Stubborn in Sickness
“You’re not going on this mission. You don’t look so good,” Master Wong told me, descending the stairs of the Sanctum.
“I feel fine. You can’t do this alone,” I argued, my voice a bit stuffy. I hadn’t felt that great since waking up in the middle of the night and throwing up the contents in my stomach.
“Then I’ll ask Tony or Rogers to help. Maybe even Wanda or Loki if you really think more magic is needed. You need to stay here,” he commented. I rolled my eyes at the suggestion of Loki, still intending to go on this mission.
“Wong, I’m fine. I haven’t even thrown…excuse me,” I shot back, running to the bathroom, the breakfast I tried eating coming back up. I cleaned up my mouth, joining Wong in the foyer once more.
“See? You’re not fine Stephen. Your face is flushed; you’re constantly throwing up. Even your voice is stuffy. You won’t be able to function and you know it,” he argued once more.
“I’m going. It’ll be okay,”
“No, you’re not. You need rest,”
“The world needs me more,” I snapped.
“The world can go a few days without you. If you go on this mission with the state you’re in now and collapse, there’s a chance that you might not survive. I’m not sure the world could survive if you’re not in it. I’m not sure Sophie could live without you if you die,”
“Wong, I can handle it. It won’t…” I stated, flinching when he mentioned Sophie, the idea that she could lose me, weighing on my mind. I knew he was right; if I did collapse, there was the potential that I might not make it back and Sophie would be devastated. Still, I refused to sit this one out.
“No. If you’re going to be this stubborn, I’m afraid I’m going to have to call Sophie,” Wong said, crossing his arms.
“No, you don’t need to bother her. She’s still recovering from her own battle,” I stated, worried for her safety if he wanted her to join him on this mission.
“That’s not why I’m calling her. Maybe she can convince you not to go if you won’t even listen to your own body. Stay put,” he commented. He formed a portal, disappearing from the Sanctum, leaving me to once again run to the bathroom to vomit, this sickness not going away any time soon.
Sitting in the kitchen with Tony, Natasha, Sam and Bucky, we were chatting about plans to get everyone together and going on vacation. Natasha and Steve’s relationship had shot off and they had been happier ever since my fourth date with Stephen.
“What are we thinking then? The beach? Somewhere south?” Tony asked.
“What about the Outer Banks? It’s quiet there and if we’re looking to do absolutely nothing but relaxing then it’d be perfect,” I suggested.
“That’s not a bad idea. It might be nice to do nothing for a week. We’d have to rent a huge house to fit all of us,” Natasha stated.
“They have houses with private pools so we wouldn’t have to share with a community of people. In addition, we would have our own private walkway to the beach if we wanted to go out there too,” I told them. Everyone seemed in agreement and the only thing I had left to do was invite Stephen to join us. All of a sudden Tony shrieked and fell off his chair.
“Oh my god! Are you all right? What happened?” I yelled, getting off my stool to help him up.
“Sophie. I need your help. Tony, will you be available for a mission? Wanda and Loki as well?” a voice spoke. I turned to face Master Wong in a spiraling orange circle – a portal – leading to the Sanctum.
“I keep forgetting you guys can do that. Where’s Strange? Shouldn’t he be more qualified to help with your mission?” Tony asked while rubbing his head in the spot he fell on.
“Stephen is sick. He’s been throwing up since midnight and now I think he’s running a fever. He doesn’t intend to sit this one out and I don’t think it’s a good idea that he should be coming on this mission,”
“Not to mention, his eyes are bloodshot and his nose is stuffed up. I fear he might not be able to function while on this mission,” Wong informed us.
“Fine. I’ll get Wanda and Loki. We’ll meet you at the Sanctum. Sophie, you’re still recovering so…”
“With all due respect, I’m only asking her to come with me to the Sanctum to stop Stephen from coming with us. He won’t listen to his own body, but maybe he’ll listen to you. You’re the only one that can change his mind with certain subjects. Pack a bag. You may need to stay for a couple of days,” Wong interrupted Tony. I nodded and went up to my room to throw some things in a duffel bag. I came back down and followed Wong into the portal to the Sanctum.
