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Complaint (Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Vision)


RiversD

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Title: Complaint.

Summary: Vision falls ill for the first time. Wanda helps him negotiate the pitfalls. That's about it for plot.

Authors Notes: I originally posted the first little bit of this in my drabble thread, but it... kept going. I realize I'm probably disregarding a lot of in-universe 'science' re: how Vision works, but I wanted to give him a bad cold, sooo... :P

 

“Wanda?”

Wanda looked up from her reading, and set the book aside as the Vision glided through her closed door into the room. She decided not to make a fuss- at least this time he had announced his presence before entering.

“Oh, hey Vis. Is something u- going on?”

“I was hoping you would not mind provisionally cancelling our plans for this evening. I’m afraid I have to spend some time in the laboratory. I’m not certain how… long it will take.”

Wanda hadn’t missed the pause in Vision’s usually regular speech. And unscheduled lab time usually meant some pressing threat. “Is something wrong, Vis?”

Vision shook his head slowly. “Nothing that I consider serious. But something does seem to be interfering with my organics. I should- oh, excuse me one moment.”

He paused, eyes closed, face still and so smooth that Wanda wondered briefly if he was switching off, or rebooting. He was part-computer, after all. Then his face scrunched up in a manner that was almost painfully human, and his body jerked with a sudden expulsion of air.

uh’tssch!”

Wanda froze, trying to process what she had just witnessed. It had… looked like a sneeze. The way Vision was touching the edges of his nose as he straightened up hardly contradicted that idea. Still…

Vision cleared his throat. On any other day she would have thought it an affectation, designed to make the humans around him more comfortable, but she suddenly wasn’t so sure.

“I apologize, Wanda. My control over the sneezing is unusually limited.”

Well, that confirmed that. Of course, Vision was partly organic, theoretically she had known he must be capable of such things. Wanda pulled herself together to respond to him.

“I don’t mind. Is that the problem with your organics? Sneezing?”

 “Yes. It keeps happening. Also, I am experiencing heightened pressure in certain cranial areas…” Vision’s hand drifted in vague indication across his temples. Wanda frowned. If it were anyone but Vision, she would have been much more confident in her diagnosis, but for his sake, she made it a question.

“You are not coming down with a cold, are you?”

Vision tilted his head at her, as though he found the suggestion interesting. “My organic tissue is synthesized. It should not be susceptible to such things.”

Should not’ was a long way from ‘no’, Wanda decided. She smirked at him, feeling able to tease since he didn’t appear too alarmed by this development.

“Stranger things have happened, though. Last week, some of them.”

Vision nodded slowly. “I accept that. However, the occurrence of other unlikely phenomena does not affect the probability of this one occurring also. The laws of mathematics have not been recently altered.” Wanda considered this statement to be slightly undermined by the discreet sniff that followed it, one nostril beginning to tic with unspoken irritation.

“Fine.” she settled back onto the bed and reached for her book. “But if it turns out you’re wrong, I happen to have a free evening. You can come and complain to me if you like.”

Vision’s brow furrowed slightly, the stone set in his forehead making the movement seem deeply unnatural. Wanda thought it was endearing, more than anything else.

“I see no reason why that would be necessary.”

“If you’ve managed to catch your first cold? You’ll complain.”

“Well, you are the greater authorit- iissch’uh!” Vision rocked back from that one with genuine shock on his face. It was such an unusual look on him that Wanda started forward in concern.

“Vis? Are you alright?”

“I… had no control.” Vision blinked and seemed to pull himself together. “I apologize. I had no warning of that.” He still seemed uncertain how to react. Wanda supposed it must be strange, for such an intellect to be betrayed by its body for the first time.

She knelt up and reached to pat him sympathetically on the arm. “You get down to the lab. You know you’ll feel better about this once you know what it is.”

“I am hoping to achieve ‘feeling better’, by ridding myself of the irregularity.” Vision gave her a small, distracted smile. “But thank you.”

“Go. I’ll be here if you need- if you want to see me later.”

