with a nasty cold! Luckily he's got good ol' Tintin around to offer some tender, loving care. Full-on Haddotin fluff-fest.Rated: Fiction K - English - Humor/Hurt/Comfort - Captain Haddock & Tintin - Words: 1,805 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 1 - Published: 08-01-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8384600
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Archie!" he heard a familiar voice call. Small hands rested on his shoulders, shaking him gently. "C'mon, lazy bones, it's almost noon!"
Archibald Haddock winced the moment the sunlight hit his eyes. His body felt achy and he could barely breathe out of his nose. He grunted as he sat up in bed. He opened his mouth to talk, but found himself assaulted by a coughing fit. Blistering barnacles, he felt miserable!
Tintin supported Haddock's back with one hand, patting it lightly. "Hey, are you alright?" he asked, concerned. "You don't look so good." The old captain replied with more coughing and another, annoyed groan.
"I'll take that as a 'no,'" Tintin chuckled softly. With his free hand, he rested it atop Archibald's forehead. The boy's eyes widened. "Hold on, I'll be right back!"
The lad quickly ran out of the bedroom, coming back about a minute later holding a thermometer from the adjacent bathroom's medicine cabinet. Popping off the safety cap, he prompted the older man to open his mouth, where he stuck the contraption underneath Haddock's tongue. About a minute later, the thermometer made a high-pitched beep to announce that its job was done.
"Thirty-nine degrees Celsius," the redhead said this as he eyed the thermometer. "Just as I thought, you have a fever."
"You must be joking!" Haddock finally managed to speak without coughing (of which was rewarded with a small fit of coughing). If there was one thing Haddock hated more than wasted whiskey, it was being sick.
"Well, that's what it says, clear as crystal," Tintin replied, nodding. "That bug from town must have finally caught up with you, mon cher."
"Probably wouldn't have happened though if someone hadn't left their sick kid unattended in the streets for us to have us go look for the parents in the middle of winter," the sea dog grumbled, recalling yesterday's events. "That little whippersnapper coughed all over me, no wonder I got sick!"
Tintin grinned, running his fingers through the older man's hair. "Well," he replied, "at least it's only a cold. You'll be back on your feet in a few days."
"A few days?" Haddock did not like where this was going. Sure, he wasn't a wily young adventurer like Tintin, but he wasn't enthusiastic to the idea of being stuck in bed with a cold for "a few days," either.
"Like, three days, tops!" Tintin assured. "Maybe less, even!"
"Well, more or less? Which one?" Haddock asked desperately.
Dodging the question, Tintin became thoughtful for a moment. His face made a familiar "A-ha!" expression.
"Just give me some time, okay? Have faith, I'll do my best!" Without another word, he kissed the captain's forehead and ran out.
"Do your best with what? Tintin! Thundering typhoons, w—cough! Cough!"
He felt like chasing Tintin down for an answer, but his body wouldn't respond. He looked at the alarm clock on his nightstand and grimaced. How was he still tired? It was blistering noon for barnacles' sakes! Still, he felt his eyelids grow heavy once again and gave in to his weariness, pulling the covers up over his shoulders and drifting off with a loud snore.
Just a while later (though in reality he had no clue how long he had dozed off), he heard a small clang of something being set down on his nightstand. He opened his eyes to see Tintin sitting at his bedside in a chair borrowed from the dining room. The item in question that Haddock heard being set on his nightstand was a tray containing a bowl, a spoon, a glass of water, a bottle filled with oddly-colored liquid, and a small, plastic cup.
"Oh good, you're awake!" Tintin smiled brightly. "I asked Nestor to whip this up for you." He picked up the bowl and spoon. He offered the captain a spoonful.
"Come on, lad! I may be sick, but I can take care of myself!" Haddock pouted, reaching for the bowl before coughing miserably again. Not a great way to prove a point, he thought in hindsight.
Tintin nonchalantly held the bowl away from his reach. "Please, Archie, let me take care of you. You're not gonna get any better by wearing yourself out. Now, open the hatch!"
Because he was fully aware of how stubborn his better half was, Archibald decided the smart thing to do was to just give in. He reluctantly opened his mouth and allowed himself to be spoon-fed.
Had anyone else offered to do this for him, Haddock would have felt utterly humiliated at the prospect of being fed like a child. And to a degree, he still was. This was definitely something he was not used to. He wasn't used to having someone who apparently cared about him enough to go out of their way and take care of him.
Whenever he or one of his crew members got sick in the past, they were mostly on their own, left either to drink or sleep the virus away (sometimes both), or just go on despite sickness and risk infecting the whole crew. And it wasn't limited to just getting sick, it was the same rule with everything else, too: every man for himself. That's just the way it was, and for the most part, he'd been okay with that.
