Noah wakes up after falling ill. Jason is there.
|Word count: 1,000
Summary: Written for the prompt(s): “Why are the curtains drawn?”
“Why are the curtains drawn?”
It was the first thing I asked upon waking, and my voice was a nonexistent chuff. Jason, who’d been sleeping in a chair by my bedside, snorted and woke up. When he saw me, he laughed, relieved and slightly hysterical, and slid out of the chair, kneeling next to the bed.
“You’re awake,” he breathed, tears forming in his dark eyes. He blinked several times and they fell. I would have reached out to wipe them away, but I could barely twitch my arm, let alone lift it. “Oh, Moon Above, Noah, I thought—Jesus, never mind what I thought.”
Jason took my hand and kissed it, lingering, eyes closed, whispering thank yous to—well, to Moon Above, I suppose. She was the closest to a god werewolves had, according to Jason. I tried to smile and brushed one weak finger across his cheek.
“What happened? Have I been sick?” I asked, trying to force my voice to be even so as not to worry him further. My mouth tasted vile and my tongue felt like an old, dry sponge. “Where am I?”
Jason opened his eyes and more tears fell. “You’re at my parents’ house, in my old room,” he said gently, leaning up to kiss my lips, lingering there, as well.
“I have dragon breath,” I demurred, my voice finally cooperating to upgrade from rasp to croak. Jason laughed again, a calmer, steadier version of his previous laugh.
“So’ve I. It doesn’t matter.” He nuzzled my cheek and jaw, and kissed my neck. When he did so, I had a sudden memory of pain as Jason had held me and we’d started to fall backwards into light, and—
“Oh, God,” I moaned, trying to sit up. In this, my body was adamant about not cooperating. “Oh, God . . . you bit me. . . .”
Jason flinched and sat back, looking guilty and haunted. “I didn’t mean to. We were leaning against the front door, making out like teenagers, when dad open it and we started to fall in, and I—my tooth scraped your neck near the carotid artery, and . . . the pathogen shot through your system like fire through a corn field.” Looking down at our clasped hands, Jason took a deep breath before going on. “The virus spread through your body so fast . . . you were unconscious before I got you up to my room. Been unconscious and battling the Fever for nearly four days, now.”
“Four days,” I whispered, coughing so hard that it shook my whole body. Jason nodded, still looking guilty as he laid his free hand on my forehead. “But the Fever’s broken, and you’re awake. You’re alive.”
His hand slid down till it was cupping my face. His palm rasped what I supposed was four days’ worth of stubble. “Am I . . . am I a w-werewolf, now?”
Nodding again, Jason bit his lip. “Yes. And I . . . I’m so sorry I did this to you, babe. So sorry.” He closed his eyes again and buried his face against my bare shoulder, shivering. And maybe because I didn’t even think before I tried to do it, I managed to bring my hand, slow and shaking, up to his head. It flopped, rather than settled on his dark curls, but he didn’t seem to mind.
“It’s okay, baby. I’m alright,” I murmured, without knowing if that was true or not. Jason hitched and pressed his face closer against my shoulder.
“No, it’s not. It’s really not.” His voice shook and trembled. “You don’t know what you’re in for—you don’t even remember what you’ve already been through or you’d hate me just for that!”
“I could never hate you, Jason . . . I love you. More than anything,” I promised, tears gathering in my own eyes as Jason wept. “You’re my life.”
“I don’t deserve that or you.”
“You deserve far better than I’ll ever amount to,” I told him, stroking his hair and shushing him.
“You couldn’t stop screaming,” Jason mumbled, looking up at me from reddened eyes. His brow furrowed with remembered pain. “Only you were too weak to really scream, so it was just these awful, helpless cries. That’s why we drew the curtains. The Full came and went while you were sick and the Moonlight . . . seemed to hurt you. Your skin—you kept saying it burned and begging me to make it stop. And even with the curtains closed you could still feel Her.” He nodded toward the covered window. The curtains—drapes, really—hung from ceiling to floor. “None of the Pack’s ever gone through a Fever that was so long or so . . . so agonizing. At least not that I’ve heard. We all thought. . . .”
Shaking his head, Jason would not say what he and his Pack had thought.
But then, he didn’t need to.
“A werewolf who’s allergic to moonlight, eh?” I laughed tiredly, tamping down the import of my brush with morality. “Only Noah Petrosky.”
Jason almost smiled. “Mom said that it’s not unusual for the newly turned to be sensitive to Moonlight—especially during the Fever—but you’re not allergic. We cracked the curtains just before Moonset tonight to see if you were improving, and you didn’t so much as twitch. I thought that meant that you were . . . slipping away . . . too weak to even scream. But Mom said that it was a sign you were getting well at last. That you’d survive.” Now, he did smile. “You beat leukemia twice, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised you kicked the Fever’s ass, too. You’re strong, and a fighter, and I love you more than I can say.”
Jason leaned in to kiss me again—slowly, so I could turn away if I wanted, I suppose—and I sighed. “I’m not strong, I’m just lucky. Lucky to be alive and lucky to have you. And I love you, too.”
Despite the mutual dragon breath, we kept kissing, holding onto each other for dear life. I was asleep again before the kiss ended.