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Welcome to Parenthood (The New Normal - Bryan and David, m/m)


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After my brief dip into this fandom with these two very short stories, here's a (much) longer New Normal sickfic.  It's set a handful of months after the events of the series, forcing the guys to juggle being sick with parenthood.  (Note:  I know shockingly little about babies, so I don't have more than a vague idea of how old their son is supposed to be at this point - there may be wild inconsistencies in what he's able to do.)  Our characters are David (on the left) and Bryan (on the right.)  I haven't finished writing this fic yet, but I'm far enough along that I should be able to manage daily updates and still keep ahead of myself.

Without further adieu, here's Part 1.  No sneezing yet, but it's on its way.



Someday, David would remember what sleep was like.  And free time.  And having a semi-clean house.  No idea when that would be, but it was something nice to dream about.  On days like the ones he’d been having lately, he could sometimes use a dream or two to keep him going.

Not that he would trade it, any of it.  Sure, David sometimes fantasized about sleeping more than three hours at a time or walking across the living room without stepping on a rattle.  But all that was nothing compared to the continual wonder of the tiny human being he and Bryan were raising.  Sawyer was objectively, unquestionably amazing, and he was worth every single one of those hard moments.  David loved watching him learn, hearing him laugh, and seeing him enjoy figuring out what life was, every day.

But that didn’t mean the hard moments weren’t hard, and David and Bryan were coming off about a week of hard moments.  Sawyer had had his first cold, and it had been rough on the little guy.  Too sick for daycare, obviously, so David and Bryan had taken turns staying home from work with their fussy, miserable baby.  The nights had been especially tough, both from Sawyer’s fitfulness and from David’s worrying over his son’s breathing while he slept. 

But even then, there had been beautiful little things to savor, too.  David remembered lying awake, listening to Bryan and Sawyer in the next room over the baby monitor.  While Sawyer wailed at the injustice of existing in a world that he’d just learned including stuffy noses, David could hear Bryan saying, “Yeah, I know, buddy.  It’s no fun.  But you’re okay – you go ahead and cry.  When you get older, some people are gonna tell you boys don’t do that, but don’t listen to them ‘cause they’re idiots.”  David was hard-pressed to think of the last time he’d loved Bryan more than in that moment.

Thankfully, although the week had been hard and stressful and had seemed unending, they were coming out on the other side of it now.  Sawyer had perked up considerably over the weekend (Bryan had insisted it was because the little guy had finally had both daddies doting on him all day) and had been ready to go back to daycare on Monday morning.  Now, Tuesday evening, David felt like they were starting to get back into the swing of things.

When he got home from work, carrying the car seat and happily-babbling Sawyer inside, David found Bryan already home and in the kitchen.  “Hey!” Bryan called over his shoulder, looking up from the stove.  David came up behind his husband (that word still felt so good to say) and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek before crossing to the bar to transfer Sawyer to his high-chair.

“What did Jackie say?” Bryan asked.  While he kept an eye on the pot he was stirring, he turned so he could see David and Sawyer at the bar.  “Did he have a good day?  Dot too tired?”

Speaking of which, Bryan looked tired.  David supposed they both looked tired these days, just generally, but Bryan really looked wrung out; must have been another busy day at work. 

“He was good,” David assured Bryan, tickling Sawyer lightly to make him giggle.  “Jackie said he had a good appetite, and he was really talkative.”  Sawyer was way too young to be in any way intelligible, but he did enjoy making himself heard.

Bryan nodded thoughtfully.  “Good,” he said.  “Yesterday, I thought he was still a little –”

“I know,” David agreed.  Though Sawyer had been feeling better yesterday, daycare had worn him out and he’d passed a pretty cranky evening.  “No, I think we’re good to go – our happy guy is back.”

“Thank god for that,” Bryan remarked.  As he started scooping rice onto plates, he said, “I’m just about ready here.  Cad you –?”

“Yep,” David replied, rising.  Their shorthand game was pretty on-point, and he and Bryan were developing a reasonable give-and-take on the parenting duties.  While Bryan served up their own supper, David retrieved Sawyer’s bib and one of the enumerable containers of pureed produce currently taking over their refrigerator (in addition to the enumerable bottles of pumped milk also taking over their refrigerator – they also had jars of store-bought baby food in the pantry for emergencies.)  He was just starting the maneuvers on spoonful number one when Bryan brought their plates to the bar.

Bryan enjoyed cooking, but since Sawyer had come along, there hadn’t been as much time for much of anything.  Though Bryan still tried to whip something up as many nights as he could manage, they were resorting to takeout more and more.  And even when he did cook, he was having to cut corners for the sake of time.  Tonight’s chicken tikka masala, for example.  Back in the pre-parent days, Bryan would make his own curry, but now, it was strictly store-bought, poured from a jar and heated on the stovetop (“Seriously, how much difference is there really betweed this add Sawyer’s baby food?” he lamented.)

Still, he’d browned some chicken to go with it.  David was a little surprised Bryan hadn’t sautéed any veggies to mix in as well, but he reasoned that Bryan, like him, was still in catch-up mode.  The studio hadn’t been pleased about Bryan only coming in every other day last week, and plenty of little issues that only a showrunner could handle had piled up on him.  The man deserved a little slack.

Bryan’s homemade tikka masala, naturally, was better than the store-bought stuff, but David assured him it was fine, and the two alternately fed Sawyer and snuck in bites themselves while giving rundowns of the day.  David was in the middle of a story – “So I have to give this pelvic exam, and babe, I’m really trying to be professional about it, but this woman has the worst-smelling feet I’ve ever seen!” – when Bryan gave an enormous yawn.

“Sorry!” he exclaimed immediately.  “You’re dot boring, honest – just tired.”

David chuckled.  “Yeah, you are,” he replied affectionately.  “So right – I felt bad, you know, ‘cause I was really trying, but I could not get near her with her feet in the stirrups!”

“Oh, god,” Bryan groaned.  “I thidk I would’ve just died.  Diapers, whatever, I’be fine, but I cannot do feet!”

“You’re telling me,” David said.  “Unfortunately, they kind of frown on doctors passing out in the examination room.”

That got a smile out of Bryan, but he seemed a little muted, half-there.  He definitely looked like he could use a good night’s sleep (remember what that used to be like?)  As they bantered over nose plugs and the possibility of rigging up some kind of device – possibly with mirrors – for conducting a pelvic exam from across the room, David couldn’t let go of how tired Bryan seemed.

It was during a lull, when Bryan sniffled quietly, that it finally hit David; he felt like an idiot for not thinking of it earlier.  Maybe not just tired – maybe getting sick.  “You all right, hon?” he asked, frowning.  “You sound a little stuffed up.”

“I dod’t know,” Bryan admitted, sounding halfway between defeated and just annoyed.  Rubbing the bridge of his nose, he added, “I have kind of a headache.”

David resisted the urge to wince.  “Hope you’re not getting a cold now.”

“I dod’t know,” Bryan repeated.  He grabbed a corner of Sawyer’s bib to wipe some peach drool from the baby’s chin.  “Maybe just tired.”

“Maybe,” David agreed, but he had a sinking feeling in his stomach.  While it was probably a little ungenerous to think, Trading one sick baby for another, it wasn’t too far off the mark.  If Bryan was sick, that’d be probably another week of stress, with David picking up most of the slack with Sawyer and looking after Bryan at the same time.  Bryan had a talent for “sick and helpless,” and although David never really minded taking care of him, he wasn’t relishing the idea of it now.

But then, they didn’t know for sure.  It wasn’t like Bryan to say he might be getting sick, and even then only when David had asked about it.  Giving himself up for dead at the first tickle in his throat was more his style; unlike David, Bryan had never been shy about letting anyone know exactly how bad he felt.  So maybe David was worrying over nothing and Bryan really was just tired?  David could hope, couldn’t he?


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I still don't know the series, but I liked the previous fics very much so I'm looking forward to following this one too. I like the little hints of congestion that are already there in Bryan's voice, I do hope there'll be plenty more of that ;)

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No worries there, helyzelle - I take my stuffy talk very seriously!  ;-)

Here's Part 2.



After supper (Bryan cleaned Sawyer up while David took care of the dishes – again with the give-and-take,) it was time for bedtime duty; David and Bryan stood over Sawyer in his crib.  Bryan was insistent that they “do the song,” but David shushed him, and together, they watched Sawyer’s eyes start to droop as he stared up at his mobile.

“See?” David said softly.  “He doesn’t need it.  You can’t do the song every night – you’re gonna program him to only fall asleep to ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight.’”

“Add what’s wrong with that?” Bryan countered.  “We sing the song, he goes to sleep.  You dod’t wanna traid your baby to basically have his own off switch?”

“Not if it means I have to sing him that song every night,” David replied.  “Why ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight,’ anyway?”

“I know,” Bryan said.  “I was gonna do ‘You Bake By Dreams Cobe True,’” he sniffled, rubbing his nose a little, ‘but he likes the stuffed lion so buch!  I couldn’t resist.”

David felt himself smiling.  “Fine – train the baby on your own time,” he said.  “Just leave him be when he’s already falling asleep.”

“You have doh imagidation,” Bryan informed him as they slipped quietly out of the room together.

“I have plenty of imagination,” David replied.  “I’m imagining an eight-year-old getting made fun of at a sleepover because he can’t fall asleep without hearing ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight.’”

Bryan pouted.  “You’re doh fun,” he said.  He sniffed, twice, softly.

David bit back a sigh.  “Come on,” he said, they headed downstairs, where they settled on the couch in front of the TV.

To be fair, that wasn’t exactly out-of-character for them these days – while David and Bryan had never been opposed to a quiet night of TV and cuddling, it hadn’t used to be a nightly occurrence.  Now, though, that was how it went most of the time:  wake up, take care of the baby, go to work, come home, take care of the baby, eat, take care of the baby, put the baby to bed, crash in front of the TV, try to remember what grown-up life feels like, go to sleep (and then still take care of the baby.)

A few weeks ago, Goldie and Shania had babysat for the evening, and David and Bryan had made all kinds of optimistic (naïve?) plans.  They were going to dress up, go out, have some fun – nope.  In the end, they hadn’t even made it out of the house, just had sex and then taken a nap.  They’d both agreed that, under the present circumstances, it had been a perfect date.

But even given their new general state of sleep-deprived being, David could tell Bryan was off.  David could Oh, maybe he’s just tired all he wanted, but at this point, it was pretty obvious he just didn’t want to admit it.  Once David had noticed them, Bryan’s quiet, periodic sniffles were impossible to ignore. 

Bryan still wasn’t complaining/whining about it yet, but David was willing to bet money that his husband was coming down with something.  Now, Bryan lounged on the couch with his knees bent and his head in David’s lap, lazily rubbing his nose – yeah, at this point, it was looking like a pretty done deal.

