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Chanel_no5

Coming Undone (Criminal Minds, Blake, cold denial, now with H/C) Finished April 13

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Chanel_no5   
Chanel_no5

***Note***

I have struggled with life for a few weeks. What always seems to cheer me up is, well, doing things like this to my favourite fictional characters. :yay:  

A bit of denial fic, which might very well be continued if and when I find inspiration.  

***

 

Maine, early November

 

With the investigation getting stuck, the team were gathered at the local station just tossing out various theories and trying to find where the profile was incorrect. It felt like they were unproductive, but thinking outside the box was a part of the job. You never knew when or where you’d find that one thread to pull at to unravel the whole case.

The investigation was not the only thing getting stuck, however. For the past hour or so, Blake had been struggling with a building sneeze that couldn’t seem to decide whether to come out or not. It reached a prickly, overwhelming crescendo, and then backed off just as she was about to give in. It was beyond annoying.

As Hotch crossed out another theory from the list, that feathery irritation once more began to torture her, and she slowly brought her hands up towards her face.

“Sorry, I think I’m going to sneeze,” she said – not because she particularly wanted to draw attention to herself, but because she didn’t want to startle anyone in case it would be one of those that were impossible to stifle. She took a couple of hitching breaths, then exhaled in what sounded like a sigh of frustration when the urge suddenly slipped away from her.

“Nope, not this time either,” she muttered and sniffled. This was starting to get ridiculous.

“Not having much luck catching that sneeze, do you?” Morgan joked. Blake shook her head.

“Evidently not.”

“Are you coming down with something?” JJ asked, sounding concerned.

“No, I’m fine. Also, I haven’t actually sneezed at all yet. It’s just toying with me.” She rubbed her nose with the back of her hand, then smiled. “Really JJ, I’m good. It just ti-hihh… tickles… hiihyISCHuuh! Ah, there it is. Excuse me.”

But the tickle didn’t go away. It returned a couple of seconds later, more adamant this time.

“Haah… KtSSHHih! Ehh… eeISCHheuh! Sorry.”

“Wow, bless you.”

Blake pretended she didn’t see the worried expression that was forming on JJ’s face. It was embarrassing enough as it was.

“Thank you,” she replied and cleared her throat. It felt dry and scratchy, as if coated with sawdust. It felt a lot like allergies, and yet it didn’t.  

HeISCH-iSCH-AAyISCHhuuh!” The rapid mini-fit struck her hard, and she was completely unprepared, just barely managing to turn to the side to avoid sneezing over the table. “Oh my God,” she sniffled, still leaning over to the side.

“Are you done now?” Rossi asked, amused. “After a fit like that, you should be.”

Blake sat up straight in her chair again, pressing her wrist against her still irritated nose.

“I think I might be allergic to something,” she said awkwardly. “I have no idea what it could be, though. It’s not tree pollen season, not grass mowing season, and so far, I haven’t seen a single horse in here.”

Rossi chuckled.

“Right, I remember your first up-close encounter with horses.”

“Unfortunately, so do I,” Blake agreed and dug through her pockets for a tissue. “And everybody else who witnessed it.”

“Do you want to take a break?” Hotch asked, his first input to a conversation Blake would rather not have had in the first place. She shook her head.

“No, I’m fine.”

She debated with herself if she should leave the room to blow her nose, but decided that if they had already seen her accidentally sneeze uncovered, she had little dignity left to keep either way. She folded the tissue over, turned away and gave her nose a soft, quick blow, hoping it would rid her of the tickle regardless of its cause.

It was a nice thought, but it didn’t work. Almost the moment she lowered the tissue, the infuriating tickle was back, like a tiny feather brushing ever so lightly against the sensitive insides of her nose. It was maddening. Allergies felt like that, a constant, all-consuming tingle that no amount of sneezing could really get to.

But her eyes didn’t feel affected, and that was usually the first sign that she was about to have an allergic reaction.

Puzzled and annoyed, she tried to push the sensation away from her conscious mind and focus on the case.

***

“Alex, I seriously think you’re getting sick,” JJ said when they wrapped things up for the day, still not one step closer to having a complete profile.

“It’s just allergies. I’ll pick up some Benadryl on my way back to the hotel and I’ll be fine.”

Alex did her best to seem convincing, but she felt awful and probably looked the part. She had only sneezed twice more that afternoon, (although that was a lot for her if she wasn’t allergic... or sick), but her nose had been itching constantly, and congestion filled up inside her sinuses, little by little.

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah.”

“Okay. We’re going out to grab a bite to eat, do you want to join us?”

Frankly, Blake had no idea how to make it through an entire meal without sneezing again, and being all sniffly and gross around people eating wasn’t exactly how she wanted to end this day. She wasn’t hungry either way.

“Um, thanks, but I think I’ll just get a sandwich or something.”

“Alright. See you tomorrow, then.”

Blake nodded, relieved to finally get some privacy and quit pretending that her nose didn’t feel like it was on fire and that her throat was getting slightly sore.

***

She did buy a sandwich, but it felt like too much job to actually eat it, so after only two bites she pushed it aside, rubbing her temples. The sinus pressure had built into a pounding headache, and the Benadryl hadn’t kicked in yet, she was still miserably congested and itchy.

