Disclaimer: I don't own the characters and I don't make any money off of them.
A/N: I'd like to thank my wonderful, tireless beta, ritt, for all of her help.
Robin Brooks stood in the hallway of the apartment building and softly knocked on the door in front of her. She waited in silence for what she thought was a reasonable amount of time, before pulling a key from her pocket. She hesitantly slid it into the lock and, taking a deep breath, opened the door. "Don?" Robin called out as she peered down the short hall to the living room. Hearing no response, she quietly closed the door behind her and made her way to the living room. "Don?" she called out again, not wanting to wake him if he was sleeping, but not wanting to startle him either.
As she reached the couch, she saw a blanket tossed haphazardly across the back, and a box of tissues and cough syrup sitting on the coffee table. Poor thing, she thought to herself. He got this from me. Robin felt the same stirring of guilt now as she had when Alan had phoned her earlier that day...
"Would you mind doing me a favor, my dear?" Alan asked.
"Sure, Mr. Eppes."
"No, no – Alan, remember?"
"That's a girl," he said. "Don called in sick to work the past couple of days and neither Charlie nor I have talked to him."
"And you're worried?" Robin prodded.
"Yes," Alan sighed. "Don hates it when we hover, but he also forgets to take care of himself sometimes. I was wondering..."
"If I would check on him?"
"See?" Alan chuckled. "You definitely belong in this family." He paused. "Would you mind?"
"I wouldn't," Robin assured him. "But I don't have a key to his apartment."
"Not to worry – I happen to know where to find one." Alan lowered his voice to a whisper. "It would mean so much to me – and Don – if you would do this."
Robin nervously ran a finger over her bottom lip. How would Don take it if she came over unannounced? Of course he had done the same thing a few days ago to check up on her. "Okay, Mr. – I mean, Alan. I'd be happy to check on him."
And so Robin found herself standing in Don's apartment, gazing around his living room and gathering up her courage to enter his bedroom. It wasn't like she hadn't been there before, but she'd certainly never barged in unannounced. She quietly knocked on the closed door and called, "Don?" Still getting no response, Robin's concern grew. Maybe Don wasn't okay. Robin pushed open the bedroom door and saw Don's bed, unmade and empty. Nearing the point of panic, she turned toward the bathroom – the last place he could be – just in time to see him walking out, naked save for a small towel in his hands.
"Don," she gasped in shock, though she didn't take her eyes off the muscular body in front of her.
"Robin?" He squinted at her in confusion. "What are you doing here?"
Admiring the view, she thought to herself. "I heard you were sick," she told him. "I was worried."
"My dad out you up to this, didn't he?" Don groaned loudly, rolling his eyes as she shrugged. "I'm fine."
She couldn't resist throwing his words back at him. "I know you're fine. But I wanted to know how you're feeling."
All signs of frustration melted from his face and he grinned. "Is that some kind of pick up line?"
"As a matter of fact it is," Robin smiled brightly. "I once heard it from a rather attractive man." She pointedly eyed his naked length. "Almost as attractive as you."
Don blushed as it dawned on him that he was on full display and he quickly covered himself with the towel. Robin giggled at his embarrassment as he grabbed a pair of boxers and hastily slid them on. "That's better," he laughed nervously.
"It's not like I haven't seen you before," she reminded him as she moved closer.
"Yeah," Don agreed. "But maybe I'm not so impressive when I'm sick."
"I thought you were fine?" Robin asked as concern crept into her voice again.
Whatever response he was going to give was cut short as the color suddenly drained from his face and he swayed on his feet. Robin rushed to his side and grabbed hold of his arm to steady him. "Dizzy," he murmured as she rubbed his forearm.
"Are you going to be sick?" Robin inquired softly.
"Don't think so," he said, shaking his head and immediately regretting it as the world tilted to the side.
"Don!" she called in alarm as she latched onto his other arm and held him close. "How about you lie down?" Robin didn't give him a chance to argue as she led him to his bed and gently pushed him onto the mattress. Don looked up at her with the most pitiful, heartbreaking expression she'd ever seen. "It's okay," she whispered soothingly as she pushed on his shoulder. "Just lie back for me." Don silently obeyed and closed his eyes as Robin smoothed a hand through his damp hair. "How about I make some soup for you?" she offered.
Despite feeling terrible, Don gave a faint smile. "Sounds nice."
"You sleep while I fix it, okay?" Remembering the gentle way in which he had cared for her, she bent down and placed a loving kiss on his forehead. "I'll be back in a while."
"Okay," he whispered sleepily. Robin smiled at him as she pulled the sheet up to his chin and cupped his cheek, noticing how angelic he looked when he was sleeping. She stared at him a few more minutes before leaving to prepare his dinner.
An hour and a half later Robin slipped back into the bedroom with a bowl of soup in her hands. She set it on his nightstand and carefully perched on the bedside. Don was still sound asleep, little beads of sweat dotting his hairline as he fought off a fever. He quietly muttered unintelligibly as Robin stroked his cheek. "Shh," she whispered softly. Her heart fluttered as he leaned into the comfort of her hand and quieted down. "That's it."