It was a few hours later when Bryan asked, “Are you tired?”, a sweet code for “I’m tired, but I don’t want to go to bed unless you’re coming.”  He hadn’t started sneezing yet, but his nose was definitely giving him grief.  David smiled and agreed (“Yeah, it’s getting late” – it wasn’t,) and they both got up once more.

“Do you still have a headache?” David asked.  Bryan nodded, making a face.  David gave him a light kiss on the temple.  “You head up – I’ll be there in a minute.”

By the time David got to the bedroom, Bryan had changed into his pajamas – a ragged-around-the-cuffs sweatshirt and faded pair of pajama pants he’d “borrowed” from David years ago and now only wore for a very specific purpose.  David smiled sympathetically.  “Here,” he said, coming around to his husband’s side of the bed.  He carried a glass of water and two aspirin that he handed to Bryan.

“Thadks,” Bryan said.  As he popped the aspirin into his mouth and took a swallow of water, David gave his shoulder a comforting squeeze.

When they both climbed into bed, David cozied up behind Bryan, wrapping his arms around his weary husband and kissing the back of his neck.  “What was that for?” Bryan asked.  From the tone of his voice, he was already half-asleep.

“‘Cause you’re wearing your sick pajamas,” David told him, kissing him again.

Bryan gave a semi-pitiful little moan, and David (mostly) succeeded in holding back his chuckle.  “I’be tired,” Bryan confessed glumly, “…add I have the sniffles.”

“Ohhh!” David replied affectionately, unable to bury the chuckle this time, and squeezed Bryan a little tighter.  One more kiss.  “Get some sleep, babe,” he instructed gently.

“Uh huh,” Bryan murmured, sniffling drowsily.

As David listened to his husband’s slightly-congested breaths grow long and even, he mentally prepared himself for the week to come.  So much for getting back into the swing of things.

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This is really sweet— I love how David is noticing that it’s out of character for Bryan to be low-key, which is pretty worrisome while also being indicative of some personal growth since becoming a parent. David is going to be so tired looking after them both that when it hits him it’s going to be a doozy. 

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3 hours ago, angora48 said:

No worries there, helyzelle - I take my stuffy talk very seriously!  ;-)


3 hours ago, angora48 said:

‘Cause you’re wearing your sick pajamas,” David told him, kissing him again.

Awww :inlove:

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8 hours ago, angora48 said:

It was a few hours later when Bryan asked, “Are you tired?”, a sweet code for “I’m tired, but I don’t want to go to bed unless you’re coming.”  He hadn’t started sneezing yet, but his nose was definitely giving him grief.  David smiled and agreed (“Yeah, it’s getting late” – it wasn’t,) and they both got up once more.

This was so darn cute :cryhappy::inlove: I could quote a lot more from that last part, there were so many squee-worthy things in there (the sick PJs helyzelle already mentioned being another one of them ^_^ )

And how he finally admitted that he had the sniffles (at least, even though we all know that this is not just the sniffles, right? :lol: ) was so adorable!

Thanks for sharing! :wub:

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Thanks for the comments!  I have so much fun playing with/torturing these two!  :twisted:

Here's Part 3.  The preamble is done - from here on out, we're in the thick of it.


David woke about ten minutes before his alarm.  Quietly grabbing his phone from his nightstand, he switched it to silent, and then dropped back down onto his pillow to savor one more peaceful moment before the day began.

The night hadn’t been too bad.  Or at least, it could have been a lot worse.  Sawyer had only woken a few times, which, if it hadn’t been for his crying jarring Bryan from his sleep, would have constituted a pretty decent night.  After getting up the first time with Sawyer, David had made a quick detour to the bathroom to grab a box of Kleenexes for Bryan’s night stand – they hadn’t thought of it before bed, but by then, Bryan’s nose was starting to get runny.

He was definitely stuffed up now – snoring lightly, though he’d swear against that in a court of law.  David slipped carefully out of bed so as not to disturb his sick husband, walking around to Bryan’s side of the bed to kiss him gently on the forehead.  Bryan mumbled a little in his sleep, stifling a cough, and David moved to the closet.

In the shower, David tried to start a list of the tasks Bryan normally did that were likely to fall to him.  They usually split daycare duty, Bryan dropping off and David picking up – Bryan’s work schedule was more variable that David’s and he could sometimes be stuck late at the studio, so he always took Sawyer in the mornings when he guarantee being available.  But of course, Bryan wouldn’t be going to work.  Not a given for most people when all they had was a cold, but it was for Bryan; if he was sick, he was staying home, end of discussion.  That meant David would have to drop Sawyer off in addition to picking him up, which meant he’d have to leave early to still make it to the clinic on time. 

Bryan usually handled supper, and that was understandably out.  Lots of takeout then.  David could cook fine, just not as well as Bryan, but he’d hardly done any since Sawyer had been born and certainly wasn’t going to start when Bryan was helping out less and in need of looking after himself.

Then there were all the things they normally did together or took turns doing.  Feeding, changing, playing, dishes, laundry, shopping, bath time, bedtime, getting up with Sawyer in the night.  And Bryan would need to be taken care of – David hoped his husband would at least cut him a little slack in that area, content to take it easy in bed or on the couch without needing a lot of pampering.

Shower, shave, clothes, teeth.  Then to Sawyer’s room, where the baby was just starting to stir.  David got the little guy dressed and ready for the day and then headed down to the kitchen.  Sawyer in the high chair, two slices of bread in the toaster for Bryan, a container of pureed fruit from the fridge (before long, David was either going to have to make more or switch to the store-bought jars until things got less hectic.)  The coffee pot, luckily, was on an automatic timer; getting started on Sawyer’s breakfast, David waited for the sweet gratification of his morning caffeine.

Sawyer was in a mischievous mood, deftly avoiding the spoon whenever David brought it to his mouth.  “Let’s go, buddy,” David said, trying not to sound like he was pleading with his infant.  “I’ve gotta eat, too.”

By the time the coffee was ready, they’d only managed about two mouthfuls, but David was willing to call that good, at least for the moment.  On his way to the cupboard for a mug, the toast popped, and David stifled a groan.

“I’ve got it.”

David turned, a little surprised to see Bryan up already.  “That’s bine, right?” Bryan asked.

“Right,” David replied.  “You don’t- I was gonna bring it up to you.”

“I’ve got it,” Bryan repeated.  “Go – I doh that look.  Coffee’s calling.”

“Thanks, babe,” David said, turning back to the cupboard as Bryan moved lethargically to the toaster.  “You want some?”

Bryan shook his head.  “I’ll just do… oragge jui… hihhhh-ehhhh-SHOOOOO-uhhhh!”  He sneezed hard into his shoulder, then rubbed his nose unhappily.

“Gesundheit,” David told him.  He poured himself a cup of coffee and then, realizing he’d better take his chance while he had it, crossed to the pantry for a box of Raisin Bran.

Bryan had headed to the fridge for his orange juice, and he pulled out a jug of milk to hand to David, who hastily nodded his thanks.  Soon, David was back at the bar and attempting to eat cereal with one hand while feeding Sawyer baby food with the other.

“Careful,” Bryan warned, joining them at the bar.  “That’s ad idstance where you defiditely dod’t want to bix up your spoods.”

David made a face.  “You’re telling me,” he agreed, a bit distractedly.  He glanced at Bryan’s toast, which, as it happened, was topped with ricotta and drizzled with honey.  David smiled – only Bryan.

He was plainly stuffed up, and his voice was sounding a little scratchy.  He looked even more tired than he had last night, and his face was a bit pale.  He grabbed his glass of orange juice but set it down as his breath started to hitch again.  “Ahhhhhh… hehhhhh-iiiii-ahhhhh-shuuhhhhhh!”

David frowned, suddenly noticing that Bryan had changed out of his pajamas.  His husband was wearing a pair of light slacks and a thick V-neck sweater – a bit more dressed-down and cozier than Bryan’s usual aesthetic, but not something he wore when he planned on spending the day in bed.  “Are you going to work?” David asked, surprised.

Bryan grimaced.  “I figure I’d better,” he said.  “The detwork’s still od by ass for bissing so bany days last week, especially id the biddle of shooting, add I figure I ought to start building by good will back up for the dext tibe –” he pressed his fight to his mouth, clearing his throat, “– I have to stay hobe with Sawyer.”

It was logical, practical even.  Bryan and David were always good about only planning vacations when Bryan’s show was off for the season, but you couldn’t schedule a cold, and the network had never been overly fond of Bryan’s liberal use of sick days (lucky for him that Sing! was such a cash cow, or he’d have never been able to get away with it.)  Now that they had Sawyer to think of – and the inconvertible truth that kids are definitely going to get sick – this was a reasonable, mature decision to make.  One that, honestly, surprised David a little; he knew how much Bryan liked his TLC when he was sick, and he wouldn’t have guessed his husband would give it up so willingly.

Well, maybe not willingly – from Bryan’s glum expression, he probably figured this extreme level of self-sacrifice was putting him on the fast track to sainthood.  “I think that’s a really good idea, babe,” David remarked, reaching over to give Bryan’s hand a squeeze.

“Gee, thadks, D-da-aad… Ehhhhhhh-CHIUHHHHHHH!”  Bryan’s cheeky retort was marred by his hard sneeze, which he caught in his hand.

David chuckled.  “I think your cold is throwing off your witty comeback game,” he teased.

“Be dice to be – I’be sick,” Bryan replied, just a hint of a whimper in his voice.

By now, Sawyer had banana mush all over his face; David abandoned his half-eaten bowl of cereal to wipe his son’s mouth, cheeks, and chin.  “I know, I’m so heartless,” he drawled to Bryan, wondering how Sawyer had managed to get baby food in his ears.

Bryan coughed and then wiped his nose, sniffling.  “It’s fine,” he lamented dramatically.  “I’be used to doh wud udderstanding by paid.”  He grimaced as he swallowed the last of his orange juice and stood up, carrying his glass and plate to the dishwasher.

What remained of David’s cereal had gone soupy; he decided it wasn’t worth it.  Joining Bryan by the sink, David poured out his bowl into the garbage disposal and rinsed his dishes.  He kissed Bryan’s forehead.  “I know you hate working when you’re sick,” he told Bryan softly.  “I’ll be very nice.”

“Thadks, hud,” Bryan said, clearing his throat.  He glanced at the clock on the stove and sighed.  “Cad you get Sawyer id his car seat?  I wadda rud to the hall closet for –” he stifled a cough, “– for adduther Kleedex box before we head out.”

It took David a second to register the implications of what Bryan had said, and even when he did, he was so surprised it took him another moment to reply.  “Bry, I’ll take Sawyer,” he said, still a little incredulous that it needed saying in the first place.

