In Sickness and In Health

By: Ryuu (karma_aster@yahoo.com)

Rating: PG (one word, and no, I won't repeat it here)

Disclaimer: ReBoot, BobnDot, Enzo, and all related characters, and situations are the property of Mainframe Entertainment and are used here without permission, but with heaps of affection and admiration. This is a non-profit work of fanfiction and I'd really, really appreciate it if no one sued me.

Feedback & Distribution: Yes, please! Requests to archive and/or re-post can be sent to the addy above.

Notes, Thanks, Whatever: This fic was started way, way back before S4 aired, on a weekend when I was getting over a bout of the flu and idly thinking how nice it'd be to have Bob come nurse me back to health. This was the result (hey, it seemed logical at the time!). Having penned most of this thing, it got put aside and forgotten. I came back across it recently and decided to just go ahead and finish writing and typing it. Depending on your interpretation, this can either take place in a mythical, alternate S4, or after The Hunt at some point when BobnDot finally get around to talking about, and fixing, their relationship. This is fluff, but good fluff with sap, romance, and a melty-sweet sugary ending, so you might want to leave now if you're not into that sort of thing. I think I wrote some sort of time scale into this, but I'm not totally sure aside from "a second is a day, a nano is a second…etc." At least I tried to keep it consistent! I get points for that, right? Right?

Thanks to Meghan and Charisma for their invaluable help with editing and proofreading this thing. They're responsible for all the good bits, and any mistakes in this are solely mine. Further thanks go to Meghan for thinking up a title. Also, thanks to both of you for listening to my wailing rants about, "I can't write, I'm stupid, and no one likes me!" for superhuman amounts of patience, understanding, and friendship.

This fic is dedicated to the color blue.

***

"Hey, why isn't Dot awake yet?"

"Huh, that's not like her to oversleep."

Dot dimly heard the voices of her little brother and her lover drifting in from hallway. She put her hands to her throbbing skull and moaned softly. User…let me die…please, I beg you.

Footsteps approached the bed. A hand touched her shoulder. "Honey? It's time to get up."

"Ugh…I'm up. I'm up." She opened her eyes, attempting to focus.

"Hey, what's wrong with her?" Enzo asked. "She doesn't look too good."

"Dot?" Bob's voice was worried. "Honey? Are you all right?"

"I'm fine." Dot looked at the clock and groaned, realizing she was late. The green sprite gripped the side of the bed and started to pull herself up, every muscle in her body protesting the activity.

A pair of hands gently, but firmly, pushed her back down. She looked up to see Bob peering down at her.

"No way, Dot," he said, sternly. "You're staying in bed today."

"But I have so much to do…" she protested feebly, hating to admit that he was right. "I can't afford to take the second off!"

Bob shook his head. "And I thought Matrix was stubborn!" He tucked the blankets in around her. "You look like hell." He looked over his shoulder to where Enzo was standing in the doorway. "Hey, go get your things, buddy. I'll take you to school today."

"Okay!" The boy ran off for his room.

"I'm not that sick," she answered, trying to ignore the malaise that gripped her.

He wasn't fooled. "Right. Try that on someone who doesn't know you as well as I do. You can barely even sit up, Dot. Don't worry, Mainframe can survive without you for one second." He leaned over to brush a few wayward strands of hair from her brow. "Anyway, you don't want anyone else to catch this, do you?"

"What about you?" she muttered grumpily "Aren't you worried about getting it?"

He laughed and leaned in close. "I'll take my chances," he murmured, kissing her forehead and discovering that she was running a fever. "You're hot!"

She gave a weak laugh. "About time you noticed."

He rolled his eyes. "Wait a nano." He got up and came back with a damp washcloth, sat down on the side of the bed, and proceeded to sponge her face.

Dot sighed in relief and closed her eyes. "Now I know why I fell in love with you."

Bob let out an amused snort. "Not for my manly charms, huh?"

"Oh, that was an added bonus," she murmured, yawning.

He left off bathing her face and smoothed the blankets around her. "I'll let you take a nap now. I'll take Enzo to school and call in to let Phong know you won't be at work today, and I'll be back in a few nanos. Just give a yell if you need anything, all right?"

"Mmm-hmm…" she whispered, already half-asleep.

Bob stood and looked over the delicate sprite's peaceful form, a fond smile on his face. He touched her cheek in a feather-light caress. "I love you, Dot. Sweet dreams."

***

"Up next on Indy Winger…codependent numerals and the binomes that love them! But first-"

Bob switched the television off as a soft groan sounded from the bedroom. "Dot?"

