James pulled the offered big blue towel around his shoulders as fast as he could, probably yanking the arm of whoever had offered the towel in the first place. He'd feel bad about it later, once he could feel his extremities or really any part of him. The soaked wool pants and sweater turtleneck he wore stuck to his skin uncomfortably. He pulled his knees up to his chest, wrapping the towel around him more as his teeth chattered together so hard he was sure he'd knock a couple of them out. The only comfort he took from his current predicament was the fact that Michael was sitting next to him, in a soaked wetsuit, shivering just as violently as he was.
"I'm going to punch Matthew if he asks us to dive back in," James muttered, looking at Michael.
"No, you won't," Michael replied matter-of-factly.
"And why not?"
"Cause I will."
James chuckled and then winced when his teeth clacked together even more violently. Michael looked at him apologetically causing James to shake his head and smile the best he could at him. Michael smiled back before a frown took its place. James turned to see what had caused the frown because he didn’t like it when Michael was frowning, not when Michael should be smiling and had been smiling at him, and saw Matthew walking towards them. In unison, they both groaned.
"Relax, you can go. I just wanted to make sure you weren't suffering from hypothermia or anything," Matthew replied.
"Not yet," James chattered, trying to pull the towel around him even more despite the impossibility of it.
"Go. Get dry and warm. I've got a couple more scenes we’ll need to film but if need be they can wait a day or two," Matthew replied.
"Oh thank god," James muttered, attempting to stand up despite his cold limbs and failing not so gracefully.
Michael managed to climb to his feet better than James and then helped the other man up. After being wrapped in more towels, they made their way to the wardrobe trailer and changed out of their wet clothes.
"I think I'm going to sleep in my regular clothes tonight," James said tugging on his jeans.
"I would think that would be awfully uncomfortable”.
“Well, at least I’d be warmer than I am now.”
Michael laughed at that, pulling his shirt over his head. Once fully dressed in their regular clothes and jackets, James glad for the layers he usually wore despite Michael's teasing, they headed out to the car that would take them back to their hotel. Michael drove, James holding his hands in front of the vents trying to warm them up and wishing he’d thought to grab one of the many pairs of gloves that wardrobe had for Charles even if most were fingerless.
"I bet I'll end up sick because of this," James complained, flexing his cold fingers in front of the heaters before giving up and sticking his hands in his jacket pockets.
"Why do you say that?" Michael asked, brows furrowed with concern.
"Well, I have a habit of getting sick during filming and Matthew did have us jumping into freezing water half the night."
"Do you feel sick?"
"Well, no. But just you wait. By tomorrow morning I'll be sick."
Michael laughed, reaching over to hold one of James' hands. James pulled the hand closest to Michael out of his pocket and held the other man's hand, enjoying the warmth it shared.
"I think you're overreacting.”
"I am not."
Michael smiled, kissing the back of James' hand.
"You weren't wearing wool pants and a sweater. You had the wetsuit," James pouted.
"Yeah, a movie wetsuit. Not as warm as a real one."
Michael chuckled at James frown.
“I still say you’ll be fine.”
Once at the hotel, they headed straight up to their rooms, James grateful for the emptiness of the elevator, as he stood as close to Michael as possible, causing Michael to hold him and rub his still chilled arms, despite the layers he wore, which James had folded against his chest. Once the elevator opened to their floor, James headed in the direction of his room instead of Michael’s where he’d been staying the last few weeks, his own room barely touched.
"Hey, where are you going?" Michael asked.
"To my room," James replied.
"In case I get sick, I don't want to get you sick, too."
"I still think you're overreacting."
James shrugged, not quite looking at Michael because he didn’t want to see the look of disappointment that he’d caused. Michael sighed and pulled James into his arms, holding him again.
"All right. You can sleep alone. But I'm down the hall if you change your mind," he said.
"Thank you," James replied.
Michael smiled and kissed him despite James’ half-hearted protest.
"Good night you," Michael said.
"Good night," James replied.
Michael kissed him again, before they went to their separate rooms.