Bryan, sniffling hard, shook his head.  “You’ll have to get hib todight,” he argued, “add I already didn’t help with breakfast, or last dight.  That’s dot – hihhhhhh-ehhhhhh-SHUHHHHHHHH!”  He sneezed into the crook of his elbow.  “…Dot fair to you.”

“I don’t mind, really,” David insisted.  As much as he was dreading doing the heavy lifting with Sawyer while taking care of Bryan, David also couldn’t look at his sick, unhappy husband and expect him to “pull his weight.”

“David, I’ve got it,” Bryan told him.  He rubbed his nose with his finger and added, “Dod’t worry about it,” sounding a bit like he was trying to convince himself as much as David.

“Get your tissues,” David said, giving Bryan’s shoulder a squeeze.  “I’ll make you some tea for your thermos.”

Bryan nodded and left the kitchen, letting out a loud “Haaaahhhhh-CHIUHHHHHH!” as he headed down the hall.  David grabbed the kettle and filled it with water.  It was only Wednesday morning, but he was already wishing for the weekend, for everyone’s sake.

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Part 4.  After doing my first two stories all from David's perspective, I realized how fun it is to throw in a few sections from Bryan's.


Bryan had been up for about an hour, and most of it had been miserable.  His head ached, his throat hurt, his nose was plugged up, and he felt like he hadn’t slept at all.  Sawyer had woken him a few times in the night, but David had let Bryan stay in bed each time, which was super nice of him but also made Bryan feel guilty about letting his husband do all the work.  Also, the radio was annoying, it was too sunny out, and he knew his day was going to be a nightmare.

Not that everything was all bad, Bryan had to begrudgingly admit.  David had been considerate and sweet that morning, cutting Bryan plenty of slack and not teasing him much (David had no sense of proportion when it came to being sick and basically thought a person should be able to walk off anything short of pneumonia, so he usually thought Bryan reacting to a cold with an appropriate level of misery was “ridiculous.”)  And there was Sawyer, of course, being his usual bundle of joy – a phrase that Bryan had always found hackneyed until he’d met his baby.

But even so, the morning was too awful to fully appreciate the few bright spots in it.  As sweet as David had been, he was also clearly exhausted, and that just made Bryan feel worse about not doing more to help.  Even Sawyer’s happy mood was getting on Bryan’s nerves a little.  For one, he was pretty sure the laughter he heard from the car seat was directed at him as he inexpertly tried to blow his nose while keeping one hand on the steering wheel, and there was something undignified about being laughed at by his own baby.  For another, he had it on good authority that the day was objectively terrible and so kind of resented the idea of anyone finding anything enjoyable about it.  (Both those thoughts, by the way, also made him feel like a bad father.)

Sawyer’s daycare was about a 20-minute drive from the house, which, that morning, was long enough to make Bryan worry that his Kleenexes wouldn’t last through the trip to work, let alone all day; he’d have to send Rocky out to pick him up some more.  Pulling up to the curb, Bryan got out of the car and went around to the side, coughing into his shoulder as he wrestled with the buckle on Sawyer’s car seat.

Morning drop-off was always hectic, but never more so than when Bryan’s temple was throbbing and his head was in a congested fog.  Babies were crying, small kids were running around, and there was noise and chaos everywhere (it occurred to Bryan that there were a lot of similarities between a daycare and a TV set – it was going to be a terrible day.)  Somehow, holding Sawyer close to him, Bryan managed to thread his way through the melee to where Jackie was handling check-in.

“Good morning!” she said cheerily.  Jackie was nice, probably in her mid-40s, and somehow capable of not seeming overworked and frazzled even when she was surrounded by hyperactive kids all day.

“Bording,” Bryan replied, refusing to call it “good.”  Jackie took Sawyer from him, cooing brightly to the baby while Bryan bent down to fill out the sign-in sheet on the table.  His nose was starting to change its mind between stuffed-up and runny, and he sniffed a few times as he signed Sawyer in.

“Yeah, he said, noting Jackie’s sympathetic look as he straightened up.  “Dow I’be the wud with a cold.”

Jackie tsked lightly.  “Get used to that!” she remarked.

A sneeze had started tickling at Bryan’s nose while Jackie was speaking, and now it burst out of him, a strong “huhhhhh-ihhhhhhh-shiiuuhhhhhhh!” into his cupped hands.  “Hbb?” he said, sniffling hard.

“You see it with new parents all the time,” Jackie explained, unobtrusively maneuvering Bryan around to the side of the table so he wasn’t blocking the other parents trying to sign in.  “Kids bring a lot of germs into the house, and if you’re not used to being around all that, your immune system can have a hard time keeping up.”

Even though Bryan basically knew all that and had already figured, naturally, that he’d caught his cold from Sawyer, it wasn’t a pleasant sentiment to hear out loud.  He must have looked as dismayed as he felt, because Jackie offered him a sympathetic smile (paired with a bemused chuckle, which Bryan thought was a little uncalled for) and added, “Don’t worry!  Your body learns to adjust and build new immunities.  It just takes time.”

Bryan sniffled, rubbing his nose.  “So what you’re saying is, it wod’t do be addy good today?”

Jackie smiled.  “If you prefer the pessimistic way of looking at it.”

When Bryan was sick, that was exactly how he preferred to look at it.  “Okay,” he said with a heavy, long-suffering sigh.  “Thadks, Jackie.”  He let Sawyer grasp his finger.  “Bye, Sawyer – love you.  Hav a- a good… da-ay…”  He turned away, sneezing a “hihhhhhh-SHIOOOOOO!” into the crook of his elbow.

“Bless you,” Jackie told him.  “Feel better.”  Bryan gave her a lazy wave, and she took hold of Sawyer’s arm to have him “wave” back.

Getting to the studio was a longer jaunt – minimum of 40 minutes, and that was only if the traffic was amazing (spoiler alert:  it wasn’t.)  Bryan was pretty sure the aggravating start-and-stop of the cars was making his headache worse; he coughed into the back of his hand as the traffic crawled along.

His nose was itching again.  Bryan grabbed a tissue from the box, which sat on the passenger seat beside him.  “Huhhhhh-CHIIUHHHHH!” he sneezed, clenching the steering wheel with his free hand.  Groaning, he wiped his nose.  It wasn’t even 9 o’clock yet, but he’d somehow managed to have had this cold for about 60 years now.

The time ticked on depressingly, with more coughing, sniffling, and sneezing than could be reasonably expected of anyone.  Now that he no longer had Sawyer in the car with him, Bryan was toying with whether or not to just pull over, roll down the windows, and wait for the vultures to come for him.  The longer his commute dragged, the more appealing the idea seemed.

Somehow, he managed to still be alive (blessing or curse?) when he made it to the studio.  Bryan clambered ungracefully out of the car, tucking the Kleenex box under his arm and grabbing a tissue to bury a hard “ihhhhhh-shiuhhhhhhhh!” as he trudged inside.  Grimacing because his throat was getting sore – and, you know, because everything was awful – he took a swallow of the tea David made him and glowered at everyone who greeted him coming in.  He was technically a few minutes late, but good luck trying to get him to feel bad about that – not today.

“Okay!” Bryan announced to the milling actors and crew.  The sound of his scratchy, stuffed-up voice was enough to make him depressed, but he powered through like the valiant man he so obviously was.

He just wished everybody wasn’t making so much noise – it hurt his throat to speak so loudly.  “Hey!” he yelled, and people finally started getting it into their heads that their glorious leader was speaking and they should probably pay attention.  “Okay, lissedd up, everybody,” Bryan went on.  “Today – dext few days really, probably the rest of the week at least – it’s gudda be ‘addoy be at your owd risk.’  ‘Cause I’be tired add sick add –” he coughed into his fist, “– add dot id the bood to put up with addy crap, so dod’t test be.  Dow, where are we od set-up?”

As the minions began scurrying around (Bryan’s attitude toward his subordinates, he’d discovered, skewed much more tyrannical when he was sick,) Bryan collapsed into his chair.  No sooner had he set the Kleenex box on the floor beside him when he found himself needing to sneeze for about the thousandth time.  “Hehhhhhh… ahhhhhhhh…”  He bent down to pluck out a fresh tissue.  “HAAHHHHHHH-shuhhhhhh!”  Blowing his nose, he sank back into the chair and groaned.  “Add where’s Rocky?” he called testily.

He’d better get some kind of medal for this.

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Cute! Bryan’s medal 🏅 is in the mail. 


Him thinking guiltily about David looking tired and his joke about David having no sense of proportion are both on point. 

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Thanks, Queenie!  I knew I wanted to play around with how Bryan is trying to make more mature decisions now that he's a dad, but at the same time, he's still absolutely Bryan and dramatically hating every minute of this.

Here's Part 5:


The work day, after lasting approximately 900 hours, was finally over, and Bryan could actually return to a natural, human state of abject misery in the comfort of his own home.  David and Sawyer beat him by about 20 minutes, despite stopping for takeout on the way – wonton soup for Bryan, kung pao chicken for David (Sawyer, who wasn’t quite ready for Chinese food, had pureed squash.)  But even though Bryan came home to find David already in the kitchen feeding Sawyer, he still made a detour up to the bedroom to change back into his pajamas.

Once that important bit of business had been seen to, Bryan couldn’t exactly say all was right in the world – let’s be real – but it was at least one tiny thing right in the midst of a crap sandwich of a day.  Feeling moderately closer to comfy in his sick pajamas, Bryan stopped off at the hall closet for (yet) another box of tissues, having left his in the car, before making his exhausted way back to the kitchen.

“Better?” David asked, glancing up from Sawyer.  He rose to get Bryan’s soup from the fridge and quickly reheat it.

“‘Better’ is ad idcredibly relative terb,” Bryan informed him.  “hehhhhhh-CHIOOOOO!”  He groaned, taking a Kleenex to wipe, first his hands, then his nose.

“Better than being at work?” David clarified.  He set Bryan’s soup on the bar in front of him.

Obviously,” Bryan replied.  “That’s a cribe against dature.”  Normally when he or David (or usually, he and then David) were sick, they ate on the couch or in bed, but that didn’t exactly work with the high chair.  So Bryan was stuck trying to sit cozily at the bar, and that wasn’t going too well for him.  He tucked one leg under himself, then tried the other, then rested one foot on the edge of the chair seat to draw his knee up, then mostly gave up.

While they ate and David fed Sawyer (Bryan was so useless – why wasn’t he helping more?), Bryan gave David a breakdown of his terrible day.  “I’be serious,” Bryan remarked.  “They’re id- id… hiiihhhhhhhh-eshhhhhh-uhhhhhhhhh!”

“Gesundheit,” David said offhandedly.

Bryan nodded, sniffling.  “They’re idcapable of doing addything without be holding their hadd.  Get it together, people!”  He cupped his hands over his mouth and coughed.

“Nice to be needed?” David suggested, a little playfully, but Bryan wasn’t about to bite.

