Author's Note: This is for narnia_in_space on LiveJournal, also known as Shade's Ninde here on . He writes AMAZING fanfiction, amazing, a million times better than anything I could ever write, and when he went on the anon meme asking for a pick-me-up fic with the team helping each other while the other is down, how could I deny him this plot bunny with his favorite ship, Roy/Kaldur? And, as usual, this got away from me. *sigh* It was SUPPOSED to be a drabble, and then it turned into THIS. WHY CAN I NEVER WRITE ANYTHING SHORT?
I'm no good at writing all-out slash, but I think I did the pre-slashy-sort of thing here pretty good, right?
Kaldur stood, pensive, anxious, in front of the med bay door, contemplating whether or not he should enter.
On the one hand, it was more than likely that Roy was resting, and Kaldur didn't want to disturb him. The last thing he wanted to do was wake him and have him attempt to leave, insisting that he was 'fine' and that he 'didn't need to be babied'. It had been difficult enough convincing the deliriously sick teen to seek medical attention, and after quite a bit of arguing, Roy had settled for allowing himself to be treated at the mountain instead of a hospital or by the league itself. He was so unbelievably stubborn! Normally, Kaldur could get Roy to listen to reason after a bit of persistence on his own part, but this time, it was only thanks to Kid Flash and Robin's presences that he could have gotten Roy out of his apartment at all.
It was thanks to Robin that this arrangement was even possible – he had called someone he referred to as a 'friend', dubbed 'Agent A', to come look at Roy at the mountain. Wally had sealed the deal by picking Roy up (rather awkwardly, Kaldur might add) and dashing him to the nearest Zeta teleporter, barely giving him any time to continue his protests. They'd gotten him into a bed in the cave in record time.
On the other hand, he could be awake, stewing away in his own thoughts, berating himself for his weakness and for getting the team involved. Kaldur knew he would think these things, and he wanted to stomp out those thoughts as quickly as possible. Roy was his, their, friend, and they wouldn't just allow him to waste away in his unkempt apartment, running his nearly 106° degree fever, which may or may not have been caused by a concussion he'd let go untreated after patrol one night.
Both Kid Flash and Robin had left not too long ago; it was very late, and Wally had promised his parents he would be home before dawn tonight, while Agent A had insisted that Robin return home, citing some reason or another that the Boy Wonder couldn't argue with. Miss Martian and Superboy were both somewhere in the mountain, probably sleeping – M'gann had expressed some concern for Red Arrow when they had brought him in, but one thing led to another and she had eventually left them to their own devices.
Or, perhaps she wasn't sleeping.
Kaldur turned sharply, startled out of his thoughts, to see M'gann settling her feet onto the stone floor behind him, smiling softly, carrying a food tray with various warm edibles, including soup, along with what looked like medicine. "Miss Martian…you weren't resting?"
She gave him a semi-apologetic look. "No. I didn't want to get in your way, but I wanted to help, so I asked Agent A what I could do, and he told me how make some food for Red Arrow that would be good for him. Oh! And some medicine that Agent A said he should take when he wakes up."
Kaldur just stood there and blinked at her for a moment, somewhat floored by the kindness she showed for someone who she didn't really know all that well. "Thank you. That was incredibly sweet of you. I'm sure he'll be delighted."
"Oh, I know he won't be, you don't have to pretend," she said, smiling at him some more. "I may not know Red Arrow all that well, but even I can see how stubborn he is!" M'gann giggled, and Kaldur finally got a hold of himself and took the tray from her, feeling rather rude for not doing so sooner, making her stand there with a heavy tray as she talked. M'gann nodded her head in thanks. "But I know how important he is to you and the other boys, and he's an important ally to the team. I think that's reason enough to help, right?"
"I suppose so. Still, I cannot thank you enough," he said. Kaldur smiled at her, then turned around to once again decide how he should go about entering the med bay, now with a tray of warm food in his hands.
"Oh! I'll get that for you. You were planning on going in, right?" M'gann said. Before Kaldur could even decide if he wanted to protest, the door unlocked and swung open on its own. Kaldur stood in the doorway, still indecisive, but M'gann gave him an encouraging look, said "Good luck!", winked at him, and then waved goodbye as she floated away.
Kaldur decided not to ponder over what that wink might have meant, and finally walked into the sterile medical room.
Roy was, after all, lying asleep under the white sheets of the bed, face still flushed from fever, but thankfully doing much better than when they had first found him late that afternoon.
