Just A Cold

Her nose raw from the hundreds of tissues she's used to wipe it. She can only breathe in through one of her nostrils – the other, despite being runny, is blocked. There's a tickling sensation at the back of her throat that comes and goes as it pleases and frustrates her on so many levels. It reminds her of Mal in a sense.

Speaking of annoying...

She sneezes once and then another time. Another time. Another. Again.

When she's finally able to sit back up without her nose sending her reeling, she sees Mal hovering in the doorway. Instinctively she glares at him but not before she jumps slightly at the surprise of seeing him.

"What did I say about knocking?" she manages weakly. Her voice is muffled but remarkably not as bad sounding as it could be.

Mal raises an eyebrow at her and thrusts his hands deeper into the pockets of his coat. "Did knock," he throws back. "You must've missed it what with all that sneezin'. How's that going by the way?"

She clamps her eyes shut for a moment and then opens them again. He's still there. Damn him. Forcing a smile onto her face she shrugs. "Fine, Mal. I'm fine."

Of course her cold decides at that very moment that it doesn't want to be regarded as 'fine'. A coughing fit attacks her body; she wheezes with every cough.

"Now, that don't sound fine," Mal says quietly once she's fallen silent again.

She looks up to find real concern showing in his eyes.

He shrugs again, sheepishly, and nods back towards the door. "Do you, uh, need anything? I could get you some tea or protein or..." he fades off and focuses his attention on the ground.

A smile tugs at her lips. "Really, Mal. I'm okay. It's just a cold."

"Yeah?"

"Once the meds I picked up planetside have kicked in, it should be only a matter of days before I'm at full health once more." Her eyes pick out the box of medication lying on her bedside table.

Really, she should have gotten a flu shot, but when one lives on a ship out in space, flu shots are often the least of one's concerns. There had only been one left when she saw Simon to get it and River had needed it more. The poor girl had enough medical problems without additionally getting a cold.

"Good," he says. "That's good."

"Yes," she agrees. She swallows and winces at the pain that results. "Was there anything else?" she asks quickly while she's still able to speak. "I think I'll lie down awhile."

Glancing up from the floor, Mal shakes his head. And then nods. "No, yeah. That's...sure. You sleep. Get better."

She smirks inwardly at his unease.

"I'll, uh, let you be."

She nods and watches as he walks awkwardly to the door and exits her shuttle, hands still in his pockets. It's only five minutes later that her world turns black and she falls asleep.

When she wakes up later on, she finds a tray next to her bed piled with food. It's mostly protein but there's a hunk of chocolate there as well since the crew have had it good lately. She smiles softly even as she reaches past the plate for yet another tissue.

Thank you, Mal, she says silently.

fin.