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Hey ya'll! I've added another part to my Maggie/Eli saga!

In this one, they're married--I'm not sure for how long, though--and they have a three-year-old daughter named Hazel. Hazel and Eli are both sick with the flu, and so Maggie is taking care of them. But, when Maggie comes down with the bug, what's a family to do?



It Runs in the Family

Part 1


Maggie Valentine groaned quietly and slowly opened her eyes. She’d been attempting to seek some solstice on her living room sofa, but that effort was apparently futile.

Maggie’s three-year-old daughter, Hazel, had been sick with an ear infection and an upper respiratory infection all week. Since Hazel had been born, Maggie and Eli had become a model of efficiency when it came to dealing with all of her various childhood illnesses.

But this week, their team had been down to one. Eli got the flu, too.

He’d valiantly tried to ignore his worsening symptoms, but Maggie had been able to see he was obviously miserable and proceeded to put him on mandatory bed rest. So now—along with a sick Hazel—she was also taking care of a sick Eli.

“Mama!” Hazel cried again.

Maggie dragged her exhausted body into Hazel’s bedroom, “Yeah, baby?”

Hazel hiccoughed tearfully and pouted up at Maggie, “My ear huwts, Mama.”

“I know it does, Haze,” Maggie said, gathering the girl in her arms, “But we just put in eardrops a little bit ago, so we can’t put in more for awhile, okay?”

“But it huwts!” Hazel whined.

“I’m sorry you feel so yucky, darling,” Maggie soothed, rubbing Hazel’s back, “You’ve been such a little trooper all week. Can I take your temperature?”

Hazel sighed dramatically—Eli and Maggie frequently joked that she’d inherited the actor gene—but complied, opening her mouth for the thermometer. Maggie stuck it under her tongue and pulled it back out at the beep.

“100.2,” she read, “That’s not too high. I think you may be on the mend, baby doll!”

Hazel smiled as wide as she could under the circumstances, which quickly faded as she lapsed into a coughing fit. Maggie hugged Hazel to her until it ceased.

Eli suddenly appeared in the doorway, rubbing his eyes sleepily, “Mags?” he mumbled, “What’s going on?”

“Nothing, Hazel just needed me,” Maggie reassured, “Go back to bed.”

Huh-shoo!” Eli sneezed, “Need any help?”

“No, it’s fine,” Maggie smiled, “Get some rest. You look like death warmed over.”

Eli coughed into his elbow, “You look sort of pale,” he pointed out.

Maggie rolled her eyes, “I’m tired, Eli,” she snapped crankily, “I haven’t gotten much sleep all week.”

“Sowwy, Mama,” Hazel whimpered, reaching for Maggie’s hand, “Sowwy you mad.”

“Oh, honey!” Maggie exclaimed, “It’s not your fault. You can’t help that you’re sick.”

She picked the little girl up and hugged her tight. Hazel suddenly inhaled sharply, “Hachoo!” she sneezed, expelling a thick glob of mucous onto Maggie’s shirt sleeve. Maggie sighed, smiled slightly, and said, “God bless you, sweetie.”

Maggie rubbed her temples absently, something Eli caught—even in his flu-foggy state, “Headache?”

Maggie looked over at him, “Hmm? Oh, a little bit, I guess. More from being tired than anything else.”

Eli raised his eyebrows skeptically, “You sure?”


“Mama’s head huwts?” Hazel asked anxiously.

Maggie giggled, “Oh, baby, don’t you worry about me. That’s what Mama is for. Just worry about feeling better, okay?”

Hazel still looked a little worried, but she nodded just the same. “Try to get some sleep, okay?” Maggie said.

Hazel nodded, and turned over on her pillow. Maggie walked out into the hall, and beckoned to Eli that he should follow.

Maggie turned her attention to Eli, “Have you taken your temperature recently?”

He nodded, “100.3.”

Maggie smiled, “Good. Hazel’s fever is down, too. I think both of you are well on your way to getting behhhh...hhh...getthhh...heh...hetchiew! Bless me, sorry! Getting better.”