As she was pondering whether to stay up for a while or just go to bed and hope whatever it was had passed in the morning, her phone rang.

If it’s JJ with more coddling, I’m not picking up, she thought, but the display informed her that it was her husband. And he wasn’t exactly the overprotecting type.

“Hi honey,” she said.

“How is my favourite profiler doing?”

“Fine.” She sat down on the bed and flipped through the channels on the TV. “Tired.” She yawned. “I think I’ll go to bed early. How are you doing? I can’t even remember which country you’re in right now.”

James was about to answer, fell silent for a few seconds, and then laughed.

“I forgot too. We’re in Iraq right now. We were in Afghanistan two weeks ago.” He chuckled. “And what about you, do you remember which state you’re in?”

“Maine.”

“I’m impressed.”

“Don’t be. My hotel room has a view of the harbour. Every time I look out the window I see this boat named ‘Pearl of Maine’. Dead giveaway.” She sniffled and immediately regretted it when it triggered the annoying tickle again. “H-hang on, I have to sneeze… heh… hekTSCHghh! Huh… IKTSSCHhuh!”

“Bless you. Well, that’s bad luck.”

“What is?” she asked.

“Catching a cold while away on a case.”

She rolled her eyes.

“I don’t have a cold. It’s just some weird allergic reaction.”

“No-oo…” he dragged the word out for emphasis. “Your sneezes sound different from your allergic ones. When you have a cold they sound… chesty. Deep.”

“Oh, really? And what do I sound like when I’m allergic, then?” she asked.

“Frantic,” James said and snickered. “Better stock up on cold meds and tissues, you’re going to wake up with a full-blown head cold tomorrow.”

“I just took a Benadryl for these allergies,” she said. “So, I’ll be alright tomorrow, but thanks anyway.”

“Tomorrow you’ll be a cold-ridden mess and, not wanting to admit that you were wrong, you’ll probably end up ignoring my phone calls. You’ll see.”

“You’re so full of it.”

“We’ll see who’s full of it tomorrow,” he replied, almost smugly. “I’ll be checking in.”

“How considerate of you,” she said, sarcasm dripping off every word.

“I’ll be doing that for my own entertainment, to be honest,” James said. “I love it when I get to tell you ‘I told you so’.”

“That’s because it never happens,” she said and wiped her nose with a tissue. 

“It’s gonna happen tomorrow. I’ve gotta go, but… I’ll call you tomorrow, and if you don’t pick up and then reply to me by text message, I’ll know I’m right.” He chuckled again. “Love you, Alex.”

“L-love you t-huhh… t-too… hehhhNNKTXsshoo!”

“And don’t stifle,” James said, and before she could deliver a snarky retort, he had hung up. She pinched the bridge of her nose, begging the headache to stop at least. She was getting so sleepy, and assumed it was the Benadryl that was kicking in.

But if that was the case, why didn’t the congestion let up? And why was that tickle still teasing her?

She brushed off these nagging questions and went to bed.

***

The next morning when the alarm blared, she woke up feeling like her sinuses were completely blocked. She couldn’t breathe through her nose at all, and it felt hot and itchy. Her throat was dry and very, very sore.

Her first thought was

Damnit, James was right, that smug bastard!

Her second thought was

I can’t be sick on a case. I refuse.

And right on the heel of that thought:

Oh God I have to sneeze.  

She rolled over on her side and stifled two insanely tickly sneezes against her arm, then groaned. She wanted nothing more than to just go back to sleep. She was so, so tired and felt like shit.

I’m just gonna close my eyes five more minutes.

***

Nearly an hour later, she awoke to a firm rapping on the door.

“Blake?” Hotch called. “Are you still in there?”

“Oh fuck!”

She slapped a hand over her mouth, hoping he hadn’t heard the expletive.

“Sorry, I overslept! I’ll be down in a minute!” she called out, flinching at how much her throat hurt when she shouted… and at how raspy her voice sounded.

Hotch was quiet, and as she sat up on the edge of the bed she assumed he had left again. Which was a good thing, because her nose was burning like crazy, and there was no way she’d be able to stifle this time. The sneeze felt like it built from the depths of her lungs, and she doubled over, both hands holding on to the mattress for support as a wheezy, messy sneeze sprayed her thighs. 

“Bless you,” came Hotch’s voice, softer now. “You’re sick.” It wasn’t a question.

Blake blushed furiously, embarrassed that he’d heard that. James was right. These sneezes were chestier than her allergic ones. She definitely sounded sick.

“I’ll be okay, don’t worry,” she replied. She could hear how unconvincing this assurance sounded when spoken in a husky, thick voice, and she knew Hotch could hear it too, but she was not accepting defeat, not like this.

“I’ll wait for you in the lobby,” he said, and this time she could hear him walk back down the corridor. She closed her eyes, gathering all her strength.

Alright Alex, you can do this. It’s just a cold.

Yeah, but a cold that seemed like it wanted to kill her, and even worse, humiliate her. If only they were home in D.C now, then she’d call in sick and pull the covers over her head and go back to sleep.