“Thank you, Wanda.”

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Wanda had got into her pajamas early, and was in the middle of picking out a movie to watch in bed when she heard the knock. She stood up, not wanting to greet a visitor from her blanket nest.

“Come in!”

Vision entered through the closed door, gliding sluggishly to the middle of the room. He seemed even less comfortable than he had earlier, not even focusing on her the way he normally would. It was one of the first things Wanda had noticed about him, the way his eyes focused in a way that was too concentrated to pass as fully human. It was unsettling at first, but slowly became comforting- it gave her confidence that she had his full and willing attention when they spoke. Now, though…

“Vision? What’s wrong?”

There was what she had come to refer to as a ‘processing pause’ before Vision answered her, as though he was having trouble finding the words to express himself. It was unusual, but it had happened before. Eventually, he declared:

“I have come to… complain.”

“Oh, Vis.”

Wanda took his arm and steered him to sit with her on the bed, their progress only slightly hampered by a sneeze that crept up on him partway and almost jerked him out of her grasp.

“Bless you!”

Vision looked momentarily confused by her response, but recovered himself enough to offer a tentative, “… Thank you. I’m afraid I do not know if this is contagious.”

“It’s a cold, Vis. I’ll be alright.”

“I would not wish to cause you to suffer. The symptoms I am experiencing are decidedly unpleasant.”

“Vision.” Wanda moved defiantly closer, so that their legs were touching. “I have had many illnesses, and I know how to cope with them. This is your first. I want to help you through this.”

Vision managed to focus his eyes on hers, and clasped her hand in both of his. It was such a cliché that she almost laughed, but he was in such earnest she didn’t dare in case it upset him.

“Thank you, Wanda, I-” the moment was slightly spoiled when his face crumpled into a ruck of irritation mid-sentence and he had to twist hurriedly aside to avoid spraying her as he sneezed.

heissschu!”

He raised his head slowly, frowning.

“I… apologize. That does not seem to be stopping.”

“It takes time,” Wanda told him. “You may have to get used to it for now.”

Vision ran a thoughtful finger along the smooth curve of one nostril.

“It is difficult to become accustomed to something so continually changing.” He turned his hand to press one side of it firmly against the same nostril, pushing it almost closed.

“How do you mean?”

“Sometimes I think I have grasped the process, and I can anticipate the reaction, but then a sneeze will occur without my detecting its approach, and I find myself once again at a loss.” Simple pressure clearly failing to achieve the desired effect, he turned slightly away from her, scrubbing at the offending area with the knuckle of his thumb.

“And then there are periods of time when to judge from the discomfort of my nose a sneeze should be imminent, but instead the discomfort persists. It is most frustrating.”

“Are you having one of those times now?”

Vision nodded, shifting his hand again so that only one finger rested against the underside of his nose. Wanda wondered if it was really helping. His nose still looked pretty twitchy. He grimaced.

“It is also becoming… distressingly wet.”

Wanda reached for the box of tissues beside her bed. “Have you tried blowing your nose?”

“I do not quite- hah!” Vision gasped, nostrils suddenly flaring wide above the appeasing finger. “I think-”

“Here.” Wanda pressed a tissue into his hand. He took the hint and pressed it to his face just in time.

“eh’TSSCH’eue! Goodness.”

“Yes. Now blow.”

The look he gave her over the top of the tissue was mildly distressed, and she realized that this too might actually be new to him.

“Do you know how?”

He nodded, slowly. “I am aware of the mechanics.”

“But…” she prompted.

“But I have never actually experienced it for myself. I have been concerned that I may not be able to make a correct judgement of the force required.”

“Really?” Wanda started to smile, but suppressed her amusement for his sake. “I mean, it should be alright. Just start as gently as you are able, and increase it until you feel the problem start to move. You’ll be alright.”

Vision gave his nose a quick wipe, which bought him enough time to trade the sneezed-into tissue for a fresh one with dignity. He folded this one over his nose and closed his eyes.

