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In Sickness and In Health

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Jeongguk is not sick, he’s just looking a little more than worse for wear when he comes stumbling out of the bedroom and heads in the direction of the kitchen in search of something to dull the ache in his head. And his lungs. And his stomach. And his back. And his throat. And-

Okay, maybe he’s sick. But who cares. He doesn’t have time to be sick, not with school and work and the crushing weight of finally acting like a grown adult and planning a wedding all barrelling down on him like a flock of angry magpies in the midst of swooping season.

He does not need his weekend to go like this. Sure, he’s felt this cold building for about a week now, but he figured if he just ignored it’d go away.

Jimin greets him from his perch on the counter next to the stove when he crosses the threshold into the kitchen. He looks up from his book when he hears Jeongguk enter, a welcoming smile gracing his features for a brief moment before he’s able to take in what’s standing before him. Jeongguk had tossed and turned uncontrollably the night before, but Jimin didn’t expect him to look like he’d actually been run over by multiple transport trucks in rapid succession.

“You look awful,” Jimin tells him.

“Thank you, o’ light of my life,” Jeongguk manages, though it sounds less like Jeongguk and more like two pieces of sandpaper being ground against one another.

“Sorry. C’mere,” Jimin holds his arms out for Jeongguk to fit against him, and Jeongguk buries his face in the crook of Jimin’s neck, his arms winding tightly around his waist. Jimin leans back enough to push Jeongguk’s hair out of his eyes, then presses his lips to his forehead.

“You’re burning up, baby. You work today?”

Jeongguk shakes his head no, and squeezes Jimin tighter. He runs his fingers through Jeongguk’s sweaty hair before coaxing him backwards so he can get down from his seat, his book now forgotten on the counter. With a gentle hand on the small of Jeongguk’s back, Jimin guides him back to the bedroom to lie down. It’s with far too much difficulty that he makes himself comfortable under the duvet, and Jimin hates the way he winces as he contorts his body into a position that really wouldn’t be comfortable in any other situation.

Jimin brings him extra pillows, which Jeongguk gratefully accepts before splaying himself on top of them, hugging them to his chest from underneath himself and bringing his legs up to his stomach. Jimin sits next to him to stroke his hair while Jeongguk groans in pain.

It doesn’t take long for Jeongguk to fall back to sleep, and though he tosses and turns uncomfortably, he doesn’t appear to be waking up any time soon. Jimin slinks out of the bedroom, opting to play games on his phone and watch mindless reality TV shows until he’ll have to force himself to leave the apartment for work.

An hour passes and there’s still no sound from Jeongguk, so Jimin sets to work collecting his things. He checks the fridge for anything to bring for his lunch but decides that leaving what little is left on the shelves for Jeongguk when he wakes up would be best. And it’d prevent whiny texts from Jeongguk about being too sick to go out and get food for himself. At this point, though, he’d give Jeongguk the benefit of the doubt if that were to happen; he did look pretty rough. He can buy lunch just this once.

Afterwards, he sets out in search of his keys, which he’s sure he’d dropped on the coffee table when he got home the night before. Instead, he finds them on the aged maple dresser that Jeongguk’s parents had gifted the two of them when they had announced that they’d be looking for an apartment together a whole two years ago. They’d both been living in dorms prior to that, and an entire apartment’s worth of furniture had definitely been beyond their budget at the time.

He plucks the keyring off the faded wood before turning around and clambering up onto the bed next to Jeongguk, who has wrapped himself up so tightly in their duvet that Jimin can just barely see his face. Brushing the hair out of Jeongguk’s face, Jimin bends to press a gentle kiss to his forehead. He’s burning up something awful, and Jimin wonders if he should pick up some cold medicine on his way home. Just as he turns to leave, cold fingers wrap loosely around his wrist.

“Where ya goin’?” Jeongguk croaks, his eyes open but hardly focused.

“Work,” he whispers, “there’s some food in the fridge if you get hungry. Did you want me to pick anything up after?”

Jeongguk nods his head, listing off a few things he thinks would help, then Jimin bids him goodbye with another kiss to the forehead.

