Hold On. You're Too Sick to Go Anywhere.
“Hold on. You're too sick to go anywhere,” he told the back of Oliver's head.
Oliver turned, one hand on the doorknob and the other clutching a tissue pressed to his nose. Admittedly, it wasn't the best pose if he wanted to argue that he wasn't all that sick, but if he dropped the tissue his nose would run and that would make his position even harder to defend. “It's just 'round to the bar sniff and back.”
“Nuh-uh.” Marcus turned in place on the couch, arm across the back. “You still don't look good. No color in your cheeks.”
“Color in sniff in my cheeks is not a sniff prerequisite for having a pint with friends. Sniff!”
Every level of conflict was taking place inside Marcus. He could offer to go just to keep an eye on him. But Marcus couldn't go into a pub without getting shit-faced, and he'd been sober for almost a full month now with no intention of that changing. But he didn't go a day—or even an hour—without thinking of drinking. He didn't even like smelling it on Oliver. But he let his boyfriend and teammate have his fun. Or, at least, he would let a well, healthy Oliver go out and have fun. He was abnormally overprotective around this ill Oliver. If he could have followed Oliver around the flat with a box of tissues and not been laughed at, he probably would have done.
But for all his emotions, Marcus wasn't sure what to say, what argument to make. So he just sat there, looking disapproving and envious and worried and conflicted in every way possible.
And he stayed that way until Oliver sneezed. The tissue already pressed to his nose, Oliver reached out and pressed his hand to the front door of their flat to steady himself. “uh-uh-YIHkschhh!”
“Bless you. For the millionth time. You seriously think you're okay going out with a cold this bad?”
“It's sniff not that sniff not that bad,” Oliver protested as he wiped the tissue back and forth under his nostrils.
“Say that without sniffling.”
“It's... not... that...” Oliver stopped, his hand tensed into a fist. “Damn it!” He sniffed. He just couldn't help it.
Marcus chuckled and got up from the couch. He squared off in front of the keeper and placed a kiss on the man's forehead. Yes, he was obviously checking for fever, but Oliver didn't seem to mind and, more importantly, didn't seem to have a fever any more. And if he felt well enough to be up and out of bed and even have this argument, that was a great sign. Still, that didn't mean he was well enough for this. “I know it's not as much fun staying in on a Saturday night with your alcoholic boyfriend and a box of extra strength tissues, but I really think it's your best option right now.”
Oliver thought it through for a long time before answering. “If it includes some sniff cuddling on the couch, aye, I'm in. Sniff, sniff!”
Marcus took him by the hand and led him over to the couch, pulling him down so that Oliver sat cross-wise on his lap and his arms were loosely wrapped around his waist. Oliver leaned forward and rested his head against Marcus' shoulder.
Marcus knew that Oliver was proud of him. The idea to get sober had been Oliver's, and it had been more of an ultimatum than an idea, but the decision to stay sober was all Marcus'. What Marcus hadn't said was that this past month had been one of the best in his life. His play had improved. So had their relationship. A year ago he never would have thought they'd be here, sharing a flat, Oliver sitting on his lap. He definitely wouldn't have imagined Oliver sniffling and rubbing a runny nose into Marcus' shoulder and Marcus not even flinching.
With a smile, Marcus reached up and stroked the back of Oliver's head.