“At least we’re shooting the sogs right dow,” Bryan went on.  “I bead, they’re a bitch to shoot, but the tracks have already bed recorded add the actors just lipsydc, so we’re dot getting addy audio od set.  If we were, I’d have ruid about a billiod takes – I was blowing by dose, like, half the day.”

“I can tell,” David replied, offering Bryan a sympathetic grimace.

His nose – Bryan had checked his reflection in the car after work and again in the bedroom when he was changing, so he already knew exactly what David meant.  His nostrils were red and chapped, pretty much the polar opposite of a good look for him.  It was too undignified, and Bryan groaned, pulling the neck of his sweatshirt up over his nose.

“Hey, don’t worry about it,” David told him, reaching over to give his arm a rub.  “Happens to the best of us.”

Bryan had his doubts that such a thing had ever happened to J-Lo, but whatever.  The soup was good and, admittedly, made him feel the tiniest bit less terrible, and by the time they were finished eating, he was marginally less depressed.  Enough so that, when David wrinkled his nose and eyed Sawyer’s diaper, Bryan stood up, holding his hands out for the baby.

“It’s okay, Bry,” David replied.  “I’ll take him up.”

“Are you kidding be?” Bryan retorted.  “I’ve bed working you to the bode.  Besides I c-cad’t… hihhhhh-chiii-ahhhhhhh!”  He sneezed into his shoulder.  Sniffling, he continued.  “I cad’t sbell a thing.  If there was ever a tibe for be to chadge diapers, it’s dow.”

So, Bryan carried Sawyer up to the nursery, where the changing table was waiting for them, not very invitingly.  Still, as Bryan lay Sawyer down and started to change him, there was no doubt that Bryan’s plugged-up nose blocked any and all funk; maybe he and David could arrange some sort of chore swap whereby Bryan handled both shares of the diaper-changing as recompense for David picking up more of the other daddy duties.  Not that the idea thrilled Bryan (smell or no smell, it was still gross,) but with David taking on more heavy lifting for the next god-knew-how-long, it’d be nice of Bryan to at least handle one really unsavory task.

“HAAAHHHHH-ihhhhh-shiuhhhhh!” he sneezed, wetly, into his shoulder.

Sawyer, of course, had no concept of sympathy (not to mention guilt for having gotten Bryan sick in the first place); he just giggled happily.  Bryan stuck his tongue out at the baby – mostly jokingly.  He was sick and miserable, but he wasn’t a horrible person.

“Yeah, yeah,” Bryan commented, sort of mock-grumblingly.  “Laugh at Daddy Bryad while he suffers.”  He turned away for a second to cough.

Soon, Sawyer was take care of, but another order of business reared its irritating head.  As Bryan was wrapping up, he heard David behind him in the doorway.  “Doing okay?” David asked.

“You kidding?” Bryan replied.  “It’s the least sbelly diaper I’ve ever chadged.  Ehhhhh-shoooooo-uhhhhhh!”  He turned and sneezed hard into his shoulder.

“Gesundheit.  As someone whose nose isn’t stuffed up, I can say that’s definitely not true,” David remarked.

“Aaaaddd…” Bryan continued tossing the nearly-empty diaper package to David, “guess what?”

David grimaced.  “And that’s the last one?”

Bryan nodded, blinking heavily.  “Doh bore id the closet.  We’d be lucky if it lasted till bording.”  He’d already sanitized, but walking with his hands held up like a surgeon, he now moved to the bathroom for a second round of washing up.  David picked up Sawyer and followed him.

“I should’ve stopped at the store on the way home,” David confessed.  “We’re out of rhythm.”

And whose fault is that? Bryan thought, equal parts self-reproach and self-pity.  Sniffling, he give a tight “forgive me?” grin.

David gave a long sigh.  “Okay,” he continued.  “Is there anything else we need?  If I’m gonna run out tonight, I’d better get everything.”

Sawyer had most everything else, but down in the kitchen, David pointed out that they’d better build up their store-bought baby food supply – Bryan sure as hell wasn’t going be throwing veggies or fruit in the blender right now, and he wasn’t going to make David do it.  Bryan sat at the bar, holding Sawyer, while David jotted down a list.  “What about you?” David asked.  “What else do you need?  More Kleenexes, tea…?”

“Apples add oradges,” Bryan added.  “I doh that souds like ad idiob, but I bead it literally.  Add…” He clapped a hand over his mouth.  “Ehhhhh-SHIUUHHHHHH!  Do we have addy VapoRub?”

“I’ll run back upstairs and check,” David told him.  He looked toward the stairs, then wavered for a moment.  “You wanna get Sawyer in the car seat?” he asked.  “I’ll take him with me.”

Bryan shook his head firmly.  “You’ve got eduff to deal with.”

David frowned.  “You sure, Bry?  You already had a rough day.”

Ugh – Bryan shouldn’t have complained so much about work over supper.  Not that any of it was untrue – he was feeling stuffed up and completely worn out, and after the day he’d had, he was thinking about how nice it’d be to just curl up in a ball and die – but he hadn’t needed to tell David all that.

So, Bryan said, “I’ve got it.  Besides, he-” he sniffed hard and rubbed his nose, “-he’s gotta be id bed sood addyway.  I’ll put hib down add thed just chill till you get hobe.”

Smiling, David kissed Bryan’s cheek.  “I won’t be long,” he promised.

Bryan stayed sitting until he saw the car pull out of the driveway, then looked down at Sawyer.  “Well, what do you thidk, big guy?” he asked.  “Bed?  That soud good?”  Sawyer babbled happily.  “I doh – souds great.  Let’s get to work od that.”

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Thanks, WolfPack - I really appreciate it!  And queenie, just wait until David catches it!  ;)

Part 6:


Between the busy parking lot and long check-out lines, David’s quick run to the store wound up taking more time than he’d thought.  It was close to 8 when he pulled back into the driveway.  Awkwardly trying to carry his bags in one hand, he fiddled with his keys and shoved the door to the house open with his shoulder.

“I’m back,” he called quietly, stepping into the kitchen and dropping his bags on the bar.

No answer from Bryan.  Had he gone up to bed?  As much as David liked to roll his eyes over the dramatics Bryan could muster for a cold, he had to admit his husband was feeling pretty crappy.  Bryan had been exhausted and glum at dinner, and even though he’d insisted on helping out with Sawyer afterwards, David could tell he hadn’t been up for much.

Quickly, David put the groceries away (he’d added a few more things onto his list, hoping there wouldn’t be a need for any more errands until Bryan was feeling a little better) and wandered to the living room, where he found Bryan curled up on the couch under a quilt.  The TV was on low – a Golden Girls rerun – and Bryan was gingerly wiping his chapped nose with a tissue.  The baby monitor sat on the coffee table among a handful of balled-up Kleenexes.

“Hey, babe,” David said, leaning down to kiss the top of Bryan’s head.  “Sawyer sleeping okay?”

Bryan nodded coughing into his fist.  “Hasn’t wokedd up at all yet, thadk god for- for thaa…”  His eyelids fluttered closed, and he sneezed – “Hehhhhhh-chiii-ahhhhhhh!” – into his hands.

“Gesundheit,” David remarked.  He took a seat on the couch, lifting Bryan’s legs while he sat down and then letting them drape across his lap.

“David, I-” Bryan broke off, muffling coughs into his quilt, “-I thidk I figured it out.”

David frowned.  “What?” he asked, not having any clue what Bryan was talking about.

“You doh those robots,” Bryan began unhelpfully.  “Those big robots frob boovies – I thidk they’re Japadese or sobething, a- aaaahhhhhhh-hihhhhhhhh-shuhhhhhhhh!”  Sneezing into the back of his hand, he sniffled and sighed.  “Add, ub, add there’s a persod idside working the arbs add legs?”  As he said this, he demonstrated clumsily, moving his arms and legs back and forth with a robotic motion – David grabbed his husband’s feet to keep from getting accidentally getting kicked in the stomach.

“You don’t have a fever, do you?” David asked, only half-kidding.

“Very fuddy,” Bryan drawled.  “Do you doh the wuds I bead?”

“Uh, yeah,” David replied.  I think they’re called mech robots?  Why do we care?”

“Bech robots – right,” Bryan said.  “That’s it:  kids are like bech robots for gerbs.”

David prided himself on that fact that he didn’t burst out laughing.  “That’s your theory, is it?” he asked, amazingly straight-faced.

“Thidk about it!” Bryan told him.  “They’re a codvedient bode of transportashud add the perfect disguise.  Od their owd, dobody likes gerbs, add- hehhhhh-ihhhhh-shiiuuhhhhh!”  He sneezed into his hands.  “Ugh…”  Sniffling, he continued, “Add why would we?  Gerbs are horrible.  But we love kids.  The gerbs get thebselves a cute kid to steer around, add we let theb right id.”

David smiled, lightly rubbing Bryan’s leg.  “Sounds more like a Trojan horse.”

“Trojad bech robots – it’s a whole thig,” Bryan explained.  It’s a work id progress.”

David chuckled.  “I think we might need to get you to bed,” he mused.  “Shouldn’t leave you alone with your thoughts like that when you’re sick – too much time for you to get up to trouble.”

“Dohhhh,” Bryan replied, petulant, the hint of a whimper in his voice.  “We’re always so busy dow – if we dod’t spend addy tibe together after Sawyer turds id, I- I feel…” Gasping, he leaned forward to grab a Kleenex from the box on the coffee table.  “Huhhhhhhh-CHIOOOOOO!”  He groaned.

“Gesundheit,” David told him softly.

Bryan sniffed wetly.  “I feel like the whole day goes by add I hardly see you,” he finished.

Even though they were frequently together while taking care of Sawyer, David knew what Bryan meant.  And so, despite knowing that it’d probably be better for Bryan to just call it a night, David didn’t press it.  “Okay,” he agreed.  “Do we have to watch Golden Girls, though?”

“I’be sick,” Bryan reminded him.  He cleared his throat pointedly.

David gave a little sigh; the man knew how to play the pity card.  “Fine,” he replied.  Golden Girls it is.” 

Bryan turned the volume up a bit.  He pulled the quilt over his face to cover an “ehhhhhhhh-shiuhhhhhh!” and David, tsking lightly, started to rub his feet.  They sat there together in comfortable relative quiet – chatting a little about the show, David blessing Bryan when he sneezed, but mostly just being near to each other – until Bryan was ready to admit defeat and crawl into bed.

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Hang in there, queenie - it's on its way!

Here's Part 7.


That night and the next morning were no easier than the one before.  David was past even his usual sleep-deprived parent state, since Bryan’s sniffling and coughing made it hard for either of them to get settled in.  There was enough congested snoring on Bryan’s part for David to know his husband got more sleep than he did, but Bryan did plenty of tossing through the night, too.  By morning, he looked pale, peaky, and in a pretty bad mood as he left the house to bring Sawyer to daycare; David could only imagine what a joy Bryan would be to work with at the studio that day.

