David had been sick plenty of times before. He was fairly scrappy as a child, and that lead to situations in which he would end up bedridden and bored. His whole childhood had been filled with the same association: sickness was boring. Sickness meant having to lie in bed and do nothing for days until he felt better. Nowadays, when David got sick, his first thought was always the same. Boredom. He was going to be bored. It didn't matter that he was now old enough to make his own decisions on whether or not to stay in bed, he still dreaded getting sick.
"Woah, you feelin' okay?" Gwen had questioned in passing earlier that morning. "You look kinda...bad."
"I'm fine," he had assured. "Just fine."
All things considered, he was not feeling just fine.
David had been getting worse over the course of the morning, and the effects were starting to add up. He was shaking, just enough to be worrisome, and his coughs were sounding sharper and more painful as they increased. His throat felt like it had been clawed into, his chest was aching - clearly he had overestimated his immune system. This was more than a common cold.
"Hey, asshole," Max barked, snapping his fingers abruptly in David's face. "Are you even listening to me?"
David blinked, shaking his head quickly as he refocused his eyes. Max's own eyes were boring into them, full of annoyance as the camper read his expression. How long had Max been talking now? David furrowed his brow, chuckling awkwardly as Max's eyes narrowed.
"Sorry about that," he apologized, folding his hands in his lap attentively. "What do you need, Max?"
"David, seriously? Look at this shit!" Max scoffed, dropping his tray onto the table with a loud clatter. "You expect me to eat this shit? It's orange peels, David! Orange peels are not a meal!"
"Now, Max, you know that our quartermaster works very hard to-"
"It's fucking orange peels!"
David stared down at the plate, too dazed to bother arguing with Max over the topic of breakfast again. Every morning was a battle, and it was actually beginning to worry him how little Max ended up eating by the end of each day. As much as David protested for the sake of Quartermaster, Max was right - orange peels were not a meal.
"I'll...get you something else in a minute," David assured, pressing a hand to his head and flinching slightly.
Max seemed to catch this tiny movement, pausing for a moment as he looked over David.
"Are you dying?"
"I'm not dying, Max."
"You don't look so good, man."
He didn't feel so good either.
David could feel Max's eyes on him, his stomach lurching slightly as his fists tightened. Shit, he was going to throw up, he was definitely going to throw up.
"One minute," David interrupted, nearly bowling Max off of the table he had scrambled up onto as he launched himself from his seat, hurrying out the door of the mess hall.
He barely made it a few meters from the cabin before he was keeled over, his hands on his knees as he vomited into the grass. His vision was absolutely swimming, his arms shaking from the stress of supporting him as he took deep breaths and squeezed his eyes shut. Today wasn't a good day to be sick - in actuality, no day was a good day to be sick, but especially on a beautiful summer day when he had a dozen campers to entertain. David coughed, spitting into the grass before wiping his mouth and attempting to stand. He stumbled slightly, his vision blotting with colourful dots as his head swam. He needed to get back to the mess hall.
"Max!" David greeted a little too enthusiastically, whirling around to face the camper and nearly knocking himself clean out in the process. "Sorry about that, you were - the breakfast, right? Right."
"Did you just puke in the grass?" Max poked, eyeing the pool of vomit behind his counsellor suspiciously.
"I'm fine, I'm fine, don't worry about-"
"I didn't ask if you were fine," Max interrupted, rolling his eyes and taking David's hand. "God, shut up."
David blinked in surprise as he was pulled along, Max's eyes now completely avoiding him as the two walked through the campgrounds silently. Max's face was pulled into a light scowl, David's expression more confused and curious than anything. Max wasn't speaking. He didn't plan to make this any more awkward and annoying than it already was.
"Where are we-" David began, interrupting himself with a startled squeak as Max yanked on the fingers in his grasp.
"Here," he muttered, kicking lightly at the door of the counselor's cabin. "Open it."
David fumbled for a moment, digging his keys out of his pocket and jamming them into the door. It swung open, Max proceeding as if this was all routine for him. He lead David over to the bed, shoving the redhead who fell into a sitting position on the mattress.
"So what's the deal," Max muttered, eyeing David sceptically. "Are you hungover or something?"
"Hungover?" David scoffed. "Now Max, I would never drink something like alcohol on camp grounds. What kind of example would I be setting for you and the other campers?"
"So that's a no on hungover," Max mused. "Welp, I'm out of theories. What's wrong with you?"
"I'm just sick," David assured, offering a weak smile. "That's all."
"So why did you still come to breakfast? I never go anywhere when I'm sick."
"Don't you need to go to school during the year?"
"Hell no," Max scoffed. "I skip school all the time."
David made a mental note to have a talk with Max about the importance of an elementary school education.
"Anyway, it doesn't matter, you need to go to bed," Max ordered. "Or you're gonna die or some shit. You look like you have a weak, dumb body."
"Max, it's important to use your nice words when you-"
"Holy shit, how are you still so annoying even when you're sick?" Max snapped, shooting David a glare.
It was then that David truly processed what he was looking at. Max's face was flushed, his hands buried in his pockets tensely and his expression screwed up into one of annoyance and embarrassment. He was helping David. He was showing David a side of him that cared, he was making himself vulnerable because he was worried about his counsellor. David's shoulders slumped.
"I'll try to get some sleep," David assured, sighing and rubbing an eye. "I...guess I wouldn't be much fun like this anyway."
David didn't want to rest, he wanted to contribute, he wanted to entertain. However, as disheartening as it was to give up his day, the last thing David wanted to do was upset Max. It wasn't worth the trade-off.
"Damn right," Max mumbled, rolling his eyes as his cheeks reddened. "I'll tell Gwen you weren't feeling well, just rest or whatever."
"Thank you, Max," David chuckled weakly, his voice dissolving into a long string of coughs as Max ushered him to lie down. "You're a good nurse."
"I - what?!" Max scoffed, launching himself away from David's bedside and towards the door. "I'm not your fucking nurse! Go to bed, idiot!"
"Sure thing, Max."