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Malice - First Cold (TDBM Alice/Matthew)


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Once again, I need to write for this fandom because while there is plenty of fics out there, none are in this particular genre, so I need to do it myself. This time, I tackled the Matthew/Alice pairing fondly referred to as Malice.

Matthew Lawson and Alice Harvey were both new to this relationship thing. Yes, both had dated over the years, but Alice had never been what men considered “pretty” by her own admission, and she knew that most men didn’t appreciate her straightforward approach or independence either. Matthew, on the other hand, had been too focused on his career in the police for anything more than a casual date.

So, when they discovered their mutual regard for one another, it took them both by surprise. Having little to no practice at being in a relationship, it seemed that everything was new, everything was a milestone that they had to get past, from a first date to a first kiss, a discovery of what the other was like in the morning to learning to take care of and lean on one another.

Both were also such fiercely proud and independent people that were used to looking out for themselves, that the thought of asking for or accepting help was a bit daunting. Gradually, Matthew had begun to accept Alice’s care when it came to his leg and helping him to regain some mobility and strength. And Alice began to accept that Matthew’s old-fashioned manners would not be denied as he held doors and chairs for her, and checked in often to make sure she was comfortable.

But both were terrible at admitting weakness or accepting help when it was offered, and both knew it.

Oddly, despite the fact that Alice was a doctor, it was Matthew that often took on a caretaking role. Alice was strangely clinical, retreating quickly behind brusque manners and diagnoses; as Lucien liked to point out, her bedside manner could use some work. So, it was Matthew that harped at her about making sure that she ate well, got enough rest, and dressed warmly in the cold Ballarat weather.

So, it seemed only fitting that Alice was the first to catch a cold shortly after they began seeing one another more regularly.

She wouldn’t admit that there was anything wrong at first, but Matthew was trained to notice people expressions and behavior, and Alice definitely seemed off in some way.

“Feeling alright, sweetheart?” he asked her at dinner as she listlessly pushed the food around on her plate. She had been much more quiet than usual that day, odd, as she and Lucien had made quite a discovery on a case earlier that had led to the capture of a murderer, and Matthew had ended up taking Alice out to dinner simply to get away from Lucien and his crowing about it. He had thought she’d want to join the other doctor in celebrating, and had been a bit surprised when she had simply acquiesced to his going out. Now, though, watching her push her food around, he wondered if there was something else going on.

“Of course,” Alice looked startled at his question, as if in asking it, he had committed some kind of social faux pas. A moment later though, she turned quickly to the side, pinching her nostrils together as her head bobbed forward, “hi’ingx!”

She turned back to Matthew who was looking nonplussed. “What was that?” he enquired, curiously, “Was that a sneeze?”

“And if it was?” Alice returned, raising an eyebrow.

“Well, then bless you!” Matthew answered her, smiling and raising an eyebrow of his own. “Although I don’t understand why you tried to hide it like that.”

“I was trying not to call any attention to myself,” Alice replied as her breath began hitching. She turned away again, “hi’ingx!”

“Well, you’re doing a bloody awful job of it. Bless you again, by the way,” Matthew smiled at her, watching her dab at the end of her nose with her napkin. “Sure you’re feeling alright?”

Alice sighed, pausing for a moment before answering, “Yes, I’m fine.”

Matthew frowned in response. She was clearly lying; years spent interviewing suspects had given him an almost sixth sense about this sort of thing. It was what to do with that information that puzzled him. Should he push her to tell the truth? Accept her at her word?

Damn, relationships were hard.

Matthew decided to respect her wishes for now, but determined to keep an eye on her anyway. The more time he spent with her, the more he found himself caring for her, and this in turn meant that he found himself slightly worried at the thought that she wasn’t feeling her best.

They finished dinner – or Matthew did; Alice still wasn’t eating much – and headed outside to the car. Alice had developed a slight sniffle, which Matthew found equal parts adorable and concerning. He said nothing, however, merely handed her the spare handkerchief he kept in the glove box in the car, and drove her home.

Matthew had an early start to the day with yet another murder, which kept him distracted so that he forgot about his concern for Alice the previous evening. He was therefore surprised when he stopped by the morgue for a progress report to find Lucien there by himself.

“Where’s Alice,” he blurted before he could stop himself.

Lucien smirked slightly before answering, “I talked her into going home; she has a terrible head cold and could barely focus on what she was doing. Now, about this chap here,” he continued, oblivious to the fact that Matthew was no longer listening.

“Right, drop the report on my desk when you’re done,” Matthew interrupted him finally, turning and heading back out as quickly as he could manage.

He found himself outside Alice’s house before he really gave any thought to what it was he was doing. He limped up the front steps, but stopped before he knocked on the door. What if she didn’t want him there? Was he overstepping himself? Yes, they were courting, but what did that mean, exactly? Finally, taking a deep breath, Matthew rapped smartly on the door and waited for a response.

It seemed like an eternity to Matthew before he finally heard footsteps on the other side of the door. He had been about to bang louder when the door opened, and a pale Alice peered out at him blearily.

