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Pulled Some Strings (Top Gun, Rooster)


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I have another Top Gun fic, this time with Rooster as I know he’s super popular for sickfics and I can’t help but oblige. This one will have multiple chapters, so it’ll be a longer than some of the other ones that I’ve posted here. It’ll also include my OC Savant as well as Ice/Maverick. It’ll be very AU where everyone is alive and (sorta) well. Ice still has cancer as he did in Top Gun: Maverick, but he’s fighting it. Fluff and angst is to be expected, but I hope it’s still enjoyable. I hope you all like it!



Brief warning for mentions of IVs, a few mentions of vomiting, cancer, and other medical instances








    When Rooster comes down with a nasty case of the flu, Savant is on the cruiser to help. However, he notices that Rooster may need a little something more than just the doctor’s careful care, and all it takes is one message to someone high up that can help for the family to be reunited. (AU where Ice survives and is still married to Maverick and is good friends with Savant)







    The shrill beep of a pager was the first thing that Savant woke up to, after it felt like he had just closed his eyes a minute or so ago. He couldn’t help but groan as he rolled to his side and saw the flashing numbers of his alarm clock reading 2:31 a.m. Full body exhaustion had settled deep within his bones, any conceivable thought that he had slowed as if he was trying to move through honey. He was certainly not a young man anymore, and these long hours combined with backbreaking labor weren’t doing his body any favors. The Navy had always been his home, though he wasn’t sure how much longer he could do this. 

    “Dr. Reeds.”

    Savant sat up as the door opened slightly, a young nurse standing just outside. “Dr. Reeds, sorry to bother you, but we have a Lt. Bradshaw in the infirmary. He specifically asked for you.” 

    At the mention of Bradshaw, Savant was suddenly more awake than he had been a minute before. “Yeah, yeah, I’m coming.” With a grunt he forced himself into a sitting position, legs swung out the side of the bed. He rolled his ankles until he heard a satisfying crack, soreness traveling through his entire body. It wouldn’t last forever, that much he knew, so in the mean time he could try as do as much as he could for the Navy and family as possible.

    A quick brush of his teeth and a little freshening up and he was out the door, lab coat halfway thrown over his shoulders as he pulled one arm through a sleeve at a time. He checked the pockets for a pen as he headed down the hall, nodding to a few of the men that he passed. Once he found his way to the infirmary, he pushed the door open with his shoulder, silently cursing the albeit ancient ship that he found himself on. The newer models had spoiled him with updated infirmaries and technology he had never thought he would see. Now he felt like he had stepped back in time and it was a hell of an adjustment. 

    Savant immediately located Lt. Bradshaw AKA Rooster, huddled in the corner sitting on one of the beds, arms wrapped around his knees as he shivered violently. Someone had given him a blanket, though it didn’t appear like it was doing him any good. 

    “Damn, kid,” Savant muttered to himself as he drew closer. “You look like hell.”

    Rooster lifted his head upon hearing Savant’s voice, eyes overbright and teeth chattering. “S-S-Savant. You’re h-h-h-here,” he stammered. 

    “I’m always here. Trust me, they can’t wait to get rid of me.” Savant sighs as he comes over to the counter beside the bed and opens the cabinet overhead to find a thermometer. It’s an under the tongue kind, but it would certainly do. He grasped a small, thin plastic cover and slid it over before handing it over. He gave a small nod as Rooster reluctantly slipped the tip under his tongue, a grimace tight on his face. 

    Suddenly, before the thermometer could beep, Rooster’s head ducked down towards his knees as he gave a violent inhale. “Hrcsh’Shoo! Hrcsh’Shoo! Hrchs’Shoo! HRcsh’Shoo!” The thermometer came tumbling from his mouth and landed on the blanket in front of him.

    “Goodness, bless you,” Savant exclaimed as he snagged a box of tissues from the bed beside him and handed it over. “This been going on for a while?”

    Rooster looked up with congestion induced confusion, mouth agape as he took the offered tissues. He blew his nose with a heavy honk, wincing at the pressure that built behind his sinuses. The hand that held the tissues dropped by his side, his other hand coming to bring the blanket even tighter around his shoulders as he continued to shiver. 

    “I’ll take that vacant expression as a yes.” Savant picked up the thermometer and slipped it back into Rooster’s mouth. It took him a moment for him to remember where to set his tongue. 

    The moment that it beeped, Savant pulled it free, stealing a quick glance at the reading as Rooster coughed against his knees, a small groan leaving his body after he finished.

    “102.7. No wonder you’re not having a good time.” Savant pocketed the thermometer and reached for Rooster’s face. The man in question momentarily froze until Savant rested both hands on either side of his neck, fingers splayed as they touched the swollen lymph nodes on either side. “Your body is certainly fighting something. Does your throat hurt?”

    “Uh huh.”

    Savant withdrew his hands and took out a penlight. He flashed the light on the center of his palm before poising it in front of Rooster’s face. “Can you open your mouth for me? I want to see if it’s strep we’re dealing with.”

    Reluctantly, Rooster did as Savant asked, jaw going slack as he opened his mouth wide. Glowing light shone inside, and while Savant could see how red and irritated it was, there were no white splotches that were a telltale sign of strep. It didn’t necessarily mean that Rooster was out of the woods yet, but at least there was one illness he may have possibly dodged having to deal with.

    “Are you having any abdominal symptoms?”

    Rooster made a face, which gave Savant all the answer that he needed.

    “This is looking to be the case of the flu to me. I won’t know without a test, but I think that can wait until we’ve gotten you some fluids and rest before I subject you to that,” Savant explained as he lifted a hand and brushed back his mop of brown curls from his sweat slicked forehead. “I wish you would’ve come to me sooner. How the hell did you even find your way here tonight?”

    Rooster forced his eyes shut tightly, a trickle of moisture dripping from his left nostril. He used the back of his hand to wipe it away, instead of the perfectly good tissues beside him. “Phoenix made me. T-Told me to get my head out of my ass.”

    “Yeah, that does sound like her, doesn’t it?” Savant laughed to himself and crossed his arms over his chest. “Well, seeing as it’s just me at the moment here, I’ll set up your IV, and get you some crackers. At least if you throw up, it’ll give you something to bring up so you’re not dry heaving. Used to do that all the time with Thunder.”

