I've been waiting for the weather to get cold enough (at least where I live) for me to post this, because for anyone to fully appreciate this, they need to be cold. Or at the least, not hot. This is absolutely a pointless piece of fluff. Treat it as such. I've got some mini-marshmallows for my hot chocolate, and my blanket's fresh out of the dryer. Join me in reading, will ya?

Cold

I woke up to this odd sort of clicking noise. I recognized it immediately, but it took me a second to realize why.

It was the sound of teeth chattering from cold.

I wondered why this was. I was curled up nice and snug and warm. There was no reason for Pony to be cold right now, was there? I was tired, so it took me a second to force my eyes open to see what the problem was, and my stomach dropped immediately when I understood.

My poor little brother was curled in a ball on the other side of our bed without a shred of fabric on him except a pair of boxers and a tee shirt. He was shivering quite fiercely and I was surprised he hadn't woken himself up yet in order for him to steal some covers back from me.

Untangling myself from the blankets I realized why he was so cold. It was freezing! I was surprised I hadn't noticed, but more concerned with getting my brother warm. I disentangled myself from the mass of sheets and covers, catching a bit of the cold myself. I hooked an arm around my brother and pulled him closer to myself, refusing to move from the warmness of my side of the bed.

"S-Soda?" he mumbled through his shivering. "Cold." I pulled him closer as he began to whimper slightly.

"I know Pony, I'm sorry." I told him and he turned over and buried his face in my chest. I prayed quietly that he wouldn't get sick, but just as the thought came to mind, Pony drew back and let out a string of sneezes.

For as long as I could remember, Pony had always sneezed in threes. It was one of those quirky little things that gang would tease him about. It brought a tiny smirk to my lips even though he'd sneezed on me.

"Sorry" Pony sniffed before settling against me again and clinging to my shirt.

It hadn't been this cold when we'd went to bed. Darry usually wouldn't put the heat on unless it was below 50, but the temperature had fallen dramatically somewhere over the course of the night. I could still feel my little brother shivering against me as he tried to take in my body heat for himself. I still couldn't help feeling horrible, and I tucked his head under my chin and allowed him to use my chest as a pillow, rubbing his arms to warm him up some.

His legs were cold against mine, but I didn't mind, knowing they were getting warm now. I tucked in the covers around his frozen form and rested a hand atop his head, caressing his locks that were still a bit damp from the shower he'd gotten before bed. The smell of his shampoo came over me followed by the stale almost sweet scent of tobacco that seemed to linger around him constantly. He smelled so unique I couldn't not recognize him immediately. Pony smelled a bit like mom had. Very earthy. I think possibly because he spent a lot of his time outside and so had mom.

I was nearly asleep again when Pony let out another round of sneezes and nearly knocked the wind out of me. He turned to look up at me; sincerity and guilt in his eyes as he apologized again to me. I put my palm against his warm check to reassure him and allowed him to resettle against my side.

I began nodding off again, but something felt slightly off. My brother continued to shiver slightly and I could feel the coldness of his hand through my shirt. And yet, his face felt warm.

"Pony, you feeling okay?" I asked, the vibrations in my chest making it sound louder and causing him to sit up in displeasure.

I looked up at him as he shook his head, his eyebrows furrowing in pain as though the action had caused him hurt. "You feel sick?"

He nodded, a noise escaping from him like a whine. I thought about my options. I could wake up Darry and let him take care of the poor kid and try to get some more sleep if possible, but that was barely even a thought. Darry had to work both jobs tomorrow with about a 2-hour break between where-as I had the day off. Not to mention, I'd made him sick by stealing the covers off him.

I felt his forehead again. It wasn't just my imagination, he was sick.

"Lay back down, kiddo." I told him, and I swung one of my legs off the bed but before I could follow the motion with the other, I felt Pony clutch my shirt and lay against me.

"Pony, I'm gonna go get you the electric blanket from my old room and a cold towel for your head." I whispered, but he only tightened his hold on me and I knew he wasn't going to let me go without a fight. "Pony, come on buddy. I'll only be gone for a minute." The fabric of the pillows rustled against the pillow as he shook his head no.

I settled back against the pillows. Now that I had been woken up I wasn't even tired anymore. I could just as well get up for the day, but my kid brother wouldn't exactly have that.

