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Always Will Be Looked After (Top Gun, Rooster)


Wolfwings22

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I’ve gotten a couple requests for a sick Rooster fic recently where Maverick takes care of him, so here it is! This is going to be a multi-chapter fic just because once I started, it continued to flow. It was super fun to write and really explore Maverick’s and Goose’s father/son relationship and how they both still struggle with relying on each other, and really highlighting that in this Sickfic. Also, I will apologize in advance for any spelling or grammatical errors. I worked a double shift at my job yesterday and got sun poisoning so my temperature has been all over he place and I am definitely not in he best headspace so I’m sorry if it’s not quite up to par like my other stories. I hope you all still enjoy!

@spn27695I hope you like it!

 

Also this includes spoilers for Top Gun Maverick so read at your own risk!

 

 

 

 

 

    Rooster came into Top Gun Academy feeling like absolute garbage. He had woken up for class that morning to a sore throat and a persistent need to cough in his lungs. Taking a shower had zapped most of his energy and it had taken running almost on autopilot to make it to class, hoping that he didn’t look as rough as he felt. There was no way that he could be grounded when the team had been working on new maneuvers that Maverick had designed for another top secret mission. They were finally working as a team, but they had a whole lot of work to do before Rooster could confidently say that they were all ready.

    This was something he just couldn’t miss.

    So, when he walked into class to find the rest of his classmates fooling around before Maverick arrived for their lesson, Rooster didn’t feel the usual pull to join in.

    “Hey, look who finally decided to join us,” announced Hangman from his position sitting on one of the desks, a football grasped in his hands from who knows where.

    Bob instinctively looked up upon seeing Rooster arrive. “Finally someone else to listen to Hangman drone on about how he saved you and Maverick. He’s been telling it nonstop.”

    Hangman feigned surprise when he looked to Bob. “You know you love that story, Bob.”

    Bob rolled his eyes as Phoenix leaned over to whisper something in his ear. Bob couldn’t help but stifle a chuckle behind his hand with a glance to Hangman.

    Hangman slid off of the desk and tossed the football underhand towards Rooster. The football struck his chest before bouncing to the ground. He was left blinking his eyes in surprise, almost taken aback that Hangman had actually thrown something at him and expected him to catch it.

    “Not the best day to have your head in the clouds,” Hangman joked as he stooped down to grab the football. “Especially with Maverick quizzing us on those maneuvers today. Hope you bring your A-game if you think you’re going to win a dogfight against me.”

    Ordinarily Rooster may have something equally sharp, or cunning to respond, especially in the early mornings. However, all Rooster did was turn up his nose at Hangman and slink back over to his seat without so much as a laugh or anything.

    Hangman huffed as he turned to Phoenix. “Who pissed in his coffee?”

    Phoenix waved him off, though she did steal a worried glance in his direction. Bob did the same, though no one was brave enough to actually say anything to him.

    It was only a short minute later that Maverick strolled in and immediately the pilots began to disperse to their seats, sharing excited whispers until Maverick appeared to silence them with a sudden look.

    “Can anyone tell the maneuver we were discussing last class and the dangers associated with them,” Maverick called, jumping right into class head first. 

    Phoenix exchanged a glance with Coyote while Bob nervously tapped the end of his pen on the desk. Hangman was looking smug as ever, but even he didn’t raise his hand. 

    Maverick eyed the room curiously only to stop when his gaze landed on Rooster, who was rubbing at his nose fiercely with the side of his hand. A flash of worry wormed through him, but since the very beginning of his time teaching at Top Gun, Maverick had always stated that he would treat Rooster just like any of the other pilots. If he wasn’t paying attention like the others for whatever reason, Maverick had the right to call him on it, no matter how much he didn’t want to.

    “Lt. Bradshaw, how about you debrief the class,” Maverick suggested.

    Rooster instinctively dropped his hand when it was clear that all eyes were on him. He struggled not to glower as he straightened and cleared his throat with a light cough. “Herbest maneuver, sir.”

    Maverick gave a small dip of his head. “That is correct. It’s by far not the hardest thing you’ll come across out there, but it’s one that if done correctly can give you the upper hand during attacks from multiple angles. What about the dangers?”

    “Dangers,” echoed Rooster before he could stop himself.

    Hangman snickered and elbowed Coyote lightly. “They should’ve called him parrot instead of Rooster if he’s going to repeat what everyone else says.”

    Maverick was about to scold him when Rooster suddenly began to cough and struggled to bring his elbow up to his mouth, body straining to quiet the sudden coughs as much as possible.

    Taking pity on the younger man, Maverick looked over to Hangman. “What about you, Hangman? Can you tell me the dangers of the Herbert maneuver?”

    Hangman began to answer in his usual cocky tone that Maverick had come to expect from him. However, his attention was still very much on Rooster. He was well aware that Rooster was looking anywhere besides at him, especially when he started to rub even harder at his pinkish tinged nose. It didn’t take long for him to crunch forward into his elbow, trying to make himself as small as possible. It was just enough that no one else would notice—except Maverick wasn’t just anybody.

    “Huh’Rhrsh’Shoo! Huh’RhcSh’Shoo!” It was two fairly contained sneezes despite the build up for them, and it hardly left Rooster doing anything besides shifting in his seat and looking back at Maverick expectantly as if daring him to say anything about it.

    “Bless you,” Bob suddenly whispered as he leaned forward and patted Rooster’s shoulder before leaning back, reluctantly turning his attention back to Hangman, who was still explaining the possible dangers of the Herbert maneuver.

    Rooster gave a small lift of his hand in understanding only to look up once again, clearly looking as though he wanted to be there discussing anything with anyone besides letting Bob know how he felt.

    Maverick found himself struggling to pay attention to what Hangman was saying as well, and he had to give himself a mental shake before replying. “Although it is a relatively simple maneuver for this group, I’m going to be throwing some surprise elements when we’re up there. We’ll go one at a time and then in pairs. I want you to know this maneuver like the back of your hand, because it very well can save your life.” 

    “You’re talking awfully highly from a maneuver that they use in air shows,” Coyote blurted.

    A smile tugged on the corners of Maverick’s mouth. “You’re confused Herbert with Pugachev’s Cobra. They’re very similar, but the Herbert is used for more combat assignments, which is what you are training for.”

    Coyote leaned over to whisper in Fanboy’s ear, who instinctively chuckled at what the other had said. It was a testament to Maverick’s attention to Rooster that he didn’t make Coyote repeat it for the whole class to hear.

    “If there aren’t anymore questions.....” Maverick slowly trailed off until he didn’t see any hands, nor hear anyone blurt out with any. “Let’s get suited up and you can show me just how much you can use this maneuver firsthand.”