“Where is he?” I asked, surprised to see my boyfriend stumble out of the bathroom. He was extremely pale; save for the heavy redness on his cheeks, sweat dripping from his forehead. Yeah, he was definitely sick and it looked like it was only going to get worse from there.
“Stephen? You don’t look so good,” I greeted him, setting my bag on the floor.
“Hey Sophie. I’m fine. Don’t worry about me,” he stated. I placed the back of my hand against his forehead; he definitely had a fever given the scalding temperature of his skin.
“Cleary, you’re not. You’re burning up. Let’s get you to bed,” I told him but he shoved past me still determined to go on the dangerous mission.
“I’m…perfectly fine. I…” he argued, falling backwards to the floor, unconscious. He would’ve hit it if I hadn’t caught him in my arms.
“Stephen! Wong can you help me get him upstairs to his room?” I commented, stroking Stephen’s sweat drenched hair from his face. Wong helped me lift him up and we walked up the stairs to his room. He helped me lay him down, the cloak detaching and lingering near watching as I removed his boots.
“Thank you, Sophie. Take care of him,” Wong told me, leaving the room to meet Tony, Wanda, and Loki outside for their mission.
“Oh, sweetheart. I wish you didn’t push yourself so hard,” I whispered, pulling off Stephen’s tunic and pants, trying to cool off his burning skin. Kissing his cheek, I went to the bathroom to grab a cloth to place against his forehead. I wet it with cool water, wringing it out so it didn’t drip too much and returned to Stephen’s side. I draped the cool cloth over his forehead, caressing his cheek before climbing in bed beside him with a book, watching over him as he slept.
I woke up to find Sophie beside me reading a book, reaching out to grab her hand.
“Sophie…” I croaked out, my voice hoarse from thirst.
“Hi, my love. How are you feeling?” she asked, removing a wet cloth, now semi-dry and placing it to the side. The answer to that question came when I bolted from her to the bathroom to throw up again. My hands gripped the sides of the toilet, heaving as more bile launched its way out of my throat. I felt warm hands on my back, rubbing it in a soothing motion. Spitting the remaining contents out, I shifted back into Sophie’s arms as she handed me some toilet paper. I wiped my mouth, disposing of it in the waste bin, letting her hold me.
“You shouldn’t have to see me in this state,” I told her, clutching her hand to my chest.
“Why? Do you think you’ll scare me away with you sickness?” She questioned, leaning over to kiss my brow.
“Yes, exactly. Help me up. I need to lie down again,” I responded. She grasped my hand and torso, pulling me up as we made our way to the bed. As soon as my body hit the comforter, the chills set in.
“Okay, Stephen, we’re going to get you under the covers and I’m going to get you a glass of water real quick,” She stated, lifting up the sheets for me to climb in.
“Come back quick please,”
She nodded and left the room for a few minutes, reappearing with a glass of water.
“Can you sit up and drink some of this for me?” She asked, sitting on the edge of the bed next to me. I slid up and took the glass from her taking a few sips and setting it down on the table next to the bed, burying under the sheets. They were a little thin, meant for summer and keeping cool; they did not provide much warmth to keep the shivering at bay.
“All right. I’m getting under there with you,” Sophie stated, slipping under the sheets pulling my body to hers, warmth spreading all around me. Because she was a firestarter, she had an ongoing flame in her body, always warm, always kind, unless something angered her or put her at ill ease. She ran her hands through my hair, soothing me, the comfort a craving I wanted. Despite the warmth from her body, I still shivered and I felt her shift off me.
“Hey, w-what are y-you doing?” I asked, the chills making my teeth chatter. I looked over to see her taking her clothes off.
“I d-don’t think that’s appropriate g-given…”
“Relax, I’m just going to give you skin to skin contact with my body. I think my clothes are getting in the way of warming you up, so I’m going with a different option,” She stated. She climbed in, her heated skin doing what it meant to do this time. My body instantly relaxed into her, the soothing motion of her hands sending me back to sleep.
