Cecil was in bed, in pain with his Lyme disease. In the living room, Carlos was sat, biting his thumb nail nervously, He had, of course, seen Cecil suffering from his illness before, but it had been a long time since it had been this bad. Carlos sat there for a long time, worrying and trying to work out he should do. As the panic begins to become too much to deal with, he starts to rock back and forth slightly, still biting at his nails, trying to think about anything else. Eventually, he gives up and rushes to the bedroom to check on Cecil.
Cecil is asleep, just like he was the last five times that Carlos checked on him, and yet he can't stop worrying. Carlos knows he should let Cecil sleep, and he feels selfish for wanting to wake Cecil up to talk to him.
Carlos rushes away before he accidentally wakes Cecil up, and ends up sitting on the floor in the corner of the living room, as he always does when he's feeling down. Something about being tucked into the corner makes him feel more secure. He's just starting to cry slightly when there's a knock at the front door. He stumbles towards the door slowly, wiping his eyes hastily. When he pulls it open, Earl is standing there, holding a box.
"Earl?" Carlos asks in confusion. Cecil and Earl have been dating for the last few weeks, but it's been a while since he's seen Earl at their house.
"Cecil text me earlier saying he wasn't going into work, so I assumed he wasn't well and brought his favourite food over," Earl explains. He glances at Carlos, who's still standing in the doorway, not moving or saying anything. "Can I come in?"
"Uh, sure," Carlos sighs, stepping aside. "Cecil's asleep, but I'll tell him you brought food when he wakes up," Carlos explains, hoping that Earl will just leave and let him be. As much as he loves Earl, an is perfectly happy with the relationship the three of them have, he just wants be alone right now.
"I'll just put this in the kitchen then," Earl says, wandering off. Carlos shuts the front door, and then follows after Earl with a sigh.
When Carlos gets into the kitchen, Earl has already put the food into their fridge for them. He turns back around, and stares at Carlos for a second, causing the scientist to step back slightly in concern.
"Carlos, are you okay?" Earl asks, sounding genuinely concerned, which surprises Carlos.
"Yeah, I'm fine," Carlos replies, turning away from Earl to hide his face.
"You want to talk?" Earl questions him further. Carlos opens his mouth to decline, but instead he lets out a small sob, and his face seems to crumble as he starts to cry. "Come on, let's go into the living room," Earl says, leading Carlos out of the kitchen.
Carlos heads into the living room, and instantly sits himself down in his corner. Earl looks at him in concern, and then sits himself down on the sofa.
"What's up?" Earl asks.
Carlos fiddles with the cuff of his sleeve. "I'm worried about Cecil," he admits eventually.
Earl smiles sympathetically. "He'll be okay, he always is," he tells Carlos.
"I know, it's just..." Carlos trails off, and buries his face in his hands.
Earl sits and watches him for a while. He's seen Cecil deal with Carlos when he's liked this before, and he tries to remember exactly what he can do to help.
"You have a blanket you like, right?" Earl asks eventually as he remembers that.
Carlos looks up, wiping away a tear with the back of his hand "Yeah, but I think it's in our bedroom, and I didn't want to wake up Cecil," Carlos replies.
Earl smiles slightly as he stands up, "I'll go get it. Anything else you need?" Carlos shakes his head, his long hair flying around him, and Earl nods and leaves the room.
Carlos sits in the corner, rocking back and forth again, until Earl wanders back in, holding Carlos's blanket. It's weighted, and always helps Carlos when he's feeling like this. Earl gently places the blanket around Carlos's shoulders. "I got this too," Earl says holding out a pack of Carlos's lavender chewing gum. Carlos reaches out and takes it quickly, and then huddles back into the blanket.
Earl stands around awkwardly, before asking, "Do you want me to leave?"
Carlos thinks for a second, and then shakes his head. "Can you stay?"
Earl gives him a small smile, and then slowly sits down by Carlos's side, carefully leaving a distance between the two of them. Carlos focuses on fiddling with his wedding ring, and Earl sits patiently by his side.
"Is Cecil okay?" Carlos asks after a while.
"He's fine," Earl assures him, "He was still asleep when I went in there."
Carlos nods to himself. He sits for a second, and then looks up at Earl. "Could I maybe... have a hug?" Carlos asks quietly.
"Of course," Earl replies, "I thought you didn't like hugs."
"Sometimes," Carlos shrugs, "I just..." he trails off with a sigh. Earl shuffles sideways slightly, and wraps an arm around Carlos's shoulders. Carlos leans into Earl's shoulder, closing his eyes. a few moments later, Carlos falls asleep. Earl glances at him with a fond smile. They sit there for a few minutes, until Earl hears movement, and looks up to see Cecil limping into the room, leaning on his cane.
"What happened?" Cecil asks softly as he spots the two of them.
"He was a bit worried about you," Earl explains.
"Thank you," Cecil whispers, sitting down on the sofa. Earl gently nudges Carlos awake, and watches as he spots Cecil.
"Cecil," Carlos murmurs, standing up and walking over to the sofa, dragging his blanket with him. Carlos curls up against Cecil's side, careful not to hurt his husband, and presses a kiss to Cecil's cheek.
"I think I'll go," Earl says, looking down at them with a grin.
"You don't have to," Cecil smiles, "Come here," he adds, patting the sofa on the other side of him. Earl looks at Carlos, and when he nods in encouragement, Earl drops down onto the sofa by Cecil's side.
"I'm sorry I don't know more about how to look after you two," Earl says after a while.
"Don't be stupid," Cecil smiles. "You always do your best and that's enough for us."
Earl grins, and nuzzles into Cecil's shoulder. Cecil looks over at Carlos and gives him a small smile. Carlos eventually lays his head down on Cecil's shoulder, and lets himself fall asleep, listening to Cecil and Earl talking quietly.