Despite what he’d said earlier, James changed into his favourite tartan pyjama pants and a slightly tattered blue sweater before burrowing into his blankets. He hoped that Michael was right and that he was just overreacting. He hated being sick while filming. It was difficult and tiring without being sick on top of it. And his room was too quiet and too cold compared to Michael's room. He knew all that was really missing was Michael. With a sigh, he closed his eyes and tried to sleep.
The next morning when he woke up, James felt fine. He showered and dressed quickly before heading to Michael's room.
"Hey Michael, you were right," he smiled as he entered the room.
The sound of coughing greeted him.
James found Michael still in bed, coughing and looking miserable with bags under his eyes and red nose.
"Oh," James frowned.
He walked over to the bed and sat on the edge next to Michael who was trying very hard and failing not to cough again.
"Karma," Michael said his voice hoarse.
"No. Just you being right about the wetsuit," James smiled, brushing sweat damp hair off Michael's forehead.
Michael groaned and began coughing again even harder this time. James frowned as Michael collapsed back against the bed, eyes closing from obvious exhaustion.
"I'm gonna call Matthew," James said, "And then take care of you."
"You don't have to," Michael replied, peeking out one eye.
"I want to," James smiled reassuringly.
Michael smiled back weakly. James stood, pulling out his mobile and dialling Matthew's number.
"Hey Matthew. Michael's sick," he said.
"So we wait to finish those last few scenes. Can you come in to film a few CIA base scenes with Jennifer instead?" Matthew asked.
"Do you need me to?" James asked.
"Are you sick too?" Matthew asked.
"Uh- no, but I was hoping I could take the day off?"
James winced, having meant to be more affirmative than questioning. Matthew sighed.
"Fine. I'll film some of the stuff with Jennifer and Nicholas. But tomorrow I expect at least one of you to be on set," he said.
"All right. Thank you," James replied.
"I'd prefer both of you on set tomorrow, so take good care of him."
Matthew hung up before James could reply. He turned back to Michael who was burrowed into the blankets like they were a nest. James walked back over and leaned close, resting a hand on Michael's forehead. Michael groaned, pulling away from James' hand.
“Your hand feels like ice.”
"Well, you have a fever. Want me to pick up some lemsip?"
Michael shook his head.
"Tea? Soup, maybe?"
Michael shook his head again.
"Well, what do you want?"
Michael began coughing again, almost violently that time. James sat down on the edge of the bed, rubbing Michael's back.
"You need something. Let me run to the corner shop. I'll get some lemsip and cold medicine and tea and soup," he said.
Michael shook his head again, grabbing a hold of James’ arm.
"Oh, alright," James said.
He shifted onto the bed next to Michael, spooning him from behind and wrapping his arms around the other man. Michael snuggled against James once he'd finally stopped coughing. James held him, making sure to keep the blankets tight around him.
"You know, medicine would help you feel better fast than snuggling me," he said.
"I know," Michael replied, snuggling against James even more.
"You're lucky I love you." James placed a kiss against the top of Michael's head.
"Be nice, I’m sick," Michael pouted.
"Yeah, and you're a big baby about it."
"Yes, you are, darling, but it's fine."
Michael sighed, closing his eyes.
“Oh, don’t be like that. I’ll gladly take care of you no matter how you act because I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
James smiled, pressing a kiss to Michael’s temple and continued to hold him, rubbing his back whenever he coughed and keeping him bundled into the blankets. Eventually Michael fell asleep so James quietly snuck off the bed, leaving a note letting Michael know that he'd be back. It was a bit windy that day, so he stopped at his room for his thicker jacket that he'd left there the previous night, before leaving the hotel to head to the corner shop. He purchased medicine, a couple of teas, some instant soup, and upon remembering that Michael had once told him how his mother always gave him a colouring book when he was sick, an animal colouring book and small pack of crayons before returning to the hotel where Michael was still asleep. James quietly put away the items he'd bought, hanging his jacket on a chair, and slipping off his shoes and pants, before climbing into the bed with Michael.
Michael snuggled against James again under the blanket nest, but continued to sleep. James couldn’t help but smile, holding Michael more and keeping him tucked under the blankets. Despite the wind outside and the slight wheeze of Michael’s breathing, James soon drifted off to sleep, too.
He awoke later when Michael did, twisting in James' arms to face him and smiled.
