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time erodes the shore but not our love

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Jane is rarely ever sick. In fact her immune system is so good, it’s one of the reasons she was recruited to MI6, besides her fluency in thirty different fighting styles, of course.  Elena and Sabina, on the other hand, both get their fair share of illnesses. Elena often overworks and stares too long at the computer screen, and Sabina from eating clearly-expired foods because she’s forgetful when she paints or sculpts. Jane comes home with the most bullet wounds and gashes, but she’s usually cognizant enough to tell the other two what she needs, and coherent enough to take at least partial care of herself.

They all rotate taking care of one another naturally, but each Angel has specific roles they tend towards whenever the other two are sick. Elena researches the symptoms and best care practices, keeps and updates the list of allergies and medications taped to the inside of the medicine cabinet. Sabina runs around grocery shopping and collecting medicine, blankets, heating pads, anything to make her girls more comfortable. Jane cooks their favorite foods and makes sure all their paperwork and immunizations are in order.

Today, though, Jane stumbles into the apartment at HQ that she shares with Elena and Sabina. She’d woken up with a bit of a scratchy throat, but nothing out of the ordinary, so she’d gone about her business. Alright, maybe she’d pushed herself a bit farther than necessary during training to impress the recruits (and Sabina, who’d dropped in to support her teaching from the sidelines), but surely it hadn’t been that bad. She’d just been running several classes that the other instructors were too sick to teach, alongside her own, then doing her personal training, then running an obstacle course that Sabina had bested and challenged her to-

She can’t finish rationalizing her thoughts, because as soon as she manages to lift the top blanket and drop heavily into bed, she dozes off.

 

She wakes up blearily some time later, she’s not sure how long. It’s dark now, and she’s still wearing her training gear, the sports bra digging into her ribs, but she doesn’t have the energy to lift her arms let alone take it off. Everything’s hazy, clouded, and her head is pounding. Jane thinks to call Elena or Sabina, someone, but it hurts to move her neck and everything is sweaty and hot, so she kicks limply at the blanket and closes her eyes. Lets herself fall back into sleep, prays that she’ll feel better in the morning.

 

Jane blinks awake to half consciousness. Whines because the room is spinning, then winces when the noise scratches at her throat. A cool hand quickly comes to her forehead, and Jane squints, tries to focus on who it is, if it's a threat, she can't tell.

“Shh, baby, it's me,” says a sweet voice.

Jane’s too tired to cry, but she thinks she scrunches up her lips and feels tears down her face. Isn't sure if she needs to muster her strength and defend herself, but the sweet voice says “Oh, princess, I'm sorry it hurts, I'm here Jane, I've got you,” so it must be Elena.

Jane sniffles but unclenches her muscles, relaxes a bit in relief. “...’lena,” she tries to whisper, though it hurts to breathe, let alone speak.

“Yeah, it's Elena, honey, just relax, can you drink a little bit of water, baby?” asks maybe-Elena. The possibility of danger isn’t over, Jane still doesn’t know where she is, but she can’t bring herself to care. She allows Elena to help her sit up, spinning as the room is, and lifts a glass to her lips. Jane obediently takes a sip, then another, till Elena takes it away again. “Good, Jane, you're doing so well, gonna give you some medicine.”

“No,” Jane whines, it's too much, she needs to lie back down.

But Elena presses another cup to Jane’s mouth, holds it there until Jane swallows all of its sickly sweet contents, murmuring “It's good for you, J, promise it'll help you feel better.” Once Jane’s done, Elena brushes the hair off her sweaty forehead gently. “Good job, sweetheart, doing so good,” she praises. Then she lays Jane back down onto the pillows, keeps her hands smoothing over Jane.

Jane hums a wordless ‘thank you.’ It feels as though the second her head hits the pillow she starts dozing off to sleep. Elena sits by her side for a while, her presence comforting, hands stroking through Jane’s hair.

 

Once she’s sure that Jane is asleep, Elena moves to get off the bed, but Jane’s eyes shoot open at the rustling sheets and form the most pitiful expression Elena’s ever seen. She would know. She's utilized her puppy dog eyes against Jane and Sabina more times than she can count, but this pout is even more powerful than her own. It’s made even more effective by the complete absence of composure; Jane rarely shows more than a flash of vulnerability in her face at all. She's usually so controlled that it's strange to see her walls fully down, even when she’s around Elena and Sabina or Boz.

Jane croaks something unintelligible, interrupting Elena's thoughts, and Elena frowns as she tries to decipher it. “Can you say that again, princess?”

Jane blushes a bit at the nickname, or maybe it's the fever, but repeats herself all the same. “Kiss?” she whispers.