    Rooster instantly perked up at the mention of Thunder. It wasn’t that he hadn’t shown an interest in knowing about him before, but there seemed to be something different about it this time. Savant would say that it was the fever, lowering his inhibitions and what he would normally ask, but he was never one to turn down anyone for asking genuinely about his late husband. 

    “Did he ever have the flu,” Rooster asked as he rubbed a fist under his itchy nose in an attempt to ward off another fit. 

    “Oh, yeah, every year like clockwork.” Savant drummed his fingers on his opposite arm, eyes rolling. “He picked up almost everything that came our way. He was a bit of a complainer too, definitely needy. But, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love every second his clinginess.”

    Rooster laughed, the sound cut off as he coughed hard. He thrust his elbow over his face in an effort to contain it, body hunched even further forward until Savant was certain that the young pilot was going to pull a muscle. He reached out and took Rooster by the shoulder and eased him backwards, frowning at the wheeze he heard rattling in his lungs. It was the same sound he had observed years ago with someone else in Rooster’s family, and it had shaken him to the core.

    “Alright, enough stories for now. Let’s get those fluids and then we can talk all you want to. Sound fair,” Savant called over his shoulder as he headed to the back of the infirmary to grab supplies.

    Rooster hardly heard him. His ears were too damn clogged, and he really only caught half of what everyone said around him. Phoenix had been right; he should have gone to see Savant when it was just a sore throat and some congestion, with a little coughing thrown in. Now he was three days into a fever and body aches and hadn’t eaten anything in a day and a half. He could only imagine how pathetic he looked, and it had taken all of his strength just to make his way to the infirmary, even if it had been Phoenix had been the one to suggest it. 

    Truthfully he had been working himself to the bone, but not unlike the rest of Dagger Squadron. They could be deployed at a moments notice and they had to prepare for every sort of scenario. Whether that was trainings, in the air or on the ship, or the countless other things the military ordered them to do, sleep wasn’t high on that priority list. Eating had slipped soon after that, so it was no surprise that Rooster was taken down so hard so fast. He had just hoped it wouldn’t have been so obvious. 

    The sneezing and coughing had attracted enough attention, combined with the fever and body aches was impossible to ignore. He had spent the night prior in the bathroom throwing up his meals from the last couple days, and it hadn’t improved at all by the time he woke up. Tylenol had stopped working almost a week ago, and although he had been downing water like it was going out of style, that hadn’t warded off the headache, especially the sinus headache he was dealing with. However, if there was anyone that he trusted to take care of him while he wasn’t at home, it was Savant. 

    Rooster did his best not to think about home too much. If he was home, his Uncle Ice and Maverick would look after him, no doubt. Maverick would fuss and worry over him while Ice would cook him whatever he wanted and make sure that he took his medication at regular intervals. They both would sit with him while he slept on the couch, watching some sort of daytime soap opera that they would all laugh until their sides ached and Rooster would cough so hard he’s almost throw up. Still, that was one of the best memories that Rooster had of his uncles, and he would give anything to be back with them right now instead of shivering and coughing on a ship in the middle of the ocean.

    Just as Rooster was about to lay down and feel sorry for himself, Savant arrived back, gloved covered hands holding a saline bag and an IV kit. This wasn’t Rooster’s first rodeo, and although he was usually a difficult stick, Savant was an expert of finding a vein in a way that Rooster never even felt the needle being inserted. He wouldn’t make a habit out of it whatsoever, but if he had to have this done, at least it would be done by Savant.

    “Let’s get some fluids in ya. Then we’ll see about some antibiotics,” Savant explained as he opened an alcohol pad and wiped down the back of Rooster’s hand, two fingers tapping on Rooster’s vein to coax it the surface. “We’re going to get you feeling better in no time. Don’t you worry.”

    Rooster turned his head away as Savant tied the band around his forearm and inserted the butterfly needle. He hardly felt it, not even when Savant placed the tube and gave it a flush before prepping the saline. “Savant,” Rooster murmured as Savant hung he bag.

    Savant screwed the line and watched the saline move through it before attaching it to Rooster’s IV. “Yeah, son. You alright?”

    “This is fine.” Rooster swallowed heavily as his neck lolled to the side, the feel of the IV beginning to drip through his system. “But….I miss Maverick.”

    Savant felt the familiar ache deep in his chest. He had been where Rooster was, wanting the comfort of a loved on in a vulnerable position.

    “Rooster,” Savant began as he peeled his gloves from his hands and threw them away in the nearest trashcan. “You know I would do anything for you and the Daggers, but there are things that even I can’t do.”

    Rooster’s head hung. “I-I know,” he stammered. “Didn’t mean to say anything. HRcsh’Shoo!” Rooster groaned as he accidentally tugged on his IV as he brought his opposite arm up to cover. “It’s fine. Hrchs’Shoo! Rchss’Shoo! Hrchs’Shoo!” Rooster swore loudly as he slumped back on the bed and squeezed his eyes shut. His sinuses throbbed like never before and he suddenly wondered if it was possible for his brain to leak out of his ears at this rate. 

    Savant reached out his hand and rubbed at Rooster’s forearm. He had been there before and knew how painful that was. “Try and breathe through it. I know it’s hard, but just try. Nice and slow.”

    Rooster did as Savant told him, taking in as delicate of breaths as he could so not to prolong the fit. Weariness settled through him as his body finally gave him a brief reprieve, tears filling his eyes as he turned away from Savant, forced to rub them away before they could fall. He cursed the way that fevers always made him emotional, especially when it had anything to do with being homesick. 

    “Let’s get some antibiotics going,” Savant began, opting to ignore Rooster’s tears to save the younger man’s dignify. 

    Rooster sniffled, though this time it had nothing to do with his flu. He disguised it as much as possible, the sleeve of his shirt used to dab at the corners of his eyes and brush away any stray moisture. Savant had seen him in awful states before, but that didn’t mean he wanted to make a habit of it. 