As for David, his day, while no doubt better than Bryan’s, wasn’t the greatest, either.  He was pretty dead on his feet at the clinic, apologizing to more than a few patients when he couldn’t get a lid on his yawning during their exams.  “That baby again,” Natalia Suarez said with a smile and a knowing shake of her head as David buried a yawn into his shoulder in the middle of her ultrasound.

“I’m so sorry about that,” David replied, wincing and resisting the urge to launch into a full description of the other reason he was tired.

“You don’t have to tell me,” she replied.  “I’m on round three!”

David was preoccupied too, wondering about Bryan and how he was faring at work.  It kept tugging at the back of his mind, Bryan’s glum face that morning as he dragged himself into the kitchen, snuffling pitifully into a tissue.  Even with Bryan’s newfound sense of responsibility with fatherhood, he was still good at working every angle for David’s sympathies.  It had always annoyed David just a little that Bryan could get him worrying over a cold, but this time at least, the worrying felt justified.  David wasn’t sure if going to work really was making Bryan’s cold worse (god help David if Bryan had actually been right to coddle himself all these years,) or if it just happened to be a bad cold regardless – Sawyer had been pretty sick with it, after all.  Either way, Bryan was sicker than David had seen him in a while, and that kept David distracted throughout the day.

Now, though, finally, work was over.  David was in the car, Sawyer in tow and takeout sitting in the passenger seat.  For everyone’s sake, he hoped Bryan wouldn’t be kept at the studio, Sawyer would go right to sleep after supper, and Bryan would pass the night a little better than he had yesterday.

At the moment, Sawyer didn’t seem all that willing to pitch in – he’d been fussy as they left daycare and had spent about half the ride back crying, and since David wasn’t exactly flush with options from the front seat in the middle of traffic, he hadn’t been able to do much about that.  Although Sawyer had finally seemed to have cried himself out, the headache David had started to develop in the meantime didn’t seem to be going anywhere.

However, Bryan’s car was already in the garage when David pulled in, so maybe there was hope for a good night yet.  “Hon?” David called, maneuvering his way inside with the car seat in one hand and the takeout bag in the other.

“Cobing!” Bryan’s voice floated down from upstairs, scratchy and congested.  David came around to meet his husband trudging down the stairs in his sick pajamas.

“Were you in bed, babe?” David asked, a bit surprised, as he gave Bryan a quick peck on the cheek.

“Daw – chadging,” Bryan replied.  “I just got hobe… huhhhhh-CHIIAHHHHHH!”  He cupped his hands over his nose and mouth and sneezed hard.

“Gesundheit,” David said sympathetically.  “How’s your cold?”  Not that he had to ask – Bryan looked thoroughly miserable.

And sure enough, Bryan groaned dramatically, slumping over and resting his chin on David’s shoulder.  “I feel horrible, add I hate everything except you add Sawyer,” he pronounced.

David stifled a chuckle.  “What about Goldie and Shania?” he asked.

Bryan gave a long-suffering sigh.  “They’re okay, I guess,” he admitted, “b-buh… ahhhhhhhh-shuhhhhhhhhh!”  He turned his head away from David and sneezed into the back of his hand.  “…But they’d better dot test be,” he went on.

David smiled.  “If you want a hug, come into the kitchen,” he instructed fondly.  “I can’t do it when my hands are full.”

They both moved to the kitchen.  David set Sawyer’s car seat and the takeout on the bar, then headed to the pantry while Bryan got their son situated in his high chair.  Coming back and putting Sawyer’s supper on the high chair tray, David drew Bryan into his arms for a comforting squeeze and kissed the top of his husband’s head.  “Rough day?”

Bryan moaned.  “You have doh idee- idea… hihhhhh-ehhhhhhhh-SHUHHHHHHH!”

David tsked lightly.  “Sit down and eat – I got you chicken and dumpling.”  He seated himself beside the high chair and started putting Sawyer’s bib on.

“I should help,” Bryan began.

“No, you should eat your soup while it’s hot,” David told him.  “I’ve got a sandwich, so that can wait.”

David knew that Bryan was feeling too sick to argue the point.  So, Bryan plunked himself down at the bar beside David, digging through the takeout bag to find his steaming soup container and a plastic spoon.  He turned away to cough into the crook of his arm.

“You’re the best,” he sighed contentedly as he opened the container and got a look (not a whiff, since his nose was so stuffed up) at the chicken-and-dumpling soup inside.

“Remember that feeling when March Madness rolls around,” David told him.  “Now eat:  doctor’s orders.”

Bryan nodded, but his eyes had a hazy look, and he buried his face in his hands, sneezing, “Ahhhhhhh-SHUHHHHHH!  Ehhhhh… hiiii-ehhhhhh-chiiooooo!”

David gave a sympathetic grimace.  “Do you have Kleenexes in the living room?” he asked.

“Uh huh,” Bryan replied, sniffling as he wiped his nose with the side of his hand.

“Right,” David said.  He hopped back up, feigning more energy than he felt.  He set down Sawyer’s food and strode to the living room to retrieve Bryan’s tissue box.

“Thadks,” Bryan said, his voice slightly breathy and his tone a bit pathetic as he pulled a tissue from the box and immediately sneezed again.  “HAAHHHH-ihhhhhh-shiuhhhhhh!”

David said, “Gesundheit,” but he doubted Bryan – blowing his nose – could hear it, so he gave his husband’s shoulder a caring rub instead.

It wasn’t a night to discuss how their days had gone.  No, just Bryan’s day – a litany of complaints covering basically every hour since David had last seen him and a full rundown of how terrible he felt.  His throat was painfully sore, his nose had been running all day (which wasn’t helping his chapped nostrils any,) his cough was making his sore throat even worse, he couldn’t shake his headache, and he was completely wiped out.  This was Bryan in full-on self-absorbed/self-pitying mode, and David had to admit, he found it a little exhausting.

But even so, he couldn’t fault his husband too much for it.  Bryan was having a pretty awful time, clearly.  A quick confirming hand held to his cheek told David that Bryan was a little feverish, and he was feeling miserably sneezy; all through supper, his complaining was interrupted by the hitch in his breath that sent him reaching for yet another fresh Kleenex.

“Seriously, babe, you can take a day if you need to,” David pointed out, rubbing Bryan’s back as he blew his nose after what was probably the fortieth sneeze of the evening.  “I promise I won’t make fun.  In fact, as your doctor, I’m officially allowing it.”

Bryan, sniffling hard, shook his hand.  “I cad’t – we’re od the last dubber for the episode,” he explained.  “Add- aaa… ahhhhhhhhhh-SHIOOOOOOO!”  He groaned, coughing a little.  “Add we have to get it dud toborrow, or else we have t- t… hehhhhhhhh… ihhhhhhhh…”  He’d already grabbed a Kleenex and was holding it to his face, but the sneeze was stuck.

“Look at the light,” David instructed.

Bryan did as he was told, looking up at the fixtures above him, and it did the trick.  He buried his nose in the tissue for an “ehhhhhh-HAHHHHHHH-chiuhhhhhhh!  Ihhhhhh-shooooooo-uhhhhhh!”  He sniffled, dabbing his nose with the Kleenex.  “Ugh – what was I saying?”

“You have to get it done tomorrow,” David reminded patiently.

“Right,” Bryan said.  “Or we have to cobe id,” he sniffed, “od Saturday, add- huhhhhhhh-CHOOOOOO!  …Add there’s doh way id hell I’be doing that.”

By the time Sawyer and Bryan had finished eating (David still had yet to get started on his sandwich,) there was a small mountain of balled-up Kleenexes on the bar beside Bryan.  David swallowed a sigh.  “You go into the living room and lie down,” he said, lifting Sawyer out of his high chair.  “I’ll handle bedtime.”

Bryan groaned, crossing his arms on the bar and dropping his head into them.  “I- ehhhhh.. hihhhh-uhhhhh-CHUHHHHHHH!  I’be sorry…”  He sounded absolutely pitiful; David knew it wasn’t a night to tease him about that, however lovingly.

So, gently, David kissed the top of his husband’s head.  “Go lie down,” he repeated.  “I’ll be down soon.”

Bryan dragged himself up, nodding morosely.  He tucked the Kleenex box under his arm, and as he trudged off toward the couch, David heard him gasping again.  “Ahhhhhhh… ehhhhhhh… hehhhhh-chioooooooo!”

David let his eyes fall closed for a moment.  The likelihood of either of them getting much sleep that night was looking slimmer and slimmer.  Pulling himself back together, he bounced Sawyer a little in his arms and said, “Okay, buddy.  Let’s get you ready for bed, and then maybe Daddy David can eat.”

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David is pulling triple-duty and the strain is showing. Bryan is clearly trying his best, too, which is pretty cute. 

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Thanks for commenting!  Bryan is miserable and David is nearing his breaking point - would you want it any other way?  ;-)

Part 8:


David looked up from the wriggly baby in his crib as the door to the nursery opened.  “I told you to lie down,” he said to Bryan.

“Yeah,” Bryan conceded.  “But you’ve- you…”  He trailed off, pressing his nose to the crook of his arm.  “Ehhhhhhhh-SHIIUHHHHHHH!”  Sniffling wetly, he continued, “You’ve bed up here for like half ad hour.”  His red-tinged nostrils twitched.  “Hehhhhh… hihhhh-uhhhhh-ESHHHHHH-ooooo!”  Into his hands this time.  “Thought I’d better sedd id reidforcebedts.”

“It hasn’t been half an hour,” David protested, although he technically didn’t know how long he’d been trying to convince Sawyer to go to sleep.  “And we’re fine.  Just getting him to settle down.”

“You didded’t do the sog, did you?” Bryan asked knowingly.

“He doesn’t need a song,” David insisted.

“Says the bad who’s- who’s beh…ehhhhhh…. Hihhhhhh-chiii-AHHHHHH!” Bryan sneezed.  He wiped his nose with a tired sigh.  “Who’s bed slavig away with a… uhhhhhh… dabbit…” He turned, cupping his hands over his nose and mouth.  “Ehhhhhhhh-SHUHHHHHHH!  Ihhhhhhh… huhhhhhh-choooooo!”

“Gesundheit,” David told him.

“Uh huh,” Bryan mumbled, stuffy.  “…With a baby who wod’t go to sleep.”

“I’m not slaving,” David retorted.  “And anyway, babe, you think you’re gonna be much help when you’re sneezing like that?”  Not exactly restful.

Bryan rolled his eyes at David, then grimaced.  “Ow,” he whined, rubbing his temple.  David didn’t laugh, but he couldn’t help cracking a bit of a smile – would’ve been more if his own headache from the drive earlier hadn’t still been nagging at him.  At any rate, Bryan rallied and said, “Watch the baster at work.”

