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Big little-brother

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His shaking hands had a tight grip on the toilet in front of him when he slowly got up on two legs. He almost fell when moving to the sink. He looked in the mirror. After a moment of calming his body he managed to focus enough to see himself.

His eyes were bloodshot, his skin pale and sweaty and he was sure some of the sick he’s been emptying into the toilet were still on his chin.

“Are you okay?”

The voice was like nails to his brain and his knees almost gave in under him. His hands tightened around the edges of the sink and he closed his eyes. Then he felt a hand carefully placed on his shoulder. And the next word were only a whisper.

“Come.”

An arm wrapped itself around his back and he was turned slowly around.

“I’ve got you. Come on.”

His brother’s voice was comforting. Even as a whisper he would always be able to recognize it.

They moved slowly. Only as fast as Conor could manage. Jack right next to him, supporting him slightly, but ready to catch his older brother if he’d fall.

Slowly Conor laid back on the bed. The room was dark, and the window was open, so it was cooler than the bathroom. The cold air felt good on his burning face.

“Lay still. I’ll get your pills.”

Conor didn’t manage to nod but answered by lifting his hand a bit from the mattress and hoped that Jack would take it as a sign that he’d heard him.

It felt like half an hour went by before Jack returned, but Conor knew it could only had been a minute or two.

“Here, sit up a bit.”

Jack’s hand made its way under Conor’s neck and pushed him up slowly. Conor felt the whole room spinning and was sure he was going to be sick again, but he knew that the pain relief was close if he could just manage to swallow those two pills. With the smallest crack between his eyelids he managed to see the outline of Jack’s form and grabbed on to the sleeve on his t-shirt. He tried to pull himself up, but with the added pain from elevating his head he had to give up. He fell backwards into the pillow. Still holding on to the sleeve he crumpled to his side, knees bent and hiding his head in his other arm.

“Relax. Take a breather.”

With the help from Jack’s hand moving up and down his upper arm he managed to take a few, almost, deep breaths.

“Let’s try this again. Let me do the work.”

Jack’s voice was closer almost right by his ear, but not louder. Still only a whisper slightly more profound than a breath. Conor was rolled slowly to his back. The room was spinning again, but the pain didn’t become much worse when he was passive himself.

“Now, breathe again.”

Conor followed order and soon the arm was under his head again.

“Relax. I’ve got you.”

Jack lifted Conor’s upper-body with both hands. Slowly and steady. Conor did his best to hold on to reality and not pass out while his younger brother moved to sit behind him and hold him up. Soon he was motionless leaning back in his brother’s arms. He leaned his head back to rest on Jack’s collarbone and for a moment they both sat there waiting for Conor to be ready.

“Okay.”

The word came out as only a breath, but Jack must have heard it, because he reached for the pills and water on the night-stand.

“Here. One at a time.”

He placed the first pill in Conor’s mouth and held the glass to his lips. The water was good. Cold, and it kind of got rid of the taste of vomit. Swallowing however, was loud in his head and sent a new pain wave through his skull. After the second pill he was not sure what was up and down, his body was limp, and he just had to trust that Jack wouldn’t let him fall out of bed. He felt a hand on his forehead holding it in place. His head must have fallen towards his chest but right now it wasn’t possible to lift it, so Jack had to hold him for a little longer.

 

He had no idea as to how he’d gotten to lie down on his back again. His forehead was colder, and something was touching his face.

“What?”

He retracted from the touch but had to give in to the sudden flare of pain and kept still.

“Shh. Conor, I’m just cleaning you up a bit. Do you want me to stop?”

Conor opened his eyes and looked at the blurry outline of his brother in the dark room. The cold on his face was good, and when he kept still the headache was not that bad anymore.

“No.”

He closed his eyes and let Jack wash the sick from his face and change the towel on his forehead to a colder one. Jack placed it over his eyes too. He felt Jack’s hand on his shoulder, only the thumb moving in small circles. He was grateful that he stayed. That small movement was the only way he was able to recognize up and down. Soon his headache had diminished enough that he was able to sleep.