    While Rooster composed himself, Savant busied himself with grabbing a few more things that Rooster needed. A vial of antibiotics was his main mission, followed by some crackers and juice to keep his blood sugar up. Next he snagged an extra blanket and pillow. It was difficult for anyone to be comfortable in the infirmary, but Savant would do anything that he could to make it as relaxing as possible.

    He arrived back a few minutes later to find Rooster more or less asleep. His nose was running freely onto the pillow as his head craned to the side. The blanket had fallen lose around his shoulders, goosebumps blossoming along his forearms. His lips parted as he snored, periodically whimpering as his brow furrowed. His sleep seemed anything but peaceful. Savant longed to take some of the discomfort from him in anyway, yet there was only so much that he could do.

    Wordlessly, Savant cleaned the top of the vial and transferred the liquid to a syringe. By the time he screwed the syringe into his IV and pushed the full amount through, he knew what the next step had to be. He gave a flick of his wrist to read the time, head giving a small nod. It would be late in California, but not unbelievably so. There may still be a chance that the man he wanted to contact would be awake to accept his call.     

    “We’ll get through this,” Savant reassured, well aware that Rooster couldn’t hear him. “And, in the meantime, I may have an idea.”


To Be Continued…….

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As promised here is another chapter. Hope you all enjoy!








    While Rooster slept as peacefully as one could with the flu, Savant excused himself to his office. There he found his computer already booted up, in sleep mode in case he had to jump on it right away to send a message to anyone on the ship, or outside it as well. He generally always had the strongest signal being a doctor and sometimes needing to contact outside sources for clarity or expertise. However, there were other pluses to having that sort of reach.


    He sat himself down and tapped on the keys, signing in with his military ID and password. It wouldn’t take a genius to figure out his password, even if he did have to change it every 90 days. It was always some variation of his lover’s name with different numbers, wether it be an anniversary, birthdate, or other random ones. Lately Savant had found himself using numbers that coincided with surgery or medical dates that he had gone through when no other numbers could be easily memorized. He saved the actual diagnosis date for last, fearful of what memories would come rushing back after having to always type it in.


    Savant logged in easily and bypassed a few interfaces to find exactly what he was looking for. A chat page began to load and although it was a long shot, Savant began to type.


    S—Hey, Ice. I know it’s late, but are you there?


    Savant waited for almost five minutes before his computer chirped in response. He turned in his chair and scooted closer to his desk, a smile showing on his face as he saw the response.


    I—Sav? What’s going on? Is something wrong? Is it Rooster? Is it Maverick?


    Savant frowned at the inclusion of Maverick. Wasn’t he back at home with Ice, who was still recovery from cancer? That’s at least what Rooster had told him, and he had assumed Rooster had all the information. Something about it definitely didn’t sit quite right.


    S—Isn’t Mav with you? As for us, we’re fine. But, Rooster did manage to catch himself the flu and it’s hit him pretty hard. I wish he would’ve come to me sooner, but it’s nothing we can’t handle.


    I—Maverick’s been on a mission for the last couple weeks. Did he not tell Rooster?


    Now it all made sense. Maverick was known to keep things from people, even his family, to which Rooster was included. He never wanted his son to worry about him, and that sometimes included not letting him know when he was deployed and where.

    I—You said the flu?


    S—From what I can tell. I need to do more testing to be sure. For now that’s what I’m going with.




    Savant inwardly groaned. He hated when Ice did that. Now that most of his communication was done through a device or through sign, that pause that he gave in text reminded Savant of being a much younger man and dreading that look and pause of contemplation and sternness.


    S—He’s been through a lot, Ice. I try my best but I’m not you or Maverick. Sometimes there are times that your family can provide comfort that the infirmary with strangers just can’t.


    I—You’re far from a stranger.


    S—Still not you.


    There was a pause where Savant could see that Ice was typing, though hadn’t sent anything. That didn’t surprise him in the slightest. Ice always thought through what he did and said, in a way that Maverick could never fathom. Perhaps that was why they complimented themselves so well. Either way, Savant gave him all the time that he needed, no matter if it was slowly causing him to grow a little more flustered than usual.


    I—They’ll never let me out there.


    It wasn’t unexpected. Honestly, Savant would’ve told him the same thing. His immune system was shot from all the radiation and chemo. How he was still working through doing treatments, Savant wasn’t sure. He had found it difficult enough to work when Thunder had his bad days, and he couldn’t imagine doing what Ice did. He did have Maverick there most of the time to help, and Savant had been witness to plenty of times where Maverick had dropped everything to care for his wingman.


    I—I have a better idea. Can you look after him for the night and I’ll contact you in the morning?


    S—Sounding awful cryptic there. You don’t have to worry. Rooster is in good hands. Talk to you soon.


    Savant closed out of his program and rubbed at his eyes tiredly. Time had crept to just past three, and he had another double shift to look forward to the following day. However, no matter how exhausted he became, he wouldn’t leave any of his patients, least of all someone he knew so personally. Maverick and Ice would be counting on him, and he’d be damned if he let anything happen to him in the process.


    After a quick check of his emails, Savant rose from his desk and headed out of the room. He stopped at the break room and picked up a juice and pack of peanut butter crackers. They had always been his choice of snack when he need something quick on the go. He had been known to hand out them rather quickly, and also would give out cheese crackers if there was an allergy he had to be mindful of.


    With the snacks in hand, Savant emerged back into the infirmary to see a few night nurses walking about. He nodded to each one of them as he passed, focus fixated on his mission at hand. He found his way over to Rooster’s bed to find that he had awoken, eyes roving around the room as he ran his fingers absentmindedly over his IV. He didn’t appear that he wanted to tug it out, though Savant still wasn’t keen how he was playing with it.


    “Got those crackers I promised,” Savant exclaimed as he drew closer, shaking the objects lightly in his hands as he approached. He took a seat at a nearby stool and pulled his way over, waving Rooster’s hand away so it wasn’t locked on his IV. “Some juice too. Those antibiotics I gave you can be rough on an empty stomach.”


    Rooster eyed the offered food warily, lips parting as he swiped his tongue over his dry lips. “Not hungry,” he rasped.


    “Can you try a little? Just one and then I won’t ask you to have anymore.”


