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Addicted To A Losing Game

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There was no way to stop it this time, and before he could stop himself his stomach lurched and he vomited into the toilet again. Billy groaned lowly, whimpering when he finally stopped. He couldn’t get himself to move at the moment, even if the stench was almost making him throw up again.

His body was shaking, and burning with a fever.

“Billy?” Came a soft voice. Billy whimpered again.

“I’m sorry… I’m sorry-” Billy muttered feverishly, tears streaming down his face before his stomach lurched again.  He could barely turn towards the toilet again.

“Oh honey.” Rosa says softly, rushing over to him and dropping to her knees. Billy could feel a hand on his back, rubbing it softly as he expelled the dinner he had eaten just a few hours ago. He had no idea how he had gotten sick so quickly. He was fine yesterday, and he only had a slight stomach ache when he went to bed.

Billy slumped, crying silently.

“I’m s’rry, didn’t mean t’wake you.” Billy whimpered, Rosa sighed, gently rubbing Billy’s back. She didn’t seem to mind that the shirt he was wearing was completely soaked with sweat, or the stench that was around the room. Billy’s stomach convulsed again, and he vomited into the toilet.

Rosa just rubbed his back.

“Don’t be sorry, Billy, it happens.” She whispers. Billy whimpered again, shaking his head. He wanted nothing more than to crawl away from her touch, but his body didn’t want to cooperate with him, limbs shaking and body shuddering with every breath he took. And he didn’t trust his stomach to be away from the toilet.

He would never risk throwing up anywhere else but the toilet.

He couldn’t get himself to protest again, allowing himself to slump to the ground next to the toilet. Rosa moved silently, sitting down next to him.

“Ssshhh.” Rosa murmured, placing her hand on his back again. Billy whimpered, rubbing at his eyes with shaky hands. His body rushed with waves of coldness, sending chills down his spine. A low pitiful sound escapes his throat, why couldn’t his body just make up its mind about how he felt?

He sobbed as warmth spread through him again, and he buried his face in his hands.

“‘m ‘kay, please go.” Billy muttered, but he couldn’t find the strength to move his hands away from his face, and the words were barely audible. “Please.” He tried again, but Rosa didn’t move from his side.

“Billy I’m not leaving you.” She says softly, shifting on the spot again until she was sitting on her knees. She still didn’t leave him, refused to leave him even.

“How does your stomach feel? Do you think it has stopped?” She asks after a short silence. Billy sniffles, frowning slightly before nodding. “Do you think you can handle a shower right now? Your pyjamas are soaked.” She says, voice still equally as soft. There was no judgement in her voice.

Just raw concern for his well-being.

Billy nodded hesitantly, standing up with the help of Rosa. His legs felt weak, almost as if they weren’t his own right now. But Rosa still didn’t leave him, guiding him towards the shower and helping him into the tub. She gently helps him out of his drenched shirt before standing up.

“I’ll get you a new pair, will you be okay to shower alone?” Rosa asks, and Billy could feel the tips of his ears burn with slight embarrassment before he nods shakily. Rosa smiles softly, grasping his chin for a split second. “I’ll be right outside if you need me.” She says, but Billy doesn’t respond.

Rosa stands up, leaving the bathroom, with his pyjama top. Billy releases a shaky breath, taking off his pants and turning on the shower. His limbs were shaking, but the moment the water hit his body he felt himself relax slightly. The warm water felt amazing, and it was only then that he noticed how much his muscles were hurting.

He didn’t have the energy to move, and he rests his head on his knees, closing his eyes for a moment. his head was still spinning and he almost threw up again. His eyes fluttered open again, allowing the water to hide his tears. He didn’t have the energy to move, allowing the warm water to wash over him.

“Billy?” He jumped at the sudden touch on his shoulder, eyes widening with panic until they landed on Victor’s face. The man had a worried expression on his face, glancing at his wife for a moment. It was then that he realised the shower was turned off, and a large towel had been wrapped around him, probably by Rosa.

“You with us buddy?” Victor asks, voice also soft, and clearly worried. Billy doesn’t say anything for a moment before he nods shakily, whimpering.

“I’m sorry Billy, you weren’t answering, and you had been in there for a while.” Rosa whispers, rubbing his shoulders slightly.

“I’m sorry.” Billy whispers. “I’m sorry I think I fell asleep.. I didn’t mean to.. did I wake you?” He knew he was rambling, but he just.. couldn’t stop, desperate eyes looking at Victor. There was a moment of hesitation, before a gentle smile spread across Victor’s face, and he put a hand on Billy’s shoulder as well.

