The Story Continues

Some Well Deserved Pampering

Lynus had never been all that self-aware of his own health. His healing abilities would abruptly drop in strength whenever it came to healing himself. It was something he had been meaning to work on for a while now. It was just...he always had better things to do. More important things to do.

Even so, when he woke up that morning, his head pounding from a migraine, his throat dry and sore, his joints aching, he knew that he could not just brush it aside like he had done numerous times before. He was sick with a fever. A fever meant an infection somewhere. A cold, perhaps. Or maybe it was due to stress? Probably from not eating enough or something. It could even be due to the sudden change in weather. Maybe even...

Lynus was pulled from his jumbled musings when something soft and cool was suddenly placed against his forehead. Forcing his eyes to open, he rolled his head to the side to see Axel sitting on a chair pulled close to his bed. Though his vision was blurred, he could easily make out the worry on Axel’s face.

“Axel?” Lynus murmured, briefly surprised by how croaky his voice sounded.

“Hey,” Axel said as he leaned back into his seat, his smile a mixture of relief and concern. “How are you feeling?”

Lynus furrowed his brow when he realised that he had a moist cloth resting against his forehead. “What time is it?” he asked as he wiggled out a hand to gently touch at the cloth.

“It’s about 10am.”

“What? I slept in?” Lynus asked, his eyes widening in surprise. He tried to sit up, but instantly regretted it when the throbbing in his head intensified causing the room to tilt on its axis and he fell onto his side back onto the bed.

Axel immediately placed his hand on his shoulder which prompted Lynus to stop moving and to focus his attention on him once more. “Do you remember our conversation earlier this morning?” he unexpectedly asked.

Lynus looked at him in confusion. “Conversation?”

Axel pressed his lips together in a thin line, clearly displeased. “I’m getting Dr Stiles,” he said as he made the motion to stand up from his chair.

“N-no, don’t,” Lynus all but pleaded as he reached out to snare a grip on Axel’s shirt. “He’s a busy man. I’m fine, really.”

Axel sighed as he reached out to place his hands on either side of Lynus’ face and looked sternly into his eyes. “Lynus, you are a wonderful medic to all but yourself.”

It took a moment or two for the words to register in Lynus’ mind before he winced lightly. He really couldn’t argue with that. “Dr Stiles will be mad at me,” he murmured instead, actually quite afraid of seeing that stern, disapproving glare from his mentor.

The corner of Axel’s mouth twitched into a half smile. “I’ll protect you from him,” he said as he gently rubbed his thumb against Lynus’ left cheek bone.

Despite himself, Lynus laughed, even though it hurt his throat to do so. “No, really,” he insisted as he placed his hands atop of Axel’s. “I promise I’ll do absolutely nothing today.”

“Is there anything we can do?” Axel asked him as he pulled back his hands.

Lynus flopped back down onto the bed and held his forehead, the cooling cloth that had once been sitting there having slipped off when he tried to get up. “Let me think for a sec…” he murmured as his head was aching so much that he couldn’t concentrate.

“Imagine if it were someone else,” Axel suggested as he picked up the moist cloth and carefully placed it back upon Lynus’ forehead, offering him small form of relief. “Like Magnus or Macerio. Or even me. What would you do?”

Lynus raised his hand as he counted with his fingers. “Rest for recovery; medicine for headache; fluids for hydration; warmth for comfort; and cool cloth for fever.”

Axel was silent for a moment. “It should probably be amusing that you responded so quickly. But it’s not.”

Lynus grimaced. He was truly terrible at taking care and looking after himself, wasn’t he? “Sorry.”

Axel released an audible sigh as he gently raked his fingers through Lynus’ hair. “We can start to work on that later,” he said, his fingers soothingly massaging his scalp, his touch lulling him to a relaxed state. Lynus could easily fall asleep from the gentle touch alone.

“But, for now,” Axel continued. “It’s our turn to take care of your for once.”

Lynus smiled softly when the words slowly sunk in through his headache induced fog laden mind. He found himself snuggling willingly into the bedsheets when he felt Axel gently caress his cheeks before placing a soft, but warm kiss to his lips.

Content in the knowledge that everything will be fine, Lynus drifted off to sleep.