    The class eagerly left their seats with a clattering of chair legs scraping against the floor and excited whispers. Anytime they were able to take the lesson into the air was always well received in a way that classroom work never was. Maverick couldn’t blame then considering that he had been the same way; he could recall being as much of a pain in the ass student as Hangman could be and never wanted too spend too much time inside when the best teacher was all of them in their jets, practicing what they had learned until it was second nature. That was the experience he wanted for his pilots.

    While the rest of the pilots headed toward the lockers to change and suit up for practice, Rooster appeared almost listless as he looked around to realize that everyone else had already left. He sprang to his feet instant and rushed to push his chair in. 

    “Rooster, got a minute,” Maverick questioned as he strolled over.

    Rooster frowned as he deliberately looked down so not to meet Maverick’s gaze. “Yeah, sure, but if I keep them all waiting you know Hangman won’t let me live it down.”

    His voice was light and with his usual humor, though Maverick still wasn’t convinced. He reached out his hand to graze over Rooster’s wrist, but the man in question was quick to pull back, giving a wide berth between himself and Maverick.

    “Are you alright,” Maverick found himself asking without nearly the nonchalance he had hoped for. “You’re awfully pale and you seemed out of it during class.”

    Rooster shrugged. “Fine, fine, just didn’t sleep well last night. I’ll feel much more energized when I get in the air.”

    Although Maverick desperately wanted to believe that, he also knew an excuse when he heard one. The amount of times he had claimed the same that a flight would be sure to lift his spirits or cure any ailment, it was far from the truth and something that he didn’t want Rooster having to go through too. 

    “You’re sure that there isn’t something else going on?”

    “Nothing, Mav, I’m sure.”

    Maverick momentarily thought about sending him to be checked out at medical just to be on the safe side. He was fairly good friends with one of the senior medics thanks to all the times that he had gotten roughed up during flights gone wrong and knew that this particular medic wouldn’t ground Rooster unless absolutely necessary. He finally decided against it as he saw the determined look in Rooster’s eyes. Besides, Rooster wasn’t a child and should be trusted to make his own decisions, at least that’s how Maverick saw it for the time being.

    Whatever else Maverick wanted to say faded as he nodded in the direction the rest of the pilots had went. “Suit up. I’ll be there in a minute.”

    Rooster didn’t hesitate to speed off, disguising a few coughs into his shoulder as small shrugs when he had turned his back to Maverick. 

    Huffing in distain, Maverick took off in the opposite direction, for once hoping that his pilots would take a little longer to suit up for him to run a quick errand.

    The infirmary wasn’t too far from the classroom and Maverick was able to jog there in record time. He slipped in to find that it wasn’t overly busy, but there were a few people who were being checked out or checked off that they had acquired their physical before being deployed to one of the numerous vessels. Maverick could remember going through this numerous times, and had even gotten himself a reputation throughout his career as being less than cooperative most of the time.

    Maverick scanned the room until he found the man that he was looking for. The man was of medium height with short brown hair and green eyes. He had kneeled in front of a bed and was pressing two fingers on an Lt.’s leg, frowning at what he found. He straightened quickly and murmured something quiet enough for only the Lt. to hear before motioning to one of the nurses. The officer stepped off from the bed and limped off, face twisted in pain.

    Maverick sidestepped to allow both the nurse and officer to pass before continuing forward to the physician. “Savant?”

    The man instantly stopped what he was doing and turned to face Maverick with a glint of amusement in his eyes. “I haven’t been a pilot for years, Mav. You don’t have to call me by my callsign anymore,” the man in question responded. “I’m just a flight surgeon now.”

    “You do more than you give yourself credit for. You deploy with us on the cruiser and are in charge of all those squadrons, which makes you one of us. Besides, I know how much you like it.” Maverick had been in awe when he had first met him, that much he could remember. Savant had flown for years and had even earned the rank of captain before deciding to complete his medical training. Most people only knew him now as a medic on base that also often was deployed on numerous naval ships thanks to his experience with combat training and what injuries that could mean. Maverick had known he had a stellar career and didn’t show any sign of stopping soon.

    The flight surgeon chuckled as he stuck his hands into the pockets of his uniform. “What are you really here for? I know you didn’t come all the way to the infirmary to catch up.”

    A rush of guilt surged through Maverick. It was true he didn’t stop by to talk to Savant when they weren’t deployed overseas despite the fact that he owed so much to him. Sometimes they would catch up at the Hard Deck, but Savant kept by himself and busy between his deployments by serving pilots on base until he was sent out again. He had far from a stable work schedule, but still, Maverick did feel a pang of shame for not seeing him more often.

    “I was wondering if you could look at Rooster,” Maverick questioned. 

    Savant tipped his head. “Is he hurt?”

    “No.....not that I know of.” Maverick gnawed on his bottom lip, head shaking. “There’s just something off about him. I thought he may be feverish but.....”

    Savant sighed, knowing just how he had to deal with Maverick but not knowing whether or not he had the patience for it. “Maverick, you know telling me this I’ll have to ground him, right?”

    Of course Maverick had known that; he had been in the Navy long enough to know that anything he confessed to Savant would be taken through the lens of mandated reporting and the right for any pilot to be grounded if they would be a safety risk to themselves or others. Maverick himself had been on the other side of that countless times, with Savant or other medical officers in his day. His trust had been formed with Savant verses the rest of them, however, so he was fond that he tended to stay with Top Gun. Although, Maverick had a feeling that Ice may have had something to do with that.

    “Just.....if I convince him to come here can you check him out, and if you find him unable to be airborne I can take him home? I’m not sure he would listen to only me about this,” Maverick continued, mind already racing to come up with a way that he could convince Rooster to go there on his own. 

    Savant nodded. “If you bring him here, I can see what’s going on.” 

    Relief weighed down on Maverick. It wasn’t quite as simple as having a conversation with Rooster as Maverick was expecting some sort of pushback, but he was hoping that he could at least try to make him see reason. He may put up a fight, but when push came to shove, he wasn’t going to put anyone else in danger.

    “Hmmm, better run and catch him before he suits up,” Savant pointed out with a nod to the radio he kept in the corner of the infirmary for him to better hear when there was an injury or accident. “If he’s like anyone else I know, he’ll be stubborn about it.” 

    Maverick deliberately looked away, rocking back and forth on his feet. “I’m assuming you’re talking about Iceman?”

    Savant huffed to himself and turned back to a clipboard with a pen swinging from it. “Whatever you have to tell yourself, Mitchell.”

    Maverick ducked back out of the infirmary, pleased that at least one thing was taken care of. Now all he had to do was get Rooster to get checked out before he got into the air. He was certain that it wouldn’t go smoothly, but he hoped that Rooster would see reason before Maverick turned it into an order.

