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Late Phases

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Johnny was sweating out a fever, wrapped up in his blue comforter on the bed. His blonde hair was damp, and his body was clammy and slick all over. Every time he pushed his blankets off he ended up shivering and trembling, but he felt like he was boiling with them on. He didn't know which was worse. 

"Hey." Jeff crouched down in front of him. He had a glass of water in hand and a soft, disconcerted expression on his face. "Johnny, I called you a ride. Do you want help getting downstairs?" 

Jeff was a good kid and a good roommate. He was a sweet omega who could best be described as lanky. He was trying to grow a beard out this month, so his chin and cheeks were covered in brown bristly fuzz. The two of them had known each other since they were kids. Johnny had never had to rely on him as much as he had this past week; today especially.

Johnny got sick like this sometimes, but never quite so bad. He'd been feverish for days. Half his time was spent sitting by the toilet puking his guts out. Jeff kept checking in on him. He would wipe up Johnny's vomit slicked chin and help him back to bed. He even made broth for Johnny to sip down when he was feeling up for it. Jeff was the one who set up a doctor's appointment, and apparently he had called for a driver too. If this fever wasn't melting Johnny's brain he would have been more thankful. 

Gingerly sitting up in bed, he reached out to take the glass of water from Jeff and it was blessedly cool in his fingers. "Can you just help me find my hoodie?" Johnny asked in a low voice. He took a few sips from the glass before setting it down by the window. 

"Sure." Jeff smiled sympathetically and went to dig around on the closet floor. He knew which hoodie Johnny was talking about, it was a comfy blue pullover that he wore around the apartment all the time. "I'd go with you but I have work." Jeff said from the closet. "I'll wash your sheets before I go, though." 

"Thanks, man." Johnny took his time finding some clean socks, slowly putting them on one foot at a time. It wasn't like he was completely incapacitated or anything, but the fever left little motivation for him to do things like get dressed. Still, he managed. Jeff brought the blue hoodie over and even helped Johnny put it on.

Johnny knew he definitely looked like shit. He was sweaty. Neither his gym shorts nor his pullover were clean, but he just didn't care. He couldn't be bothered to clean himself up more than this. His goal was to make it to the doctors office, not make himself look presentable. He actively avoided looking in the mirror hanging on the back of his bedroom door as he left the room.

Jeff walked him to the apartment door. They lived in a two bedroom flat which might have sounded impressive but the square footage was tiny. They didn't need anything big or fancy, just a place to lay their heads at night. Jeff made sure Johnny had his wallet and keys before they left. Together they walked down to the elevator and Jeff let Johnny lean on him until they reached the first floor. 

Their apartment building was nice. It was in a part of town that was slowly being gentrified. They had been living there for four years, and over time the pawn shops and check cashing stores had turned to frozen yogurt shops and modern art stores. The apartment building itself was nearly sixty years old, wrought in Art Deco architecture and designs. It was a little worn and torn in places but all things considered it was a good place to live.

For once they didn't have to wait for a driver, a black SUV was sitting outside their building waiting. Since owning a car downtown was so expensive they mostly used transport apps and taxi services to go places, if not the bus. Jeff lead Johnny outside and helped him into the back seat of the car. 

It was unusually bright out, and the sounds of traffic were just a little bit too loud. Johnny was all too happy to close his eyes and lean his head against the window as Jeff told the driver where to go. He wasn't giving directions to the usual general practitioner's office, he was giving directions to an urgent care center downtown. Johnny didn't think he was feeling so bad as that, but he also didn't have it within himself to argue. The air conditioning was on in the car and he was starting to shiver. 

"Ay," 

Johnny woke, not quite sure when he'd fallen asleep. This fever was doing weird things to him. He tried to open his eyes but it was too bright. He swallowed, Adam's apple bobbing in his throat. They were moving, driving somewhere.

"Don't throw up in my car," The driver warned. 

Johnny wanted to say that he wouldn't but he just drifted back to sleep. When he woke again they were stopped. The door he'd been leaning his head on was open, and a soft breeze was floating into the back seat of the car. It actually smelled kind of nice. They were in the shadow of a building so it wasn't too bright to look out. They were parked in the circle drive of the urgent care center. Johnny thought that it was farther away than this... were they really there already?

"Buddy, you gotta get out. I ain't carryin' ya." The driver was saying. 

"Sure," Johnny whispered, holding his hand up in a way as if to say 'give me a minute'. 

His limbs felt like rubber, but he climbed out of the car despite himself. He wasn't so far from the door, he could make it. It was an electronic entrance so he didn't even have to open it, he just had to walk inside. He was sweating by the time he reached the reception area. He walked straight up to the front desk, swaying a little on his feet. He hadn't felt this bad at home. 

"I, uh-" 

The woman in scrubs behind the front desk looked at him with wide eyes. 

"I don't feel so good." Johnny managed to say before the floor slammed into the side of his face.