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Okay before we get started I’d like to mention that this is my first piece of original fiction that I’m posting on here so pls go easy on me haha

This short fic is set in the mid 90’s in coastal Denmark- there’s a bit of coughing in this so if that’s not your thing,  just a heads up…

BUT if your thing happens to be rugged sexy stubborn Scandinavian Fishermen… this might be right up your alley. 

lmk what you think 

xx babyganja 



“Ah, that's rough luck, old friend," Erik chuckled, as he cast out another round of cards on the trampled mess table. The men were huddled around in a rumble of laughter and conversation, the air alive with shuffling cards and thick with tobacco smoke. 

Christoffer eyed his cards and grinned deviously. "I wouldn't say so."

It was their last week at port before they set off again for their next haul, and tonight the crew of the Noona Dan had all gathered to spend the evening playing cards and telling stories- and of course drinking- a beloved Danish pastime. 

Christoffer savored the easy camaraderie of these nights, but his heart kept drifting away from the circle and back to Sybil. In just a few weeks it would be their first wedding anniversary together, and he still hadn't found anything special enough to commemorate how his bride had changed his life since she'd come into it.
"Heard you've been seeing plenty of your sweetheart lately," Erik remarked, as if he'd read Christoffer's mind, stirring him from his reverie. 

Chris flicked up an eyebrow skeptically; however, he couldn't entirely suppress the indulgent grin that snuck across his face at the thought of Sybil. “What gave you that idea?"

“Because she drops off your lunchbox like your mommy. What are you five?”

Chris shrugged good-naturedly, a twinkle in his blue eye. “You're one to talk — I saw you getting pretty cozy with that new vendor at Torvehallerne. What was her name again? Susanne?"

A smirk tugged at Erik's mouth. 

“She’s quite the catch,” he said suggestively, switching to accented English to make the pun.

“You're a goddamn comedian," Chris deadpanned. "But maybe you should consider sticking to your day job.”


Monday, Christoffer sneered when the weatherman spoke of an incoming storm. Tuesday, he scoffed at Sybil's reminder to dress warmly against the impending chill. Wednesday, his throat burned as if he'd swallowed a branding iron - but Chris brushed it off and continued with his day. He meandered down the long aisles of the grocery store, his banana-phone Nokia to his ear as Sybil read off the ingredients to a recipe on the other end of the line. The hairy week of preparations for the fishing haul was almost over and the thought of coming home to a hot meal and his beautiful wife was the only thing keeping him sane. 

"I'm about to check out- if you want anything else from the grocery you have to tell me now." 

“Bring me back Frisko bars or suffer my wrath,” Sybil's unmistakable American drawl crackled through the phone and Christoffer let out a deep, rolling laugh as he maneuvered the cart towards the frozen aisle. 

"I thought you were on a health kick." 

"Ice cream is healthy! Got Milk?"  she sassed with her characteristic deadpan brush off, and Christoffer smiled fondly in spite of himself. He could picture her on the floor before their television set, twirling the cord of their landline phone and manicuring her nails with glossy dark varnish. The freezer door's frosty exhale blew across his face as he grabbed the requested box of treats.  His breath crackled in his chest on the inhale and stuck like glue in his throat. He shoved the ice cream into the cart and buried his face in the crook of his arm, receiver pinched between his shoulder and ear. Chris coughed into his elbow and the congested, crumbly edge to it earned him a wary eye from another customer. Everything was silent on the other end of the line for a second and there was a brief shuffling of feet heard before Sybil spoke again.

"You okay Chris?" she asked through the phone, teasing tone replaced with a touch of worry. 

"Yeah," Christoffer assured her hoarsely, rubbing his chest to alleviate the slight discomfort arising there. "Swallowed wrong."

"Uh huh- you sure? You sound kind of stuffy," Sybil replied warily. "It's been pretty chilly lately." 

"Ha! Rubbish. I have a Danish constitution darling." 

He drove carefully on his way home, navigating around patches of ice that dotted the road; October was coming to an end leaving in its wake a bitter chill unique only to Danish winters. The streets were practically deserted; clearly everybody had enough sense to stay inside on such a night.


"Mom seriously- it's fine. We’re just going to do something special next week instead." 

Sybil irritably twirled a strand of her long auburn hair as she paced around their cozy home. A lasagna bubbled under a layer of foil in the oven, filling their space with a warm, comforting fragrance. "Chris has a big haul on the 17th, and we can't reschedule it." 

The calendar on the wall marked their first anniversary in bold red, and Sybil felt a twinge of disappointment - instead of celebrating their first anniversary together with a romantic dinner, Christoffer would be at sea.

"Love you too. Bye."

She had scarcely hung up the phone before the front door swung open with the jangle of keys. As if summoned by the thought of him, her tall husband stepped into the threshold, handsome face lit up with a devilish smile, burly arms laden with grocery bags.

"Busy with Mummy dearest?" There was a teasing note in Christoffer's voice.

"You're back!" Sybil didn’t bother to contain her excitement and she practically leapt over the back of the couch to cling to him. "How was your day?”

Christoffer shrugged as he swept Sybil off her feet into a tight hug- she melted into his embrace, dizzy on the woodsy scent of his aftershave and the chill that lingered on his coat.  

"Preparation for today and tomorrow my dear," he said, planting a brief kiss to the coppery crown of her head. "What about you?"

"I never know what to do when I'm not working,” she lamented, her words muffled by his sweater. “So laundry. And I'm watching The X Files." 

"Good thing I got ice cream," he declared, but his voice was raspy and he had to clear his throat before he could speak again. "Something smells good."

"Have some! It's lasagne."

They settled in front of the boxy CRT television with their spread to watch the next episode. He thought he could feel a chill run through him, but he must’ve been imagining it because the room was comfortably warm. Yet when he swallowed his throat felt leaden and the headache that had been building behind his eyes, throbbed persistently. As they watched Scully and Mulder chase after extraterrestrial life, Chris's expression changed suddenly. His brows knit inwards, full top lip curling into a snarl. He sucked in a sharp, involuntary gasp and hastily snapped away from his wife releasing a muzzled sneeze into the crook of his arm.