“Don’t worry about that Billy, come on, let’s get your out of this tub.” Victor says, voice soft but firm. Billy understood the tone, having heard it before, don’t argue with me. Billy nods, grabbing the sides of the tub. “There you go, easy does it.” Victor encourages, helping Billy up.

And really, Victor did most of the work, and Billy wondered if he had been able to stand up, or keep standing if it wasn’t for Victor. Billy shivered, knees feeling like they could give out under him at any second, but Victor wouldn’t let him. He was helped into a fresh set of pyjamas before Victor guided him out of the bathroom.

“We can put your mattress on the ground for tonight, I don’t want to risk you getting stuck in the top bunk.” Victor says softly. Billy stiffens in fear.

“N-no, you don’t have to, you’ll wake up Freddy.” Billy whimpered. Rosa sighs, stopping just in front of the door to his room.

“He is already awake Billy, he’s worried.” Rosa says, and Billy whimpers again, feeling tears jump in his eyes. As if on cue, the door to their room opens, revealing Freddy. His hair was messy, and he was wearing a pair of Wonder Woman pyjamas, crutch in his hand, but his eyes were focused on Billy.

“Are you okay?” Freddy asks, voice significantly less upbeat, less enthusiastic and instead worried. Billy nods shakily, not trusting his voice right now.

“We’re just going to get his mattress on the ground.” Victor says, and only then does Freddy move out of the way to let him in. He takes a few steps back, watching silently as Victor took the mattress from the top bed, laying it on the ground.

“I’m sorry Freddy.” Billy whispers softly as Victor motions for them to get into the room as well. Billy sat down on the mattress, watching tiredly as Rosa pulled the blankets over his lap. She grasps his chin again with soft fingers, barely applying any pressure. Her eyes were soft, but filled with worry.

“We’ll be right next door okay? If you need anything you can ask Freddy, or come to us directly.” Rosa whispers, and Billy glances at Freddy, who nods swiftly. “Te quiero Billy, sleep tight.” Billy’s eyes flicker back to Rosa again at the sentence, and she smiles gently before standing up again.

Billy silently watches as Rosa and Victor leave the room, leaving him alone with Freddy. Billy carefully lays down, curling up on himself and closing his eyes. His throat still burned, but he felt slightly better, and the nausea, whilst still there, had gone down as well. He could hear Freddy shuffle behind him, before he sat down on the bed again.

“Goodnight Billy.” He says, and Billy could hear his crutch being placed on the ground. Billy doesn’t react, breathing deeply and curling up a little tighter. For the next hours, Billy really had no idea how long it was, he drifted in and out of consciousness. The headache and the fever was keeping him from really sleeping.

He honestly just wanted to cry. Cry all of his frustration out, and maybe he hoped that the crying would exhaust him enough to fall asleep. But he didn’t want to risk Freddy hearing him. He had already bothered them too much, he didn’t want Freddy to miss more sleep because of him.

Especially not when it was a school night, or because he would probably alert his foster parents.

So he just kept his eyes closed the entire time, ignoring his stomach still twisting in protest, ignoring his fever still coursing through his body. He allowed his mind to wander, pull him into another weird dream again, knowing he’d get woken up before he knew he had even fallen asleep.

He groans softly, eyes fluttering open again. He frowns slightly when his room came into focus, filled with light. He slowly turns to lay on his back, before slowly sitting up. His head spins, and he squeezes his eyes shut for a moment to let it pass. It did after a few seconds, for which he was glad.

He slowly stands up, legs still shaky but able to bear his weight luckily. He sniffles slightly, glancing at Freddy’s bed, but he wasn’t surprised to see it was empty. So instead, he turned towards the door, slowly opening it and walking towards the stairs. He waited for a moment, listening to the sounds coming from downstairs.

There were some noises, but too soft for him to make it out.

He sighed, walking down the stairs with his hands on the railings.

“Billy?” Came Rosa’s voice the moment he reached the end of stairs. She immediately walked over to him. “How are you feeling?” She asks, crouching down slightly and watching him.

“Better.” He whispers, throat still feeling slightly raw from the throwing up yesterday. The woman puts a hand on his forehead, frowning. He was still having a fever, and really, he looked miserable. Rosa’s gaze softens, straightening up.

