Will had been having a rough day.
Of course, Will loved his job—being a doctor was what he’d always wanted to do, and helping people was what he loved, but sometimes things got pretty rough. Namely when he lost patients. Most of his coworkers were worn and experienced, less affected by the day to day hustle, but Will was easily the most sensitive.
Today’s loss had been particularly bad, a very young girl brought into the emergency room with trouble breathing. It turned out she’d inhaled some water in the pool, and they hadn’t known until her lips had begun turning purple.
By the time they had a diagnosis, it was too late, and she’d suffocated.
The children were always the hardest.
By the time Will’s shift was over, he was dragging, his shoulders slumped and his bag thrown haphazardly over his shoulder. He hadn’t changed out of his scrubs yet, his hair stuck back in a headband that he’d probably stolen from his boyfriend.
When he finally unlocked the door to his apartment and made his way inside, all he really wanted to do was cry, curl up with his boyfriend, and sleep for a solid 24 hours. He hadn’t been expecting the dark of the apartment, the lack of noise, with only the one sliver of light coming from the bathroom door. In fact, it looked a lot like it had that morning when he’d left for work.
Exhausted and worn and heavy hearted, Will wondered where Nico might be, moving toward the bedroom to take off his shoes and his jacket and to put his bag away.
He’d been expecting to find Nico napping in bed or something, maybe watching television, but the sheets were still made and the remote lay unused on the bedside table. By the time he made it over to the bathroom, he suspected something must have been wrong.
When Will entered the bathroom, gently pushing the door in after his knock received no response, his suspicions were confirmed. Nico was asleep, his head head propped up against the lip of the bathtub. The room smelled sour and Nico’s face was the slightest bit flushed, one arm draped over his stomach.
He felt guilty for the exasperated sigh that followed. Nico was easily the light of his life, and there was never a day he wasn’t happy to see him—but right now, Will desperately needed some sort of comfort, and he knew Nico wasn’t going to be fit to give it to him.
Forcing a more sympathetic expression, Will crouched down and, very gently, nudged Nico’s shoulder. He would have just carried him to bed, but if he’d been camping out in the bathroom, he was probably nauseous, and Will definitely wasn’t in the mood to be vomited on.
Nico shifted, groaned, and cracked open one eye. Will smiled sympathetically, carding a hand through his sweat dampened hair.
“Hey.” Will whispered, patting his cheek. “Not feeling too well?”
Nico nodded, groggily, leaning into Will’s hand as his eyelids fluttered closed again. “Been throwing up since lunchtime…” He croaked. “Think I ate something bad…”
“Why didn’t you call?” Will asked, taking Nico’s hand and squeezing. “I could have at least brought you something for the nausea.”
“I called your office earlier and someone said you were in surgery.” Nico said, swallowing thickly, his nose wrinkling. “They said it’d be a while, I didn’t want to bother you…”
“Still nauseous?” Will asked, frowning a bit. “If you feel like throwing up, you probably need to. Especially if you think you’ve got food poisoning.” Will said, kissing the side of his head.
“Yeah, I’m still—” Nico paused, clearing his throat, his eyes widening the slightest bit as it ended with an unexpected gag.
The next ten minutes consisted of Will keeping Nico’s hair tucked back while he threw up. The Italian, finally, finished, and Will got him water and painkillers, sending him to bed to rest while he finally got dressed in pajamas.
“Why are you still in your scrubs?” Nico asked from the bed, propped up against a couple of pillows with the remote in hand.
The question took Will aback, a bit, and he shrugged a bit. He didn’t want to stress Nico out anymore than he already was. “No reason. I just didn’t have time to change.”
“Bullshit.” Nico called halfheartedly, peering wearily over at Will as he changed. “Something happened. What’s wrong?”
Will shrugged again, though he could already feel himself unraveling. “Surgery just ran long, babe.” He said, dragging off his pants and sitting on the edge of the bed. “Can I get you anything before I lie down?”
“You can tell me what happened.” Nico looked washed out and tired, but it seemed like his stomach had settled, at least for the time being. He caught Will’s wrist, linking their fingers and squeezing lightly. “You know I’m fine, Will, you can talk to me.”
Will sighed tiredly, his shoulders slumping as he shuffled into bed. “Just—” he paused, sighing. “This… Little girl, came in, and…” He had to pause, leaning back into the pillows as Nico squeezed his hand. “She had swallowed water, but they didn’t know it… She’d been complaining of chest pain but then all of the sudden her lips were turning blue and they brought her in, and…”
Nico nodded a little bit, rubbing circles on the back of his hand. “And?”
“We couldn’t save her. It was way too late. She couldn’t have been more than 5, Nico.” He muttered, his voice catching. “I tried to talk to her parents, but they just.. Kept crying, the mom was…” Will exhaled sharply, bringing a hand up to his eyes.
Nico frowned gently, bringing his other hand up to cup Will’s hand. “Hey, it’s okay.. Come here..” He stretched one arm out, waving Will closer.
“You’re sick.” Will croaked, wiping at his eyes.
“So? You’re upset. Come here, Will.” Nico said, voice a bit more serious. “No arguments.”
Still looking hesitant, Will scooted closer, settling up against Nico’s side. Nico settled one arm around his shoulders, giving him a gentle squeeze.
“You were with that family through the toughest moment of their lives. You helped them understand, and helped them know they weren’t at fault. You couldn’t have done anything for her.” He said, lifting a hand to card through his hair.
“I know.” Will whispered, voice wobbly. “She was just so little, Nico…”
“Maybe this was for the best. Who knows what could have happened to her tomorrow.” Nico said, kissing his head.
“It’s over now. You did what you could.” Nico said. “Now just let me hold you and you can be sad and we can watch a movie together.”
As much as Will wanted to continue to wallow in self pity, Nico’s proposition was much more enticing. He nodded a little, and Nico lifted a hand to swipe away the wetness in his eyes.
“Turn on something good.” Said Will, moving closer to inch one hand up Nico’s shirt, tracing circles on his stomach.
They fell asleep like that, Will tucked under Nico’s arm, one hand under his shirt, Nico’s hand curled in his hair. The peacefulness of the night was just what Will needed, and the days events were excuse enough to let Nico snuggle him all night.