“Hey, you awake?” Doug called, opening his apartment door and stepping inside. He flicked on the lights and made his way over to the couch, where Tom was sleeping. He knelt down next to the couch and gently shook Tom awake. “Tommy, hey.”
“Hmm?” Tom mumbled, still half-asleep.
“Hey, you need to roll over. You’re supposed to be laying on your side.”
“Don’t wanna. Hurts.”
Doug sighed. “Yeah, but you’ve got to let it drain. Come on, roll over.” As he said this, he lightly guided Tom’s body with his hands, until Tom was resting on his side. With a light, loving touch, he brought Tom’s head down over the folded rag laying on the cushion. “I can get your drops, if you want,” he offered. “Or Ibuprofen.”
Tom only groaned in response.
“They were worried about you today. Everyone was asking about you.”
“What’d you tell ‘em?” Tom asked, peeking one eye open. No one knew that Tom and Doug stayed in the same apartment most nights-- some nights at Tom’s and others at Doug’s-- and they certainly weren’t aware of what was going on between the two men.
Doug shrugged. “I’m taking care of you, you’re sick. Why?”
“I don’t want them to get the wrong idea.”
Doug just shook his head. He doubted anyone at Jump Street would actually care about them anyway, and Tom was being ridiculous in his paranoia. After their case in the military academy investigating the assault of gays on the streets, though, maybe Tom did have somewhat of a point. The world could be quite cruel when it wanted to be, especially when the people in it wanted to make it worse.
“Doug?” Tom called, pulling the blond out of his thoughts.
“Yeah? What’dya need?”
“Can I have the drops now?” Tom asked. He started to sit back up, but decided against it and let himself fall back against the couch. “It really hurts.”
“Yeah, yeah sure. Hang on. I’ve got them here, uh, somewhere.” Doug fumbled around until he found the small container of ear drops prescribed for Tom’s ear infection. “Okay, turn your head.”
Tom did as he was told, resting his other ear on the cloth while Doug reached over him. He felt a few small, cool drops slide down into his ear, and then a ball of cotton being pushed in. The drops felt good, but the cotton was painful. Tom grunted and pulled away, wincing.
“Can you turn up the AC? I’m burning up,” the brunette complained, curling his legs up into himself. A sheen of sweat glistened on his forehead.
Doug nodded and stood up. “Yeah, no problem. Are you hungry? Thirsty? Need anything?” He was ready to jump off a skyscraper if that’s what Tom needed, caught in the heat of their honeymoon phase.
Doug nodded. “I’ve got that. Anything else?” He turned the AC up to full blast before turning to get a drink from the fridge. Pulling out a can of coke, he popped the tab and looked back over to his boyfriend. Tom’s fever must have been high, with how flushed and sweaty his skin was. Dark circles ringed his eyes and his lips were chapped with dehydration. Doug placed his can on the counter and grabbed a carton of juice. Pulling out a cup from one of the cabinets, he removed the cap from the carton and filled the cup. As he was putting the cap back and replacing the juice in the fridge, he asked, “How was your day?”
“How do you think it was?” Tom asked, lifting his head and letting it rest on the arm of the couch. He had his good ear tilted closer towards Doug, while the one with cotton was aimed slightly downward.
Doug handed off the cup of juice, took a sip of coke, and sat down on the couch next to Tom. “I’m really sorry, Tom.”
The sick man glanced over to his boyfriend and smiled. “It’ll be better now.”
“Oh really? Why’s that?”
“Because,” Tom smirked, twisting in his spot so that he could snuggle up against Doug’s shoulder instead. “I have you here now.”
Doug smiled, wrapping his arm protectively and comfortingly around Tom’s body, pulling him closer. Kissing the top of Tom’s head, he promised, “I’m going to take good care of you.”
“You’ve always taken care of me,” Tom pointed out. He took a tentative sip of the juice and set the glass down on the table in front of him, then leaned back into Doug’s shoulder. He felt something tickling his ear, and dully realized that Doug was pulling out the cotton. “Should you be taking that out already?” he questioned, lifting his head to meet his boyfriend’s gaze.
Doug nodded. “You have to let it drain. Lay your head back down. I’ll be right here.”
“My hero,” Tom mumbled, shifting back on the couch. He casually tossed the cloth into Doug’s lap and rolled over, squishing and squirming until he had successfully squeezed himself onto the couch with his head resting on Doug’s legs. “Out on the streets all day, saving young lives everywhere, and you still have time to come home and take care of your poor, sick boyfriend.”
“My poor, sick boyfriend is my top priority. If we didn’t need to eat, or afford rent, I wouldn’t even go to work without you,” Doug chuckled, stroking the top of Tom’s head.
This made the brunette scoff. “Stop sweet talking me when I’m sick. It’s not fair.”
Smiling, Doug strained his back and bent forward, pressing his lips to Tom’s temple. “What’s not fair is you being sick when you look so damn adorable. Now rest, get better so I can do more than just sweet talk you.”
Yawning, Tom nodded. “Rest. Let it drain. Got it. You’ll stay?”
“I’m not going anywhere,” Doug promised. He continued to pet Tom’s head and neck with the faintest finger strokes until the other man’s breathing leveled out into a light doze. “I’m never going to leave.”