Surprised at his own unexpected outburst, he blinked away the moisture that had gathered on his long lashes. There was a pregnant, knowing pause and Sybil quirked a neat brow at him, her expression sly. "Uh oh… Bless you."
"Uh oh?" he echoed with a scoff, laughing off her scrutiny. He issued a damp sniffle as he recovered from the interruption and slung his arm back around her shoulders, expression unbothered. 

"I sneezed one time, Sybil."

A mischievous twinkle lit up her eyes as Sybil leveled him with that all-knowing, emerald gaze of hers.

"Famous last words.”


By Friday, the storm that had been predicted arrived, both outside their home and within Christoffer’s immune system. 

He didn't get much rest due to the fact that he'd been awake practically all night, coughing; he had been ready to rip his own two lungs out if it meant getting a moment's reprieve. Biting back a groan of pure frustration, Christoffer slowly blinked his eyes open to glance at the clock. It was nearly four- had he really napped for two hours? The pillow was warm and damp beneath his cheek, and experimentally, he touched his nose to see if it was running. The contact caused his damp nostrils to scrunch and then flare as he stifled an explosive sneeze: “huhHRSSHHHuh!” 

Christoffer wasn't disgusted by his own condition as he was how weak it made him feel. Why his robust immune system chose to fail him now of all times was an enigma. Christoffer hoped that this bug would be short-lived as being confined to a bed for too long invariably drove him mad. He had already begun to feel stir-crazy, and when Sybil had called offering to deliver medication on her commute home, he declined with practiced politeness. There wasn’t much of a selection anyhow (apart from paracetamol and lozenges), and he wasn't so much an invalid that he needed to be looked after like a child. He was fully capable of seeing to his own needs just fine, and was undoubtedly contagious after all. He snorted back a wall of congestion that had refused to be blown out, and the gesture made him cough - the rattling phlegmy sound equally displeasing. Christoffer had faced far worse hardships than this wretched bout of cold, but he couldn't deny that it was beginning to grind away at his patience more than he cared to admit.

He needed water, and this was reason enough to venture downstairs—even if he wasn't 'allowed' out of bed. (As if Sybil actually thought he would listen) He descended the stairs with little to no trouble, but each step made his head pound. He stepped out into the living room and his sensitive eyes quickly adjusted to the dim lighting, now that the storm had started tapping against the windows.

It was rather gloomy and the lack of sunlight didn't help much either, which made it seem later than it actually was. With a sigh, Christoffer stumbled towards the TV and dropped onto the sofa at an angle. He reached for the remote on the coffee table and pressed 'power', watching with drowsy half-interest as static filled his field of vision. 

Sybil came home from her closing shift at the restaurant to find her strong, rugged, seafaring husband sprawled on the couch like a rag doll, a miserable heap of tissues and blankets. 

It would have been sweet - goddamned adorable even - if he hadn't been doing exactly what she told him not to fucking do. 

“Chris," she said flatly, her arms crossed over her chest in annoyance. "Why are you still up? I thought I told you to stay in bed." 

He wrinkled up his nose and furrowed his brow. “In a minute,” he protested with a drippy sniffle, heavy congestion blunting his M's and N's. “This show is almost over.”

Sybil walked over to the TV and stood between him and its glowing screen. Her long ginger hair was pulled into a thick braid that snaked down her back. She snuck a glance at the monitor from over her shoulder and scoffed. 

“A fishing documentary? Seriously?”

He cast her an expression that was equal part defiance and pitifulness. “Research,” he argued unconvincingly.

“Bed. Now.”

With a dramatic sigh which quickly escalated into an awful fit of coughing, he finally gave in. “Bloody dictator,” he grumbled under his breath as he rose gingerly to return upstairs — only for his sinuses to misbehave again. Chris was snarky, but he was not impolite. He whipped away from Sybil and buried the lower portion of his face into the crook of his arm. 

"hhHeSHHH’ue— … HE’SZZHUe! hh…EHSKTCHHhhuhh!" 

It couldn't be just one in front of her. God forbid. No, it had to be three: Three loud, wet, vicious sneezes that could shake the silver in its drawer. His sinuses throbbed and Chris blotted his raw nose with his sleeve as a feverish shade of crimson crept up his neck. While he had no inhibitions about sneezing in front of Sybil - or anyone, really - he still preferred not to showcase its more unsavory side-effects. 

“Bless you,” his wife remarked, unable to conceal her amusement. “Pretty impressive cold you’ve got there,”

"Stand a little closer and it'll be yours," Christoffer muttered, although a wry smirk still played at his full lips, eyes crinkling with mischief. 

"Oh please. I've seen your aim, Chris- You couldn't even sneeze in my direction if you tried." 

Christoffer scoffed and raised an eyebrow at her, struggling not to crack a smile. "Your concern is overwhelming, my dear."

Sybil shot him a wrathful glare that made him cough out a chuckle, and she pointed a manicured finger at him.

"You," she decided, "are going to bed. Right now."


The following morning, Christoffer felt a smidgen better. Or at least, he told himself he did. Sure, his head felt like it was filled with cotton balls and he could barely discern the difference between salt and sugar- trivial matters. What mattered was that today was the Catch- and he wouldn’t let his crew down.

He swung his legs over the bed and gingerly stood up, only to have his limbs protest against the early morning exertion. Pushing past the aching in his bones, he stumbled into the bathroom to splash cold water on his face. Perhaps this was a terrible idea.

Back in the bedroom, he began to pull on his thermal wear and fishing gear, trying to be as quiet as possible in the stillness of the pre-dawn hour. Just as he crouched to tie the laces of his heavy waterproof boots, the bed creaked behind him.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Sybil's voice was sleepy, tinged with disbelief and amusement.