It hadn't been unlike Roy to skip out on agreed meet-up times, but that afternoon had been a rare occasion for the four of them to spend time together, and both Wally and Robin had wanted to check on him, admittedly more out of irritation than of worry. That had changed when they had arrived at his apartment, only to find it unlocked and Roy sprawled on the floor next to his bed, tangled in his sheets and about ready to throw up all over them, muttering something about 'stupid flirty cats' under his breath. He'd nearly attacked them in his delirium, but let's just say his coordination was seriously off, and he'd almost ended up bashing his head in on a chair. Thankfully, Wally had caught him before any more serious damage could be done, and they'd proceeded to assess his condition whilst Roy tried to fight them off, slurring his sentences and throwing weak, easily-dodged punches at them.
"Jesus, he's burning up!" Wally had exclaimed after putting the back of his hand against Roy's forehead.
"Wow, Wally, that's totally unexpected, seeing as his face is red as a tomato, and he probably thinks we're bubblegum pink enemy monkeys or something," Robin had retorted, holding down Roy's legs.
"Can we please focus on the matter at hand?" Kaldur had shouted. Robin and Wally snapped to attention, concentrating on holding Roy down on the bed as he tried to fight them more violently.
"Leggo a me, ya…ya fuckers, I'll…" Roy had slurred under his breath.
"I don't know how much we can do without medicine, but we should try and cool him down!" Wally had said.
"I'll get some water from the tap," Kaldur had then taken out his water bearers, and water came gushing out of the sink in Roy's tiny kitchen, flying over to Kaldur, who then directed it into a large bowl that Robin had somehow managed to run and get. Some of the water made its way to Roy's forehead, cooling and soothing him somewhat. "Please be calm, friend, you are safe," he had soothed to Roy, calming him.
"…Kal…?" Roy had finally mumbled, appearing to come to his senses somewhat. Wally had retrieved a washcloth from the bathroom and dipped it into the bowl of cold water, and had then proceeded to wet down Roy's face, neck, and torso. Kaldur had kept changing the water swirling itself over Roy's forehead in order to keep it as cold as possible.
"We're here, Roy," said Robin, who had just got back from the kitchen with a bowl full of ice and more towels. Robin put some of the ice in the water bowl, and wrapped some more in a towel, placing it on Roy's chest. The sick red-head was calm now, so Kaldur removed the swirling, soothing water from his forehead, allowing Robin to put another towel full of ice onto it, cooling him more effectively.
They'd maintained this for a while, relieved that they were no longer being fought against, until Roy was able to talk to them. "Shit, guys, what're you doing here…?"
Robin had taken out some device from his utility belt (that Wally probably was silently scoffing that he still had on him), no doubt taking Roy's temperature. "Oh, you mean besides keeping you from attacking your own reflection in delirium? Or besides keeping you from spontaneously combusting from your…105.6 degree fever?! HOLY SHIT, Roy!" all three impromptu nurses had stumbled over this news. "How are you even conscious?!"
Wally and Robin had been beside themselves. "We need to get you to a hospital, like, NOW!" Wally abandoned Roy's bedside to rush for a phone. "I'm calling an ambulance!"
"What? No! Don't you dare, Wally!" Roy had sat straight up as soon as he absorbed the sight of Wally dialing 911. Before Robin or Kaldur could stop him, he'd somehow leapt off of the bed and snatched the phone from Wally's hand, hanging it up violently before it could begin calling. Wally had then had to catch him and hold him steady as he swayed on the spot and nearly collapsed in a heap on the floor. He hadn't protested too much as Wally carefully guided him back to the bed, obviously in pain with a pounding headache, or some other such discomfort.
"What the hell's wrong with you, Roy?" Wally said, trying to not let the frustration enter his voice, without succeeding. "Scratch that, it's obvious what's wrong with you. You can't be expected to know up from down right now, let alone figure out how to help yourself. So let us help you!" Roy had shoved Wally away as soon as he was back on the bed, but didn't have the energy to stop Kaldur from lying him back down, or Robin from replacing the towels with ice on his chest and forehead. Wally had had a look of excruciating worry and rejection on his face before it morphed into something more frustrated. "Why won't you let us help you?!"
"I don't need your help!" Roy had said. "I'm not a baby…I can take care of myself…I don't need you, or Ollie, or anybody…" he'd groaned burying his head into his pillow, trying to get comfortable. He reached his hand up and held the ice towel more firmly in place on his forehead. "…m'fine…"
Kaldur had sighed, feeling just as frustrated as his friends. "I beg to differ," he had said, re-wetting a towel and attempting to dampen Roy's face and neck again, only to have him shy away from his touch. Kaldur's hands hesitated, but he proceeded to continue to cool his friend down anyway, as he was too weak to protest further. "I understand that you do not want to rely on others, friend, but you have to realize that your fever could quickly become life-threatening if we do not do something about it. You are too weak and delirious to take care of yourself. What can we do to convince you to let us take you to the hospital?"