Elena’s heart melts, scrunches her eyes shut because the cuteness is just too overwhelming. “Aw, darling you're so cute,” she whispers, taps her fingers to her lips then brings them to Jane’s in the most hygienic form of a kiss she can give.

Jane smiles dopily at the endearment. Then her pout reforms in full force. “ Kiss , ‘lena,” she demands again.

Elena’s this close to giving in, Jane’s pout is just so effective. But she steels herself. She’s practiced with Sabina in endurance training for just this situation. Well, she's been applying skills from torture modules in real life. That means practicing keeping her head in difficult situations, most often utilized by not giving into Sabina’s puppy dog eyes whenever she asks for more art supplies to make something chaotic and/or dangerous. This? This is way more torturous. Instead she tries to reason with Jane. “I can't, baby, I'm sorry. If I kiss you, I'll get sick and then you might have to go to hospital ‘cause I won't be able to take care of you and Sabina's not home yet, and I know you hate spending the night in hospital beds. Right now we're just checking in with Saint and that's okay, but if I kiss you I might get sick too, sweetheart.”

Jane pouts even harder. Then alarm bells ring in Elena’s head when Jane’s eyes honest-to-god overflow till she’s genuinely crying. “Please, ‘lena, tired,” she sobs. “Make it hurt less, need kiss, ‘lena please ,”

Elena is a hardcore, badass lady spy trained in withholding precious information under duress and torture, but she's not a fucking rock. So she immediately leans in and brushes a kiss against Jane’s lips, wipes her tears away and strokes her cheeks. “Hey, hey Jane, breathe, it's okay darling, I've got you,” Elena soothes as she presses more kisses to Jane’s forehead and eyelids.

Jane calms down as Elena continues to drop kisses on her cheeks, her nose, her lips, her forehead. Tears still glisten on her cheeks, mingling with sweat from the fever, but she’s giggling and leaning into Elena’s touch without any of her usual reserve, so Elena counts it as a win.

“Thank you,” whispers Jane when her giggles subside. “Love you.”

Elena’s heart melts completely. Jane always makes it a point to tell her girls how much she loves them, worked to make explicit communication a habit so they’d never feel unappreciated. The fact that she’s still making an effort to do so even half delirious from fever is possibly the cutest thing Elena’s ever seen. That’s saying something, since she’s also seen Sabina screaming with joy upon receiving the heelies Jane and Elena had gotten her for Hanukkah, sliding around the Townsend halls in shoes she’d never been allowed to wear as a child. “Love you too, baby,” she says, and kisses Jane again for good measure.

 

Jane doesn’t remember much. Isn’t aware of much but dizziness and heat. She’s not sure what’s a dream and what’s real, if she’s really sleeping in their bed or in her bunk at MI6, whether she’s really an Angel or just dreaming of a better life like she used to. Everything is blurry when she wakes up from time to time, her head pounds and her neck aches. Maybe she’s been shot again, dreaming off the morphine in sick bay.

She remembers humming, fingers running through her hair like a lullaby. Getting up to the bathroom, leaning on someone or something, a cloth wiping down her skin, being fed bites of something dry, being tucked back into bed. Throwing up in a basin, drinking water and something nasty more than once. Reaching out her hands, praying that the names Elena and Sabina she dreams about are real, can find her. Thinks someone holds her hand, but she can’t be sure.

She does vividly remember waking up and screaming for Edgar, a name somehow less familiar than Bosley but more personal, though she’s not sure why. Images of a body drifting underwater, strapped in place, she’s unable to open the door and save him or herself. Useless . Her voice cracks on the name, and she’s sobbing, can’t get her hands to work properly and hide her face. Then Elena, oh God Elena’s real, Elena , unlaces their fingers and draws Jane into a tight embrace, cradles Jane’s face in the crook of her neck and hushes her, soothing. Jane can’t process everything she says but hears snatches of her pretty voice all the way until she drifts back into sleep. “It’s okay, baby…don’t worry, not your fault...love you...it’s okay, princess…did all you could...I’ve got you…”

 

When Sabina gets home from mission, she expects to find Jane sleeping and Elena napping on the armchair, a shit ton of crumpled blankets, and the space heater on blast. Elena’s sent her a few encrypted pictures and updates while she’s been away. Just those few texts had made Sabina antsy to get home. So she’d cleaned up the intel sweep fast by using more tricks from her past than usual, but it got the job done, and she wouldn't make a habit of it.

But when she gets home, she finds Jane curled up in the fetal position, fists tangled in the covers, and Elena wrapped around her back like the tiniest jetpack. On instinct Sabina whips her phone out and snaps a picture for posterity, then makes her way to the side of the bed. She places a hand on Elena’s shoulder, shakes it gently so that Jane won’t wake up too. “Baby, what’re you doing? We agreed to try to stay healthy, right? Why’re you in bed with Jane?”

