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angora48

Gesundheit - Parks and Rec, m (Ben)

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angora48

Thanks, Seeker. I'll write caretaking fluff on occasion, but for me, it's usually more fun to write something that mimics a regular plot from the show. I thought it was hard coming up with alien plots for some of my sci-fi sickfics, but it turns out pretending I understand anything about park budgets is tricky too! Glad it came off well. ☺️

Part 8 - poor Ben. 😈

 

Leslie and Ben managed to get through all of Ben’s figures by sheer force of will – powering through his cold on Ben’s side, powerful through her distaste for budgets on Leslie’s. Then lunch, then the afternoon, which was a mix of harvest-festival-related things and other general parks business.

Ben caught Leslie in her office at the end of the day, asking if he could take the box of Kleenexes from the conference room. “I foud out that the tissues at by botel are basically siggle-ply saddpaper,” he explained.

“Absolutely!” Leslie enthused, encouraging him to take whatever he needed. She felt bad for Ben, and not just because their adventure in the rain couldn’t have been good for his cold. Being sick was always a bummer, but being sick away from home was even worse. Leslie didn’t like the thought of Ben going back to his uncomfortable motel bed.

The next day, Ben didn’t look any better. If anything, he seemed a little worse for wear as he greeted Leslie coming into the parks department, the Kleenex box from yesterday tucked under his arm. A pinkish tinge ringed his nostrils, and it sounded like he was coughing more.

He stopped outside the conference room, blinking in surprise at the fresh Kleenex box Leslie had set out for him. “You didded’t deed to do that,” he pointed out, his voice low and congested.

“My pleasure,” Leslie told him.

“Doh,” Ben replied, sniffing. “I bead it’s ad uddecess-essary…” he paused, bringing a hand to his face. “ihhhhhhhh-SHIOOOOOO!”

“Gesundheit,” Leslie said.

He sniffled again, grimacing a little as he rubbed his nose. “It’s ad uddecessary expedditure,” he went on. “With the state Pawdee’s budget is id, we dod’t deed it.”

“Well, I didn’t use city funds, so relax,” Leslie informed him. “I picked it up last night.” She nodded to the Kleenex box under his arm. “Keep that one in your motel room and use this one at work. With the state you’re in, I think you’re gonna need both.”

Ben ducked his head, somewhere between bashful and embarrassed. “Thadks,” he mumbled.

There was a department meeting later that morning, discussing overnight vandalism at Brucker Park. As Leslie had promised Ben, they met out front instead of in the conference room. Ben was there, since any cleanup effort had budget implications, but he hung back in the doorway of the conference room, a little apart from everyone else. Leslie glanced at him out the corner of her eye – sitting in his chair with his arms folded, rubbing his nose, his water on the floor by his feet. He looked tired.

“Now, are we sure it was vandals?” Jerry asked. “There was a lot of trash strewn around. Maybe it was just raccoons.”

“We all wish it was just raccoons, Jerry!” Tom retorted dismissively.

“Right – why?” Ben asked. He coughed into his fist, reaching down for his water.

“Did raccoons graffiti the sign, Jerry?” Leslie pointed out. “I know they’re good with their hands and all, and if they found some spray paint, sure, I wouldn’t put it past them. But somehow, I don’t think they can spell.”

“Yeah, get it together, Jerry!” April instructed.

“If you think about it, the park was kind of asking for it,” Tom remarked. “I mean, Brucker Park? That’s low-hanging fruit. How’s a teenager supposed to resist that?”

“Okay, okay, we don’t victim-blame here!” Leslie announced. “Even if the victim in question is a park, and even if-”

“ahhhhhhhh-chiiaahhhhhhhhh!” Ben sneezed.

“Gesundheit,” Leslie told him before continuing, “even if it is an obvious pun. No, now’s not the time for pointing fingers at raccoons or teenagers. Now’s the time for solutions; the girls’ soccer team is practicing there this afternoon. We need to get this sorted out before then, definitely the graffiti and preferably the trash too.”

“Here’s an idea: why don’t we leave it?” Ron asked. “It’s an education, teaching the girls that the world is not your friend. The world is an uncertain place full of obscenities and garbage.”

“Alternatively, we could not,” Donna retorted.