“Matthew! What,” her nose scrunched slightly before she turned to the side away from him, “hi’ingx! What are you don’t here?” she finally finished, rubbing her nose with the back of her hand.

“Came to check on you,” he answered brusquely. “Blake said you weren’t well, and” he trailed off, not really sure of what else he should say. Alice’s face, however, underwent a transformation from incredulous to shyly happy; she was glad he had come. And in return, Matthew found that he was glad, too, despite his concern over her obvious misery.

Alice sneezed again, pinching her nose shut, “hi’ingx!” before moving away from the door to let him in. Matthew took in the living room in front of him, a couch covered with blankets, the table in front of it littered with tissues and empty tea cups, and made a decision to take charge.

“Bless you,” he told her, taking her by the arm and steering her back toward the couch.

Alice was startled; Matthew was usually more reticent, almost hesitant in how he treated her. She tried to put up a token protest, some semblance of her usual independence, but a sneezing fit cut her off. She attempted to stifle the harsher ones, but they got away from her anyway, “HuhINX, HuITSH, ISH, ISH, HuhhehINGX!”

“Bless you!” Matthew exclaimed, seating her on the couch and rubbing her back. “Don’t pinch your nose like that,” he admonished her, seeing her getting ready to sneeze again, “You’re only going to give yourself a headache.”

Alice merely shook her head before pitching forward and stifling another sneeze, “ingx!” She leaned back against the couch cushions, looking exhausted. It was all Matthew could do not to wring his hands with worry.

Instead, he gently placed the palm of his hand to her forehead to check her temperature. At this, Alice’s eyes flew open and she attempted to pull away from him. Matthew frowned, and merely pressed his hand tighter, trying to get an accurate read; she was definitely warm, he decided.

“Right,” he said firmly, reaching around her to gather the afghan she had pushed aside earlier and draping it around her shoulders, “You take anything for that fever yet?”

Alice shook her head, “No,” she sighed, “Despite how I feel and Lucien’s fussing at me earlier, I’ve been trying to deny the fact that I’m not quite at my best right now.” She looked defeated, and Matthew felt his heart constrict in his chest.

“Well, let’s see if we can’t fix that. Where do you keep the Bex?” he asked, getting up and moving toward the bathroom.

“In the cabinet above the sink,” Alice replied, tiredly, “But you don’t need to get it, I can do it myself.” She started to get up, but Matthew pivoted around and gently pushed her back onto the couch.

“Not today, sweetheart,” he told her. “Today, you’re going to let me take care of you.”

Alice looked startled for a moment, then pleased, followed by shy, “I’m probably contagious,” she warned him.

Matthew only smiled, “Well then, you can take care of me when I catch it. But until then, you sit tight while I get you some Bex and a cup of tea.”

Alice sat on the sofa, completely gob smacked at what was happening. She had been on her own since age 12. Had put herself through medical school at a time when most women were considered only suitable to be nurses – not doctors. She was a first-class pathologist who stayed up to date on the latest scientific findings so that she could stay competitive with the men. She had long established that she and her independent ways were not something that most men desired. And yet, here she sat while the superintendent of the Ballarat police force was limping his way toward her bathroom to retrieve some Bex in order to make her feel better.

She stifled another sneeze as Matthew returned, “hi’ing!” and he frowned at her in reply.

“Bless,” he said, handing her a glass of water and reaching into his pocket for the bottle of Bex he had stashed there so he could handle his stick and the water together. “You really need to stop holding those in. You’re going to make your cold worse, or damage your ears or something.”

Alice simply sighed. She had sneezed so many times that day already, what were a few more if she stifled them? Although, what he was saying made sense as well from a medical stand point.

Still, the second her breath began hitching again, she once again reached up to pinch her nostrils shut. Only this time, Matthew reached over and grabbed hold of her hands at the last second, forcing her to sneeze openly to the side, “Heh itschoo!” She glared at him, sniffling, as he released her hands.

“You do realize,” she began, “How unsanitary it is to sneeze uncovered, and how many germs are contained in a single sneeze?”

Matthew merely smirked at her, “Better to get them out then,” he told her with a wink. Although she was annoyed, Alice couldn’t help smiling at him, just a little before sneezing again, this time into a handkerchief, “Heh ITSCHOO!”

“Happy,” she asked him.

“Well, no,” he frowned at her, reaching up to stroke her hair off her forehead. “How can I be happy when you’re clearly miserable? But I do appreciate you’re no longer trying to hold your sneezes in.”

Alice melted slightly at his words and his touch. Slowly, she leaned against him slightly, reveling in the feel of him, and wondering if this was alright. Matthew merely shifted slightly to make room for her, and pulled her in close. He kissed her forehead, frowning slightly at the warmth, and reached down to tug the blanket up over her.

Alice was still feeling miserable, and Matthew was still worried, but both of them were also happier and more content than they’d been in many years.

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  • 8 months later...
On 2/27/2018 at 4:02 AM, 20andsickfic said:

OMG please continue I would love some contagion 

Me too!

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