Chapter Twelve: Messing with the Thermometer
“Dio ti benedica!”
“Thanks.” _____ reached for a tissue from the tissue box and wiped her nose, throwing it in the wastebasket beside her bed when she was finished. She held up her fist as she began to cough into it, then sniffled again.
“Guten morgen, Fräu!” said Gilbert as he walked into the room, a tray in his hands.
_____ stuck her tongue out teasingly. “Morning, Gil. Come to take my temp?”
“Ja. West is finishing making breakfast.” He put the tray on the nightstand. “But I already made yours.” He smirked and gestured to the bowl of Cocoa Puffs on the tray.
She laughed. “Okay, Gil. I will eat your lovely five-star breakfast-in-bed meal.”
“You better eat it,” he remarked. “Und you better like it, too. That’s the last of it.” He took the thermometer from the tray and handed it to _____. She slipped it quickly into her mouth and kept it under her tongue.
“No, Fräu,” said Gilbert.
A smirk crawled onto his face. “Slower.”
_____ glared at him. She got up, took the wastebasket full of used tissues, and dumped it on the albino’s head.
Gilbert frantically pulled the used tissues off, wiping his hands repeatedly on his pant legs. “Ew! Ew! Ew! What the hell, Fräu?!”
“You needed that.” She crawled back into bed, smirking. “And maybe now you’ll get to fool around with the thermometer, too.”
He glared at her. “Ha, ha. I’m going to change––und maybe scrub myself.” He walked out the door.
“Oh, come on, Gil!” _____ called after him. “I’m not that sick!” Her retort was immediately followed by a heavy coughing fit. She took the thermometer out of her mouth and read it. It displayed 38.56ºC, which she had Feliciano translate into 101.4ºF. She groaned. “This sucks, man.”
“Don’t worry, sorella,” said Feliciano, picking up the bowl of cereal. “You’ll get better soon.”
_____ smiled and took the bowl. “I know, Feli. It just sucks right now.” She ate a spoonful of the cereal.
“Please get better soon.”
_____ swallowed. “I will.”
“Please.” Feliciano lowered his head. “I was really worried when I saw Ludwig carrying you on his back. I got scared. I didn’t know if you were okay or not. . .So please. . .” A few small tears fell from his eyes. “Please get better, sorella.”
_____ looked at the Italian. She lifted her hand and patted him on the head. “I will, baby. I’ll get better.”
He smiled, then quickly wiped his eyes. “Oh, I’m crying. Ludwig and fratello always tell me how I’m such a crybaby.” He sniffled. “I’m sorry, sorella.”
She grinned. “It’s okay, Feli. You can’t help it. You’re just too kind, is all.”
Feliciano smiled warmly. “Grazie, sorella.” He stood up and turned to leave. “If you need anything, sorella, just let me know, sì?”
_____ lay in bed that afternoon, just staring up at the ceiling, when the door suddenly burst open. In the doorway was her childhood friend, his eyes focused on her.
“_____! Are you okay?” Alfred hopped onto the bed and hugged _____ tightly. “I came over as soon as I heard! You doing okay? They treating you right over here? Are––”
“Alfie!” _____ pulled away from his grip, laughing hoarsely. “I’m okay, bud. I just got a little bug. It’ll be gone in a few days.”
Alfred sighed. “Okay. I’ll buy that. You just get better, alright?” He climbed off the bed. “Oh, by the way, if you’re feeling okay tomorrow, we can all go out to town together.”
_____ grinned. “Okay.”
Alfred smiled, patting her on the head. “Get better, girl. Or I’m gonna have to make you.”
“Alfie, you can’t do that.”
“Pssh! Screw that! I’m the hero, I can do whatever I want!”
_____ rolled her eyes as Alfred walked out confidently. “Is that really all you came for?”
He stopped a little past the doorway. He looked back at his friend and smiled warmly. “No.” He walked down the hall.
_____ sighed and lay back down in bed, closing her eyes. “Weirdo,” she said, then pulled the sheets closer to her body. A small knock echoed from the doorframe, and _____ looked up to see Ludwig, Kiku, and Feliciano standing just outside her room. “Y’all can come in, y’know,” she said with a smile.
The three walked into the room, Kiku placing a tray on the nightstand. Feliciano jumped onto the bed and sat beside _____. He hugged her, but paused for a minute. “Hey, sorella, your hair’s getting greasy,” he said blankly, then continued hugging her for another moment.
“Oh, yeah,” she said casually. “Probably because I haven’t taken a shower in, like, three days.”
Ludwig groaned, seemingly a bit disgusted at her statement. “Well, Fräu, are you going to bathe tonight?”
_____ raised an eyebrow. “Will you bathe me?”
A large blush covered the German’s cheeks, causing to her to giggle.
“What? I like being clean, I just don’t like all the work.” She adjusted the sheets covering her body. “Besides, I feel like crap.”
Ludwig grunted, looking away as his blush slowly subsided.
“By the way,” said _____, “did Alfie tell you guys about his idea for tomorrow?”
Feliciano let her go, a smile on his face. “Sì. It was kind of both our idea. That is, if you’re feeling okay tomorrow, sorella.”
“I think I’ll be better by then, Feli. I think my temp’s gone down some.”
“Yay!” He got off the bed, kissing her on the cheek before scampering out of the room. Ludwig gave _____ a nod and followed Feliciano out. Kiku gave _____ the thermometer off the tray, and she immediately put it in her mouth and slipped it under her tongue like she had so many times that day and the previous one. _____ looked at Kiku as he fiddled with the items on the tray. His features were abnormally calm, calmer than she had seen them. His neutral expression was always relaxed, but this was different, somehow. He looked. . .happy.
Kiku took the thermometer out of _____’s mouth, reading it aloud. “It is 37.61 degrees Celsius, which converts into 99.7 degrees Fahrenheit.” He gave a small smile. “It should be back to normal by tomorrow.”
_____ smiled. “That’s good.”