Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts and I do not make any profit writing this.
Author's Note: Dude, I'm on a roll tonight. My inspiration this time? I'm-A-Melon wasn't feeling well, so I thought I'd write a little something to cheer her up. But she started feeling better half-way through my writing this. I jokingly told her that defeated the purpose of my story. But I'm glad you're feeling better, seriously. ^^
Warnings: Minor language. (Can't avoid it forever, I suppose.)
Squall hated getting sick, what was more, he hated admitting to himself and to others that he was sick. He was the type of person who couldn't sit around doing nothing, especially when there was work to be done. And there was plenty of it with the slow process of restoring Hollow Bastian to its former glory. So, when he was suddenly hit by one of the nastier colds going around, he firmly told the others he was fine, and continued work in the Postern, a little carpentry here, some welding there.
But after awhile, even he couldn't deny the rest his aching body was begging for, and briefly stopped his work to catch his breath and take a few quick cat naps. The other members of the Restoration Committee knew Squall needed to go back to Merlin's house and rest properly, so they sent out Yuffie, allowing the young ninja girl to unleash a torrent of annoying questions. Yuffie would get the chance to be…well, herself, and Squall would be able to maintain his pride.
It didn't work though. Well, not their weapon, Yuffie anyway. Squall's determination to keep working in his condition eventually got the best of him, and he passed out. The others were worried, of course, but relieved too, in the sense that he would finally be able to sleep and recover.
Squall slept for a full day, occasionally tossing and turning in bed, and when he woke up he felt worse than ever. His head was pounding, eyes and nose running, and his throat horribly sore. To sum it all up, he felt like crap. He could hardly gather his thoughts enough to realize he was lying in his semi-comfortable bed, and not working in the Postern like he should be.
"Oh, you're awake." The gentle voice of Aerith drifted into the room and he slowly looked over. She was standing in the door, holding a steaming bowl of soup, smiling softly.
"Yeah," He replied hoarsely, wincing a bit. "Now that I am I can get back to work."
Aerith giggled as she made her way over to his bed, placing the bowl of soup down on his nightstand. "The Restoration Committee's giving you a few days off, isn't that wonderful? Your only job now is to rest and get better. I made chicken soup for you."
"What are you talking about?" Squall frowned, pushing himself up. Every joint and muscle in his body screamed in protest. "I lead them. I give the orders."
"You're sick, Squall," Aerith put a tray down across his lap, ignoring the glare he gave her. She put the soup down on the tray. "I know you hate being cooped up, but you need to get better."
Squall didn't say anything. He did appreciate her helping, but he didn't want to be the one being helped. He wanted to get out there and finish his job. But…that soup did smell awfully good. Maybe just a few spoonfuls wouldn't hurt.
Aerith watched him eye the soup, his frown never leaving as he picked up his spoon and took a sip. "Is it alright?"
"It's—" Squall was interrupted by a sudden fit of very painful sounding coughs. He just nodded.
"Good. I'll go get some juice. Do you need anything else?"
"No." Squall coughed again, taking another sip of his soup.
Aerith busied herself with getting the juice, humming a little tune as she poured some in a glass. Cloud and Cid were sitting at the table going over some plans for the Restoration Committee, and drinking tea.
"Is dumbass awake?" Cid inquired. She shot him a look, never approving of his crude language and behavior, but nodded.
"Yes. He wants to go back to work."
Cloud snorted. "I hope you said no."
"I told him he'll make himself worse." Aerith smiled at the two men, briefly looking at the plans on the table. "How are you two doing?"
"Cid's drawing up some new plans for the Bailey. Yuffie, Tifa, and Sora are going to work on it." Cloud took a drink of tea. "What does Squall have anyway?"
"Sora's back? That's wonderful!" Aerith exclaimed happily. "Squall has pneumonia. It's good I caught it when I did. He pushes himself too much." As anti-social and stubborn as Squall was, she knew he would listen to Sora if he told him to stay in bed. Not many others knew, but she was quite observant, and noticed how close the two seemed at times.
"Yer damn right he does." Cid agreed. "He's more stubborn than those dang heartless. Serves him right. Maybe it'll knock 'em off his high an' mighty pedestal. Thinks he's immortal."
"Cid," Aerith scolded softly, covering a giggle behind her hand. "No one deserves to be sick."
"He makes a good point." Cloud frowned at the plans. "He needs to learn he can't do everything."
"Hn. Like yer one to talk, blondie."
"Shut up old man."
Aerith, amused, shook her head. She left them to their bantering and walked upstairs to Squall's room. Not a lot changed since she left. He was still sitting up, eating his soup, but looked like he could hardly keep his eyes open. She tapped her knuckles against the door. He looked up, giving a weak nod in acknowledgement.
