Christmas was first approaching, the presents had been brought, the tree decorated and the carols sung. For once Alex was feeling ready for the holiday season, Jack gifts were wrapped and tucked under the tree, there were freshly baked Christmas cookies in the kitchen and Home Alone had been played as many as ten times. Despite all this Alex wasn’t feel especially good, his throat felt scratchy and his head pounded.
So when Alex came home from some late Christmas shopping he just wanted to collapse onto bed and sleep until the 25th. Luckily Jack wasn’t home at the time, finishing up at work before the holidays started. Alex quickly put the gifts away, muffling a small cough into his arm before climbing into bed.
Alex didn’t wake when Jack got home, not even when his boyfriend placed a kiss on his cheek. Jack just tucked him in and left Alex softly snoring away why he went to make the dinner. Alex didn’t wake up till sometime letter, feeling groggy and more ache than before. He groaned as he eased himself out of bed, hearing the sounds of Jack move around their apartment.
“Hey baby, have a nice nap?” Jack asked, seeing Alex appear in the kitchen with messed up hair and a wrinkled shirt.
Alex hummed a reply before wrapping his arms around Jack’s waist and peering over his shoulder to see what was cooking.
“It’s pasta, you know the only thing I can cook and it’s nearly done.”
Alex didn’t reply, his head still pounding and he was pretty sure it would hurt his throat to talk. He just went over to the table and slumped down as Jack rambled about something that happened to him at work. Alex just muffled another cough into his arm, wincing as it stung his throat.
“Here we are, pasta ala Jack.”
Alex just smiled, taking the plate and lazily sticking his fork in.
“Are you alright ‘Lex? You’re being very quiet.”
Alex was surprised how normal his voice sounded despite the pain it took to speak.
“I’m fine, just tired I guess.”
“Awh my sleepy boy.”
Alex just gave a weak laugh and begun to eat, being careful not to irritate his throat any further.
“So how was your day? Pretty tiring by the looks of it,” Jack asked as he dropped pasta down his front.
“Just finishing up the shopping, making sure we’ve got everything for tomorrow,” Alex replied.
“I know my family’s big but you’ll have fun, you’ve always fallen for the Barakat charm once.”
Alex laughed and pushed his remaining food away, not having been hungry to start with.
“Don’t worry, I’ll make sure they don’t interrogate you too much,” Jack said, reaching over the table for Alex’s hand.
For the first time Alex had been invited to join Jack for the Barakat family Christmas on Christmas Eve. It was their tradition to have Christmas the night before, something to do with the way Jack’s parents grew up.
“Are you going to go back to bed?” Jack asked. “You look exhausted.”
Alex shook his head and gave a small groan.
“No, I’ve got to wrap these presents for tomorrow.”
“Do you want some help?” Jack offered.
They both knew that Jack presents wrapping skills were… Lacking to the say the least. So Jack put away the dirty dishes and went off to their room to finish up some work, why Alex sat by himself and all the gifts on their living room floor. Once he was alone Alex had be admit he felt worse, everything hurt, his nose was running and he kept having to muffle coughs into his arm. He knew he was getting sick but there was no way he was going to tell Jack, tomorrow was his Christmas with his family and Alex didn’t want to ruin that. He just sat there wrapping presents, tiredly trying to find the end of the tape as his eyes lost focus. When he was finally finished and a stack of slightly messy presents were done he went to bed, finding Jack already passed out in their bed. He just coughed before climbing under the covers and wrapping an arm around Jack’s waist, hoping for a good night’s sleep.
Unfortunately that’s not the case. Alex ended up waking various times through the time, coughing, sniffling and freezing cold. It was obvious he was actually quite ill and could do with a day in bed but it was Christmas Eve so he had an entire day with Jack’s family to get through first.
Alex got up with a groan, thankful that Jack was already in the shower. He shuffled into the kitchen, getting himself some medicine along the way. He hoped that if he drugged himself up enough he would be able to get through the day.