Afraid that she might indeed fall asleep if she thought too much about it, she stood up and got dressed in a hurry. She quickly brushed her hair but didn’t use any products. If she had to stand in a cloud of hairspray she’d probably start sneezing again.

“Ironic,” she muttered hoarsely. “The one day I could really use a ton of makeup, I don’t have time for more than the essential.” She glared at her reflection in the mirror and concluded: “On a good day you look forty. This is not a good day.”

She blew her nose harshly, downed a Tylenol with some water despite how much it hurt to swallow, grabbed her things and left the room, walking in a brisk pace towards the elevator. Her head pounded with each step she took.

This was going to be a long, miserable day.

 

Edited by Chanel_no5

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HideAndGoSneeze   
HideAndGoSneeze

OH...MY...GOSH.

I loved this! All of your stories are ALWAYS amazing, but...Criminal Minds...Denial of a cold...the hitching breaths while talking!!! *melts*

I look forward to more of your amazing work!! 

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Chanel_no5   
Chanel_no5
17 hours ago, HideAndGoSneeze said:

OH...MY...GOSH.

I loved this! All of your stories are ALWAYS amazing, but...Criminal Minds...Denial of a cold...the hitching breaths while talking!!! *melts*

I look forward to more of your amazing work!! 

Awww, thank you so much! :heart: I'm glad you liked it!!  :D 

I've already started on part 2, because, well,  I at least, need to know just how miserable her day will be, and for how long she can keep up that denial... :whistle: 

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HideAndGoSneeze   
HideAndGoSneeze
8 minutes ago, Chanel_no5 said:

Awww, thank you so much! :heart: I'm glad you liked it!!  :D 

I've already started on part 2, because, well,  I at least, need to know just how miserable her day will be, and for how long she can keep up that denial... :whistle: 

You're not the only one! 

 

... What? Who said that?! :lol:

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mysterysneeze   
mysterysneeze

I hope life treats you better this coming week. Sounds like you have had a rough time lately.

 

The story here is well done and I gotta say Blake has a way with sneezes that are enjoyable to see happen in written form XD What she says in normal dialogue is also nice to read. I like how you do her character, not just having some lady being sick and sneezy.

 

Thank you for taking time to show what you wrote! I liked it.

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Chanel_no5   
Chanel_no5
On ‎2017‎-‎11‎-‎13 at 8:42 PM, HideAndGoSneeze said:

You're not the only one! 

 

... What? Who said that?! :lol:

OMG! We're being infiltrated! :ninja::lol: Alright, here comes part 2. Apparently there will be even more parts. I, uh, couldn't help myself. :shy: 

 

On ‎2017‎-‎11‎-‎14 at 5:02 PM, mysterysneeze said:

I hope life treats you better this coming week. Sounds like you have had a rough time lately.

The story here is well done and I gotta say Blake has a way with sneezes that are enjoyable to see happen in written form XD What she says in normal dialogue is also nice to read. I like how you do her character, not just having some lady being sick and sneezy.

Thank you for taking time to show what you wrote! I liked it.

Thank you. Yeah, things have been rough lately. Hopefully they'll be looking up from now on. Thank you so much, I'm really glad you enjoyed reading! ^_^ 

 

Part 2 of 4(?)

 

When Hotch saw her stepping out of the elevator, his usually expressionless face was invaded by one of those brief, un-maskable micro expressions. It lasted no more than a split second, but Blake could read exactly how much of a mess she was from that split second alone. She immediately tried to refute the shock she had seen on his face.

“I know, I look terrible, I didn’t have time to put on makeup.”

Hotch raised an eyebrow.

“I’ve seen you without makeup before.” Underlying message: you didn’t look this crappy then. Blake only shrugged meekly and refrained from discussing the topic further, hoping he’d drop the subject and let her be.

He did. Probably because he knew he couldn’t force her to admit to anything.

I deny all allegations of a cold. Your evidence is merely circumstantial. 

Blake smiled a little, squared her shoulders and tried to shake off that sluggish overall feeling of being ill. If she could take a bullet and go on like nothing happened, she should damn well be able to work through a head cold.

The point was that she hadn’t had to in many years. Usually when she did catch something, it happened during vacation time. It was frustrating enough of course, but at least James was the same way. Sometimes they simply referred to vacation as “sick time”, or light-heartedly asked each other “what are we having this Thanksgiving/Christmas/Fourth of July?”

Yeah. Wasn’t as light-hearted when you had to work through it, think through that fuzzy headachy feeling, talk to people with a voice that fails you…

“HuhERSSHHuh!”

Or just being around other people when you constantly felt like you had to sneeze. Blake winced at the pain that the sneeze left in its wake, then in disgust at the damp spot it left on the jacket sleeve she had used to cover with.

“Bless you,” Hotch said, as neutral as ever.

“Could you, um…” Blake cleared her throat in the hopes that it would make her voice steadier, but it still sounded like it was about to give out. “…stop at a drugstore? I need to pick up s-some… hehh… someeEIISCHHoo! Some ti-hiiISSCHHH! Tissues, excuse me.”