Elena opens her eyes blearily and yawns, smacks her lips then scrunches her nose as she stares up at Sabina. “Wha? ‘Bina? You’re home!”

Sabina grins at Elena’s excitement, waves a tiny hello. “Honey, I’m home,” she whispers back with a laugh, then returns to her original question. “Why’re you in bed with Jane, firefly? Is she not sick anymore, you didn’t text me updates?”

Elena scrunches her nose up even further and shakes her head. “Still sick. But also, like, way too cute, couldn’t help it. Notified Saint about possible sick after got in bed ‘nd then went to sleep, forgot to text you, knew you were coming home sometime, sorry baby,” she explains. She’s slurring her words a bit, and Sabina finally notices that Elena’s shoulder is burning up. Elena’s also forgotten to whisper, and Jane stirs underneath Elena’s arms, makes a tiny noise in protest.

“That’s okay, firefly, I’m here now. Are you feeling alright? Have you taken any medication, how long have you been in bed? Did you eat yet? Try to whisper, let's not wake Jane up till we have to,” says Sabina.

Elena answers in a stage whisper, “Mhm, okay, Saint got us food ‘nd meds I think, double check though, did you bring food?”

Sabina chuckles and pats Elena’s shoulder. “Glad you've still got appetite, firefly, means you're not too sick even if you did cave to Jane way fast. Lasted even shorter than Langston’s ex, huh?”

Elena just groans at the joke, burrows further into Jane’s neck. “Food,” she mumbles.

Sabina laughs again, and pats Elena's shoulder reassuringly once more before moving away from the bed. “Okay, food,” she agrees.

 

Once she’s cleaned up the bedroom a bit, dunked two washcloths in cool water and set them on Jane and Elena's foreheads, Sabina moves to the kitchen to heat up the chicken noodle soup she'd bought on the way home.

As she waits for the pot to boil, she texts Saint.

 

“hey did elena text u? checked up yet?”

Saint immediately replies. “Don’t worry, Elena texted me half a day ago. I’ve checked in on Jane every day since she got sick and Elena found her in bed. We'll be talking more about that when she gets better. Elena also notified me of possible contagion, and so I checked on her. Admittedly I thought it was a bit more urgent because of her text, but she’ll be fine with the fever reducer I gave her and Jane. It’s on Jane’s bedside nightstand.”

Sabina texts back, “lol what'd she say?”

Saint takes a bit longer to respond. “She just said ‘Hi Saint, I am afraid,’ then nothing else. So you can see why I might have been concerned.”

“ya, bbygirl gets supes profesh when she's stressed, prob meant to say ‘hello good sir i’m afraid i have caught the plague’, but soz for worrying ya n thx for checking in”

Sabina puts her phone back in her pocket when the pot starts to boil over. She ladles the soup into two bowls, brings them back into the bedroom and sets everything down on the nightstand. Then she finds the fever reducer Saint mentioned, checks the last time they'd taken one; she'll give Jane and Elena one each once they've drunk some soup.

 

She shakes Elena awake again, helps her sit up. “Here, hot stuff, got your favorite. Can you drink on your own or do you want some help?”

Elena thinks for a second, then sets her mouth stubbornly. “I can do it myself,” she says.

“Cool, no doubt, you're a badass lady spy, but let's see you try first.” Sabina hands Elena the bowl and spoon, hands out at the ready in case Elena drops it. Elena seems to be capable, if a bit shaky, so Sabina reminds her to  “Drink slow, rookie,” then leaves her to it.

Moving to the other side of the bed, she gently rubs Jane’s feverish cheek with the pad of her thumb. “Hey, pretty girl,” she croons. “How're you feeling?”

Jane blinks awake slowly. A wide smile spreads across her cheeks when she realizes who’s talking. “Sab! Hi! ‘lena, it's Sab!”

Elena looks over and nods knowingly, tips the bowl to finish the rest of her soup , then stretches her hand out so that Sabina will take it. As Sabina turns to place the bowl back on Elena’s nightstand, she hears Elena whisper, “It’s Sabina! See, told you we’ve both got you, just like I promised,” and Jane replying excitedly “I know! Sab and ‘lena, kissing in a tree! Something something and kisses for me!”

Sabina giggles a bit. Elena’d texted her about how out of it Jane was, but it hadn't prepared her for Jane’s uncurbed cuteness. “Hi, princess,” she says just to make Jane blush and preen. “Feeling better?”

