This story might require a short explanation. First, it isn't the next chapter of Ho'okahi. But this came about in my fever and drug-induced brain this past weekend. Last Wednesday, I started with the achy, coughy, headachy feeling and by Friday night and Saturday, I felt like I was hacking up body parts every time I coughed. Nyquil became my best friend and this evolved sometime very late Saturday night/early Sunday morning.
Thanks to my betas, Sockie1000, Rogue Tomato, Sym64 and Sherry57 for their prompt turnarounds on this. You ladies make this much more fun! And thankfully, I'm feeling almost human again.
I Don' Hab a Code
Steve McGarrett stumbled through his front door before daylight on Sunday morning, kicking off his flip flops and padding on bare feet, wearing shorts and a tee shirt into the kitchen. He had spent another totally sleepless night, tossing and turning, first on the bed, then on his couch and finally on the lanai, just trying to get an hour's worth of decent sleep.
He turned the plastic bag in his hand upside down on the kitchen counter and reached for the bottle inside, hoping that it would help relieve his symptoms.
Or put him out of his misery.
He didn't care which but what he was feeling had to end soon.
Steve couldn't believe that a minute little cold bug could get him down. I mean, SEALs just don't get sick. Those nasty little buggers are no match for him. Right?
Apparently, wrong. Very, very wrong. But he would deny it until the end. Which might be soon considering how bad he felt.
He peeled the shrink-wrapped plastic off the bottle and tried to read the dosage through blurred eyes.
He hated taking medicine.
Of any type. He equated it to being weak or puny. He should be able to conquer this on his own. But after two nights of the same coughing, sneezing, sore throat, sick feeling, he was ready to wave the white flag. Not that he would admit that to anyone. Thankfully it was the weekend and he had until tomorrow at 0700 to recuperate.
The bottle said to pour up to the line in the little plastic cup. The promise in the instructions was: "If you are being deprived of a good night's rest", and boy, was he, "this would relieve your cough, sore throat, headache, minor aches and pains, fever, runny nose and sneezing to help you get the sleep you need".
Check, check, check and check. He had all those symptoms. Not the least was the pounding head that pulsated with each beat of his heart. There were times last night he was positive his heart and his brain had switched places and his heart was going to pound hard enough in his head to pop his eyes out. He thought about that and croaked, "OK, maybe that was the nightmare." He vaguely wondered whose voice that was coming out of his mouth. Quite possibly Kermit the Frog's. He grinned. He had a frog in his throat. McGarrett, you made a funny. Or more likely, he thought to himself, you're delirious.
He set the little cup aside and began to open the bottle. The lid didn't budge. "Oh, come on, this is stupid." He read "depress the sides of the cap and turn". That's what he was doing. And he wasn't that weak. Then again, he could be wrong.
Why did he feel like he broke a sweat just twisting the cap? The cap that wouldn't budge. He wiped his eyes with the back of his hand and tried again, squeezing that little white plastic top until it cried for mercy. And, thankfully, turned to open.
Where's a three-year-old when you need one?
He poured the exact amount into the cup and swigged it down in one swallow.
And made a face at the vile little cup he still held in his hand.
His eyes began to water even more than they had been and he grabbed the bottle, checking for the alcohol content.
"Damn. That packs a punch."
He capped the bottle and shivered from a chill, then headed back into the living room and reached for a blanket. Steve fell sideways on the couch, closing his eyes as the room turned a flip around him. Once he was reasonably comfortable, and just beginning to relax, the coughing began again. It had waited until he was comfy and vulnerable and then it attacked. Damn covert ops germs. His throat felt like razor blades were grinding together and with each ragged cough, his eyes watered and his ribs felt as if they were on fire.
He managed to get a breath, and then the coughing started over once again.
So, as he did the rest of the night, he hauled himself into a sitting position and leaned his head back, wrapping the blanket around his body.
Six hours later, Danny opened the front door. He started to use his key until he realized the door was unlocked. He cautiously pushed it open, his other hand resting on the handle of his gun. Not seeing anything out of place, he pushed the door further open. And heard the ragged breathing coming from the couch.
Danny quietly closed the door and entered the room, staring at his mess of a partner. Steve was lying sideways with his head on the couch arm, half covered with a blanket, his feet still planted on the floor, in a position which most assuredly promised a crick in the other man's neck.
Steve was breathing noisily from his open mouth, drooling a bit from the corner. At least Danny knew he was alive.
The six unanswered phone messages he had left had him a bit worried. But now that he saw his friend, he understood… and commiserated. The man looked miserable. Even though he was covered from his waist to his chin with a blanket, Danny saw the shivers wracking his body.
Taking his own life in his hands, Danny decided to see if he could wake his sick friend.
"Hey, Buddy, can you hear me?"
He lightly touched the other man's shoulder and jostled it. "Come on, Steve. Wakey, wakey. Let's get you to bed."
Still nothing other than a ragged cough.