But he wasn't quite the ragged loner that he had started out as, and he had Tintin to blame for that. The lad had softened him up, broken through his tough exterior like a crab out of its shell. He hadn't completely changed Haddock—he was every bit the same, salty old sea dog of his past. However, at the same time he found that he had become much more sensitive and even a bit sentimental as time pressed forward, on top of drinking much less than he used to before they had met.
The little redhead had let him believe that not everyone was treacherous and vile like Allan and Sakharine had been to him, and that he shouldn't be afraid to open up to people. He'd also taught him self-control and discipline, which were traits he had desperately needed.
Tintin had always been there he needed him—a pair of ears to listen, a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold, lips to kiss—a true friend and compassionate lover, through and through.
"Earth to Captain Haddock! Are you okay?" the man snapped out of it when he heard Tintin's voice. Blistering barnacles, Haddock thought, I can't believe I spaced out again! He guessed that he had looked like a total idiot, spacing out and getting all sentimental and mushy-looking while eating soup.
"Nothing, it's nothing," he assured. "Must be the fever not lettin' me think straight."
"Well, I have just the thing for that!" Tintin announced, reaching for the bottle and the little plastic cup.
Now Haddock understood—it was that nasty syrup medicine!
Archibald was already grimacing, which Tintin caught right away. "Come on, Archie," he encouraged, pouring the vile liquid into the cup. "I'll admit, I don't like this stuff either, but after you take it, you'll feel better in no time!"
The older man pouted. "Well at least you're honest about it. The people who sell that poison try to make it sound appealing by calling it 'grape-flavored' or telling people that it's got a great taste, but I know better. And I know for a fact that it tastes nothing like blistering grapes. Tastes more like gutter sludge than anything else."
"Well would you rather risk waiting this cold out and having a stuffy nose and coughs for the next two days?"
Shoot! The lad had a good point there.
Tintin's features softened. He held out the cup to Haddock. "The best trick is to just take it like a shot, and swallow it as soon as it gets in your mouth," he advised. "I brought some water for you to wash it down with too, okay?"
"Well, I guess when you put it that way," Haddock took the cup from the redhead's hand and eyed it for two seconds before putting it to his lips and throwing it to the back of his throat like he would his favorite whiskey.
However, one should know that whiskey and medicine have quite varying consistencies, so the latter tends to stay in one's throat longer.
The captain nearly gagged as the taste he had tried hard to avoid lingered in his mouth. Reaching for and grabbing the glass of water, he downed the whole glass in less than five seconds, finishing with an audible "blehh!" sound. He heard Tintin's restricted giggling from beside him.
Haddock faced him, smiling begrudgingly. "Sorry for all the trouble. I've gotta look ridiculous right about now with all my spacing out and sputtering like some—cough, cough!—loopy old geezer at the nursing home."
The reporter giggled again, reaching for his captain's hand. He looked at him thoughtfully. "Don't worry about it. I know you'd do the same for me. Also it sounds a bit silly," the boy admitted, "but this kind of experience is new to me—taking care of someone like this, I mean—so I wanted to make a good job of it."
So that's what he was talking about when he said "I'll do my best!" Captain Haddock thought. He smiled back. "Well, you've done—cough!—a fine job for your first try," he answered truthfully.
Tintin's mood visibly brightened. "Merci, mon capitane!"
The captain could feel a blush forming on his cheeks at his lover's almost childish gratitude. Before he knew it Haddock felt himself grow tired, letting out a long-winded yawn.
"Looks like the medicine is kicking in," the reporter said. "The bottle said that drowsiness was a side effect. Good thing I fed you first before giving you the medicine, huh?"
Archie yawned again, crawling snuggly back under the covers. "Rest well, mon cher," he heard Tintin say, but before the lad had a chance to walk away, he felt something gently grab his hand.
"U-um," it was the Captain's turn to be embarrassed this time, "If it's alright, would you mind staying here? At least until I'm completely out?"
The redhead gave him a warm smile. "Of course."
Tintin slipped off his shoes and crawled in beside his beloved, wrapping his arms around the bigger man's waist. Haddock heard the lad quietly utter something about the captain being nice and warm. He turned around and mirrored Tintin's embrace. Before he had fallen completely asleep, he whispered, "Hey, Tintin?"
"Thank you for taking care of me. You…you don't know how lucky I am to have you."
Tintin's face was buried in Haddock's chest, but the captain knew he was smiling when he gave a muffled "You're welcome."
The two then drifted off into sleep, nary an unwanted cough to be found.