Title: Sharing the Misery
Author: Dusk (dusk@goldserve.net)
Pairing: Tu/K Rating: PG, humour
Disclaimer: They're not mine. They belong to Paramount. No profit made from borrowing them.
Summary: First rule of being ill: make everyone else feel at least as bad as you do.

***

Tuvok stood by the side of the bed, arms crossed, feeling utterly perplexed. He considered how to proceed.

"Harry, you cannot stay here all day."

From somewhere under the pillow came a reply. Unfortunately, "Mmmphnnnmmll" did not clarify the matter.

"If that was meant to be an explanation, it was sorely lacking."

Harry pulled his tousled head out from under the pillow and squinted grumpily.

"I said, I can and I will. I'm *ill*, you know."

"Did the Doctor instruct you to remain in bed while you recover?"

"No, but he should have."

Tuvok changed tactics.

"Harry, get out of bed. Now."

Instead, Harry returned to hiding under his pillow, mumbling to himself, knowing full well that the Vulcan's sensitive hearing would catch every word.

"Insensitive prick. I'm *dying*. Leave me in peace."

"You are *not* dying. In 24 hours you will have recovered completely from what is, in fact, a very minor strain of the Terran 'flu."

"Tuvok. Either be more sympathetic or leave me to suffer in peace."

"I will do neither. You are overreacting in a ridiculous fashion. I am sure the other crewmembers who caught it are all up and about and *not* hiding in their darkened rooms."

"That reminds me. Turn the lights down."

"They are down. Any further down and they will be off."

"Then turn them off."

Tuvok closed his eyes a moment, unclenched his fists and jaw and took a deep breath. *Then* he complied.

"Do you feel better now?"

There was a pause. Tuvok heard Harry sit up in the pitch blackness.

"Yes. Where are you?"

"I am right here."

"I can't see you."

Inside, Tuvok screamed silently. Externally, he moved closer to the bed.

"That's because I turned the lights off, as you requested."

"I *know* that. Don't patronise me."

"I was not...." he started to protest, but Harry was having none of it.

"Yes, you were. You are a terrible nurse, Tuvok, you know that? Go away. Come back in 24 hours."

"And you are an irritable patient. Very well, I will leave."

He made it seven steps.

"Where the hell are you going?"

"You told me to go away. I am going."

"No you're damn well not! Get back here!"

There was a muffled Vulcan expletive as Tuvok, already nearing the limits of endurance, banged his shin on a wayward piece of furniture in his attempt to return to Harry's side.

"What was that?"

"Harry, I can no more see in the dark than you can."

There was a moment's silence.

"Computer... lights at... 3 percent."

The light was just enough to identify vague shapes, and Tuvok navigated his way back to the bed without any further mishaps. He sat down. Harry had buried his face in the pillow and made no acknowledgement of his presence.

"Is there something you wish me to do?"

Harry made nondescript suffering noises into his pillow.

Tuvok placed a hand on the exposed back.

"Mmm. Nice. Warm. More."

"You are cold?"

"Mmmhmm."

"But..." Tuvok twitched the sheet aside to check, then replaced them, "... you are naked."

"Mmmhmm."

"Why did you take your pyjamas off if you are cold?"

"They itched."

"And you removed the blankets from the bed because....?"

"They itched too."

"Even though you are cold, you removed your clothing and the blankets. That is the most illogical..."

"Shut *up*. You say *everything* I say is the most illogical thing you've ever heard."

"You say many illogical things. It is hard to rank them in order of most illogical."

"Tuvok..."

"Yes?"

"I'm still cold."

"And what do you expect me to do about this if you refuse clothing and extra bedclothes?"

"You have warm hands. Use them."

"On you."

"On me."

"Ill people do not make suggestive comments."

"I'm not horny, dammit! I'm miserable!"

"Apparently so."

"You never understand me."

Here we go again. Tuvok desired nothing more than to rise to the bait, but decided instead to opt for 'soothing voice of concerned lover', which was acceptable in any circumstances.

"Of course I understand. You are ill. You feel miserable. You want me here so you have someone to tell just how bad you feel. Am I right?"

Harry sniffled and sat up. "Yes. Warm me up. Hold me."

Tuvok put his arms around the shivering form.

"Better?"

"Mmm." Harry mumbled affirmatively into Tuvok's shoulder.

Nearly thirty seconds went by.

"Ummm... Tuvok?" A small voice asked.

"Yes?" With much effort, he kept the long-suffering tone out of his voice.

"Your clothes itch, too."

"Then you don't want me to hold you?"