“Fishing,” Christoffer replied as if that made all the sense in the world. “Big day today. Lots to catch.”

“With that cold, the only thing you’ll be catching is pneumonia,” Sybil grumbled, sitting up. Her braid was a fiery mess, and she blinked sleep out of her eyes.

“I told you, I'm fine. We've got a big haul today. I want to get you something nice for our Anniversary.”

"It's not even Halloween," Sybil replied with a long-suffering sigh, swinging her feet onto the floor and walking over to him. She put a cool palm to his forehead. “You’re burning up, Chris.”

“Extra warmth for the cold sea,” he quipped.

“Bullshit. You're not going. Not with that fever. Call in sick.”

“Can’t do that Sybil. Mads is gone for the season and Gustav has a new baby. We'd be a skeleton crew. Besides, I have an image to maintain you know,” Christoffer teased although it was only half in jest- He had already taken a sick day. Yesterday. Admitting defeat for more than 48 hours was out of the question. 

Sybil chuckled smirking in that wicked way that was so characteristic of her. 

"Oh, that's rich. You know what's a bad look? Being the guy who got everyone else sick." 

"I'll keep my distance." 

Vexed, Sybil put her hands on her hips and challenged him with a steely gaze. 

“If you go," she warned him crisply, "you’re sleeping on the couch when you get back.”

The corner of Christoffer’s mouth quirked up in a knowing smile - there was no chance that his doting wife would ever make him sleep anywhere but their bed while he was ill- and they both knew it. 

"A night without your snoring?" he queried teasingly nonetheless. "Tempting...”

Ignoring her husband's sarcasm, Sybil grabbed the phone from their nightstand and handed it to him. He arched a cheeky brow at her, holding the cordless phone in his hand before placing it back on the receiver with a derisive 'clack'. 

Sybil threw her hands up at him in exasperation. “Fine! Go catch your death out there," she scolded. "But don’t say I didn't warn you.”

As he left, Christoffer leaned down to kiss her, and Sybil playfully turned her face away.

“Ew germs!" she giggled as he planted a flurry of kisses to the coppery crown of her head in rebuttal.

The ship was already bustling with activity when he arrived. The swirling sea was choppy, and the bitter wind bit through Chris’s coat, eliciting an involuntary shudder. Pride had gotten in the way of reason and he cursed himself for being so foolish. He really should have listened to Sybil. But he was here now, and there was no turning back. 'Forfanden,'he thought wretchedly, nervously wiping his raw nose on his sleeve. This day was going to be hell. 

"Hey, Chris," Erik, boomed over the shrieking gales. The head cook of their vessel surveyed his friend's ruddy complexion and sniffly voice and declared: "You look like shit!"

Christoffer cracked a half-hearted smile.

"Ah. Thank you, Erik," he replied dryly. "I am always grateful for your flattery."

The wind licked at the corners of his eyes and a matching, insistent wetness gathered behind his raw nose. He gingerly sniffled back the stream of congestion and wheezed, cursing himself as his breath caught in his throat. Despite his attempts to smother it, a ratting bout of fitful coughing clawed its way out of his chest, the sound crackly and wet. He wheeled away in embarrassment, hacking into his elbow feeling a crimson flush creep up his neck. Damn this cold. 

He caught sight of Erik studying him with an amused grin and his friend's hearty laughter cut through the wind as he reached into his jacket and produced an old silver thermos.

"Trutte i trompeten," he teased as Chris gathered his breath and gratefully accepted his offering."Your wife is going to have your head for being out here like this."

Christoffer chuckled at his friend's jest and sighed as he eyed the container in his hands skeptically.

"I probably shouldn't be drinking out of this."
"Consider it a gift man," Erik shrugged, tugging on an earlobe under his gray knit cap with thumb and forefinger. "You're a biohazard."

Christoffer rolled his eyes and opened the thermos- a wave of blessedly hot steam with the scent of alcohol and robust coffee hit him in the face. Taking a sip, he sighed in relief as both whiskey and warmth chased away his coughing fit. He took another swig before closing the thermos lid and tucking it under his arm.

As the afternoon wore on, the fog that weighed on Christoffer’s head all morning had hardened into wet cement. The wind stung his throat and he couldn't stop coughing. His nose ran like a tap, and he sneezed frequently in crushing succession. He tried to stifle them, not wanting to draw attention to himself, but it was no use- his head felt like it was going to explode.

"hhHeSHHH’ue— … HE’SZZHUe! hh…EHSKTCHHhhuhh!"

"Jesus, Chris," his coworker, Jens, exclaimed, clapping him on the back. "You sound like you're dying."

Christoffer cleared his throat with some difficulty and wiped his nose with the back of his hand. "I'm telling you I'm fine," he insisted, congestion and frustration creeping into his typically even tone. "I just have a cold."

The vessel's captain, Lars, stepped closer, looking concerned. "You should have stayed home today," he asserted.

"I said I just-"

Lars shook his head and raised a hand at him, commanding silence.

"I'm serious, Chris," he said gravely."Go home. We can't have you on the boat like this. You're a liability."

Christoffer opened his mouth to protest, but another sneeze cut him off. 

“hhHeSHHH’ue—!" His face burned a furious shade of crimson beneath the collar of his coat. "Excuse me. Sorry.”

Lars regarded him with a single raised eyebrow. He didn’t need to say it again; the message was clear in his gaze.

“Go Home. Now, Chris."

The words felt like a hammer-blow, but Christoffer knew when he was beat. He sighed, defeated.

“Yes, sir.”


When he finally made it back to shore, Chris stumbled off of the ferry and onto the dock. The air was bitter and the sun had already begun to set, casting the sky in shades of lavender and magenta. It was hardly even 4' o'clock- typical Denmark. 

Finally, he reached the door to their cozy home. He fumbled with his keys, his fingers shaking with the frosty chill of the outdoors, and finally managed to open the door with a soft click. Sybil was standing just beyond the threshold with an anticipatory grin on her face.