Ben’s breath hitched a little, and he buried a hard “hihhhhh-ehhhhh-shuhhhhhhh!” in the crook of his arm.

“Gesundheit,” Leslie said. “Ron, we’re not leaving it up. Marcia Langman’s daughter is on that team-“

“huhhhhhh-CHOOOO-ehhhhhhh!” Ben sneezed again, cupping his hands over his mouth.

“-Gesundheit – and I’m not in the mood for spending my afternoo-”

But Ben’s nose wasn’t done with him yet. “ehhhhhhh… ihhhhhh-shooooooo!”

“-Gesundheit – my afternoon getting a lecture about how I’m in league-”

“IHHHHH-shiuhhhhhh!”

“-with Satan. Gesundheit.”

By now, everyone was grumbling. “Oh my god!” April griped.

“We have no room for weaklings around here,” Ron informed Ben flatly.

“You realize she’s not going to stop!” Tom exclaimed to him.

Ben, coloring, held a hand up to his nose. “S- sorry, guys,” he said with a grimace. From the halt and catch in his voice, it was clear that his nose was still itching. “I’ll be- be right- back. C- carry od….”

Jumping up from his chair, he pulled the conference room door shut. Leslie watched through the window as he sneezed several times in quick succession into a Kleenex, bracing himself against the table. He pinched the bridge of his nose, closing his eyes for a long moment before he reached for a fresh Kleenex. Poor guy.

By the time Ben came back, Leslie had finished delegation: Donna get new paint for the sign, Jerry pick up all the garbage, and Tom and April keep any kids from entering the park while Leslie handled the repainting. “We can do this, people!” Leslie told them. “Those hooligans thought they could beat us, but not today!”

While the troops sprang into action (okay, more trudged into action,) Leslie circled back to Ben. “I know it’d be cheaper to wash the graffiti off,” she explained, “but it’d also be slower, and time is of the essence.”

Ben nodded an acknowledgement, sniffling. “Just bake sure Dodda gets exterior paidt,” he said. “If we’re gudda pay for it, we dod’t wadt it streaking the first tibe it raids.”

“Of course,” Leslie agreed. She stole a glance at the others, who were all occupied now. “You okay?”

“Mbb – yeah,” Ben replied quickly, though Leslie noticed that he was still blushing. “Just- you doh.”

“Yeah,” Leslie replied softly. As Ben sniffed again, rubbing his nose, she put her hand on his shoulder. “Don’t work too hard, all right? Be back later.”

Ben gave a halfhearted salute. “Will do,” he promised.

Leslie didn’t like how worn out he looked, and she’d have liked to have Ann come and give him a once-over, just to be safe, but her thoughts were returning to the graffitied sign and the 10-to-12-year-old girls who’d be arriving at the park in less than four hours. As much as she might like to, she couldn’t stick around any longer.

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All Time No

Ahhh I step away for a bit and come back to two updates! This just keeps getting better and better! You’re such an amazing writer!

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angora48

Aw, thanks, All Time No! 🤗

Part 9!

 

Starting off his day with a sneezing fit in the middle of a meeting wasn’t exactly Ben’s idea of a good time. He was relieved when everyone took off to deal with the vandalism at Brucker Park, leaving him with the whole place to himself. Granted, Ben still spent his morning in the conference park with the door closed, but it was nice to know no one was on the other side of it; when he needed to blow his nose, he didn’t self-consciously glance up at the windows to see if anyone was looking in.

They all came back while Ben was having his lunch (just some chicken salad from the commissary, he wasn’t that hungry,) and Leslie burst into the conference room to regale him with the tale of this latest averted crisis. As usual, it was full of near disasters and harrowing last-minute saves, and as usual, Ben found himself caring purely because of how much care Leslie exuded as she spoke.

“What about you?” she asked when the gripping-in-her-mind saga came to an end. “What have you been working on?” She was sitting in the same chair she had yesterday, several seats away from Ben, without his having to remind her; he appreciated that.

“We still deed to cut aduther fourteed percedt f-” Ben paused, coughing in his shoulder. He sniffed and cleared his throat. “-Frob the library budget, so I’ve bed-”

“Well, that’s easy,” Leslie told him. “No library. There – 100% cut. You’re welcome!”

“That’s wud opshud,” Ben replied evenly. “Add for extra savigs, we burd the books id the widter for heat?”

