Hello again everyone! This story has received such an exciting response, and I'm so grateful, thank you!
Here's Chapter 3!
Dipper spent the next hour of the evening lying down and willing the suddenly reemerging nausea to please, please go away. He knew that logically, it was likely he felt so awful as a result of his probable dehydration and definite fever, but he was so nauseous he was afraid to consume anything, whether it be medicine for the fever or water to quench the dehydration.
Mabel had gone out and Dipper was glad that she was getting out of the house after being pretty housebound since he'd gotten sick. He did, however, miss having her company to distract him from how sick he was.
Stan eventually came back into the house, and after getting a soda from the fridge, walked over to his nephew.
"You need to eat something," he said bluntly. "You're gonna feel even worse if you don't put something in your stomach, kid."
Dipper huffed, knowing his uncle was right, but still feeling wary about the idea of eating anything.
"Okay…but I can't do chicken soup," He mumbled, shuddering at the thought. "Something besides that."
"Fair enough. What about some white rice? And dry toast? Y'know, simple stuff you could probably keep down."
Dipper thought for a moment, and realized that was probably the best option as it sounded like the only thing his stomach could handle right then.
"Alright. You sit tight, I'll go get that for you."
Dipper nodded, and tried to focus on the TV rather than the nausea he was feeling right then. Part of him was beginning to wonder if maybe food really wasn't such a good idea, but he knew Stan would have words if he tried to refuse again, so he kept quiet and told himself that his stomach was unsettled from hunger.
A bit later, Stan carried over a tray with dishes full of Dipper's current worst fear, and set it down on the Ottoman so he could help his sick great nephew sit up before putting the tray in his lap.
Dipper swallowed hard and picked up a fork, robotically pushing some rice onto it. He carefully brought it to his mouth, and hesitated a moment before he took a bite.
Stan had poured a little bit of chicken broth on it, he could tell, and it actually tasted nice and the rice was definitely good. He managed to eat about half of the bowl and had a few bites of toast and a few sips of ginger ale and decided, after he'd finished and his dishes were cleared, that food seemed to have been a better idea than he originally thought.
He spent another hour on the couch watching TV until Stan said he needed to go to bed and get some sleep. He was helped up the stairs and to his bed, given a just-in-case bowl, a glass of water, and instructions to yell if he needed anything.
He didn't have too much trouble falling asleep, but was distantly aware of his sister's absence (she'd decided to spend the night with Candy) and the fact that his dinner from earlier was settling like a rock at the base of his stomach. He pushed the thought of his uncomfortable stomach away as he slipped into blessed unconsciousness.
Dipper awoke in the dark to an all-too-familiar sensation, and grabbed the mixing bowl before he leant over it and was violently ill again. He took a few breaths and prayed that that was it, that he was done, but he was overtaken by nausea again and retched, expelling more of his meal from earlier.
Suddenly the sickness all became too much. He'd been able to handle the sickness thus far, not ever breaking down crying, but suddenly it was just too much, he couldn't handle it anymore. He'd been resting, eating plain foods, taking medicine, doing everything he was supposed to do to feel better and yet he still awoke in the middle of the night to miserably throw up. He broke down in tears from the pain and frustration, sobbing so hard he was having trouble catching his breath. Tears streamed down his pasty face as he tried to stop crying, but just couldn't. He suddenly heard the bum bum bum bum of hurried steps up the stairs, and he knew all of a sudden that Stan would see him crying and sick and the embarrassment of that just made him cry harder.
Stan of course did enter the room, switching the lamp on and quickly coming to his sobbing great nephew's side, lifting the bowl of vomit from his lap and putting it aside and sitting down next to him on his bed.
"Don't cry, don't cry, shh…it's okay, kid, take a deep breath…"
Dipper was crying too hard to hear the words of comfort Stan was trying to give, but he did appreciate the hand that was suddenly rubbing his back between the shoulder blades. He managed to slow down his weeping for a minute, and was lifted bridal style for the umpteenth time since he'd fallen ill, and was carried to the bathroom. He knelt in front of the toilet as he had before, thankfully only vomiting one more time while Stan patted his back.
