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Asher's Worst Enemy: A Common Cold

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Asher is dying. He knows he has to be. There’s no other word to explain what he’s currently experiencing right now. His nose is varying between stopped up and running, his head feels like someone decided to learn how to play the drums on it, and his throat is raw and scratchy from him feeling like he’s going to cough up a lung or two. So yes, he’s dying. And no, he’s not being dramatic. Thank you very much, Olivia.

“You are being dramatic,” Olivia says, peering down at him.

“I’m not,” Asher mumbles, peeking out at her through his cocoon of blankets. “I’m dying. So you better be nice to me. You might not have another chance.”

Olivia rolls her eyes, “You have a cold, idiot. That’s hardly dying.”

“It is to me,” Asher says, wincing when his throat gives a painful twinge. “I never get sick.”

“Well there’s a first time for everything.”

“Can’t you at least pretend to be nice?”

Olivia sighs, “I brought you cough syrup, and soup. I am being nice. I’m just not putting up with your whining. Now sit up so you can eat this soup before it gets cold.”

“I’m not hungry,” Asher mutters, but he sits up anything, leaning forward a bit in the bed so that Olivia can adjust his pillows. When she’s done he sits back against them. He has to admit he can breathe a little easier this way. Not that he’s going to give her the satisfaction of telling her that.

Asher suddenly starts coughing, his whole body shaking from the force of them. He reaches out blindly, hoping to find a Kleenex, and groaning when he can’t.

“Here,” Olivia says, placing a box in his hand.

Asher can’t even stay thanks. He’s too busy coughing still. He grabs a tissue and brings it up to his mouth, preparing to hack up a lung. Finally, the coughs stop, and he warily looks down at the tissue. “There’s so much blood.”

Olivia looks down at it and shakes her head, “There’s one little speck, you drama queen.”

“It’s still blood!”

“It doesn’t mean you’re dying, Ash. Just… drink some water, and then eat your soup so you can take the medicine,” Olivia tells him. She grabs his glass of water off the nightstand and hands it over.

He doesn’t bother arguing. His throat is parched. He could probably drink five glasses if she handed them to him. He settles for the one, and groans at the relief of the liquid hitting his throat. He hands her the empty glass, “Soup?”

She takes the glass and puts it aside, before placing a tray across his lap. He closes his eyes when the smell of chicken noodle soup reaches him. “It’s just noodles and chicken broth,” she tells him. “I figured the chicken might be too scratchy on your throat.”

He gives her a grateful smile, “Thank you.”

She just nods, “Now be careful. It might be…”

Asher brings a spoonful of soup up to his mouth before she can finish. He hisses when the hot liquid hits his tongue and immediately drops the spoon back in the bowl. The force of it splashes soup out onto the tray.

“How do I even put up with you?” Olivia questions.

“Because you love me,” Asher retorts, giving her a teasing grin.

Olivia sighs, and sits down on the edge of the bed. “Sometimes I question why.”

“No you don’t,” Asher says, but he’s not feeling as confident as he’d like. He knows Olivia loves him, but he also knows she could probably do a million times better than him.

Olivia must sense where his thoughts are going, because she smiles softly and brings a hand up to brush the hair back from his forehead, “I don’t. Not really.”

“Not even when I’m being insufferable?”

“Not even then,” Olivia tells him. “I might get frustrated, but I never question why I love you. Because I know why. You show me every day.”

“I love you too,” Asher says, leaning into her touch. “Even if you’re the one that got me sick.”

“I told you to stay away,” she says, her face fond as she looks down at him.

“I know,” Asher says. “But you were sick. I couldn’t not look after you. Even if it meant getting sick myself.”

“No, you just like to complain about how sick you are and over exaggerate just how bad it is.”

“I’ve never been sick before,” Asher reminds her. “Cut me some slack.”

“You know I can’t resist messing with you,” Olivia tells him. She picks up the spoon, letting it cool for a moment before raising it to Asher’s lips, making sure to keep one hand under it in case any spills. “Now come on, eat.”

Asher does as he’s told, but pouts after, “I’m not a baby. I can feed myself.”

“Then eat.”

Olivia pulls up Netflix while Asher eats, searching for something to watch. She hovers over a title and turns to Asher, “How does the OA sound?”

Asher shrugs, “I heard it was good.”

“So have I,” Olivia says. “But I’ve also heard there’s been a big wait for the next season.”

“Maybe just put on more 30 Rock then,” Asher suggests. “I don’t feel up to anything I have to pay close attention to.”

Olivia nods, and brings up Hulu instead, quickly locating 30 Rock on her list. She finds the last episode they were on and presses play, before putting the remote next to her on the bed. Once Asher is done eating, she puts the tray aside so she can bring it to the kitchen later, and then curls up against him. He puts an arm around her, and pulls her close, placing a kiss to her forehead.

“This is better than any medicine,” Asher says, trailing his fingers up and down her arm.

Olivia smiles. She remembers Asher holding her the same way when she’d been in bed sick a few days ago, despite her warning him off. She’d felt horrible, but being in his arms had been the comfort she needed, and had helped her get some much needed sleep. She looks up and notices Asher’s eyes are closed and his breathing has started to even out. Satisfied, she settles down against him again and pauses the episode, before letting her eyes drift closed. Some rest will do them both good.