--------

It’s dark by the time Jimin finally sets foot in the apartment again, his fingers red and wind-bitten thanks to the god-awful weather they’d been having lately. Jeongguk is stretched out on the couch with his books open in front of him but his eyes glued to the television screen. He’s brought a blanket out with him but must’ve gotten too warm, seeing as it’s been shoved to his feet. His hands are curled underneath the throw pillow his head is resting on and his eyes are barely open as they follow the figures onscreen. He looks up at Jimin when the front door shuts and flashes a tired smile.

“Hey, baby, how’re you feeling?”

In lieu of a verbal response, Jeongguk mimics vomiting and- well, maybe dying, and Jimin snickers before he sets to work putting the groceries away. He figures he may as well start on dinner as well since Jeongguk is barely up to the task of getting himself to the bathroom at the moment.

--------

Jeongguk manages to drag himself off of the couch and into the kitchen about an hour later to keep Jimin company while dinner is cooking. Jimin has taken his usual spot on the counter – where Jeongguk had found him that morning – and resumed his reading.

Or, well, he tries, but he places his book back down when Jeongguk enters the kitchen with his blanket pulled up around his shoulders. Jimin grants him a small, close-lipped smile before he spreads his thighs apart and pats the granite beneath his bum. Jeongguk fits himself between Jimin’s thighs easily, dropping his cheek against Jimin’s chest. In response, Jimin kisses the top of his head. He showered at some point in the day; his hair is soft under Jimin’s face and smells of cucumber and green tea, prompting Jimin to inhale deeply.

“Feel like shit, Min,” he groans, his voice heavy with sleep and phlegm. Jimin thinks maybe – even though Jeongguk probably would have hated him for it for at least the rest of the night – he should have made something spicy to help clear out his sinuses. But alas, his kindness clouds his judgement.

Jimin doesn’t mean to, but he giggles into Jeongguk’s hair at how pitiful he sounds. Jeongguk grumbles something about Jimin being the devil, though he makes no attempt to pull himself from the comfort that Jimin provides him. He shifts, turning his head to watch the pot on the stove as if it might stand up and do something.

“Dumpling soup,” Jimin tells him, “figure it wouldn’t hurt your throat. And you gotta keep your strength up.”

Jeongguk makes a small noise of understanding in the back of his throat and hugs his blanket tighter around himself just as a small shiver runs down his spine. Jimin tightens his hold around Jeongguk’s shoulders as if he could will the chill and the ache out of his bones.

“I brought you meds!” he exclaims suddenly, “And juice! You want some now or do you wanna wait?”

“Now, please.”

“Then you gotta move, you big baby,” Jimin teases, poking at Jeongguk’s forehead to back him up.

At Jimin’s insistence, Jeongguk backs away from him, allowing him to fetch a glass of orange juice from the fridge and a bottle of cough syrup from one of the cabinets. He sets the glass down on the counter while he breaks the seal on the bottle cap, and Jeongguk takes Jimin’s seat next to the stove, careful to keep his blanket away from the burner.

“You know I can do that myself, right?” Asks Jeongguk as he watches Jimin struggle with the stubborn plastic covering the mouth of the bottle.

“No you can’t,” Jimin states, “these bottles are child-proof.”

“Wow. You really are the devil.”

To focused on pouring the thick, purple fluid into the plastic cup the bottle comes with, Jimin merely hums in agreement. When he’s poured the perfect amount, he holds his hand out. Jeongguk stares at the cup for a moment, Jimin almost thinks he’ll turn his nose up at it.

“Is it the shitty tasting stuff?” he asks.

“Of course it is, Guk, it’s cough syrup. And you have two options: you either take it yourself like a grown-ass man or I hold you down and dump it down your throat.”

“I’d like to see you try, you evil little man. Gimme that.”

Jimin hands the cup off to Jeongguk, watching as he swallows and his face screws into a tight grimace. He hands the cup back and points impatiently to the glass behind Jimin on the counter. There’s no way orange juice would make it taste better, but Jimin hands the glass to him nonetheless.

“Oh my god, Min, that’s horrible.”

“Wh- don’t look at me, I didn’t make the shit! And I didn’t make you drink orange juice afterwards, either.”