He’d just put the kettle on for some coffee when Jack appeared, still damp from the shower and hair not yet done.
“Hey baby, happy Christmas Eve,” Jack greeted, his arms slipping around the shorter man’s shoulders.
“Morning, would you like some coffee?” Alex asked, thankful his voice came out without cracking.
“Please,” Jack replied but luckily he got distracted before he got place a kiss on Alex’s cheek. If he had he would have felt the heat of Alex’s skin.
After a small breakfast and in which Alex spend the whole time trying not to cough. He went off to get dressed and was glad to finally feel his medicine kick in, along with the coffee and he was feeling somewhat more alive. Maybe he’d be able to make it through the day after all, as long as he drugged himself up enough.
Alex didn’t remember the drive to Jack’s parents house. He vaguely remembered putting the presents in the car but the rest of the journey was just a sleepy, fevered blur. By the time they arrived Alex was feeling groggy and run down.
“Okay ‘Lex?” Jack asked, noticing Alex rub at his eyes.
“Yeah, late night I guess,” Alex mumbled.
“Come on then.”
Jack took Alex’s hand and led him out of the car, walking him over to the door and knocking loudly. Alex could hear the sound of screaming children from inside and he had to try not to wince as it made his headache worse. The door opened and they were greeted by Jack’s mum, she pulled them both in for hugs before dragging them inside. She started introducing Alex to Jack’s long list of siblings, cousins and children like Alex would remember any of it.
“I’m sorry, I’m rambling here. Do you want to take the presents to the tree and I’ll make you a drink?”
“Sure, thanks mum,” Jack said, bending down to place a kiss on her cheek.
Alex helped moved the presents under the huge tree, it stood taller than Jack and so wide Alex couldn’t see around it to the other side.
“Okay so far?” Jack asked.
“Yeah, I’m just going to the bathroom okay?”
“Second on the lift!” Jack reminded him.
Alex passed various people on his way, smiling at them until he was safely locked behind the bathroom door. Then he let out the flurry coughs he’d been holding on to, the coughs shaking his small frame and making his head spin. When it was over Alex sniffed and blow his nose on some toilet paper, looking in the mirror he didn’t look as ill as he felt. He left the bathroom feeling slightly better only to have a little kid jump out of him, making him jump and send him into a coughing fit.
“Sorry Mr, are you okay?” the boy asked.
“Yeah,” Alex crocked clearing his throat.
The kid ran off and Alex walked back to Jack, who was sat near the tree talking to his sister.
“did you get lost?” Jack asked.
“Something like that,” Alex mumbled, collapsing next to his boyfriend.
Alex just stayed curled up in Jack’s side as he continued talking to his sister, occasionally answering the questions directed his way. After a while Jack’s mum appeared with tea and Alex found himself fighting to stay awake again, the mix of illness and medicine had felt him feeling quite drowsy.
“I better go to see dad before he thinks I’ve forgotten him, are you alright for a moment?” Jack asked, kissing the top of Alex’s head.
He just nodded but found himself shivering without Jack pressed against him and made a note to take more medicine in the near future.
“Are you sure you’re alright Alex?” May asked. “You’re looking a little pale.”
May looked unsure but didn’t question him further. Just as Alex started drifting off again Jack came back followed by his many cousins as it was time to open the presents. Alex ended up squished between Jack and his sister. As the kids tore open their gifts and played with the toys Alex began to feel more and more sick, he wasn’t sure whether if it was the smell of food from the kitchen but his stomach was twisting. Luckily Jack hadn’t noticed, it wasn’t that didn’t care he was just so caught up in talking with his family. Not that Alex could blame him, he hardly saw them through the year and this was like their time to catch up.
Once all the presents were opened and the floor was littered with torn paper and the kids were happily playing with their new toys. Jack’s mum said that dinner would be ready soon and only the mention of food was enough to make Alex’s stomach cramp painfully. He excused himself to the bathroom and knelt in front of the toilet.