    He headed over to the lockers and was relieved to see that although Rooster was changing into his flight suit with everyone else, he was doing so slowly as though ever inch of his body ached in someway. If Maverick hadn’t known any better, he would think that Rooster was feeling worse than he let on if he already had body aches to contend with.

    Rooster turned away from the rest of the locker room as they all laughed and jeered. He bent over to cough softly in the crook of his elbow before sniffling and straightening as he began to zip himself in.

    “Hey, Captain, what are you doing in here,” Hangman joked fondly when he saw Maverick standing at the entrance. “Thought you’d already be suited up.”

    Maverick motioned behind him. “Just thought I would give you a head start so that you may have a chance against me.”

    Excitement glittered in Hangman’s gaze as he motioned for the rest of the pilots to follow him, no doubt thinking of ever possible way they could complete the maneuver and still take Maverick down. It was far from impossible, but Maverick’s unpredictable nature made it difficult to even think about planning their next move. That was how Maverick liked it, though he would never actually confess it. 

    While the rest of the pilots slowly filed out once they had changed, Maverick padded over to Rooster. He was just about to say something when Rooster turned away and lifted the collar of his shirt over his face, breath quickening. “Huh’Rchs’Shoo! Huh’Rcshhs’Shoo! Huh’Trchs’Shoo!”

    “Bless you,” Maverick exclaimed, the suddenness and volume of Rooster’s sneezes momentarily startling him more than he cared to admit.

    Rooster gave a liquid filled snuffle as he lowered his shirt from his face and blinked his eyes to clear it. “Sorry.....thanks. What’s up?”

    Maverick nodded. “Rooster, I know you said that you’re fine, but—“

    “There’s nothing wrong! I’m good to fly, now will you just stop worrying about me and let me go?” Rooster’s voice was surprisingly curt, the same anger that Rooster once possessed for Maverick seeming to spill from him. Maverick had thought after the mission that left them both stranded in enemy territory that Rooster had grown past this. Perhaps all it took was slight tension between the two of them to bring him right back to the angry pilot that Maverick once knew.

    Maverick narrowed his eyes in scrutiny. “If that’s true, I believe that the infirmary will be a better place to let you know. They know a whole hell of a lot more than I do.”

    “You’re ordering me?”

    “I’m asking. Don’t make me make it an order.”

    Rooster clearly hated the idea as much as Maverick feared he would. His eyes glowed in hostility as Maverick fought to hold his gaze. 

    Shoulders suddenly slumping, Rooster turned to the side to cough. It jolted his whole body and it didn’t stop as quickly as Rooster expected, especially when he began to pound a fist against his chest, eyes watering.

    Maverick closed the gap between them in no time flat. He began to pat on Rooster’s back, slightly alarmed at how intense this fit was. He hadn’t noticed Rooster coughing the day prior and he wondered exactly how long Rooster had been hiding how he was feeling.

    “Easy, easy,” Maverick chided when Rooster was finally able to take in a shuddering breath without it immediately provoking him to cough. Tears shown in the corners of his eyes as he nodded to Maverick before pulling away from his touch, embarrassment clearly written all over his face. “You okay?”

    Rooster nodded. “It was just a cough. It’s no big deal. No one has ever died from a cough.”

    As soon as Rooster said it, he regretted it. When he looked to Maverick, he could only see the pain in his eyes from a loss so deep that Rooster swore that Maverick was going to break down right then and there. “Mav, I didn’t mean that. It’s not like that with me.”

    Maverick managed to compose himself and stiffened his stance. “If you go to the infirmary and they clear you to fly, fine. But until then you’re grounded.”

    Rooster didn’t react nearly as harshly as Maverick had expected. In fact, he seemed resigned as though fully expecting that was what Maverick would say.

    “Alright, fine. Just don’t tell everyone else, alright,” Rooster practically begged.

    Maverick knew how much the group looked up to Rooster as a leader, despite what Hangman would say. That brought with it enough pressure that Rooster always felt that he needed to be on his A game and never have any time to be just himself or show any weakness. Maverick had been the same way not that long again until he finally found a group of fellow pilots that he would do anything for.

    Maverick dipped his head. “I won’t. Text me if you need anything.”

    “I’ll be up in the air with you in twenty minutes,” Rooster boasted confidently.

    It took all of Maverick’s strength not to roll his eyes. Even with a serious coughing fit and the potential for a low grade fever, nothing seemed to deter Rooster from believing that he could trick the medics into letting him fly. Maverick hoped that Savant would be able to be more tactful with Rooster than he was during this matter.

    Rooster swallowed a few more coughs as he brushed past Maverick and headed to the infirmary.

 

To Be Continued.....

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This! This was a perfect Mav and Rooster situation ahhhhhhhh! 10/10 I love sick roo and comforting Mav fics!!!

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19 hours ago, spn27695 said:

Oh wow! I love this so much. You capture the characters so well! Can't wait for more

I’m so glad that you’re liking it so far! Thanks for commenting! 

 

18 hours ago, Loverofreading said:

I can’t wait for more!! 

I hope you like this next chapter just as much! Thanks for reading and commenting! 

 

15 hours ago, Mygyn said:

This! This was a perfect Mav and Rooster situation ahhhhhhhh! 10/10 I love sick roo and comforting Mav fics!!!

Comforting Mav fics are one of my new obsessions and I’m so that that someone else feels the same. I’m so glad that you’re enjoying it so far!

 

 

 

I managed to finish this next chapter and was going to post it later tonight but I had a free minute today so I decided I would post it a little early. I hope you guys like it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

    Rooster reluctantly made his way through the hallways and barracks, doing his best to hide the way that he sniffled and coughed. He passed a few other naval members, but most of them didn't pay him any mind as they steadily walked to their stations. Rooster was relieved, and it made the trek to the infirmary not feel as though he was marching to his death while the rest of the Navy stood and watched.

 

    Rooster knew that he was being over dramatic—perhaps picking up some of his behavior from Hangman. However, it wasn't like him to ever show weakness and something simple as a cold wasn't going to keep him from training with everyone else. That much Rooster could guarantee.

 

    When he finally made it to the infirmary it took a couple moments before he even tried to open the door. He coughed lightly with his jaw fiercely set and mouth closed. It helped slightly with the noise, yet the feeling of needing to cough was very much there and he wasn't sure how long he could keep it that way.

 

    After stepping through the doors, Rooster noticed that it was fairly empty. There was one person sleeping on a bed in the far corner with an IV drip, but other than that, things seemed rather calm. It was such a harsh contrast to being on an aircraft carrier where it seemed like the infirmary was always packed to the brim with sick and injured soldiers. Rooster counted himself as lucky that he wouldn't have to deal with that many eyes on him.

