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keeping company

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She’s pretty sure she caught it when they were traveling to Uthodurn, through all that cold and snow. Or, maybe, she’d gotten it from that forge, maybe it was some germ that’d been waiting away in that cave just for her to walk in and get infected. It doesn’t really matter. What really matters is that the sun is suspiciously low in the sky, Nott’s only just woken up, and it feels like Jester’s polymorphed into a mammoth and stomped on her head.

She tries to slide out of bed like normal, except the sudden movement makes her dizzy and she ends up dropping to the floor with a thump. She groans, and the stars behind her eyes remind of her the first time she looked into the dodecahedron.


It feels like an hour before she shuffles her way into the kitchen, looking even less put together than she usually does, which is saying something, considering Nott has never been a morning person. She walks past Fjord into the kitchen, and hisses at him when he stares at her too long. He actually jumps, which would usually make her smile but she can barely keep her eyes open and the movement required to hiss has made the throbbing worse.

“Uh, Nott? Everything... alright? Caduceus is makin’ lunch...?”

Just as he finishes talking, the smell hits her- some sort of vegan thing, potatoes, coffee, rhubarb?-  and Nott tries very hard not to vomit.

She fails, but she makes it to a trashcan, thankfully. She doesn’t think about pulling her hair back, too busy trying to keep herself upright as she gags. Finally, she wipes the back of her hand over her mouth, and realizes her hair is being pulled away from her face. By a pair of green hands. Connected to a slightly sheepish looking Fjord.

He doesn’t let go, though, only peers at her closer, concerned.

“Gods, you look terrible. Did you get any sleep last night?”

“Of cou-,” her reply is cut off by a cough that swells up in her throat, and she spends the next five minutes hacking into her arm and swearing internally. She’d had plans today, dammit! She was going to help Yeza in the lab, and then Caleb had wanted to go book shopping again sometime later, and Jester had hinted at a prank she had planned to pull today-

She doesn’t notice she’s gained an audience until Beau clears her throat.

“Wild night?” she asks, amusement in her voice, although she winces when Nott turns around and glares at her, halfheartedly.

“Fuck- ugh,” she gets out, and ugh. She sounds like- like the sound Frumpkin makes when he gets accidentally sat on, but scratchier.

“Yikes,” Beau says, and it might be in her head but she almost looks concerned.

“Do we- have any cold medicine? Where would we even, get that?”

Fjord and Beau give each other looks, and Nott relizes how hot is in here. Honestly, how hot does the stove have to be?

“Jeez, turn the heat up a little higher why don’t you, we’re not quite at the level of lava forge yet,” she mutters, coughing a bit in between her words. Fjord looks alarmed, and shares a look with Beau.

“Uh, Nott? It’s- it’s kinda cold in here, actually.”

Nott’s eyes settle on a wooden bowl on their counter. It’s a dark purple, with a pretty vine-like pattern running across it. It almost looks like if you dropped it, and it broke into a million pieces, and then you glued it all back together. It’s- distracting, and she can hear Fjord and Beau talking, but she just stares at the bowl and lets her mind drift. She’s tired. Don’t they have chairs in the kitchen?

“Nott? Nott!”

She snaps out of her thoughts with a jolt, and then feels a stab of pain.


“Yeah, we’re gonna go get Caduceus. Just, um, I guess lay on the couch? Fjord, take her into the living room, I think she has a fever. Cad was heading out to the garden, I’ll get him.”

Nott lets Fjord guide her to the couch. Her eyelids are beginning to droop, and lying down sounds like- a wonderful idea.

She might’ve blacked out a little bit, because the next thing she knows, she’s laying on the couch with Jester and Caleb looking at her with concerned faces.

As soon as she opens her eyes, Caleb moving forward, hands fluttering nervously.

“Ah, Nott, you are sick? I am sorry, I did not- I would not- have asked, to go, today, ah- it is not important, we can go another day, Ja? Oh!” he snaps and Frumpkin appears around her neck, purring softly.

He’s still looking at her, face drawn with worry, and normally she’d try to comfort him- really, it’s no bother, it’s her own fault for getting sick, and he couldn’t have known the scheduling- but she’s so cold. And all she has is this stupid, thin blanket and Frumpkin, so she mumbles something about blankets and gestures vaguely away.

Jester catches on first, and brightens with something to do.

“Oh! You can use my comforter, it’s sooo soft! I’ll be right back, okay?” she says, and scampers up the stairs.

Caleb settles more comfortably on the floor next to the couch and begins to talk. Normally she likes to fill the silences, but her throat feels like it’s full of cotton and she’s still so tired.

“So, you have been asleep for about an hour, forty-three minutes. I ran into Beauregard and Caduceus in the halls, and they told me you were ill, and I am sorry, for not noticing, and so I came to- to, bring you company? I can leave, if you would prefer to be alone...?”

Nott shakes her head, and then curses herself, why does she keep doing that- but he gets her message. His presence is nice, comforting. Nott’s never liked being alone while she’s sick.

