You’re normally the first one awake. Dualscar sleeps in a recuperacoon, and the process of waking up and cleaning off the slime takes him at least an hour on the best days. You, however, just have to roll off the seating block and you’re good to go, no matter how many people quirk an eyebrow at your hair.
Well, normally, anyway. When you wake up, it’s to a pounding pan-ache, Dualscar’s hand on your head, and the distinct feeling that Everything Is Not Okay with you.
“Fugoff,” you grumble, and curl into a little ball at the end of the seating block. Your head hurts too much for this ‘being awake’ shit.
“Suf, it’s halfwway through the night alreedy, wwake up.”
“Fuck no,” you rasp, and that’s alarming because imitating Redglare’s I-eat-cigarettes-for-breakfast voice was entirely unintentional. You crack open an orbshield, only to have purple and gold assault your senses. “I have become the official Holder of Malicious Germs on this shitty rock. I may be contagious. And you have twenty oxygen processors.”
He rolls his eyes and sits next to you, lifting up an arm. “You wwould pick the most inconvvenient title.”
You attempt to flomp on him and fall off the padded seating block in the process. He kindly only laughs for a couple of minutes before responding to your continual stream of curses by picking you up and dumping you on his lap.
His skin is cool against yours and you headbutt him in the chin trying to get your panshield to cool down.
“Wwatch your nubs, seadiot!” He rests a hand on your head, and you close your eyes in bliss as a little of the pan-ache subsides. “Fuckin’ shell, Surf, you’re hot.”
“Try to keep your desperate fins off me,” you grumble as you settle back against him. You can feel the coolness of his skin through his shirt, and having a seadweller matesprit was pretty much your best idea ever.
“You’vve been spendin’ too much time wwith Psi.”
You grab his other hand, put it on your head, and go back to sleep to the sound of Dualscar breathing. It’s more comforting than you want to admit.
When you wake up again, you’re curled into a little ball on top of him, you’re freezing cold, and you need a drink. Your thinkpan is still rebelling against your panshield, so you prod Dualscar in the gills until he wakes up and swats your hands off.
“The colony of malicious germs has turned the heating too far down,” you inform him. “And I need a drink.”
“So get one.” You look at him hopefully and he groans. “Suf, I am naut your servvin’ buoy.”
“I feel like someone kicked me into a volcano of dry ice.”
He rubs his face and sits up, making you scramble back in the process. “Back in my day, wwe didn’t let sickness tell us wwhat ta do.”
“I’m changing the world, starting with making a seadweller fetch and carry for me.” You lean on him, even though you’re cold and his skin isn’t helping now. Seadweller matesprit: Worst idea. Way to go, past Suf. “You’re lucky I like a challenge or I would’ve started with Darkleer.”
Dualscar absent-mindedly runs his fingers through your hair, and oh that’s helping the pan-ache, you might just stay like this forever and let him pity you even if you’re not really sure what pity has to do with romance. “I fin he’s too busea havvin’ a stand-off wwith Con aboat buildin’ another pool filter since she culled the last one.”
You nuzzle into his collarbone. He frowns and feels your forehead. “Suf, you’re freezin’.”
“I told you,” you say to his collarbone.
“You are so stupid sometimes,” he says, as he pulls off his cape and wraps it around your shoulders. “Get under the cape, cod. Wwhere did this sickness efin come from?”
“I hope naut,” he says, tucking the cape around your shoulders and fussing over you like he’s Dolorosa. After you’re swathed in enough cloth to satisfy him, he goes back to running his fingers through your hair. “You’re naut goin’ ta start coufin your guts up on me, are you?”
“If you can’t handle my guts, maybe we should reconsider this relationship,” you say, but you’re pretty sure that he didn’t catch any of it, what with your face and his chest not really being separate entities any more.
He reaches into the cape you’re wrapped in and pulls out a slim pair of spectacles from an inner pocket. They’re the ones he’s alchemised with his husktop, and the only glasses he’ll ever wear even when you make fun of him for walking into walls.