"I brought your juice." She put it down on his nightstand. "Are you feeling any better?"
"I feel fine." His voice and appearance said otherwise. He reached for the orange juice, thanking her as he took a drink. The liquid felt good, cool against his burning throat.
"You are not fine. You have pneumonia, Squall." Though her voice was soft, she was still able to stress the severity of his illness.
"Hn." He took another drink. "How'd that happen?"
"You were being careless. You haven't been eating or resting properly. It weakened your immune system."
Squall sighed, choosing to say nothing. Aerith was a good woman. She played her role as mother-hen well. She was polite, affectionate, and honest. And she was protective, but not overly so.
"Sora's back." Aerith changed the subject, remembering the conversation downstairs. She watched him closely, looking for even the slightest change in his expression. His lips twitched slightly, like he was about to smile, but decided against it. His eyes seemed to lighten up a bit, and his cheeks gained some color. If it had been anyone else those changes wouldn't have been noticeable. Even Cloud, who formed a slight bond with him wouldn't have noticed.
"Great. Just what I need," Squall muttered. "Are you trying to kill me?" He didn't know Aerith knew about his feelings, and he certainly didn't need the others knowing. Even Sora didn't know. And that was how he intended to keep it. Which was why he needed to act like his heart wasn't racing 60 miles per hour, like the fluttering in his stomach was an effect from his cold, and the flush on his cheeks was due to the fever.
"Oh Squall." Aerith giggled, not buying his uncaring attitude for a second. "I'll go see if I can find him. I'm sure he misses you just as much."
About fifteen minutes later, Aerith was back, smiling that gentle smile as she opened the door and stood aside to reveal Sora. His heart beat sped up at the very sight of the grinning teenager. It had only been a few months, but Sora looked so grown up and mature now, like the Keyblade Master he was.
"Hi Squall! Geez, you look terrible! Aerith told me you were sick, but it's hard to imagine you sick. So how you feelin'?" Sora all but bounced on the bed, jostling it violently as he made himself comfortable beside Squall's feet.
Squall groaned, watching Aerith give him a wink as she closed the door and left the two alone. "I'd feel better if you didn't do that."
"Huh? Oh, sorry." Sora realized what he was doing and stopped moving completely, settling into a cross-legged position. He gave him a sheepish look.
"It's fine." Squall rubbed his face tiredly.
"Do you want me to go so you can sleep? After all Aerith said—"
"No. You can stay."
Sora blinked, finding that answer very unusual for the man, but broke into a grin and nodded. "Cool. So, you wanna hear about my adventures while I've been gone?"
"Not like I have anything better to do." It was the closest Sora was going to get to a yes. Sora nodded
and shifted a bit, deciding he wasn't comfortable with his legs crossed so he turned to face Squall and flopped down belly first, which shook the bed again.
"Right! I'm sorry!" Sora grinned, resting his elbows on the bed and chin in his hands, his legs were up in the air, swinging back and forth gently.
Squall shook his head and reached for his glass of orange juice, aware it was warm now, but he really needed something to soothe his throat.
"So, I'm pretty sure Riku's been following us."
"We went to the Land of Dragons, and someone dressed like an Organization 13 member was following us around. I even fought him. But it was a good fight. Like how we used to back on the Island."
Squall was growing increasingly tired. He put his orange juice back on the nightstand. Part of him wanted to tell Sora to get lost, but another part of him protested strongly against that. He struggled to stay awake, listening to Sora's slightly deeper voice talking excitedly.
"—And then emperor told us someone already warned him. I was sure it was Riku then." Sora grinned, stopping as he looked at Squall. He knew Squall wasn't much of a talker in the first place, but he jut seemed unusually quiet the last little while. He half expected to see Squall looking at the ceiling trying to ignore him, but he was surprised to see that he'd fallen asleep.
Sora laughed softly, taking great care as he crawled off the bed and stood up. Squall still looked incredibly ill, but despite his flushed face, red nose, and raspy breathing, Sora detected the smallest of smiles.
"Sleep well, Squall." He whispered, looking over his shoulder before leaning down and gently placing a kiss to the man's lips then he tiptoed over to the door and walked out.
Squall opened his eyes a bit just in time to see Sora closing the door as quietly as possible. He chuckled, his smile growing a little as he closed his eyes again, allowing sleep to take him.
Author's Note: Squall is slowly starting to get easier to write. I find his character very hard to portray, so now he's become a personal challenge. Him and Vanitas. XD So, I hope you all enjoyed this. Let me know what you thought. ^^