“Hey, I’m coming in here with good ideas,” Leslie countered. “I don’t know why you can’t be serious.” Movement through the window caught her eye. “Uh oh – Randy Coleville’s here. He always has a problem, and he always thinks only Ron can solve it. I’d better go, April can only block him from getting into Ron’s office for so long. See you later!”

Working with Chris, Ben never really had a quiet day at the office, but Chris’s interruptions were usually about body fat, heartrates, or why these were “literally” the greatest pair of socks he’d ever owned. The parks department brought its own activity, and Ben found himself kind of liking the unpredictable madness of it. Yeah, on a day like today, when his nose was running and his throat hurt like hell, it could be tiring, but he liked the way Leslie always managed to imbue the chaos with importance. She could interrupt his work on the library budget with as many “crisis”-update interruptions as she wanted.

As the day wore on, Ben found Leslie’s “just cut the whole thing” idea more and more attractive. Not because he was virulently anti-library like apparently everyone in this department (seriously, what was up with that? Ben was aware of the bad blood between Ron and his ex-wife, but this went deeper than loyalty to their boss. The library angered these people in their souls, for reasons Ben doubted he would ever understand.) No, because his cold was locked in a battle of wills with his brain, and it felt like the cold was winning.

It wasn’t just the sneezing or coughing, not the various aches or his almost-continually-running nose. Ben felt dragged down, his head clouded and his eyes sore. In other words, not an ideal condition for poring over columns of numbers. Ben did his best to keep at it, but he found himself reading the same rows over and over again and he had to check most calculations at least a few times before he could be sure he wasn’t making a clumsy, distracted error.

It was around 2:30 when he poked his head inside Leslie’s office, rapping quietly on the door frame. “Hey, Leslie?” Ben asked, grimacing at how apparent his cold was in his voice.

Leslie looked up from her desk, where she appeared to be cross-referencing no fewer than seven binders. “Hey,” she said replied, with a warm grin. “What’s shaking?”

Ben cleared his throat, ducking his head as he rubbed his nose. “So, I already called Chris, but I wadted to let you doh too. I-” his nose was starting to itch; he rubbed it again, “-I’m takig off e- early….” Drawing in a breath, he lifted his hand to his face.

“Aw!” exclaimed Tom, sitting kitty-corner to Leslie, with mock concern. “Does widdle Ben still have the sniffles?”

Ben would have liked to respond with something sardonic like, “You mean since this morning? Yeah, can’t seem to shake it,” something that would hopefully distract from the blush he could feel spreading in from his ears. But naturally, that was the precise moment he couldn’t hold the sneeze in any longer. “IHHHHHHHHH-hehhhhhhhh-shooooooo!”

“Gesundheit,” Leslie said hastily before ordering, “Tom, go help Jerry.”

“With what?” Tom retorted.

“I don’t know, but it’s Jerry,” Leslie told him. “Whatever he’s doing, he’s gonna need help.”

“Fine,” Tom grumbled with a sulky flail. He pushed past Ben on his way out of the office.

Once they were alone, Leslie looked back at Ben. “Feeling pretty crappy, huh?” she asked with a lopsided, sympathetic smile.

“Hoddestly, it’s d- dot that baaa- uhhhhhhh-CHUHHHHHHHH!” Ben sneezed, clapping a hand over his mouth.

“Gesun-” Leslie started to say, but Ben, still tensing, held up a finger for her to wait.

“hihhhhhhhh-chiaahhhhhhhhh! Ehhhhhhhhh… huhhhhhhhhhh-SHOOOOOOO!” Ben sighed heavily as his shoulders finally relaxed.

“Gesundheit,” Leslie told him.

Ben nodded wearily. “It’s dot that bad, hoddestly,” he resumed, although he knew he wasn’t making a great case for himself. “It’s just, I’be feeling kide of ruddowd, add you get to a point where it stops baking sedse to call it a work day whed I’be half doddig off id the codference roob.”

He coughed into his cupped hands, then continued, “So, I’be just gudda head back to by botel roob add try to get sobe rest. Hopefully be back toborrow, but I’ll let you know.” He sniffed hard, wriggling his nose. “Sorry about this….”