Christoffer rolled his eyes at her knowing expression, although he was secretly relieved to be home

“Don’t gloat," he groaned. "It’s unbecoming.”

She didn't. In spite of his foolishness and all of her teasing, Sybil practically ran to the door and threw her arms around his neck in an embrace filled with warmth and understanding. 

"You poor thing," she tsked at him as she helped him out of his heavy coat and boots."You're breaking my heart." 

He allowed himself the luxury of feeling comforted by her touch- it was warm and soothing, and electric all at once. She reached up to test his temperature with the back of her hand.

"I made chicken noodle. With bone broth and so much garlic it'll put hair on your chest. And then I'll slather you in Vicks and straight to bed with you." 

Christoffer couldn't help but smile at her.

“You always take such good care of me,” he murmured in a voice gruff with emotion--one so uncharacteristic of him, yet one that could only come from someone deeply thankful for their partner.

"You need to get out of these clothes babe," Sybil bless her, chastised him distractedly as she herded him up the stairs. "You're soaked. It'll be a miracle if you don't catch pneumonia."

Christoffer couldn't help but chuckle, grateful for her care. "Yes, dear."

He was lucky to have her. And, although he would never admit it, he was secretly glad she had been right all along.



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On 9/10/2023 at 6:52 PM, Catsgotyourtounge said:

I  ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS! Please continue this one! 


On 9/13/2023 at 9:24 AM, solitaire-au said:

This was lovely.

If you plan to continue, I would love to read more about Christoffer and Sybil!

thank you both so much for being so sweet omg ♥️ I’m happy someone enjoyed this story and wanted to see it continued!! 

I love these characters and I kind of left this fic open ended for that very reason :) I don’t have another part written yet-would y’all happen to have any suggestions or requests for how you’d like to see the story play out next? 
thanks for the kind words and feedback 🖤

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While advancing the story is always good, plotless fluffy caretaking is also much appreciated! 💕

I’d love to read how Sybil takes care of Christoffer as his cold progresses.

(And I’ll bet he’s given his cold to some of the other fishermen!)

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  • 2 weeks later...

So delightful! I do love stubborn Scandinavian men (side eyes my husband...) I also love that this is set in Denmark. I lived in Århus for a semester when I was in university.

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  • 1 month later...


Hey y’all- sorry for the 3 month long hiatus haha 🥲  I’m a university student and this semester has me tearing my hair out…

 buttt thanks for the love on my the last installment of this story <3 It’s honestly been so much fun to write, so if anyone has any suggestions or wants a part 3 I would be more than happy to continue this fic! As always, I apologize for any spelling or grammatical errors- I’ve tried to edit and proofread this the best I can, but it’s a long document so I’m sorry if something happened to slip my notice.  


BUT without any further ado I present…





 The old grandfather clock that stood in the corner struck five, its chime announcing the hour throughout the quiet house. The tempest outside was worsening- fat raindrops battered the windows and the wind howled its lament like a banshee. Inside, the cozy living room glowed orange from the flickering light of the wood burning fireplace, casting lively shadows on the walls. 

Sybil’s prediction had been right, of course. She tut-tutted her tongue as she took in the sight of her sodden, sniffling  husband- Christoffer cut quite the sorry figure, standing there in his own puddle, looking as though he'd taken a beating. His face was a pallid contrast to his reddened, raw nose.

"You need a bath," she declared firmly despite her obvious pity.

Chris, attempting a grin, couldn't deny the truth in her words. The bath's warmth was as inviting as the opportunity to tease her.  "Are you getting in with me?"

His wife wrinkled her freckled nose theatrically and she made a show of taking one big step back. "You smell like fish. And you look like the Ghost of Christmas Past.” 

"Charming," Christoffer replied dryly as he reached out to tuck a stray strand of copper hair behind her ear. "But I think the saying goes 'I told you so'." 

He felt himself sway slightly, fatigue washing over him like a swift tide. He had to admit, he was feeling worse than he'd let on. Perhaps it was his pride, but showing weakness, even to his beloved Sybil, wasn't something he was fond of.

"You wound me- I would never say such a thing." Sybil sniffed with feigned innocence, a sly gleam in her emerald eye.  "Now strip," she commanded, closing the distance between them as she began to divest him herself.

Christoffer usually had the strength to dismiss her fussing, but right now, he felt so defeated that he didn't even try. He let out a ragged breath and began to peel off his thermals, feeling a sharp prickle in his nose that had his blue eyes watering. Chris hastily dropped the remaining garments in a sodden heap and ducked his head to the side, sparing Sybil the brunt of his sneeze. 

"hrRSHTT! snf..." he paused, gasped, and then exploded again, "IhhHRSSHoo!" 

He issued a gurgling sniffle as he stood before her stripped down to his skivvies in surrender. Sybil hid a smile behind her hand at the sight.

 "Chris- you klods,” she chuckled, grabbing a thick grey towel from the nearby stack of linens, and draping it across his back. “Bless you.”

 In anticipation of his arrival, she'd already started the hot water. The steam from the bath, heady with the scent of tea tree, had filled the bathroom, making it almost impossible to see more than a few inches in front of oneself.  

“Sybil… You’re spoiling me,” Christoffer grouched, voice thick with gratitude and congestion.

“Don't get used to it," Sybil snorted as she settled on the cool tile. She tested the bathwater with manicured fingers and nodded, satisfied. "Just making sure you don’t become my late husband.” 

"I'll try my best not to die on you, darling."

Chris stepped barefoot into the deep swirling spa, and sighed heavily as he sank blissfully into its frothy depths, tilting his head of golden hair back towards the ceiling. Sybil gawped at him from the edge of the tub, admiring his strong jaw and full pink lips. She had always loved the look of him- so tall and strong and rugged, like a Norse god come to life. But the sight of him now- weakened and vulnerable- it  endeared him to her and she couldn't help but feel protective.

