AliveMature

Henry Thomas Mantoux Edmund was, needless to say, surprised and a bit disappointed to wake up.  He stared at the ceiling long after he had concluded beyond reasonable doubt that he was alive and lying in the same bed that he had slept in each night for the better part of a week, wondering what had gone wrong.  However, though slightly miffed, he wasn’t particularly upset to have been deprived of his martyrdom.  Henry had never much liked change, and dying would have caused a significant disruption of…well, everything.

                He guessed that he must have been lying in the same position for quite a long time, for his spine felt sore and the bed linens were clinging to him like a second skin.  Struggling into a sitting position, he kicked the sheets down to the foot of his bed and relished the touch of cool air against his sweaty, aching body.

                “How are you feeling?”

                “Too hot,” he moaned, trying to unstick his nightshirt from his back.

                “Here,” Fiona offered, gently pressing a mug of water into his hands.  “This should help.  Yer a mite feverish, but no’ badly so.”

                He gulped down the contents of the mug and handed it back to her.  “More?”

                “No’ too fast now,” she warned, filling the container once more.  “Or you’ll make yerself sick.”

                She passed it to him, and he drank from it, more slowly this time, letting some of it spill down his front.  “Thank you.  How long have I been unconscious?”

                “Eighteen, perhaps nineteen hours.  Are you hungry?”

                He shook his head.  “Not really.  Hurts too much.”

                “Yer stomach?”

                “No, just generally achy.  Is Simon alright?”

                “Aye.  He doesna have much energy, but otherwise, he’s fine.  He’d love ta see you, when ye’re ready.”

                “May I go to see him now?”

                “If you can walk all the way.  I’m no’ carryin’ you if you canna.”

                He swung his legs over the edge of the bed and tested them gingerly before getting to his feet.  “I think I can.”

                “Wait,” she ordered as he began to drag himself toward the door.  “You canna go out wearin’ that.    It barely covers yer arse.”

                He glanced down at his nightshirt, which had obviously been designed for a person of smaller stature, and had to admit that she was correct.  It was too short.

                “Right,” he mumbled, blushing slightly.

                She passed him a pair of trousers and he struggled into them, finding it more difficult than usual to balance on one foot.  When he had managed to get them on, she slipped her arm around his, tactfully, so that it would seem that he was escorting her rather than she supporting him, and they left Henry’s room and made their way slowly, haltingly, towards the infirmary.

The End

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