Wanda waited, mildly concerned by his stillness and watching for any sign that he was having trouble. After a while, there was the soft sound of air moving through an overly-damp nose. She smiled and let herself relax, correctly judging that Vision was being very cautious about increasing the strength of his blow.

In time, the sigh turned into a gurgle and, two tissues later, Vision felt comfortable breathing in through his nose again. Wanda nudged the trashcan towards him, and he disposed of the used tissues with an apologetic smile.

“Thank you. I know that my hesitation was illogical, but-”

“It’s alright, Vision. Little things like that seem bigger when you’re ill.”

He looked at her as though she had genuinely expanded his horizons, not simply offered a fairly weak platitude. “My word. Really?”

“Yes.” Wanda hesitated for a moment, and then indulged her curiosity.

“Where is the moisture even coming from?”

“My organic tissues naturally produce a certain amount of… lubrication,” Vision sniffed, carefully, as though he wasn’t quite certain what the result might be. “But they seem to be… overdoing it at present.”

“No kidding.” Wanda considered their position and came to a swift conclusion. “Come on, let’s get comfortable. We can lie on the bed and I’ll pull up a movie. It can be easier to rest if you have a distraction,” she told him, seeing that he wasn’t quite sure.

“Oh. Well, you are the expert in this situation.” Vision allowed himself to be guided down the bed and settled on a mound of pillows. Wanda lay down next to him, pulling the tissue box onto the bed with her. She sensed that they might soon be needing it again.

As she flicked through Stark’s movie library, she became aware that Vision was radiating a steady heat. It was quite pleasant, an almost comforting presence at her side. Still, it was not without its concerns. She pressed play and turned to confirm with him.

“You’re very warm. I think more than usual?”

“Yes. Doctor Cho assures me that it is not an unusual symptom.”

“That’s true. But you are a most unusual patient. Is it affecting you otherwise?”

Vision grimaced, as though she had reminded him of something uncomfortable to remember. “It does make it rather difficult to think.”

“That’s the problem with electronic parts, I suppose. Too much heat will make you run a little slow.”

“Yes.”

“Better not let that get out, huh?”

“My cooling systems are able to handle most temperatures,” Vision shifted uncomfortably against her. “But something is wrong with them today.”

“Poor Vision.” She cooed, and cuddled closer. Out of pure solidarity, of course.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

They shared Wanda’s blanket-nest, slightly expanded to fit two, and let the movie wash over them, Vision sniffling here and there, and occasionally giving his nose a cautious blow. Now and then he would pass comment on the action or ask her a question, but on the whole seemed content to lie quietly.

Wanda stole a glance at him after a particularly long period of comfortable near-silence and found him watching the screen through half-lidded eyes, with a drowsy absence of focus. The sight was strangely appealing. If she had ever been tempted to think of the Vision as a thing- and ‘artificial intelligence’ conjured up such a soulless image to the mind’s eye- seeing him like this put paid to any such thing. He looked so… human? That didn’t feel like quite the right word, but she wasn’t sure the right word existed yet.

She split her attention between him and the movie from that point, the balance tilted increasingly in his favor. He didn’t seem to notice- or perhaps he simply didn’t mind.

Nor did he appear to notice the disruption to his own breathing pattern as some hidden trickle of moisture began to irritate his nose again. At first he was just inhaling a little more…emphatically than he had been, the sound of each inward breath growing progressively wetter to Wanda’s attentive ear.

She turned her head towards him once again, no longer able to maintain any focus on the flickering screen. His eyes were still lazily following the movie, but his nose was definitely starting to show signs of displeasure with the current situation. His nostrils flared and contracted restlessly, smoother and more uniform in their movements than human nostrils, but still giving the undeniable impression of irritation building towards action.

Wanda didn’t call it to his attention, didn’t want to break in on his apparent ease, but watched with a certain amount of apprehension as he built towards the point of no return.

Finally, Vision’s nose managed to broadcast its discomfort to the rest of him. His face folded into a bemused frown, his eyes narrowed, and he broke with a soft gasp and a disproportionately vicious sneeze.

 hh’TSCHHeue!”

