Author's Notes: Set after Josh is Done, which is probably the most highlighted episodes this fandom has got. Back in the day, I wrote so much freaking Drake and Josh stuff…like, for real. XD It's long gone now though, but I kinda had the urge to dip back into familiar waters. Let's see how it goes…
He is my most beloved friend and my bitterest rival, my confidant and my betrayer, my sustainer and my dependent, and scariest of all…my equal.
- Gregg Levoy
Four days after Josh being 'Done' with Drake, Josh felt everything was almost okay when it came to the two of them. He felt more relaxed and confident around Drake, and felt he had fallen back into their almost-usual routine of Drake being Drake and Josh being the better half of Drake. He and Drake hung out again, stayed up late, Drake went out on dates with pretty girls, Josh worked and did well in school, especially Chemistry, where he and Drake were once again lab partners. (The only reason the normally strict Mr. Roland let them switch lab partners twice in one semester, Josh figured, was because of his excellent grade on the quiz-and more likely because the man felt pity for Drake. But Josh didn't share his suspicions with anyone.)
Sure, a bit of his rash came back, and yeah, the occasional migraine or pinched nerve, but Josh felt that was small potatoes compared to the grins Drake sent him now, and the late night Blues Brothers sessions when Drake couldn't sleep, and the way Drake sat on the couch with him, right there, like he was afraid maybe Josh would suddenly get up (again) and leave and Drake was hoping he could make Josh stay by practically sitting in his lap. Not that Josh had even thought of leaving, but he could tell that if he wanted to he wouldn't be able to.
Not when…not when Drake was so...so little now.
The first time Josh had noticed it, really stepped backed and looked and went "Oh, crap," was only about two days after their reconciliation ping pong game. He'd come home from work one day, tired and a bit stressed with an ache in his neck that only Mr. Puff Puff could fix, and walked into their room to find his bed already very much occupied.
Drake had been playing guitar, on Josh's bed, (at least that's what Josh hoped, although Drake sleeping with his guitar wasn't anything too extreme compared to the other things he'd done for his music) and stretched out on the top of Josh's blue comforter, head under arm and other arm over pillow, lying supine with guitar rising gently on his chest. One hand was laced around the neck of the instrument.
Josh did what any normal person would do when they come home to find their bed taken without notice. He stared openmouthed for a few seconds and didn't blink much. He stuttered wordlessly in clear confusion, tripped around the door to get into their room and closed the door with a soft click. Most of all, he stared.
He tried to quietly mentally process the very idea that Drake had chosen his bed, of all places, to take a siesta in the middle of the day, and this was more than a little confusing to Josh. Sure, they were brothers; they shared almost everything from drinks to couch cushions. That came with the territory. But this? This was….is wasn't tremendous, but coming from cocky, self-confident Drake Parker? It was... concerning.
Like Drake had gone seeking comfort and Josh wasn't there so Drake had used the next best thing.
Or maybe Josh had smelled butter fumes for too long on his shift this afternoon and it had gone to his brain. Maybe he was reading into it too much. Okay, he was probably reading into it too much.
But that still didn't answer why Drake was on Josh's bed.
Josh walked closer, leaning over Drake, vest still on and car keys dangling from his hand. He tossed the keys carelessly onto his desk, and used that same hand to press the back of it to Drake's forehead briefly, a hunch crawling around in the back of his brain. He was given direct passage since Drake's bangs had arched back over his skull when he'd laid his head back. His brother's forehead was warmer to the touch than it should have been.
Oh. Oh. Now Josh saw it. Saw it so clearly he grimaced guilty. Drake was sick. Or in the process of becoming sick. His face was flushed, his normally fair complexion dusted with pink over his cheeks, making his freckles blend in a bit more. His breathing was all through his mouth, and just the way Drake laid there, so small and skinny against Josh's bed, made him look undersized and starved. He was clinging to his guitar like it was a teddy bear, the pick nowhere in sight, one arm curled around it as he slept on, oblivious to his brother bent over him, staring down with worry and affection in his gaze.
"Drake? Hey, Drake, wake up," he murmured softly, feeling bad that he had to.