At least Pony was warming up some. He stopped shivering after a few minutes and his breathing evened out and he went back to sleep. I was about to drift into sleep when something hit me.

"Ouch." I muttered turning over to see Darry standing there, looking drowsy. "'ja hit me, Dar?" He was wearing a pair of flannel pajama pants he had his arms crossed over his chest in a way that made him seem cold.

"Wanted to let you know that it got real cold all out of nowhere and it's snowing. It's coming down pretty hard out there. I don't think there'll be school or work tomorrow."

"Good, then Pony won't miss any school." I said, turning to check and see if he'd woken up. His check was burning through my shirt and I could tell he wasn't fairing well.

"Why? Is he sick?" Darry asked, leaning over me to check on him. Putting a hand on his cheek I watched his eyes widen. "Wow, that came on fast."

"I know it. I woke up and he was on the other side of the bed with no covers on him, shaking like a leaf." I said, and I lowered my voice a bit, feeling ashamed. "He wouldn't let me get out of bed to go get him anything so you wanna get him a wet washcloth? Maybe the electric blanket and a thermometer? Oh and he'll need some aspirin."

"Yeah, I'll be right back. See if you can get him awake enough that he can take it."

I felt bad about it, with him so sick, and I knew that he'd be upset when he woke up so I did it as gentle as possible, rubbing his arm and whispering his name softly. He moaned and rolled closer to me, gripping my arm and side with strength that surprised me and possibly left a bruise.

"Pony, I need you to wake up for a minute so you can take something for your head, okay?" I told him softly. I knew he'd do anything I told him to when I used that voice and he nodded into my ribs and let go of my side but gripped my arm, wanting to stay close.

Pony had a weird way about him whenever he got sick. It was like he got very clingy and needy for once in his life. Especially with me for some reason.

"Soda?" He whined quietly.

"Yeah baby?"

"I wish mom were here." He whispered, as if he was sorry it was me he was saying this to.

"Me too, Pony." I replied quietly, wrapping my arms around his shoulders, wishing I could be that for him. I sat up and allowed him to lean against me drowsily until Darry came back in.

He was cold, I could tell, because he'd wrapped the blanket around himself and seemed a bit reluctant to give it up when he got to our bedside. "Pony, let me check your temperature buddy." Darry said real softly. Pony nodded weakly and permitted Darry to put the thermometer under his tongue. He plugged the blanket into the outlet besides our bed and hastily pulled back the covers that were wrapped around our little brother. He whined in protest and pressed himself against me even further, but Darry was quick to replace our blankets with the warming one, followed by the originals.

Darry exited the room soon after, for the Tylenol, I assumed, and I pulled the thermometer out of my little brother's mouth to check it. "101…" I muttered to myself, trying to remember what that meant as far as being sick was concerned. I eyed him with concern. He didn't look like he was dying, so I tried to relax and told myself everything was going to be fine.

"What's it say?" Darry asked, coming into the room with a glass of water and the bottle of painkillers.

"101." I reported, handing it back to him so he could put it somewhere else. Pony was quick to reach out for the bottle, struggling to unscrew it. He'd over turned the bottle and was putting his hand to his mouth without even checking to see how many he'd pulled out but Darry grabbed his wrist.

"Easy there, kiddo. Open your hand." He demanded, and when he did we both looked to see 6 pills lying out in his palm. "Nuh uh." Darry said, pulling three of them away. "You wanna get even more sick? Cause that's what's gonna happen if you take all them."

Pony didn't even react, just slapped his hand to his mouth, took a sip and tilted backwards. He handed the cup back to our brother and attempted to curl himself up in my lap. I smiled gently at his form beneath the blankets and gave Darry a soft smile, stroking the kid's hair.

Darry smirked a bit, but looked increasingly uncomfortable at the temperature decrease and his lack of a shirt. "Oh for god's sake, Dar. Would you just get under some blankets all ready?"


A/N: My grandmother has come to stay with us until Thanksgiving (at which time I can drive her over to my aunts, come home and then relax in my empty house – which won't stay that way for long if you get what I'm saying) so I've been hoisted out of my own room to sleep on the 9 year old sofa. My computer is closing in on my sofa age wise, so if I move it slightly, it will bite me because it's a heaping pile of crap that I love dearly and can't stand to get rid of. My grandmother hurt her foot and needs to sleep in my bed so I had to post this now and forever hold my peace. Thanks for reading.