Jeongguk’s face softens at Jimin’s defensive tone. He lifts his hands in surrender.

“I know, I know. I’m sorry I’m kinda dicking you around,” he extends his arm, beckoning Jimin closer. Jimin takes his outstretched hand and allows Jeongguk to pull him closer. Once his stomach touches Jeongguk’s knees, he rests their foreheads together.

“Thank you for taking care of me, love. Even though I’m terrible.”

Jimin laughs once. “You’re not terrible, Guk. You’re just- a little bit annoying. Sometimes. In a good way, though.”

It’s Jeongguk’s turn to laugh at that, but it sounds almost painful when it bubbles out of his throat and fills the room. “Thank you, love,” he repeats.

“You’re welcome, baby. Now get out of my face, I don’t wanna breathe in your germs.”

--------

It takes two more days for Jeongguk to feel like himself again rather than some humanized version of a Taco Bell dumpster in the middle of the Savanah during the dry season. He sleeps through his Monday morning class, but the whining has stopped – much to Jimin’s relief – and he’s able to make it to his shift that afternoon without any considerable amount of pain.

Tuesday morning, he’s actually out of bed before Jimin. He considers that a victory worthy of at least one extra hour of sleep, but he forces himself into a sitting position. It’s difficult to do without waking Jimin, who appears to have rolled over and clung to Jeongguk’s side in his sleep. Jimin’s first class isn’t until noon, so he thinks it a bit overkill to wake him up so early, but Jimin has always said that he wants more than just enough time in the morning. Jeongguk thinks he’s ridiculous.

Despite his apparent enthusiasm for them, however, mornings are always fifty-fifty with Jimin; some days Jeongguk doesn’t know how anyone could ever be so chipper so early, and other days he’s genuinely afraid that Jimin might beat his alarm clock into a million pieces just to have ten more minutes of sleep. So, he relishes the time he has before he should be waking Jimin for class. He may as well since he’s already up and knows how much Jimin would rather he be gently pulled out of sleep than be startled back into reality by the mechanical menace that is his alarm clock.

When the eggs are done, he separates them onto two plates, along with a few pieces of bacon and covers them with aluminum foil to keep everything warm. He places two pieces of bread in the toaster then makes his way back into the bedroom. Jimin faces the wall now, his face hidden in their fluffy, white comforter to keep the harsh morning sunlight out of his eyes. He’s curled himself into a tight ball, something Jeongguk found he did often when their heater had broken in their third month living in the apartment and no number of blankets could keep the cold out. It’s odd for him to be curled so tightly now, though, since it’s actually quite warm in the apartment.

Jeongguk places a hand over what he’s pretty sure should be Jimin’s hip and gently shakes his small form.

“Sweetheart? Breakfast is ready, there’s a plate for you if you want it.”

All Jimin offers him is a sleep-heavy ‘kay before he rolls to face Jeongguk. His eyes are still half shut when he winds his arms around Jeongguk’s shoulders to bring their faces together. Their breath is awful and neither of them has been near a razor yet, but Jeongguk hasn’t been allowed to kiss Jimin properly in days. He’s gonna let himself have this. When Jimin speaks, his lips barely graze Jeongguk’s own and his breath tickles Jeongguk’s chin.

“Don’t think I’m gonna go to class today, Gukkie,” he whispers, “’n’ you should stay with me.”

He presses their lips together once, twice, three times before rolling again, pulling Jeongguk further down against him while he slides his hand into Jeongguk’s hair. His engagement ring catches on a few strands, but at this point Jeongguk hardly notices. He sighs against Jimin’s mouth. It’s so tempting; Jeongguk could so easily push him into the sheets, mark him up and draw all sorts of pretty little noises from him.

Fuck, one would think he’d be able to last a little longer than a half a week before he feels starved.

His stomach speaks louder than his dick in the moment, though, and Jimin falls back against the bed with a giggle when he hears the angry noise Jeongguk’s body has created.

“We should eat, I gotta get to class,” Jeongguk murmurs. Jimin sighs. When Jeongguk backs up off of the bed, Jimin whines petulantly, so he holds his hand out for Jimin to take.

“C’mon, you dork, let’s go eat.”