“Sure.” He paused and gave her a brief side glance. “Blake. I will trust your own judgment on this, so I’m only going to ask you once, but I expect you to be completely honest. Will you be able to do your job today, or do you want me to take you back to the hotel?”

“I’m okay,” she said, giving him a heroic smile.

“No, you’re not. Far from it. What I need to know is are you able to work today, because I can’t guarantee you can stay back at the station all day?”

A small feverish chill crept up her spine and she suppressed it before it could turn into a shiver.

“Yeah.” She nodded slowly, more to herself than him. “Yeah, I can do this, don’t worry about me.”

Hotch looked like he had his doubts, which only made Blake even more determined to make it through today without falling apart at the seams. At least without doing so noticeably. If she had to down a whole gallon of DayQuil to make it happen, she would.

***

A few minutes later she stood in one of the aisles at the drugstore, staring at the near-empty shelves where the cold remedies were supposed to be, as if more options would magically appear if she just stared long enough.

One of the employees walked up to her and asked if he could help with anything.

“DayQuil,” Blake said, inwardly cursing the fact that she had to speak at all. “I’m looking for the DayQuil.”

“Unfortunately, we’re all out, and… most of the other cold remedies as well, as you can see. We’ll get new supplies tomorrow. Sorry for the inconvenience, cold season hit hard this year. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

She shook her head, paid for the things she had managed to find, and wondered how on Earth a couple of travel packs of tissues and some cough drops would make the necessary difference. The only nasal spray they had in stock was one she knew from experience only made her nose even more sensitive, and if she took anything that was the tiniest bit drowsy-inducing she would probably end up face-planting the conference room table within half an hour.

“What a great day this is shaping up to be,” she muttered to herself as she went back outside. When she crossed the street to where Hotch had parked, a light but chilly rain started to fall from iron grey skies.

It just keeps getting better and better, she thought and shuddered as she ducked back into the car.

“Got what you needed?” Hotch asked.

HmptSCHggh! Ugh… yeah. I’m good. Let’s go.”

***

Blake was trying with all her might to focus on the discussion, but the persistent tingle that kept wandering from the back of her nose to the tip and then back again made it difficult. It felt almost like getting slight but relentless electric shocks. Had she thought the feathery tickle yesterday was bad? Oh, this was so much worse. She had a tissue ready in the hand resting on her lap, but she didn’t think she was going to sneeze. She would have felt better if she could; this never-ending burning sensation was torture. But of course, as long as she didn’t call attention to herself, maybe the others wouldn’t notice how miserable she was.

“Alright,” Hotch said in a tone like he was wrapping things up, and Blake looked up at him with eyes that watered slightly from the sinus pressure. “I have to speak with the sheriff. Reid, you stay here and do the geographical profiling.”

Blake’s heart sank. She had half-hoped that Hotch would let her stay here despite what he had said in the car, although geographical profiling certainly wasn’t her forte. But of course he had the wellbeing of everyone else to consider as well. Reid was still vulnerable after everything concerning Maeve, and needed to work more in solitude than usual.

“Dave, you and JJ go to the second dump site, the crime scene investigators want us to take a look at some tracks that may or may not be relevant. Morgan, you and Blake go down to the dock and speak with the fishermen who found the latest body.”

Blake seriously wondered if she would manage to make herself heard over the sounds of wind, rain and waves. Not likely. But there was nothing wrong with her vision, so she might have to be the silent observer on this one.

Hah-uESCHHuu! ‘scuse me.”

Okay, ‘silent’ might be a slight exaggeration.

***

 

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Chanel_no5   
Chanel_no5

Well hello there, Chanel is back, speaking to the void. :lol: Here's part 3. 

***

“I know you won’t like to hear this,” Morgan said when they were in the car on their way to the dock, “but I should probably do most of the talking.”

“Agreed,” Blake said, more relieved than in the mood to argue. Her nose tickled like crazy, it was like breathing through feathers and downs. Rubbing didn’t seem to help at all; she was going to sneeze again, and probably sooner than later.

“How are you feeling?” he asked.

“Like I’m about to sneeze,” she replied in a breathy voice, fighting with all her might to keep her sick body’s reactions under tight wraps. It just wasn’t working. She was feeling worse by the minute. Her nose was driving her mad with its never-ending prickle. She took two tissues and brought them up to her face in cupped hands. Her eyes were half-closed as she hovered on the torturous edge of a sneeze, irritated tears welling up and trickling down her cheeks. Her breath hitched helplessly in an embarrassingly long build-up, and she was just begging for relief.

She took another two gasping breaths before being violently thrown forward with a wet, messy sneeze.

HeeISSCHHheuh!”

“Bless y-“ Morgan began, but Blake shook her head to indicate that she wasn’t done. Keeping the tissues pressed against her face, she sneezed again. And again. And again. She took a deep breath – then sneezed again. Morgan chuckled, and she wished the ground would open up and swallow her. God, why couldn’t she just stop?! She sneezed twice more, tightly bottled up stifles that hurt her sinuses immensely, and then seemed to reach a halt. She began to blow her nose but couldn’t finish before she sneezed a violently messy triple, so rapid that one sneeze didn’t seem to end before the next started. She felt exhausted and almost like she might pass out after this helpless fit, and after blowing her nose thoroughly, she slumped back in the seat with her watery eyes closed, groaning.

