Sick Scene.

Nevaeh peeped into Regillion’s room at the top of the Central Tower. She smiled as she saw him pacing back and forth across the floor, one finger tapping his chin, the other hand clenched in a fist behind his back. His eyes glued to the floor in front of him, he was oblivious to her presence.
She watched him closely for several minutes. He’d been acting strange lately– more strange than usual. The last few days he’d been more snappish and short tempered than normal. Now she could see that his nose was red and his face was a little pale. He sniffed audibly every few seconds and once he cursed under his breath as he was forced to stop his pacing and blow his nose.
He was sick. Probably just a common cold, but with him… good grief, she would have her hands full taking care of him.
She tapped on the already half open door and came in. He stopped and switched his glare to her.
“Did I call for you?” He snapped.
“No.” She answered, coming toward him.
“Then why did you come in?” He demanded.
“Because.” She stopped beside him and reached up to his forehead.
He swatted her hand and ducked away. She grabbed his arm and stepped closer, putting her hand to his clammy forehead. He glowered even darker at her.
“Regillion, you have fever.”
“So?” He jerked away from her grasp and continued pacing.
She sighed and went to the door, calling for a servant. She instructed the girl to bring a pot of coffee, a jar of honey, and a selection of herbs.
Regillion was still glaring at her when she turned around.
“Get in bed. How long have you been like this?” She asked.
“I’m fine.”
“No, you’re not. How long have you had a runny nose and fever?”
“Since never.”
“Regillion…”
“What?” He snapped.
“How long have you had this cold?”
He crossed his arms and pressed his lips together. He looked like a stubborn boy who had gotten in trouble for stealing cookies from a cookie jar.
Nevaeh crossed her arms and glared back. “How. Long. Have. You. Been. Sick?”
He huffed and looked away. “A few days.” He muttered.
“That’s what I thought. Now get in bed, you need to rest.”
“I don’t need to do anything.” He threw back, resuming his pacing.
Nevaeh marched up to him and grabbed his arm with both hands. He could easily have thrown her off, but she knew he wouldn’t. He was only making a fuss because he wanted her attention. She hauled him over to his bed at the curtained off end of the room and shoved him down on it.
“Get. In. Bed.” She ordered.
He crossed his arms and frumped.
She dropped her face in her hands. “Regillion, you look like a spoiled rotten bratty five year old.”
“Well, maybe I am.”
She looked at him with one eye through her fingers. “Yes, you are. Except for the five year old part. Now undress and get in bed.” She went out and closed the curtains, taking the tray the servant girl brought and doctoring up a cup of coffee for him.
“Okay, I’m in bed, Miss Nurse.” His sarcastic voice informed her a few minutes later.
She pulled the curtain back. He had taken off his boots, cloak, and tunic and was in his undershirt, propped up against the pillows with the covers pulled up to his waist.
“Good.” she said, bringing the tray in and setting it on his nightstand. She handed him the cup of coffee.
“What’s in it?” He asked, looking down at the black beverage.
“Drink it first, then I’ll tell you.”
Goodness, she knew him well, he thought. He sipped it cautiously.
“Just drink it!” She cried. “I didn’t drug it or anything!”
He smiled cynically and took another drink. “It’s sweet.”
“I know, I put honey in it.”
“Why?”
“Because it will help with your sore throat and headache.”
“I don’t have a sore throat or headache.”
“Yes, you do.”
“No, I don’t.”
“Don’t argue, you’re sick.”
He huffed again and took another drink. “What else did you put in it?”
“Herbs.”
“What sort of herbs?”
“Healing herbs.”
“What sort of healing herbs?”
“Healing herbs that will help you get better.”
“What sort of healing herbs that will help me get better?”
“Regillion, knock it off.”
He grinned again, thoroughly enjoying having all of her undivided attention.
She sat on the edge of the bed and felt his forehead again. He still had a fever. It wasn’t really bad, but it was noticeable.
She got up and started walking toward the door.
“Where are you going?” He asked.
“To get something for your fever.” She asked, putting her hand on the door handle.
“No, come back here.” He ordered.
“I’ll only be gone a minute.” She opened the door and stepped out.
“NEVAEH!!!” He roared. “COME BACK HERE RIGHT THIS MINUTE!!!”
She sighed and rolled her eyes. She ignored his command and went down to the kitchen. She came back with a bowl of cold water and a rag.
He glowered darkly at her when she came in, his eyes smouldering. She sat down on the edge of the bed again and dipped the rag in the water, squeezing it out and placing it on his forehead. He flung it off and turned his face away from her. She picked the rag up again and put it back on his forehead. When he reached up to push it off, her hand latched around his wrist.
“Regillion, leave it there.”
He glared at her out of the corner of his eye and grabbed the rag with his other hand, throwing on the floor on the other side of the bed.
Nevaeh grabbed his shoulders and shoved him back against the pillows. “Regillion,” She hissed. “Stop it right now. You have my undivided attention, so stop acting like the spoiled brat that you are. I can’t stop you from spoiling yourself, but I will not tolerate this behavior when I’m trying to help you.”