    Rooster rolled his eyes as though Savant was asking too much of him. He reluctantly reached out and opened the small package of crackers and slid a single one out. He began to nibble on the corner of it, teeth more or less grinding the bits that made it into his mouth instead of swallowing them. Savant cracked the lid of the juice for him and handed it over, unable to fully suppress a sigh of relief when Rooster swallowed a few sips.

    “Feeling any better now that you have gotten some fluids,” Savant questioned as Rooster began to nibble on another corner of the same cracker.


    Rooster shrugged. “M’not sure. Still groggy.” He brushed a hand over his brow and grimaced at the sweat. How was he sweating if he was still so damn cold?


    “That’s to be expected with a fever thanks to the flu. We’ll finish this bag of saline and see how you are and if you need more. We want to fix that dehydration as soon as possible.” Savant reached up and examined the bag. It was still over halfway filled and he was pleased that Rooster’s fiddling with his IV hadn’t dislodged it or bent the tube. “Don’t need you passing out when you try to get up to go to the bathroom.”


    “Thank……” Rooster trailed off as a far away expression passed over his face, jaw slack and eyes squinted. He didn’t recall where he had put the tissues, and there wasn’t time to search. Before he could react, his head snapped forward suddenly, chin striking his chest hard. “HrcSH’Shoo! Hrcsh’Shoo! Hrchs’Shoo!” The final sneeze scraped his throat and left him wincing, one hand clutched at his burning throat.


    “Bless you.” Savant located the tissues from earlier and handed them over. Rooster pulled a few squares up and blew his nose lightly, brow knit it clear discomfort. “It’s not doing your throat any favors, now is it?”


    Rooster shook his head, tissues falling limp at his side. “It wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t hurt like hell every time.” He struggled to finish his sentence with coughing, chest tightening as though a vice had fastened around him, squeezing more and more with each breath. How could breathing be so painful?


    Savant reached over and helped Rooster sit up as he continued to muffle his coughs through tightly sealed lips. Tears threatened to fall as Savant piled more pillows behind him until he was propped up to an almost 90 degree angle. It was hardly comfortable, but the tightness eased considerably in his lungs as he was no longer laying prone. He sighed heavily in the aftermath, too exhausted to speak, though the brightness of his gaze told Savant all he needed to know.


    “Try your best to relax,” Savant urged as he gripped Rooster’s hand and gave it a small squeeze. “I know it’s difficult, believe me. Getting sick aboard a cruiser so far from home is no one’s idea of a good time. But, that’s where we are. I’ll do my best to make this as painless as possible.”


    Rooster managed a small smile, that came out more like a half grimace, half grin. “You should’ve been a tech or something, Savant. Never met a doctor who cared as much as you.”


    “A tech? I didn’t go through over a decade of medical training to take such abuse from my patients.” He affectionately swatted at Rooster’s shoulder lightly. “You’re making me rethink my entire career.”


    “No, no, I just meant…..” Rooster settled for a tired huff. The throb in his sinuses and temples wasn’t helping his thoughts, in fact it was slowing him down considerably. “You’re different from other doctors, military ones especially.”


    Savant thought deeply as he leaned back on his stool, arms crossed over his chest. “Probably because I’ve been the husband of someone who was in constant care of doctors. I know what it’s like to be on the other side and what I would want in those situations. Besides, it’s always different when it’s someone you know personally.”


    Rooster let out a soft breath, head tilted to the side on his mount of pillows. A soft wheeze had begun to plague him, the tightness from earlier returning. However, just having Savant beside him was enough to soothe him in a comforting way. “You don’t have to stay here all night. I-I’ll be fine.”


    “I know.” Savant made himself more comfortable by folding one leg over his other as he rested his folded hands on his lap. Tiredness seeped into every pore, pulled at every muscle and he wanted nothing more than to retreat back to his quarters to sleep. Leaving would’ve been so simple, yet he didn’t even question needing to be there for Rooster. Being sick and alone in the infirmary was no one’s idea of a pleasant time, no matter who you were. “Maybe I’m doing this for my benefit. Ever thought of that?”


    The lopsided grin that Savant received in response made his quip worth it. The younger man released the tension that he carried in his shoulders as he let out a heavy breath, a frustrated huff surfacing as the buzzing sensation that he was trying to force aside was hardly working. Normally a forced tongue to the roof of his mouth was all it took to stave off the feeling, unfortunately at day five with this rotten virus wasn’t going to make things easy for him.


    As though he was reading an open book, Savant grabbed a handful of tissues and passed them over. Rooster took them desperately, brow tented as his top lip curled as his breath started to hitch. Nostrils flared, he pitched forward. “Hrchs’Shoo!” The first sneeze was all from his throat, pain searing through him. If only he could stop at just one, but the itch radiated through his sinuses, unable to do anything but stare absentmindedly forward, willing the feeling to surface. “Hrhcs’Shoo! Hrchs’Shoo! Hrcsh’Shoo!” The three that followed left his nose running, the feel of the tissues against his sore skin around his nose and upper lip almost torture.


    “Bless you.” Savant swapped Rooster’s wet tissues for new ones, the old ones discarded in a nearby trashcan. “Those sounded like they hurt.”


    Rooster rubbed his chest with a fist, tightness easing with the added pressure. Congestion weighed heavy through his sinuses, spread throughout his face like cement. The effort to keep his eyes open was draining, more so than he ever thought breathing could be. Thoughts were jumbled enough thanks to the fever that burned through him like wildfire, the feel of his clothing on his overheated skin almost too much to tolerate.


    “Rooster?” A cool hand came to rest on his forehead, cupping the side of his jaw after. He shied away, lips parted to let out a faint whimper. The person beside him seemed to understand as the hands retracted, leaving Rooster to feel the full weight of discomfort pulse through him. He couldn’t remember a time he felt this sick in years. Bronchitis his first year at base camp may have been worse, though the memory had faded so far that Rooster struggled to recall all of it.


    As sleep finally claimed him, Savant found himself staying with no desire to leave. Part of him felt a pull to look after the sick pilot as his family wasn’t there to do so for him. The sharp tick of a nearby clock filled this silent room and Savant felt his resolve chipping away, until he too was greeted by the warmth of sleep.


To Be Continued….