He finished and scooted back from the toilet, tears falling silently down his cheeks. He was too sick to even feel embarrassed anymore.
Stan was busy fishing out the thermometer from the twins' bag of medicine when Dipper blurted out a choked "I'm sorry".
Stan looked at him sympathetically. "For what? You have nothing to be sorry for."
Dipper's eyes filled with tears and spilled over again as his throat squeezed together from a sob he trying to suppress. "B-But…I do," He wept. "I-I've woken you up t-two nights in a row and…" He trailed off, sobs overtaking him as he felt guilt wash over him.
A hand came to his back and he was ushered to lean against the body that owned said hand.
"Deep breaths, Dip."
He rested against his great uncle's side, taking deep breaths as he was told and began slowly calming down, until he was only left with a blotchy face and shaky breathing.
"Look, kid," Stan began gently once his charge had calmed down enough to hear him. "I wouldn't have taken on caring for you and your sister this summer if I wasn't willing to do this sorta stuff if I needed to. I don't have kids of my own, but I'm not naïve, kid. I know how sickness works and I know kids get sick. I'm more worried about making sure you're taken care of when you're like this than I am about getting a full eight hours," He told him, patting his shoulder.
Dipper nodded silently, his eyes closed, his eyelashes stuck together in wet clumps from the tears.
Stan grabbed the thermometer, turning it on and slipping it into the kid's mouth without moving him from where he was leant against his side.
It beeped a few minutes later to announce the reading was ready, and Stan pulled it out to read the 102.1 it had displayed on the screen.
"This is one hell a bug you've got, huh kid?"
Dipper nodded weakly, thinking that it really, really was. He wasn't sure he'd ever been this sick before. The last time he recalled getting truly so sick he was almost completely reliant on someone else was in third grade when he got a horrible case of strep throat and was in so much discomfort he couldn't sleep or swallow anything besides thin liquids, and was bound to a week of lying miserably on the couch sucking on throat lozenges that made his stomach turn.
He'd thought that was bad, and it was, but this was proving to be even worse. Sitting around with a sore throat, aching body, pounding headache, lingering exhaustion, persistent fever, and worst of all, a churning, hurting stomach all day made existence itself seem absolutely miserable.
His thoughts were interrupted as Stan eased himself away from his nephew, moving to get the glass from beside the sink and fill it with water.
A few moments later it was passed to him along with some painkiller pills. He took both pills with a tiny sip of water, and proceeded to take the nasty cherry-flavored antiemetic when it was handed to him. They spent a few more minutes in the bathroom, making sure Dipper would keep the medicine he'd just taken down, and when they both felt sure his stomach content was staying put for the moment, Dipper was again lifted and carried up the stairs. Realistically, Stan knew he could walk if he really needed to, but this was faster and easier on the kid's body, and his body could definitely benefit anything that was done in an effort to keep it from exerting itself.
Dipper was put in bed and Stan cleaned out the bowl and brought it back to him, and checked to see if he needed anything else.
He shook his head tiredly. "I guess…I still can't go back to work tomorrow?"
"You guess correctly, kid. I think I'm gonna take you to the doctor in the morning, just to be sure you're not, I don't know, dying on me," He answered with a smirk.
Dipper groaned. "What if I feel a lot better?"
"If you really feel way better and have no fever by morning, then sure, I won't take you. If you've still got a fever, you're going."
Dipper decided that was fair, and shuffled down under his blankets to sleep.
"Hope you can get some sleep, Dip. And I hope you wake up feeling better."
"Thanks…" He murmured as Stan made to leave, and sincerely hoped along with Stan that he'd be able to do both of those things, as well.
Woohoo! Just one more chapter to go! I did update this a day after I planned originally, since I ended up scrapping my first idea for this chapter in favor of this one. Please leave me some reviews, they fuel me to update faster!