“What??” Leslie replied. “Are you kidding me?” With a grin, she jerked her head toward the door, and speak out the side of her mouth in a bad impression of indeterminate origin, added, “Ged owdda hee-uh.”

Ben smiled back and would’ve replied, but his nose was bugging him again. “hahhhhhhhh-SHUHHHHHH!” he sneezed into his hands, bending at the waist.

“Gesundheit – feel better,” Leslie told him.

Ben straightened up, a flicker of a tired smile on his face. “Thadks,” he said.

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HarryPotterGeek

This is the best!

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ickydog2006

Amazing update as always

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angora48

Thanks! 😊

Here's Part 10.

 

A cruel irony of being sick was feeling ridiculously tired but being almost entirely unable to sleep. Ben grabbed a quick but lethargic shower when he got back to his motel room, then spent the next few hours trying to navigate the wildly-variable discomfort of his mattress, each square inch of which seemed uniquely designed to conspire against sleep.

It probably didn’t help that his head was pounding and that, every time he felt himself starting to drift off, he’d either start coughing or have to sneeze. (Chris would probably say the coffee also had something to do with it, a fair and reasonable point that Ben would completely refuse to acknowledge.)

He’d finally turned on a Law & Order marathon in the hopes of it distracting him enough to let him fall asleep, when there was a knock at the door. Frowning, Ben pushed himself up in bed and sniffed, rubbing his nose. “Give- uh, give be a secodd!” he called.

He rose, coughing, and walked stiffly to the door, where he found Leslie on the other side. The fact that this possibility hadn’t occurred to him showed just how out of it Ben was feeling. Of course it was Leslie – who else would be coming to check on him?

“Hey,” she said brightly. She was carrying a few Styrofoam containers stacked on top of one another, and they swayed precariously as she nodded toward them. “Grab the two on top,” she instructed. “Chicken and wild rice soup and a turkey club.”

Ben did as he was told before the Styrofoam takeout tower lost its integrity. “I- thadks,” he said. “You really didded’t have t- to doooo- thiihhhh… ihhhhhh…” Leslie reached out to steady his containers as he buried a hard “hehhhhhhh-CHOOOOOO!” into his shoulder.

“Gesundheit,” Leslie said. “And of course I did. Everyone deserves a little extra care when they’re sick. I don’t know how you do things in Indianapolis, but-”

“Is this the part where you tell be how durturing Pawdeeads are?” Ben broke in. “Because this bording, April told be she was going to cut off by dose.”

“She always saves her most specific threats for people she likes,” Leslie pointed out, following him inside.

“I’ll take your word for it,” Ben said, trying to remember the last time he heard Leslie say anything negative about someone who wasn’t a librarian or a person from Eagleton. Or Jerry. He glanced at Leslie as she settled into the chair by the bed, still carrying a takeout container. “What’s id that wud?” he asked.

Leslie looked at him as though it were the most obvious thing in the world. “These are my waffles.”

“Of course they are,” Ben replied. He set his own containers on the end table while he sat back down on the bed. “After all, it’s bed a whole two days since you had waffles frob JJ’s.” He sniffed, reaching for the soup container. “Clearly, I’be off by gabe.”

“Well, you’ve got a good reason for it,” Leslie told him, picking up the waffle with her hands and biting into it. “I won’t hold it against you. What are we watching?”

Law & Order,” Ben said. He didn’t see a spoon, so he just lifted the container to his mouth and sipped from it. “Coulded’t sleep.”

“Well, no wonder!” Leslie exclaimed. “Talk about being off your game – how are you supposed to sleep when you have to watch till the end to find out who did it?”

“First, I- Iaaaahhhh…” Ben covered his mouth. “ehhhhhh-shiooooooo!”

“Gesundheit,” Leslie said.

Ben sniffed. “I thidk you’re overestibating by idvestbent id Law & Order,” he continued. “Seccod, you dod’t deed to watch till the edd. All these shows are the sabe. The killer shows up id the first ted biddutes, and it’s always the boste iddocuous persod they questchud.”

“I dunno – that’s a mighty well-thought-out argument for someone who isn’t invested,” Leslie observed. Ben chuckled at that, turning away to cough into his shoulder.