"You know," she murmured as she trailed a delicate index finger in the water, making figure eights in front of his chest. “This would’ve been a lot more romantic without the looming threat of pneumonia.”

Chris chuckled darkly in response, feeling a bit more like himself now that he was submerged in the hot water. The fragrant steam was starting to loosen things up and before he could even think about suppressing it, a rattling bout of fitful, coughing clawed its way up his sore throat. He hastily turned away, and Sybil frowned as she watched her husband in the grip of the spasm- Chris had always been healthy and strong; seeing him so miserable made her feel a pang of anxiety.

"Hey, take it easy," she murmured as she leaned forward to thump him on the back, trying to break up some of the crap in his lungs .

"Sorry," he eventually spluttered as the spell tapered off. "I really hope you don't catch this."

Sybil shook her head resolutely.  "I won't catch anything," she assured him, her typical smartass teasing softened a bit. "I'm made of sterner stuff than you." 

He had never doubted Sybil's strength, not for a second. She was his rock in a world that could sometimes feel overwhelming, especially in moments like these, where his body felt like it was failing him.

"You're right. You..." Chris paused for a beat, his expression unreadable. It became increasingly clear what was going to happen, however, when he drew in a quick gasp, his features slackening, before he buried his face into the crook of his arm and snapped to the side with a muzzled sneeze. "IhhHRSSHoo!" 

In the aftermath, he sniffled thickly, feeling more drained than relieved after the outburst. 

"Snf! You are tougher," Chris continued, as if nothing had delayed him to begin with. 

Sybil flicked up a neat brow at him, unable to conceal a smirk- He was trying his best to maintain his composure, but she had a sneaking suspicion that he was feeling worse by the minute. She had half a mind to call a clinic, but she knew from experience that Christoffer would object, and she knew better than to press on him when he was this unwell.

"You're such a charmer," she teased him instead. "Now let me wash your hair since you can barely keep your head up." 

Chris managed a scoff at that but bowed his head obediently, as Sybil reached for her bottle of shampoo. It smelled pleasantly of lavender and blue lupine and she squeezed a generous amount onto her palm, fingers working the suds down the short length of his blonde tresses. Chris closed his eyes, enjoying the soothing sensation of her fingers and the warm water washing away the salt and grime from his voyage.

 He could feel another sneeze trapped somewhere high in his sinuses, but the sensation refused to develop any further than a tingly disturbance. How annoying. 

 As she lathered his hair, Sybil reflected on the man she had married a little less than a year ago. She had been smitten with him from the very start, and when he had asked her to marry him, she had said yes without hesitation. He was still just as handsome, of course, but now he was something more- something deeper. He was willing to be vulnerable with her in a way that seemed almost unnatural for a man of his stature. 

She grinned to herself- it was almost like she had tamed him in some way- crept in and brought out a softer side in him. Sybil rinsed his hair with careful hands, and then moved onto his shoulders, kneading the knots away and Chris let out a low groan of pleasure. 

“You take such good care of me,” he murmured, deep voice beginning to wither a little as his brow crumpled. He tore himself away from her embrace and Sybil flinched as he sneezed into his elbow, the sound reverberating off of the tile like a gunshot.

“…hh…EHSKTCHHhuh!"  He sniffled sharply in the aftermath of the interruption, head dropping forward as he struggled to gather his breath, like he was too exhausted to stay upright. "hh... hrrRR’SSChhoo! ” A string of crumbly coughing nipped at the heels of the outburst, and he pressed an open palm to his burning chest, wincing.

“Oh, baby- bless you. You sound like you're getting worse,” Sybil observed sympathetically as she reached for a towel. She turned back to Chris and gently dabbed at his dripping nose, her heart going out to him- even though he was prone to being an idiot, he never acted this defeated. Chris let out a muffled groan, feeling utterly pathetic as he sniffled thickly into the fabric, too overwhelmed by his own misery to express his gratitude properly. He couldn't remember the last time he felt this lousy and the thought of being pitied made him feel even more asinine- he was supposed to be the strong one, the protector. 

"I might be," he conceded in a low grumble, a rare admission from a man who prided himself on his strength. "But I'll be alright. With you here.”

Sybil felt Chris' heart thud-thudding beneath her fingers-his flushed skin was hot as a coal stove.  "You're burning up," she whispered anxiously. "We should get you out of here. I don't want you to get sicker.”

Christoffer cracked one bleary eye to peer up at her,  a wry smirk playing at the corner of his lips. She was always so surprisingly kind his Sybil, taking such good care of him even when he acted like a klods. He couldn't remember the last time someone had treated him with so much tenderness- not since his mother, actually. He tried for a moment to picture her but it was like her face was blurred with an eraser.

It made him want to cry all of a sudden, a surge of emotion welling up within him. He felt so lucky to have his wife, someone who loved him in spite of his flaws. He wanted to express his feelings to her, but his voice seemed to have deserted him- truth be told, he was starting to feel more than a little delirious. He forced himself to take a deep, shuddering breath, trying to calm his racing heart and quell the swirl of feverish emotions threatening to overcome him.

Christoffer pushed himself up from the bathtub with a shaky, unsteady hand, feeling dizzy and lightheaded. Sybil was quick to reach out and anchor him, her touch unerringly warm and gentle, her deep voice full of worry.

"Hey- seriously Chris, take it easy, would you? You’re white as a ghost."

Chris swallowed hard, trying to steady himself as another violent shiver ran through him, making his teeth rattle painfully in his skull. 

"I'm all right," he muttered, vision swimming. "I think I just need to sit down," 

"Here," Sybil said, tugging at his arm gently. "Let's get you to bed." 

Chris let her lead him, his legs shaking as he stumbled more than once. He was a tall man and Sybil was slight, but her arms were strong around him, and soon they were in the bedroom. Chris sank into their soft, plush mattress with a grateful sigh.