“Think you’re up for some breakfast?” She asks, and Billy nods. She smiles, putting a hand on his back and guiding him towards the couch in the living room. “I can warm up some chicken soup?” Billy can only nod. Rosa smiles, hurrying to the kitchen to make some food for him.

Billy stars at his hands shaking slightly, mind going blank for a moment as he isn’t sure what to do while Rosa was away. So he just stares, swaying slightly and head light, but the nausea was luckily gone, and he was actually starting to feel his appetite returning to him, and he was actually looking forwards to some food.

“Victor is at work, and the kids left for school this morning.” Rosa announced her presence, carrying in a cup of soup and a glass of water in her other hand. “Freddy didn’t wake you this morning hopefully? He wasn’t sure if you were awake.” Billy glances at the clock for a moment, seeing it was already 10:15 AM.

Billy shook his head as Rosa hands him the cup, waiting for a second to make sure Billy had a firm grasp on it and wouldn’t drop it.

“He didn’t.” Billy says, and Rosa nods in relief, putting the water down on the table in front of him, along with two white pills.

“It’s paracetamol, if you want.” Rosa offers as Billy eyes at the pills.

“Didn’t you have to go to work?” Billy asks softly, soup completely forgotten in his hands. Rosa chuckles, shaking her head.

“I took a day off, silly.” Rosa laughs, but the sentence did nothing to calm Billy down, and he felt his fingers clamp around the cup even more.

“You didn’t have to do that, Rosa, not for me.” He whispers, desperation settling in his stomach. This time, Rosa frowns, slowly walking over to Billy and sitting down next to him. She gently takes the cup out of his hands, setting it down next to her. This was it, now he fucked up for good.

Rosa grasps his hands, looking him into the eyes. “Billy, why don’t you want us helping you?” She asks, voice serious. “You asked us to leave yesterday when you were in the bathroom, you wanted to be left alone.” Billy shook his head, not daring to take his eyes off Rosa’s right now.

But he couldn’t… he couldn’t just say it.

“I can take care of myself.” Billy tries, but Rosa shifts slightly.

“We both know that that’s not the truth.” She says, but there was no judgement in her voice, just raw concern. How could she… she barely knew him. Billy could feel tears well up in his eyes, and Rosa put a hand on his cheek. “You can tell me Billy, I won’t tell Victor if you don’t want me to, but you don’t have to hide this from us, or me.” She whispers.

Billy swallows thickly, eyes casting downwards. He gnaws at his lip, stomach twisting. Not from the nausea this time, but from worry, from the doubt.

“I don’t want to be sent away.” Billy eventually whispers, almost too soft for Rosa to hear it, but she does nevertheless.

“Why would we send you away, honey? We want to give you a home here.” Rosa says, thumb brushing a tear away from Billy’s cheek. Then, a thought occurred to her. “Did it happen before? Were you sent away by other…?” She couldn’t finish her sentence, cutting herself off.

Billy looks up with guilty eyes, before he nods hesitantly.

“What happened?” Rosa asks softly, almost not wanting to ask.

“I got sick… three years ago?” Billy says softly, anxiously rubbing his hands together. “I… they didn’t appreciate me waking them up, I tried to be quiet but I .. I couldn’t. They kicked me out the next day.” Billy ends with a soft whispers.

“I’m so sorry, Billy.” Rosa whispers.

“I don’t want to go.. I like it here.” Billy admits, tips burning with shame, or perhaps it was still the fever. Even his hands still felt warm, but he seemed more coherent, and awake.

“We are not going to send you away Billy.” Rosa frowns. “We took you in because we want to give you a home, and that includes every responsibility parents have, and staying home and looking after you when you’re sick.” She finishes. Billy looks at her with tears burning in his eyes.

“I couldn’t risk it.” Billy’s voice crack slightly, and Rosa reaches up, brushing away the tears with her thumbs. For some reason that only caused him to cry harder. Her touch was so gently, so full of love… and so foreign to him.

“Listen to me, mi amor,” Rosa whispers, not taking her eyes off the small boy. “We won’t send you away for being sick, we won’t send you away from waking us up because you are. We are your parents, foster parents, and we took you in because we want to fulfil the role of parents, the positives and negatives.”

Billy sobs softly, and Rosa smiled, shuffling forwards and carefully bringing the boy closer. Billy didn’t object, allowing his head to lay on her shoulder. She rocks him softly, wrapping her arm fully around him, laying her head on the top of his for a moment.

“People want you around Billy, we want you around.” Rosa whispers, and Billy just nods, burying his face in Rosa’s shoulder, crying silently.

They want me.