“Bless you. That was… pretty intense,” Morgan said.

“I get like this with allergies,” Blake said. At this point she knew perfectly well that she had a cold, but she wasn’t going to admit it. A cold meant being sick, which was equal to weak and repulsive. Allergies was just… being allergic. Although except for what she currently suffered from, she had never had a cold that could top her allergies when it came to misery.

“Ten in a row, huh? That’s impressive.”

“Ten is nothing,” she sniffled.

“Really? I think I’ll start referring to you as Sneezy.”

“Don’t you dare,” Blake muttered and blew her nose again, then dabbed at her oh so irritated nostrils, as careful as she could possibly be, so she wouldn’t accidentally set off another fit. 

“What’s your record?” he asked.

“I’ll plead the Fifth amendment on that one,” she said. That made him laugh.

“Come on, if ten in a row is nothing, I have to know what’s something!” he said, and Blake had to smile, almost against her will.

“Back when I was a new recruit at the Academy, I wasn’t allergic to anything. It came out of nowhere in spring my first year. Inconveniently enough, it struck when I was on the Quantico training track. I counted fifty-four sneezes in one continuous allergy attack, or rather, I stopped counting after fifty-four. I still haven’t forgiven whoever planted those trees around the track.”

“I think that’s called nature, Blake.”

HNNKTch! Well, I’m not a fan,” she said, wiping her nose with the balled-up tissues she still clutched in one hand.

“So what’s bothering your allergies now?” he asked.

“I’m not sure. Something.” she shrugged and pressed the tissues against the underside of her nose.

“Mm-hmm,” he said, wondering if he should just call her bluff and tell her he knew she had a cold and that she could drop the act. But if it was that important for her to not to admit it, he’d play along. She was trying so hard not to let it show, he took pity on her and dropped the subject.

Blake’s right nostril, crimson from all the rubbing and blowing, twitched as the urge began to build again. The tissues were useless at this point and she didn’t have time to get a fresh one out, so she raised her arm and sneezed into it twice.

“HaNGTSCHhhew! AKTSSHHuh! Excuse me.”

Her throat was so sore now that she doubted even the strongest cough drops would help. Part of her wished she had taken Hotch’s offer and stayed in bed today. She knew that standing outside in the rain was only going to make her feel worse. But she had insisted she could push through, so by God she was going to do just that.

“Blake, you don’t have to come with me,” Morgan said as he parked the car. “You can stay in the car.”

But Blake had already taken off her seat belt and was halfway out the door, coughing heavily into the same sleeve she had sneezed into a few minutes earlier. Morgan shrugged.

“Still stubborn and in denial, I see,” he said under his breath. “Well, I offered.”

***

The fishermen were in the process of preparing the boat to go out and hauling up nets, and were not pleased to see the two agents approach them, holding up their badges.

“I’m agent Morgan, this is agent Blake, we’re with the FBI,” Morgan said. “We’d just like to ask a couple of things about the body you found.”

“We already told the cops everything,” one weathered man, Mr Cummings, said. “Not much to tell anyway. He was stuck in the net. We hauled him up, went back to dock, called the sheriff.”

“Do you know the exact location?” Blake asked, while Morgan began to speak with one of the younger fishermen. Mr Cummings stared at her.

“Come again?”

Blake cleared her throat and made another attempt. This time he could make out the words, at least.

“The net was about a mile east of Baynes’ Neck.”

“Are there…” she took a sharp, unexpected breath mid-sentence as the budding urge blossomed into a whole garden of sneezy desperation. “E-excuse meeeeIISSCHHoo! Ugh, I’m sorry.”

He watched in amusement not unmixed with dismay as she took out a fresh tissue and stifled a second sneeze into it, immediately followed by a squelching, messy half-stifle.

“Sorry for pointing out the obvious, agent, but that cold sounds terrible. Shouldn’t you be in bed?”

“I’m alright,” Blake said. It was starting to get old, repeating a line that was at best a gross exaggeration, at worst a flat out lie. He snorted out a brief laugh and said, appreciatively:

“Pretty tough for someone from D.C.”

“I’m actually from Missouri,” Blake said, voice thick and husky. “We’re pretty tough there. Are there any strong undercurrents in the area that could have transported the body there from another location?”

“Ayuh, two. One from open sea. The second from North, going fairly close to shore. You have to be paying attention to the waters in this area, ma’am. I suppose that poor bastard either didn’t know or didn’t care.”

“What do you mean?” she said, frowning.

“Getting out in a smaller boat in the fall can be dangerous. The winds turn on a dime, and the currents are always stronger in fall and spring.”

“What makes you think he was out in a boat?”

“How else would he get out there? Sure looked to me like he had fallen out of a boat and drowned.”

This did not add up with the coroner’s report.

“Mr Cummings, do you recall how the victim was dressed, and if there were any visual damage to the body?”