"Mnhh." Drake's eyebrows dipped into a pout and his hand batted at the intruder gently shaking his shoulder. "…G'way."
"Drake, what're doing in my bed, dude?" Josh said, making sure to lace his tone with a teasing air. Drake wiggled away from him, hugging his guitar closer to his chest.
That's it then, Josh thought. He was just feeling insecure, I bet. And sick.
"Sleepin'. Trying to," Drake mumbled into Mr. Puff Puff, not really with it at all. Either that or he was too sick to care. Although, being Drake, he could be one hundred percent fine and still not care, so that wasn't saying much.
"Do you have a fever, Drake?" A low grade one, I think.
"Yeah you do, Drake." Josh reprimanded gently.
"If you knew the answer why did you ask me anyway?" Drake whined quietly, poking his head over his shoulder to stare imploringly at Josh, who was changing out of his work uniform as quick as possible.
"To see what you'd say. Now c'mon, get up." He nudged Drake up and out of his bed with words and tugs, lifting Drake to his feet, where he wobbled a bit unsteadily and wheezed at the exertion.
"Why?" Drake looked scared for just a second, as if maybe Josh was simply going to shag him up and out of his bed and leave him shivering and alone. So he leaned into his taller brother, slightly calmed when Josh accepted his weight.
"You're sick, you need medicine," Josh explained, as if speaking to a child. "C'mon, bathroom. No, leave the guitar." Drake waved back sullenly at Sally and left himself be guided gently to the bathroom, where Josh set him down on the toilet seat and began to fish around the top cupboard with both hands. Josh glanced under his outstretched arm to see Drake being held up by the wall behind the toilet. He looked like shit.
"I feel like shit," Drake whined. Josh hid his knowing smile in the cabinet and 'hmm'ed thoughtfully.
"You just get this today?" Josh probed after a moment.
"Huh? …Oh, yeah." Drake mumbled, staring at the floor. "After lunch. I came home early from hangin' with Trevor and I felt all…crummy." Drake placed a tentative hand on his stomach at these last two words, an action that did not go unnoticed by Josh, who hadn't found anything but Nyquil so far.
"So I came up here and, you weren't back yet and I was really tired and I couldn't focus on anything, not even TV or music, so I crashed…"
Josh threw him a gentle smile. "On my bed." He finished.
"That pillow is so comfy." Drake sighed wistfully.
"Yeah I know, why do you think I love it so?" Drake didn't respond with a quirky teasing comment that would start them off on one of their playful comments back and forth, maybe because he was too tired. Maybe because he was just simply content to be near Josh these days, after that whole fiasco with Josh 'dumping him' Drake didn't want to risk it.
"Did you take anything yet?" A shake of a head. "Did you eat anything since lunch?" No. An exasperated sigh from his best friend. "Drake, no wonder you're tired, no food means no energy. You hungry now?"
Drake shrugged, watching what Josh pulled out of the cupboard with curious eyes. He groaned at the bottle in Josh's grip.
"Sorry, but if you're not hungry than you might as well sleep some more."
"Aww, c'mon. Do I haveta take that stuff, Josh, it tastes like…like..." Unable to find adequate words in his slightly petite vocabulary to describe his distaste for the NyQuil, so he simply made a disgusted face that was somehow still cute and Josh laughed.
"Sorry, bro, it's all we got. It's too late to run to the store, I take it you slept through dinner."
"I don't like this stuff, it'll make me sleep," Drake whined. "Come on, there's gotta be something else, man!"
Knowing there wasn't anything else (and Drake just wanted to stall,) Josh poured some into the lid of the bottle anyway, knowing Drake, and knowing that if anyone could get Drake Parker to do something he didn't want to, than Josh could. It worked both ways. And Josh was not about to let Drake get any sicker than he had become. Not on Josh's watch.
"Hence the name 'NyQuil.' For night."
"What if I wake up at like, four AM?"
"Then maybe you'll finally be hungry and you can get something to eat."
"Brownies?" Drake asked hopefully. That earned him a look.
"No. Soup." Josh deadpanned. "Chicken noodle. And some crackers. Maybe. If you're good."
"How'd you know it was my stomach?" The slighter asked, trying to carefully, stealthily ease back from the lid being offered to him.
