Blankets (OC, sickfic)
Liam could have predicted this. It had barely been a week since Elliott moved in with him, and already he’d come down with another cold. The move had been a pain, dealing with the administration at Elliott’s university, and moving was stressful under the best circumstances. So Liam wasn’t surprised when Elliott woke one morning sniffling with his head buried beneath the blankets.
What Liam did not predict was coming home from work to find Elliott on the couch, shivering, even though he was clothed in a thick black sweatshirt and fleece pajama pants. His red hair was in complete disarray, and next to him sat a ball of the fluffiest yarn Liam had ever seen. “What are you doing?” he asked.
Elliott jumped as if he hadn’t heard Liam come in. “Er–ndothi’g,” he said. Another shudder overtook him and he lost his grip on the tool in his hand. It fell to the hardwood floor with a sharp clang!
Liam crossed the room and picked it up when Elliott made no move to get it himself. It was a single metal hook, about as long as a pencil and as thick as Liam’s little finger. “Are you knitting?” Liam asked, as Elliott reached for the hook.
“Crocheti’g,” Elliott said, kneading a spot on his forehead. His eyes were a glassy green, half-lidded and blinking as if he were struggling to stay awake. Still, he slipped the hook into a loop on his current project - which looked like a very wide scarf - and continued his stitching, one by one.
“What are you making?” Liam asked, sitting down beside him and casually inspecting his work.
Elliott sniffled and rubbed his nose into the back of his wrist. “A blagket,” he said. “It’s goi’g slower thad I’d like…mby ha’ds are chh-cold–” He twisted away from Liam suddenly with a harsh sneeze, buried hastily into the crook of his elbow. He came out of it slowly, as if he’d sneezed away a portion of his soul.
Liam furrowed his brow. “Bless you,” he said, puzzled. “Why’re you making a blanket now?”
“I’b cold,” Elliott said, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. He didn’t look up from his work, only kept his elbows close at his sides. Chills visibly wracked his slender frame, and he kept sniffling, now a wet, stunted sound.
“Elliott, I’ve got blankets,” Liam said, resting a warm hand in the middle of Elliott’s back. “Why didn’t you just take one of those?”
Elliott shrugged, but kept his eyes firmly fixed on his strip of blanket. “I dided’t wadt to take theb off the beds. I thought you’d be mbad.”
Liam’s chest tingled with pained sympathy. “I wouldn’t be mad, El’,” he said. “God, I think you’re uncomfortable enough without having to make your own blankets, yeah?”
He scratched lazy circles over Elliott’s back, and felt his boyfriend relax beneath his palm. For a moment, Elliott ceased his stitching in favor of slouching into the cushions and allowing Liam to massage his fingertips into his tense muscles. Liam kept up his ministrations for a few minutes, until another contained tremor resonated beneath his hand.
“Right, I’m getting the comforter off the guest bed,” Liam said, standing before Elliott could protest. He certainly tried, as Liam strode down the hall, but it only ended in a fit of grating coughs and a muffled groan. Liam, meanwhile, tore the thick blanket from the bed in the other room and shook it in an effort to get the dust off. It had been a while since anyone had stayed in the room, and if he were honest, he hadn’t been as thorough with the cleaning as he had with the rest of the house. He brought it out to Elliott, who had abandoned his blanket on the cushion beside him, and was now huddled with his arms wrapped around himself, fingers retracted into his sweatshirt sleeves.
As soon as Liam draped the blanket over Elliott’s shoulders, the ill man hugged it closer, as if he’d just been out in a snowstorm. Liam palmed his forehead. It was warm, but not too warm - a low grade fever at most.
“I’m going to make you some soup,” Liam decided, piling all of the pillows on the couch at one end. “You lie down, and I’ll let you know when it’s done.”
He took the yarn and the hook and set it down on the coffee table while Elliott adjusted himself to lean into the nest of pillows. Once Liam was satisfied, he gave him a last pat on the head and turned toward the kitchen.
He hadn’t even made it to the door when he heard Elliott’s light snoring, and he smiled to himself. Just as he’d predicted.