Eli stared at Maggie, “And I think you are well on your way to getting sick.”

“Eli, don’t be ridiculous—,”

“I’m not being ridiculous. You’re pale, you have a headache, and you just sneezed. Besides, you and I both know that you have a tendency to catch whatever happens to be going around,” Eli argued.

Maggie glared at him, “You’re making me sound like a total weakling.”

Eli opened his mouth to answer, but sneezed instead, “Huh’kshoo! Huh-shoo!”

Maggie smirked, “Bless you,” she said wryly.

Eli sniffed and chose to ignore her, “I don’t think you’re a weakling. You’re the strongest person I know—but your immune system...not so much.”

“This time, it’s going to be different,” Maggie said adamantly, “I’m not getting sick—now or later from now.”

“You say that every time.”

“Oh, I do not.”

“Most of the time.”

Maggie planted her hands on her hips. She opened her mouth to retort, but a sudden tickle in her nose caught her off guard. She turned away and caught two sneezes in her cupped hands, “Hishoo! Ishoo!”

She sniffled, and waited to see if there were going to be anymore. There weren’t. She turned back to Eli, who had a distinctly smug expression on his face.

“Wipe that look off your face right now,” Maggie ordered him.

Eli began to laugh, which quickly turned into rattling coughs. Maggie frowned worriedly, and hurried over to him so she could rub his back until the fit subsided.

“You still sound so awful,” she murmured.

Eli shrugged, “It’s not the end of the world. I’ll be better soon. You, on the other hand—,”

“Eli!” Maggie interrupted, “I’m fine.”

“Then why do you keep sneezing?”

Maggie was saved from answering when Hazel called for her, “Mama! I thiwsty.”

Maggie smiled slightly at Eli, “Duty calls!”

She hurried into Hazel’s room, “What do you want to drink, Haze? Water or juice?”

“Juice, pwease,” Hazel answered, before she sneezed, “Ah-choo! Hachoo!”

“God bless you, baby!” Maggie sang, and grabbed a tissue from the box on Hazel’s bedside table, “Here, blow your nose into this.”

Hazel blew her nose softly. “Harder,” Maggie chastised gently, and Hazel complied.

Maggie tousled the baby fine auburn hair of her daughter, “Good girl. Now, wait here while I go get you some juice, okay?”

Hazel nodded sleepily. Maggie smiled and kissed her on the forehead. Turning to leave, she was suddenly sidetracked by another sneeze sneaking its way up her nose, “Ha...ahhh...ah...hatchiew! Ha’ishoo! Hishoo!”

Maggie sniffed heavily, unpleasantly surprised by her sudden sneeziness. “Bwess you, Mama! You sick, too?” Hazel said.

“Nope! Just a little sneezy,” Maggie laughed, “Something must’ve gotten up my nose.”

“Mama need med’cine?”

“Mama doesn’t need anything,” Maggie assured, “I’m fine.”

She left the room and headed for the kitchen, where Connor was sitting at the table with two mugs of tea, “I heard you sneeze,” he said simply.

Maggie didn’t respond.

“I made you some tea, too,” he offered, nudging it closer to her end of the table.

Maggie hesitated a moment, but then sighed. She sat down across from Eli and took a sip of tea. Neither of them said anything for a few moments.

“I’m not sick,” Maggie finally said quietly.

Eli opened his mouth to respond, but sneezed instead, “Huh’ekshoo! Huh’shoo!”

He sniffed into a tissue, “We’ll see.”

Maggie suddenly sniffed sharply, and let out a tremulous, “Hah...ahh...a’ishoo! Hishoo!”

The sneeze made Maggie jar her teacup and she spilled a little on the table. She sniffled quietly, “Bless me,” she murmured.

Eli smirked, “We’ll see very soon.”

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Here's part two! I think this'll be it for this story--but not for Eli and Maggie :)


It Runs in the Family

Part 2

That night, Maggie did her best to deny she was getting sick. She tried to ignore the pounding in her head and her slowly worsening sore throat—the two classic signs she was coming down with something. She took another packet of Emergen-C, and a shot of Nyquil—just to be safe.

