Of Broken Fevers and Dishes

This story takes place in the World of Warcraft universe, and involves my character, the night elf druidess Corrienda, and her lover, the night elf warrior Galedorin (who is played by someone else). In this story, she's about five months pregnant.

Corrienda and Galedorin had done some time traveling prior to this story, to the Battle of Mt. Hyjal where Galedorin lost his voice, his memory, and his druidic abilities. Nothing seemed to come of it, and then suddenly, he got sick. This story is not so much concerned with why he got sick, but Corrienda's emotions surrounding the illness.

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1. Of Broken Fevers and Dishes

With a satisfied sigh, Corrienda carefully lifted herself out of the bathwater. Was there anything so soothing as a hot bath after a workout? Ordinarily, she preferred the Frostfire hot springs for the delicious contrast of snow and boiling water, but the last few days she'd been eager to return home after her duties at the Molten Front. 

She wrapped her fluffy towel around her, enjoying the soft sensation on her skin, and then set to drying off. Her growing belly seemed to make this process take longer every day, and it rather bothered her that there were certain places she couldn't even see anymore. Galedorin wasn't bothered in the least, however, and she could feel his appreciative gaze on her as her towel made its rounds. 

With a wink at him, Corrienda whipped the towel away from her body and up into her hair, standing nude as she soaked up the water in her long violet tresses. After a few minutes of patting and scrunching, she tossed her hair back over her shoulders and grabbed her bathrobe from the hook beside the tub. She sloppily folded the towel and meant to lay it on top of the other linens to be washed.

Only...

She frowned. "Galedorin, where are the sheets?"

Ah - I've disposed of them, Dearest, he replied in her mind as he clicked shut the clasps on his boots.

"You what?" Her towel lost all semblance of folding as it hit the ground. "Why?"

I fear the last few days had left them particularly sweaty. His tone was apologetic, and he stopped fastening his armor to meet her withering stare. I felt it better -

"Did you honestly think I couldn't get them clean?" Corrienda demanded with gestures as sharp as her tone. "I've washed our sheets every day for the last four months! How would you know if they were beyond saving?"

Ah, but ordinarily they are soiled under more enjoyable circumstances, he replied with wink. Her glare didn't soften, and he sighed. Given how the sweating was caused by my...

"Illness?" she asked, folding her arms.

Fever, he corrected her, causing her to scowl even more, I felt it better to start fresh. I shall purchase new sheets while I am out today.

"I should certainly hope so," snapped Corrienda, "unless you fancy sleeping on floorboards tonight."

He stood after clicking the last of his plate armor in place and hugged her close after closing the distance between them. Despite her unyielding form, he kissed her hair and stroked her cheek with a still-ungloved hand. I will not forget, Beloved, he intoned, smiling down at her. She softened slightly, leaning her head against his plated shoulder, and he kissed her again. I must be going - I've quite a lot to catch up on after the last few days. But I look forward to seeing you this evening. He gave her another quick kiss and strode out of the apartment.

Corrienda watched him walk away, then rubbed her eyes and walked to the dresser to find her hairbrush. She was about to sit on the bed to begin brushing her hair when she remembered the lack of sheets. Her anger flared up in her once more, and she stormed across the room, flung open the cupboard, and grabbed one of the few ceramic teacups that were left. She flung it full force into the wall, smashing it to tiny pieces.

How could he just leave as if nothing had happened? Not twelve hours ago he was still in the grips of the fever, sweaty and pale, begging her for another dreamless sleep potions so he could rest without nightmares. How could he possibly have the strength to swing those two massive swords around? How could he know that the fever wouldn't return... and that it wasn't premature to dispose of the damned sheets?

She hurled another teacup at the wall as her enchanted Quel'dorei broom began sweeping up the shards of the last one. The night after the Rose Ball, he hadn't been home for dinner or even bedtime, and had responded to her concerned buzzbox inquiries about his return with a simple, Soon. She'd fallen asleep without him, only to wake just before dawn to feel his body smoldering beside her. "Gale!" she'd yelped, sitting as quickly as her girth would allow and preparing a healing spell.

No... no magic, he'd murmured tiredly. His eyes had cracked open, but he'd made no other effort to move. From the glow of his eyes, she'd been able to see the sweat glistening on his face.

"Gale, you're sick - you don't know what you're saying..." she'd stammered, laying a hand to his slick forehead. "You've got a fever - you're burning up... please let me heal you..." Her heart had been pounding as a knot formed in her stomach. It may have been Galedorin lying before her, but in her mind's eye, she'd seen Teldurn, inexplicably pale and feverish, as his life had begun slipping away from him. She wouldn't lose another lover that way - she'd learned so much, she could cure him, she could...

