Character(s): Martyn Alasev-Dol/Yaris Berkn’leter
Martyn is sick. Not sick in the head, no, he tends to leave that to Yaris and, at times, Constance.
No, Martyn is sick with something he caught on their last jaunt to Delfnus, which Yaris calls The Flu of Annoyance.
(It’s annoying for him, not Martyn.)
Martyn is suffering. Yaris isn’t sure how much because he’s hiding in the cockpit, reading a book and trying not to get infected with the coughing and spluttering that’s coming from three decks down.
(How one man can cough and splutter that loudly he has no idea.)
“What’re you doing up here?” he demands when Martyn stumbles in through the door and drops down into the other seat. Last time he saw him he’d been passed out in their bed, snoring and coughing in equal measure. He looks worse now and something in Yaris’ chest goes pang because oh no. What if he’s dying.
“Couldn’t sleep,” Martyn says. He snuffles, loud enough to fill the entire cockpit, and Yaris grimaces to himself.
“You look like absolute trash,” Yaris says, “if you get any worse I’m going to be throwing you out the airlock with last night’s leftovers.”
Martyn cuts his eyes across to him. “There’s leftovers? Why didn’t you tell me?” His words run together into some kind of extended blah that only makes sense because of how long Yaris ha sknown him and he blinks at him a few times as he translates it and then stands up.
“Okay, come on, back to bed,” he says, reaching out for him.
Martyn slaps at him. “I’m fine,” he says.
“What’s ten times four?” Yaris says.
Martyn makes several borderline adorable noises. “Fif…ty…s—”
Yaris cuts him off. “Up! Up!” he says. “Back to bed!”
“What why?” Martyn groans as Yaris hauls him up and steadies him somehow against his considerably smaller frame.
“Because you forgot how to multiply by ten.” Yaris leads him off through the ship, Martyn coughing the whole time, and drops him back down onto his side of the bed. The room smells like sickness and Yaris sighs as he moves around and turns on all the air conditioning systems to flush it out and cool it down for him.
He pulls a blanket over Martyn, tucking him in gently, and changes the water on his bedside, making sure it’s still refreshing. He puts the bottle down on the little circle that keeps anything above it cool and turns to go.
“Yaris,” Martyn says and he turns around.
“You need rest,” he says with a sigh. “Why did you even get out of bed?” He leans in the doorway, watching Martyn where he’s sprawled across his bed, looking pitiful and sad.
“Had a nightmare,” Martyn says. His voice is huskier than usual, probably from all the coughing he’s been doing.
“Yeah?” Yaris eyes him. He has nightmares all the time. “So what?”
“Dreamt they killed you.”
Yaris pauses. “Not going to happen.”
Martyn tucks his face down into the pillow beneath him and Yaris realises it’s his pillow, the one from his side of the bed. “I had to know you were okay.”
His feet move of their own accord and he sits back down on the side of the bed, reaching out and stroking his fingers through Martyn’s hair, still slick with sweat, probably from his nightmare. “I’m okay.”
“You weren’t here,” Martyn says, voice breaking. “I woke up and you weren’t here and I… I didn’t know if it was real.”
“It wasn’t,” Yaris says. “I’m here. I’m okay. They didn’t kill me.”
Martyn is silent and Yaris licks his lips, looking around the room. It smells less like illness now, the room airing out. He stands up and Martyn grabs his wrist hard enough to leave a bruise he’ll be seeing for days, then loosens his grip, mumbling apologies.
“Stay here,” Yaris says, his voice low and as gentle as it ever gets. “Just… stay here.”
He leaves the room, pretends he doesn’t hear Martyn letting out a little sob, and goes back up to the cockpit. He turns off all the controls, lets the ship drift safely, cloaked, and snatches up his book, heading back down to their room.
Martyn has turned, curling up around Yaris’ pillow and burying his face in it. He doesn’t seem to hear Yaris coming and he stops in the doorway, looking across at him.
He’s vulnerable like someone cut him open and exposed his nerves to the sky. He’s vulnerable and raw and beautiful and what he wants is Yaris, not Constance.
He wants Yaris.
And Yaris hid?
He wants to hurt himself but he doesn’t. Instead he clutches his book, moves across and slides into Martyn’s side of the bed.
Martyn startles, body tensing for a split second before he turns over and looks at him. He’s sick as a dog, that’s clear to see, with his eyes reddened and puffy and his lips cracked and dry no matter how much water Yaris pours down his throat, and he’s looking at Yaris with something so intense in his eyes that Yaris desperately needs to look away, not emotionally prepared in the slightest to handle that, whatever it is.
He kisses him instead, pressing his lips to Martyn’s and holding him close. For a moment they sit like that, then Yaris draws back again, brushing one hand across Martyn’s hair and murmuring, “Get some rest, avitatyn. I’m not going anywhere.”
It takes Martyn a couple of seconds to process, then he’s lowering his head down, tucking it where he can listen to the steady drumming of Yaris’ hearts beating in his chest.
Yaris strokes his hair, lifting his book up with his free hand and opening it back up, content to finish the whole thing without moving, if he has to.