Chapter Fourteen: Kids and Coughs
The sunlight from the windows pierced through _____'s eyelids, and she blinked them open. She sat up in her bed, stretching and letting out a soft moan when her tensed muscles relaxed. She climbed out of bed and dressed for the day, hurrying herself as she saw the time. It was almost noon; she couldn’t believe the boys let her sleep in so late, especially Ludwig. The German was always so strict with everything, and he would go absolutely crazy if something didn’t happen the way it was supposed to. And, she pointed out, Feliciano was also up, since he was not in her bed. Ever since _____ stayed with them, he had always slept with her in her bed, and he would usually be one of the last to wake up. Oh, yes. She knew she was late.
She quickly wiggled into her shorts and pulled her t-shirt over her head and shoulders and scrambled downstairs. She didn’t spot anyone in the living room, so she decided to go into the kitchen, where she found the whole group.
“Morning, y’all,” she said.
Feliciano turned his head to her, beaming. “Buongiorno, sorella!”
“Ohayou, _____-san,” said Kiku from his seat at the end of the dining table.
“It’s not morning anymore, Fräu,” Ludwig pointed out. “You slept late.”
“No!” exclaimed _____ sarcastically. “Really?!”
The German raised an eyebrow.
She giggled at the glare he was giving her and sat down beside Gilbert. “Morning, Gil.”
Gilbert cleared his throat a bit. “Hey, Fräu.”
“Your voice is a little. . .”
“Hoarse? Ja, I know. It’s been like that all morning.”
The albino nodded. “Ja.”
“Is your fever gone?”
“I haven’t checked.”
“Well, you’ve been sick. You kinda need to check.” _____ stood up and filed through the medicine cabinet in the adjacent bathroom. When she found what she was looking for she walked back into the kitchen and popped the thermometer into Gilbert’s mouth. Gilbert groaned quietly as he constantly moved the thermometer around in his mouth.
“Under your tongue, Gil,” said _____.
He grunted in defiance, but obeyed.
After a couple of minutes, _____ took the thermometer out of his mouth and read it. “‘Kay, somebody convert 37.83 from Celsius to Fahrenheit.”
“100.1,” said Kiku simply.
“Thank you, Kiku. You can always trust an Asian to solve a math problem for you.”
Gilbert chuckled. “That’s so racist, Fräu.”
She smirked. “Everyone’s a rittre bit lacist~!”
The albino laughed, but was interrupted by a coughing fit. _____ rubbed his back as he ran out of breath but was still coughing. He cleared his throat loudly, then breathed in deeply, returning back to normal.
“Okay,” said _____, standing up. “That’s it. You need to go back to your little nest, bud.” She grabbed Gilbert by the collar and pulled him to his feet.
He groaned. “Really, Fräu?”
“Ja, really,” she said in a domineering tone. “Now get your butt back to bed before I do it for you.”
Gilbert glared at her, but eventually gave in and staggered angrily upstairs back to his room.
“Alright,” said _____, turning back to the other boys when Gilbert reached his room. “What’s on the menu?”
“Oh!” said Feliciano. “Fratello and I are making pizza for dinner tonight!”
“Sweet. But I meant for right now.”
“Well, there is some leftover wurst from breakfast,” said Ludwig.
_____ snorted. “Yeah, sure. Like I would.”
“You should like them, Fräu. They are güt.”
“To you, yeah. To me, well, not so much.”
“But you have not tried mein wurst before.”
“And I don’t need to.” She opened the pantry door and looked inside, disappointed not to see anything good. She sat back down at the table beside Feliciano––when suddenly a plate clattered onto the table in front of her. She blinked, then frowned when she saw the wurst on it. “Lud, I’m not eating a stupid sau––”
“Eat it!” Ludwig was looming over her, glaring daggers at her. _____ had to hold her laughter in. He just looked so funny now.
She sighed, and decided to humor the German. She picked it up and examined it far more than needed, throwing in a few “Mm-hm”s every now and again. Then after a good minute of just staring at the sausage, she held it to her lips and, staring right at Ludwig, began to lick it slowly. The taste on her tongue as it ran across the sausage was revolting to her, but she kept her composure. She wanted to look perfectly serious in this moment so Ludwig’s reaction would be good.