Jane sticks the tip of her tongue out in thought, then shakes her head and grimaces at the movement. “ Hurts , ‘bina. Cuddle?”

Sabina smiles down at Jane, rubs at her cheek again. Jane leans into the touch, eyes fluttering at the contact. “I can't, pancake, I gotta take care of you and firefly here,” she starts. Then she stops because Jane has a full-blown pout on her face and, okay, she'd made fun of Elena a little for giving in so easily to Jane’s kisses. But she is only just now realizing that she's never actually seen Jane pout, and that this is an unstoppable force that should probably be banned from Townsend weapons arsenals lest it take over the world.

While Sabina ponders the intricacies of making torture by Jane’s pout illegal through the Geneva convention, Jane makes a kissing noise and a woeful expression to get Sabina’s attention back. “Cuddle, ‘bina,” she says sadly.

Elena's draped around Jane’s back again, hands stroking up and down her sides. She stops the motion and looks up to say “You should probably get in bed before Jane cries,” then resumes her petting when Jane whines and grabs at Elena's hands without breaking eye contact with Sabina. “Ah, shit,” says Sabina wholeheartedly, feeling her resolve give way. She finds some hidden reserve of steel to withstand Jane’s wobbling lip to say “Fever reducer pills first, then I’ll cuddle you, okay Jane?”

Jane’s lip wobbles even more, so Sabina quickly grabs the pill bottle and a glass of water off the nightstand, pours out two in her palm, and hands one to both Elena and Jane. Elena takes the glass first, swallows it one go, then lifts the glass to Jane’s lips.

As Elena encourages Jane to finish the glass of water, Sabina shoots off one last text to Saint. “Medical proximity alert, probable contagion. jane is way too cute.”

Then she puts her phone away, takes the glass from Elena, and strips down to her underwear. Judging from how hot Jane’s cheek and Elena's shoulder are, she won't need clothes. Sabina turns back to the bed and finds that Jane's pout has been replaced with a very dorky approximation of her usual smirk. “Ohhh, sexy cuddles,” says Jane, making grabby hands probably intended for Sabina’s chest. Elena’s shaking, laughter muffled in Jane’s neck but still clearly at Sabina’s expense.

If anything, Sabina’s usually the one to proposition her girls like that, so she’s a bit flustered, both at seeing her normal flirting mirrored back at her and Jane’s unbridled enthusiasm. “Sexy cuddles when you get better, okay J?” she promised.

“Okay,” says Jane agreeably. Then she pouts again, makes another kissing noise to entice Sabina into bed like she’s a cat. “Kiss,” she demands.

Sabina sighs- cause of death, cuteness overload , she thinks to herself- but nods anyways and slides under the covers. She rolls onto her side and wraps her arms around Jane’s torso and under Elena’s arms, gives Jane a kiss, then another when Jane whines.

“Thank you, love you,” whispers Jane, eyes drooping closed.

Sabina brushes another kiss onto Jane’s nose, tightens her grip on Elena’s arm for solidarity. “Gnight, princess,” she whispers back. “Gnight, firefly.”

They lay there, all tangled together, Jane’s breath evening out. Elena follows her into sleep, and finally Sabina lets herself relax fully, sink into the comfort of her angels’ embrace.

 

An indefinite period of time later- after they wake up again, none of them really remember exactly what time because the world is blankets and eating when Saint comes in to check on them and sweat and cuddles and drifting asleep- Boz strides in through the door.

She makes her way into their bedroom, brandishing her phone, and says “Fatima and Saint both texted me that you were sick, Jane. Actually, Fatima texted Sabina first before she realized Sabina got sick too, you're on clinic toilet duty by the way Sabina, and- oh my God.”

She stops in her tracks, fully taking in the extreme cuteness of the sight before her. She snaps a few photos to send to Fatima, aww -ing as she does. Elena and Sabina are cocooned around Jane, dead to the world and snoring. Jane’s awake, is cracking her eyes open blearily, woken by Boz’s speech. Boz watches as a grin slowly lights up Jane’s face when she realizes who it is.

“Boz!’ she cheers. Then Bosley’s senses alert her of imminent danger as Jane’s face contorts into the cutest pout she's ever seen, cuter than a truckload of fat babies and puppies and Elena giving impassioned speeches. “...Kiss?”

Boz sighs, silently asks the higher powers in heaven what she’s done to deserve this, then shoots off a text notifying Charlie that she’ll need a vacation, and one to Saint for medical purposes. Then she moves to give Jane a kiss on the forehead, and suddenly it’s all worth it because the smile on Jane’s face returns. She just prays to Charlie that Jane won't remember the power of her pout once she gets better, or the world would be hers in less than a day.