He sensed it coming just a little too late to properly cover his face, and fine spray escaped from between his still-loose fingers as he tensed against her.

Startled out of his stupor, he rolled away from Wanda, directing the urgency of a second sneeze into the blankets on his other side.

“eh-hissschue! ah-”

Vision struggled to sit up, to get back some measure of control. He fumbled for the tissue-box with one hand, but was stymied both by his inability to open his eyes and by the disruption to his motor skills created by his ongoing need to sneeze.

“TSSCH-tsssCHeue! eh-heh…”

Wanda intervened, reaching across him to pull a handful of tissues from the box and gathering them to his face just in time to catch the next-

hh’ssCHFH!”

Vision rocked into her hand and Wanda put her free hand on his back to steady him. He was warmer than he had been, the flutter of his breath hot against her skin. She could feel the irritated tic of his nostril beneath her thumb and became suddenly hyper-aware of the intimacy of the contact, the thinness of the tissue between them. She could feel herself starting to blush, and was more than relieved when Vision’s fingers took over from hers.

He muffled one more sneeze into the bundle of tissues, then managed to catch enough breath to blow his nose. Several fresh tissues later, he collapsed back onto the pillows in an attitude of total exhaustion.

“Forgive me,” he sighed, a lingering congestion evident in the sound. “This is not a pleasant experience.”

“It’s alright,” Wanda told him, distracted. Even through the papery barrier, the unnatural heat of Vision’s face against her fingers had concerned her. Seeking a proper confirmation, she reached out and touched the back of her hand to his forehead, just below the glowing stone.

No sooner had her hand come to rest than she snatched it away, startled.

“Vis! You’re burning!”

Vision forced himself up on one elbow, staring at her in open confusion. “Burning? I cannot- oh, idiom. Did I hurt you?”

She laid a hand on his chest to persuade him to lie down again. It wasn’t as hot as his forehead, but still definitely warmer than it had been when he first came in.

“No, I was just surprised. But I- you don’t normally have trouble with idiom.”

He frowned, forehead creasing along slightly-too-uniform lines. “I believe my processing speed continues to deteriorate.”

“It hasn’t affected your vocabulary too much,” Wanda observed.

“Vocabulary is less of a problem than concepts.” Vision confessed. He raised his hands to his head and, eyes closed, began to massage along both sides of the line of metal holding the mind stone in place.

Wanda pursed her lips, trying to think of a logical next step. Vision didn’t seem particularly worried about his rising temperature, but then neither of them really knew how this illness would naturally progress. And in her personal experience, fevers were always a concern- she remembered the way her mother would fuss over any uptick in her children’s temperatures and, later, how she had worried over Pietro…

She thrust that thought aside, feeling her chest start to tighten in response to it. Remembering past helplessness wouldn’t make her less helpless now. She thought back to her mother, caring for a pair of fretting, fevered children. Not daring to suggest any specific medicine, and lacking better suggestions for now, she asked:

“Would a cold cloth help? We used to do that for human fevers, when I was very small.”

“External cold would likely have a beneficial effect on my processing speed.” Vision conceded. “I cannot… currently analyze other… potential effects, I-”

Wanda was half-sure she could sense his head growing hotter still as he tried to force the information out of his brain. She interrupted him, hoping to curtail the struggle.

“Let’s try it and see. I’ll be right back.” She pressed a quick kiss to his scorching forehead, slipped out of bed, and was halfway to the bathroom before she realized what she had done.

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OH MY GOD. This was TOO cute!!!! I adored this so very much, thanks for posting it! :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

Oh my gosh, I second that: too cute. I love the way you write both Vision and Wanda.... their chemistry is spot on!!

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  • 1 month later...

Holy crap, why have I never seen this before!!  Seriously one of my favourite things is artificial humanoids experiencing illness for the first time. :wub:  

And this is so well written.  You have the characters' voices down!

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  • 6 months later...

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