Robin was content to sit there, maintaining her soothing touch until Don's eyes cracked open twenty minutes later. He blinked the sleep from his eyes and smiled in embarrassment. "Sorry," he apologized.
"For what?" Robin asked.
"I hate being sick around other people," he grumbled.
"It's okay," she promised. "I want to be here for you." Seeing the uncertainty on his face she leaned over and gave him a quick peck on the cheek. "Now," she said with a smile on her face. "You get to try the Brooks' family recipe for chicken soup."
She helped him sit up and lean against the headboard, carefully handing him the steaming bowl. Don sipped a spoonful and grinned at her. "Good stuff."
He sipped down the last of the delicious liquid and handed her the empty bowl, studying her face as she pouted. "What?"
"You don't have any running down your chin," Robin complained.
"What?" Don asked in confusion. Then he remembered wiping the soup from her chin when he'd been nursing her. "Oh," he softly laughed.
"Guess I'll have to find another way to taste it," she whispered seductively as she leaned close. She kissed him on the mouth, her tongue pressing against his lips. He gladly parted them, allowing her access to his mouth. The kiss was long and intense and when they finally broke apart, both of them were panting for breath. "That does taste good," Robin chuckled and winked at him.
Don nodded as he gazed at her. She could sense his desire, but knew he wasn't well enough to do anything about it. Robin gave him a sad smile and patted his shoulder. "Slide back down in the bed."
"What for?" he pouted.
"Because you need to rest," she told him. Robin bit back a sigh at the petulant look on his face. "Do it for me then, please?"
"Okay," Don relented as he let her help him slide down until his head was resting on his pillow. "Happy?"
"Almost. I'll be right back." She left him lying in the bed as she went to his kitchen and grabbed a bottle of water from his fridge. Robin filled a large bowl with water and a couple of ice cubes and made her way back to his bedroom, stopping briefly by the linen closet to grab a washcloth. She delivered her supplies to the nightstand and slipped into bed next to him. Robin gently tugged on Don's shoulders until he was lying in her lap, his head resting on her chest. He peered up at her questioningly and she smiled as she dropped a kiss on top of his head. "Fever's up?"
"Yeah," he wearily admitted. "I'm pretty hot."
"You are," Robin breathed. "In more ways than one." She was rewarded with a short laugh from Don. Careful not to jostle him too badly, she reached across and soaked the washcloth in the ice water. Robin wrung out the excess moisture and gently draped it on his forehead. Don's body shivered against her at the initial coolness, but then he sighed and relaxed against her.
Robin remained silent as she slowly ran the cloth down his cheek, feeling a surge of joy as she elicited another sigh of contentment from him. She continued bathing his face and slowly progressed to his neck and chest until she was satisfied that Don's temperature had come down. She smiled down at her weary patient, who had dozed off during her ministrations. Robin dropped the washcloth into the bowl and lovingly wrapped her arms around Don's chest, pinning him to her as tightly as she dared without waking him up. He unconsciously snuggled deeper into her embrace and Robin's heart fluttered at the thought that he would seek her out, even in sleep. She placed a kiss on his temple, rested her head on his soft, brown hair, and fell fast asleep.
Robin slowly woke from her peaceful slumber, feeling rested but not quite ready to face the world. She stifled a yawn and turned her head to the side, frowning as something tickled her ear. She sleepily raised a hand and brushed her ear to move the strand of hair or whatever was tickling her. Feeling nothing, she dropped her hand back to the bed, only to raise it again as the sensation returned accompanied by a breathy sound. Robin brushed at her ear but her hand again encountered nothing but air. She paused a moment and slowly started to lower her hand, waiting for the feeling to return. As soon as it did, Robin – fully awake now – quickly batted toward the space by her ear.
Her eyes flew open and she saw Don next to her, holding his nose. "Somebody's a morning grouch," he teased.
"Oh Don," Robin said as she held a hand to her mouth. "I'm so sorry! I didn't know that was you!"
He laughed, a deep rumbling sound in his chest. "It's fine," he promised her as he lowered his hands from his face and sniffed. "Not even swollen."
"Thank goodness." She paused as her face lit up. "I'm glad to see that you're feeling better. By the way, what exactly were you doing?"
"Well," Don said as a slight blush crept onto his cheeks. "I was trying to be Prince Charming and wake my Sleeping Beauty with a kiss."
"On my-" Robin suddenly stopped mid-sentence. His Sleeping Beauty? There was that flutter again. She grinned seductively and wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him close. "You're doing it wrong," she breathed.
"Really?" Don's voice had turned deep and husky.
"You're supposed to kiss me on the lips." With that she pressed her lips to his and they shared a long, passionate kiss.
Don finally pulled away and rolled them so that she was lying on top of him. "You know what?" he whispered as he pressed gentle kisses along her collarbone.
"What?" she asked, slightly breathless as she arched her neck to give him better access.
"We should get sick more often."
Robin lowered her head and locked gazes with him, adoring the playful twinkle in his eyes and matching it with one of her own. "I couldn't agree more."