"…no hospitals. Hate hospitals…"
"How about the league, then?" Wally had proposed. "We could call Green Arrow-"
"FUCK Ollie, no WAY-"
"O-or Batman!" he quickly added. "Or…Martian Manhanter! Or anybody! The league could fix you up faster than any hospital, anyway! Right?" He had looked to Kaldur and Robin for assurance. Kaldur hadn't been positive about that, but he'd been willing to support any alternative. Robin had had a contemplative look on his face, and hadn't responded.
"Fuck the league…" Roy had groaned. "I split from them anyway. Don't want any part of them. I'm on my own now…why would they pay to help me? They shouldn't…I don't want 'em to…"
Kaldur had felt like screaming and punching something, but he had kept that impulse buried very deep down. "Well, we do not want you dyeing on us, so you are going to have to let us take you to someone who can help you. As much as we would like to, we cannot treat something this serious on our own. You need professional help."
"…why don't you guys just leave me alone? Why did you…you even come here?"
"You blew us off at the pizza place in Central, dude," said Wally. "You promised you'd show this time, but you didn't, and now it's obvious why."
"…shit, I remember now…" Roy closed his eyes, looking sincerely regretful. "Shit, guys, I…I didn't…"
"There is no need for apologies," said Kaldur. "We would not have wanted you to come in your current condition. Now, we are only worried for your well-being."
"Why'd I hafta get sick…?" Roy mumbled. "Didn't wanna blow you guys off again…miss hanging out with you…" Wally, Kaldur, and Robin had looked at each other, no doubt feeling that strange sense of happiness, sadness, and worry at hearing how much their friend cared, but knowing that under normal circumstances he'd never have revealed that much about how he felt to them.
"Sick is an understatement," Robin had said under his breath. Kaldur had just then realized that Robin had disappeared and reappeared in that way of his, for whatever reason. "But I think I've got a solution to our problem. We'll treat you at Mt. Justice, how's that?"
"At Mt. Justice?" Wally said in confusion. "But we can't treat him, Robin!"
"We're not," he said. He held up his cell phone, which was currently on a loud-speaker call to a contact named 'Agent A.' "A…friend…of mine is. You down with that, Agent A?"
"Certainly, Master Robin," said a very polite, British voice from the other end of the call. "Any friend or ally of yours is a friend of mine. I just hope that Master Roy would be willing to cooperate."
"'Master' Roy? Who the hell…?" Roy squinted at the phone, unable to read the glowing text. "Wait, is that….?"
"Doesn't matter who he is, he's going to treat you, and he'll be waiting to Zeta straight to the mountain as soon as we can get there and authorize his transport," Robin had said. It had been another one of those times when you had to appreciate Robin's ability to think clearly and logically and come up with a solution in any situation, no matter how stressful. "Since you won't let us take you to any normal doctor or to the league, this is our only option, and you don't get any say in the matter anymore, got it? But this'll go a lot faster and be a lot less painful if you just cooperate."
"…" Roy had seemed to be mulling it over. Or, perhaps just trying to think straight and not let the delirium set back in. "…f-fine. If…if it'll get you guys off my back."
Kaldur had sighed with relief. "Alright, so we're going to need to move you…"
It seemed Roy was losing his grip on reality, or at the very least comprehension, as he suddenly seemed averse to moving. "N-no…m'comfortable…m'fine…"
Wally growled in frustration. "I'm not letting you die on me, Roy!" he yelled, and with that, he'd scooped the older redhead into his arms best he could bridal-style, and tried to leave the apartment that way, but Roy had started kicking and nearly caused Wally to drop him. Kaldur and Robin had rushed over, Robin helping to restrain Roy while Kaldur situated him on Wally's back so he could be better carried. Roy had still tried to protest, though weakly, but as soon as he was even remotely situated on the speedsters back he had been rocketed out of the apartment and hurtled towards the Zeta transport in just over a minute.
After that, Kaldur and Robin had made it to the cave in time for Kaldur to help Wally situate Roy into the med bay while Robin stayed at the Zeta tubes and allowed 'Agent A', an aged, regal-looking man, in to treat him.
That had been hours ago, and it was nearly morning now. Kaldur didn't know if the resting archer would rise with the sun or not, but in an ideal world it would be before the food got too cold, and after his fever broke completely. Kaldur sat down quietly beside Roy's bed, setting the tray of food down on the bedside table. He took a moment to just take in how much better Roy looked now, and to let the feelings of gratitude was over him. His friend's life was safe now. There was no more danger. It was just a matter of rest and recovery time now, and Kaldur wouldn't return to his own home until he could see his friend out of the cave after a full recovery. He assured himself that.
