Normally when Pooch was sick, Jolene would take care of him all day, no matter how little or big the illness was. She would take away whatever he was working on, whatever book he was reading, or whatever personal project he was doing and put it somewhere else and refuse to give it back until she deemed him healthy enough to handle it again. She would then lead him to the couch in their living room to pull a blanket up to his neck, tuck two pillows under his head so he was propped up just right, and kiss his forehead before turning on the television to the Sci-Fi channel (which he still refused to think of as SyFy because it just seemed silly to have changed it) in order to amuse him while she went into the kitchen and prepared enough soup from scratch to last for a few days. After the soup was done and heated to perfection she would return with a big bowlful and a Ginger Ale with a bendy straw.
She would reposition him so that the pillows were on her lap and he was propped up enough to be able to eat and drink while she carefully allowed him to sip at the Ginger Ale while she blew on the soup and patiently fed him spoonful after spoonful. Every single bite of soup was filled with the taste of her love as he was the center of her absolute attention until he got better. It would always feel like a waste of one of their sparingly few days that he had off from the military when he was sick. But Jolene helped to make those days less wasteful since he still ended up spending the day with his fantastic wife at his side. She had somehow managed to turn the days that he got sick at home into a perfect excuse for the two of them to not do anything except cuddle on the couch together all day.
Pooch wished he was around enough to return the favor more for Jolene. He might not be able to make the same soup that she dutifully made for him, but he would do everything possible to make her feel better and be on her beck and call for the entirety of the day. Often he would rub her feet or her back or run his fingers through her hair while she napped on the couch between chick flicks or some new drama show she had started watching during his last tour defending his country.
When he wasn’t with Jolene but was feeling under the weather, Pooch kept quiet unless it was something that interfered too much for him to continue working. A sore throat, headache, cough, cold; anything that could be solved with a couple extra hours of sleep and a few pills wouldn’t be worth mentioning to the guys for fear of sounding whiny or like Jensen.
Every now and again though a bad bug or stomach virus would go around the base they were stuck at and would managed to get through Pooch’s immune system. He would end up feeling as sick as a dog, which Jensen always stated aloud when he caught word of it just to then try and make the statement seem hilarious. Jensen always had to emphasize it because he made a comparison of Pooch with a dog and that’s just so funny guys, get it? Pooch would not have the strength to deal with the loudmouth hacker and would then have to admit to being too sick to be of any use to his team. It was those moments that he missed Jolene even more.
But then Cougar would enter whatever room Pooch had holed himself in without a warning knock, with a bowl of soup in his hands and an unopened bottle of water.
None of the other guys on the team would even consider playing nurse but no one questioned why Cougar always helped Pooch and Jensen when they fell ill. Clay just assumed that Cougar picked up how to properly take care of sick people since he grew up being the oldest, and only male, in a family of eight kids.
Cougar would sit on the edge of the flimsy bed Pooch had claimed as his own and hold the offered gifts patiently while Pooch maneuvered himself into an upright position. Pooch would then thank Cougar as he took the soup from him and Cougar would place the water bottle on the floor as he rearranged Pooch’s pillow behind his back as a bit of cushioning and comfort for him.
They would sit in silence while Pooch ate his soup because it went without saying that Cougar wouldn’t bother to try and fill the silence, that was Jensen’s job, and Pooch was too busy using his strength to eat. The soup was always from a can so it never matched up to Jolene’s homemade stuff, not even a little bit. Also, depending on where they were at the time, the soup wouldn’t even be hot if Cougar didn’t have resources for heating the soup up, but Pooch wouldn’t comment and would slurp away at his room-temperature soup while Cougar stared at a wall.
Once Pooch brought the bowl to his mouth and tipped it so he had finished even the last teaspoon, Cougar would take the dish from him and hand him the water bottle. Then he would take the bowl out of the room and return a little while later with either crackers or a piece of bread or a banana, depending on what their resources were like. Cougar would settle next to Pooch for a few hours, usually with a book, while Pooch slowly ate. He stayed just in case he needed to get anything more if Pooch asked, whether it was more food, water, or extra blankets. Pooch normally would just lean against Cougar, appreciating his heat, and read over his shoulder or count out the evenness of his breaths while dosing.
At some point, Cougar would gently maneuver Pooch to lie down. He would then stand, smile, and lean over to press a quick kiss to the top of Pooch’s head that always reminded Pooch of the brief time when they had been together before he had met Jolene and before Jensen had joined the team. It was Cougar’s way of saying that he would never forget the good times they had while being intimate and also that, no matter what happened, he was there to help take care of Pooch.
Pooch would smile as Cougar left and feel a small heat spread through him that would always help Pooch sleep off the rest of his illness.