Kyle sits on the couch, shivering. Mari notices it and runs to touch his forehead. It is burning of fever. She looks at him, concerned, wondering which kind of medicines she should give to him. He coughs, not blood anymore, thanks the maker, and sweats. Maybe milk with honey and lemon, as they used to do in the alienage?
She rushes to the kitchen and prepares a glass of that. When she comes back, he grimaces and makes a disgusted noise.
“Take it, love. You need it”. It is hot, and he seems to back at the smell of it. She blocks his nose to force him to drink but he seems to reject the taste of milk. Maybe she should have added peppermint, as the cook suggested?
Kyle sits on the couch and sweat through all his body, coughs.
Mari forces him to lie down and covers him with a blanket, then she goes back to the kitchen, and while boiling some water to prepare a better remedy, she soaks towels with cold water to help the fever go down. When she comes back and starts putting them over his forehead, Kyle mumbles some delirious words.
Mari washes his sweat with cold water to lower the fever and listens to the words. At first, only short ones like “mom” can be heared.
Mari kisses his forehead.
"Shh, honey, I'm here for you", she whispers, not caring if she can catch the same illness or not. She only wants to care for him.
He holds Mari's hand. "I'm sorry", he mutters.
"All those years I blamed myself…"
She strokes his hand, listening to him, even if he doesn’t seem to look at her.
"That's.... my choice…I made the wrong choice"
Mari feels her eyes full with tears. "Which choice, my love?". She continues stroking his hand, lovingly.
"Tell Lindy I'm sorry, Seth…” Mari strokes his cheek and takes the hair away from his face. She doesn’t know who Seth is… and he seems too lost in his past. What can she say?
"Lindy already knows, my love"
"It was so much more awful than I thought..." he continues, sweating more, his face now wet with those sweat, not listening to Mari. She washes his face with a wet cold towel and kisses him again. A tear runs down her cheek
"Of all the choices I could have made, I finally decided to go here"
"Here? Where?", Mari asks, not understanding.
"I deserve....Deserve death"
Mari shakes her head. She sometimes wants to slap him when he says that kind of things: "No, you don't. Nobody deserves it less than you". She continues stroking his head, threading her fingers in his hair. She's crying silently
"Don't you dare to say that"
“Because if I had not chosen to come here, I would not have met you”
"Met me?" Mari is not sure if Kyle is talking about her, but she wishes so.
"I'm sorry; I did so many things that hurt you"
"If I lose you, you'll hurt me forever", she says, terrified. She kisses softly his lips, and he kisses her back weakly, whispering: "I love you"
She continues making his fever go down. She wonders if she should ask Lauren for help
"I do too". She sobs
She puts a wet towel on his forehead, and washes his body with cold towels too, like a big baby. Then she wipes her tears with her sleeve. She can't afford crying when she has to care for him.
He breathes very heavily, but sighs of relief. She reaches the herbs she prepared and helps him to drink a bit of medicine brew. Actual medicine, not just lemon and honey. Special herbs Lauren gave her to make the fever go down, and that she has always kept with her, along with the grindyroot. He sips, but doesn’t want to drink anymore.
She helps him raise his head
“Drink, my love. I know these herbs are bitter, even if they're sweetened with honey”
He shakes his head lightly, making her smile, he reacts. He gropes to find Mari. He’s not sure, but now tries to hold her.
"I'm here, my love" She takes his hand and puts it over her cheek. "I won't leave your side while you need me"
“I'm not worth”, he insists.
"You are for me"
“One day you will leave me”
“And I don’t know if I can survive”
Mari wishes he's actually talking about her and not about Lindy… one never knows with fever's delirium. Just in case, she replies:
"I will only leave you if I die first. And death will have it hard to part me from your side"
“But if you ever find another guy better than me…”
Mari chuckles: “If I do I'll kick his ass before he tempts me”
“…I’ll still accept if he makes you happy”
"And that's what makes you better than any other man I can ever find", she says, a knot in her throat.
He just shakes his head. She kisses his cheek: "Don't worry about that"
He tries to reply to Mari's kiss, so she moves her mouth to find his. He kisses her weakly, but she doesn't mind. She rubs her nose with his "You won't get rid of me so easily"
He smiles, sighs and starts falling asleep again. Mari watches him sleep; hoping this time is a resting sleep and not a feverish one.
He still mumbles “Thank you”
She's smiles: "No. Thanks to you". But he’s not listening anymore, peacefully asleep.
She tucks him in the blanket, and sits on a chair by his side. She holds his hand during all the time he sleeps. Watching him rest, looking for signs of him getting better, and feeling relieved when she hears his breath is now lighter, softer, and quieter.