“Nothing that we could see, but we didn’t strip him of course. Didn’t want to ruin any more possible leads on him than we had hauling him out of the water.”

“Good thinking. Do you remember his clothing?”

“Not in detail or anything, but he had jeans and a dark jacket, not quite sufficient for the temperatures but not so out of place it was unlikely he’d wear it, especially if he wasn’t familiar with this place.”

“So he did wear clothes?” Blake asked, her hand slowly wandering up towards her face to rub at her still itchy nose. The rain, light to begin with, had increased while they were standing there, and she could feel how it began to soak through her coat. She certainly wasn’t sufficiently dressed for the weather, that’s one thing for sure.

“Ayuh.” He looked at her like she was insane. “He wore clothes.”

“Thank you, Mr Cummings,” she said.

“Is that all?”

“For now. If you remember anything else, give us a call, okay?”

“Will do.” The ragged fisherman spat into the water. “You look after that cold now, ma’am. I reckon even Missouri-born can get pneumonia.”

Blake coughed out a laugh.

“Probably. I promise,” she said, not mentioning that she thought this particular illness was far more likely to end up in a sinus infection than pneumonia.

Morgan caught up with her back on shore. He looked dizzy and his flawless bronze face had gotten a greenish tint.

“You alright?” Blake said.

“Isn’t that my line?” he said, taking a good look at her dishevelled appearance. Blake gave him an impatient glare. “Yeah, I’m fine. I just don’t like boats, I don’t exactly have sea legs.”

“You got seasick on a boat in dock?” Blake said, sounding genuinely amused.

“Why not, you get allergies this time of year?” he teased her, and she dropped the subject as if it burned her.

“Mr Cummings says the body they picked up showed no obvious injuries, and was dressed in jeans and a dark jacket,” she said… well, at this point she could only manage a hoarse half-whisper, but at least the words came out. “Does that sound right to you?”

“The coroner’s report said the body was naked and had a large gunshot wound straight through the head. Possibly shotgun fired from close range.”

Blake nodded as she took out her phone.

“Exactly.”

“So were the bodies mixed up…?”

“Or is the report misleading? Hey Garcia, you’re on speaker. Can you check if the coroner logged a body wearing jeans and a dark jacket at the same time as our latest victim?”

There was a long silence before a hesitant tech analyst spoke.

“Blake, is that you?” she asked.

“Yeah?”

“Oh my dear Lady Lovely Locks, you sound a lot like I suspect Bonnie Tyler would, if she swallowed sandpaper.”

“Yeah, I know. Sorry about that. It’s my allergies.”

Morgan shot her an amused and sceptical look.

“Mhm,” Garcia said, not sounding one bit like she believed her, but she was tapping on the keyboard as she did, and Blake chose not to share further (or accurate) information of her health status. “Alright, no. The only body logged that day is the naked gunshot victim with the fishing line around his right arm.”

“Thanks Garcia,” she said and had to cough when the pain in her throat flared up again.

“Another thing,” Garcia said, “the pollen count in Maine is currently so low it’s not measurable, and I will assume you’re smart enough to stay away from the equines, which means that, admittedly rather sensual, rasp in your voice is a because of a cold.”

She has a sensual rasp in her voice?” Morgan broke in, chuckling. “What about me? Are you trying to make me jealous, Mama?”

“Oh my love, you don’t need a rasp to sound sensual, Dreamy D.”

Blake listened to their exchange with an absent smile, when she felt the urge to sneeze creep up on her, like a playful kitten unaware of how sharp its claws are. Her breath began to hitch, first quietly but then fully audible.

“Hhhahh… hhh-hahh… huh-AGTSCHHugh!”

It didn’t help that she tried to muffle the outburst in the crook of her arm while holding the phone as far away from her as she could, she knew Garcia had heard it.

Bless you! That’s definitely a cold,” Garcia remarked. “You never sound like that with allergies.”

Blake wiped a tear away from the corner of her eye and muttered

“Why does everybody know that? I didn’t know that!”

“Derek,” Garcia said, and she had dropped the act of flirty playfulness now. “Do me a favour and make sure the pretty lady you’re with right now gets inside and warm up before she gets even worse.”

“Will do, my Queen.”

“Garcia over and out.”

Blake put her phone back into her pocket and pulled out a tissue instead. She took a few steps away from Morgan, turned in the direction of the dull, grey, wind whipped cliffs, and blew her nose forcefully. She was so stuffed up it felt like she had cotton in her entire head, yet her nose was runny and made her sniffle involuntarily every few seconds. It was so embarrassing; she knew how annoying she thought it was when people kept sniffling and sniffling, and hated to be guilty of it herself, but she just couldn’t help it. If she didn’t, things would get messy fast, and she was fairly certain that would be even less popular.

“You heard her,” Morgan said. “Let’s get you back into the car and get the heat going.”

“It’s alright, I l-lohh…. Huhhh… ugh… look worse than I fe-hih-iiihhh… than I f-feel… hahhERSCHhhhew! Uh… ha-AAIISHHah-oww!”

“Maybe, but you sound worse than you look,” Morgan said, shaking his head. “Do you have a fever?”

“Don’t think so.”

