Genre: Romance, Fluff
Summary: Juliet gets sick.
A/N: For Mia. A protective cuddle-fic.
Happy Birfday, Sweetest.
Shawn talked to himself while he was making dinner.
It was easier to stay focused on what he was doing if he talked to himself. And since it helped keep him from getting into trouble with Juliet for forgetting and consequently burning meals, he had gotten into the habit of it.
Topics usually varied from pop culture, to his latest thoughts about Gus, to the current case, but at the moment he was talking about what he planned to do for the evening.
“...the wife's away, so I can watch all of the stupid movies she doesn't like sitting through. Nacho Libre! here I come!”
He set a pot of water on the stove and got the heat going.
He was reaching for a box of Macaroni and Cheese in the pantry when a sound caught his ear. His head quirked to the side, a frown crossing his lips. Jules was supposed to be out until after midnight. He listened carefully and a moment later the sound repeated itself.
From their bedroom.
Shawn's frown deepened and he set the box of macaroni on the counter, heading back down the hall to investigate. Jules had had a slight cough earlier. She had to have slipped in while he was at the video store. But she'd been looking forward to this for weeks.
The coughing was much easier to hear from back here and he grimaced at the sound of it. That was not the same cough Juliet had been nursing when he'd seen her last. He eased open the bedroom door and peered inside.
All the lights had been switched off, but in the stream of light coming in around him, Shawn could just make out a huddled mass on the bed. The mass was hacking painful-sounding coughs.
The worry hit him sharply when she didn't answer. “Jules?” he repeated, moving inside. The coughing continued.
He sat down on the bed beside the lump, putting a hand where he thought her shoulder might be. “Hey, when did you get home?”
This time, Juliet made a noise, but she sounded anything but coherent.
Shawn pulled down the cover.
Juliet was curled up around one of their pillows, directing thick, chesty coughs into its body. Her skin was brightly flushed, even in the dark and her skin glistened with a sheen of sweat, strands of hair sticking to her cheeks and forehead. She was shivering.
“Jeez, Jules,” he murmured. She had obviously taken a turn for the worst. He slipped his hand under her hair, pressing his palm to her throat. She was on fire.
“Mmn, hot...” she mumbled, pulling away from him.
“No kidding,” Shawn muttered. They had a thermometer somewhere in the bathroom, but between the near insensibility, the heat radiating off of her, and the way she was breathing, Shawn didn't really think an accurate reading was necessary.
“Come on, Jules,” he said, sliding a hand around her shoulder, “We're going to the Quick Care.”
She moaned, dropping heavily against his chest and within seconds he could feel sweat forming on his skin. It almost burned to touch her. Jeez. “Come on,” he told her, “You need to see a doctor.”
Another soft moan broke off with a series of coughs. “I don' want to, Shawn,” she mumbled. “'m tired. Just let me sleep.”
“You can sleep as much as you want after we see a doctor,” he said and then pressed a kiss to her temple. “Come on.”
It took a lot more coaxing and a lot of levering on his part to get her on her feet. Unfortunately, her legs didn't seem to want to carry her. Or, more likely, she was being stubborn. Juliet was very good at stubborn. He grimaced and then, bracing himself, slipped his arm beneath her knees and hoisted her into his arms.
Juliet wasn't exactly a heavyweight, but carrying one hundred and thirty pounds of overheated, noodle-like girl was no easy task. But he loved the noodle-girl, so—he grunted and shuffled into the hallway.
By the time he got to the car, Shawn was panting harshly, his muscles screaming at him in outrage. He ignored them, gratefully easing Juliet's feet to the pavement. She leaned heavily against his side, shivering. “Don' wanna go,” she mumbled.
“I know.” Shawn kissed her forehead and pulled open the car door, helping her to fold into the seat. She curled up, coughing. Shawn brushed sweat-damp hair back from her forehead, tracing his eyes over her face. God, she was so far gone.
One last look and he closed the door, skirting around to the other side of the car.
“Don't worry, Jules,” he murmured when he was inside, pulling the car out of its spot, “I'm going to take care of you.”