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/24/2023 at 6:39 AM, spn27695 said:

This is amazing!! 

I’m so glad that you’re enjoying it! I hope you like this next part just as much!






More fluff since I just can’t help myself. Also brief mention of violence and blood (very brief)





    “Sir? Sir? Dr. Reeds!”


    Savant’s head snapped down, eyes open intently as he glanced around the room to take in his surroundings. His lab coat had been repositioned over his front as though someone had slipped it from his arms, though he wasn’t sure as to who. Weariness spread over his face as he lifted a hand to card his fingers through his hair, soft strands flipped back, only to spring back into place a moment later. His vision stalled and he frowned when he saw Nurse Ryles kneeled in front of him.


    “Dr. Reeds, are you alright? I thought you went off shift hours ago?”


    “Yeah…..I did.” Savant straightened and immediately turned his attention on Rooster, who was still sleeping somewhat peacefully, mouth gaped open and soft snores tearing through his body. There was no doubt in Savant’s mind that one wrong move would rouse him from sleep, and that was the last thing that Savant wanted. “I didn’t mean to fall asleep. Do forgive me.”


    “I can take things from here,” Nurse Ryles offered. “I’ll hang another bag of fluids and try to keep him comfortable. Is there anything else I need to know about his condition?”


    Savant stifled a groan as he rose to his feet, back twinging as he tried to stretch to his full height. He was getting too old to do these bedside vigils, and as much as he felt them necessary with some patients, his body didn’t concur. He was past middle age now and his body wasn’t able to tolerate nearly the things that it used to. Those late night workout sessions he continued to do could only do so much it seemed.


    “Come and find me immediately if things change with him.” He coughed thickly into his fist to clear it. “And try not to give him any sedatives if it can at all be helped. Fevers are known to make Lt. Bradshaw combative, but come and get me if that happens.”


    Nurse Ryles nodded in understanding and set to checking Rooster’s IV and to prepare another bag of saline. Although it physically pained him, Savant forced himself to leave Rooster in the capable hands of the Nurse Ryles as he took a much needed break back to his quarters.




    The soft creak of a door being forced open awoke Savant immediately. He stayed right where he was, breath never changing as he heard someone milling about his quarters, skirting papers over his small desk, footsteps lumbering throughout the room. Savant’s mind raced as he slowly reached under his pillow until his fingers curled around a knife he always kept there for emergencies. The cool handle settled easily in his palm as he felt the weight shift comfortably. All those hours of self defense training he did in basic training came rushing back to him as he prepared himself.


    Muscles taunt, Savant threw his blanket back and rushed to his feet. Eyes blazing, Savant threw his shoulder into the man in question hard, knife gripped in his palm as he swiped the blade through the air. A whoosh of power built in his system as he took out the legs of the assailant and leapt onto the body in front of him and pressed the blade to the man’s throat, Adam’s apple bobbing under the sharpness of the steel.


    “Sav….Savant,” croaked a voice in the darkness.


    Realization dawned on Savant as he dropped the blade beside him, the hilt letting out a fierce clatter once it struck the floor. “Fucking hell? Maverick?”


    The man under him nodded pitifully, face pressed against the tacky floor. Savant pushed himself off of him, legs sprawled as he pressed his back against the opposite wall, heart clawing its way up his throat.


    Maverick grunted as he reached his leg left over his middle, lower back twisting until it let out a satisfying crack. He then rested his arms on either side of his head and propped himself up until he was sitting up facing Savant, a hand coming up to brush his short brown hair into a more acceptable condition. His clothes were ruffled, a few dirt stains were probably on his pants, but that didn’t chase away the flicker of enthusiasm he had brimming in his eyes.


    “You know, I’m used to being manhandled, just not by you,” Maverick began with a knowing raise of his brow.


    Savant sputtered in shock. “Why the hell didn’t you know or something? Why would you just walk into my quarters while I’m sleeping? I could’ve killed you.”


    “Honestly didn’t know you had it in you.” Maverick right hand came to brush against the tender skin of his throat, barely red where Savant had held the knife flush against his flesh. It had been thrilling to say the least, with the adrenaline still coursing through his veins. Part of him wanted to playfully go for Savant again, but reason stopped him before he could react so impulsively. “Remind me not to piss you off. You could’ve slit my throat.”


    “Yeah, sorry about that…..but how did you get here? Ice said you were on deployment. You can’t just leave that.” Well, with Iceman being your husband, perhaps you just could.


    Maverick gave a flick of his wrist, an air about him that Savant had grown to call ‘cocky Mav’ since that was all that he could think to describe it. He often felt that he was above reprimand, and perhaps that he was. A damn good pilot didn’t negate recklessness, though he had prove himself time and time again as far as Savant as concerned. Now the Navy, there was no telling how they really felt about him.


    “When it’s my kid, I can do whatever I damn well please.”


    Savant tipped his head to the side, crinkles formed in the corners of his eyes as he squinted them.


    Maverick let out a soft chuckle. “Okay, maybe not, but Ice pulled some strings and got me here. You know that he wasn’t about to just stand by when he knew that Baby Goose was sick.”


    “That may have been precisely why I contacted him,” Savant confessed.


    Maverick’s gaze softened in a way that it only would for his husband or his son. “Now that we’ve got this all squared away….” He motioned with a finger between Savant and himself. “I don’t suppose I can see my kid?”


    Savant dipped his head as he twisted to the side, arms braced against the edge of his bed to help haul himself up to his feet. Creaking muscles greeted him, and it took a few shakes of each knee for them to loosen. Sure, he could take down an intruder it seemed, but afterwards he would need a deep muscle massage. He reached out to Maverick once he stood, the smaller pilot making a grab for his wrist, and with a grunt he was brought to his full height. Savant patted his chest as he passed, shaking off the last of the tension from earlier as he left his quarters in a rush.


    The walk to the infirmary took less time than usual, Maverick chomping at the bit behind him. He broke into a light jog with Maverick doing the same as they burst into the infirmary. Luckily it was still almost 6 in the morning, so there were hardly anyone else in there at the moment besides the morning shift doing rounds. They relaxed when Savant waved them off, returning to their assigned duties dutifully.


