edit: delirium

feverfetish  asked:

Maybe hunk taking care of really sick Keith? If you'd rather do shiro I'm all for that too but Keith and hunk is a favorite friend combo for me (love your stuff as always!!!)

There’s a weight crushing his chest, hot and thick and cloying like smog. He struggles to breathe past it, oxygen clogging in his lungs with every choked inhale.

His throbbing head lolls against the chilly floor, too woozy to try and lift it up. A tingling shiver starts at the base of his spine and travels up in one convulsive, rolling shudder. His stomach squirms, protesting the jarring movement as he wraps his arms a little tighter around himself, curling his limbs into a ball. His body feels like it’s been turned into a gigantic block of solid ice.

He needs to get up. Needs to get dressed and go outside. They’ll wonder where he is, soon. Probably come looking for him. Won’t they? Will they care?

He doesn’t know how long he’s been lying on the bathroom floor, doesn’t even remember stumbling out of bed. An hour, maybe? At any rate, he’s wallowed long enough. If he can’t accomplish the simple task of getting his body under control how the hell is he supposed to be the leader of jack-shit?

There’s that word again. It’s been tumbling around the recesses of his mind for weeks now. Always present, taunting him with its inevitability. He needs Shiro. Needs to ask him what to do.

But of course that’s impossible, isn’t it?

Three goddamn weeks and he’s still struggling to wrap his mind around their new reality. This nightmare he can’t seem to wake from.

He slams his fist against the tile, frustrated tears trickling down his cheeks as he hauls his uncooperative limbs into a sitting position. He sways as the floor tilts beneath him, but he refuses to fall. He blinks away the tears and inhales a deep, shuddering breath. Good. Making progress.

Then his lungs sputter, choking on the oxygen and he clutches at his throat, coughing and wheezing and hacking up a mouthful of something that makes him gag. He groans aloud, swiping the back of his hand beneath his leaking nose. He doesn’t have time for this bullshit.

Gritting his teeth, he reaches up to grip the edge of the metal sink; forcing his legs underneath him takes far more effort than it ought to. It’s slow going but eventually he’s hovering over the basin, weak but finally upright.

His fingers tremble as he cups a handful of water; the droplets turn lukewarm the moment they touch his skin. His reflection wavers in the small mirror, gray and distorted; fleeting because he ducks his head and shuts his eyes tight so he doesn’t have to look.

The anger resurfaces; coiling low in the pit of his stomach and working its way up until his vision flickers blood-red. It’s familiar; comforting in a twisted way. He needs the rage. Needs it to push himself forward like he needs the air in his lungs. He braces his weight against the wall, panting through another surge of dizziness.

He’s thirsty. He wants to go back to the faucet for a drink but the claustrophobia is waiting for him. The kitchen, then. No mirrors in there.

He’s standing in the middle of the mess-hall, uncertain of how he made it downstairs. He can feel a bruise forming just below his kneecap but can’t remember when he fell. He doesn’t bother trying to find a cup. Instead, he staggers over to the sink, fumbling blindly with the handle and dipping his head to gulp down mouthfuls of the icy water. The liquid splashes all over his face, down his chest and onto the floor. He doesn’t care, just keeps lapping at the stream until he can’t hold anymore.

“Keith?”

He jumps at the unexpected voice, wincing as a light switches on. He spins around and straightens, ignoring the nauseating shimmer of the walls surrounding him, making it difficult to keep his balance. He’d been freezing only moments ago; now his clothes feel damp and clammy with sweat.

“What are you doing up so early?” Hunk is still in his pajama pants and robe; hair disheveled and sticking up in all the wrong directions. He gives Keith an odd look, reaching up to rub his eye with the heel of his hand.

“Couldn’t sleep,” Keith rasps, feeling an uncomfortable tickle crawl up the back of his throat. He coughs in his mouth a few times, as quietly as possible.

“You too, huh?” Hunk offers a sympathetic smile and starts digging through a cabinet, producing a tin can. “I was gonna make some tea.”

It’s an obvious invitation but Keith is barely paying attention. It’s a little difficult to hear through the high-pitched buzzing in his ears and the gurgling in his stomach. The water isn’t settling; in hindsight, maybe he should have gulped a little slower.  

“Why don’t you sit down,” Hunk suggests, eyes narrowing with obvious concern. He’s frowning, now. 

“We’re scheduled for training in an hour,” Keith murmurs, throat bobbing with a few convulsive swallows. “I don’…don’t have time for tea.” For some reason that strikes him as funny and he lets out a snort of laughter.

