Dex woke up with a terrible headache, a feeling of wool in his mouth, and a roiling stomach.
He texted Chowder and Bitty and closed his eyes again. There was no way he was going to practice today.
“Bro? You gotta get up,” Nursey called from the closet.
“Sick.” Dex cracked open his eyes to look at his roommate. He felt pitiful.
“I’ll bring you back some soup,” Nursey grinned, leaning over the bottom bunk.
“Please don’t mention food right now.”
“Okay,” Nursey’s face softened. “Get some sleep, bro.”
Dex passed out again before Nursey had even left for practice.
The next time he woke, sunlight was streaming through the window and Nursey was leaning over his bed, one hand on his forehead.
“You’re burning up,” he informed.
“‘M fine. Just a cold.”
“Don’t lie to me, Poindexter. You are not fine.”
“Go to class, Nurse.”
“Nope, I’m not going anywhere except the health center with you. Come on, up.”
Dex groaned but he didn’t have the strength to refuse Nursey when he dug his heels in, so he let him manhandle him into a pair of sweats and shove on his sneakers. When Nursey seemed satisfied, he pulled Dex’s arm over his own shoulders, wound his arm around Dex’s waist, and together they hobbled down the stairs and to the student health center.
Dex was set down into a waiting room chair as Nursey went to the desk to check him in.
An hour later, poked and prodded, he was sent home with a round of antibiotics for his strep throat and orders of bed rest and painkillers.
He let Nursey take him back to their room and tuck him in, pouring out the meds he was prescribed and offering them to him with his water bottle. Dex took them on autopilot and passed out again.
The next time he woke it was dark. And he really needed the bathroom.
He rolled over to get up, swinging his legs out of the bunk and running into something soft.
“Dex?” Nursey asked in the dark. “You alright, bro? What do you need?”
“Need to pee,” Dex said. “What is this?”
“Bean bag. You kept calling out. Wanted to be close.”
“Nurse,” Dex began.
“Nope, we can argue about this when you’re well. Come on, bathroom.”
Dex hobbled to the bathroom and took care of what he needed to, before returning to their room.
“You can take more pain meds, if you need them,” Nursey offered.
Dex nodded and held out his hand for the bottle Nursey was holding. Nursey shook out two pills and handed the over instead, and Dex knocked them back.
“Time is it?” Dex asked.
“Geez. Sorry Nurse.”
“It’s fine. More important.”
Dex was immensely glad for the dark of the room as he was sure he was blushing scarlet.
“You should try to eat if you can,” Nursey said gently. “Bitty made you some soup?”
He drank the soup slowly with more help from Nursey than he would have ever allowed if he weren’t sick.
But he kind of liked it.
“What’s up, Dexy?”
“Why are you doing this?”
“You’re my D-Man. And my friend.”
“Yeah,” Nursey smiled.
Nursey helped him back into bed after that, and Dex grabbed at his wrist as he moved away.
“Not going anywhere, gonna be right here,” Nursey patted the beanbag.
“Cuddle me?” Dex asked.
“Are you sure?”
Nursey smiled at him and climbed into the narrow bed. They didn’t really fit, but Dex felt safe and secure for the first time since he had woken that morning.
“Of course,” Nursey whispered.
“Nurse?” Dex whispered back.
“You’re my friend, too.”
“I know, Dex.”
“I want more, sometimes. But you’re my friend.”
“You know I do, Nurse.”
“I definitely do not know that!”
Dex stared at him. “Then why are you always flirting? Aren’t you chirping me for my crush?”
“No!” Nursey stared back. “I’m just flirting!”
Dex just stared at him.
“Oh my god, we’re so dumb,” Nursey chuckled.
“Ayup,” Dex grinned. “Hey, when I’m better, can I take you to dinner?”
“Yeah, alright,” Nursey smiled back.
“And Nurse? Remind me we talked about this? I don’t know if I’m gonna remember.”
“I’m holding you to it, babe.”
Dex hummed happily and pulled him close.