He glared defiantly back at her.
“Just because I left for five minutes when you selfishly wanted me to sit by your side doesn’t give you any reason for you to throw a fit like a toddler. Maybe if you act like a toddler, I should give you a spanking like I would a toddler.”
For a split second he looked surprised, but he covered it up quickly. “You wouldn’t dare.”
“Don’t dare me to. I might just do it.”
He sighed. “Fine.” He spat out.
She released him and picked up the rag again, redipping it in the water and putting it on his hot forehead. She saw it in his eyes, for a moment he tampered with the idea of throwing it off again.
“You do that one more time and you won’t see me until your cold it over.” She warned.
He crossed his arms and stared at the foot of his bed, refusing to look at her. She rolled her eyes and replenished his coffee cup. She held it out to him. He didn’t move.
“Regillion, take it.” She ordered.
He didn’t respond.
She sighed loudly and crawled up beside him. She pinched his nose shut and when his mouth reflexively opened, she put the coffee cup to his lips.
He spluttered and grabbed the cup from her, sitting up and coughing, shoving her hand away from his face.
“Don’t do that!” He yelled.
“Don’t act like a brat.” She replied, taking a napkin and wiping up the spilled coffee on his chin.
He flopped back against the pillows and took a swallow of the coffee, watching her of the rim of his cup.
“You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?” She asked.
He nodded, smiling ever so barely.
“You just like it when I pay attention to you and fuss over you.”
He nodded again.
She leaned back on her hands. “Regillion… when do you ever not have all my attention?”
He paused, thinking for a moment. “When you’re sleeping.” He finally answered.
She grinned. “So, basically, my every waking moment is devoted to you.”
He nodded. “I like it that way.”
She pinched his cheek. “Brat.”
He pulled away. “Stop it.”
She rested her elbows on her knees, her chin in her hands. “Is that why you kidnapped me?”
His eyes darkened. “Is what why I kidnapped you?”
“Because you were lonely and wanted someone to pay attention to you.”
“Maybe.” He muttered, hiding his face behind his coffee cup as he look another drink.
“Maybe… yes?” She prodded.
“Maybe.” He muttered again, darker.
She grinned. “Do you like it when people pay attention to you and cater to your every whim?”
He nodded.
“What about when someone doesn’t cater to your every whim, but still gives you their undivided attention?”
He frowned at her suspiciously. “What do you mean?”
She leaned back on her hands again. “Say, for instance, you were… let’s say you were sick. Annnnnnnd, someone was taking care of you, even though you didn’t want to be taken care of– or least, were pretending you didn’t want to be taken care of– and, this someone had to go out of the room to get something and you wanted them to come back.”
He didn’t like the direction this was going.
She continued. “And you ordered that someone to come back but they didn’t come back right away, they came back on their own time. Then, you would have that person’s undivided attention, but they wouldn’t be obeying your every whim.”
“So… what was the question?” He asked, playing dumb.
She grinned. “So, would you still like it that you had that person’s undivided attention even if they didn’t cater to your every whim and wish?”
Man, was she sneaky, he thought. But he liked her that way. If she did unquestioningly obey his every command and wish, well then, she would just be another servant. But she wasn’t. She was Nevaeh.
“Maybe.” He muttered behind his coffee cup.
She leaned forward. “Are you smiling?”
“No.” His answer came a little too quickly.
She reached for his coffee cup. “Then you won’t have any problem letting me see your mouth.”
“No.”
“Let me refill your cup.”
“No, it’s not empty.”
“Yes, it is, don’t lie to me.” She grabbed his cup.
He jerked it away from her, in the process pulling it away from his face to keep it out of her reach.
“Yes! You were smiling!” She said triumphantly.
“Oh, be quiet.” He grumbled. “You cheated.” He held his cup out to her. “More.”
“What’s the magic word?” She asked.
“The magic word.”
She rolled her eyes. “The other magic word.”
“Oh, you mean ‘please’?”
“Yes, now say it.”
“I just did.”
“Say it again.”
“No, I only want one cup.”
“What?” She asked, not quite following his train of thought.
He grinned. “Just refill it.”
“Fine.” She smiled back and poured more coffee into it, mixing a spoonful of honey into it.
“Ew, don’t do that, it ruins it.” He said.
“This is the whole reason why you’re drinking it in the first place, because the honey will help your cold.” She explained, handing the cup back to him.
He huffed. “It still ruins it.” He said.
“Are you hungry?”
“No.”
“Have you eaten yet today?” She asked.
“No.”
She looked at the gigantic clock on the opposite wall. It was after noon.
“Do you want to eat anything?”
“No.” He answered, his voice getting shorter and more clipped with each ‘no’.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes! I am sure! I don’t feel like eating yet!”
“Okay, I was just making sure.” She said.
He glowered at her out of the corner of his eye. “Don’t you ever believe me the first time I tell you something?”
“Rarely.” She answered lightly.