Ben was someone who’d always just as soon be left to his own devices when he was sick, but he found he welcomed Leslie’s company more than he expected. As they ate together and debated Law & Order, he was able to stop dwelling on how much it sucked that he couldn’t get to sleep. His cold was no better than it was before she got there, obviously, but somehow, it didn’t bug him as much.

“Hihhhhhhh-CHIUHHHHHHHH!” he sneezed into his steepled hands. Leslie opened her mouth to speak but shut it again when she saw that Ben’s hands were still over his nose and mouth. “ehhhhhhhh-huhhhhhhhh-choooooooo!”

“Gesundheit,” she said. “Is it the mechanic? It’s the mechanic, isn’t it? No, the woman from the coffee shop! She was way too cooperative with the police – can’t get much more innocuous than that.”

As Ben wiped his nose, he smiled a little. He reached over to pick up the sandwich she’d brought him – no, he didn’t mind her company at all.

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ickydog2006

I'm glad she came to help take care of him. :)

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angora48

But of course! Every sickfic needs to get to the caretaking scenes eventually. 😉 Since Leslie and Ben are both very focused on their work, I thought it would've seemed out of character for him to call in sick right away, or for Leslie to make him go back to his motel room. But once Ben admitted "defeat," I figured it was only a matter of time before Leslie showed up!

Here's Part 11.

 

Leslie was glad she’d decided it was totally within her purview as deputy director of the parks department to come check on Ben. Even though he was obviously still feeling crappy, she could tell that the food she brought cheered him up a little, and there’s really not much point in watching a mystery show if you don’t have somebody else to bounce your theories off of. They finished one Law & Order episode (it was the mechanic, not the woman from the coffee shop) and began another.

“Okay, what do you think?” Leslie said when they came to the second commercial break. “The pet store owner or the bus driver?”

“I’be going with the pet store owder,” Ben told her, “but I’d give the guy with the ubbbrella ad- ad outside shot t- too-oooo….” His breath hitching, he grabbed a Kleenex from the box on the bed beside him. “HAAHHHHHHHH-chiiaaahhhhhhhhh!”

“Gesundheit,” Leslie said.

“Thadks,” Ben replied, stifling a cough. He blew his nose, and Leslie took it as a personal victory that he’d unwound enough that he wasn’t embarrassed to do it in front of her. Sniffling, he gave his nose a final wipe and dropped the Kleenex in the wastebasket he’d placed next to the bed.

He coughed again, cupping his hands over his mouth, and slid down a little in the bed. He was still propped up enough to see the TV screen, but he was definitely more lying than sitting.

Ben’s eyes flickered to Leslie, noticed her looking at him. “What?” he asked. “Oh god, I dod’t have a sdot trail, do I?” He wiped his nose with the palm of his hand.

“No, no snot trails!” Leslie reassured him. “You’re good.” She frowned, getting up and walking over to him. “Although, you do look kind of flushed.” She raised her hand toward his forehead. “Can I…?”

After a moment’s deliberation, Ben nodded, and Leslie felt his forehead. “Yeah, you feel a little warm,” she decided. She felt his cheek with the back of her hand.

“Oh, good,” Ben said, his look somewhere between sheepish and weary.

“I should let you get some rest-” Leslie started to say.

But Ben replied, “No. I- I just bead you dod’t have to go, dot yet. Gotta figure out if the pet store owder is our guy, right?”

Leslie grinned. “I said you’d get too invested to fall asleep to it.”

“Hey, that’s why you’re here,” Ben countered, “to report back to be ihhh- ihhhhffff…” he tensed, turning away from her. “ihhhhhhh-SHUHHHHHHH!”

“Gesundheit,” Leslie told him.

“-If I drift off before the ending,” Ben finished, sniffing. He yawned. He did look tired – not the ragged kind of tired he looked that afternoon when he told her he was leaving early, but a drowsy kind of tired, his eyelids just starting to get heavy.

“In other words, you’re lucky I came along,” Leslie pointed out. “If I wasn’t here, you’d have watched all these from start to finish just to see how they ended – no exit strategy.”

“huhhhhhhh-CHOOOOOO!” Ben sneezed, hard, into his hands.

“Gesundheit,” Leslie said.

“Mbb hbb,” Ben mumbled, rubbing his nose. “I think bost people would say they’re lucky you cabe allog,” he remarked. “Just, you doh, gederally.”