And it was. Ludwig’s face turned bright red as he saw _____ licking the sausage so suggestively. He looked away, frustrated. “Alright!” he shouted, snatching up the plate and slobbery sausage. “You win, verdammt! Just. . .please, don’t ever do that again!” He rubbed his eyelids as he disposed of the sausage and put the plate in the sink. “Oh, mein Gott. . .”
“Ah, c’mon,” said _____. “You should see half the crap your brother pulls.”
“Oh, I don’t ever plan to. . .”
“Your hand feeling better, Lovino?”
“Sì. Much better.”
“That’s good.” _____ sat at the bar counter in the kitchen, watching as Lovino and Feliciano began to make the batter for the pizza crust.
“Hey, sorella!” said Feliciano, who was holding a round piece of batter in his hands. “Watch this!” He spun the batter around with his hands, then tossed it up into the air, catching it gracefully. When it landed back in his hands, _____ clapped, and Feliciano spun it and tossed it a few more times before putting it onto a pan.
“Nice, Feli.” She looked at Lovino, who was still cutting some peppers. “You gonna do it, Lovino?”
“Huh?” He looked up at her, then smiled a bit, an unusual sparkle showing in his dark brown eyes. “Si. Fratello, hand me that crust.”
Feliciano handed his brother the batter he was holding, and Lovino began to spin it around. Thankfully, the ceiling in the kitchen was relatively high, so the pizza crust wouldn’t make contact with it. _____ watched Lovino as he tossed the pizza up into the air several times, mostly watching his face. He looked so calm and focused, and she could have sworn it was someone else. She smiled when he caught the crust one final time and put it onto a pan. He sighed, making his way back to the counter near _____ where he was.
“There,” he said. “I tossed the stupid pizza crust. Happy?”
_____ grinned. “Yeah. And I think you were, too.”
Lovino chuckled. “Sì. . .”
“Alright! I’m coming in! No one breathe on me!” A voice rang out before Gilbert walked into the kitchen and sat by _____.
“I think you mean you shouldn’t breathe on anyone else, Gil,” she said.
“Meh, same difference.” He coughed into his fist, pulling his robe a bit closer to his body.
“How’re you feeling?”
“Okay, I guess. My chest kind of hurts from all my coughing, though.” He cleared his throat.
_____ patted his silver hair, feeling his warm forehead. “Need anything?”
Gilbert smiled. “Nah. I’ll get something if I need it.”
Ludwig walked into the kitchen, blinking when he noticed his brother. “Ah, bruder. You’re out of bed.”
“Ja. Your point?”
Kiku followed Ludwig into the kitchen, and they both sat down at the dining table. Ludwig pulled out a newspaper to read while Kiku read a manga.
“So, what’s new?” asked _____, leaning back to look at Ludwig through his newspaper.
“It’s predicted to rain tomorrow,” he said, not looking away from the papers. “Und a crazy serial killer is out wandering around Venice.”
“What?!” Feliciano exclaimed, clinging to his clearly irritated brother. “Don’t let him find me!”
“There is no killer, Feliciano,” said Ludwig. “I was kidding.”
_____ shook her head. “If that was really the best you could do, you’re in bad shape, Lud.”
“You couldn’t kid––much less say anything funny––to save your life, West!” said Gilbert, spinning around on his stool to face Ludwig. “I mean, you couldn’t––” He was cut off by a very heavy coughing fit. He put his fist in front of his mouth and hunched over as he coughed loudly into it, but he soon lost his balance on the stool and fell on the floor. He struggled to his knees as the coughing worsened.
“Gil?” _____ knelt down beside the albino as he began gasping for breath between his weary coughs. His eyes were wide and directed at the tiles on the floor, and his hands supported the weight of his upper body. Eventually, he began to vomit slightly through his coughs, the acidic liquids dripping onto the floor. The vomit receded for the moment, but Gilbert’s coughing was not yet over. He brought his hand up to his neck as he continued gasping for air.
_____ held his shoulders gently and brought him over to the wall of the counter near them, letting him lean his back on it. “Easy, Gil,” she cooed. “Just calm down, okay? Deep, slow breaths.”
Gilbert gritted his teeth in a failed attempt to suppress the coughs. “––I-I’m––try––ing––”
_____ blinked, then turned to Ludwig. “Ludwig, call a doctor.” The German obeyed, and she sat beside Gilbert and rubbed his back. “Sorry, Gil,” she said softly, leaning her head on his spasming shoulder. “I caused this, didn’t I?”