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Comfort At A Time Like This

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Blair reflected on the fine shade of nuance between being utterly mortified and wishing you were dead, while experiencing both sensations simultaneously - which had been far too much of today.

He lay on his side on his bed, plastic bowl clasped to his chest.

“I’m really sorry, man. If I’d known I was this bad I never would have set foot outside the door, I swear.”

“I’ll take your word for that, Sandburg. You okay for me to head down to the laundry room?”

New waves of mortification passed over Blair, and they were only marginally less horrible than the earlier waves of nausea.

“Really, really sorry.”

“I’ve dealt with bodily fluids before today.” Jim’s emphasis on bodily fluids was maybe a tad sardonic but he was about to wash out Blair’s shirt, vomitus and all, and so Blair figured that he’d just have to let Jim have some emotional outlet. “I’m not going to let that,” a jerk of Jim’s head indicated the plastic bag that only barely contained the disgusting mess that was Blair’s clothes, “hang around any longer than it has to. I’ll be up again soon.”

Blair blinked in acknowledgement, because if he nodded his head Jim wouldn’t be the only thing back up again soon. As it was, when Jim returned he didn’t even pause in his passage from the door. He simply marched in, took away the bowl and returned it, clean, along with a hot facecloth and a glass of water.

“Rinse out your mouth and wipe your face and hands, Chief. I’ve seen corpses with more colour than you have right now.” He even sounded amused, and Blair fought to suppress his irritation. This man is cleaning up after your complete grossness, he reminded himself, and did not mutter ‘smug bastard’ under his breath.

“I presume you’re dialling down,” he said miserably.

“Oh, big time,” Jim said gravely. Almost gravely. Blair nearly did mutter ‘smug bastard’ at that point but comforted himself with the thought that dials were a great concept, and that concept had been his. A man needed comfort at a time like this. Jim said, “You want to tell me which tea is a good idea?”

“God no! Just boil me some plain water and bring it to me.”

“It’ll take a while to cool down,” Jim said doubtfully.

“Just bring it in hot, Jim. Plain, no sugar or honey, just plain water.” He sounded whiney, he knew he did, but he wanted that warm cup of blessedly plain water, and if he could keep that down in slow-sipped increments then he’d think about something more solid later.

“Let me know when you’re up to the soup and saltines stage,” Jim said. “I might even make it for you.”

“Oh, you’re all heart, man. A prince.”

“You bet I am,” Jim said, and much as he wasn’t really in the mood to appreciate it, Blair had to admit that Jim was right.