"Brother's intuition." Josh commented dryly. "Now drink it, Drake."
Drake stared balefully up at him with those big brown eyes and said nothing.
Drake closed his eyes and his lips even tighter, shaking his head. Josh was not going to wait for the immature beast to cross his arms. Drake was going to get better if it killed him.
"Would you do it for a Scooby snack?" Josh asked with batting eyelashes and when Drake opened his mouth to protest at Josh's total lack of coolness, Josh took the split second allotted to him to press the lid against Drake's stunned lips and pour the foul liquid straight down his throat.
Startled, Drake swallowed, but the next second he was hacking and sputtering like a wet cat and looking like a kicked puppy.
"D-Dude!" Drake gasped, grabbing a cup from the counter and shoving Josh out of the way to promptly wash his mouth out with water.
"Sorry, Drake," Josh ducked the half-hearted punch that was aimed at him, grinning like the Cheshire cat. "It was for your own good, you'll thank me later!"
"Yeah? Well, right now I kinda hate you." Drake grumbled and tossed the cup in the general direction of the trash can (missing entirely) and pushed past Josh, stomping back to their room with Josh not two paces behind him.
Drake flopped down on the couch in their room, while Josh wlaked over to Drake's loft bed, climbed halfway up the silver ladder and grabbed Drake's comforter off his bed with a quick tug.
Drake looked over his shoulder, mouth open in askance, only to get wrapped right up in his comforter, tucked in on all sides by his brother, effectively combating the shivers Drake was starting to get as his fever picked up.
Drake pouted at the mother henning from Josh, and simply turned on the TV and watched it, his brain going slowly numb as the show progressed. Josh moved off somewhere to the right of him, and Drake relaxed when Josh didn't leave his line of vision,
That was the problem with Drake Logic, you never knew what would happen once it kicked in.
"Hm?" A glance up from Drake's essay about John Lennon that he's proofreading, over to the couch, where Drake's head is poking out from under his brown comforter.
"You never get all sleepy this fast when you take Nyquil," Drake groaned.
"That's cause I'm bigger. It's going through your system faster 'cause you're tiny."
Josh tore his gaze from the essay again when Drake didn't squawk and complain about being called 'tiny,' frowning at the needy look Drake's whole body was giving off. Wow, the meds really were kicking in. If they hadn't, Drake would have pitched a tantrum at that remark.
"Want me to come over there?" There really was no use beating around the bush with Drake Parker and if his brother wasn't going to ask for attention then Josh figured he'd better offer it.
"Please?" Drake's voice was small.
"Yeah, c'mere," it was weird, Drake being all…not-Drake-ish. It was starting to worry Josh, admittedly. Though Drake had never been truly ill, thanks to his lucky star. Josh himself had had a cold three times in the past year, and the only thing he remembered wanting was to be left alone, all though Drake hadn't allowed him that luxury and instead, had spent the time stuck to Josh like a bur. Drake still hadn't gotten sick, even after that.
And now Drake wanted what he'd apparently thought Josh had wanted, and to be honest, Josh was more than happy to give it to him. How could he not? Drake was his best friend, his brother. The word 'step' was no more significant than the 'and' in DrakeandJosh by now.
As soon as he settled down Drake was all over him, wiggling into his side and pressing up against him, where they fit best, side by side. And Josh found he didn't mind it, kinda of felt…contented Drake was not being the Drake everybody (and he meant everybody) else saw. This was his Drake, and there was no one else in the world Josh knew, that could get the Drake Parker to drop his walls like this and be truly himself.
Josh paused a second in his thoughts, (wondered vaguely when he'd become so possessive of the slighter boy when it was so out of nature of him) then lifted an arm over the back of couch, creating a small nook between his chest, armpit and couch which was quickly filled by mess of auburn hair as Drake leaned closer into him with small noise of content, and went still as he watched ever it was he had been watching.
Drake had been still for more than a couple minutes, and Josh had not missed it. He glanced over at the musician, half expecting him to still be glaring halfheartedly at him, only to find Drake's head back over the couch, arm over the back, eyes closed. At Drake's stillness Josh panicked a bit on the inside.