"Hey you," James smiled sleepily.
James tried not to frown as Michael coughed again.
"Would you like some tea or soup?" he asked.
Michael nodded, rubbing at his throat. James kissed the top of his head before slipping out of the bed. Michael sank back on the bed and watched James as he began using the coffee maker to boil water.
"You left while I was asleep," he frowned.
"I did and you slept right through it," James replied.
Michael gave a mock pout causing James to chuckle as he grabbed the bag that the colouring book and crayons were still in.
"Now, if I give you these, you have to eat your soup and take your medicine. Otherwise, I'm taking them back," James said, walking over and sitting on the edge of the bed.
"I'll be good, I promise," Michael replied.
James hand Michael the bag, watching as Michael pulled the book out of the bag, a big grin on his face as soon as he saw what it was.
"Of course I did."
Michael's grin widened causing James to grin back and kiss him on the forehead.
"Do you want tea or lemsip with your soup?"
"Um, lemsip please."
James nodded, heading back over to the coffee maker. He made up two cups, one for Michael's lemsip and one for his own tea, before making a small bowl of soup. Grabbing Michael's cup and bowl, he turned and smiled seeing Michael happily colouring.
Michael stuck his tongue out.
Michael tried to hide a smirk, as James set the cup and bowl down on the side table.
"What are you colouring?"
James sat on the edge of the bed and looked at the book.
"Any particular reason that wolf has blue eyes?"
Michael shook his head but James could see a hint of a smile, so he smiled too, grabbing the bowl of soup and holding it out to Michael.
"Come on, eat up."
"What? Not gonna feed me?"
"No. You're not that sick."
Michael chuckled, setting aside the colouring book and taking the bowl. James watched him before going to retrieve his cup.
"Would you want to watch a movie?" he asked, taking a sip of his tea.
"Chicken noodle soup, a colouring book, and a movie? You spoil me," Michael grinned.
"It's the perfect remedy for feeling better."
He grabbed Michael's laptop off the dresser and set it up in the middle of the bed so both of them could see it.
"What do you want to watch?"
James looked at Michael who was slurping his soup and tried to keep from chuckling.
"Commenting on my soup cooking skills or contemplating a movie?"
James chuckled then, leaning over to kiss Michael on the cheek.
"Can we watch The Muppet Movie?"
James nodded. He loaded up the movie and sat back next to Michael, drinking his tea and making sure Michael ate his soup. After finishing his soup and drinking all of his lemsip, Michael snuggled up against James who stole the colouring book and tore a page out of it. He dumped the crayons out on the bed between them and began colouring.
"Those are very interesting eye and mane colours for that lion," Michael commented, snuggling closer to James.
Michael nodded, grabbing the colouring book back and continuing to colour the picture of the wolf he'd started. Almost half way into the movie, Michael had another coughing fit that caused both of them to abandon their colouring in favour of James holding Michael.
"Taking care of me."
"I told you I wanted to."
"I know, but you slept in your room because you thought you were sick."
"Yeah, but that I was so I didn't get you sick."
"But what if I get you sick?"
"Then you can take care of me."
"Well, yeah, but you do realise that makes your argument for sleeping alone last night pointless."
"Um... I guess it does."
Michael nodded as he rested his head against James' chest while the shorter man held him a little bit tighter.
"You should sleep," James whispered, carding his fingers through Michael's hair.
"But the movie."
"We can watch it again later."
Michael nodded again, closing his eyes.
"You won't go anywhere this time?"
"Nope. I'll be right here."
James smiled, resting his cheek against Michael's head.
"Love you," Michael mumbled against James' chest.
"I love you, too."
Michael soon fell asleep. James moved the crayons and colouring book to the side, smiling at the wolf picture and tucking the lion picture with it. As he held Michael, he hoped the other man would be feeling better the next day even though he'd gladly stay in, despite Matthew's probable protests. Maybe they'd stay in anyway, just to make sure Michael really was feeling better. James smiled, tugging the blankets up over Michael's freckled shoulders and keeping him tucked in. He closed his eyes, enjoying the quiet and peaceful contentment of the rest of the afternoon with Michael sound asleep in his arms.