When Maggie was done getting ready for bed, she crept into Hazel’s room. She wanted to make sure she was sleeping. Maggie slowly opened the door, and peered into the room. Hazel swam up from the semi-darkness and gazed at Maggie groggily.

“Baby, what are you doing up?” Maggie cooed as she walked over to the bed.

“Ear huwts, Mama,” Hazel whimpered, “Can’t sweep.”

“Poor darling,” Maggie murmured as she gathered Hazel in her arms, “Want me to sing you a lullaby?”

Hazel nodded, and Maggie began to sing St. Judy’s Comet by Paul Simon.

“Oh, little sleepy girl, don’t you know what time it is? Well, the hour of your behhh...hehh...het’chiew! ‘Tchiew! Itchiew!”

“Bwess you, Mama,” Hazel sighed sleepily.

“Thadk-you, hodey,” Maggie sniffled.

Hazel grabbed a tissue out of the box on her bedside table, “Mama, you need a tissue?”

Maggie smiled at her daughter. She took the tissue and lightly blew her nose. “Mama,” Hazel said.


“Mama, you need go to bed. You sick now like me an’ daddy.”

“Sweetheart, I’m not sick. Promise.”

“Yuh-huh. Fiwst you all sniffly, then you go ah-choo,” Hazel explained.

Maggie smiled at her daughter’s description of a cold. “I’m fine, Haze. Just try and get some sleep. Please, angel,” she said.

“I twy,” Hazel sighed forlornly.

“That’s my girl,” Maggie smiled, before her eyes fluttered shut with another tremulous, “Ah-ishoo!”

She wiped her nose on the damp tissue crumpled in her hand. The Nyquil was already kicking in and making her drowsy. As much as she hated to admit Eli that he was right—she did usually catch whatever was going around. It was only the middle of January, so she hadn’t been sick yet—but last year, she’d had three colds, one nasty case of the flu, and a case of strep throat.

She wandered down to the family room—the couch had been her temporary bed all week. She hadn’t wanted to catch anything from Eli by sleeping in the same bed.

“So much for that plan,” she murmured unhappily.

Maggie curled up under the nest of blankets on the sofa, yawning slightly. Maybe—she thought—all I need is some sleep. Maybe this is just a case of the sniffles, and I’ll be good as new tomorrow morning.

* * *


Maggie slowly opened one eye. Her immediate realization upon waking up was this—she had slept nearly eight hours, and she wasn’t feeling any better. Her second realization—whatever she had come down with was not the sniffles.

The building headache had reached its throbbing peak, her throat felt sandpapered, her chest was tight, she was achy, she was shivery, and—if the stuffiness in her ears was any indication—she’d caught Hazel’s ear infection as well.

“I’b cobing, Hazel,” Maggie croaked, and dragged her exhausted body off the sofa.

“What’s wrogg, sweet pea?” she asked as she stood in Hazel’s doorway.

“Mama, my head is stuffy. I have tissue?” Hazel pouted.

Maggie smiled weakly, “Sure thigg, hodey,” she said, before she was gripped by a congested fit of coughing.

“Mama!” Hazel exclaimed, “You sick!”

Maggie tried to protest to reassure her daughter, but she couldn’t seem to stop coughing long enough to get a word out. The prolonged standing and lack of oxygen was beginning to make her lightheaded, and she grabbed the doorknob for support.

Suddenly, Maggie felt a warm hand rubbing her back. Eli. She leaned into his touch, and waited for the coughing to subside.

It finally did stop, and Maggie took a deep shuddering breath. She turned to Eli, who smiled gently at her, “Hey,” he murmured.

“I’b sigck,” Maggie whimpered in response, “Hah...hhh...ahh? Hahhhhh...HA’ISHOO! ISHOO! HA’ISHOO!

“God bless you!” Eli exclaimed.

“Bwess you, Mama!” Hazel said, “I said you were sick, Mama. You didn’t wisten.”

“I’b just stubbord sobetibes, hodey,” Maggie said, laughing a little, “I should’ve listeded to you.”