… … … … …

Lynus didn’t know how much time had passed when he had awoken from a somewhat fitful sleep by the feel of something quite cold being dabbed against his forehead. He opened his eyes, finding the sensation at first startling but then soothing, and rolled his head to the side slightly as to keep the cloth in place. He had expected to see Axel ever dutifully sitting by his bedside, instead he saw a certain blond-haired alchemist.

“S-sorry, is it too cold?” Magnus immediately squeaked when he realised Lynus was awake and abruptly folded his hands on his lap. “I-I used my ice magic to cool the water.”

“It’s soothing, thank you,” Lynus said in response, smiling at him.

Magnus looked relieved and it showed significantly in his smile. “I also brought some mint leaves, but you have a headache, right? Shen said that m-mint leaves are supposed to be cooling, but h-he also said the smell could be overpowering and…”

Oh? Magnus was actually blabbering. He really was adorable, wasn’t he?

“Hm,” Lynus hummed as he thought for a moment. “A couple of leaves in the cool water won’t hurt. Thank you.”

Magnus nodded his head eagerly as he pivoted in his seat and turned to pick up a few small mint leaves and drop them in a dish of water. “D-do you need anything else?” Magnus asked as he retrieved the compression cloth and placed it into the bowl to soak in for a while.

Lynus’ first instinct was to say no, he was fine, to not to worry anymore about him. But…allowing for others to care for him, allowing them to feel as though they were contributing to his health would give them the chance to feel as though they were giving something back to him, for all the times he cared for them when they were sick or injured. The need to feel wanted and useful; he couldn’t deny them that simply, but powerful desire.

“Could I have some water to drink?” Lynus asked as he pushed himself up slightly, moving slowly so not to cause himself any light-headedness and nausea from the movement.

“Yes,” Magnus immediately said with a smile before turning to do just that.

Lynus watched him as he silently moved about and couldn’t help but notice how…happy he looked to be of service for him. It was rare for Lynus to be on the receiving end of fussing and concern, except for a few occasions. He was the healer, after all. He was the one who did all the fussing about. So being on the other end of such attention…well, it was a learning curve for him that was for sure.

“Thank you,” Lynus said as he retrieved the cup of cool water from Magnus, wrapping both his hands tightly around it

As he took a sip, he was startled to realise how dry his mouth and throat was. The desire to drink the rest of the water quickly had to be subdued as he didn’t want to choke on the water itself. Having a coughing fit in front of Magnus would most likely scare the gentle alchemist.

After drinking as much as felt comfortable, Lynus gave Magnus a small smile as he handed back the cup before lying back down in bed.

Magnus placed the cup aside before he reached for the cloth still soaking in the bowl of water, wrung it out tightly and placed it back upon Lynus’ forehead. With his throat feeling slightly better and the cloth cooling is feverish face, Lynus found himself drifting back to sleep quite quickly. Although, just before he did, he felt someone grasp his hand softly and gently rubbing the back of his hand.

… … … … …

Lynus was fairly certain that only a couple of hours had passed since he had fallen asleep again. He stayed curled up in bed as he was warm and comfortable. He couldn’t help but feel slightly guilty, though, staying in bed and doing nothing.

The sound of his door opening and two hushed voices prompted Lynus to open his eyes and look over at the door of his room. He couldn’t help but allow a smile to appear on his lips when he realised that the voices he had heard belonged to Lirit and Macerio, the two most likely debating on whether or not it was ok to enter his room and potentially disturb him from his recuperation.

“Macerio, Lirit,” Lynus called out as he rolled onto his side. “I can hear you two.”

Lirit immediately whirled around to face him, a truly apologetic expression on his face. “Sorry,” he said as he and Macerio walked sheepishly into the room. “Did we wake you?”

Lynus shook his head as he smiled reassuringly at the two. “No, I was already half awake. Really.”

“How are you feeling?” Macerio asked as he fidgeted somewhat nervously in front of him, his hands toying with a button on his coat.

“Ah, a little restless to be honest,” Lynus replied as he managed to push himself upright, sitting up for the first time that day. “Lying in bed is getting a bit tedious, to be honest.”

Lirit unexpectedly frowned at him. “No, I won’t allow you access to any of your books.”