Ironically, they languished in the Quick Care for hours, time dragging on and on while Juliet slept restlessly, her superheated frame draped across Shawn's chest and shoulder. It was uncomfortable at best, and miserable at worst. When it got too hot to bear, he snaked out from under Juliet, leaving her dozing in a chair and went to sweet-talk the desk nurses into giving him a cup. He filled it with water and used it to make sure Juliet didn't succumb to dehydration on top of what she already had.
Her coughs continued unabated. Tired and uncomfortable or not, Shawn's fingers kept finding her, tracing the lines of her face or stroking her arms, hands, fingers, knees—touching the rare freckles on her fair skin, like maybe he could fix her himself.
When they were finally called back, long after midnight, it took two brief tests and less than five minutes for the doctor to diagnose Juliet.
“Bronchitis,” he said.
His reaction was so blasé Shawn wasn't sure if he was relieved or offended. This was his wife who was suffering after all. Shawn was given a prescription and orders to make sure Juliet got lots of rest and plenty of electrolyte-laden liquids. If her fever didn't break soon, he was given instructions for dosing her with Tylenol.
A little more paperwork and they were finally finished.
Juliet fell asleep in the car on the way to the pharmacist.
Back at the house, Shawn carried her inside.
He didn't bother turning on the house lights. He just made a beeline for the bedroom, setting her down on the bed and brushing her hair back. Juliet shifted, pulling a pillow close with a low murmur.
“Ah, ah, Jules,” Shawn said softly. “Come on. Take your pill first and then you can sleep.”
Her reply was a little groan, turning her face into the pillow.
“Juuules,” Shawn said, exasperated. “Just one pill, then you can sleep as long as you want, okay?”
Reluctantly, Juliet exposed her face again, accepting the pill Shawn offered her. She slipped it into her mouth and Shawn handed her one of the Gatorades he'd picked up while at the store. When Juliet had her fill, he took the bottle back and set it aside on the bedside table.
Juliet curled up on her side, coughing, and closed her eyes. Shawn brushed his lips against her temple. “Love you,” he whispered.
“Mm,” Juliet murmured. He doubted she'd even heard him. Shawn's stomach, which had been getting angrier and angrier with him all night, panged sharply. He needed food.
“I'll be right back, sweetheart,” Shawn told her softly.
Juliet broke into coughs in response.
A moment later, Shawn swore as he stepped into the kitchen. He'd completely forgotten about the pan on the stove. The water inside had completely evaporated, leaving the dry pan languishing on the heat. The visible side had warped. He grimaced and snapped off the burner, leaving the pan, feeling the heat off of the metal from even a few inches away. They were lucky the house hadn't frigging burned down.
Instead of bothering with trying to heat anything up, he just grabbed a Tupperware full of pineapple slices, some yogurt, and slapped together a sloppy peanut butter and jelly sandwich before returning to the bedroom.
Juliet was half-upright in the bed, leaning toward the door. Rasping between coughs, “Shawn...”
She reached out with one hand and Shawn slid the plate onto the bedside table, sinking onto the bed beside her. He pulled her against him, pressing his lips to the side of her head. “Hey, shh, I'm here.”
“Don't go,” she said, her voice brittle and small. He swallowed. Her fingers clutched at the fabric of his shirt and she pressed, hot, up against his side, her head tucked into his shoulder.
Shawn brushed the hairs clinging to her cheek back, drawing his knuckles softly across her face. He kissed her head again. “I'm not going anywhere, Jules. Get some sleep, okay?”
She shifted her left arm up higher on his chest, her hand curling around the back of his neck, and then sighed. Heat washed over his throat.
Juliet's body went soft and malleable against him as she drifted to sleep, slightly wheezy breaths evening out, heating his neck in slow, regular intervals. Shawn managed to eat a few slices of the pineapple, but his own exhaustion was rapidly catching up with him. It would be dawn in a little over an hour.
He blinked drowsily at the disease-riddled woman packed up against his side, her sweat mingling with the sweat dampening his shirt in response to her temperature and one corner of his mouth twitched upward.
It wasn't Mac and Cheese and Nacho Libre, but he could definitely deal.