Chapter Eighteen

Richie woke up with a groan and opened his eyes slowly only to snap them shut when the bright light burned them. As he woke up more he could feel hat his head was pounding so loudly that it echoed in his ears. With a small cough, Richie turned over and rustling of the sheets that covered him.

'Sheets?' Richie thought and opened his eyes slowly and waited for the room or at least the area near the bed to clear. He soon realised that his eyes were back to the way they once were before the city's depression started.

Looking to his right Richie could make out his glasses and with much dismay to his head; he reached over for them and slid them to their normal place.

The room became clearer even though his body complained of the mysterious illness that was wracking his body. He could make out that he was in a large bedroom with a window looking out onto the city of Dakota, which looked different to Richie. There was a doorway leading to a large bathroom then another that led to the rest of the apartment.

Coughing harshly, Richie quickly crossed his arms to cradle his ribs as he continued to cough hard from what his sleep and ill fogged brain could figure out, was a bad cold.

Trying to remember what had happened to him faded away like a bad dream leaving the blonde genius confused and tired from the developing headache. Leaning back against the pile of pillows Richie could see that the bed he laid in was in fact a large double bed with signs of someone else living and sleeping with him.

Focusing hard Richie could make out a quiet yet deep voice coming from somewhere in the apartment. "V?" He croaked recognizing the voice almost immediately even though it was deeper to what he remembered.

A small but warm light filled the corner of the room making Richie wince at the brightness and yet fear of whatever caused the warm light did not fill him. Soon the small light shrunk down to create an outline of a human but this human had golden wings.

"I am sorry to confuse you Richard but you have done a great thing by keeping the city alive even by sacrificing yourself" The light figure spoke softly.

"Yes Richard the light you remember was your and your friend's sacrifice to the city of Dakota, but you both have been rewarded with a miracle so carry on and live the life you were meant to live" The angel spoke before disappearing and Richie fell back to sleep, shuddering under the blankets from the fever that wracked his body.

Waking up slowly once again Richie found that someone had come in and took his glasses off while he slept.

"Hey Rich, I got to go with Batman… how do you feel?" A deep gruff voice spoke as the bed sunk down on one side before a cool hand rested on his cheek then his forehead.

"Terrible… how long have I been out?" Richie asked noticing how deeper his voice had become before a flood of memories swept his mind.

It had been six years since the fateful fight that had resulted in the death of Ebon and Hotstreak while Virgil and Richie, both spent the night at the hospital then nursed bruised ribs for a few months afterwards.

Then it was just a huge flash of memories and emotions in Richie's fevered mind until now, to him having the flu that he had now.

"Close to four hours, you're still feverish… maybe I should call Bruce back and say that I want to stay here and look after you" Virgil's deep voice said weaving his hands in Richie's hair earning a croaky sigh.

"You better go… I'll be fine here for a while" Richie said before giving way to a coughing fit, sitting up and hugging his ribs tightly.

"Easy Rich" Virgil said resting his hands on Richie's shoulders tightly before moving one away to retrieve the glass of water from the bedside table until Richie stopped coughing. "Here" He spoke up quietly, helping Richie lean back against the pillows and sip on the water.

"Thanks V" Richie croaked and held onto the glass with shaky hands, Virgil leaving a hand to support the glass.

"No, he's managed before I'm going to call him back" Virgil said with a small smile, "Besides, I'm not leaving the love of my life behind" He added with a small kiss to Richie's forehead.

Richie smiled, "Be your fault if you come down with this too babe" He said even though enjoyed the kiss from his partner.

"Yes I know, but I got a higher immune system than you" Virgil said with a smile and left the room to fetch the phone to call Bruce back from earlier.

Richie fought out of the blankets and crossed over to the bathroom, seeing himself in the mirror for the first time in while.

His normal pale skin looked flushed, his cheeks were red and his eyes were red and swollen with tiredness showing under his eyes. His nose was red and sore from where he had a blocked nose and from the tissues had rubbed at it slightly.

Richie's skin had a slight sheen to it from where the sweat had formed from the sweat and stuck to him and his light blue pyjamas that he was wearing. Sighing deeply, Richie walked over to the toilet and hoped that the flu would pass soon.

Virgil ran a hand through his hair as he listened to Bruce talk about the problems he was having with the watchtower that had only been up in its geostationary orbit for a year yet there were bugs being discovered now and again.

"Ok Bruce, someone must have surfed the net again and picked up a few viruses and spy ware… Richie left you the software up there on his last visit" Virgil explained holding the phone while making a cup of coffee for himself while talking to the Dark Knight.

"No killing Wally, think you would find out that it wasn't just him this time" He added as he heard a slight thud from the bedroom and rushed over to find the source.

Virgil found Richie with his eyes closed and clinging tightly to the doorway leading from the bathroom, "Hang on a second Bruce" He said and put the phone on hold and placed it on the bedside table before rushing over to his partner's side.

"Hey, take it easy baby… doesn't help your body fight this you know" Virgil said quietly, placing one of his hands around Richie's waist and supported him through the small dizzy spell that Richie had just had.

"Sorry V… just caught me that's all" Richie muttered keeping his eyes closed feeling tired and worn out even though he had only walked across the room to the bathroom.

"Shh it's ok" Virgil said quietly and helped him back over to the bed, laying him back amongst the blankets before laying next to him kicking his shoes off as he did so.

He pulled Richie over and hugged him close, "Everyone gets sick, so don't worry about it" He muttered soothingly resting his head gently on top of Richie's.

"Thanks V" Richie muttered before giving way to sleep that his body asked for so much.

"You're welcome Rich" Virgil muttered before reaching back over for the phone and took it off hold. "Sorry Batman had a small crisis here but it's ok now" He said with a small sigh.

"Yes, that's why I can't make it… he is my miracle and I'm not leaving till I am sure that he is well enough to be left alone" Virgil answered the question with a smile and hugged his boyfriend closer.

Richie muttered and rested his head in the crook of Virgil's arm where it met the shoulder, hoping that this dream wouldn't be the fevered dream he had just had glad to have Virgil now and forever.

The End