 

    Rooster had only made it a couple stepped before suddenly ducking down into cupped hands. "Huh'Trhc'Shoo! Huh'Trhc'Shoo! Huh'Rchs'Shoo!"

 

    Sniffling behind his steepled hands, Rooster lowered his hands to his side and wrinkled his nose in distain as it had betrayed him. He was still composing himself when he noticed an older man coming forward. Rooster guessed the man in question was only a little older than Maverick, but looked like he had been through a lot. His intense green gaze honed in on Rooster and the younger man instantly felt intimidated.

 

    "Sir," Rooster announced, straightening when he saw the man's rank.

 

    The older man narrowed his eyes in confusion before looking down and huffing out a small laugh. "At ease. You certainly don't need to do that on my account."

 

    Surprise flickered momentarily in Rooster's eyes. Never before had he met someone who seemed to have a rather high rank that seemed so nonchalant about it. Part of him wanted to push more on it, but he feared that may only make things more awkward. Perhaps Maverick knew more about him?

 

    "Here, these are more sanitary than your hands," the older man offered as he handed the entire box of tissues to Rooster before turning and motioning for Rooster to follow. "Come this way.”

 

    Blushing a harsh crimson in embarrassment, Rooster trailed after the man. He picked out a few tissues from the box and dabbed at his nose, not wanting to blow in front of someone that he didn't know that he was sure was scrutinizing his every move. After all, this man held the key to whether or not Rooster could fly or not and Rooster didn't want to give him any reason for him to have to stay back while everyone practiced maneuvers with Maverick.

 

    "Take a seat, Lt. Bradshaw," the medic told him as he flicked his head over to an empty bed.

 

    Rooster padded over and sat down, glancing quickly at the man in question and what it said about his last name. Try as he might, he couldn't see a clear sight on the name on his uniform.

 

    "Reeds."

 

    Roster blinked his eyes in surprise. "Pardon me, sir?"

 

    "Reeds, that's my last name if you're trying to read it." He was curt when he answered, attention on logging into the system to bring up Rooster's medical profile.

 

    Rooster brow wrinkled as he looked to the side. "Reeds? Reeds? Reeds. Wait.....Chester 'Savant' Reeds? You used to be a pilot when you first entered the military and served with Iceman and Maverick?"

 

    "For a short time, yes," Savant answered as he clicked away with his mouse. "Not for long though since I decided to go back to medical school. Now I'm just the medic for different squadrons either here or on an aircraft carrier depending on time of year."

 

    "They told stories about you in—"

 

    "That was a long time ago, perhaps even a whole different lifetime." Savant skimmed over Rooster's chart before walking back over to him with a thermometer in hand. "Stay still for me." He stuck the thermometer into Rooster's ear and momentarily waited for the beep.

   

    When it began to flash red, Savant pulled it back and hummed to himself. "101.1," he announced. "That's a low grade fever."

 

    "It's hot outside," Rooster protested.

 

    Savant raised on eyebrow. "And how much time did you spend outside lately, Lt. Bradshaw?"

 

    All of the earlier confidence that Rooster had about not being grounded seemed to fade like that of a dream when once someone woke up, it would vanish from memory just as quickly.

 

    Savant didn't press the issue forward as he lifted his stethoscope from around his neck and placed the buds in his ears while pressing the chest piece under Rooster's flight suit right over his heart. Rooster jumped at the sudden coolness of it despite having mentally prepared for it.

 

    "Should've warned you about that, kid," Savant joked as he lifted the bell of the stethoscope and came around just behind Rooster to press it on his back. "Okay, I need you to take in a deep breath for me."

 

    Rooster set his jaw in defiance as he tried to do exactly what Savant had asked. However, all it took was a small breath before he was doubled over, coughing into the crook of his elbow painfully.

 

    Savant drew back and immediately walked over to the sink and began to fill a small plastic cup almost to the brim.

 

    He brought it back to the still coughing Rooster, who was now clutching desperately at his chest.

 

    "Drink this," Savant instructed as he handed the cup to Rooster and made sure that Rooster's grip was strong before he let go.

 

    Rooster drank it down greedily, and once he finished, he continued to hold the cup tightly in his hand, embarrassment clear on his face.

 

    "Don't need to be embarrassed about it," Savant murmured as he reached over and pressed on the sides of Rooster's neck, feeling for his lymph nodes. "Not like you're the first person to stumble in here sick. If I remember correctly, Maverick was always in and out of the infirmary. Iceman too."

 

    Now it was Rooster's turn to look surprised. "Really? Both of them?"

 

    "Of course. Maverick was accident prone and just got himself in some fucked up situations. Iceman would try to get him out of it, but we all know Maverick." Savant chuckled to himself as he pulled his hands away. He turned slightly to grasp Rooster's wrist and pressed two fingers across the middle to check his pulse.

 

    "Did....." Rooster trailed off until Savant looked at him expectantly. "Did you know my Dad?"

 

    It took Savant a moment before sighing. "I did. I was actually there when it happened." He wasn't sure if he should continue, but the way that Rooster was looking at him pushed him over that edge. "I was the one to pronounce him dead. It was relatively early in my medical career and you'r father's death hit me the hardest."

 

    Rooster blinked away tears that threatened to fall. He disguised it with a sniffle before reading for the box and pulling out a few more tissues. "What made you want to be a medic?"

 

    "Guess I wanted a change of pace from ending lives to saving lives. Now instead of being a risky pilot, I patch them up instead." Savant reached into his pocket and brought out a small light. "Open your mouth, stick out your tongue, and saw ah."

 

    Rooster did as he was told, albeit reluctantly. Savant turned his head a bit as he flickered the light inside Rooster’s mouth to look at his throat. "Does your throat bother you? It's awfully red."

 

    Rooster shrugged. "A little."

 

    Savant snorted in amusement before shining the light in Rooster's ears and nose. He pressed on Rooster's sinuses and watched as he flinched, eyes glaring as though Savant had betrayed him.

 

    "That hurts?"

 

    "It's just a little sore."

 

    "I can definitely tell that you've spent a little time with Maverick. He was stubborn about admitting how he felt, or feels to this day." Savant turned back to the computer after sanitizing his hands, listening to Rooster let out a few more barking coughs into his elbow. "No shame in admitting when one doesn't feel well, especially when you have other people that you have to look out for. No one likes to be grounded."

 

    At the mention of the word, Rooster's stomach dropped. He tried not to show any emotion to what Savant was saying as he straightened on the bed.

 

    "Are you sure I can't fly? I don't feel that bad," Rooster rasped, voice beginning to show it's strain.

 

    "I commend your dedication to your unit, but until you're fever free for at least 24 hours we can't allow you in that cockpit. Besides, I don't know if you've flown with a sinus and ear infection, but I'll tell you right now it's not fun."

 

    Rooster tipped his head to the side. "Sinus and ear infection?"