"Jesus, I feel terrible," he groaned, closing his eyes against the gentle swaying of the room. Sybil was fumbling for the thermometer, sticking it under his tongue before he could even open his mouth to protest. He waited patiently, feeling her cool hand on his forehead.

"You should have stayed home Chris." 

"I know," he mumbled around the mouthful of plastic, feeling guilty and stupid. The beep of the digital thermometer felt like a referee’s whistle, calling a timeout on his stoic façade, and Sybil tutted sympathetically as she carefully scrutinized the reading.

"Thirty nine degrees, right on the money- You're really not looking so hot babe. Maybe we should call the clinic" she said with a sigh that was both worried and weary. "You're coughing and sneezing yourself hoarse."

"It's just a cold Sybil," Chris grumbled, his typically subtle Scandinavian accent thick as molasses- He could die of embarrassment at the thought of wasting someone else's time over a bout of flu, even if it was a particularly nasty one. He couldn't bear trying to think in English anymore- it was doing his head in. Sybil groaned theatrically, frustration turning the ivory tips of her ears crimson. 

"I swear you're impossible," she huffed. "If you don't want me to call, then you need to stay in bed tomorrow- I'm serious. I'll whip your ass if you don't."

Chris couldn't help but chuckle at her bluff- his freckled, willowy wife was a spitfire but she guarded a very sensitive heart beneath her tough exterior. He loved that about her- that she could be both fierce and gentle at the same time. He reached out to touch her pink cheek- it was cool and soft as a marshmallow beneath his rough fingertips.  

"You're a saint, Syb," he murmured, the deep, distinctive timbre of his voice, reduced to a gravelly whisper. "I'll stay put."

"You'd better. Or I'll kill you myself."

Chris didn't have the will to ast a more powerful sermon, so he simply nodded, submitting himself to her care. His eyelids were heavy and his mouth tasted like a burnt out campfire.

"Thank you," he murmured, yawning so widely his jaw popped. Sybil's minty breath ghosted across his skin as she breathed a sigh, brushing her lips across his forehead, tasting the salt of his skin. 

"Go to sleep Chris."  

She tucked him in freshly washed sheets with thick socks anointed in vapor rub (a traditional cure across the pond) and one of his old woolen sweaters for warmth. Chris watched through heavy, drooping eyes as if from a dream, feeling grateful and vaguely guilty all at once- his beautiful, ferocity of a wife never disappointed, not even when he was at his most dastardly. He couldn't understand why she ever stuck around.

"Here baby let me get you something for that cough-" she murmured as she extinguished the light of the lamp on the vanity. She adjusted the thick nordic quilt, pulling it up to his chin. "I'll be right back."

The wind screamed and Chris reached out to grasp her pale hand, holding it tight as if she might disappear. 

"Syb," he whispered into the dark, "Stay with me."  

There was a moment of stillness before she slid into bed beside him, her presence an anchor. 


He was adrift in a sea of fevered dreams, where the ocean and his own illness merged into a tumultuous, surreal landscape.

The first rattling cough tore Christoffer from the depths of sleep, his eyes snapping open to a world bathed in blue moonlight that seemed to blur the boundaries between reality and his feverish hallucinations. He sat up, clutching at his chest as if he could physically contain the fit. The hacking subsided momentarily, only to return with a vengeance, wracking his body with each crackling spasm. Lovely- he felt like he was drowning in his own snot. 

It was Saturday- or was it Sunday? Chris couldn't be sure of the hour.

Sybil's side of the bed was cold and rumpled, but warm yellow light snuck under the crack of the door and he could hear the faint clatter of her nocturnal activities downstairs. A wan smile twitched at his cracked lips in spite of himself and his abject misery- It seemed as though his witchy wife was busy brewing a cure. 

Chris pushed himself out of bed, his body protesting- driven by a mix of gratitude and a desire for her company, he shuffled down the stairs and to the kitchen, leaning heavily against the door frame.

"You should be in bed," Sybil chided without looking up from her potion-making as if she had sensed his presence. 

"And you should be sleeping," Chris countered, his voice a husky whisper that crackled with the remnants of his cough. "I can't believe you're still up." He shuffled closer to the counter and Sybil glanced at him from over her shoulder with a look of exasperation. 

"And I can't believe you're out of bed," she muttered under her breath, but her tone was more amused than reproachful. Sybil's kitchen was a sanctuary of sorts, the kind of place where worries seemed to shrink in the face of her culinary expertise. The scent of herbal tea mingled with the comforting aroma of bone broth simmering on the stove, and the room was quite warm- a stark contrast to the howling wind and sleet outside. Sybil, with her sleeves rolled up, long hair tied back, moved about the kitchen with the grace of a ballet dancer as she steeped and stirred and brewed. Chris felt a wave of fondness wash over him. His Sybil, always the lighthouse in his stormy seas. He managed a lopsided, albeit somewhat sheepish smile.  

"I couldn't sleep- and I heard you…pottering around down here." He leaned against the counter for support, feeling the room sway slightly around him. The effort of remaining upright was becoming more taxing by the second, and Sybil's eyes narrowed as she scrutinized him carefully. 

“I made you some thyme tea to help with that cough of yours,” she said crisply, turning back to her brew with a swish of her red braid.  “And, no, it's not optional." 

 "My tyrant," He chuckled, a sound that turned into a wincing, crumbly cough.

"You should be asleep, not standing here flattering me."

"You should be in bed too, Syb," Chris sighed, his voice tinged with worry. "You're going to wear yourself out taking care of me."

That seemed to give her pause, and Sybil peeked at him over her shoulder, her emerald eyes glowing in the dim kitchen light with some expression he couldn’t quite identify. "You really are a piece of work Chris. I’ll be fine,” she chuckled after a moment as she busied herself with their old copper pot.  "Just wait 'til you hear about my American constitution." 

"Sounds dangerous."

"Oh, very funny." 