Roy's cheeks were still a bit flushed, but the pale pallor of the rest of his skin had lessened considerably. His breaths were heavy, but not overly labored or erratic. To help the fever-breaking along, Kaldur retrieved another piece of cloth and first gently mopped up some of his friend's excess sweat before soaking it in cold water, folding it, and placing it on top of Roy's forehead. Kaldur allowed his fingers to linger around the area of Roy's face, and he couldn't resist the urge to move some of the short, sweat-soaked red hair from clinging to his face. Kaldur smiled softly to himself. He looked at peace, finally.
Speaking of being at peace, Kaldur's eyes managed to glance at a clock, and he just now realized that it was around 6:00 AM and he'd been up all night without a wink of rest. He was used to getting less sleep, what with his lifestyle, but tonight had been overly stressful and tiresome. He'd take battling criminals over this any day, he decided humorously.
Kaldur's eyes kept drooping downwards, no matter how hard he tried to keep them open, and he soon found himself resting his head in his folded arms on the comfortable white sheets of Roy's bed. He didn't really sleep, so much as he drifted off, in and out of semi-awareness and full-on dreaming. It was in a state in between semi-awareness and sleep that Kaldur felt the sheets shift underneath his arms, and heard some noises of wakefulness out of the resident patient.
"…Kal." He said, his voice full of warmth and…appreciation, it sounded like. It was more like an acknowledgement of his presence than in inquiry as to whether it was him or not.
"…hmmm?" Kaldur replied, trying to fully rouse himself. "…you are awake."
"Yeah," Roy replied. There was silence as Kaldur rubbed his eyes and woke himself up fully. It was around 10:00 AM now. He'd gotten about 3 hours worth of actual sleep, and the food was probably cold, but he supposed he could heat it up.
"There is some medicine here for you to take," he told Roy. "Along with some food Miss Martian so kindly made for you." Roy raised an eyebrow, scoffing slightly, but Kaldur gave him a reproachful look. "I will heat it up after you have taken your medication."
"More meds? Seriously?"
"If you want to be able to the leave the mountain in any sort of haste, I suggest you take them." Kaldur scolded. "As well as cooperate with anyone who tries to help you."
Roy made a face, but he took the pills and swallowed them down with some water, coughing lightly afterwards and settling himself back down onto his pillows. "I…don't remember much of yesterday." He admitted.
"I did not think you would," Kaldur chuckled lightly. "And I do not think you would want to. But what do you remember?"
"Umm…" Roy stopped to think for a moment. "I remember Wally trying to call an ambulance, and this really relaxing sensation on my forehead…was that you? With some sort of water trick?"
"Yes," Kaldur affirmed. "Anything else?"
"A couple other snippets of things…" Roy looked away from him, an almost ashamed look on his face. "I…I caused you a lot of trouble, didn't I?"
"Even if it was rather…tiring, I would not have had it any other way, my friend," Kaldur assured him. "I would rather go through all the trouble in the world, Roy, than to have not made it in time to help you. I would do anything to help you. It is no trouble to ensure your safety and well-being."
Roy gave a kind of sad, accepting smile. "Same old Kaldur," he murmured. "Sorry I ditched you guys, though…" Kaldur was about to repeat what he had said yesterday, but Roy cut him off. "Speaking of which, what about Wally and Robin?"
"They returned home around 4 in the morning," Kaldur told him, and Roy nodded in understanding. "We will need to call them to tell them that you are doing considerably better. No doubt they are still worried about you."
Roy looked like he felt guilty for worrying them, too, but that look quickly vanished when Kaldur gave him another one of his looks. "Do you think…" Roy started, seemed to change his mind about what he wanted to say, but continued anyway, "Do you think we could, you know, try and find another time to hang out, all four of us? I mean, when I'm not on death's doorstep?" He have a small chuckle in order to lighten up that last part of his sentence, although a split second of panic did shoot through Kaldur's heart at the mere thought of how close they had come to losing him.
"Certainly. I do not think the two of them would have it any other way." Kaldur smiled, and he then stood up to take the food back to the kitchen to heat up. As he walked through the door to the med bay, Roy called back to him.
"Kal!" he said, spontaneously.
"…Thanks. Really. Really, thanks." Kaldur raised an eyebrow, not exactly sure what he was thanking him for, because it seemed to be something besides saving his life. "For…for everything. For helping me, for…being there. For always being there." The look on his face was so sincere that Kaldur couldn't embarrass him by replying, so he simply gave him the sincerest smile he could before leaving the room.