    Maverick’s eyes locked on Rooster almost the moment they stepped through the infirmary. He passed Savant easily and eagerly slipped over to Rooster’s side, knelt by the side of his bed, and reached out his hand to take Rooster’s in his own. His calloused fingers, stained by years of mechanic work and jet fuel, drummed lightly on the back of Rooster’s hand, opposite of the one that had the IV inserted. It barely brought with it any pressure, merely a sign of his presence as he waited patiently for Rooster to respond.


    Savant watched from a distance, finding a spot beside the wall with his arms crossed over his chest. He didn’t want to interfere in any sense that he was unwelcome in, knowing just how comfortable Rooster was with Maverick, and no matter how much Savant did, he wasn’t either of his father figures and that was absolutely fine with him. He could provide in a way that Maverick and Ice maybe couldn’t when it came to medical procedures and illness, but now it seemed like his job was done.


    “I’ll be around if you need anything,” Savant whispered with a nod of his head.


    Maverick replied with a thankful dip of his head, watching as Savant slipped back into the role of doctor without missing a beat. Although clearly disheveled and in desperate need of a shower and sleep, the nurses around him flocked to him while he busied himself with tasks. Some may say that a doctor shouldn’t have been doing the work of the nurses as he helped out, but Savant would never be one to sit back while others worked when he was perfectly capable of helping. That was something Maverick truly admired about him.


    It didn’t take long of Maverick’s light fussing before Rooster heavy lidded eyelids began to open. A haze of confusion seemed to cloud his vision as his head turned from side to side on the soft pillow. His hand with his IV lifted weakly and rubbed at his face, poking at his swollen sinuses until his pointer finger rubbed so harshly under his chapped nostrils that pieces of dried skin flaked off in his touch.   


    The touch did nothing but allow the itch from earlier to blossom. Agitation spread over Rooster’s face, tongue peeking out from behind his bottom teeth to lap at his chapped lips. A vicious hitch stole his breath and he didn’t even have a chance to prepare himself as he instinctively snapped forward. “HRhc’Shoo!” The sneeze was throaty, explosive, and a hell of a lot messier than Rooster was expecting. “Hih….hih…” His body was already gearing up for a new one, helpless to do anything besides bring his hands up this time to cover. “Hrchs’Shoo! Hrcs’Shoo! Hrcsh’Shoo!” The next three were just as messy as the first and left Rooster snuffling pitifully, congestion bubbling in his throat and causing him to rumble with thick coughs.


    “Damn, kid, bless you.”


    Rooster blinked his eyes in shock as he heard the familiar voice. At first he assumed that his ears were playing tricks on him, but when his eyes finally focused out of their irritated watering, he saw the familiar features of a man in front of him, looking at him with both a smile of worry and relief.


    “Bav,” Rooster gasped, hands momentarily dropped from his face to reveal the mess underneath.


    Maverick winced with an awkward chuckle. “Yeah it’s me.” He gave another snort of laugher and gave a wave of his hand in front of his face. “Think your nose has had a bit of an explosion there.”


    Heat that had nothing to do with Rooster’s fever seeped into his face, turning it beet red. He reached out with the corner of his left hand, palm unfortunately misted with mess, until he found his discarded tissue box. He pulled out seven and stacked them on top of each other. While the Navy didn’t cheapen out on it’s jets or parts for them, providing tissues that didn’t disintegrate within a single use was something they could only dream of. The whole stack was hardly enough after he blew two times and cleaned himself up as much as possible. Another couple was used to clean his hands, and when he finally felt himself as presentable as he could muster in his current condition, he looked at his uncle with feverish eyes brimming with tears.




    Maverick laughed again as Rooster almost launched himself forward, arms wrapped so tightly around Maverick that he felt Rooster may actually break him. Maverick held on just as tightly, head buried in Rooster’s hair. It had been almost six months since he last saw Rooster, got to talk to him face to face and hold him like this. Ever since Rooster had moved back in with Ice and Maverick, they had spent so much time together catching up, caring for one another especially through Ice’s cancer. Being away was struggle enough, especially knowing that Rooster wasn’t feeling well.


    “Alright, alright, it’s alright,” Maverick whispered as he gave Rooster a final tight squeeze before slumping back. He couldn’t truly cut contact, a hand still rested on top of Rooster’s as he eyed the young pilot fondly. “But, you do look like shit.”


    Rooster let out a half laugh that turned into a round of hacking coughs. These were at least directed in the crook of his elbow faced away from Maverick. His back muscles stretched as he struggled with the fit, throat burning as though he had swallowed gravel. He slumped back when he finally caught his breath without immediately falling into another fit. His chin rested on his chest as he fixed Maverick with most dewy eyed expression Maverick had seen, well except for when Goose gave him that same look when he was sick or in pain.


    “Don’t give me that,” Maverick joked fondly as he brushed a few stray hairs from Rooster’s sweat slicked brow. “You look just like your dad when you do that.”


    “Could go for some of his soup.” Rooster’s top lip curled as he was forced to breathe through his mouth as his nose was too clogged to do anything properly. “Mom tried to make it a couple times, but it’s not the same.”


    “Soup isn’t my speciality, but you know your Uncle Ice makes a mean chowder. I think I may be able to convince him to try his hand at it when we’re all three back in the same house.”


    At the mention of Ice, Rooster’s face fell. He worked his hands together, fingers instinctively coming to wrap around his IV. Blunt nails scratched against his knuckles, though they grew dangerously close to the IV for Maverick’s liking.


    Maverick leaned forward, folded arms rested on the edge of Rooster’s bed. “He misses you, you know that?”


    “Is he still sick?”


    “He has cancer, pal. He’s still pretty sick, but you know how he is. He wouldn’t want you to worry about him.”


    “Hard not to when I’m so far away and haven’t talked to him in a while.” Rooster motioned to his own neck, tracing a line down his throat. “It hurts him to talk.”


    Maverick nodded in understanding. He had noticed the same, and had strictly tried to only communicate with Ice in ways that wouldn’t make the other pilot have to talk. It was challenging, especially when it frustrated Ice not to be able to say what he wanted. Their sign language had come a long way, to which Maverick could wholeheartedly thank the internet for, as well as relying on communication devices and text to talk. It was an adjustment, he would be lying if he said otherwise, but he wouldn’t trade it for the world if it meant have Ice at his side for as long as possible.