The coughing fit returned before he could even think of some smartass reply, and Chris winced, feeling like his traitor of a vessel was trying to expel his lungs onto the floor.

"All right- take it easy. Keep your shirt on," Sybil soothed him,  patting his back as she ladled some of the concoction into a large mug. She set it down on the kitchen table with a spoon and a lemon- the steam curled invitingly off the rim, its aroma herbal and potent. Chris slumped into a chair with a groan as he accepted the mug,  hands curling around the warmth of the ceramic. He took a tentative sip, the hot liquid scalding but soothing as it burned a path down his sore throat. It was in all honesty- disgusting- bitter and medicinal; it tasted strongly of thyme and honey, and something alcoholic that made his insides warm. He grimaced and cleared his throat into his elbow, looking up at Sybil with gratitude when he emerged from his sleeve. "What's in this?" 

“Aquavit.” Sybil shrugged and winked, a mysterious smile playing at the corners of her lips. "Old family secret."

Christoffer raised his eyebrows at the mention of Aquavit- it was a surprising touch, but he had to admit,  it was quintessentially Sybil – unconventional, a little bold, and somehow just right. 

"Ah, the cure-all of the North," he said, sipping again at the drink. "No wonder I'm feeling better already."

As Christoffer nursed the peculiar concoction, the Aquavit  began to seep through his veins, loosening the tight grip of the cold on his chest. It brought a flush to his cheeks, contrasting sharply with the pallor of his illness, and he sniffled gingerly as his nose began to run. Alcohol always did this to him- damn scandinavian genes. 

Christoffer’s broad chest swelled as he drew an involuntary breath, and he lowered the mug slightly before setting it down on the table, brow knit with a look of clouded, gathering dread. A couple of sputtering coughs emerged from him, before he hunched forward and steepled his hands over his nose and mouth, stifling the otherwise powerful release towards his lap.

"…hh!...k'XXNt'xsh!” Christoffer grimaced as his sinuses throbbed with pressure. He didn’t look at all appeased by the outburst, expression still misty. His erratic breathing sharpened as he squinted up at the dim lights overhead.

“hrRR’ISSCHHhhoo!! Damn,” he swore under his breath, pressing the heel of his palm to his forehead, surprised he hadn't blown his own eardrums out by now.

“Bless you, Chris-" Sybil paused in her stirring, her green eyes darting over to him as she regarded him with concern. "You’re breaking my heart over here.”

“Sorry,” he sniffled, looking apologetic as he pulled a tissue from the box on the table and lifted his gaze to his wife. “It’s just the Aquavit.”

"Hmm," she mused, turning back to the soup on the stove to hide the sly grin that had quickly replaced her fretful expression. "I seem to remember a very similar mishap on Fastelavn last year..."

Chris blushed in spite of himself, remembering the particular occasion that Sybil was referring to. "Don't remind me," he grumbled as he blew his nose, but there was a merry twinkle in his blue eye that betrayed his amusement. Chris set the crumpled tissue aside and met Sybil's gaze, winking at her as he took another pointed sip of his tea. The clock ticked softly in the background, a gentle reminder of the late hour, but neither seemed inclined to heed its warning. As Sybil worked her culinary magic, the steam from the pot fogged up the windows, creating a cozy barrier against the harsh weather outside. He couldn't help but watch his wife as she moved around the kitchen, the gentle rhythm of her work as soothing as the crackling fire in the hearth. 

"Are you planning to brew potions all night, my witch?" he teased. 

Sybil shot him a look and turned off the stove with a soft ‘clack’.  "You need to eat something with that tea- I ended up making Fiskesuppe. For the Omega-3’s.” 

The bubbling of the soup simmered down to a gentle lull, and Sybil ladled a generous portion into a bowl.

“Fiskesuppe, huh?” he managed to remark between sniffles, discreetly wiping away the moisture on his upper lip with his thumb. “You really are determined to nurse me back to health.” 

The cough returned, less jarring this time, but still enough to draw a wary glance from Sybil. Chris waved her off, a clear indication that he didn’t want to be fussed over.

Sybil sighed as she set the bowl in front of him with a clink, the steam rising in delicate, fragrant spirals. “And you’re determined to make it as challenging as possible,” she retorted with feigned exasperation, but her tone was warm, affectionate. She fetched a spoon and sat down opposite him, sipping at her own cup of tea. 

"Eat,” she commanded, narrowing those piercing eyes at him over the rim of her mug. “It's packed with all the good stuff," 

Chris picked up his spoon in resignation. He was far from hungry and pretty sure he couldn't taste anything anyway with his sinuses full of cement- but he knew it was unwise to argue with Sybil when she was in this stubborn kind of mood. The soup was delicious- no surprises there. His wife was a chef after all- Sybil was a magician in the kitchen and her Fiskesuppe was no exception. It was creamy and lemony, the perfect combination of spice and sea, even through the dullness of his congested senses. 

"This is damn good Syb,” he sniffled between bites, appetite perking up a little as the hot broth loosened up the vice on his head. “Are you sure you're my American? Or are you a spy?"

Sybil waved him off but the flush that spread up her neck betrayed her pleasure. "Ha! Don't thank me, my snotty Danish friend- It’s your Mormor’s recipe." 

Chris took another spoonful of soup,  then promptly set it back down with a look of pure exasperation as he hastily turned from his wife. “hh…hrRR’ISSCH’huh!” 

That one seemed to send the drenched sniffling out of control and Chris remained buried in the crook of his arm trying to keep himself from dripping- this was humiliating. And disgusting. Going to the haul was foolish, he could admit- but how he had managed to pick up such a wicked bitch of a bug was beyond him.   

“God, this cold is killing me," he muttered, his voice muffled by his elbow as he grabbed for a fresh tissue from the box.

"You sound terrible,” Sybil tsked at him, studying him carefully as she took another sip of thyme tea. “How are you feeling?" 