After another sneeze – “EHHHHH-shiuuhhhhhh!” – Bryan, sniffling, came around to the side of the crib.  He reached in, gently brushing Sawyer’s cheek, and then he began to sing.  “Id the juggle, the bighty juggle, the liod sleeps todight.  Id the juggle, the bighty juggle, the liod sleeps todight.  Ee-”  He broke off, coughing a little as his voice cracked on the high note.  “Ugh,” he groused, rubbing his throat.  He looked expectantly at David, whose stomach sank as he realized what Bryan wanted.

Very begrudgingly, David sang, “Ee-e-e-um-um-a-weh,” feeling incredibly stupid.

As David took the high part, Bryan stifled a relatively quiet “ihhhhhhh-shhhhhhhh!” into his hand, then was ready to start the next verse after David’s second “um-a-weh.”  They went through the song like that, through “in the village” and “hush my darling,” with David somewhat self-consciously contributing the high notes Bryan was too hoarse to reach.  And as they sang, Sawyer’s eyes drooped and then closed.

It was funny – Bryan would stifle a sneeze or two whenever it was David’s turn, but his nose didn’t seem to give him any trouble when he was the one singing.  Bryan had told David once about how some of the actors on Sing! seemed to be able to go into “performance mode.”  Say an actor was having really bad allergies or something on set – somehow, from the time the director yelled, “Action!” till the time they yelled, “Cut!” they’d hardly sneeze at all.  Maybe it was something like that.

Because, as soon as they stole out of the nursery and silently eased the door shut behind them, Bryan’s nose seemed to make up for lost time.  “Ehhhhhhh… hihhhhhhh-chiaahhhhhh!” he sneezed into his hands.  “Ahhhhhhh-SHUHHHHHHH!  Hehhhhhh-chooooo!”  He swallowed a stuffed-up little moan.  “Told you the- the sog… wor… AHHHHHHH-shiiuhhhhhh!”

“Yeah, yeah,” David replied, giving Bryan’s shoulder a rub.  “Come on.”

Back downstairs, Bryan shooed David off to the kitchen to get his sandwich, which David threw onto a plate and brought into the living room.  He settled onto the couch, where Bryan cozied up next to him.  Bryan, burying a strong “hehhhhhh-ihhhhhh-shiuhhhhh!  Ahhhhh… ehhhhhh-SHOOOO-uhhhhhh!” into a Kleenex, rested his head glumly on David’s shoulder.

Feeling the day catching up with him, David reached over to drape Bryan’s quilt over him, then wrapped an arm around his husband.  Balancing his plate on his knee, he picked up his sandwich with his free hand and (finally) took a bite.  Bryan was feeling pouty, sneezy, and a little clingy, but for tonight, David was just going to have to roll with it.  Beside him, Bryan sniffled wetly and coughed hard into his quilt; David held him a little tighter and gave his cheek a light stroke.  Covering his face with his hands, Bryan sneezed again, an explosive “IHHHHHHH-shiiooooooo!”

Yeah, David could roll with that.  Given how he was feeling, Bryan could be as pouty and clingy as he wanted.

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Yep, like I said, pretty cute. I think David will be feeling pretty bad after one more night of this. Come morning, Bryan may find himself having to pick up some more slack, even miserable as he is!

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You read my mind, queenie!

Here's Part 9.


It was still dark out when David found himself waking, feeling a little discombobulated.  He could hear Bryan in bed beside him, tossing a bit and coughing into his pillow.  David didn’t know what time it was, but for whatever reason, his brain couldn’t make the connection to check his phone.

Lying awake, David blinked blearily.  His eyes felt sore, like he’d been staring at a screen for too long, and his head was kind of fuzzy.  He swallowed and felt a sharp sting in his throat – uh oh.

A quick sniff confirmed that he was a little stuffed up.  David cringed, stifling a groan, and for a long moment, he just lay there, looking up confusedly at the ceiling.  An irritation started building in the back of his throat, and he pressed his pillow against his face to muffle his coughing.

Still stifling coughs, David slipped quietly out of bed and moved to the master bathroom.  Shutting the door behind him, he flicked on the light, which was a bad idea – in addition to hurting his eyes even more and making him realize he was also getting a headache, a sneeze flared up in his nostrils.  David clapped a hand over his mouth.  “Hhhhhhh-shhhnnnfffhhhh!”

There was normally a Kleenex box in the bathroom, but it was on Bryan’s nightstand now.  Not wanting to go out and get it, David lowed the lid of the toilet, sat down heavily, and tore off a length of toilet paper.  With a sigh, he wiped his hand and nose.

One silver lining – given how crappy Bryan had been feeling, there was a good chance he wouldn’t notice anything amiss that morning, not if David was careful.  The odds were reasonable that David could at least get through breakfast and out the door without an, “Oh, babe, are you sick?” discussion, and the huge self-consciousness that inevitably accompanied it.  Tonight?  Harder to say.  Bryan hadn’t had eyes for much of anything other than his own misery last night, so he might not pick up on it.

David sputtered with another cough; his throat was still tickling.  He got up and fumbled in the medicine cabinet for a glass, hastily filled it, and took a long drink.  Work was going to be another matter, unfortunately.  Whenever possible, David wanted to avoid seeing patients (especially the pregnant ones) when he was contagious, preferring to hole up in his office and do paperwork.  That, however, meant coordinating with the other doctors at the clinic to cover his appointments, and that meant admitting what was the matter.  He was pretty sure he was starting to blush just thinking about it.

“Hihhhhhh-nnnnnsssshhhhhh!” David sneezed again, harshly.  Grimacing, he grabbed another strip of toilet paper and started to blow his nose.

He was mid-blow when the door opened, with Bryan holding an awake Sawyer and saying, “David, when you’re dud id here, cad you-?”  David hurriedly balled up the toilet paper in his fist (they’d moved the wastebasket into the bedroom for Bryan’s Kleenexes,) but not fast enough.  Bryan’s face fell as he groaned, “Oh doh…”

“Bry…” David started.

“You’ve got it too?” Bryan asked, despairing.

“I’be fide,” David tried to argue.  There was no point – he’d obviously been found out – but he tried anyway.

“Uh uh,” Bryan replied, a bit petulantly, his voice thick with congestion.  He turned away from Sawyer and sneezed into his shoulder.  “Huhhhhhhh-CHIUHHHHHH!”  Sniffling, he rubbed his nose with the back of his wrist.  “Sawyer woke be up,” he explained.  “Whed you wered’t id bed, I figured you’d already god to the dursery, but thed I didded’t-” he paused, coughing, “-didded’t hear you od the baby bodditer, so I got up.”  He coughed a little more and groaned.  “I’be so sorry…”

Bryan could be like a needy, contagious vortex when he was sick, but he was always deeply contrite whenever David (almost inevitably) caught what he had.  “Dod’t worry,” David told.  “I’be only just getting it – it’s dot too bad.”

Bryan, though, wasn’t done beating himself up yet.  “I cad’t believe you caught it already,” he lamented, covering his mouth for an “Ehhhhhh-SHIOOOOOOO!”

“Here,” David said, reaching forward to take Sawyer from Bryan.  As Bryan sniffled unhappily, David brushed his sick husband’s bangs back.  “There hasn’t been tibe to catch it frob you, okay?  That’s dot how colds work.  I’be sure we both caught it from Sawyer – you were a couple days ahead of be, that’s all.”  Granted, if it hadn’t been for Sawyer, it certainly would’ve only been a matter of time before Bryan had given his cold to David, but now wasn’t the moment to bring that up

David’s words seemed to bring Bryan around, if only a little.  “Do you wadda stay hobe?” he asked, rather needlessly bringing a hand to David’s forehead (he was only just coming down with a cold – the likelihood of him running a fever at this point was pretty much nil.)

David had to smile at that.  “It’s Friday, Bry,” he reminded him.

“Exactly!” Bryan replied.  “It’s just wud day – who cares?”  He cupped his hands over his mouth to cough.

“Bore like, ‘it’s just one day – pretty sure I cad ha- handle- thaa…” David said, but his nose was starting to itch again.  He pressed a finger against his nose and rubbed it, trying to will the itch away, but of course that didn’t do any good.  “Hihhhhhhhhh-shuhhhhhhh!” he sneezed, unable to stifle it as well he’d have liked when he was holding Sawyer.

Bryan tsked.  “Bless you,” he said softly, pulling David into him and kissing him on the forehead.

Though David still felt pretty embarrassed, Bryan was the one person he could feel all right about having around when he wasn’t feeling well.  He dreaded that moment of having to admit it and always tried to put it off as long as possible (hadn’t quite worked out this time,) but once he’d gotten it over with, he was mostly okay with Bryan knowing.  “I’be okay, really,” he assured Bryan.  “It’ll be a duthing day – I’ll just be updating patient files add stuff.”  Besides, he couldn’t very well skip work over a cold when Bryan of all people had been going into the studio when he was sick.

Speaking of… “How ‘bout you?” David asked, taking note of Bryan’s flushed cheeks, a likely indication that he was still feverish.  “Think you bight need to call id?”

Bryan groaned, dragging his hands down the side of his face.  “I just have to get through it,” he told David.  “God, I hope we get through it.  Ihh- ihhff… Haaahhhhhh-CHOOOOOO-ehhhhhh!” he sneezed into the crook of his arm.  “Ugh – if we have to go back id od Saturday, I’be gudda screab.”

David smiled.  “Dod’t scream whed you have a sore throat,” he chided fondly.  Sniffling, Bryan rested his head on David’s shoulder and lightly tickled Sawyer’s chin.  “Do you doh what time it is?” David asked.

Bryan stifled a cough.  “A little after four, I thidk,” he replied.

A bit more sleep, then – provided they could get Sawyer down.  “Cobe od,” David said.  “Let’s get this guy back to bed add thed curl up until borning.”

“S… ihhhhhh-HEHHHHHHH-chiiuhhhhhh!” Bryan sneezed.  He sighed, wiping his nose.  “Souds good; let’s do it.”  Sniffling and scrubbing his nose with his finger, he trailed after David toward the nursery.

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Great minds think alike! I really thought David would make a sneaky escape and be a great deal more miserable when he finally had to admit he was sick, but you surprised me! Still, something tells me he won’t have an easy go of it...

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Yeah, I thought about having David evade it a little longer, but I decided I just wanted him to get "caught" right away - David makes plans, God laughs.  And queenie, I really appreciate that you take the time to keep commenting!  Thanks for that.  :-)

Here's Part 10 - two colds for the price of one!


Bryan threw himself back in his producer’s chair and groaned as, yet again, they cut.  “Oh by god…” he sighed.  There was a serious chance that, between his pounding headache, his total congestion, and his blood-boiling aggravation, his head was actually going to explode.