Danny leaned down and with the back of his hand, felt his partner's forehead. "Whoa, babe. You've got some serious heat in there." He went to the kitchen and grabbed a dish towel, wet it with cold water, and then for good measure, grabbed a couple of ice cubes from the freezer and wrapped them inside. He also took a couple of frozen Dove squares.
Ice was for Steve; chocolate was all for him.
He found the bottle of Nyquil on the counter and took it along to the living room.
Pushing the coffee table closer to the couch, he sat down on it and held the cold cloth to his friend's head. "OK, Steve, come on, time to wake up."
The dark head turned, trying to get away from the chill.
"No, I'm going to hold it there until you open those baby blues for me," Danny told him. "Come on, wake up."
Steve tried once again to get away from the cold towel, reaching up his hand to push Danny's arm away.
"Not happening, Bud. Wake up for me."
"Can't see your eyes yet."
"Say what? Oh, cold. No, actually you're hot. In a temperature kind of way. Not on the 'hot and sexy' scale. In fact, right now, you don't even qualify for moderately cute."
"Leabe me 'lone."
"No can do, Kemosabe. Up and at 'em."
"Oh, but I insist, Steven." Danny moved to sit on the couch and hauled his partner upright, dropping the wet towel into the other man's lap.
Steve's eyes popped open. "Argh!" He grabbed for the icy towel and tried to move it from his crotch. "Tode you dat's code."
Danny grinned. "Got your attention. And your eyes are more bloodshot than blue." He set the towel aside on the couch and watched his friend's head fall backward onto the back of the sofa as Steve let out a pitiful groan.
"You, my friend, have a cold. You're sick. Something I never thought I would say in this context. I mean, we both know you are sick, but this is something else entirely."
Steve rolled his head toward his partner. "I don' hab a code."
Danny grinned. "Well, I think you do 'hab a code'. So, what are we going to do about it?"
"I hab to meet with the gobenoh domorrow, so I'b not sick."
"Really? Not sick, huh?"
"I be fine."
"Well, we'll see about that. " He picked up the bottle of Nyquil. "When did you last take this? And how many doses have you had?"
Steve raised his head to blearily look at the bottle while trying to process Danny's questions. "One dose around six, I dink. Do you know that stuff is nasdy?"
"As a matter of fact, I do." He stood up and reached down his arm. "Now, come on, let's get you into bed, Steven. And no, that is not a proposition, just a statement of fact. I'm taking you upstairs."
"No, you're far from good. Trust me. Now come on." He managed to haul his partner off the couch and half-push, half guide him toward the stairs. They finally reached the second floor after a lot of weaving and wobbling upward. Danny pushed his friend toward the bathroom door. "Do your business."
"Well, try. You've been asleep for almost eight hours."
Danny moved to the bed and threw back the covers, then fluffed the pillows as he heard his friend flush and turn on the water. When Steve emerged from the bathroom, his face and hair was damp and he looked longingly toward the bed. He padded across the room, ready to fall face first onto it.
"Not yet," Danny told him, tugging him down to sit on the side of the bed. "Take this."
"I just took dat."
"Yes, at six a.m. It is now after two in the afternoon. Time for another dose. Then I'll tuck you in and leave you be for a while."
"Yes, I know it is yucky. And you are such a child. Gracie is better than this. Now drink."
Steve screwed up his face and drank. And then his entire body shuddered. "Don' like it." And then he began to cough. And cough again.
Deep, throaty hacking wracked his body. He fell sideways onto his pillow and held both arms across his ribcage, as the attack continued. When the bout was over, he groaned and rolled over onto his back. "I dink I'b gonna cough up by toes nest."
Danny reached for the sheet and covered his partner, grinning. "Not likely." He took the kitchen towel into the bathroom, shook out the melting ice and rung out the towel, folding it and bringing it back to his partner. "Here," he told him, laying the rag onto his friend's forehead.
"You know, I sort of have a confession," Danny said.
Steve didn't even open his eyes. "Wha'?"
"I kept calling you this afternoon to warn you—"
"Gracie. She called me yesterday and she-uh- she has a really bad cold. I wanted to warn you to load up on the Vitamin C since you spent Wednesday night with us."
Two bleary, bloodshot eyes opened. "So, dis is your fault."
"No… no, I didn't say that. I just wanted you to know that my darling daughter isn't feeling well and, well, warn you to take precautions. I-uh, guess I was too late."
Steve pulled the rag off his forehead and opened his eyes to stare at his partner. "You don' unnerstand, Danny, I'b a SEAL. SEALs don' get sick."
"Is that a fact?" Danny replied with another grin. He stood up and grabbed the towel out of his partner's hand and laid it back on his forehead. "Keep that there. I'm going to scrounge around in your kitchen and find some soup. Maybe by the time you wake up again, you'll feel like eating. What is it, 'starve a cold and feed a fever?' Kind of hard to do when you've got both."
"Danny, I don' hab a code."
"Of course not. A mere cold wouldn't dare invade this SuperSeal body. Now go to sleep. I'll be here when you wake up."
"Not a code."
Danny smiled and shook his head. And couldn't wait until his partner was feeling better so that the teasing could commence.