"Better than earlier," he lied, not wanting to worry her further. In truth, he felt exhausted- but her presence, her care, it made everything more bearable.

"Better, huh?" Sybil sounded far from convinced. She set down her cup and smirked knowingly at him. "You're a rotten liar, Chris.”

Chris couldn't help but laugh out loud at that, wincing as the sound rattled his aching chest. "I'm sorry, Sybil. I guess you know me too well."

"Don't apologize," she chuckled as she pressed a chaste kiss to his hot temple and stood to clear the table. "You're a fisherman, not a poker player. But you don't have to put on a brave face for me, you know." 

 Sybil took the dishes to the sink and turned on the tap.The warmth from the tea and the soup had spread through his body, making him feel drowsy and a little less like he was at death's door. He pushed himself up from the chair, feeling a bit steadier now.

 "Let me help you with that," he offered, moving towards the stove.

Sybil shot him a warning look.  "Don't you dare."

"I can't just sit while you're doing all the work," Chris protested, though his voice sounded reedy and raw to his own ears.

"You can supervise. From the table- sit your ass back down."

Chris begrudgingly reclaimed his seat, watching as Sybil scrubbed at the pots and pans,  her movements precise and efficient as she cleaned up.

"You should get some rest too, Syb," Christoffer said with concern. "You've been up all night because of me."

"I'll sleep when you're better," she replied without looking at him, her focus on the task at hand. "And don't think I don't see what you're doing. You're impossible."

"You're the stubborn one," he muttered under his breath, but his words carried a fondness that was unmistakable.

Sybil scoffed, her back still turned to him, but Christoffer could swear he saw the hint of a smile on her lips. "I heard that." 

When she finally turned off the faucet, the sound of the running water ceased, leaving only the gentle pitter-patter of rain against the windows. She dried her hands on a dish towel. 

"Okay, to bed with you," she said quietly, as she turned to face Chris, her firm tone imbued with a mix of maternal sternness and spousal concern. 

He nodded, resigned, yet there was a glint of mischief in his watery blue eyes, a remnant of his usual self. “Only if you join me,” he conceded, his voice a gravelly whisper. 

She raised an eyebrow, a naughty smile playing at the corners of  her pink lips  as she helped him to his feet. “Ugh you’re such a flirt.” 

"Can't help it," he murmured as they made their way towards the staircase. Christoffer leaned heavily on Sybil, his energy sapped.

"You're like,  really heavy, you know," she teased lightly as they made their slow procession through the darkened hall. "All that muscle isn't very convenient right now."

In the sanctuary of their bedroom, the storm outside seemed a world away. The room was bathed in the soft glow of the bedside lamp, casting a warm, comforting light over the rumpled sheets and pillows. Sybil busied herself with the final nighttime rituals—closing curtains, dimming lights.

The storm's howl softened to a sigh. Sybil slid under the covers beside Christoffer, the bed creaking gently under their combined weight. She turned to face him, her expression a mix of affection and worry.

 "I think this might be the end for me," Chris quipped in his voice a hoarse whisper in the quiet room."At least I'm with my favorite nurse.”

"Favorite?" Sybil scoffed under her breath, as she brushed a strand of hair from his forehead. His skin was still feverishly hot to the touch. "Watch it, pal. I'm your only nurse." 

Chris’s laughter turned into a cough, but it was milder this time, less painful. "You're also my favorite wife," he cracked, trying to lighten the mood despite the heaviness in his chest.

"Hm. Say that again. I dare you." Sybil shifted closer, resting her head against his shoulder. The proximity was comforting, her presence a soothing balm to his frayed nerves.

They lay in silence for a while, listening to the storm outside, its fury a stark contrast to the peaceful haven they had created within their bedroom. The warmth of the bed, combined with Sybil's closeness and the remnants of the Aquavit, lulled Christoffer into a state of drowsy contentment.

After a moment, he spoke up, his voice soft and introspective. "You know, being sick as a dog like this... it makes me think. About what's important- how lucky I am to have you."

Sybil lifted her head to look at him, her expression one of surprise and affection. "Uh oh- you're getting sentimental on me, Chris," she teased. "Maybe you are dying."

"It's the truth," he insisted, his blue eyes a little glassy, but earnest. "You've taken such good care of me, put up with my foolishness... I don't say it enough, but I- I feel... a bit adrift without you Sybil,” he admitted in the quiet that followed, his voice dropping to a whisper, like he was confessing a secret.

Sybil's heart quickened at his words, her eyes suddenly stinging despite herself- leave it to this big hunk of foolhardy man to get her all misty.

 "You're going to make me cry, you big klutz." She leaned in and pressed a gentle kiss to his fevered brow, tasting the salt of his skin. "You're not adrift, Chris. I'm right here.”

Christoffer couldn't help but feel overwhelmed by her tenderness. He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her closer until they were molded together, two halves of a whole. Her skin was soft against his, the coolness of her touch soothing against his fevered skin. He breathed in the scent of her, a heady mix of lupine and perfume and Sybil. 

As the silver moon cast a gentle glow over the couple entwined in sleep, it was clear that whatever the future held, they would face it together. For in each other, they had found their true north.




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Oh, this was so worth the wait!

I loved the way you described Sybil taking care of Christoffer! 🥰

Please don’t feel obligated, but if you continued this, I would be very happy! ♥️ 

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On 10/5/2023 at 9:21 PM, LeadaAlexys52 said:

So delightful! I do love stubborn Scandinavian men (side eyes my husband...) I also love that this is set in Denmark. I lived in Århus for a semester when I was in university.

I'm so glad you liked this one it's cool that you were in Århus 🥹 I lived on Jutland too in Tørring!! small world haha

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  • 1 month later...

the way you write is so captivating!! like "a string  of crumbly coughing" is so descriptive and vivid and makes so much sense, but it's also incredibly unique ❤️ the dynamic between sybil and christoffer is to die for, thank you so much for sharing your characters and incredible writing!

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