“Excuse me?” Eli said, eyebrows raised.

Maggie smiled sheepishly, “I should’ve listeded to you, too, Eli,” she admitted.

“I’d rag on you more, but I think you feel bad enough as it is,” Eli teased, “Go get in bed. I’ve got everything from here.”

“But, you’re still sigck, too—,” Maggie started, but Eli held up a hand to stop her.

“I took my temperature this morning—99.3. That’s hardly anything. Don’t worry about me. Worry about getting better,” Eli said.

Maggie smiled, “Thag-you, Eli. Haze, do you wadda spedd the day in bed with be?”

“Yeah! We be sick together, Mama. I make you feel better.” Hazel said, smiling.

* * *

About an hour later, Maggie and Hazel were curled up under the covers of Maggie and Eli’s bed. They were absently watching some bright little children’s cartoon. Maggie had a crumpled tissue clasped in her hand and a thermometer sticking out of her mouth. It beeped, and she took it out. She scowled the little numbers, “101.8.”

Maggie’s pinkening nose began to twitch in frustration and she quickly pressed her damp tissue to her nose, “Hih...ih...hhhhh...hishoo! Ishoo! H’nishoo!”

“Bwess you, Mama,” Hazel said sweetly.

“Thag-you, darligg,” Maggie said tiredly, “Baby, cobe cuddle with be. I deed sobe love.”

Hazel happily complied and snuggled next to Maggie. She began to lightly run her hand through Maggie’s hair, “Sowwy you sick, Mama. I make you feel better, okay?”

“Oh, hodey,” Maggie said tearfully, “You just did.”

She kissed Hazel on the top of her head, and pulled her closer. “Cad I take your teberature, sweetheart?” she asked.

Hazel nodded, and Maggie stuck the thermometer in Hazel’s ear and took it back out at the beep, “99.1. Good. You should be fide by toborrow,” Maggie said.

Eli wandered into the room, carrying a tray laden with flu supplies, “How are my patients doing?”

“Good!” exclaimed Hazel.

Maggie coughed her rattly cough, “Lousy.”

“Well, lucky for you, my dear—I have plenty of stuff here to make you feel less lousy,” Eli said cheerfully.

“How are you doigg, though?” Maggie asked pointedly.

“Temperature is still down at 99. I’m fine. You, on the other hand, are far from that. So here—Echinacea tea, chicken soup, throat spray, nose spray, and some Vicks.”

“Ooh, thag-you, Eli,” Maggie said gratefully, “I’b dot hudgry, but I would like the tea, the throat spray, add the dose spray, please.”

Eli handed Maggie the requested items, and she reached for the nose spray first. She did one mist up each nostril. It cleared out her head, but she’d forgotten how badly it made her nose tickle and run. Her nose—irritated to begin with—began to twitch and quiver, so she grabbed a handful of tissues to catch the sneezing fit she knew was bound to happen.

Hah...ahhh...ahh...ai’shoo! Ishoo! Hih...hishoo! Het’tchiew! Et’chiew! H’chssh! Chsh! H’kechiew! HA’ISHOOOO!”

“Bless you, bless you, bless you!” Eli exclaimed.

Maggie sniffled and made sure she was done sneezing for the moment before she said, “Thanks. On the bright side, my head is cleared out for now. I feel sort of like a human again.”

“That’s always a good thing,” Eli said, smiling, then turned to Hazel, “Pumpkin, how about you come to the kitchen with me and eat some lunch, so Mama can nap for awhile?”

“Do, dod’t go,” Maggie whimpered, “Stday here with be? Both of you? Please?”

Eli grinned, “How can we say no to that?”

Eli crawled into bed. He was on the left side, Hazel was in the middle, and Maggie was on the right.

The little family was snuggled deep under the covers. Outside, it was snowing and Manhattan hustled and bustled, but Maggie wasn’t worried about that. She was warm and she was sleepy and maybe she was feeling awful, but that took a backseat to this simple fact—she was loved and she was happy. And that was more than enough to make for the other things.

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