Coughing raggedly as he dragged himself up, he ventured toward the sound stage.  “Seriously, guys?” he asked, slightly impressed with himself at how well his scratchy voice could still carry.  “There are six-year-olds id By First Tap classes that could haddle this choreography id their sleep.  Y- y-”  Ugh – sneezing in the middle of an angry-boss speech was never a good look.  But Bryan couldn’t help it.  “AHHHHHHHH-chiiuhhhhhh!  Ehhhhhhh… hehhhhhhhh-shuhhhhhhh!”  With a congested sniffle, he turned back to the cast, clearing his throat.  “You call yourselves professhudals?  This is abbateur hour, add dot evedd good abbateur hour.”

All morning, shooting had been progressing at a snail’s pace.  Some might argue that Bryan just wasn’t in a very patient mood due to his cold, but those people didn’t know what they were talking about.  It had taken ages to even finish set-up, and now, it seemed the cast couldn’t get through more than eight bars without someone, usually Sean, messing up the steps.  For the last hour, Bryan had been considering the possibility that he’d died and was now in purgatory.

Somehow, he and David had gotten it together in the morning.  Despite David’s repeated insistence that he was fine, Bryan knew better.  First of all, he was the one who already had experience with this cold and knew how awful it was.  Second, David was a pro at acting like being sick didn’t slow him down at all, but Bryan could see through that every time.  His husband was sick, and what’s more, Bryan knew that meant David was going to have a horrible day navigating the clinic.  While Bryan hated working when he was sick because he was a rational human being who understood how unnatural it was, David (who, by the way, nearly always insisted on going to work anyway) hated it because he got so self-conscious about being sick in the first place.  No doubt he was hiding in his office, stuffed-up and miserable, cringing whenever anyone asked if he was okay.

But, even though they’d both had the ugly prospect of the day looming over them, they’d made it work.  After getting Sawyer back down, they’d gone back to bed for not nearly long enough – Bryan had groaned, coughing hard and pulling his pillow over his head when David’s alarm had gone off – and then forced themselves up.  David saw to Sawyer while Bryan was in the shower and vice versa, and Bryan made them both toast with cinnamon and sugar for breakfast.  No, not the most original, but not bad considering that Bryan had zero energy and his head hurt too much to think.  Before David left the house, Bryan made sure he had a care package in the form of three pocket-sized packets of Kleenex (Bryan knew David would feel too embarrassed to have a box of them sitting on his desk,) a thermos of tea (with extra bags for later,) and a small bottle of lotion (to counteract the inevitable gallons of hand sanitizer David would be using throughout the day.)

He was exhausted, achy, stuffed-up, and worried about David.  Was it so much to ask that his cast of allegedly-qualified, wildly-overpaid performers shot their stupid number in a timely manner?  “You doh what?” Bryan told them.  “I deed a break frob lookig at all of you or-” he coughed into the back of his hand, “-or I’be gudda go Bobby Dearest od all your asses.  Take five while I try to rebebber what it’s like to breathe through by dose.”  Another sneeze building – he cupped his hands over his nose and mouth.  “IHHHHHHHH-shiiaahhhhhhhh!  Ugh…”  He didn’t even know where so much snot came from; this was just unreasonable.

“Except you, Sead,” he added.  “You’re gudda stay here, work od your cobbidashuds, and cobe up with reasods why I shoulded’t kill off your character right here id the biddle of this sog.”  At the actor’s dumb deer-in-the-headlights look, Bryan said, “Dod’t test be, ‘cause I’ll do it.  I dod’t evedd care if it doesd’t bake sedse.”  To the rest of the cast, he pronounced, “Add stay away frob craft services – dod’t evedd thidk about ludch ud- udtil we fiddish this… verse…”

At least he got through what he was saying this time before the sneeze got the better of him.  He turned around and stalked back to his chair, sneezing, “Ehhhhhh-hiihhhhhhh-chiuuhhhhhhhh!  Haahhhhhhh-CHUHHHHHHH!” into his hands.

Bryan dropped back into his chair, sighing.  He reached down to pluck a tissue from the box at his feet and pulled his phone out of his pocket as he distractedly mopped up his nose.  Google Maps found him a café that delivered – after a quick look through their menu, he tapped their number, coughing as he listened to it ring.

“Yeah – hey,” he said, clearing his throat when someone picked up on the other end.  “Tell be about the chicked tortilla soup.  How does that work for delivery?  Do the tortilla strips cobe separate, or ab I gudda get a cupful of soggy buhsh…?”

*           *           *

“Hihhhhhhh-ehhhhhhhh-shuhhhhhhh!” David sneezed, sniffling into a Kleenex from one of the packets Bryan had sent with him.  Throwing a self-conscious glance at his closed office door, he wiped his nose, tossed the Kleenex in the trash, and took a fresh hit of hand sanitizer.

He looked at the clock – just after 12:30.  Another four-and-a-half hours to go.  David could definitely make it that long.  It was the sort of thing Bryan would moan about, but David was a little more reasonable than that.

To be perfectly honest, though?  He wasn’t feeling great.  David rubbed his eyes, which felt bleary from staring at his computer screen most of the morning, and coughed into the crook of his arm.  His throat stung all the time now, not just when he swallowed, and his nose had gone from stuffed-up to runny; his work had been punctuated by persistent sniffles for at least the last hour.

Blinking hard as he tried to focus on Marcy Handler’s file, David grimaced, rubbing his throat.  He’d long since finished the tea Bryan had made him.  Thoughtfully, Bryan had actually packed him a few extra tea bags, but that would mean going to the doctors’ lounge for more hot water, and David wasn’t about to leave his office.  Not when… His nostrils started to twitch yet again.  “Ehhhhhhh… ahhhhhhhh… hehhhhhh-tschiiioooooooo!”

Intellectually, he realized that his coworkers weren’t going out of their way to embarrass him.  Under ordinary circumstances, if a doctor came into the clinic with circles under his eyes and an obviously stuffed-up nose and spoke in low tones with the other doctors about rearranging his appointments, there’d be nothing wrong with saying, “Not feeling well, huh, David?”

Most people wouldn’t have a problem with that.  But David did.  “Uh… yeah,” he’d admitted sheepishly, his eyes darting to the floor as he resisted the urge to rub his nose.  “Just, uh, just a little cold.”  Saying it, the words had sounded so stupid to him.

And then, it had been open season on the comments – again, all well-meaning enough, but nothing that David actually wanted.

“Ooh, rough luck.”

“Makes sense, new parent and all.  You said Bryan’s been sick too, hasn’t he?”

“Let us know if you need anything, Dr. Sawyer!”

It couldn’t have been more than fifteen minutes before David was able to escape to his office – and that was only because of the time it took to fit his appointments into the other doctors’ schedules – but it had been more than enough, and there was no way David was going back out there again.  Rubbing his nose with his finger, he looked at the clock again and felt disappointed when he realized it had only progressed from 12:33 to 12:36.  It was going to be a long afternoon.

Suddenly, there was a sharp knock at his door.  David started a bit, then stared rather unhappily at the door, dreading the prospect of whoever was on the other side of it and whatever it was they wanted.  Still, a grown man – who, unlike his husband, was fully capable of having a cold without acting like it was the end of the world – couldn’t very well ignore someone knocking on his office door.  He gave a few hard sniffles and took another shot of hand sanitizer, then rose.  Bracing himself, David opened the door.

…And found no one.  Puzzled, David stepped into the short hallway, glancing both ways.  There –he saw Ellen, his receptionist, walking away from him toward the front desk, accompanied by a man he didn’t recognize.  David frowned in confusion; he rubbed his temple.

His throat tickled, and he muffled a cough into his shoulder.  It was then, with his head turned down, that he noticed a paper sack sitting on the floor outside his door.  Still frowning, David picked it up and brought it inside.

Sitting back down at his desk, David sniffed as he opened up the bag.  Slowly, he began to smile – inside was a small plastic container and a larger Styrofoam one.  The Styrofoam container was hot, and opening it, he found it brimming with chicken soup, while the plastic container was filled with tortilla strips.  There was a note taped to the Styrofoam container, hastily scrawled by some restaurant employee taking it down with the order.  It read, “Doctors need nursing too.  XOXO.”

As he sat looking at it, David hardly noticed the sneeze – “ehhhhhhhh-SHIUHHHHHH!” – that burst from him and didn’t even try to cover it.  While he poked around in the bag for a plastic spoon, he pulled out his phone and dialed.

Bryan answered on the fourth ring.  “Hello?”  He sounded hoarse and stuffy.

“Thadks,” David told him softly.

“You got it!”  From Bryan’s tone, David could almost picture the way his husband was brightening.  Not enough to actually look happy – David was pretty sure Bryan couldn’t knowingly allow himself to appear happy about anything when he was sick – but at least a little less glum.  “Did they brig it to your office?”

“Yeah, they did,” David replied, admittedly a bit impressed.  “Didn’t evedd stick around – just docked, left it outside by door, add took off.”  Ooh, he sounded pretty stuffed up; David covered the receiver while he sniffled.

“Good,” Bryan said.  “I told the guy they c- cou…”  He trailed off, and David heard a loud “AHHHHHHHHH-ihhhhhhh-shoooooooo!”  Bryan moaned.  “Ugh – they could’t bake you cobe to recepshud.  They had to bake your recepshudist take theb to your office, add they could’t bug you.  I was very specific add gave theb a really good… tip… hehhhhhhh-chiiaahhhhhhhhhh!”

“Gesundheit,” David said.  “Thadks for paying extra – it was worth it.”  He winced a little, clearing his throat.

On the other end, Bryan was coughing.  “Is your day as awful as bide?” he asked.

David smiled.  What a Bryan thing to ask.  “Dot sure that’s possible, babe,” he pointed out.  “Add addyway,” ugh – he sniffed again, “bine just got a little better.”  Stirring the tortilla strips into his soup, he leaned back in his chair and took his first spoonful.  He wasn’t completely stuffed-up, so he could taste it a little, and it felt warm as it trickled down his throat.

“Good,” Bryan said, sniffling.  “That’s what I was goig for.”

“Bission accomplished,” David told him.  “Dod’t work too hard, okay?”

“Believe be, I’be tryig,” Bryan replied.  “It’d be so buch easier to shoot this show if it wered’t for all this stupid siggig add dadcig.”

“Add whose idea was that?” David asked, lightly teasing.  His breath started to hitch - damn.  He covered his nose and sneezed a hard “ehhhhhhhhhh-shhhhnnnkfff!” into his hand.

“Bless you,” Bryan said.  “Add your guess is as good as bide.  Dohb-” he coughed, “-dohbody I doh.”

“Yeah, it’s a bysstery,” David noted fondly.  “See you todight – love you.”

“Uh huh,” Bryan said, “if I dod’t stab by eyes out before thed.  It’s iffy, David.”