Despite himself, Lynus laughed. “Honestly, I wasn’t trying. I would like some company, though.”

Both Lirit and Macerio smiled, Lirit in an understanding manner while Macerio looked relieved. Macerio then unexpectedly began to prop pillows behind Lynus’ back to allow him to rest upright against them while Lirit moved across the room to pick up the cardigan that had been resting over the back of another chair. He then draped it over Lynus’ back before he pulled it close against his shoulders.

“You need to keep warm,” he said with a small smile on his lips.

Macerio then plonked himself down upon the chair that was closest to Lynus’ bed while Lirit perched himself on the edge of the bed. The two then started chatting aimlessly about what they had been doing that morning, how everyone took the news when Axel told everyone that Lynus was sick, and what they were going to do after Lynus was feeling better.

Lynus only participated lightly to their chatting, but it was nice being able to listen to the two nonetheless. Their voices and the way they regarded each other was a good kind of distracting. It made him forget for a little while how crappy he had felt.

It actually made him wonder if he could talk Dr Stiles into extending visiting hours for the patients at the hospital.

They chatted for an hour or so, Axel popping in and out now and again to see how Lynus was doing, but leaving to allow others of their guild to fuss over him as they wanted. After the umpteenth visit, however, they decided to leave Lynus to get some sleep in peace and quiet.

Lynus, however, found himself unable to settle back down. The bed was suddenly too constrictive and smothering. It was also rather hot and stuffy. And quiet. He knew that warmth and silence was far better for an ill person than the cold and distracting noises were, but he also didn’t want to start sweating and making himself feel even more sticky and uncomfortable.

He sat himself back up in bed and looked around miserably. He was starting to feel a little caged in, to be honest. He needed to at least get up and look around. Just to see how things were with everyone. Oh, he was sure they were perfectly capable of getting through the day without hurting themselves. He just…needed to get up and stretch his legs a little.

Lynus pushed back the blankets and placed his feet upon the floor. He sat on the edge of his bed for a moment as he fussed about putting on a woollen cardigan before he pushed himself to his feet. He had to move slowly as he was still a little lightheaded from the fever, but it felt good to stand up on his own feet and stretch his arms over his head.

Folding the cardigan tightly around himself, Lynus paddled his way over to the door and opened it. He clutched at his cardigan with one hand as he placed the other against the door frame to rest for a moment and to look around. He honestly hadn’t a clue what time it was. Late afternoon, probably.

As Lynus glanced over at the stairs leading to the ground floor, he momentarily wondered how far he would get before someone stopped him and tried to usher him back to his room. But as soon as that thought passed through his mind, the form of a blond-haired survivalist suddenly came into view and their gazes immediately caught one another’s.

“Should you be up?” Tobyn asked as he immediately made his way over to him.

“Sorry, I’m all right,” Lynus replied with a small smile when he noticed that Jhon had been right behind Tobyn, the protector also quickly making his way to stand before Lynus. “I was just starting to get a little stir crazy from staying in bed.”

“Yes, that happens to the best of us, I’m afraid,” Jhon said in an understanding manner before indicating to the stairs with a tilt of his head. “Would you like to sit in the tea room for a while? The fire is going, though.”

Lynus nodded his head and smiled. “Yes, that would be fine. Thank you.”

Jhon immediately offered his arm toward him. “Here. I’ll help you with the stairs.”

Yeah, the stairs would be a problem, wouldn’t it? The last time Lynus walked down them with a headache he fainted midway and could have hurt himself had Tobyn not caught him before he fell down the stairs. He was sure both Tobyn and Jhon remembered that time clearly.

As Lynus sent Jhon a grateful smile and reached out to take his arm for support, Tobyn suggested something completely unexpected, “Just pick him up. It’ll be easier.”

Lynus sent Tobyn a slightly bemused look before turning back to Jhon. “You don’t have-”

Jhon, however, abruptly cut him off by bending forward and effortlessly scooping Lynus up off the floor and into his arms. With an arm around the middle of his back and under his knees, Lynus immediately squeaked out in surprise and embarrassment as he grasped into Jhon’s shoulder out of instinct.

“Wow, you are light,” Jhon murmured, his brow furrowing slightly.

