There were many times in his life where Simon thought he was going to die.
Becoming deviant and running away from his owners, finding and building up Jericho, Stratford tower, the first time he’d ever looked into Markus’ beautiful, oh-so-dreamy eyes —ahem, well, Simon was getting pretty good at nearly dying (was that possible?), and he knew quite well what it felt like.
This was absolutely one of those times.
It had started with something simple and innocuous; Simon had agreed to help Markus with planning a speech, a quick, one-off thing. He had been the one to insist on accompanying his boyfriend to the meeting, and the two planned only to stay for a day or so. Hindsight, he mused to himself wryly, was twenty-twenty. The humans weren’t interested in negotiating, refusing to even see the goddamn leader of the revolution , and Markus had spent nearly a week arguing and begging and groveling to even secure an audience.
Simon knew it was part of his programming to care for others, but this was deeper than any line of code—he hated seeing Markus stressed. The android had run himself ragged that week, pushing himself beyond his own limits, which made Simon want to cry (and, maybe, wrap Markus in blankets or bubble wrap and cuddle for ten hours straight). He was terribly anxious over his boyfriend, remedied only by taking care of Markus the best he could. And, well, if that meant nagging Markus into going into stasis to recharge, please, you can’t write that report if you’re passed out from exhaustion , and then staying up all night to finish it for him because Markus was working so hard and deserved a goddamn break, he’d do it. And if that spiraled into staying up the next several nights to edit outlines, organize notes, or whatever he had to do to make things just a little easier for his boyfriend...it wasn’t like he could foresee it or anything.
There was a tiny flaw in his plan, though; the RK-series models were designed to withstand strenuous work. PL600s, were, in a word, not . Especially, Simon was coming to realize, PL600s were not designed to go over 200 hours without entering stasis, which brought him to his current, very pressing problem.
He was so, so sick. Oh god, he was sick, and he was going to be sick, shit —
Simon rolled over on to his side, lunging for the trash can at the bedside, just barely making it before his body purged the tainted thirium from his system— painfully . He trembled, expelling the greyish-blue liquid for nearly a minute, and hovered over the can for a moment before flopping back down onto the comforter, whining softly and wiping his mouth with his sleeve (ew, gross, but he couldn’t find the energy to care). Artificial tears blurred his vision, and Simon let them fall as a stabbing cramp enveloped his entire being. He stared at the hotel’s phone, biting his lip as he was reminded again of Markus’ words that morning.
“Hey, sweetheart, I’m so sorry but I gotta go,” the android had murmured, pressing a chaste kiss to Simon’s forehead. “Call me if you need anything— anything . I love you so much,” he had called as he left their room, and Simon was barely able to croak out a love you too . Now these words were coming back to bite him in the butt, and not in the fun, sexy way. Simon toyed with the edge of the blanket, bringing it up to his mouth and barely resisting the urge to chomp down on it (a nervous tic that, to be honest, was so embarrassing). He wanted Markus to come back and cuddle him. He craved warmth, he craved attention, and he really, really didn’t want to be alone right now.
The...incident at Stratford had taken its toll on Simon, both physically and mentally. Despite everything, the soothing words from Josh and the soft respect from North and the apologies and reassurances and regret from Markus, he couldn’t shake the anxiety and guilt that riddled him. He was clingy, he was needy, and he was so much, too much and Markus deserved so much better. Markus deserved a partner who could be left alone for more than five minutes. He deserved a partner who didn’t jump at their own shadow, a partner who didn’t wake him up screaming and crying. Markus deserved someone that wasn’t Simon .
A miserable sob tore its way out of his throat, and Simon buried his face into his pillow, LED flickering between red and yellow. He forced himself to breathe shallowly and deliberately, despite not having the need; a panic attack would just be the cherry on top of his shithole icecream. Markus had told him it was okay to need him, Simon tried to reason with himself, digging his fingers tightly into the blanket.
“It’s okay, Simon,” the android had whispered that evening. “I need you, and that’s okay, right?”
Simon had only been able to nod mutely at the time, nuzzling into Markus’ shoulder.
“So,” his boyfriend continued, “you can need me too. We need each other, and that’s okay. We’re okay.”
The conversation played over and over in Simon’s mind, and he bit the inside of his cheek, stomach knotting up in a way that he couldn’t entirely attribute to the sickness. He didn’t know what to do—he knew that Markus wouldn’t be mad, that he would feel so much better, that nothing bad would happen if he called Markus. Yet the tiny, biting voice in the back of his mind said otherwise, mocking him for his weakness and stupidity, and there was nothing he could do to just make it go away.