Leslie smiled, wondering if he was fully aware of how sweet that was. “That’s what they tell me,” she said lightly, jokingly.

Ben nodded, stifling a coughing into the back of his hand. “I bet they do,” he agreed, yawning again.

Leslie knew he was tired and a little feverish, and in the morning, he may or may not remember this conversation. But she would, and she appreciated him for it. Leslie always tried to let people know what she valued in them, and it was so nice to have somebody in turn say, I see this in you. Thank you. People didn’t do that enough these days.

So she stayed and they watched Law & Order together, their bantering theories trailing away as Ben gradually nodded off. When Leslie left, turning off the TV, adjusting Ben’s blankets, and switching off the lights, he was snoring quietly. She was glad she’d had the chance to be there for him.

Not quite over yet! Conclusion tomorrow!

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angora48

Here's Part 12, the end of "Gesundheit." Thanks to everybody who read and commented. I love Leslie and Ben, separately and together - I had a lot of fun playing with these characters, and I'm glad other people like it!

 

Ben woke with a sneeze, a strong “hihhhhhhh-uhhhhhhh-chiiuuuhhhhhhhh!” into his pillow. He sniffled wetly and groped around on the nightstand for a tissue. Propping himself up on his elbows, he wiped up his nose and gave it a hard blow.

When he resurfaced from behind the tissue, Ben blinked in the dim light of his motel room. There were several Post-It notes stuck to the head board, all featuring speech bubbles with “ZZZZZZZZZZZ” written inside them. Smiling sleepily, Ben rubbed his nose and considered the possibilities.

Option one: Leslie carried Post-It notes in her purse as a matter of course. Option two: she swiped his room key, went out, bought some, and came back, purely for that gag. Option three: she went down to the lobby and sweet-talked the woman at the front desk into giving her some, also for no reason other than doing that gag. Ben wasn’t sure which option was the most Leslie, but he found he was charmed by all of them.

Coughing into the back of his hand, Ben reached for his phone. The brightness of the screen made his eyes ache in the dark room, but he scrolled through his contacts and tapped Leslie’s name, sniffling as he listened to the ringing on the other end.

“Hey, you’re up,” Leslie said, a smile in her voice, as soon she picked up.

“Wa- waaas…” Ben trailed off. “ehhhhhhh… hehhhhhhhh… hihhhhhhhh-ehhhhhh-SHUHHHHHHHH!”

“Gesundheit,” she told him.

Ben sniffed, swallowing a congested groan. “Was by sdoring really that bad?” he asked.

“Hey, everybody snores when they’re stuffed up – don’t worry about it,” Leslie reassured him. “So I’m guessing you’re off again today?”

“Well, codsidering that it’s…” Ben glanced at the time on his phone, “…oh god, after ted add I still haved’t gotted out of bed? Apparedtly.” He coughed a little and cleared his throat. “Crap, I’d better call Chris add-”

“Actually, I did that already,” Leslie broke in. “It’s not like you to be late, so when you didn’t show up this morning, I let Chris know you probably wouldn’t be coming in.”

“Oh,” Ben said. If he had to guess, he’d say he was still mildly feverish, and he took in Leslie’s words on a slight delay. “Thadks.”

“He says to feel better, by the way,” Leslie told him. “Also, to not come back to your regular office until you’ve been symptom-free for 24 hours.”

Ben smiled. “Yeah, that souds like Chris,” he acknowledged. “haaaahhhhhhhhh-shiiaahhhhhhhh!”

“Gesundheit,” Leslie said. “Hey, I know you said you were still in bed, but do you think you could make it as far as the hallway?”

“Why?” Ben asked, sniffing as he wiped his nose.

“You’ll see,” Leslie replied.

Ben pushed himself up, staggering a little as he got out of bed and walked stiffly to the door (he might have gotten his first decent night’s sleep in days, but that didn’t make the mattress any less uncomfortable.) Fumbling for the doorknob in the dark, he opened the door and found a small paper sack and a box of tea bags sitting on the floor in front of him. He laughed, just a bit.

“At first, I was going to get you actual tea that’s been, you know, made, but then I didn’t know how long it’d be sitting out there before you got up,” Leslie explained. “Are you gonna be able to make tea, or-?”