A few passed and Jack begun to wonder what was taking Alex so long, he could be one to fuss about his appearance but it was getting worrying.
“Have you seen Alex?” he asked May.
“Last time I saw him he was heading to the bathroom in a bit of a hurry, I’d go check on him if I were you. He wasn’t looking so hot earlier.”
Jack was up quicker than Flash himself, shooting off to the bathroom and knocking on the door.
‘Lex? ‘Lex? Are you in there?”
There was a quiet groan before slowly the door opened. Jack was shocked at Alex’s appearance, he was pale as a ghost, he was shaking with his hair stuck to his overheated skin.
Jack just held out his arms and let his very ill boyfriend fall against his chest.
“Why didn’t you tell me you didn’t feel well?” Jack asked, kissing Alex’s fevered forehead.
“Oh sweetie you’re burning up.”
Alex just groaned and pressed his face to Jack’s shoulder.
“Didn’t want to ruin your day,” he mumbled.
“Aw baby, it’s okay you’re not ruining anything. Now let’s get you home okay?”
Alex just nodded, too tired and ill to fight it anymore. Jack wrapped his arm firmly around the smaller man’s waist and lead him toward his mother.
“Mum, we’re going to have to get going.”
“So soon? Is something wrong?” she asked.
“Alex is really not feeling well, I’m going to take him back to bed,” Jack said, stroking Alex’s sweaty hair away from his face.
“Oh poor boy, I’ve made some soup for later but would you like to take some?”
“Thanks mum, that’d be great.”
Mrs Barakat served up some soup for them to take and Jack half carried his exhausted boyfriend out to the car. After strapping Alex in Jack couldn’t help looking over to him, he was still pale and shivering pressing his arm to his face to muffle his coughs.
“How are you feeling ‘Lex?” Jack asked, unable to hide his concern.
“Pretty terrible,” he sniffed.
“I’m really sorry Alex.”
“What are you sorry for?” he asked.
“That I didn’t notice, you’re obviously miserable and I didn’t see it.”
Alex didn’t reply at first, taking Jack’s hand in his hot one.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, I just wanted you to have a nice day.”
Jack gave a soft smile and kissed Alex’s hand.
“It’s Christmas, no more sadness okay?”
Alex nodded and curled up in his seat, closing his eyes. Jack was just glad his ill boyfriend would finally get some rest.
Alex woke up sometime later, he was lying on something soft with a blanket wrapped around him. He blinked open his eyes to see Jack in their kitchen stirring something in a pan. He tried to sit up but his body ached in protest and he just groaned.
“‘Lex? You awake?”
“Just about,” Alex replied before going into a coughing fit.
Jack was there as the fit started, patting Alex’s back and handing him a glass of water.
“Thanks Jack,” he croaked when he could breathe again.
“As much as I can be with the flu,” Alex smirked weakly.
Jack smiled and ran a hand over Alex’s fever flushed cheeks.
“I’m going to finish heating the soup, okay?”
Alex nodded and blow his nose. Jack returned a moment later carrying two hot bowls of the Barakat family recipe chicken soup, Alex had managed to sit up and there was a cheesy Christmas movie on the tv.
Jack smiled as he sat down, placing a bowl in Alex’s lap. He was glad to see Alex feeling at least somewhat better. After the soup was finished and Mrs Barakat had worked her magic Alex was curled up with Jack, a pile of tissues sitting beside them, medicine bottles on the table and Santa on the tv. It might not have been a typical Christmas but as long as they were together it was good enough for them.
“Merry Christmas Alex, I hope you feel better soon.”
“Thanks for always taking care of me.”
“That’s my job, I love you,” Jack whispered, placing a kiss on top of Alex’s head.
“Love you too.”
With that Alex closed his eyes, his head resting against Jack’s chest ‘cause there was no place he’d rather be.