Blake blew her nose again. It was so sore the slightest provocation – such as blowing - would trigger another sneezing fit. She felt helpless against her own body as she kept the tissue pressed against the lower part of her face. Her inflamed, deeply red nostrils flared against her fingertips, only separated from them by a thin layer of paper. Her watery eyes closed and she took a couple of airy breaths before bobbing forward with a muffled, overwhelmingly itchy triple. 

HupSCHh! HmpSCHhghh! MpSSHHh!”

Morgan placed the back of his hand briefly against her forehead.

“But I think you do. Come on.”

This time, she didn’t protest.

 

Edited by Chanel_no5

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HideAndGoSneeze   
HideAndGoSneeze

Ah! I read these two updates and my heart just... Melted!! I love your writing style!! And Morgan... Hmm.  *sighs dreamily* 

 

This is honestly my first cold denial story I've read, and I adore it! The hitching breath, her trying to blame allergies when everyone else calls her bluff... It's awesome and I can't wait for the next update!!!!! 

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matilda3948   
matilda3948

Great job! You always write the best Blake ;)

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Chanel_no5   
Chanel_no5
On ‎2017‎-‎11‎-‎20 at 3:05 PM, HideAndGoSneeze said:

Ah! I read these two updates and my heart just... Melted!! I love your writing style!! And Morgan... Hmm.  *sighs dreamily* 

 

This is honestly my first cold denial story I've read, and I adore it! The hitching breath, her trying to blame allergies when everyone else calls her bluff... It's awesome and I can't wait for the next update!!!!! 

Thank you so much!! :heart: I think it's actually the first cold denial story I've written, how about that?! :lol: I've done a handful of allergy denial, but probably nowhere near as heavy on the denial as here. I ALMOST feel sorry for her. Well. I do. A little bit. Enough to maybe give her some semi-caretaking in the final part, I think. :yay: It's funny, but almost every time I write one of these I end up going "Aww, poor, poor Blake".... aaaaand then keep doing it to her. :whistle: 

18 hours ago, matilda3948 said:

Great job! You always write the best Blake ;)

Aww, thank you! :heart: You're not too bad at it yourself, my dear, it's a shame I need to bribe you to do it. :P   

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Aliena H.   
Aliena H.

Okay, I... don't know the slightest thing about Criminal minds, I don't know the characters, I don't know any of it, but that was amazing! I really love your writing. You describe the sneezes so well! I came to read this fic because you said in another thread you took into account the difference between cold sneezes and allergy sneezes and that is brilliant!!!

On 13/11/2017 at 1:33 AM, Chanel_no5 said:

“No-oo…” he dragged the word out for emphasis. “Your sneezes sound different from your allergic ones. When you have a cold they sound… chesty. Deep.”

“Oh, really? And what do I sound like when I’m allergic, then?” she asked.

“Frantic,” James said and snickered.

That's a fabulous dialogue!

On 16/11/2017 at 3:09 AM, Chanel_no5 said:

“Could you, um…” Blake cleared her throat in the hopes that it would make her voice steadier, but it still sounded like it was about to give out. “…stop at a drugstore? I need to pick up s-some… hehh… someeEIISCHHoo! Some ti-hiiISSCHHH! Tissues, excuse me.”

“Sure.” He paused and gave her a brief side glance. “Blake. I will trust your own judgment on this, so I’m only going to ask you once, but I expect you to be completely honest. Will you be able to do your job today, or do you want me to take you back to the hotel?”

I regret I don't know the characters, but it's the kind of caring / comfort I absolutely love.

On 20/11/2017 at 1:05 PM, Chanel_no5 said:

Her nose was driving her mad with its never-ending prickle. She took two tissues and brought them up to her face in cupped hands. Her eyes were half-closed as she hovered on the torturous edge of a sneeze, irritated tears welling up and trickling down her cheeks. Her breath hitched helplessly in an embarrassingly long build-up, and she was just begging for relief.

She took another two gasping breaths before being violently thrown forward with a wet, messy sneeze.

Oh, God, that was... Wow. :blushsmiley:

Cold denial is always great and you write it masterfully. I can't wait for the next part!!!

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Chanel_no5   
Chanel_no5
On ‎2017‎-‎11‎-‎21 at 8:42 PM, Aliena H. said:

Okay, I... don't know the slightest thing about Criminal minds, I don't know the characters, I don't know any of it, but that was amazing! I really love your writing. You describe the sneezes so well! I came to read this fic because you said in another thread you took into account the difference between cold sneezes and allergy sneezes and that is brilliant!!!

That's a fabulous dialogue!

I regret I don't know the characters, but it's the kind of caring / comfort I absolutely love.

Oh, God, that was... Wow. :blushsmiley:

Cold denial is always great and you write it masterfully. I can't wait for the next part!!!