David felt a warm grin spreading across his face; that man.  “Dod’t stab your eyes out.”

“Doh pro- probbihhh… ses… ihhhhhhhh-hehhhhhhhhh-CHOOOOOO-ehhhhhh!”  Bryan groaned.  “…Bye.”

“Bye.”  Hanging up, David continued sipping on his soup.  The clock now read 12:45, but somehow, the wait until 5:00 didn’t seem nearly as long as it had a few minutes ago.

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Sweet, stoic David trying to downplay with that “He wasn’t feeling great” is exactly my jam, and Bryan looking outside his own histrionics to make a thoughtful gesture is 🔥 

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Wow, a lot has happened since I last followed this thread! I've read all the other parts in one go now and it is all so adorable! :cryhappy:

There were a lot of super adorable and fluffy scenes between them I enjoyed, so catching up with this story was great fun and a real delight! :)

The idea of Bryan sending over a container of soup was incredibly cute <3

And your stuffy-talk game is SO strong here! The conversations between the two of them have become even more adorable since both of them are all stuffed up. ^_^




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Yeah, queenie, when I was figuring out what both guys would be like with colds when I was writing my first New Normal fics, I wanted to make it like their overall dynamic as a couple:  completely opposite but surprisingly compatible.  I love the idea of Bryan being overdramatic and David being all "don't mind me" but both guys trying to suck it up in order to help each other.  Yum!

And thanks, Selene!  Adorable/fluffy is exactly what I'm going for!  :-D

Part 11!


It had been a few hours since David had gotten Bryan’s plaintive text – that he was stuck at the studio (dying, naturally,) he didn’t know when he’d be home, and please, please eat without him.  There had been sad-tear emoticons involved.  Since then, David had, as instructed, had his share of the takeout he’d brought home, put Sawyer to bed, and retired to the couch for the evening, the baby monitor on the end table beside him while he watched a hockey game.  It was after 8:00, and it was fair to say that he was getting tired.

David, unlike Bryan, saw no need to immediately change into his pajamas when he got home (“sick” pajamas or otherwise,) but he did admittedly change out of his work clothes, and it might be pointed out that the hoodie he changed into was suspiciously comfy.  But David wasn’t about to make concessions – it was in his closet, he put it on, no more.  Nothing to read into it about wanting to feel warm or cozy, nothing of the sort.

“Hehhhhhhhh-chiiuhhhhhhh!” he sneezed into a Kleenex (from Bryan’s box on the coffee table.)  His nose had been getting progressively worse throughout the day, and by the time he’d finally ducked out of the office, his only options as he’d faced the gauntlet of unwanted “feel better!” entreaties had been either to sniffle constantly or to let his nose run down to his chin.  David had chosen the former, and though he maintained that it had been the right call, he still didn’t feel particularly happy about it.  Now, carefully, he dabbed at his dripping nose, clearing his throat.

Another sneeze came, a hard “Huhhhhhhh-ihhhhhh-SHOOOOOOO!”, but it wasn’t David’s.  David felt himself smiling – as much as he liked his solitude when he was sick, he found that he was relieved at the arrival of his miserable, sniffly husband.

“Your supper’s id the fridge,” he called, not getting up from the couch.

Bryan trudged in from around the corner, coming up behind the couch and wrapping his arms around David.  “You ate, right?” he asked, kissing the top of David’s head.  “Tell be you ate.”

David nodded.  “After I got your text,” he explained.

“Do you deed addythig?” Bryan asked.  “Oradge juice?  Ad apple?  Sobe tea?”

“I’be good,” David replied – not strictly true, but it wasn’t like there was much of anything Bryan could do to change it.  “Just get your food add get over here.”

Bryan, coughing into his hand, wandered to the kitchen – David heard him opening the fridge.  “What’d you brig be?” Bryan asked.

“Broccoli cheddar,” David replied.  He got up from the couch and walked to the kitchen, where he watched Bryan pour his soup into a bowl and throw it in the microwave.  “Thought you could use a little cubfort food.”

“You thought right,” Bryan agreed, closing his eyes briefly as he leaned against the counter.  He lifted his hands to his face.  “Hehhhhhhhh-ahhhhhhhhh-SHIUHHHHHHH!  Ihhhhhhhhh… ehhhhhhh-choooooo!”

“Gesudheit,” David said sympathetically.  “I washed your sick pajabbas – they should be out of the dryer id ten binites or so.”

Bryan sniffled, wiping his nose with the side of his thumb.  “Thadks,” he said, sighing; he looked thoroughly unhappy.

“Hey, at least you fiddished,” David offered encouragingly, then had a troubling thought.  “You did fiddish, right?”  He sniffed, wriggling his nose.

Bryan made a face.  Fidally,” he said, “doh thadks to a certaid sobewud who shall rebaid dabeless…”  The microwave dinged, and he took his soup out.

“Sead?” David guessed, grabbing Bryan a spoon.

Totally Sead,” Bryan confirmed.  Coughing hard into the crook of his arm, he followed David to the living room and sank with him onto the couch.  “The bad dadces like… ehhhhhhhh… ahhhhhhh-hihhhhhhh-CHIIAAHHHHHHH!”  He grabbed a Kleenex from the box on the coffee table.  “…Like a baby horse havig a seizure,” he finished before blowing his nose.

David smiled, flipping the channel to a lineup of old Seinfeld episodes.  “I’be abazed you survived,” he remarked.

“It was touch add go,” Bryan told him, digging lethargically into his soup.

It was a few minutes before Bryan pronounced, “Oh by god, I didded’t evedd ask about Sawyer – I’be a terrible father.”

David, who had his arm around Bryan, squeezed his shoulder.  “Doh, you’re a good father who’s bed having a hard week,” he countered.  “Sawyer’s fide.  Did lots of splashing id the bath add went to sleep pretty quickly.  Ahhhhhhh…”  His breath hitched.  Bryan reached forward to pluck a Kleenex from the box and handed it to him.  “Ehhhhhhhhh-shhhhkkhhhhhh!” David sneezed.

“Bless you,” Bryan murmured, leaning against David.  He rubbed his nose and blew on his spoon before having another mouthful of soup.

Bryan wasn’t in the mood for much of anything.  After his initial groaning about work, he hadn’t even had much complaining to do, and he was sort of listless as he drowsily stared at the TV and ate his supper.  When the dryer buzzed, David asked if he wanted to change into his pajamas, but he just shook his head, stifling a cough into the back of his hand.

Later, as David yawned and found he was having a hard time focusing on the TV himself, he brushed Bryan’s cheek with his hand and was surprised at how hot it seemed.  Kissing Bryan’s forehead, he said, “Sit tight – I’ll be right back.”

David headed up to the master bathroom, catching a “hihhhhhh-uhhhhhhh-choooooo!” in the crook of his arm on the way up the stairs.  Normally, he prided himself on having a talent for gauging Bryan’s temperature by hand – last night, for instance, David would have bet money that Bryan was hovering around 100.5 or 6 – but it a little trickier when he wasn’t feeling the best himself.  He knew Bryan’s fever had gone up, but he couldn’t tell by how much.

Retrieving the thermometer, David returned downstairs.  “Here,” he said, sitting down by Bryan and taking him gently by the chin.  Bryan was no stranger to David in doctor mode, and he dutifully opened his mouth to let David slip the thermometer under his tongue.

While they waited, Bryan dropped his head onto the David’s shoulder, sniffling.  He was wincing a little, and David rubbed his temple lightly; Bryan gave a quiet murmur of contentment.  David turned away, muffling a cough into his shoulder.

The thermometer beeped, and David took it carefully from Bryan’s mouth.  Looking at the readout, he grimaced.  “A huddred wud point dine,” he said.  “That’s a lot hotter thad I’d have liked.”

Bryan cozied up more closely to David.  “You dew how hot I was whed you barried be,” he pointed out sleepily.  “Huhhhhhhh-CHIOOOOOOO!”

David rubbed Bryan’s cheek with his thumb.  “We should get you to bed,” he said.  Bryan made a contrary-sounding little moan, but he let David pull him to his feet.

“Go upstairs,” David instructed.  “I’ll get your pajabbas.”

Bryan nodded, sneezing a hard “Hihhhhhhhh-tschiiiaaahhhhhhhh!” into his hand as he headed for the stairs.  David made for the laundry room, realizing why Bryan had shrugged off changing when his pajamas had first finished drying.  Apart from just not wanting to get up, he’d probably felt too hot.

By now, though, Bryan’s sick pajamas had cooled down.  The mere fact of them, flannel pants and a sweatshirt, were probably too warm to be the best choice at the moment, but David figured Bryan would prefer their comfort factor over more practical considerations.  Should be all right, as long he kept most of the covers off.  As David crouched in front of the dryer, slinging the pajamas over his shoulder, he sneezed, a “haaahhhhhhh-ihhhhhhhhh-SHOOOOOO!” hard enough to make him grab the corner of the dryer to keep from losing his balance.

Upstairs, Bryan was waiting gloomily for David, sitting on the edge of the bed sniffling.  When David handed him his pajamas, Bryan changed lazily.  He accepted the aspirin and water David gave him just as mutedly, then slipped into bed while David draped just the sheet over him.  It was when Bryan stopped griping that you could really tell he was feeling sick.

For David’s part, he’d be happy to argue that he didn’t need to be in bed yet, not like Bryan, but he wasn’t about to turn it down if it was offered.  He changed, a little clumsily, into a T-shirt and pajama pants, then returned to the bathroom for a water glass of his own before heading back to the bedroom.  “Oh…” he mumbled, stopping short at the bed as he set his glass on his nightstand.

“Hbb?” Bryan murmured; he coughed hard.

“Kleedexes,” David explained.  “You’re dot gudda want be reaching over you to get sobe frob your dightstand.”  As if to illustrate his point, his nose picked that moment to start itching yet again.  “Ehhhhhh… ehhhhhhhh… hhhhnnnhhh-shhhhhhhhhh!”

Bryan rubbed his face sleepily.  “There should be bore boxes id the hall closet,” he noted.  He started to push himself up.  “I’ll get you wud…”

“Absolutely dot,” David replied, easily lowering Bryan back onto the mattress.  “You stay put – I’ve got it.”

David had played sports all through school and he still loved pick-up basketball, but now, a trip down the stairs to the closet and back up seemed to wipe him out.  Dropping his freshly-procured Kleenexes onto his nightstand, he flopped into bed beside Bryan and made liberal use of the covers Bryan didn’t need.

Bryan’s breathing was already starting to grow slow and even, but David’s nose wasn’t quite ready to let him sleep yet.  “Ahhhhhhh-hehhhhhh-chiiuhhhhhh!” he sneezed into his pillow.  David sighed; no time like the present, he supposed.  He pulled the first Kleenex from the box and wiped his nose.

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