"Yes, I do. You have to take them off."

"You are telling me to take off my clothes because they itch."

"Yes."

"And you still maintain that you are ill and not merely aroused?"

Harry thumped him weakly on the arm.

"Bastard. Now get naked."

Tuvok complied. Harry watched and wished he wasn't feeling too low to enjoy it.

"Better. Now come snuggle."

Tuvok tentatively put an arm around his lover.

"That is *not* snuggling. That's two people who happen to be in the same room."

"Are you sure you won't decide three minutes from now that you want me to leave because of some imagined slight?"

Harry pushed the Vulcan down onto the bed.

"Totally. Snuggling is a patented cure for the 'flu. Ask any Doctor."

"That is totally untrue. If it had any factual basis, the Doctor would have prescribed it."

"Old family remedy, then."

"Forgive me if I remain sceptical."

Harry sighed self-pityingly and burrowed into Tuvok's side. Tuvok decided, fabrication or otherwise, if it prevented temper tantrums, he could do worse that agreeing. He wrapped himself around Harry.

"How long does this alleged cure take? I ask merely for information."

"24 hours."

"But you would recover in that time anyway."

"But I'd be *miserable*. You don't want me to be miserable, do you?"

"Do you even need to ask?"

"Well, just shut up and hold me. We stay here 'til I'm better, understand?"

"As you wish."

Time passed.

"And stop thinking about how astonishingly illogical humans are."

"I would never think such a thing," Tuvok said, inaccurately.

"Mmmph." Harry pulled Tuvok's arms tighter around him and drifted off to sleep.

***

The next morning:

Tuvok awoke to find an infinitely more cheerful Harry looming over him.

"Morning." Harry kissed the one pointed ear visible. Tuvok swatted him away.

"Well, I don't know why *you're* so grumpy. I feel much better. You should be happy for me."

"I am ecstatic."

"No, you're not. I've *seen* ecstatic before, and what you are now is, in fact, annoyed." He resumed his attack on Tuvok's ear.

"Cease this activity immediately."

"Why?"

"I wish to sleep. I have a headache. Both."

Harry sat back. "Tuvok, you're ill!"

"Don't be ridiculous. I am not ill."

"You're ill."

Tuvok sat up. The room swam disturbingly. He stared at Harry.

"I am... ill."

"How can you be ill?"

"You made me ill." Tuvok felt an illogical feeling of betrayal. "How *dare* you make me ill!"

"I didn't make you ill!"

"Explain this situation, then!"

Harry rooted around on the bedside table and located his commbadge.

"Ensign Kim to Sickbay."

*Ah, Mr Kim. Feeling better?* The slightly smug tone of the EMH's voice grated on Tuvok's ears. He tried to consider the steps needed to reprogram the Doctor to be less offensive, but gave up when his mind seemed to be inexplicably wrapped in cotton wool.

"I'm completely over it. Never better. But Tuvok caught it."

*Don't be absurd, Ensign. This is the *Terran* 'flu. Commander Tuvok is Vulcan.*

"You think I don't know that? But he's got it anyway. Come see for yourself."

*Very well. Sickbay out*

***

The EMH frowned reflectively at his tricorder.

"Congratulations, Mr. Tuvok. You have the 'flu."

Sitting up and wrapped in three blankets, Tuvok settled for glaring at the hologram.

"You *said* yesterday that it was impossible for non-Terrans to catch this sickness!"

"Well, it was at the time. You just made medical history. How do you feel?"

Tuvok ignored that. "Why do you not have a cure?"

"Because it's a harmless strain. It burns itself out in a day, and leaves the immune system stronger than before."

"That is for Humans. I am not Human. Will the symptoms remain the same?"

"I haven't the faintest idea. You're the first non-Human to catch it. We'll just have to wait and see, won't we?" He smiled brightly and walked towards the door. "Please feel free to contact me if anything changes. Otherwise, I'll check back in 24 hours and see how you're doing."

Harry sat by Tuvok's side and stroked his head. "Poor baby."

"Shut up. This is entirely your doing."

"Now, be fair. I didn't know you were going to catch it, did I?"

"I hate you."

"I know what you need. Soup!"

"*Soup*?"

"It's traditional. Sick people have soup."

"I do not want soup. Nor, for that matter, do I want to be ill."

"Well, I'll get you a nice hot lemon drink, then. No arguments."

He got up and went to the replicator, looking almost obscenely cheerful at the thought of playing nurse for a day.

Tuvok sat in dignified silence in his cocoon of blankets and plotted his revenge.

[end]





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