Ray caught it first. By the time Kowalski came home with Benny and Dief in tow, Ray was already curled up on the sofa, a ball of misery. He had the comforter wrapped tightly around him, though he couldn't quite keep his right foot covered. He groaned when the door closed; the sound echoed horribly in his aching head.
"I'm dying," he moaned. "Bring me my gun; I want to end it quickly."
Fraser went into mother hen mode, immediately heading for the kitchen to make tea. Kowalski came to sit on the coffee table in front of the sofa. "You're not dying," he said.
Showed what Kowalski knew. "'M, too," he grumbled.
Kowalski grinned. "Witty comeback."
Ray pulled further into his comforter. "I thought so." He tried for a lofty tone, but his voice was all wonky from his stuffy nose. Kowalski leaned forward and tugged the edge of the comforter down over his foot again. "Thanks."
Benny came in with his favorite mug, the heavy stoneware one, the tea tag fluttering from the rim. Kowalski shifted to the sofa, pulling Ray's feet onto his lap and fixing the comforter again. Benny set the mug within reach and laid his hand on Ray's forehead. "You are a bit warm," he tsked. His hand slipped away, tucking the comforter closer in passing. "You are planning to stay home tomorrow, right?"
Ray nodded. He felt slightly better now.
Kowalski came down with it just as Ray was thinking he might, possibly, live. Given the amount of crap Kowalski'd given him over acting like a baby when he was sick, you'd think Kowalski would be a better patient. You'd be wrong.
Kowalski sighed, again. Ray glanced over at him and debated waiting until Kowalski actually said something. But he wasn't the one who picked on the sick and infirm. Kowalski was staring towards the kitchen. Probably longing for soup, since the mug of tea was cooling untouched.
"You want something? Soup?"
Kowalski nodded, lip stuck out in a pout.
Ray sighed right back at him. "You're lucky you're cute," he announced and went to scout ingredients. Canned soup was horrible, and he was well enough to cook now.
Ray was back at work and feeling no more miserable than backlogged paperwork could account for, when he heard Welsh's distinctive voice cut through the noise. "Constable Fraser. What is the rule?"
Ray jumped up. He couldn't quite hear Fraser's response, but judging by Welsh's even-more-unimpressed look, it was pure bluster and faked ignorance. As Ray approached, Benny's gaze dropped to his feet, like a little kid caught out. "I'm banned from the station for a week after either Ray or Ray calls in sick," he muttered.
"And yet, here you are."
Benny's head snapped back up. "I'm fine." Petulantly defiant, ruddy complexion, shiny eyes. Without thinking about it, Ray put his hand to Benny's forehead. Yeah, definitely warm. Benny batted his hand away.
Welsh, struggling to scowl, wore irritation as a thin veil over amusement. "You got this, Vecchio?"
"Yes, sir," Ray said, taking Benny's elbow and guiding him out. "Consulate kick you out?"
Benny nodded, once more looking downcast.