“Yeah,” Ben told her, bending down to retrieve his gifts (the paper sack, he found, contained an everything bagel and a packet of butter – “Figured that’d be better to leave sitting out than cream cheese,” Leslie said.) “There’s a coffee pot id by botel roob. I’ll just leave out the actual coffee add use it to hea-” he broke off, coughing into his fist as he returned to the bed, “-heat the water.”

“Okay, good,” Leslie said. “After I got to city hall, I started second-guessing myself.”

Ben flipped on the switch of the lamp on the nightstand as he settled back into the bed, which set his nose off. “ahhhhhhhhh-shuhhhhhhhhhh! Ehhhhhhhhhhh… hihhhhhhhhh-CHIUHHHHHHH! Mbbbb….” He sniffed, grabbing a tissue.

“Gesundheit,” Leslie replied. Ben could practically hear her wincing through the phone.

“Thadks,” Ben said. “I bead it – thadks, for everything you’ve bed doing for be this week.” He sniffed, scrubbing at his nose with his finger. “Dod’t get be wrong, being sick still kide of sucks. But you bake it suck less.”

“Glad I can help,” Leslie told him.

A moment passed between them, and Ben was about to speak (to say what? he wasn’t sure he knew,) but his nose had other ideas. “aaaahhhhhhh… huhhhhh-CHOOOOO-ehhhhh!”

“Gesundheit,” Leslie said again. “I’d better let you get some rest.”

“Yeah,” Ben agreed quietly, letting it pass; there would be other moments. “Yeah, I thidk you’re right.”

“See, that’s where we differ, Wyatt,” Leslie told him cheekily, “I know I’m right!” Ben smiled. “But seriously: rest,” Leslie continued. “You need to start feeling better so you’re fighting fit again. There’s still a lot to do before the harvest festival, and we can’t do it without you.”

“Received add udderstood,” Ben replied.

A beat. “Check in on you later?”

Ben smiled, stifling a small cough. “I wouldn’t expect anything else,” he assured her.

“Okay,” Leslie said. “Well, good night. Or- good morning? Sleep well, anyway!”

“Will do,” Ben replied, and after a quick, “Bye!” from Leslie, she was gone.

Sniffling, Ben spread a little butter on his bagel and took his first bite. One of the reasons he felt well-suited to a job where he was constantly traveling was that he’d always considered himself to be a very self-sufficient guy, and obviously, he was more than capable of looking after himself when he had a cold. But here in Pawnee was this person he found who seemed to want to look out for him. He wasn’t handling everything on his own this time, and he had to admit, it was a good feeling.

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ickydog2006

This has been such a wonderful fic to read. Thank you for sharing it.

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All Time No

Ahhh I can’t believe I missed so many updates! The ending of that last part was just adorable!

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Seeker

I love the post-it notes! So cute! A lovely ending 

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VividBubbles!

This fic couldn’t be any more perfect, I adored each and every update. Thank you for blessing us with more Ben content!!

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Rika

I live for Ben and Leslie and you've written them so well!  This was delightful, thanks for writing it! ❤️

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phoenix

Ahh, this was lovely! The characterization and the Pawnee quirks (the obscene corn maze, lol) were spot on. I'm most of the way through yet another Parks and Rec rewatch before it comes off Netflix, and this was the a perfect fic to go along with it. ❤️

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Sneesee

I don’t even watch this show, but oh my gosh this was so much fun to read! The characters, sounds like you nailed them! I loved it!❤️

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angora48

Thanks, all! @phoenix, I've been watching Parks and Rec on Netflix too - on track to finish just before it gets taken off. And @Sneesee, glad you enjoyed it even though you don't watch the show!

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flowerpower67

I skimmed this last night to find the sneezing parts and to see how long it was. But I'm very impressed at how well this was written. It definitely has the P/R feel to it. P/R is my comfort show, it makes me feel better when I'm feeling sad or sick. I've never read a P/R sick fic though and this one is amazing. I'm definitely going back to read the whole thing word for word, but I wanted to share my initial reaction with you. I never thought about writing a P/R fic because I've never thought about the character's vulnerability like this--which is weird because I think about that sh- for almost any other show I watch. I didn't know I needed a Ben sick fic until now. You are a really good writer. Keep up the good work! 

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