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J2 Hurt/Comfort Indulgence #9: Collapse

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If anybody asked--not that they would ask--Jensen didn't like to be mother-henned when he was sick. Everybody on set knew, and when he came down with the occasional, inevitable cold the crew would pretend they didn't notice, just handing him tissues when he needed them, covering up the redness on his nose, patiently re-setting a scene if he sneezed or coughed in the middle of it. Jensen knew it was a pain in the ass, but there was no way for him to get out of working sick so he just tried to communicate his appreciation of everybody's lack of mother-henning by keeping his grouchiness in check and doing his damn job.

Jared knew not to mother-hen him, too. Well, at least not on the set, not overtly. Jared had a way of being extra-handsy when Jensen was feeling chilled and a talent for keeping people at arm's length when Jensen just needed a little space, and if Jensen's coffee got swapped out for tea with honey he didn't complain. At home, Jensen let Jared get away with being a little more hands-on, dosing Jensen with cold medicine and then pulling him into bed, wrapping Jensen up in blankets and body heat for as long as their schedule allowed them to sleep.

So, given that Jensen really hated to be treated like a sick person when he was sick, Jensen figured that he ought to be overjoyed, or at least contentedly pleased, that the current situation at home and on-set had conspired to make it so that nobody other than the new intern in the make-up department had any idea he wasn't feeling well. And that intern, Jensen wasn't even sure she spoke English. Or maybe she didn't speak at all. In any case, she just applied the base coat of make-up to his face before the real make-up artist came over to make him look like death warmed over because that was Dean's look for the week--sick as a dog, which when it came to TV effects make-up was a lot more dramatic than Jensen's current reality,

When he looked at himself in the mirror first thing in the morning, he saw a pale, washed-out face, dull eyes--a face that suddenly looked closer to 40 than 30 which was a) inaccurate, thanks, and b) horrifying. He hadn't seen anything so bad in the mirror since the time he got drunk with Chris and woke up with a truly disastrous hangover. Jensen hadn't had any alcohol in days, but somehow he felt worse than after any night's drinking that didn't involve actual alcohol poisoning. Which was a long time ago because happily he's smarter now than when he was 19. At least when it comes to partying, seriously.

Calling in sick to work wasn't an option unless he was actually unconscious or spurting blood or something, and Jared understood that just as well as he did, but it was nice when they could pretend otherwise. You should stay home, Jared would say. We can work around you, come on, babe. And Jensen would lean into Jared's shoulder and imagine it for a moment before straightening his shoulders and getting dressed. Jared would rub the back of Jensen's neck while they rode to set and he'd push fluids on Jensen between takes.

Jensen did the same for Jared when he was sick, and somehow they both always managed to make it through the day. Unfortunately, the team approach didn't work so well when they were split up, both at home and on set, and the whole week was just a perfect storm of crap. Jared's sister was visiting Vancouver, and they hadn't come out to their families yet so Jensen decamped to his bland, nearly-empty corporate apartment for the duration. On set, Sam was running around with Bobby while Dean got cursed with some magical plague and had to fumble around trying not to cough and sneeze on innocent townspeople.

Since Jared hadn't seen Jensen without makeup on for the last two days, and since Jensen couldn't bring himself to actually say anything about how crappy he felt--because really? he was supposed to whine to his boyfriend about his head cold?--nobody knew that Jensen's performance was far more real than any of the method crap he'd tried in the past. Every time he coughed so hard he stumbled, every time he sneezed so hard his sinuses almost exploded or swayed from a head-rush, somebody just called out, "Great job, Jensen! Let's do another take just like that." and Jensen's germ-encrusted respiratory system was annoyingly happy to comply.

Halfway through the afternoon, when they finally broke for lunch, Jensen retreated to his trailer, walked directly to the sofa and dropped face-first onto the scratchy upholstery. He couldn't breathe very well but his head was ridiculously grateful to be on the same level as the rest of his body. The pounding in his temples had been barely noticeable against the other more dramatic complaints of his body, but now that it had quieted Jensen sighed in relief at the slight decrease in misery. He knew he should probably say something, let the director know how truly awful he felt or just go the passive route and let one of the PAs find him sprawled out in his trailer when he missed his call time, but his pride wouldn't let him give in.

Jensen set an alarm on his phone then turned onto his side so he could try to sleep without smothering himself. When his phone buzzed against his hand, he woke feeling fuzzier than he had when he laid down, which seemed terribly unfair, especially when he realized that the alarm had been going off for five minutes already and he was due back on set now. He stood up, ignoring the dizzy tilt of the room around him, and hurried to the door. As soon as he pulled open the trailer door, the sun outside dazzled him and he stumbled down two steps before the glare cleared enough for him to see that the human-shaped figure he thought was probably a PA coming to collect him looked surprisingly like Jared.

Jensen blinked; Jared was supposed to be filming with the other unit out in the woods. The stairs were unsteady under Jensen's feet, and he thought he should get down the last couple of steps before they fell apart under him. Jared was heading toward him, and Jensen wanted to say something but he couldn't think what. The sunny day turned gray, and he reached his hand out for the railing that wasn't there, then Jared's face filled up what was left of Jensen's vision before everything went black.

~~~

When Jensen opened his eyes, it was sunny again, but he felt cold like maybe the rain had come and gone while he was--

Jensen heart pounded as he realized he didn't know what had happened. He tried to sit up but hands were holding him down and then Jared's face was in front of him again, Jared's hands were on his face. Jensen swallowed hand and tried to sit up again, but he didn't have enough strength to push past Jared. "What?" Jensen asked, his throat dry and aching.

"Hey, it's okay. You passed out, but the medic's on her way."

"Oh." Jensen knew he should argue that he was fine, that he was good to go, but laying down, even on the asphalt, felt good and Jared's hands on him felt better than good. He didn't have the energy to protest when Jared and one of the crew guys hauled him back up the stairs to his trailer or when the medic came in and poked and prodded him to her heart's content.

He didn't bother paying attention to what she said; he could feel Jared looming just out of sight, and he'd be taking notes like the oversized nerd he was. Jensen thought muzzily that he really kind of loved that about Jared, and then Jared was there in front of him again, holding his hand to get his attention.

"Mmm, yeah?"

"Hey, why didn't you tell anybody you were sick? Why didn't you tell me?"

Jensen shrugged his shoulders and then coughed until Jared pulled him up to sit. When he had enough breath to speak, he muttered, "Just a cold."

"Jen, your fever's over 103°, and you're dehydrated and worn out. We're going home, and you're going to get some sleep so that the flu doesn't turn into pneumonia, okay?"

Jensen sighed and leaned against the warm solidity of Jared's chest. "Okay."

With Jared's help, Jensen managed to get down the stairs and into the waiting van without keeling over again. The ride passed by quickly with Jensen's head on Jared's shoulder, Jared's hand rubbing some of the soreness out of Jensen's back. When the van stopped and Jensen opened his eyes to see the house instead of his apartment, he sat up and tried to figure out what was going on.

"But, your sister's still here? Or...am I confused?"

"She's here but it's okay." Jared came closer and spoke into Jensen's ear, his breath warm and familiar. "I don't care if our families find out. I just want you here with me."

Jensen's head still pounded, his chest still ached, but as he leaned more of his weight into Jared he knew that everything was going to be okay.