When Dedede entered with a bowl of hot soup, Meta Knight was buried beneath a pile of blankets. “Do I need to kiss ya awake, princess?” Dedede asked.
Meta Knight pulled the blankets down. The knight looked awful. His blush-marks were bright red, clearly flushed with fever, and his silver eyes were glassy. The king wolf-whistled. “Lookin’ good, Meta Knight.”
Meta Knight didn’t say a word, and that worried Dedede more than anything else. “Nova’s grace,” the Pengu said, plopping onto Meta Knight’s bed. “You’re so sick you forgot how to be an ass!”
Swearing usually got a rise out of Meta Knight. Instead of delivering a lecture, the knight seemed to wilt back against his blankets. Alarming. “Alright. What’s wrong with ya?” Dedede asked bluntly. “I ain’t done nothin’ wrong, so there ain’t no reason for you to be givin’ me the silent treatment!”
“Do you regret taking me back?”
Meta Knight’s eyes widened with alarm.
“–I don’t fucking regret it! I never will!” Dedede exclaimed, sloshing soup when he gestured to show just how much he would never fucking regret it. “I kinda want you, in case you ain’t figured that out. Why would you think somethin’ like that?”
“Because I failed,” Meta Knight said, his gaze suddenly fascinated with his own paws.
“So ya got stuck in a mirror. Coulda happened to anyone. You made it back, an’ Dreamland is fine. You–”
“And now I’m sick, and you’re having to take care of me,” Meta Knight said. “I’ve been nothing but a burden since I returned to you.”
“A burden, huh? That’s real funny, Meta. D’you know why? Cause since you came back, I ain’t ever been so happy. I missed you. I thought ‘bout you all the time, an’ now you’re here. An’ guess what? I hate that you’re sick, but I like takin’ care of you.”
“I don’t deserve your compassion, Sire.”
Dedede rolled his eyes. “Look; I ain’t sayin’ I agree with that whole Halberd thing, but I messed up, too. I shouldna done some o’ the stuff I did, an’ you were right to call me out on it. I shoulda listened more, so let me make this up to you. Let me give you soup an’ do all the mother-hen stuff that you used to do for me when we were kids,” Dedede said, stroking his right paw down the side of Meta Knight’s face, lingering over the blush-mark.
Meta Knight hummed and covered Dedede’s paw with his own. “While I’m flattered, Sire, I must inform you that gentlemen do not swear.”
Dedede grinned. “There you are. Now, I brought ya some soup. Let’s try an’ get you back on your feet, eh?”