 

    "That's what I'm diagnosing you with." Savant scribbled something on a notepad before checking back into Rooster's profile on the computer. "I'm prescribing you some antibiotics. Make sure you take the full dose even if you start feeling better. We don’t need your body growing resistant to it.”

 

    Rooster grunted as he rose to his feet only for Savant to rush forward and block him from leaving. Surprised, Rooster sunk back down on the bed, eyes flickering. "Is there something wrong, sir?"

 

    "You're going to stay here until I let Maverick know what's going on and he comes to take you home," he replied.

 

    "What? No, I don't need to bother him with this." Rooster set his jaw in determination, head shaking. "I'm not in that rough of shape."

 

    "I didn't say you were, but you know how Maverick is. And between the two of you, I'd rather you be cross me than him." Savant motioned to the bed in the opposite corner of the one that the only other person in the infirmary was sleeping on. "Try to rest until he returns from class."

 

    Rooster desperately wanted to argue, he really did, but the strength that he had felt earlier completely vanished. Even getting up and walking to the other bed felt like a challenge. It was as though when Savant announced his symptoms that they really started to kick in with full force. A sinus headache was steadily creeping through his face while his left ear ached, no doubt thanks to the infection.

   

    Reluctantly, Rooster stood and strolled over to the bed in the corner. Even though no one was around to see him, he still felt pathetic. He couldn't remember anyone else falling sick enough that they were grounded. Just the thought made him shudder, knowing that Hangman wouldn't let this go once he found out; as if Rooster didn't have enough to worry about without adding an obnoxious Hangman to the list.

 

    When Rooster sat down he noticed a collection of pictures on the tiny nightstand. He didn't hesitate to grab it to find Maverick sitting on the same bed with an arm around who Rooster could only describe as a much younger version of Savant. He swore that he could see his father in the background, but Rooster wasn't positive that it just wasn't his fevered brain coming up with this on its own.

 

    Savant came over with a small juice box and some crackers only to notice Rooster staring at the picture. Fondness rose in him as he remembered the exact day that happened.

 

    "I swear Maverick should have his own hospital room for the amount of times he's been here," Savant commented softly. "Always looked after your dad, though. He was devastated when everything happened. Hell, the amount of time that he spent here hysterical is something that I wouldn't wish on anyone."

 

    "Really," Rooster rasped in surprise. "Maverick?"

 

    "He loved your father and you. Trust me, whatever you felt towards him after what happened, wasn't near the punishment that Maverick did onto himself. Sometimes I wonder how he made it out of that dark place after everything. But, we all have a past, a story to tell, and you never know when that opportunity will close." Savant gave his head a shake and reached down to rub at his wrist.

 

    It was only then that Rooster saw the scar tissue that indicated some pretty serious burns. Rooster quickly averted his gaze as Savant turned to the door to find that more naval members were coming in.

 

    "Wait here and try to get some rest," Savant told Rooster over his shoulder. "And don't even think about leaving!"

 

    Rooster sighed audibly and rested his hands on his chest as he stared up at the ceiling and began to count the tiled lights. He went back and forth both vertically and horizontally before doing it all again to check his count. It didn't take long for his eyes to begin to close. He hadn't realized nearly how exhausted he really was, but it was clear that his body did. He allowed his eyes to close as he tried to focus on anything else besides how shitty he felt. It wasn't long until he finally drifted off into a light sleep.

 

To Be Continued.....

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On 9/19/2022 at 2:53 PM, RemedyBane said:

aww this is so sweet :) Poor Roo. 

I’m so glad that you liked it! Your stories have inspired all of my Top Gun stories so it means the world to me that you’re enjoying it!

 

On 9/19/2022 at 3:40 PM, spn27695 said:

I'm obssesed, this is perfection! I love how brought in Goose aswell!

Awe thanks so much! I knew I had to bring him in in someway and I’m so glad that it tied well into the story. Thanks so much for reading!

 

 

I hope you guys like the next chapter! Thanks so much for reading and commenting! It gives me all the serotonin.

 

 

 

 

 

    Maverick shook the sweat from his bangs as he headed back to the lockers to shower and change. The lesson had taken less time than Maverick thought, which was mostly because he had added an unpredictable variable for the pilots to have to anticipate. The rest of the pilots had been completely taken off guard and although Maverick knew that he wasn't supposed to, he felt a small twinge of satisfaction. This old dog could teach new tricks.

 

    He had ignored all questions directed at him about Rooster, telling the group that there was something he had to attend to and he would be back to join them as a soon as possible. Maverick just regretted to inform then it would be a couple days until he was fever free and Savant signed off saying that Rooster was alright to fly. Part of the reason why Maverick respected Savant so much was because of his attitude when it came to pilots. He was no nonsense and valued safety above all else. Although Maverick certainly pressed that envelope more than most, he knew when not to press with Savant, especially when it dealt with illness or injury.

 

    So, when Maverick got the text from Savant saying that Rooster had a sinus and ear infection and would be out of eligibility to fly for at least a couple days, Maverick knew that nothing Rooster said or did would be enough for the older medic to release him.

 

    Maverick took a super quick shower once he reached the locker rooms and threw on the same clothes he had been wearing earlier. He padded through the hallways, zigzagging past numerous officers and captains in his haste. He didn't dare stop and chat, his mind on a one track thought to get to the infirmary.

 

    He made it in record time to see Savant sitting at a table in the middle of the room, typing up reports vigorously with his eyes glued to a computer screen. Maverick almost felt the need to knock despite that the door was unlocked. However, before he could, Savant beat him to it.

 

    "I've been expecting you. How did flight training go," Savant questioned, attention still locked on the screen.

 

    Maverick shrugged. "Nothing newsworthy to report."

 

    Shaking head, Savant lifted a hand to pinch at the bridge of his nose. "You say leaving a contributing factor such as a cobra roll during a Herbest maneuver." Maverick opened his mouth to protest, but Savant kept on going. "You think you're the only one who listens in on your lessons? Heard them squawking about all the way over here." He lifted his gaze momentarily to a radio in the corner before turning back to Maverick. "I'm surprised you walked away without a verbal lashing from Cyclone."

 

    "Didn't give him a chance, but I'm sure I'll hear about it soon enough." It was something he was absolutely dreading, especially when he had just gotten back in Cyclone's good graces a few weeks back. This would definitely end up complicating their already strained relationship further.

 

    "Well, the last thing you need is me telling you what you already know." Savant pressed his fingers on a small half piece of paper and pushed it over toward Maverick. Maverick reached over to grab it, struggling to decipher Savant's writing. "Sinus and ear infection in the left ear. Low grade fever to deal with too. Have him take the antibiotics and some cough syrup if he ends up needing it. A steamy shower may help loosen up some of the congestion I can hear in his breathing. But, make sure that he coughs at night so that he can try to clear himself out, so none of that cough stuff at night. Any questions or concerns you call me, but you shouldn't have any trouble. He's a strong kid. You shouldn't have any issues."