    “Yeah, yeah, it does….and he hates to admit it.” Maverick found himself grinding his teeth together, the harsh clench of his jaw surprisingly palpable. With a soft sight, he felt himself instinctually brighten. “But, you know, I think I have an idea.”


To Be Continued….



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And here is the final part. Thank you all for reading and I hope you all enjoy!











    “Okay, everyone set up and comfortable,” Savant asked as he rolled the IV pole almost behind Rooster’s bunk, securing it with a ratchet strap that he found in one of the tool closets that the engineers often used. It wasn’t a perfect setup by any means, but it was the best compromise that Savant could come up with to give Rooster privacy away from the infirmary and still have enough signal for this to go through.


    Maverick shifted closer onto the small bunk that was really meant for one, practically swishing Rooster against the wall. Rooster didn’t complain, propped up with a stack of pillows behind him and a rapidly declining box of tissues on his lap. Dark circles hung under his eyes, sinuses swollen and face hot with fever. It had finally dropped a few degrees, though he was still feverish. His open palm came to rub against his stuffed up nose, an awful squelch filling the small room.


    “Awesome, well, I’ll leave you too and—“


    “You’re not staying,” Rooster interrupted in surprise.


    Savant swallowed heavily, rubbing at the back of his neck firmly. “This is a moment for you guys. I’m not going to interrupt that.”


    “Maybe you could at least stay to say hello,” Maverick suggested with a shrug of his shoulders. “I really think he’d like to check in on you too.”


    Savant tucked his hands into his pockets and skirted his foot against the floor. He made his way over and came to kneel on the other side of the bed, as there was no way that was fitting on it. There was barely room for both Rooster and Maverick, let alone leave any room for Savant. So, they made do with what they had, Rooster and Maverick comfortable, to which meant the world to Savant. He didn’t need to be comfortable so long as the other two were.


    Three small dots formed on the screen, fading into existence before disappearing just as quickly. They repeated a moment later, filling the screen and allowing it a moment to go black once more. It was accompanied by a faint tinging sound, the steady pace of the ring familiar to all their ears. All of them had done video calls more in their lives than they ever expected, even with the quality poor and the service hit or miss.


    It took less than a minute for the screen to announce it had connected, the first grainy image of the familiar features showing on screen. It lagged for almost twenty seconds before the video caught up with itself, shining eyes and the familiar Admiral uniform seeming to stare back at all of them intensely through the screen.


    “Ice,” Rooster rasped, his voice almost completely shot thanks to the post nasal drip he struggled with every night.


    The man in question waved gleefully upon seeing his nephew unbridled affection clear in every wrinkle on his face. He raised his hand with his middle and ring finger down with the remaining fingers up and gave it a shake.


    Rooster instantly began to sign back rather quickly, his illness doing nothing to deter him from his eager communication with his uncle. He broke out laughing a moment later, a hand coming up to work the tension that constricted his lungs. He attempted to muffle the coughs as much as possible, not wanting Ice to worry about him when he was sure to have a lot on his mind.


    Ice began to worriedly sign when he saw Rooster’s discomfort.


    “Don’t give me that,” Rooster rasped as he threw an arm over his face to hide his embarrassment. “I promise it sounds worse than it feels.”


    “Don’t listen to him,” Maverick announced in the background as he crushed closer to Rooster and ruffled his hair affectionately.


    Rooster jabbed Maverick hard in the ribs, the smaller man letting out a squeak of indignation. The two playfully pushed each other until Rooster forced his head into his shoulder to cough, the fit grating and thick. Phlegm leaped in his throat and he made a soft whimper as he felt around for the tissues, a look of panic showing in his eyes.


    Savant was already on it, for he had found the tissues and handed Rooster a couple to let him cough into. He hacked painfully into the folds, tears collecting on the tips of his eyelashes. He was quick to swipe them away with the back of his hand, reluctant for any of the men in the room to see him so vulnerable.


    “How have you been,” Maverick questioned in an effort to take the attention off of Rooster, mercifully so.


    Ice signed back that he had been fine, maybe a little tired. Panic automatically settled in Maverick’s chest, and he longed to reach out and take his husband by the shoulders and pull him close until his head was rested on his chest. There he would be able to feel how Ice was breathing, making sure that he didn’t have a fever, and to see if he was losing weight because of the chemo. One could hide a lot of things over video and Maverick felt the sudden urge to completely overwhelm Ice with questions about his wellbeing. It was only having Rooster there that kept him from doing so.


    “We miss you,” Rooster told him with the corresponding sign.


    Ice beamed. He signed slowly, eyes locked on Maverick. The other pilot gnawed on his bottom lip as his brain raced to formulate what Ice had signed to him.


    “He wants to know how you’ve been since he hasn’t seen you in a bit, only over text,” Savant supplied.


    Maverick shot him an incredulous look. “You know sign? Since when?!”


    “Well…..Thunder and I tried it for a bit when he got real bad, but…..” Maverick would’ve left it at that, Savant was sure of it, yet he couldn’t bring himself not to finish. He had to talk about these hard moments if he wanted to remember the pleasant ones just as much. “He wasn’t coordinated for long with it so we moved onto AAC, not unlike what Ice uses.” Savant coughed to clear his throat and ran his hand over his face. “You know, I’ll leave you all to it. You have a lot of catching up to do and I have rounds. You’ll call if you need anything?”


    Part of Maverick wanted to insist that he stay, to enjoy a moment with all of them and forget about some of the responsibilities that was constantly on them. However, he knew that Savant wouldn’t agree. He was too studious, too concerned about the wellbeing of the rest of the members of the crew to negate any of his responsibilities. Maverick more than respected him for that, and would never fault him for that.


    “You sure,” Rooster croaked.


    Savant offered a patient smile. “I’ll be around again to check on both of you. Think you can keep Mav out of trouble for me?”


    Rooster glanced over at Maverick, a bewildered look in his eyes. “I plead the fifth.”