I watched as Stephen drifted off, chills momentarily subsiding with the heat I put off. I waited until he was sound asleep before peeling myself from him and dressing to retreat downstairs to the kitchen. I wanted to make him some soup – chicken noodle – doing my best to take care of him. Turning on the stove, I put a pot on it and heated up the soup, preparing a plate of saltines for him to nibble on. Pouring the soup into a bowl, I quickly found a tray to put it on and carried it upstairs, seeing that Stephen was awake.
“I woke up and…what do you have there?”
“Soup, chicken noodle to be exact. I figured you might be hungry. You don’t have to eat all of it but the broth might help your stomach. Also, I’ve brought some saltines to nibble on if you feel like it,” I told him, setting the tray in front of him. He blinked at me several times.
“I didn’t expect you to take care of me like this. It’s kind of…refreshing,” he told me.
“Didn’t any of your past girlfriends see you when you were sick? I know you were a surgeon but I’m sure you needed someone else to provide the comfort you deserved when you were at home sick,” I stated, surprised at his confession.
“No. In fact I don’t think they were this affectionate. Maybe Christine but we didn’t last long enough for her to see me this sick. You seem to go out of your way to take care of me,”
“Is that so surprising? I do love you, you know. Besides, I don’t mind. It’s not like I’m planning on going anywhere,” I told him, sitting in front of him.
“I know. I love you too. And I don’t want you to leave at all. I think I’d miss you if you did or be heartbroken,”
Stephen finished the soup, not touching the saltines afraid that solid food might not stay down just yet.
“Do you want to put on a movie? We could cuddle for a while. I have to admit I like your warmth,” he told me.
“Sure,” I replied, turning on the TV and the DVD player, selecting an action movie; our favorite genre might not go over too well. I climbed in beside him, his arm draping over my shoulders.
“Thank you Sophie. For taking care of me,” he whispered, kissing the top of my head.
“No problem. I love you,” I whispered back, nuzzling my head against his chest. Halfway through the movie, he fell asleep again, the sickness still invading his body and I continued to hold him, flaring some warmth to stop chills from racking his body. When the movie ended, I switched to Netflix to watch something sweet while he rested. After a few hours he woke, hunger on his mind.
“Can we move downstairs? I’m tired of being in bed,” he told me. I handed him a pair of pajama shorts and pulled out a clean blanket from the closet, moving to the couches in the hidden lounge of the Sanctum. I made more soup and brought it to him, after fixing some for myself as well.
“You’re staying for a few days right? I’m not ready for you to leave right now,” he said, his blue eyes meeting mine. They were shining a little brighter, the sickness nearly over.
“Yeah, I thought it might be nice to stay over for a little while. We’re always at the compound, so some time here would be perfect,”
“Good. I’d like that,”
An hour went by and Wong returned with Tony, Loki and Wanda at the Sanctum.
“The mission went well. You’re looking better. I told you for the world could do without you for a few days, even if it was just for a few hours anyways,” Wong greeted us.
“Yeah, nothing we couldn’t handle,” Loki stated, a cocky grin twisting his lips.
“Guess it must have required some of your mediocre magic. I mean, Wong’s strong but I’m assuming the enemy wasn’t that hard to defeat,” Stephen commented. Loki’s eyes narrowed at the comment and he stepped forward, tension in the air between the two sorcerers.
“Mediocre magic? I’ll show you mediocre magic, you second rate…”
“Okay, easy Loki. Stephen, apologize. If it were that easy Loki might have not needed to come. Be glad that he did,” I interjected, blocking Loki’s path to Stephen. He mumbled an apology and I sighed; the conflict avoided.
“Sophie, you’re staying right?” Wong asked, hope in his expression. You could say that he and I had become fast friends and enjoyed each other’s company playing board games from time to time.
“Yes and for the next three days as well,” I replied, earning a smile from him.
“Call me if you need me okay, Tony,” I stated. He gave me thumbs up and walked out into the night followed by Wanda and Loki. We spent the rest of the night competing at Scrabble before retiring just before one in the morning, unaware of the trouble that would approach the day before I left for the compound.