Written by Nikki Greenleaf and valkrys
Beta: beabeabea, thanks babe!
Discl.: We don't own anything.
Thanks to Damien for asking at the right time for an update :-) and all the others who reviewed :-)
Feeling like shit had reached a very new level for Ryan when he woke up with a gasp from his nightmarish sleep once again. Knowing he probably hadn't slept more than 2 hours he glanced at the windows to discover that the sun was already out.
He had trouble focussing, though. His vision was blurry and the pain in the back of his head was not helping either.
Crawling out of bed, Ryan was sure his skull had doubled its size during the night. Moaning softly he rubbed his eyes and got up.
Scuffling to the bathroom he undressed himself slowly before climbing into the shower. The cold water hitting his skin, trickling down his back felt good, giving him some much needed energy and seemed to clear his head.
Ten minutes later the cobwebs were mostly gone and he was glad that his vision was back to normal.
Inspecting the wound above his ear, Ryan noticed that the bleeding had stopped, but that pain was still radiating from this spot through his head.
Cursing under his breath he walked out of the bathroom and got dressed, moving slowly in order not to enhance the headache.
The bright sunshine hurt when he stepped out onto the patio and Ryan shielded his eyes automatically.
Shuffling down the stairs he opened the door to the kitchen, surprised to find Seth already sitting there, reading a comic.
Seth looked up, eyeing his best friend up and down, before grinning: "Morning."
"Dude, you look like shit"
Ryan sent him a glare before walking over to the coffee machine, ignoring the curious stare of Seth.
"How's your head? Because, dude, if you play your cards right you might get off all chores. Bad luck that the holidays have already started, you'd have so gotten out of class for like… at least a few days. By the way, buddy, I picked up the entire collection of comics of this crazy superhero The Dick. Dude, it's about s-e-x! I hated it before… you know… Summer turned up, but now it's like the source of inspiration and I could use some for college, so I thought we could read them all within the next few days and compare and… stuff. You know, you totally need to share more, I'm lost here with my one woman experience, man!"
Ryan was inwardly praying for a lightening bolt to hit Seth. Not to kill him, but to temporarily disable his ability to speak.
He could feel the blood pounding in his head, sweat trickling down his forehead, his hand shaky as he reached for the coffee mug.
"Dude, this is so not a one-man conversation" Seth complained.
Ryan bit his lips to not throw several nasty curses in the direction of Seth.
"Aaalllrriiight…." Seth stretched when Ryan didn't even turn around. This situation was starting to creep him out.
Actually, all situations where nobody responded to his talking did creep him out big time.
"You totally need to eat something, you look like a ghost. Here, I made scrambled eggs. And yes, they look like they've been eaten before but they're not that bad, for my first try anyway."
Seth got up, reached for the plate and wandered over to Ryan, who was standing at the sink, harshly gripping the counter, his knuckles shining white.
"See? They look really…. gross… but it smells like food – I think" Seth grinned, pushing the plate towards Ryan's nose.
Ryan clutched the side of the kitchen counter, hands clammy, as he focused on taking deep, steady breaths.
Seth's voice was a pointless murmuring in the background, as his ears started to buzz, and Ryan's fingertips skidded across the stainless steel bench-top.
For a second everything was silent, then Ryan saw the floor start to catch up with him. There was a burst of sound in his ears – thumping, blood rushing against his eardrums, Seth talking, loud and harsh, and the screeching moan of electricity – and he felt his knees connect to the floor with a dull thud, his right shoulder sliding down the cupboards.
He could feel his stomach churning, and leaned forward, groaning, as he felt a hand on his back.
"Dude?! Are you okay? …"
His fingers clutching his knees, Ryan retched, cringing as he felt the vomit landing on his jeans. After a few seconds Seth's hand started to rub his back, and Ryan wanted to ask him to stop, because it was making him feel worse, but all he could do was continue to cough, eyes screwed shut. There was bile burning up his throat and he could hear Seth telling him to try and calm down.
Shuddering, Ryan forced himself to breathe, with his stomach grumbling angrily and last nights pizza soaking into his pants.
Oh, how lovely.
Seth's sharp voice resounded in Ryan's head, sending another wave of nausea through his system. Instantly his hands came up to his head, pressing his temples in an effort to massage away the pulsating pain behind his eyes.
He more sensed than saw Seth take a few steps towards his parent's room before calling again.
Screw you, Seth!
Ryan's vision was blurring again when he tried to get up. Taking a few deep breaths and focussing on the task at hand he reached for the counter to keep himself stable. In an act of pure will he heaved his body up in an half standing position, ignoring the pounding blood in his ears, the sick feeling in his guts.
The kitchen roll was out of reach so he pressed a short "Seth" through clenched teeth to get his brother's attention.
Seth turned around in a swirl at the sound and gave him an incredulous stare.
"Dude, you look like you fell Death off the wagon"
Not trusting his patented glares anymore and hardly able to keep his eyes open as it was, Ryan tiredly pointed to the kitchen roll, desperate to get rid of the smell and disgusting feeling of his own vomit soaking through his jeans.
Finally, Seth's mind seemed to kick into gear and he rushed to Ryan's side, placing one of Ryan's arms around his neck.