"Jeez, that hit you fast," he admitted to nobody in particular as he hit the off button on the TV remote.
"Goldfish crackers?" Drake suddenly asked wearily, and for all Josh knew he was talking to their ceiling tiles, because that was what he was making eye contact with. Sort of. If you can call blank, slightly cross-eyed staring 'eye contact.'
"When I wake up, can I have goldfish crackers with my soup?" Drake asked, his weary, mumbling voice taking on a slightly begging tone as his eyes fluttered shut.
Josh grinned fondly and couldn't resist reaching out to ruffle his brother's hair. "Sure, Drake."
It's 2 am in the morning, Josh's alarm clock tells him when he opens his eyes and feels someone dragging back the covers and slipping in between the sheets behind him. There's no cold chill that hits his exposed back, so he knows it's a nice temperate night out. But Drake is shivering really bad like that time they vacationed up in Vermont and he forgot to pack anything useful for the climate. And at first, in his state of just being woken up, Josh is confused-and then it all rushes back to him, and remembers this is Sick Drake, and Sick Drake is suffering from a fever and a stomach ache, and now apparently, a case of the chills. Josh doesn't blame him for the sudden comfort seeking or the bed hopping.
Josh rolls over as carefully as he can without pushing either one of the them out of his bed. His efforts prove successful because the instant he stops moving and lies on his left side Drake is all the way under the cocoon of Josh's comforter and wiggling under it like a skinny little caterpillar closer to Josh. It's kind of cute, but it also breaks Josh's heart to see his brother like this, so he gives sort of a half smile to the dark and lets Drake shelter next him, as he usually does. When Josh wraps an arm around Drake's waist Drake shudders more and moans.
"Drake?" Josh asks softly in the night without thinking.
"'M so cold, Josh, make it stop," The slighter pleads, his voice muffled slightly as its current placement is nuzzling up under Josh's chin. His brown hair tickles Josh's chin a bit, and Josh drags his free hand through the soft strands unconsciously. Josh feels Drake's hot breath ghost across his neck in little puffs and swallows, holding Drake closer. Drake, who is now shivering almost uncontrollably, his teeth clacking together and limbs knocking involuntary up against Josh's.
"Dude, hey, you gotta relax," Josh tries in an effort to help drags the palm of his hand up and down Drake's bent arm and the small of his back to get heart circulating from the friction.
Drake doesn't answer verbally, but he tries to do as he's told. After a few minutes the combination of blankets and Josh's body heat seem to take effect on the cold teen, as Drake's tremors and quakes slow down to small shivers and finally, finally cease entirely.
At this, Josh pulls back, more awake than before and trying to see his brother in the dark of their room. Drake's eyes are closed, and even though he's sweaty and flushed and panting like he just ran a mile, Drake gives one last conscious shudder and relax completes against Josh.
Josh, being Josh, panics a bit.
But Drake, miraculously, has fallen right back to sleep, his body exhausted, his limbs limp. He's still in Josh's bed, in Josh's grasp, and it's obvious he had no intention of moving once he made his way to this brother.
And, a little vaguely, Josh realizes something.
He realizes that Drake's still Drake, sick or no, and Drake Parker is his brother, his best friend in the world, and the reason they were so close was because they were so different. Both of them thrived, for all they were worth, when they were with each other. It was why Josh could sit and do homework and Drake could play guitar on his bed and not a word would be said to each other for hours, until someone made a comment about Lindsay Lohan fighting Hillary Duff and who would win. And then, a few moments later, they'd be talking about something completely unrelated and still keep up it all without missing a beat.
Sure there was going to be shit between the two of them, it was a given.
-"You better love me for this!" And a younger Drake whirled back around from the door and kissed him on the cheek before leaving.-
And things were changed now, after that whole fiasco four days ago, after five years of being brothers.
-"Not THAT kindaof love!"-
"It was nice growing up with someone like you, Drake. I love ya, brother." Josh spoke lowly into Drake's ear.
'It's not Just Josh anymore. It never was.' Josh thought sleepily.
And Drake sleeping soundly now and sick, for just a while because colds don't last that long, simply slept on. After a few more moments Josh did too, and the world was all okay for a little while.