 

    Maverick took all that information in intently, nodding whenever Savant briefly paused. "I take it that he's going home with you?"

 

    "What," Maverick began. "He shouldn't be alone?"

 

    "I didn't say that. I said that I take it that he's going home with you and not to his own house." Savant chuckled to himself. "I just know how close you and his old man were. Didn't think you would just let him out of your sights when he was sick if you could help it."

 

    Maverick mentally cursed Savant for bringing up Goose. Even as something as simple as a happy memory threatened to bring Maverick back to the brink of those feelings that he had of when he first lost Goose. He felt that pang in his heart again, and emotion took over before logic could.

 

    "Like you would do the same for Thunder?"

 

    The words tumbled out of Maverick's mouth almost before he realized and a look of horror passed over his face as he saw Savant's face crumple. The older man clutched his hands into tight fists before turning to Maverick with controlled fury in his eyes. "You don't have the right to bring him up."

 

    Maverick's mouth went dry as he struggled to compose himself enough to say something in response to Savant. "I didn't mean-"

 

    Savant gave his head a shake and motioned to the corner of the room. "Rooster is waiting for you. Make sure you take his prescription as well and get that filled," he reminded hollowly.

 

    "Chester, it wasn't Ice's fault. He didn't......" Maverick trailed off when he saw Savant's face twist in agony. He knew that he should stop, that Savant couldn't take much more of this. However, he couldn't leave him that angry and hurt and expect things to go smoothly later when Savant was such an important person to keeping Maverick's pilots safe.

 

    "I don't blame Ice, Mav," Savant confessed after a moment. "I blame myself."

 

    Before Maverick could ask what Savant was talking about, he slipped around him and headed over to the only other person in the infirmary besides Rooster and Maverick. Reluctantly, Maverick allowed Savant the space that he clearly needed despite his own worry about the situation.

 

    'You really did it this time, Mav,' Maverick heard Ice say in his mind. 'You know how hard Savant took Thunder's death and the circumstances that surrounded it. You need to learn how to leave well enough alone.'

 

    Maverick stifled a groan and padded over to Rooster, thoughts racing. Try as he might, he couldn't completely ignore what he had said to Savant and the repercussions that it may bring. He was certain that Savant wouldn't retaliate when it came to his pilots, but knowing how Savant was still hurting from what happened almost ten years ago had Maverick shook.

 

    Shaking his head to clear it, Maverick drew closer to Rooster and reached out a hand to shake his shoulder lightly. "Bradley," he whispered, hoping that using his first name would be enough to rouse him.

 

    "Mom," Rooster mumbled as his eyes opened.

 

    Maverick swallowed a lump in his throat as he shook his head. "Sorry, kid. It's just me."

 

    It took a moment for Rooster to register who was speaking, and when he looked to Maverick, a look of realization washed over him. "Mav? What are you doing here," he rasped.

 

    Maverick frowned at the state of Rooster's voice. Before he could answer, Rooster began to cough, his laying down position doing him no favors as congestion settled in his lungs.

 

    "Easy, easy," Maverick chided as he sat beside him and brought an arm around Rooster's back and helped him to sit up as tears glistened in his eyes. "That's it. It's alright." He began to pound on his back, worry settling deep in his soul as he watched Rooster struggle. It was true he hadn't been this fatherly to Rooster in a while and it brought back memories of him doing the same with Goose.

 

    Rooster brought a fist up to his mouth as he coughed. It took a few more moments before he began to settle, chest still aching even after the fit passed. "Shit, sorry," he mumbled, voice completely shot.

 

    Maverick rubbed between his shoulders, more to ease his own worry than Rooster's. "It's alright, kid. Let's just get you home and taken care of."

 

    It was clear that Rooster was reluctant, but he did as Maverick asked and rose to his unsteady feet. Maverick was right there beside him, noting how Rooster pulled away stubbornly as he shuffled forward with Maverick right beside him.

 

    The two made it to the door and Maverick looked over his shoulder at Savant, seeing that the man had his back turned to them. Anything that he wanted to say was left on the tip of his tongue. There would be other opportunities to talk to Savant, that much Maverick knew, and anything that he tried to say today would fall on deaf ears.

   

    Maverick continued after Rooster, watching as he shrunk away from anyone that passed.

 

    "You don't have to be embarrassed just because you're sick," Maverick commented softly after watching Rooster deliberately look away from a group of officers that passed them going the opposite direction.

 

    Determination shone in Rooster's gaze, burning brighter than even when he confronted Maverick about pulling his papers or for what happened to his father. This was one time that Maverick would have to lie about, saying that he wasn't the slightest bit intimidated by the younger man.

 

    "Or keep doing that and we'll pretend that you're not a few minutes away from passing out," Maverick whispered against his chest.

 

    Rooster ignored him as they continued through the hallways until they made their way through the parking lot to where Rooster had parked his car. Maverick was certain that Rooster wouldn't feel comfortable with taking his bike, and Maverick wasn't comfortable with thinking that Rooster would be able to hang on in his current state.

 

    "Keys," Maverick requested as he walked around to the driver's side door.

 

    Rooster's jaw clenched before he fished his hand into his pocket and pulled out his keys. He tossed them over to Maverick, who caught them easily in one hand. Once the doors were unlocked, both Maverick and Rooster climbed into their respective seats, though Rooster appeared less than pleased about it.

 

    Maverick took great care in backing the vehicle up and making sure that he didn't drive in anyway sporadically that would cause Rooster any distress about having him drive. The amount of times that Maverick had heard both Goose and Ice complain about his driving were more numerous than he cared to admit.

 

    Maverick was about to ask Rooster if he wanted the air or the heat on when Rooster suddenly turned his head to the side and pressed his face into his shoulder. "Huh'RhcSh'Shoo! Huh'Trchs'Shoo! Huh'Rtchs'Shoo!"

 

    "Gesundheit. You got any napkins in here," Maverick asked, lifting the center console to root around while still keeping his eyes on the road.

 

    "Not there." Rooster reached down the passenger door and brought out a few napkins from a fast food place up the street from the base. He used the rough napkins to rub at the underside of his nostrils, refusing to blow.

 

    Maverick bit his tongue nearly until it bled, unable to stay silent. "You know you don't have to be embarrassed around me, right? I thought we were past this."

 

    "Can we please not have this conversation now?" Rooster's voice crackled at the end of the sentence, forcing him to clear his throat much more aggressively than Maverick thought healthy.

 

    Maverick nodded slowly. "Yeah, kid. Just want you to be comfortable."

