She looked so pathetic it practically made him sick.
Curled on the couch, hair mussed, and red nosed lay Kitty Pryde. She was wrapped in a large pink comforter, pale skin even paler than usual and covered in a fine sheen of sweat. The coffee table in front of her was covered in teen magazines and tissues with a glass of flat ginger ale and a large bowl of goldfish crackers taking up the rest of the space.
"Are you going to stand there and stare at me all day, John, or are you actually going to say something?"
"I wouldn't dare interrupt your concentration on Law & Order."
"Well your hovering is annoying, so sit-down or leave."
"Don't wanna get to close and catch your cooties," John scoffed, but made his way to the chair adjacent to the couch, grabbing a handful of goldfish crackers before flopping unceremoniously down into the chair.
"So, how contagious are you exactly?"
"No, but I feel like it," she let out a hacking cough followed by a sneeze as if to prove her point. "Dr. Grey said that's how the flu's supposed to make you feel."
"Why are you down here and miserable instead of in your room and miserable?"
"I figured I'd take advantage of having the rec room and the big screen to myself while most of the kids are out on that field trip with Professor Summers. 'Sides the couch is more comfortable than my bed."
"That sucks. My bed's pretty comfy if you're desperate," John trailed off, a smirk gracing his handsome features.
Kitty rolled her eyes, reaching feebly into the bowl of goldfish crackers and coming up with only a few.
"Did I say you could eat my crackers?"
John paused momentarily, goldfish centimeters away from his mouth.
"I'm hungry and it's not like we don't have fifty more boxes of goldfish in the kitchen."
"That's not the point John. You know, you can be so aggravating sometimes."
The pyromaniac paused thoughtfully.
"You know, when you're sick you're kind of a bitch."
Kitty let out a low growl, her eyes narrowed into slits.
"Ugh, I can't deal with you right now."
Wrapping her comforter tighter around her body, she stood up with all intentions of storming out dramatically. She had barely got her back straight when the overwhelming dizziness hit. Slumping back to the couch she closed her eyes tightly and groaned.
"Bite me, Allerdyce."
Kitty sighed and leaned forward to gently grasp her ginger ale. While she took small, slow sips John moved to sit next her, unconsciously taking out his lighter in the process.
"So, what's with the goldfish? Not really the most notorious comfort food for the sick."
Swallowing lightly, Kitty gently placed her glass back on the table, wiping the back of her hand across her sweaty forehead before answering.
"It's going to sound stupid, I don't want you laugh."
John rolled his eyes.
"I won't laugh. Scouts honor."
"Like you were a scout."
"Hey, I've got my Fire Safety Merit Badge upstairs to prove it."
Kitty's eyebrows shot up, but she just shook her head incredulously.
"You never cease to amaze me."
"Well, I'm pretty amazing, but enough about me, more about the goldfish."
Settling deeper into the couch, Kitty took a minute to gather her thoughts.
"When I got sick when I was little my Mom used to give me ginger ale and goldfish crackers to help settle my stomach and make me feel better. She said that the goldfish would swim around my body and fight off all the icky germs," she laughed lightly. "She was always right. I'd always begin to feel better after I had some goldfish crackers."
"That's not completely ridiculous. I mean some chicks are comforted by chocolate or ice cream, goldfish are your vice."
Kitty nodded and closed her eyes, happy that the school bad boy hadn't shot down her childhood memories.
"That's what my Mother used to give me when I was sick," John muttered. "Little graham cracker things shaped like basketballs and crap and you dipped them in frosting. Completely sugar rush inducing, just what a sick kid needs. After I had them I usually got sicker."
The bitterness in his voice caused the silence that followed his statement to be awkward and strained. Not knowing what to say, Kitty fixated her eyes on the television, while John fiddled with his lighter.
As he methodically opened and closed his Zippo, he watched her out of the corner of his eye. She looked so childlike and fragile and the small shivers he had noticed when he had arrived had developed into a full-blown shivering fit.
Hesitating only slightly John softly pressed the back of his hand to Kitty's forehead.
"Man, you're burning up."
"Fevers," Kitty snorted, leaning into John's touch. "Something that raises your temperature shouldn't make you feel so cold."
Lightly rubbing her arms she scooted a little closer to John.
Arching an eyebrow, he smirked, slipping his lighter back into his jeans pocket.
"C'mere Kitkat," he mumbled, wrapping an arm around her and pulling her into his chest.
"John, what're you…Mmm, you're so warm."
He chuckled deeply.
"Kind of comes with the territory."
The two teens stretched out on the couch, Kitty curled into John, his arms wrapped around her body. They quietly watched television, Kitty fading in and out of sleep as her fever broke.
"Thank you, John," she whispered sleepily.
"Well, Kit it's the least I could do after eating all of your goldfish."
He could feel her smile against his neck.
"You're a good space heater."
John smirked, "I'll be your personal space heater anytime."
"I'm going to take you up on that offer. You know, when I'm better."
"Lookin' forward to it Pryde."