“I’ll have to keep that in mind.”
She sat on the bed beside him and ran her fingers through his coarse black hair. He almost physically bristled under her touch, but she knew he enjoyed the contact. His hands clenched into fists and he stared fixedly at the foot of the bed.
She felt his forehead again. His fever had diminished slightly, but not by much. His attitude wasn’t helping his cold at all.
She got up and walked toward the door.
“Where are you going?” He demanded immediately.
“To get something to eat.” She answered, pausing half way across the room.
She could tell he was tempted to order her to stay again, but they both knew she wouldn’t. After several moments of silence he muttered,
“Fine.”
“I’ll only be gone a few minutes.” She said.
“Hurry.”
She nodded and slipped out of the room.
Nevaeh was gone longer than she intended to. By the time she finished talking to the servant girls in the kitchen and got her meal on a tray and was headed back up to Regillion’s room, it was almost twenty minutes later.
She pushed the door open with her shoulder and walked in, expecting him to berate her for being gone so long. When she was greeted with silence she peered concernedly at his bed. He was reclined against the pillows, his eyes closed, his whole body relaxed– a rarity in and of itself.
She knew better than to assume he was asleep. She set her tray down on the nightstand and sat down on a chair beside the bed. He didn’t move, and his breathing remained slow and even.
Maybe he is asleep, she thought. She hoped so. He needed the rest. She ate her meal as quietly as she could, not wanting to disturb him.
He slept the rest of the day and only woke when Nevaeh gently rocked his shoulder later that evening. His eyes opened only just barely enough for him to glare at her.
“What?” He growled groggily.
“It’s supper time, do you want anything to eat?” She asked.
“No.”
“Regillion, you haven’t eaten–”
“I know I haven’t eaten anything!” He snapped. “I’m not hungry!”
“Shh, alright, do you want some more coffee?”
“No. Leave me alone.”
She nodded and checked his fever.
“I said, leave. me. alone.” He snarled in a half whisper.
“That’s the last thing you want me to do, and you know it.” She said.
She went around to all the windows and pulled the curtains closed, leaving the room in semi darkness.
“Nevaeh.” His voice was deep, quiet, and almost desperate.
“Hmm?”
“Light some candles. Now.” He ordered.
“I was about to do that.” She lit six candles and put them in a candle holder, bringing it over to the bed so it illuminated the little curtained off part of the room where his bed was.
He was tense as a bowstring and didn’t relax until she had set the candle holder down and sat on the edge of the bed. He let out a shaky sigh and unclenched his hands from the covers where he had subconsciously gripped them.
She put her hand over his. He switched his gaze to glare at her face. It wasn’t his normal glare, she saw, he was trying to hide his fear under it. It didn’t do any good, she already knew. With her free hand she began to stroke his hair.
He closed his eyes and his hands clenched into fists again.
“Regillion,” She whispered. “Calm down, did you really think I would leave the room dark?”
“Shut up.” He hissed.
She was silent for a few moments, her thumb slowly rubbing back and forth across his hand, her fingers combing through his hair.
“Why do you spoil yourself?” She asked.
His eyes opened. “What?”
“You spoil yourself on purpose. You never deny yourself anything. Why?”
He shrugged, looking away. She put her hand on his chin, gently guiding his gaze back to her face.
“Why?” she repeated.
He looked everywhere except her eyes. “I… I wanted to.” He muttered. “To… make up… kind of… for…”
“For what?” She prodded.
“Shut up, you know what I mean.” He snapped.
“Yes, I do. But tell me anyway.”
“For when… I didn’t have anything… and… I had to do without.”
“When was that?”
He glared at her. “Before I murdered my mother.”
She knew how hard it was for him to talk about it, but she also knew it helped for him to get it out. She gently pulled him into an embrace, pressing his head down on her shoulder.
He held onto her tightly, his breathing ragged and uneven. She rested her cheek against his forehead and continued to stroke his hair and rub his back.
“Will you ever get over it?” She whispered.
He shook his head. “I can’t.”
“Do you ever forget about it?”
“No. I think about it every day. I can’t help it.”
He was so vulnerable, opening himself up like this. Physically and emotionally.
“You’re like a crab.” she blurted without thinking.
“What?” He asked incredulously.
She smiled. “You’re like a crab.” She repeated.
“No, I’m not, I don’t walk sideways.”
Nevaeh threw her head back and laughed. She felt Regillion smiling a little; the equivalent of a laugh for him.
“No, I didn’t mean you walked sideways. I was thinking that crabs have such a hard crusty shell on the outside, but on the inside they’re soft and–”
“And vulnerable?” He finished, his voice hard and tense, like he expecting her to verbally stab him.
“That too, but I was going to say you’re a totally different person on the inside than you would have people to believe.”
“Oh.” A long pause. “And… is that a bad thing?”
“No. I like your crusty outer shell and your soft real self.”
“Are you saying I’m a softie?”
“Yes.”
“Thanks.” His voice was tart and fairly dripping with sarcasm.

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