Nico (vilakins) wrote,

Ficlet: Bedside Manner

Written for redstarrobot because she's so sick she needs fic. I'm not sure if this'll make her feel any better, but it's what I thought of: Cally and Vila.

Bedside Manner

Cally felt miserable. She knew it was only a mild virus she'd picked up on Destiny and that the fever and pain would go after a few days. It was, however, annoying that only the Auron metabolism seemed susceptible to it. The humans on board were irritatingly healthy--and conspicuous by their absence. Blake had cleared his throat and said he was sure she'd be sensible and get lots of rest and liquids, and Avon had remarked rather acidly that she might find being a patient educational--just because she'd had to insist that he stay in bed and take his medicine the last time he was ill. None of them could get out of there fast enough, including Jenna who suddenly had a lot of sudden navigation adjustments to do. Cally doubted that very much. When Vila had been sick (and very spectacularly so on the flight deck) after his third trip through the meteor storm on the way to Destiny), Jenna had stated very firmly to no-one in particular that she was a pilot, not a nursemaid or a cleaner. As usual, it had been Cally who had been both.

Vila had been the only one who looked at all sympathetic and inclined to stay, but Cally was so angry with the others that she told him to get out too. So now she was alone in her cabin, hot, prickly, aching, thirsty, and what Vila called pissed off. Get plenty of rest and liquids indeed. The two seemed mutually exclusive. She wondered how long it would take until the thirst drove her out of bed despite a humiliating lack of energy.

"Cally? You awake?"

"Vila--" Cally was about to snap at him, but he was holding a tray. Cally looked at the carafe of iced water and the full glass beside it, beaded with moisture and licked her dry lips.

"Thought you might want a drink." Vila put the tray on her bedside table.

"I do. Thank you, Vila."

"That's all right. Least I could do." Vila held the glass so she could drink from the straw.

Nothing had ever tasted so good. She smiled at him gratefully. "What's in the other glass?"

"Protein mix and vitamins and minerals to keep your electrolyte levels up and stop you getting weak. Try some."

Cally stared at him with surprise and had a sip, then another. Despite its virulent green colour, it was good and she suspected there was a little soma in it. "Where on earth did you learn nursing, Vila?" she teased.

"That's right--it was on Earth. Londondome. My mum got sick when I was little so I had to look after her." Vila's expressive face looked shuttered. "You should get some sleep." He dimmed the light.

"Yes, I should. I'm not sure I can though."

"Oh, I can help with that. I know something that'll relax you."

"Vila," Cally said warningly.

"Nothing like that!" Vila looked hurt. "What d'you think I am?" He picked up a chair and placed it behind the head of her bed, and sat down out of sight. Then she felt his fingers gently rub her temples. "Head massage. Put you to sleep in no time."

Cally sighed and closed her eyes in sheer pleasure. Vila's fingers seemed to know where the pain was worse, and as she felt the tension release, they moved soothingly into her hair. "Your mother was very lucky to have you." Vila's fingers stopped, then started to move again. Cally had felt the wave of sadness and opened her eyes. "She didn't get better, did she?"

Vila stopped again and was silent for several seconds. "No." He cleared his throat and continued with the massage, his fingers soothing against her skull.

"Oh, Vila." That explained a few things. Children should be safe and protected, not having to take on responsibility so early. Was that why he avoided it so now? Cally pitied the little boy he'd been.

As if he'd heard her, he said, "I was all right. I was a very good thief by then so I supported us both. Only got caught because a doctor found stolen drugs in our apartment and reported me. You see, Deltas ... Deltas didn't get the really effective stuff, so I had to."

"Oh, Vila."

His voice was as soft as his touch had become. "It wasn't all bad, Cally. My mum loved me, you see, no matter what I did. I've always got that. No-one can take that away from me."

Cally reached up to touch his hand. "You're a good man, Vila."

She could hear a smile in his voice. "Don't tell the others, it'd ruin my reputation."

Cally smiled sleepily. She felt a feather-light touch on her forehead and almost opened her eyes to see if it was a finger or the brush of lips. She drifted peacefully into sleep as he straightened her covers then tiptoed out.

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