A/N: This is the first of what will hopefully be many RENT!fics. I wrote it because I was sick and miserable and I decided to make a character sick and miserable and I love MoJo fluff so I chose Maureen. Ahem.
Disclaimer: I don't own Rent or the lovely lesbians.
"Maureen, wake up," Joanne's voice was soft in my ear, but it still made my heard hurt.
I groaned, rolled over, and ignored her.
"Come on, Maureen," she continued, unrelenting, "we've got to go set up for your protest, honey."
Finally I opened my eyes. My head ached, my throat stung, and my nose was stuffed up. "Joanne," I tried to say, but it came out sounding more like 'Joadd.' "I think I'b sick."
She shook her head. "Baby, it's winter, everybody has colds. We have to get going. I need to drive you to the lot and be at work by eight-thirty."
"I can't go adywhere," I insisted. "I'b sick."
Sighing, she put a hand on my forehead, with the 'fine-I'll-put-up-with-the-drama-queen' look on her face. Then it turned to a frown. "I'm gonna go get the thermometer." She was back in a few seconds, but it seemed like longer.
Joanne stuck the thermometer under my tongue and told me to be quiet which SUCKED. I don't like quiet. I kept trying to talk, which was a stupid idea because a) according to Joanne, it would mess up the thermometer's reading; and b) I couldn't talk anyway without either sounding like an idiot or the stupid thing falling out of my mouth. Eventually she just pinched my lips together to keep me from talking. I pouted, but stayed silent (like I had a choice).
And then we had a problem. You know how you can wake up with your nose all stuffy but sooner or later it gets less stuffy and starts running like crazy? Well, I needed a tissue, badly. Crap, I thought, looking around frantically for the box. It was sitting on the bedside table, and Joanne was in my way.
I tried sniffing spastically for a few seconds, which didn't work. Then I attempted to sit up and reach for a tissue, but she pushed me back down, shaking her head. "Lie down, baby; it's been almost three minutes." I struggled to get my lips out of her tight hold, finally just slapping her hand away.
"Maureen—" Joanne started to say, but I yelled, "I NEED A FUCKING KLEENEX!"
Or, I tried to. The whole not being able to talk thing was getting really annoying. The thermometer fell out of my mouth halfway through the sentence, so it sounded more like, "I DEED A FUCKING" –plink- "KLEEDEX!" I sighed and blew my nose, thoroughly annoyed by now. Joanne laughed at me, which made it worse. So I threw the dirty tissue at her, pulled the blanket up to my chin, and turned away as she retrieved the thermometer from where it had fallen on the floor.
"Hundred and two," she sighed, then looked up at me. "Oh, come on, Maureen. Don't be mad at me. It was just…funny."
I glared at her. "Was dot," I pouted.
She just smiled and planted a kiss on my forehead. "I'm going to go call Mark and tell him you're staying home."
While she was out of the room, I lay back down and closed my eyes. The headache was worse lying down, but I was too lazy to sit back up. I just lay there thinking how awful I felt and how I wished Joanne would get her butt back in here and snuggle with me—all anger already forgotten.
"No, Mark, she really can't come," I head Joanne's voice say. I looked up and she was in the doorway, holding the cordless phone and listening to what Mark said on the other end of the line.
"Well, I'm sorry, but you'll have to figure it out yourself…. Yes, I'm sure…. Yes, she's really sick; she looks and sounds horrible!"
I looked horrible? I sat up, checking the mirror across the room. Yep, I looked very horrible. I flopped back onto the pillows with a groan.
"A hundred and two, Mark. She's staying home." Then she hung up and brought me the aspirin she had in her hand. "You okay, baby?"
I took the pills with the glass of water sitting on the bedside table. "Do," I sniffed, meaning 'no'. "Come sduggle with be…"
"I have to get ready for work," she said apologetically.
I was enraged. "Work? You're going to work? What about be? I'b sick and I'll be lodely!"
"I'm sorry," she soothed, kissing my nose. "But if I don't go to work you'll be sick, lonely, and poor." So I lost that battle.
As she was getting ready, I listened to the toilet flush and the shower run and the sink drip. I was trying very, very hard to ignore the pain in my head. Half an hour later, she came to kiss me again, dressed and carrying her brief case.