Lynus tried hard not to pout in annoyance. He had to take that with a grain of salt; Jhon was a protector, after all. His strength matched that of Axel’s. Of course he would be light to someone who could easily fend off the attack of a charging foe.

Jhon, thankfully, said nothing else as he turned and carried him breezily down the stairs. Lynus had to admit that Tobyn had a point; being carried was easier than being aided. But not everyone had the strength to literally sweep someone off of their feet. He was sure that Axel would have a laugh with Jhon about it later.

Mostly like after the blond-haired protector made a comment about his weight.

It was unsurprising that the tearoom already had company. Shen was there, attending to the fire place as Chi-hung looked on. They both turned, however, when they heard someone approach and had to do a double take when they realised that it was Jhon who was carrying Lynus.

Lynus flushed lightly in embarrassment at their two slightly bewildered looks, internally grateful that Shen chose not to comment. Instead Shen pushed himself to his feet and nodded his head in greeting at the three of them.

“I’ll go retrieve more firewood,” he said simply.

“Sure,” Jhon replied as he carefully placed Lynus upon the two sitter couch in the middle of the room, offering him warmth as well as leg space should he wish to sprawl out and go to sleep.

“Thanks,” Lynus said to Jhon as he gave him a bashful smile before he quickly turned his attention to the leaving ronin, calling out his name to pull him to a stop. “Ah, Shen? Thanks for recommending the mint leaves to Magnus. They were helpful.”

Again, Shen simply inclined his head in acknowledgement before he continued on his way. But just before he turned to leave, Lynus swore he saw a slight upturning on his lips.

Jhon watched Shen leave with a soft expression of amusement on his face before he turned his attention back to Lynus. “Could you handle having anything to eat?” he asked as Tobyn moved to hover nearby, appearing to want to be useful as well.

Lynus shook his head at Jhon’s question. “Honestly, no, not at the moment,” he said with a slight frown on his lips.

“Something to drink?” Tobyn suggested instead.

Tea sounded like a good idea, actually. “Could you ask Matron to make me some honey tea? It would be good for my sore throat.”

Tobyn seemed to perk up subtly at the prospect of doing something and nodded his head quickly. “I’ll go ask,” he said as he turned on his heel and quickly left the room.

“And I’ll go tell Axel where you are,” Jhon said as he continued to smile that polite, yet somehow amused and understanding smile of his. “We can’t have him wandering into your bedroom and not finding you there, can we?”

Knowing Axel, he was probably already looking for him. “Yes. Thank you.”

“Will you be all right on your own?” Jhon asked.

Lynus smiled softly as he gazed over at the fireplace. “Hm, I’m not on my own, am I, Chi-hung?”

Chi-hung, who had padded over the moment Jhon placed Lynus on the couch, responded by dropping his head upon Lynus’ lap with a purr, earning a small laugh from the medic.

Satisfied, Jhon nodded his head and promised to be back soon before quickly exiting the room as well. He needed worry about Lynus being alone for too long, though, as not a minute after he left and just as Lynus was settling back into his seat, idly rubbing Chi-hung’s ears, a certain pink-haired troubadour bounded into the room.

“Lynus!” Binah said happily as she quickly made her way over to him and all but hopped onto the couch next to him to reach out and hug him quickly. “How are you feeling?”

Lynus smiled warmly at her, noticing from the corner of his eye as Becky toddled into the room, her arms wrapped around a thick blanket. “Ah, a bit better than I was this morning,” he answered Binah before smiling over at Becky.

“H-hello,” Becky said in response as she placed the blanket over the arm of the chair next to Lynus. “I brought you a blanket. You need to keep warm when you’re sick.”

“Thank you,” Lynus said as he internally mused how he was going to convince Chi-hung to lift his head enough for him to drape the blanket over his legs. The white-tiger, after all, was happily purring on his lap due to being scratched behind the ear.

“Mama says that soup helps, too,” Becky continued. “W-would you like some?”

“I’m alright for now,” Lynus said in a reassuring way. “But I’ll try to have something to eat for dinner later.”

Becky appeared as though she wanted to ask him something else but fell quiet when Binah suddenly took Becky’s hand in hers and tugged her toward the door. “We’ll go tell Matron then,” Binah said simply before disappearing through the door.

