The Host was fretting. When wasn't he? The prince had stayed outside in the snow far longer than he should have yesterday. Wasn't someone supposed to be on top of that? He sighed, looking over the child lying in bed. His face was red, and he had a pitiful cough. Host placed a hand on his forehead, feeling he was warmer than he should be. Host looked outside, frowning at the blizzard going on. The doctor wouldn't be here for a long while. Host sat on the side of his bed, watching over as he slept. He stayed there with him for several hours, worried. What if this developed into pneumonia, or something completely fatal?
The prince always had poor health from day one. Maybe it was caused by being a pair of twins in a time where twins both surviving birth is rare. Maybe it was some other underlying reason. Host had to shake his head, trying to chase off that worse idea. He heard a small shuffling near the door and turned his head, thankful for whatever distraction this may be. Celine was standing there hesitantly, glancing between Host and Damien. "I...I'm sorry. I was the one who made fun of him for having a time limit outside. I was the one who convinced him to stay longer."
Host furrowed his eyebrows, sighing. Celine was a strong child compared to Damien. But, he worried about her greatly. She was much more closed off than her brother, to the point where Host couldn't be as close with her as he was with Damien. She was headstrong, and rarely admitted she was in the wrong. She must have felt really guilty to have apologized. He debated whether or not to scold her, since he had taken over the role of parent at this point. Besides, who else was there to stop him from doing so? "Celine should apologize to her brother instead, when he wakes up. Taunting him was a very mean thing to do."
Celine tensed up, scoffing. She turned and stormed away. "Don't tell me what to do!" There she was, her normal self. That helped Host relax, even if he did worry about how she'd turn out with that behavior. Off to go shout at someone else, or whatever secretive things she does. He stood to go follow her, and try to talk her into actually apologizing, when he felt a soft tugging on his sleeve. "Don't leave Mr. Host. I don't wanna be alone. Please?"
He turned around and looked at Damien, who's pleading eyes were opened. Host couldn't help but give him a soft smile, sitting back down. He couldn't help but listen whenever the prince used that nickname. He always said it with such admiration too, it always warmed his heart. "His Royal Highness is still sick. He should continue resting. They don't want him to become any sicker than he already is, now do they? The Host should leave if he is keeping him up."
Damien pouted a little, not liking that answer. "Please Mr. Host? I don't like being alone. It gets too quiet and lonely. And I'm getting better! Even without the doctor and his gross medicine, I can sit up, see?" He got up just to prove it, whining when Host lightly pushed him back down.
"His Royal Highness is getting better, but he should preserve his energy so he can continue getting better. The Host will stay, but only if he lets himself heal. And he will still have to have medicine when the doctor arrives."
Damien huffed, rolling over onto his stomach. "Can you rub my back? If we can't talk? I wanna know you're still there."
Host held back a laugh, moving over and gently rubbing his back. Damien slowly shut his eyes and laid still. Host could feel his breathing, feel his heartbeat. They both seemed to be stable and strong, which was a huge relief for the time being. It was silent for a while, and he assumed the prince had fallen asleep. However, he jumped a little when Damien suddenly spoke. "Will I always be so sick all the time when I'm the King?"
Host paused, and decided comfort would be better than his opinion. He didn't want to think about the little voice in the back of his head telling him it was unlikely for the boy to survive childhood at all with the way that he was. "No, the King has the best doctors. The King is always strong and healthy. The Host is sure Damien will be the same when he gets old enough to rule."
Damien was quiet with that response, nodding softly. Host continued to rub his back, listening as Damien's breathing slowed. Pretty soon, the doctor arrived. He was an older man, not the same one that would join the castle staff many years later. He was quiet too, getting right to work. Host had to wake Damien back up so he could have some of the bitter medicine. He coughed more, making a face. Host understood, it burned a little, and the taste lingered on the tongue for a while. Nothing made it taste any better. Once the older gentleman had left, off to his next appointment, Damien laid back down. Host got up, seeing that Damien was practically back to sleep already, and stepped out of the room. But before he could shut the door, he heard a quiet voice. "Goodnight Daddy."
Host smiled once again, turning to the boy and responding, "Goodnight Damien." He shut the door and leaned against it, sighing. He was digging a hole for himself, becoming too attached to the prince. It would end badly not for him, but for the whole kingdom if he couldn't find a way to cut this connection. But what else was he to do? He needed to be there for him. With a troubled heart, he silently slipped back into his study and searched to find the answer to his problems, only to fail for many years to come.