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05 August 2011 @ 04:07 pm
FIC: Fever, PG  
Title: Fever
Author: megan_moonlight
Date of Posting: August 5, 2011
Rating: PG-13
Fandom: Southland
Characters/Pairings: John Cooper/Caesar
Disclaimer: All the characters © Ann Biderman, Warner Bros. I make no money from this.
Summary: He knew the other man never asked for help, but something like that was serious. He had to remember to punch John for being an idiot.
Spoilers: Slight for 3.10, I guess. But very, very slight.
Warnings: Warning for a little bit of swearing.
Beta: jean_iris
Author's Notes: Written for ariadnes_string's "RUNNING HOT: A Multi-Fandom Fever Fic" comment fic meme, for the prompt about Southland's John Cooper.
My second Southland fic this month. How did that happen, I wonder. Unexpected, but nice, I think. I found out that I really enjoy writing for this andom. And John and Caesar. This time Caesar's point of view, though. I needed the change, and I tried to get into his head a little bit. While doing re-search for the fic. Sounds cool, doesn't it?
Mentioned at: ariadnes_string's "RUNNING HOT: A Multi-Fandom Fever Fic"



*Fever*


It had been a long, exhausting day. Caesar was tired. Looking for a job was tiring, and he wanted to sleep, but he couldn't stop thinking about John Cooper, who was currently in the hospital. He didn’t find out quite like he’d expected.
One day he called John to ask if he wanted to meet for a beer and when it wasn't John's voice on the other end of the line, Caesar almost dropped his beer. Sherman explained everything to him about John's withdrawal when they met for a beer at Caesar's place. Sherman was exactly as John described him. Caesar just wondered why John hadn't called him himself. He knew the other man never asked for help, but something like that was serious. He had to remember to punch John for being an idiot.

That day he visited John in the hospital, even though his body wanted nothing more than a couple hours of uninterrupted sleep. But all thoughts of relaxation disappeared suddenly when he stepped into John's room and registered a couple of wracking coughs coming from the person laying on the bed. Caesar stayed with him for about two hours just watching John's sleeping form before a nurse told him that visiting hours were over and he could come back the next day. That night he was unable to go to sleep.

He made a deal with Sherman about visiting hours. They both visited John, one of them was usually by John's side when the other couldn't. Sherman also managed to talk the nurses into letting them stay the nights when it was necessary - that's how Caesar ended up falling asleep in a uncomfortable hospital chair brought by one of the nurses.

One, long moan and a short scream managed to wake him up. He sat up, blinking rapidly to get rid of the last signs of sleep from his eyes, and focused his gaze quickly on John's feverish body, lying across the hospital bed, obviously in pain. His face was almost pale, still covered in sweat. He stepped closer to the bed and covered John with the blanket, tucking him in securely. He run his fingers through short, unwashed blond hair, massaging John’s head lightly. Caesar sat down on the bed , close to the other man but without disturbing him, and took a hold of his hand, squeezing it. He hoped it would wake John up. At least he wasn't wrong about that.

John opened his eyes and tightened his grip on Caesar's hand abruptly as he sat up slowly, breathing loudly.

Caesar reacted immidiately, he let go of the other man's hand to place it on his shoulder, trying to hold him in place, just as the doctor had told him the day before. No sudden movements. He had to focus John’s attention on himself somehow and talk to him.

"John, it's okay, man," he tried, not really sure of himself at first, seeing no reaction from him, only more resistance and loud growling mixed with a moan of pain. John was struggling, and it looked like he was fighting more with himself than with anything else. Caesar bit his bottom lip, holding on to John, trying to stop John sudden movements.

In the next second the other man's elbow connected with Caesar's ribs.

"Sonofabitch!" Caesar swore loudly. "Fuck!"

John opened his eyes right then and looked at him, confused, looking out of place. "What... what are you doing... here?" he asked quietly, voice roughened by sleep as he winced slightly. Caesar swallowed quietly and handed the other man a cup of water. This time John didn't argue about it and Caesar was grateful.

"Came back from work. I wanted to see how you were doing," he answered when John handed him back an empty cup. At least this time the other man didn't yell and wasn't throwing cups at anybody.

"You didn't have to come."

Caesar wasn't sure how long they were sitting in a complete, uncomfortable silence, but it made him nervous, which wasn't nice. He couldn't remember the last time he’d felt so nervous around John nor the last time he hadn't known what to do or what to say. John was looking at the ceiling when Caesar bit his bottom lip slightly and opened his mouth when John's weak, tired voice stopped him from asking how he was.

"I'm fine,"

"Yeah, man. Sure ya are," he snorted quietly and John growled. Caesar swore. Why couldn't he keep his mouth shut when John behaved like that?

"I'm not a fucking kid!"

"I know that!" he shot back and hid his face in his hands, frustrated, trying to be patient. "You should..."