Lynus tilted his head to the side slightly in confusion. He had expected the two to linger a little longer, but Binah seemed to be in a hurry for some reason. He hoped she didn’t have something planned involving the Guardian Guild and matchmaking again. He had noticed that she had set her sights on Lirit and Macerio this time.

He was pulled out of his musings, however, when a certain white-haired dark hunter stepped into the room, his hands shoved into his pockets and a somewhat…uncomfortable expression on his face. His appearance actually made Lynus wonder if Rahas was the reason Binah and Becky departed so quickly.

“Rahas?”

“…How you feeling?” he muttered as he wandered further into the room.

“I’m all right,” Lynus said out of habit as he continued to pat Chi-hung’s head, finding comfort in the way the white-tiger was pressing back against his hand. “Just overworked myself. You don’t have to worry.”

Rahas’ eyes caught his for a moment before he quickly looked away. “Yeah.”

Lynus couldn’t help but sigh, saddened at the tension that was obvious between them. “…Are you all right?”

Rahas, himself, also uttered a sigh as he scratched the back of his neck and continued to look at everything else but him. “Why would you ask that?”

“We’ve been…different lately,” Lynus murmured and chewed on his bottom lip.

Different as in…avoiding him. Hamza had suggested that time apart would be good, but Lynus still couldn’t help the guilt he felt whenever Rahas would all but scurry away from him should they happen to walk into the same room. He also appeared as if he was…hiding something. Something important.

“It’s nothing,” Rahas said in an unconvincing way. “I’ve just…been hanging around with Simmons. Nothing to worry about.”

A little surprised at the admission, Lynus wanted to ask him if he was doing it willingly, or was if it because of the tension between the two of them now. “Oh…ok,” he said instead, not wanting to force a confrontation between them. “It’s good to see you’re making friends.”

“Yeah…” Rahas murmured before he surprisingly (yet unsurprisingly) headed for the window, opened it up, and slipped out without making a single noise.

Lynus wasn’t entirely sure what drove Rahas to use the window instead of exiting the door that was wide open, the same door he just walked through. However, he soon realised why when Hamza entered the room, his gaze immediately flickering toward the open window. He didn’t linger there long, though, and soon turned his attention back to Lynus and smiled softly at him.

“Wish for me to close the window?” he asked simply.

But Lynus shook his head. “No. The fresh air is nice.”

“Ah, very well,” Hamza’s smile took on an edge of understanding before he turned back toward the door of the tearoom. “You have a visitor.”

Lynus, too, glanced over at the door and found himself sitting up straighter when a certain silver-haired troubadour appeared. “Cedric? Oh, good evening.”

“Hm, polite, even when ill,” Cedric returned with a sense of amusement in his tone. “You really are a treasure, aren’t you?”

Lynus gave the man a shy smile as Chi-hung finally lifted his head off of his lap to also regard the two new visitors. “Hah, I don’t know about that.”

“Hamza told me you weren’t feeling well,” Cedric said with empathy in his voice as he made his way over to him and picked up the blanket that was draped nearby and unfolded it. “You can imagine my surprise upon learning that. You’ve always seemed invincible.”

Lynus released a short laugh as he helped Cedric to drape the blank over he lap and legs, already feeling more comfortable and at ease. “I don’t know about that, either.”

Cedric smiled at him as Hamza busied himself with the fireplace once more. “How are you feeling?” he asked as he perched himself on the edge of the couch next to Lynus.

“Honestly, better than I did this morning,” Lynus said with a smile. “Everyone has been fussing over me all day.”

He was still getting used to it, honestly. All the fussing and concern. A small part of him still wanted to state that he was fine and not to waste any of their precious worry and concern over him. But another part, one that was slowly growing, wanted to be pampered just this once.

As the other members of his guild made their way into the tea room, Axel perching himself on the arm of the chair next to Lynus to kiss him on the forehead, Tobyn with the honey tea he had retrieved, Magnus with the bowl of chilled water for his linger fever, and Shen with more firewood, Lynus leaned back into the couch and smiled contently.

It was true. Being pampered once in a while wasn’t a bad thing.

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