 

    Rooster said nothing as he reached down to crank up the heat before turning the vents to face himself.

 

    Maverick looked down the dash to see the temperature outside was 87—far too hot for Rooster to be cold. He had heard Savant say he had a low grade fever, but something about this made him think that it wasn't so low grade anymore.

 

    They drove in silence until Rooster realized that Maverick had missed the turn to his apartment. "Hey, Mav, I'm back there."

 

    "I’m not taking you home, Rooster.”

   

    "Then where are we.....Mav, no," Rooster argued, hand clutching at the door handle and giving it a slight pull. "Turn around and take me home. I don't need someone to babysit me.”

 

    Maverick chuckled, Rooster's words hardly fazing him. "You were about to put yourself and everyone else in the sky at risk a short time ago. I'd say that warrants someone watching over you at least for the night.”

 

    Rooster clearly looked like he wanted to argue, but forced himself to lean back in his seat, sniffling madly. The napkin was completely forgotten, his knuckle taking on the brunt of the rubbing that he was doing to his nose. He tried to do it discreetly as possible at first before realizing that would not be possible, and having to press so hard on his nose to abate the feeling of needing to sneeze.

 

    It was only when they pulled up to Maverick's driveway that Rooster was able to wretch open the door and head for the front door all before Maverick had placed the car into park.

 

    Maverick was quick to follow, just as Rooster stood at the front door with his shirt pulled over the lower half of his face. "Huh'Rchs'Shoo! Huh'Trchsh'Shoo! Huh'Rcsh'Shoo!" 

 

    A small grin crept on Maverick's face as he pulled his key from his pocket to use on the lock.

 

    "What are you laughing at," Rooster accused, voice thick with congestion.

 

    Maverick gave a final turn of his wrist and pushed the door open. "You just remind me of your dad is all."

 

    Rooster frowned before strolling inside without so much as a look back to Maverick. It didn't surprise the older man, not at all actually. Maverick was learning that most of the time would be spent by Rooster ignoring what he had to say, and him learning that just because there was an opportunity to bring up the past, didn't mean that everyone else wanted to hear it. There was no doubt in Maverick's mind that they were growing closer, but the wounds of the past still hurt.

 

    They still had a long way to go.

 

To Be Continued.....

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Loved this update! Poor Rooster is so sick, and maybe not out of the woods yet with that cough and Mav suspecting a higher fever.......

Also, I'm very intrigued by the Savant storyline. And of Mav being in das mode is a supreme addition to any fic🥰

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On 9/20/2022 at 7:10 PM, spn27695 said:

Loved this update! Poor Rooster is so sick, and maybe not out of the woods yet with that cough and Mav suspecting a higher fever.......

Also, I'm very intrigued by the Savant storyline. And of Mav being in das mode is a supreme addition to any fic🥰

I’m so glad! I debated whether or not to include Savant since I didn’t want him to take away from Rooster and Maverick, so I’m thrilled that you’ve liked him being included! Thanks so much for commenting!

 

On 9/20/2022 at 11:45 PM, ashes__ said:

Loving everything about this! Beautifully told!

I’m so glad that you’ve enjoyed it so far. Thanks so much for the comment!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    Maverick tossed the keys on the counter as Rooster shuffled around the kitchen, clearly doing everything in his power to remain quiet.

 

    "You can go ahead and take a shower if you want. There should still be a change of clothes in the guest bedroom for you," Maverick called over his shoulder as he stood in front of the fridge, debating on what he could make that was going to be easy on Rooster's stomach.

 

    "Thanks," Rooster mumbled as he headed toward the stairs, coughing thickly into his fist as he left.

 

    Maverick pulled out a container of chicken broth before shutting the fridge and heading over to the sink. While he poured the broth into a small pan to heat on the stove, he couldn't help but think about making the guest bedroom more of Rooster's space. He was generally the only one to ever come over and stay for any period of time. He had half of his clothes there, along with some basic hygiene products and books. Maverick would never force Rooster to do anything, but he did think that it made sense for Rooster to have a more permanent space in Maverick's home if that was what he wanted. Talking about that now would be futile, that much Maverick knew, but it could be a conversation they could have later.

 

    While Maverick ransacked his kitchen for anything that he could use to make a meal for Rooster, he could hear the shower turn on followed by thick, hacking coughs that had the hairs on the back of his neck standing on end.

 

    'He sounds like shit,' Maverick thought fearfully. 'You gotta help me here, Goose. I'm out of my element here. I haven't taken care of a sick person since you.'

 

    Maverick wasn't expecting an answer, and he definitely didn't receive one. All he could do was continue to add some small chunks of chicken to another pan to cook before he could place it in with the broth. He was certain that he was doing something wrong, but there was no going back from it. While the broth simmered next to the chicken, Maverick took the opportunity to open the cabinet on the corner of the kitchen where he kept all of his medical supplies.

 

    There was only a half drank bottle of cough syrup and a blister pack of nighttime cold medicine. Everything else was for injuries or was long expired. So much for hoping to avoid leaving Rooster alone now that he had to buy more supplies.

 

    That would be a problem for later. Right now he had to focus on feeding Rooster and getting him comfortable.

 

    Maverick finished preparing the soup right as Rooster lumbered down the stairs, looking even worse than he had before taking the shower. His face was stark white except for the pinkness of his nose and the fever spots on his cheek. His hair was more disheveled than normal while his eyes appeared sunken into his face. He wore sweatpants and a sweatshirt, yet he continued to shiver.

 

    "Do you want to eat at the table or at the couch," Maverick questioned as he ladled soup into two bowls.

 

    It took a moment for Rooster to answer, sweatshirt clad coming up to rub at the side of his itchy nose. "Ub...couch," he replied.

 

    Maverick could hardly understand him thanks to how his voice had sunken to the very depths of stuffiness. If Maverick didn't know any better, he would've thought that Rooster had stuffed his nose full of cotton.

 

    "Couch it is." Maverick reached out to hand Rooster his bowl only to think better of it and pull it back.

 

    Rooster frowned, brow knit in confusion.

 

    "I'll just carry this to the couch. We don't need you to drop it," Maverick replied over his shoulder, already heading toward the couch.

 

    Rooster trudged after him, muffling a few coughs into his lifted forearm. They weren't nearly as harsh as earlier, though Maverick couldn't tell if it was because the shower had cleared him out or if his body was just so tired of coughing it was slowly struggling to do anything besides breathe shallowly.

 

    Maverick set both bowls of soup on the coffee table before pulling it toward the couch so that Rooster didn't have to lean. He motioned for the younger man to take a seat while Maverick scoured the living room to look for a blanket.

 

    "Id's alright," Rooster argued as he lifted the bowl and set it on his knees. "I'b dnot code."