No, Dearest, he'd replied, the strong voice in her head strangely incongruous with his ailing body before her. You mustn't cast spells on me. I'll be fine, I promise. "Gale, why - what's going on?" I cannot - cannot say. He'd winced and groaned silently. There is an excellent reason, though, I assure you.

"But why?" She'd bitten off the tantrum in her throat as a shiver coursed through his body. "At least - at least let me brew you some potions. Healing potions, or a restorative potion to target whatever disease you've contracted..."

I will not drink them, Beloved. He'd squeezed her hand weakly. Though I would not refuse any dreamless sleep potions, that I might rest more easily.

Smash! This time, it was a saucer that met its tinkling demise. "Gale, what am I supposed to do if I can't use spells or potions?" she'd asked, the pitch of her voice rising with the panic in her chest. "Don't you trust me?"

Of course I do, Dearest. He'd pulled the sheets around him more tightly as another shiver wracked his frame. I've trusted you with my life nearly every day that we've been together. I would hope that, right now, you could trust me too. His words had stung, and she'd wept, her tears mingling with the perspiration on his chest in a salty synthesis of illness and anguish.

Corrienda had stayed at his side over the following two days, supplying him with cool water to drink and wet rags for his head. He did let her examine him when there was more light, but non-magical pathology had never been her strong point; she could find nothing to explain his sudden illness. He refused visits from anyone else, and so she sat, frustrated and worried and utterly alone.

She'd kept him supplied with dreamless sleep potions as he'd asked - the alternative of seeing him thrash about in his sleep was more than she'd wanted to bear at the moment. When he was awake, she'd tried to tease out some idea of what was going on - there was so much he was holding back. Where had he been the night after the Rose Ball? What was causing this? How did he know he'd be all right? Why wouldn't he accept healing? What was going on? All she ever got from him, though, was a shake of the head and the promise that he would tell her as soon as he could.

Crash! A plate shattered against the wall - the last of her ceramics.

She'd done her best to swallow her fear, frustration, and anger - blowing up at him when he was so dependent on her wouldn't solve anything. She'd never been good at bottling her feelings, though, and the combination of pent-up emotion and wriggling fetus made her insides roil. Moreover, she'd only just recovered from her own mysterious malady, and still bore the terror from realizing that the temporal magic of the Caverns of Time had sped the growth of the child she bore but not the womb he lived in. It was overwhelming, too much to bear, and yet she'd had to be the strong one for once.

Corrienda sighed as she watched the broom sweep up the last of the broken shards. Yes, it was horribly immature to smash all her dishes, but with no one to talk to and her preferred methods of stress relief forbidden or unavailable, it was all she could think of to ease the burdens, however temporarily. It meant, of course, she'd be doing her own replacement shopping today. At least he had a legitimate excuse. With a grimace, she began yanking the hairbrush through her damp, tangled hair.

The Firelands expedition that evening was successful, worlds better than the last time she'd been. She was definitely beginning to feel strained, though, but that didn't matter tonight: all her concern was for Galedorin. "How are you feeling?" she murmured to him as his netherdrake bore them away from the mountains. "I hope this evening's excursion wasn't too wearing on you..."

I am more concerned about you, Dearest, he told her with a squeeze. So he had noticed, despite everything. She certainly wouldn't have been that observant last week.

Corrienda smiled and shook her head, gently elbowing him in the ribs. "I'm not the one who's been in bed the last few days!"

Nor am I the one who is walking, talking and being beautiful for two, Beloved. She blushed, and she could feel his smile as he nuzzled her neck. Besides, I worked out my weariness earlier while getting the new sheets, Dearest.

"New sh..." she began in confusion, then nearly laughed aloud. Had she really forgotten what set her off this morning amidst the evening's battles? "Oh, I'm so glad you remembered!"

Of course, Dearest, he replied, kissing her cheek. Given his performance this evening and how firmly he held her now, no one ever would have guessed how weak he was just the night before. She leaned back against him as the netherdrake began crossing the sea.

"You know I can't help but worry, especially after how ill you've been," she murmured later as she helped him wash the last of the grime from battle off his skin.

I know, Dearest, he replied, swinging his legs over the side of the tub. He then bent and scooped her out of the water as he might a child, spinning her around once and kissing her before setting her on the floor and beginning to towel her off. As soon as they were each dry, however, he hefted her up again and carried her to the bed. I do hope you like these new sheets though.

Corrienda gasped as he turned back the coverlet. He hadn't just purchased new linens - the lavender cloth wrapping the bed was none other than Dalaran silk. It was cool and smooth against her skin as he gently laid her down on the mattress. As lovely as the silk felt, though, it paled in comparison to feeling him, healthy and whole once more.

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