But he really didn’t want to be alone. Fuck it.
Simon’s LED settled on a solid yellow as he tentatively reached out to connect to Markus. Almost immediately, he felt his boyfriend’s presence: alertness, fatigue, concern, and overwhelming love , so strong that he started to cry again.
Simon? Worry radiated off of Markus, and Simon felt bad almost immediately. Are you alright? He sniffed, trying to stem the flow of tears.
Please come back . Anxiety seeped through every word. I think I’m sick.
I’m heading over there right now. Sit tight, sweetie, I’m coming.
Simon groaned and rolled onto his back, the knot of anxiety loosening ever so slightly. He covered his eyes with his arm, shielding against the bright lights. A wave of nausea rolled over him, and he whimpered, breathing shallowly and willing his system not to purge again. His pillow was way too hot against his face, and he couldn’t find a cool spot no matter how he moved. Though heat radiated off of him, Simon was shaking like a leaf. He didn’t know how to describe it; whatever he was feeling, it was like being dunked in ice and lit on fire at the same time.
Markus , he tried tentatively, I’m sorry about your meeting.
There’s nothing to be sorry for . Markus’ reply was immediate, and despite himself Simon felt a small smile creep up his lips. You matter more, and they were wasting our time anyway .
Markus, I love you . He felt a rush of affection on his boyfriend’s end. But you can’t just blow off stuff for me…
It’s okay, I’ll explain later. You’re more important and I love you.
Simon felt the tiny gay man inside of him—which was him , he was the tiny gay man—explode and die in a happy ball of fluff and affection. He was grinning like an idiot, in spite of the pain and sickness, and wow , he was feeling way better already.
He was quick to eat those words a mere five seconds later, as he hunched over the trash can for what must have been the fifth time that day. Sniffling, he felt concern wash over him from Markus’ end, and cursed himself for being so easy to read. His boyfriend’s presence over the mind link was comforting, but he wanted Markus . Simon whined softly, pressing his sweaty, too-hot face into the pillow.
Hardly five minutes had passed before the door suddenly burst open. Simon yelped, flinching hard, and the momentum plus his sickness had him tumbling off the bed in a tangle of blankets and disaster gay. Markus ran over to him immediately, looking harried and disheveled but relieved , and helped him up, pressing an uncovered hand gently against Simon’s forehead. His skin in the area melted away, and Markus frowned; whatever he had found, his boyfriend did not look happy.
“Sweetheart,” he sighed, tugging Simon into a gentle embrace, “I am so sorry.” Simon tensed immediately, pulling away from his boyfriend to look him in the eyes.
“There’s nothing—” a hacking cough racked Simon’s frame “—n-nothing to be sorry for,” he wheezed. Markus snorted, but the smile didn’t reach his eyes. He gently cupped Simon’s face in his hands, looking at him earnestly.
“I shouldn’t have left you alone,” he murmured. “I knew you weren’t feeling well, and you’ve been working so hard all week, and I just left you—”
“It’s okay,” Simon interrupted. “I-I was scared, and lonely…” His voice trailed off, and Markus looked ready to cry.
“Baby, I’m s—”
“ Don’t , Markus, it’s okay.” The blonde sighed, resting his head against the other’s shoulder. “I was scared, but I didn’t tell you.” Markus ran a hand through his hair, petting softly. “I’m sorry I didn’t call until now. I—I guess I was scared of that too.” That last part was said in a whisper; Simon started when Markus pulled him closer.
“I love you, so much,” he whispered, voice thick with emotion. “You-you can always call me, for anything . I love you.” Simon whined softly, tearing up yet again, before burying his face into the other’s jacket.
.” Markus only squeezed tighter. The two stayed there for a while, kneeling on the floor, before the blonde bolted up suddenly.
“Shit, Marky, I’m gonna be sick.”
“ Fuck —”
After an eventful (and oh so gross ) five minutes spent face-first into a hotel toilet, Simon sighed, head resting on Markus’ shoulder. A human sitcom was playing softly in the background as the pair lounged on the bed, Simon loosely hugging his boyfriend like a giant, super-gay teddy bear. Markus kissed him gently on the forehead, stroking his hair before mussing it up playfully, and the android was able to muster a weak but genuine laugh. He still felt like shit; his biocomponents were whirring every which way, his head was burning, and oh god, the nausea .
But, looking up at Markus, who stared back at him with eyes filled with devotion and care and love , Simon decided that he wouldn’t have it any other way.