"Bob?"

He got up and peeked in. "Can I get you anything?"

"Can you please delete me?" she moaned, clutching her head.

"Headache?" Bob asked, sympathetically. She winced and nodded. "Here, let me try something." He walked over and sat beside her, placing his fingers against her temples and gently massaging them and her forehead. "Better?"

She exhaled slowly, tension visibly leaving with the breath. "You're amazing."

He raised an eyebrow. "Just don't forget that, huh?" He laid the back of his hand against her brow and cheeks. "Your fever seems to be going down too."

"Thanks to you." She directed a tired but dazzling smile up at him.

"D-do you want some tea?" he stammered as the full warmth of her smile hit him.

"That would be wonderful. And then could we just talk for a while?"

A huge grin crossed Bob's face. "Do I want to spend time with you? You don't even have to ask. Do you want to sit out in the living room?"

"I'm not sure I can walk."

"Not a problem." Bob carefully scooped her up into his arms and cradled her against his chest. "How's that?"

"Mmm..." She rested her head against his shoulder. "This is perfect."

He carried her from the bedroom and tenderly set her down on the couch. Then he wrapped a quilt around her. "I'll be just a nano with the tea, okay?"

Dot reached up and ran her fingers through his hair. "I'll be here. Hurry back?"

Her face warmed from something other than fever as he responded with a slow smile and a wink before heading off to the kitchen.

***

"Raoul…I…I'm carrying your pixels!"

"But that can't be, Katriona! For I have been on the run from bounty hunters from the Supercomputer for the past hour!"

"What?" The overly made-up female binome gasped in melodramatic dismay. "But then who was it who made sweet, sweet love to me that night?"

"It was I!" Both binomes turned to find a binome who looked exactly like Raoul, aside from his evil sneer, standing behind them.

"Ricardo! My evil twin brother!" Raoul gasped. "But I thought you died in that freak swarm of nulls five hours ago!"

"You fool! That is what I wanted you to think! This was all part of my clever scheme to steal the heart of the lovely and innocent Katriona!"

The woman in question gasped and fell to the floor in a faint. The screen blacked out.

"Stay tuned! We'll return to The Love Hospital after a few words from our sponsors!"

Dot leaned against Bob's shoulder, laughing uncontrollably. He grinned down at her.

"Enjoying the show?"

She gasped for breath. "This is easily one of the most 2-D, basic things I've ever seen! Who watches stuff like this?"

He shrugged. "Well, apparently we do."

She laughed harder, aiming a fake punch at his arm. "Very funny!"

Bob merely caught her fist and kissed it. "Looks like you're feeling better. How's the headache?"

"Nonexistent." She grabbed one of the throw pillows with her free hand and whapped him over the head with it.

Bob quickly retaliated, albeit more cautiously, with the other throw pillow, getting Dot in the side. Before long, a full-scale battle was taking place on the couch, punctuated with laughter on both sides.

***

"Dude…what happened in here?"

Bob looked up to see Enzo staring around the feather-strewn living room in amazement. The blue sprite shook his head. He'd never known so much stuff could be packed into one throw pillow until it came bursting out.

"Don't worry, I'll clean it up." He shifted slightly, taking care not to disturb Dot who was leaning against his shoulder, fast asleep.

Enzo grinned. "Did you guys have fun?"

"Oh, yeah." Bob smiled back.

Enzo headed off for his room to dump his school things. Bob heard him heading out the front door with Frisket a few nanos later.

"Don't get into trouble!" The Guardian called out.

"I won't," came the grumbled reply, followed by the sound of the door closing.

Bob chuckled and shook Dot slightly. "Dot? Wake up, honey."

"Huh?" She blinked sleepily up at him. "Bob?"

"C'mon. You'll get a crick in your neck sleeping like that."

"But I like it here." She gave a drowsy smile. "S'nice…"

"Let's go." He got up and lifted her from the couch, carrying her into the bedroom. He put her into her side of the bed, tucking the blankets in around her. Dot reached up to him. He took hold of her hand in both of his. "How do you feel?"

"Better, thanks." She smiled. "Today was nice."

"Good. We'll have you back on your feet in no time." Bob brought her hand to his lips and then tucked it by her side. "You get some sleep, okay?"

"Okay." She closed her eyes and curled up on her side.

Bob stood up and started heading for the door when Dot's voice stopped him.

"I love you."

He turned around, smiled, and nodded. "I love you, too." He gazed at her for a few moments longer, a tender expression on his face.

Then, with a reluctant sigh, he left to clean the living room.