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The Sniffles

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Waking up in the middle of the night wasn't really a new thing for Alex. Even before having kids, Alex had the tendency to not sleep or to wake up and random times. This usually meant that Alex was more than willing to get up with their young son to fulfill whatever his late night needs might be. Even though Eliza would insist, she wasn't the one who had to go into the office the next morning and she could handle things just fine.

This night was not different, other than Philip's cry, it sounded different than it had during previous nights when that was what woke Alex from his sleep.

He was tossing and turning more than usual and even Alex's hand on his tummy, which usually soothed him, didn't help.

Alex gently ran his hand through his son's hair as his whimpers continued, "It's alright Pip," he spoke in a quiet tone.

It didn't take long for Eliza turn over and blink her eyes sleepily, "Alex what's wrong?"

"I don't know," Alex murmured, trying his hardest to keep his voice level, "he won't stop crying."

Eliza scooted slightly towards their son gently placing her hand on his forehead, “He feels a little warm,” she muttered.

"Warm," Alex repeated, swallowing nervously, "Is it a fever? He's not sick, is he?"

“He might be,” Eliza sighed, “but I think it’s just a little cold.” She preceded to hold Philip in her arms rocking him with a soothing motion.

Alex felt a panic rising in his chest, his heart thumping wildly while his mind ran with possibilities.

“Alex are you alright?” Eliza asked getting out of bed, and Philip calmed if only slightly.

Alex was not alright, there were few things that scared him and illness was one of them.

“Should we maybe take him to the ER, or urgent care?” Alex found himself asking his wife.

“I don’t think so,” Eliza shook her head, “but a trip the drug store might be useful.”

"Are you sure?" Alex managed to say, his mind filled with images of hair slicked back with sweat, shivering arms covered in goosebumps, panting breaths escaping cracked lips.

"Pretty sure," Eliza nodded, "I remember Sky getting sick when he was little."

She didn't seem to notice that Alex was on the brink of a panic attack and he kind of wanted to keep it that way.

By now Philip's whimpers had quieted, if only from exhaustion and Eliza pulled him close to her chest.

"Do you think there is somewhere open now?" Alex asked, more than willing to go and get whatever his son may need.

"Relax," Eliza soothed, "there's a 24-hour pharmacy on the corner. You know that."

"Right," Alex ran a hand through his hair, "so cold and flu meds, and thermometer-"

"Alex, we have a thermometer," Eliza reminded him.

Alex let out an exasperated sigh, "Okay, so I'll just get my coat and run down to the pharmacy."

"You want me to write it down for you?" Eliza suggested.

Alex was ready to protest that he could remember to get some simple cold medicine when he realized that Eliza was fully aware of his current mental state and was being supportive without pointing out the specific issues he was having.

"Yeah," he said finally, "a list would be good."

She walked over to Alex placing Philip in his arms, since at the moment he seemed happiest being held. Then getting a scrap of paper joted a few things down, “That should do it.”

Alex took another moment to feel his son's breath puffing against his cheek.

"Everything will be fine," Eliza told him, "trust me. Sky got these little colds all the time when he was a baby and he turned out alright. Don't tell him I said that, though."

Alex chuckled lightly and kissed Philip on the top of his head and Eliza on her cheek before handing the baby back to her.

"I'll be back soon," Alex replied trying to muster up even just a small smile.

When Alex returned from the pharmacy he found Eliza standing by the window, rocking Philip in her arms as she hummed to him gently.

“Is he any better?” Alex asked, setting the bag on the bed beside him.

"He's stopped crying," said Eliza, "I changed him too, so that probably helped."

“And his temperature?” Alex asked as he rummaged for the bottle of cough syrup.

"Very mild," Eliza responded, "nothing to be alarmed about, it's been going down."

Alex let out a deep sigh, “Well hopefully this will help,” he proceeded to break the seal and pour a small dose.

Philip was already half asleep again, but he swallowed the medicine with only mild complaint. It didn’t take long before he was completely asleep with his head on Eliza’s chest.

Eliza let out a tired sigh, “Well hopefully he’ll get some rest, and I can make appointment with Theodosia in the morning.”