He continues, and around her neck, Frumpkin’s purrs get louder as Caleb pets him.

“Caduceus told us you’ve definitely got a fever, although he’s not actually sure if it’s a fever, or a cold, or some, er, Xhorhassian bug? But he did say he he knows how to make some sort of tonic, for fevers, but it takes hours to make, and so he is in his garden, working. And, we have, mostly, just worked out a sort of, of calender, a schedule, so that you have someone with you? We- I, I figured you would not want to be alone but I was not sure, but now, I am- so. So. How are you feeling?”

Nott would’ve responded, but her eyelids are so heavy and Frumpkin’s purring is almost hypnotic, and she lets herself relax.

“How is she doing?”

“Well, she fell asleep, er, twenty minutes ago, and doesn’t- seem worse? I will leave Frumpkin with her, I will be back in- five minutes.”

“Ah, no rush Caleb. I don’t, er, mind staying here with her. So if you need to, er. Do. Anything.”


“I know it’s silly, Beau, but.. I feel so useless! I’m a healer, and she’s sick! And I can’t do anything!”

“Hey, hey, you gave her your blanket, right? And you’re here, keeping her company- sounds like you’re being a good friend.”

Nott wakes up and barely manages to stop herself from trying to shake off the disorientation. She looks around, bleary-eyed, and sees Jester passed out on the floor next to her.

She tries to be quiet as she kicks off the blankets that are covering her, but they’re heavy and her coordination is off. While she does end up blanket free, and blessedly cool, if only for a second, Jester also begins to stir.

“Nott? You’re awake! How are you feeling?” she asks, looking forward, eyes scanning her.

Nott feels sticky and gross and her head hurts and the idea of food is simultaneously tempting and nauseating, but that’s a lot of words so instead she just says, “hot.”

Jester frowns in sympathy and presses a hand to Nott’s forehead. She’s speaking, but Nott completely misses it at the rush of cold from the contact. Jester pulls her hand away and the sound of dissatisfaction Nott makes isn’t entirely voluntary.

“Nott? What’s wrong, I’m sorry, did that hurt?”

Nott clears her throat and tries not to feel embarrassed.

“No, uh. Well. It’s just. You’re- cold. It feels, nice.”

Jester lights up at this.

“Oh! Oh, I could cuddle with you, except I could keep you cool! Hold on, scooch over!” Before Nott can say anything, although somehow she doubts it would be a protest, Jester moves the blankets off to the side and sits down. This leaves Nott pressed between the arm of the couch and Jester, and after some wriggling, the cold starts to sink in. It’s not like a cold wave or anything- hardly a white dragon. But it’s a nice, constant cold, and Nott feels a little like melting.

She rests her head against Jester’s side, and feels an arm come up around her neck.

“You’re a really good friend, Jester,” she says, and lets herself drift once again.

The third time she opens her eyes, she’s been woken up. There’s a furry hand on her shoulder, and Caduceus is bending over, a vial of teal liquid in his hand.

“This should help break that fever,” he rumbles, it sort of reminds Nott of Frumpkin’s purring. She imagines Caduceus, wrapped around Caleb’s neck, purring, and starts giggling. She tries to stop it, raising a hand to her mouth, but as Caduceus tilts his head in confusion- concern? she just laughs harder.

He doesn’t stop smiling though, even as he hands her the vial.

“Here- don’t drink it all, just... there. That’s enough.”

He takes it back before she can chug it, which is disappointing, and then he folds himself down onto the ground.

“I hope you don’t mind me staying. It was supposed to be Caleb, but he’s been up all night, sitting here, reading, and he’s only just passed out on the kitchen table. You both need your rest. I don’t mind the quiet.”

Nott takes the company. She’ll prod Caleb about staying up all night later, but right now she’s more focused on the blankets that have been moved to the top of the couch. She grabs a few, and nestles in. She wonders how long she’s been sleeping- it feels like days, and yet her eyes are still droopy, and it still feels like she’s thinking through fog.

“That’s the fever,” Caduceus says, and she realizes she’s been saying all this out loud.



After a few more scattered awakenings, and a few more drags from the fever tonic, Nott starts to feel like a person again. Her friends don’t stop sitting by her bedside, even when she tells them she’s hardly dying it’s just the flu. But Caleb and Jester always look so sad and Beau looks like she’s about to say something sincere but isn’t sure whether to or not, and Caduceus just looks at her.

So they hover, and thankfully she can leave the couch- it feels like there’s a permanent goblin-shaped indent in it at this point- although she still hacks like she’s got a furball sometimes.

She’s fully cured after two weeks, not even a sniffle left behind, and everything goes back to normal- or, normal for them at least.

They head out on some mission for Essek within a few days, and she’s pretty sure that they delayed it for her. Something in the look she catches Beau and Caleb trade, but she decides not to say anything. She’d be lying if she said that it didn’t- touch her, to know that they’d delay a mission to stay home watching her sleep, mostly.