Keith doesn’t think he can even make it to the chair. The room’s spinning too fast to move away from the sink, anyway. He feels himself tilting forward, watches as the floor rushes up to meet him and then a pair of strong arms hauling him back up just before he smashes his face open.

“Keith,” Hunk says right next to his ear; his voice is low and gentle. “Come sit down.”

And he really doesn’t have a choice in the matter.

Hunk helps him over to one of the chairs and Keith immediately slumps over the table, pillowing his head in his arms.

“I don’t think training’s on the agenda for you this morning. You look like hell.”

“Jus’ a cold,” Keith slurs, wiping his nose on the sleeve of his sweatshirt. “I’ll be fine.” He means it, too. He has every intention of powering through what promises to be a grueling morning. 

Hunk crouches down beside his chair. Keith watches with vague curiosity as Hunk rests one hand on his back and the other brushes underneath Keith’s bangs. Hunk’s large hand feels cool against his forehead. Even so, Keith feels the need to shrug Hunk off before he gets too comfortable up there.

“Hate to break it to you, but that’s definitely more than a cold,” Hunk obligingly pulls his hand away from his forehead but lets the other hover over Keith’s back. Keith coughs into his crossed arms and feels Hunk’s hand stroke up and down a few times. He doesn’t have the energy to do anything about it.

“So this is why you didn’t show up at dinner, huh? You’ve been feeling lousy since last night?”

“I was tired,” Keith insists. It’s harder to focus.

“You’re sick. I mean, you’re practically cooking in your own skin, dude,” Hunk rises from his crouch and crosses his arms.

“Jus’ need to sleep it off,” Keith insists, pushing up from the table. His stomach lurches with the unexpected movement and he muffles a wet hiccup into his fist. “You can’t tell the others.”

“Keith,” Hunk sits down beside him. He runs a hand through his messy hair and sighs. When he glances back, his eyes are unnervingly intense; full of a profound sadness that Keith recognizes as buried grief. “It’s okay. No one’s going to think any less of you because you need to take a day off. You don’t have to prove anything to us. You know that, right?”

The gentle sincerity, the goddamn earnestness makes Keith want to scream. He raises his head, swallows hard and glares back, fists vibrating against the table.

“I have everything to prove,” he growls, gripping the edges of the metal, trying to hold on to his reeling world.

Hunk shakes his head, resting his chin in his hands. He’s quiet for a long moment.

“You know who you sound like,” he says quietly, a fond smile forming at the corners of his lips. 

“Don’t,” Keith spits, shaking with fury. But the damage has been done. “Don’t talk about him like he’s…like -” 

Keith slaps a hand over his mouth, shoving away from the table and tripping over his own feet in his haste to make it to the sink. His shoulders roll with a deep gag and all at once the water comes gushing back up, splattering violently into the metallic basin. He retches a few more times but there isn’t anything left to throw up. He must’ve emptied out his stomach when he first woke up. He doesn’t remember doing that, either.

Keith coughs and spits, resenting the tears that manage to slip free. Suddenly, he realizes he’s no longer holding his own weight. Hunk has one arm wrapped around his waist, the other supports Keith’s back as his body shudders through the aftershock and he struggles to catch his breath.

“I’m sorry,” Hunk whispers when Keith’s calmed down a bit. He sounds devastated. “I didn’t mean for -“

“Don’t. Please,” Keith pants, slumping against the broad chest. “It’s not your fault. ‘M just…really fucked up right now. Everything’s so f-fucked up.”

He doesn’t mean for his words to get tangled in a choked sob but Hunk immediately pulls him close, hugging him from behind and holding him steady. He doesn’t say anything. He doesn’t have to.

After a few minutes, Keith wipes viciously at his bleary eyes and hangs his head. Hunk peers down, rubbing his thumb in gentle circles against Keith’s shoulder, silently asking if he’s all right; if he’s ready.

“Don’t tell Lance,” Keith hiccups, finally glancing up. “I think I’d have to abandon ship.”

Hunk smiles softly, readjusting his grip around Keith’s waist and easing the sick boy’s arm over his own shoulders.

“Yeah, you’re definitely getting funnier.”

“Not kidding,” Keith slurs, feeling himself being lifted up as if he weighs nothing at all. That’s strange because his head feels so heavy he’s afraid it might just roll right off his shoulders. He thinks maybe he passed out since one minute they’re in the kitchen and the next Hunk’s easing him down into bed, tucking his aching body into the warm blankets.

“You don’t need to prove anything right now, Keith,” Hunk’s voice is surprisingly soothing, fingers brushing lightly through the damp strands of Keith’s hair. “Just sleep. We can handle things for a while.”

Once again, Keith doesn’t have a choice in the matter.