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Soup For the Soul

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“Urgh…”

You moan aloud, raising one hand to your forehead in a weak attempt to ward off the impending headache. Your entire body is wracked with chills and you just went through the second tissue box of the day. Shivering and sniffling, you pull your blanket up until it’s covering your entire body, head and all.

You’ve been stuck on the couch all day with a 101 degree fever and it doesn’t feel like it’s getting better. You can’t get through a sentence without coughing, your entire body is freezing, and your head feels so foggy you can’t even manage to concentrate on the television. The only good thing about today was that your boyfriend, Dabi, had stayed home from work to take care of you. You had insisted that he didn’t need to, but he had brushed you aside and went into a different room to call his manager, knowing that you didn’t have the strength to get up and follow him.

As if your thoughts had summoned him, you hear feet shuffling behind you and peek out from your blanket nest to see a pair of baggy eyes looking down at you. Dabi raises an eyebrow inquisitively. You offer up a weak grin.

“Are you a bear now?” He asks dryly, moving to your side and crouching down until he’s resting on his heels. “This your blanket cave? Gonna hibernate the sick away?”

“Heh, yeah,” you respond, and he rolls his eyes.

“Gonna need a bit more than sleep if you want to get over this quickly,” he says as he pulls a thermometer out of his pocket and lifts it to your lips. “I’m gonna put this in your mouth.”

Your feverish brain is just barely able to hold back a comment about his choice of words. Instead you reluctantly lift yourself up and allow him to place the thermometer between your lips. He stares blankly at the wall for 30 seconds until the beeping lets you both know that it’s done, and he pulls it out and reads it over with almost frightening speed.

“It’s still 101,” he sighs, wiping the tip of the thermometer off on his shirt before putting it back in his pocket. You can’t help but wonder if that’s sanitary. It probably isn’t.

“You know why I think it hasn’t gone down?” You manage to croak out. “I think it’s because I haven’t had any soup today.”

He narrows his eyes and you summon your biggest shit-eating grin. “Soup,” he says in his monotone voice. “You think that your fever is still high because you haven’t had...soup.”

“Yeah!” You exclaim before your throat catches and you start coughing. You’re vaguely aware of hand patting your back until the coughs subside, and it’s gone by the time your throat is clear.

He still looks skeptical so you continue; “come on, everyone needs some soup when they’re sick. Chicken noodle especially! It’s a cliche for a reason, you know? It really does make you feel better.”

Dabi grunts non committedly and rubs the back of his head. “Well, I guess I could run out and get some…”

“Please?” You look up at him with that face you know he can’t resist and he sighs, craning his head back to look up at the ceiling.

“Alright, alright,” he says, exasperated. “I’ll go get you some soup.”

“Thank you,” you try to reply, but it gets caught in your throat once again and you fall into another coughing fit. This time the hand on your back feels stronger and his touch lingers even after you’ve stopped. He rubs your shoulder encouragingly for a second before pulling away and heading for the door, only stopping to grab his keys and wallet.

“I’ll be back in a bit. Try some hibernating while I’m gone.”

----------------------

“Dude, wake up.”

Groggily, you open your eyes and the first thing you notice is the new smell: it smells like warmth. It smells like comfort. It smells like chicken fucking noodle soup.

Dabi must have gone to the nice Panera downtown, because the shitty Panera down the street could never make something that smells this good. You start to thank him but he’s already disappeared. You can’t help but chuckle.

You take the soup out of the paper bag but notice that it isn’t accompanied by the usual plastic silverware. Before you can say anything he walks back into the room, armed with a regular spoon from the kitchen.

“And why?” You ask, holding back a laugh.

“The silverware they give you there is cheap and nasty. I figured our own set would be better.”

You hold off on reminding him that your silverware isn’t much better and instead thank him as he plops down next to you, putting his feet up on the coffee table. You wait for him to give you the spoon but instead he leans forward, picking up some soup in the utensil and turning towards you expectantly. You just blink in shock.

“C’mon, open up,” he says, refusing to make eye contact. You catch a rare blush forming on the thin patch of skin over his cheeks. Dabi has made a few sweet gestures over the course of your relationship, naturally, but nothing as saccharine as feeding you. But there’s no way you’re going to let this opportunity slide. Excited, you scoot forward and open your mouth, allowing him to feed you. He does so with surprising gentleness, and you even wonder if that’s a small grin threatening to break through on his face.

A few minutes pass and he continues to feed you, the low hum of the television in the background the only sound to be heard. Every once in a while a small drop of liquid will fall from the spoon onto your chin, and every time Dabi wipes it off with a calloused finger. Gentle, tender moments like this are rare with him, and so you cherish it, closing your eyes and letting yourself get lost in the warm food and his occasional touch, somehow soft and rough at the same time.

Eventually the soup is all gone, though the warmth that only comfort food (and perhaps a very secretly sweet boyfriend) can provide is still lingering in your body. Dabi sets the spoon aside and leans back with you on the couch, wrapping an arm loosely around your shoulders.

“The soup was good, right?” He asks.

You nod enthusiastically. “It was great! It might not be real medicine, but damn if it didn’t make me feel better.”

“You certainly seemed to be enjoying it well enough,” he says, and a sly smirk creeps onto his face that you recognize immediately.

“Dabi, no-”

“You were really enjoying voreing that soup, huh?”

“DABI!” You playfully push him away and he raises his hands placatingly.

“What, what’d I say?”

You let out a snort and scooch in close to him again, deciding to let his transgression slide for now. You’d get him back for it later. You snuggle into his side and pull the blanket up higher once again, this time covering both of your heads. He lets out a noise of disapproval and you can’t help but laugh.

Though he’s frowning at the soft material that has suddenly covered him, he makes no move to pull it off. Instead he turns to you and lifts his other arm to place his hand gently on your forehead.

“You can’t tell my temperature like that, silly,” you whisper.

“I’m not trying to,” he replies as he rubs your forehead gently with his thumb, moving aside some stray hairs. Suddenly you’re aware that he’s much closer than he was a second ago, and before you can even process it, there’s a kiss being planted on your forehead. His lips are rough and chapped, as always, but his touch is so feather-light that he almost feels soft.

You lean into his warmth, enjoying the way he exudes protection and comfort. Though you’re still sick, you feel infinitely better with him by your side. And with the way he wraps his arms around you and pulls you in closer, you know he won’t be leaving anytime soon.