46 Robert looking after Aaron when he's ill
You don’t look so good
The festive season is over, and the Christmas decorations have barely been packed away before almost the entire village is struck down with a particularly nasty strain of norovirus. Aaron, in his seemingly never ended misfortune, is hit the worst, his time spent with his head ducked over a toilet bowl outlasting the usual twenty four hour period by three days. By hour 36, Robert, who lives up to his legacy as the village enigma by being one of the few who are immune, is in a frenzy, convinced that his husband may be on the verge of certain death. Luckily, the woman who picks up Robert’s call to the NHS helpline is able to assure him that yes, this is normal, and no, Aaron is not dying, he just has a stomach bug.
‘You don’t look so good,’ Aaron jokes when Robert comes into the bedroom clutching a glass of water. ‘Have you caught something?’
‘Har-dee-har-har,’ Robert says, rolling his eyes and perching on the edge of the bed next to him. Aaron smiles, which looks odd in contrast to his pasty skin and bruised under-eyes. He’s been putting on a brave face for days, but Robert knows that he feels rotten. ‘I’m going to need you to sit up a minute.’
Aaron sighs but nods, bringing himself up onto his elbows and letting Robert slip an arm around his waist. He winces as he forces himself into a sitting position, a barely audible groan slipping from his lips. Robert wants nothing more than to tuck him back up and let him rest, but his health has to come first.
‘This has got some rehydration powder in it,’ Robert says, nodding to the glass. ‘You’re going to have to drink it or you’re just going to get sicker. Sorry.’
‘I didn’t think that was possible.’
Robert hands Aaron the glass and he lifts it shakily to his lips. He manages about half before shoving it back to Robert and clamping a hand to his mouth. Robert is quick to react, grabbing the empty mixing bowl he left at the side of the bed for such an emergency.
‘You alright?’ Robert asks, rubbing Aaron’s back and his wretches. He isn’t actually sick though, which is promising.
‘They just had to make it orange flavoured,’ Aaron says, pressing the back of his hand to his mouth and taking a deep breath.
Robert puts the bowl on the floor. ‘You got some of it down though, which is good. Is there anything else I can get you?’
Aaron considers for a moment, letting Robert plump up his pillows before he settles back down. ‘Can you stay with me for a bit?’
Robert nods and smiles. He’s been sleeping at the foot of the bed for the past few days, giving Aaron enough room to breathe while still being close if he needs him. He hasn’t minded, but he’s missed being next to his husband. He stands up and makes his way to his own side of the bed, slipping under the covers next to Aaron and offering an arm. Aaron takes the invitation and curls up against him, his head pressed against his heart. His skin is clammy and he smells like sweat and vomit, but Robert doesn’t mind. He kisses the top of his husband’s head and smiles into his hair. He doesn’t mind at all.