 

    Maverick finally snagged one from another couch and brought it over. "Your body begs to differ." He lifted the blanket and wrapped it around Rooster's shoulders, giving him a small pat when he had finished.

 

    Rooster didn't shrug it off, which Maverick counted as a victory no matter how small. It didn't take long for Maverick to finally settle enough to sit beside Rooster and dig into the soup he had prepared.

 

    It wasn't horrible, though Maverick was certain that anyone else would've made it a lot better than he had. He hadn't looked after a sick person in a while, and he certainly hadn't been the one cooking when he had. That was what delivery was for.

 

    "How was the exercise," Rooster suddenly questioned after taking in a few spoonfuls of soup and sniffling hard to clear his sinuses.

 

    Maverick shrugged. "We'll have to run it a few times before I'm confident saying that everyone has mastered it, but it wasn't bad for a first attempt."

 

    "And Hangman didn't cause any trouble?"

 

    "He's making strides, Rooster. I was just like him when I first started. Give him time and you just may find that he's the wingman that you need," Maverick explained cooly, thought drifting back to his own time at Top Gun. Those were memories that Maverick didn't often allow himself to recall often, as the pain that they brought was usually too much for him to shoulder.

 

    Rooster took another bite, warm liquid soothing his itchy throat. "You know I'm not Iceman, right? Just like Hangman isn't you? We're different people on different paths. Don't project what you lost on us just because you want to recreate it."

 

    Maverick clenched his jaw, a retort on the tip of his tongue. It took all of his strength to let it go, imaging Ice sitting beside him, chiding him about losing his cool when Rooster was sick and uncomfortable, and didn’t mean what he said.

 

    'He'll say things that he doesn't mean,' Ice seemed to whisper in Maverick's ears. 'Don't engage with it.'

 

    Although difficult, Maverick forced himself to stay quiet as he shoveled more soup into his mouth. He then noticed that Rooster had stopped eating and was swirling his spoon around in the broth, pushing the chicken and vegetables in opposite directions.

 

    "Not hungry," Maverick inquired.

 

    Rooster looked over as though he had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. "No, I am," he replied through gritted teeth.

 

    "You don't have to finish that if you're not hungry. I can save it for later," Maverick reassured before Rooster could force himself to eat, and therefore may cause himself to be even sicker.

 

    It was clear that Rooster wanted to respond only for a vacant look appear on his face as his eyes squinted and his mouth gaped open slightly.

 

    Maverick knew what was coming and was quick to swoop in and pick up the soup bowl before placing it on the coffee table, hoping that Rooster wouldn't find a way to spill it.

 

    Rooster ducked his head down into his right wrist, entire body shaking. "Huh'Trhcs'Shoo! Huh'RchsSh'Shoo! Huh'Trchs'Shoo!" Heat immediately rushed to Rooster's face as he stood up and shuffled toward the bathroom, coughing roughly.

 

    "Oh, Baby Goose," Maverick murmured to himself, mentally berating himself for not grabbing a box of tissues before they sat down. Hell, he wasn't even sure that he had any now that he thought about it.

 

    The sound of nose blowing came from the half bath and Maverick was slightly relieved that Rooster wasn't snorting all that gunk back in. He took the opportunity to clear both of their bowls from the coffee table and put Rooster's in the fridge for later if he wanted it. Whatever sickness this was appeared to be zapping his appetite along with everything else, which was not quite the good sign that Maverick had been hoping for.

 

    It was definitely time for some meds.

 

    Maverick took the cold tablets from the blister pack as well as the cough syrup and brought it back to the living room. There he poured out a generous amount of the liquid into the small plastic cap that came with it just as Rooster emerged from the bathroom, nose looking even redder than it had when they first walked in.

 

    "Whad's thadt," Rooster questioned with a look of distain at the cup.

 

    "It'll help." Maverick lifted the liquid in question. "It won't taste great, but it should help that cough you have."

 

    Rooster couldn't help but grin wickedly. "I dknow thadt, Mav. This isdn't the first tibe I'b been sick."

 

    Maverick looked aside to hide the sudden embarrassment that he felt. Of course Rooster would know that. He wasn't some little kid anymore; he was a grown man that had risen through the ranks in the Navy on his own morals and not because of his father. Why that fact was often overlooked by Maverick was something that he couldn't explain.

 

    Rooster took the small plastic cup from Maverick and threw it back into his mouth, struggling not to grimace as he swallowed. It sure tasted as horrible as it did last time he was sick. Whoever made the flavor should be thrown in jail just on principal alone according to Rooster.

 

    After he finished, he handed the cup over to Maverick, who in turn handed over the capsules and a cup of water to Rooster.

 

    Rooster eyed them as suspiciously as he had the cough medicine before tossing them into the back of his throat and chasing it down with the water. The taste wasn't bad at all compared to the cough syrup, though what he just took sloshed around in his stomach and he had to concentrate hard on swallowing harshly so that nothing came back up.

 

    Maverick watched him through concerned eyes, jaw set as he said nothing. "The guest room is set up for you if you want to get some rest. Sleep is one of the best things you can do for a cold."

 

    "You sound like those pamphlets that they hand out at boot camp about taking 'care of your body'," Rooster chuckled, laughing cut off by a few crackling coughs.

 

    Maverick frowned. "Does that hurt?"

 

    "Coughing? No, not yet." Rooster prayed that Maverick couldn't see the twitch in his temple or the way that he was deliberately trying to hold his breath against the sensation.

 

    Although unsure whether Rooster was telling the truth or not, Maverick was certain there would be nothing that he would be able to get out of him now. They had just started to rebuild their relationship and hovering was the last thing that Rooster wanted or needed.

 

    'He's a grown man,' Maverick reminded himself once more. 'Give him space, the same as you would've wanted in his position.'

 

    The moment that his thoughts ran away from him, Maverick was left feeling his throat close in emotion. The men that had taken care of him when he was at his lowest were gone. There would be no Goose, no Iceman, to check up on him when he had a bad day or was sick. It wasn't something that Maverick thought about often as it had the same effect on him anytime, though most of the time he felt like he couldn't control the thoughts or emotions that plagued him.

 

    "Mav, you okay," Rooster questioned when Maverick suddenly went quiet and stared listlessly at the wall.

 

    Maverick shook his head to clear it. "Just got lost in my thoughts there."

 

    Rooster nodded in understanding, hands shoved into the pockets of his sweatpants. "I'm going to turn in for a bit if that’s alright with you.” He suddenly swayed where he stood, tiredness weighed down in every limb in his body.

 

    "No problem, kid. Call if you need anything. Or text. That may be easier."

 

    Rooster cracked a smile before turning to head up the stairs, eager to crawl under the covers and sleep for as many hours as his body allowed.

 

To Be Continued....

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