Lar ||| Buffy & Angel
Chicken Soup for the Gay Man's Soul
disclaimer: Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, certainly not me.
summary: Men in general are not good patients.
notes: Feel better fic written for Rubywisp, who requested something affectionate and snuggly. I got one out of two.
Men in general are not good patients. A man with a virus is a man reduced to whining petulance, demanding his remote, his juice, his pillow and his rattiest sweatshirt, the one every single person who sees him in wants to sneak into the trash the second he takes it off.
And when the sick man in question is Lindsey, Xander knows he can up the petulance factor by about three and possibly lower the whining by two. Lindsey doesn't whine so much as demand things until he gets his way. It's not a trait Xander has ever wanted to break really. Because usually Lindsey is demanding that they have sex, right now, right here.
Except today, when Lindsey is ensconced on the couch in front of the television wearing a hooded sweatshirt that was apparently black in another universe. Time and carelessness (and possibly an overuse of bleach when attempting to wash all things in one load to spare quarters when he was a law student and scrounging for enough to buy Ramen and cheap coffee) have rendered it a somewhat spotty shade of gray, the cracked lettering across the front so badly peeling that Xander has no idea what it might have said when it was new. He doesn't want to know; he's seen Lindsey's t-shirt collection and it makes him afraid.
Xander sets the tray down carefully over Lindsey's lap, pushing until the gathered wrinkles of the comforter are subdued enough for the tray to balance there without spilling tea into soup or soup onto crackers. Lindsey looks at the food and then at Xander with a raised eyebrow.
"Am I five? There's noodles shaped like letters in there." He picks up the spoon and stirs it once before he shakes his head. "Not hungry."
Xander pushes his tongue against the back of his teeth and takes a mental health break. Shouting at Lindsey right now is like kicking a puppy, he tells himself. A big, pissy, pit bull who is hungry and in need of blood... no. No, he's a sick man and sick men need care and they have issues with the need thing and that gets him back to the place where he can smile and not offer to dump the whole thing on Lindsey's head.
It doesn't hurt to have Lindsey cough and sniffle pitifully at that exact moment either. Xander's not made of stone; he has his limits. And possibly a very strange desire to show that he can in fact take care of someone who is not Xander himself. He pulls the footstool over and sits by Lindsey, ignoring the evil eye he gets when he turns down the television.
"Hey, I was watchin' that," Lindsey protests and Xander raises his eyebrow.
"It's Court TV. You were watching what, some desperate guy re-enacting the robbery of a convenience store complete with plastic gun that still has a Walmart price tag on the handle? I think not." Xander scoots over in front of him, blocking Lindsey's view of the television completely and reaches for the spoon. "You have to eat."
"No, I don't. I have to lay here and hack up a lung and watch bad day time TV, which you are currently makin' impossible for me to do." He sniffles again and pushes at Xander's hand as when he offers a spoonful of broth. "Do not feed me. I told you, I ain't five."
"You're not five. You're thirty something acting like you're five and don't deny either one. I've seen your driver's license and there is a gallon of Hawaiian Punch in the fridge. Does council wish to make a whatdoyoucalllit?" Xander gestures with one hand and scoops the spoon around the bowl with the other.
"No, council does not." There's a pout there, full bottom lip pushed out without him realizing it and Xander tactfully ignores it as he brings up the spoon again.
"Good. Eat or I will have to tie you to the bed and force feed it to you and really, that is not nearly as much fun as it sounds. Believe me." He pushes the spoon towards Lindsey's mouth and waits, mostly patiently, for him to open it. And that's pretty much a guarantee. Lindsey can never keep his mouth shut for long.
"How often-" he begins and then there is spoon and soup and he swallows in self-defense to spare himself the indignity of spitting it all over himself. It's salty and warm and the noodles are soft against his tongue and his throat and he growls when Xander tries to give him another mouthful, snatching the spoon away from him. "Cut that out."
The grin that Xander wants to give is replaced with a much more subtle look, one that does not give away his triumphant inner Snoopy dance at seeing Lindsey begin to eat. He does however lean over and look into the bowl, tempted to find another spoon and spell out something dirty to keep the man interested.
"Hmm?" Lindsey mumbles around another mouthful of soup, trying to decide if it's really actually good or if he's been sick so long his taste buds have died.
"It's not Scrabble or anything but are you willing to accept an alternative spelling, just you know, for the hell of it?" Xander reaches out and plucks the spoon from Lindsey's fingers and scoops it around the bowl, nudging letters, chunks of what is possibly chicken and some bits of carrot that are only getting away with being called that because they're orange.
"Did my fever go up?" Lindsey asks him as he watches, more interested than he's going to admit. "What are you doin'?"
Xander's grin is wide this time, nothing muted about his triumph as he holds out the spoon. The letters there are tilted and the first "K" is upside down, but the other one is just fine. As are the "O and the "C" that rest between them. Lindsey's eyebrow inches towards his hairline as he observes this and Xander's expression with the methodical back and forth concentration of a spectator at a tennis match.
"Are you about to tell me to eat that?" he asks and sniffles.
"Yeah. And the sooner you do? The sooner we get back to the real thing." Xander matches Lindsey's raised eyebrow by waggling both of his own and there's a moment when he's sure -- positive, in fact -- that Lindsey is holding back a smile. Possibly even a laugh. But time spent working on your game face so that you can stare down any jury and convince them that you speak nothing but the truth triumphs over Xander's rampant insanity.
Lindsey leans forward slowly and keeps his eyes on Xander's as he opens his mouth and takes the spoon into his mouth. He swallows the mouthful, taking his time to let Xander watch him and then he lies back on the sofa again. "We got any Gatorade?" he asks after a moment and Xander jumps up.
"Thought you'd never ask."
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