“Keep the thermometer under your tongue, _____.”
_____ grimaced, using her teeth to maneuver the thermometer in her mouth underneath her tongue. “I really don’t think I’m that sick, Levi—”
“And don’t talk with it in your mouth,” the short man interrupted. After a minute or so, he extracted the thermometer from _____’s mouth and looked at the temperature. “Tch,” he hissed in disapproval. “Thirty-nine on the dot.”
“Seriously?” _____ groaned, falling onto her bed and glaring at the ceiling. “I don’t even feel that bad. This should be illegal!”
“Well, you’re sick whether you can feel it or not.” Levi left the room to wash and put away the thermometer. He returned a few moments later carrying a tray with a glass of ice water, a washcloth, and a bowl of water sitting on it. He set down the tray on _____’s nightstand before dipping the washcloth into the bowl and placing it on _____’s forehead. His normal frown deepened when he felt how hot her skin was, and he decided to run the wet cloth across her face.
_____ closed her eyes as Levi gently cooled her skin, savoring the feeling with an alleviated sigh through her nostrils. Her throat tickled, and a hard coughing fit suddenly racked her body. She curled her torso and held a fist to her mouth, staggering for a breath between fits. Levi put aside the washcloth and held her in place, even taking the liberty of rubbing her back while she violently cleared her throat of any foreign intrusion.
When the fit had subsided, _____ breathed in deeply and let out a gruff sigh before collapsing back onto her mattress. She let an arm lay over her eyes as she grumbled, “I take back what I said. I feel like crap now.”
Levi passed off the comment and set the washcloth back on her forehead, feeling somewhat satisfied with himself when she visibly relaxed at its touch. He stood from his place on her bed and said, “There’s water for you on the nightstand. Let me know if you need anything else.”
_____’s eyes opened to see Levi turning to leave, and she muttered pleadingly, “Levi?”
The man immediately stopped and turned back to her expectantly.
Her lips straightened to a flat line, but she looked at him in a rather imploring manner. “Sing me ‘Soft Kitty’.”
Levi stiffened at the request and looked away, flustered. “I don’t sing, _____.”
“B-But,” she started, a slight whine in her voice, “I’m sick, and I sing it to you when you’re sick.”
Levi rolled his eyes in annoyance. “I never ask you to sing for me.”
_____ sniffled and rolled to her side, carefully suppressing another cough. “But it helps me feel better!”
The man sighed. Though he wouldn’t admit it, and would barely show it, he did care for _____. He wanted her ailment to leave quickly, and he wanted her to be happy. So, with a considerable amount of effort, he swallowed his enormous pride and returned to her bedside, mumbling, “Alright. But just this once.”
_____ smiled and lay on her back, waiting for him in tired excitement.
Levi briefly pursed his lips and cleared his throat, then, after a long moment to recover from his embarrassment, he began to slowly sing.
“Soft kitty, warm kitty,
Little ball of fur. . .”
A rather dark shade of red dusted Levi’s cheeks, but he forced himself to keep his composure.
“Happy kitty, sleepy kitty,
Purr, purr, purr.”
A light giggle escaped _____’s lips, and she smiled and said with a sniffle, “Thank you, Levi. You’re sweet for doing that.”
Levi’s blush hadn’t subsided, and he looked away bashfully. “Tch.” He stood once again to his feet. “Just don’t ever make me do it again.”
_____’s smiled widened to an amused grin, and she brought her hand to her brow and saluted. “Yessir!”
She watched Levi walk through the doorway, but before he could close the door, she said, “Oh, Levi?”
“What?” he said, an impatient edge in his voice.
“You actually have a really nice singing voice.”
Levi blinked slightly, but he only turned to leave the room and let out another, “Tch.”