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A Princess to but One Person Only

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Shrike sneezes, so loud it echoes about the room like gunshot. The force of it jerks her hard enough that the stack of papers falls from her hands, pooling on the floor at her feet.

“Princess.” Crocodile’s voice sounds from behind her. She normally found it so soothing, but right now it’s honeyed in a way she can only describe as patronizing. “That’s the fourth time in the past few minutes, love.”

Another sneeze tickles about her nose before she can answer him. Her hands raise in preparation, already trying to steady herself from the oncoming burst of force. This one almost knocks her off her feet, and she has to bend forward at the waist to stabilize herself lest she goes crashing down face first.

“I’m fine.” But she knows she’s not fooling him, not with the way her sinuses have turned her tone all nasally.

To be totally honest, no, she wasn’t feeling well at all. She’d woken up before him, as she always did, but had crawled out of bed with a brutally scratchy throat. Her nose, too, had been taking turns all day as to which side would be clogged and which would allow her to breathe, annoying her to no end.

So no, she wasn’t fine.

And Crocodile knew it.

He sighs, and a rustling indicates him rising from the chair behind his desk. There’s an additional rustling before the sound of his footsteps alerts her to his approach.

Shrike is about to snap at him when she stops herself. Just because she’s not feeling well doesn’t mean she can redirect her frustration in his direction.

“Just, maybe a cold.” She murmurs instead, suddenly feeling a bit more tired. As if admitting its presence gave it more power of her.

“Mmm” Crocodile hums from right behind her, and a weight gently drops onto her shoulders. The fur collar of his coat softly tickles across her neck and cheeks. The warmth and pressure it provides is nothing short of comforting, but she can’t deny the way its weight drags her downwards.

Her Croco seems to notice, his hand rising to gently press against her forehead.

The look on his face is… displeased, to say the least. She can tell by the way his nose has scrunched slightly, causing ripples in the scar beneath his eyes. “Warm.”

The monosyllable makes her sigh, her shoulders drooping even more than they had been. He always gets terse when concerned, and she isn’t in the mood to be babied right now.

He suddenly bends down at the waist, and she squeaks as she’s caught by surprise. His arms snake underneath her shoulders and knees as he lifts her into the air, cradling her against his chest. He’s careful not to scratch her with his hook.

“Babe, the reports-”

“Hush. I’ll take care of them later.” He presses a kiss to her temple before ambling over to the plush couch at the side of the room, careful to step over the mess of papers on the floor.

The look on her face as he sets her down nearly makes him chuckle. Her lips have curved downward into a tight pout, big golden eyes narrowed in annoyance. She’s clearly frustrated by her predicament. Getting sick always did make her a bit anxious.

“I can work on them over here. I might be feeling a bit gross, but I’m not dying.” But a sudden sneeze seems to disagree with the point she’s making.

The explosive noise sets him clucking his tongue, though a warm smile begins to creep into his lips. Just like his princess, always insisting on giving her best. ‘Rest’ is not a regular part of her vocabulary.

“Let me at least bring you some tea first, then I’ll bring the reports over. Deal?” Though he knows full well she probably won’t make it to that second phase. Not if the drooping of her eyelids has anything to say about it.

His compromise causes her to deflate a little, relieved he’ll at least let her try and get some work done. She sinks down into the cushions a bit more, pulling his fluffy coat around her just a bit tighter. “Ugh. Fine… Ginger please. My throat is bothering me.”

“Of course.”

She’s already sound asleep by the time he gets back.