"I'm gonna try and get off early, okay? Then I'll come home and see you," she said sweetly, resting a hand on my cheek and staring into my eyes.
I nodded. "I love you," I whispered through my sore throat.
"Love you too," she replied before walking out the door.
After a while of staring at the ceiling, I decided to get up and make myself some cereal. I had it all poured and was sitting at the table with my spoon at the ready before I realized that I didn't really want any. When I was a kid, I got strep throat all the time, and I could remember how bad everything tasted when your throat was as sore as mine was then. Disgusted, I dumped it in the sink and set the bowl down on the countertop, grabbing the newspaper before heading back to the bedroom.
The words were too small and they made my head hurt more. I couldn't even read the fucking newspaper! What was I supposed to do until Joanne got home? I glanced at the clock. Eight o'clock in the morning. Well, it was kinda early… I supposed I could… I stifled a yawn. Then I lay down again, under the covers. Within seconds I was asleep.
I don't know if it was the aspirin or being sick or what, but I had a really weird dream. There were all these guys in motorcycle jackets that said "T-Birds" on the back- you know, like from Grease? Anyway, they were all laying in my bed- probably seven or eight of them- and they were all moaning and groaning and holding their heads in their hands. Eight guys complaining about their headaches did nothing to help my headache. A couple of them were even smoking something—I wasn't sure I wanted to know what. Worst of all, it felt like one of those half-awake things, where you're dreaming but you're totally aware of how awful you feel so it's like you're still awake.
When I finally woke up, I heard movement in the kitchen, which totally freaked me out because I was a little crazy from just waking up and I though maybe one of those creepy guys from my dream had broken in. Then I sat up and shook my head like a dog trying to dry off, and realized that was a stupid idea. Sure enough, Joanne came into the room a few seconds later, carrying a tray with two bowls of chicken noodle soup, a glass of water, and two more aspirin.
It took a lot of self-restraint, but I managed to wait until she set the tray down before pouncing on her. "Honeybear!" I yelled, giggling at the nickname I rarely used. Then I realized something. "Hey, I can talk!"
Joanne's brow wrinkled, but she kept smiling. "Good job?"
"No, I mean my m's don't sound like b's and my n's don't sound like d's!" I explained. The letter mix-ups had been replaced with a hoarse, scratchy voice, but at least I could be understood now.
"Congratulations," she laughed. "Here, take this." Obediently, I took the aspirin before she handed me a bowl of soup. "I saw you didn't eat breakfast," she added after a few minutes.
I slurped a noodle. "Oh, yeah…. What time is it?"
"Twelve-thirty," she replied. "Looks like all that sleep helped."
My mouth was too full of steaming soup to answer. After I swallowed I asked, "Are you staying home?"
Joanne nodded. "I brought my laptop so I can work at home a little but, but there's really not too much to do." She gulped the last of her soup and just watched while waiting for me to finish mine.
"Mmmm…." I sighed, leaning back as she took the bowl from me. "Thanks for the soup, baby."
"You're welcome." She set the tray on the floor and slid under the covers beside me.
"So you're feeling better?" she whispered in my ear.
"Mmm-hmm," I replied, too comfortable for my own good. My eyes stayed closed until Joanne pressed her lips to mine. I kissed back until remembering that I was sick.
"Joanne!" I pushed her away. "You're going to get my cold!"
She smiled. "Then I can stay home tomorrow and you can take care of me."
"Trust me," I snorted. "It's barely worth it."
"Getting to spend all afternoon in bed with me isn't worth a little cold?" she asked disapprovingly.
"I said barely. It is worth it, but barely. This isn't 'a little cold'. It's a frickin' huge-ass cold. My head hurts and my throat hurts and my nose is runny and I had this dream about a bunch of guys from Grease smoking God-knows-what and—"
Joanne cut me off with another kiss on the lips. "Go back to sleep, honey," she laughed. Her arms snaked around me and I relaxed. My eyelids got heavy again.
"I love you, Joanne," I whispered.
"I love you, too," she whispered back.
"Thanks for taking care of me."
"Will you stay home if I'm still sick tomorrow?"
"Go to sleep, Maureen."
"Yes," she murmured. "I'll stay home."
I paused for a second.
"I really do love you. A lot."
"I know." She gave me a squeeze.
As I drifted off again, I decided it wasn't 'barely' worth it. It was very, very, very worth it.