    “Rooster,” Ice wheezed, voice quiet and rough at the same time. His jaw tensed as he swallowed a frightful cough, knowing that when he started, he probably wouldn’t be able to stop.


    “No talking,” Maverick scolded with a waggle of his finger.


    Ice held up his hands in surrender. There was still a lightness in his eyes, and there was no doubt that if Ice was there, Maverick wouldn’t hesitate to kiss him silly.


    Savant exchanged final farewells before excusing himself, the door closing softly behind him. Maverick eyed the door as he left, half expecting him to come back a moment later. He didn’t blame him when he didn’t, instead attempting to remind himself of the moment he was sharing with the two most important people in his life, and although it wasn’t perfect with them all in the same room, this was the best that they could hope for considering all three of them were in the Navy and military life was unpredictable at best.


    The three talked for another hour before the connection began to falter. That and Rooster’s eyes started to droop, exhaustion pulling on his every fiber of his being. He was so tired he didn’t even realize the itch that traveled through him until it was too late. “Hrchs’Shoo!” The first took him by surprise and he accidentally ending up spraying the keyboard, eyes wide at what had just happened. His breath stuttered once more as he brought a hand up, pinching the bridge of his nose between his forefinger and thumb. “Hgh’ghxth! Hgh’ghxght! Hgh’tcsxght!”


    Ice frowned while Maverick lightly hit Rooster on the shoulder. “Enough of that before you burst a blood vessel or something!” He wretched Rooster’s hand from his nose and replaced it with another bundle of tissues. Rooster was forced to the them as his breath caught again, this time taunting him as the pressure built behind his eyes and turned into fire that lapped at his sinus passages. He rubbed the back of his wrist against his nose before burying his entire face into the offered tissues, a high, breathy inhale shaking his entire body. “Hrchs’Shoo! HRchs’Shoo! Hrcsh’Shoo! Hrcsh’Shoo! HRcs’Sh’Shoo!”


    “See,” Maverick hissed as he rubbed Rooster’s back as the younger man coughed and coughed until he blew his nose. “When you hold ‘em in like that it only makes things worse. Now how did that feel?”


    “Dnot good,” Rooster replied crestfallen.


    “Maverick,” Ice scolded, coughing a moment later.


    Maverick threw his hands in surrender. “Right, right, just don’t want the kid to bust an eardrum or something. He’s as stubborn as you, Ice.”


    Ice shot Maverick a look, chin tipped down and face stern. It was a look that Maverick knew only too well, and received often on the daily. Normally, Maverick could kiss that look right off Ice’s face, arms looped around his waist as he pulled the older man close until they were chest to chest and bury kisses against the tender skin of his exposed neck. That was one of the unfortunate losses of not being right there to touch him.


    “Okay, maybe he’s as stubborn as me,” Maverick amended as he wrapped an arm around Rooster’s neck and brought him close, ruffling his hair until it was even more disheveled than it already was. Rooster shoved him off good naturally, shooting Ice a pleading glance to come and get his husband.


    The rest of the conversation went about the same with them all catching up until Rooster began to fade once. He held on for as long as he could, focused on what Ice was signing and doing his best to either respond verbally or by sign just to practice. His hands began to grow heavy not long after and his head slumped to the side until it was rested heavily on Maverick shoulder. He forced his eyes open and to focus, though he could feel his lashes fluttering as they instinctively tried to close.


    “You’re good, Roo,” Maverick whispered as he placed a kiss at the crown of Rooster’s head.


    “But….Ice,” Rooster protested, sentence interrupted by a massive yawn.


    Maverick rolled his eyes. “I guarantee he wants you to rest if your body needs it, and trust me, it does. We’ll understand. You just get some rest, alright?”


    Rooster hummed to himself as he felt his body lean the rest of the way against Maverick until the older pilot had taken all of his weight. He was more comfortable than any pillow, and Rooster didn’t fight sleep when it finally claimed him.


    ‘Tired’ Ice had signed as he nodded to Rooster.


    Maverick sighed. “He’s been through a hell of a couple weeks. This flu has gripped him harder than any other illness I’ve seen him go. For a while there he was starting to look like his mother was.”


    Alarm immediately showed on Ice’s face. His hands began to work themselves together, unable to force them to sign anything.


    “But, that was just my worry. Savant isn’t going to let anything happen to him.” Maverick said that with determination, knowing damn well how much Savant had done for all of them, and would continue to do for them. There was never a doubt in his mind that he would be there to help, unless….God forbid something ever happened to Savant.


    Maverick broke out of his own thoughts as Ice began to cough, thick and violent into a trembling fist. Maverick could tell how much it hurt, how much it took everything in Ice’s power to try and compose himself, to not grimace at the taste in his mouth, or the lingering tickle that always danced around his throat. He huffed softly in an attempt to clear the itch away, to relatively no avail. He reached for a glass of water on the corner of his desk, taking a few greedy sips before setting it aside, leaned back in his chair, attempting not to show how tired he was, though Maverick knew the truth.


    “I’ll let you go,” Maverick sighed as he lifted his hand to brush his pointer finger over the screen. His finger brushed lightly over Ice’s cheek; he could practically feel Ice’s soft skin against him. What he wouldn’t give for one more caress of the man that he loved in front of him. “I love you, always and forever.”


    Ice smiled, warmth glowing from his tired eyes. He raised his hand and pulled his middle and forefinger down, his other fingers stretched as he gave it a shake before pointing at Maverick through the screen.


    Maverick felt his throat begin to itch, the realization that he may start crying all the more imminent. He cleared his throat with a harsh cough and drew his cursor over the red X in the corner of the screen. “Talk to you soon. Goodnight.” Maverick closed out of the call, an emptiness surging through him like he had been implied by icicles. How had something that had been so positive leave him feeling so hopeless?


    Before Maverick could fall too far into the depths of disappointment, Rooster mumbled incoherently and shifted. His left arm slung around Maverick’s shoulders and held him close, face pressed against his chest as he began to snore. His head was tipped backwards, face a mere inches from Maverick’s chin as he breathed.


    Yeah, there as no way that he wasn’t getting sick after this. Somehow, though, it didn’t mater. All that mattered was his boys were safe and taken care of, and everything else would sort itself out later.


    The End

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