You lift your head up to take in the rare sight of glasses-wearing Dualscar. “What are you doing?”
“Wwhat us seadwwellers are best at.” His eyes flick back and forth, and you can tell he’s messaging someone. “Deelegatin’.” He scratches your head with one hand and you lean into the touch. “Psisle be here soon, wwith drugs an’ food.”
“I’m not hungry.”
“You can either eat it yourshellf or havve it forced dowwn your throat.”
“I hate you.”
“I pity you.”
“Well, this is awkward then.” You roll your head back and feel slightly better knowing that the lispy cavalry is on its way. He wraps his arms around you and your cape- it’s yours now, warm and soft and salt-breeze-smelling.
“Oh, I sea. Trenched for my cape.” He pulls some extra material over your head and you make a noise of displeasure at losing your head massage. “Nope. I’m in mournin’ ovver howw my cape is swwimmin’ off wwith my matesprit.”
“Just because it looks better on me…”
“Wwhale, I can’t argue.” He leans you against his chest and you close your eyes again. The effort of keeping them open is getting to be too overwhelming, and being awake is hard when you feel so grotty.
He starts humming quietly as you drift off to sleep again. You’re pretty sure you’re going to drool on his shirt, and you don’t even care.
Your snoozeventures in Capelandia are next interrupted by the lispy cavalry, who shakes you awake and doesn’t even snipe at Dualscar when he does so. Either they got their kismesis flirting out of the way without waking you up, or Psi’s actually worried enough about you to forego flirting.
No, it’s definitely the first one.
“You look like thit,” he informs you as he hands you two pills and a glass of water.
“Thanks for sparing my feelings, Psi, it means a lot to me in my time of need.” You swallow the pills dry and chug the water after. You immediately feel a lot more capable of thought. “Come here. I’m going to hug you.” As an afterthought, you add, “Don’t grope me.”
Psi huffs and wraps his arms around you. “Don’t be thtupid, SF. I like my partnerth leth terminally ill.”
“Glad to know that me being a corpse gets me a free pass from gropage.” You shove yourself up so you’re sitting more than lying in Dualscar’s lap, eliciting an annoyed ‘Oof!’ from him in the process. “Sorry I dragged you away from your admiring hordes.”
Psi sits on the arm of the seating block and hands you a bowl of vegetable soup. It’s alchemiter fare, but you practically inhale it nonetheless. As you eat, he waves his hands around like he can’t talk unless he’s assaulting the atmosphere. “Well, I did have planth that involved theveral ladieth and not much clothing, but DS trolled me, all ‘glub glub thurf ith thick come ride ta the rethcue pthi,’ and I couldn’t leave you in his handth.”
“Uncalled for,” you mention in between shovelling soup into your facegash.
“Whatever.” Psi lies over your legs and suddenly you’re in a pile of trolls caring about you and escape is impossible. Not that you mind much. “I brought some CSE. We’re watching thitty proceduralth and not leaving thith theating block until you feel better.”
“Cod no, I’m leavvin’.” Dualscar tries to wriggle free of the group and fails miserably. “Surf, movve your ass, I am naut wwatchin’ that legislasearator showw.”
You pout and do your best barkbeast eyes.
You don’t let up.
“Ugh, fin.” Dualscar settles into the seating block again. “You owwe me.”
You captchalogue the now-empty bowl and snuggle into his chest. “I’ll pay you back when I feel better.”
“Groth. Get a room.” Psi pushes himself off the seating block and sets up his husktop with your TV, preparing the finest in fuck-awful sunglass-based puns. The kismeses bicker back and forth, and you lose yourself in a pleasant haze of conversation.
As you watch CSE, Psi shares Dualscar’s cape and his warmth with you, while Dualscar goes back to combing through your hair with his fingers. Sure, you might technically be dead, and sick on top of it, but if everything’s changed enough that you get comfort when you’re sick from people you love, everything’s been worth it.
This time, when Dualscar asks how you’re feeling between episodes of CSE, you smile, huddle further into the cape, and say, “Better.”