"If you say "sleep" or "water," I'll punch you in the face," John sighed and moaned quietly when he tried to sit up again and it alarmed Caesar. John started to cough again and it looked like he once again had trouble breathing. He wanted to call the nurse, but John's hand on his wrist stopped him as the other man shook his head, probably meaning that he was fine. Caesar didn't know what to do. This time instead of holding him down Caesar helped him, easing into a sitting position slowly. Wrapping both arms around his ribs to support them, Caesar exhaled when John's breathing was back to normal, his attempts to take deeper, longer breaths succesful. It was good. He nodded at John, and before taking his place on the chair again, he let his hand rest on John's a little bit longer. Caesar inhaled deeply. Okay, he had to make John drink something so he wouldn't dehydrate. He knew the withdrawal was going to be bad. The doctor had explained everything to him, he reapeted himself quietly. He had taken notes, just in case. John needed a lot of water, even if he really didn't want to drink anything.

"I wasn't going to say..." he started after he was sure John's breathing was back to normal again.

"Could you just shut up and leave me alone?"

Caesar had to close his eyes because John's words and his expression, so full of anger and hate, hurt. He took a couple of deep breaths to calm himself down. Next thing he was prepared for. John was going to yell, insult him and everybody else, be aggressive, yell some more, possibly ignore him for a while, too and, finally, he would try to trick him into something. When he opened his eyes again, John was gritting his teeth, his eyes were tightly shut, his hands gripping the sheets . Caesar managed to fight the urge to sigh, sat down on the chair once again, and looked at John.

"Is there something you want to do today? You can watch something, if you want. I could, I dunno, bring you something to read. Or do you want to go outside for a while... or something? You know, the doctor said you could use some air... it's been some time since you've been outside, man," he said finally, looking at the other man, trying to sound more confident than he really felt. John mumbled a few curses. "C'mon. Do you want to go to the bathroom?"

"If you want to help you can go and tell the nurse to bring me some pills. My head is killing me," he grumbled as he started gripping the sheets tighter. Only now Caesar noticed that John's hands were shaking. So it wasn't about a headache. John just wanted pills again.

"You know, the headache will pass if you just concentrate on something else," he tried calmly.

"If you don't want to help then go home and leave me alone!"

Caesar sighed. He didn't have time and patience to deal with John right now. He got up slowly and intended to caress John’s arm to show some support, but John told him to fuck off. So he did, muttering "goodnight" on his way out.
He texted Sherman and left the hospital.
***

For three months Caesar and Sherman were both busy between their work and taking care and visiting John. Sherman mentioned John's ex-wife also was helping and visited John whenever she could and it made Caesar feel better. It was good to know John had more people who cared about him.

These were very hard, tiresome and stressful months for everybody but there were resuslts. Everything seemed to be better. John still had problems, still had attacks, sometimes he struggled for every breath because of a pain in the back and he kept asking for drugs, but the more days John stayed in the hospital, under the doctors' care, the better he was doing .

The last serious attack, when John kept asking for his pills, crying, left Caesar scared. He called for the nurses quickly, this time ignoring John's protests. Caesar had to leave the room to let the doctor work and when he was in the corridor already, he closed his eyes and run his fingers through his hair, frustrated. He had hoped there would be no more trouble with breathing. The first times they happened in his prescence left him scared and this fear didn't want to go away, lingering in the back of Caesar's mind. He hated it, because it was one of these moments where he should be strong, he should support John and not shake like that. When the doctor left the room telling him he could get back to John now, Caesar couldn't find the words to answer so he just nodded, entering the room quietly.

Caesar sat on the bed, close to John who was now sitting up and staring at the wall with an unreadable expression on his face. He started to rub the older man's arm comfortingly and the breaths John took became longer and deeper.
There was no coughing this time, and Caesar was glad the other man didn't try to pull away from him - he actually leaned into the touch a little bit. Not wanting to leave his side, Caesar took a small glass of water from the table standing by the bed and held it out to John who eyed it suspiciously.

"It's just water, man," he tried not to sound annoyed. He wasn't really, but he was tired and he didn't want to show it in front of the older man. "c'mon, John."

The other man said nothing as he took the glass from Caesar, sipping slowly. Ceaesar saw relief on his face that indicated how thirsty he had really been, even if he probably didn't want to admit it. He thought about stilling the glass with his hand , noticing John's hands shaking, but decided not to do so, letting John deal with it by himself. After all, he knew John needed some control back after spending so much time in the bare hospital room, where he couldn't control what happened to him, even when it was about small things like this.

The whole process was very draining but he talked more, there was less shouting and fighting, and the doctors announced John could be released soon, if he had somebody who would help him. Of course he would have help. John wasn't really happy about it and kept telling he was fine but at least he wasn't arguing and let Caesar and Sherman take care of him. They all were convinced the worst was over, but they knew that John still needed help. Their help.
***

The last night in hospital was quiet. When John finally fell asleep after about an hour of telling Caesar he didn't have to stay and force more water into the other man because he looked like crap, Caesar was able to relax a little bit. He took a day off at his new work so he could stay and watch over John some more, looking for any signs of something worrying, just in case. His hand was laying next to John's on the white sheets. Surrounded by a hum of TV from the other room and John's regular breathing, Caesar couldn't fight the urge to sleep any longer. He waited until he heard John's snoring and let himself be lulled to sleep.

When he woke up, he noticed that John's fingers were wrapped around his hand loosely and it made him smile a little. He tightened his hold on John's hand a little bit and closed eyes again. They could be home soon.