Careful not to touch anything covered with Ryan's vomit Seth started to drag Ryan to the living room.
He was just not built for manual labor.
Stumbling and more than once tripping over his own feet, Seth half carried Ryan to the couch, where he breathlessly placed him on the edge of one seat. Letting out a heavy sigh he inspected the scene and finally opted to kneel down.
"This is as awkward for me as it is for you, trust me, buddy."
Seth rambled on, his head bobbing up and down nervously, while taking off Ryan's slippers before stripping him off the sticky pants. His finger tips were sweaty, the sight of the collapsing Ryan running circles in his head.
A silent curse escaped Ryan's lips when Seth helped him lay down on the couch on full length, propping up his legs with a few pillows.
"Better now? Can I get you anything? Or shall I get mum and dad first? Maybe call the paramedics? Do you need a bowl in case you're sick again? Ryan?"
Groaning, Ryan covered his head with his hands, willing for the blinding pain to finally subside and let him think straight. Even though he was lying flat on the soft sofa the room seemed to be spiralling around him, working wonders with the omnipresent nausea.
What the hell was going on?
Kirsten's eyes were narrowed as she entered the kitchen, dressed only in a bathrobe. This had been one of the special days when she got to sleep in with Sandy. He had blown off the office for the morning to spend with her instead, and she would not get it destroyed by the boys. Not today.
The feelings of frustration and annoyance vanished in a millisecond when she spotted Ryan on the couch, Seth standing over him, dangerously quiet.
Kirsten's breath caught in her throat, threatening to choke her.
Ryan looked awful.
His forehead was embedded in sweat, his hair damp like his clothes, sticking to his body. Eyes shut close, pain lacing over his face.
Instinctively Kirsten rushed to his side and gently pushed Seth away, taking over the situation. She barely noticed Seth's sigh of relief as she bent over, brushing her hand over Ryan's face.
He was hot to her touch and she felt the burning fever trickling through his skin.
"Ryan? Can you hear me? Wake up, sweetie."
A groan was the only answer she received.
Kirsten's voice did not fail to indicate what she wanted to know.
"I… I don't really know, mum. He came into the kitchen and was all weird, I mean, weirder than usual, which didn't make me suspicious, you do know about Ryan and his phases so I wasn't…."
"Uh… right. So, he was sick in the kitchen and… uhm… I helped him over to the couch. I didn't know what to do, mum!"
Kirsten's eyes noticed the frequent shivers running through Ryan's body, accompanied by a whimper of pain from the barely conscious boy.
"Seth, get your dad."
Not waiting for her son to move on his own she pushed him towards the entrée before heading to the medical cabinet.
Quickly searching through the tons of drugs stapled on each other she tried to ignore her shaky hands, the sick feeling in her guts she always experienced when one of her children was sick.
Grabbing for the medicament she had been looking for, Kirsten hurried back to the living room, collecting water and blankets on the way.
She knew she had to keep him warm in order to break the fever. Covering him up she prayed for the shivers to stop because they were seriously freaking her out.
Just when Sandy stumbled into the room, Seth on his tail, Ryan's eyes shot open. Kirsten tried to catch his gaze, but his eyes remained unfocussed, fear and panic visible in the dark pupils. He clutched her arm as his view was racing around the room, obviously not aware of anything.
"Ryan? It's ok, we're here."
Kirsten hoped her voice did not let on how scared she was herself. She saw him swallowing and once again closing his eyes. His face seemed to relax and when his lids opened and revealed the two blue eyes his gaze finally fell on her, recognition washing over his face.
Brushing her hand over his cheeks she soothed.
"Ryan? Honey, I need you to swallow those pills."
Kirsten felt Sandy brush by her side, helping Ryan up in a sitting position so he could easily take the meds she was offering him.
"Ryan? Are you hurting?"
The parents exchanged a worried look at the one-syllable answer. Ryan's voice was hoarse, the gritted teeth telling them he was definitely in pain.
"Ok, just relax, darling, the drugs will kick in soon. They should break the fever."
Remembering what she forgot to pick up in the bathroom she turned to her husband and hushed.
"Sandy? Can you please get me the thermometer?"
Sandy nodded and quietly left the room, but not before patting Seth's shoulder reassuringly, who was awkwardly standing about 5 feet away.
Taking a relieved breath when she saw Ryan's body relax and she knew the meds were starting to work, Kirsten got up and started for the kitchen.
She let go of the freezer door when she heard the hitched breathing of Seth, followed by a yell which had the blood freeze in her body.
Running back to the living room she swallowed hard at the look of Ryan, her heart suddenly beating in her throat.
Ryan's body was shaking terribly and uncontrollably, sweat trickling down his face, a gurgling sound coming from his throat.
It took a few seconds for her mind to click.
Rushing over to Ryan she rolled him onto his side, her hand brushing through his hair, trying to sooth the cramps that were shaking his body. Forcefully she grabbed his arms, trying to prevent him from hurting himself.
Her voice was barely recognisable when she looked up and spoke.
"Seth, call 911, tell them to hurry, he's having an allergic reaction to Tylenol."