Thank you, so, so very much!! :heart: I'm glad you liked it, and especially so when you don't even know the fandom/characters! Thank you for taking the time to read anyway! And I'm really flattered that you think I do cold denial well; I haven't done much of that before at all! ^_^:wub: 

***

Aaaand we meet again, people. With part 4. There may be, um, yet another part to come, because I got so caught up in the “hurt” part that I totally forgot about the promised “comfort” part. :shy::lol:  

***

When they returned to the station Blake had stopped sneezing, but there was no longer any doubt, not even in her own obstinately stoic mind, that she was running a fever. She could tell from her own reflection in the sun visor mirror. She was much too pale, but furious streaks of intense red painted both cheeks, almost the exact same shade as her tortured nose. Her eyes had that glassy, faraway look she associated with either fever or drug use. And she had a hard time believing the one time she smoked pot in college would show now, thirty years later.

As soon as they got out of the car she excused herself and ducked back to the ladies’ room, knowing there was no way she would dare to blow her nose as vigorously as she needed if she had an audience.

When she left, her heels clicking hurriedly against the floor, Hotch came up to Morgan.

“How is she doing?”

“Sick as a dog and refusing to admit it.” He shook his head and let out a sigh. “I’m glad we’re not close to an arrest. I wouldn’t want my life to depend on her today. The whole time we were out there I don’t think she went more than fifteen minutes without sneezing, and that’s a generous estimation.”

“Does she still claim it’s allergies?”

Morgan snorted.

“Yeah. Not that I think she believes it herself, but apparently, being sick is a shameful thing to admit.”

Hotch’s frown deepened.

“It’s up to her if she wants to admit it or not.”

“I know. And I do sympathise with her Hotch, you know that, but truth be told, I shudder at the thought of her drawing weapon or pursuing a suspect today. She tries to push through, she really does, but that cold’s got the best of her for now.”

“What you’re saying is that she’s temporarily unreliable on the field.” Hotch stated. Morgan reluctantly nodded. “That’s my conclusion as well. I should’ve sent her back up to her room this morning when I saw her, but then again, we’ve all worked through colds before. She insisted she’d be able to.”

“I think Blake is terrified of failing anyone depending on her,” Morgan said, and raised his hands with the palms outward when Hotch’s death glare fell on him. “Not profiling her, it’s just my personal impression. I think she’s afraid of becoming a burden, and of not being able to live up to expectations on her.”

“I agree,” Hotch said with a sigh. “That also applies to the BAU at large.”

Morgan chuckled.

“Means we fit pretty well together as a team, huh?”

Hotch let a brief, almost never seen smile crack his serious façade.

“That’s one way of looking at it, yes.”

***

Blake was miserable, it was plain to see for anyone who happened to look. People went out of their way to avoid her. It was embarrassing, but if she was honest, she too would probably keep her distance to anyone who sniffled, sneezed and blew their nose as much as she did today. James had been right (oh God she hated to admit that!); she really was a cold-ridden mess. It had quickly turned out that she was so congested it was pointless trying to blow her nose. All it did was upsetting her raw, fit-prone nasal passages. It hurt to sneeze, but when she didn’t, her nose tickled endlessly. This wasn’t hell in a handbasket. This was hell in a headcold.

She was being ridiculous. If they had to pursue a suspect or arrest someone, or, God forbid, get caught in a shootout, she was a hazard both to herself and others. Pride was one thing, but stupidity another.

She went into the conference room, where Hotch, Reid and Morgan were seated, discussing some of the locations of previous dump sites.

“Hotch?” she said – well, whispered. Or hissed was probably a more accurate description still. “May I have a word in private?”

He got up from his chair and stepped out of the room, closing the door behind him.

“Yes?”

“I was wrong,” she said plainly. “I can’t do this.” As if to really emphasise, she had to get her arm up and catch a very wet sneeze before she could continue. “HEPTSSChhhiew! Ugh, I’b so, so sorry. It’s dot working.”

“I’m glad you came to that conclusion yourself,” Hotch said and dug out the keys to one of the SUVs from one of his pockets. “Are you okay to drive back to the hotel on your own, or do you want me to drive you?”

“I can drive,” Blake said, and Hotch nodded and handed the keys over. “I’m really sorry about this, Hotch, I…” her nostrils twitched as the annoying prickle returned. “I thought I’d… hehh…” her breath became a series of airy gasps and she fought to finish the sentence before the sneeze claimed her. “I’d be able t-hhuhh… to get throughhhh… the whole d… hehhh-ahhh… day… hihhDJESSCHHuuh!”

While she had managed to contain the spray from this violent sneeze into her sleeve, she realised that it had been far messier than anticipated, and she was afraid to take her arm down and expose her face. She was mortified. She was just done, through and through. If it wouldn’t have made things even more embarrassing, she might have cried. Still with her arm shielding her face, she started digging through her pockets for a tissue, only to realise she had already used up the ones she carried on her. There was one travel pack in her coat pocket and two in her purse, but nothing within reach.

And her nose was tickling again.

No, no, no! Please, stop…!

But her plea went unanswered as the tickle was too much for her poor, tortured nose to fight back. She was horrified about her own lack of control, but that couldn’t stop the sneezes from overtaking her.

“NnKThh! NnnGTsh! NngtXt! HahNGTSH!”

Trying to suppress them only made her feel light-headed, and it hurt so much that a moan of agony escaped her after the last one. When she opened her eyes, Hotch patiently held out his handkerchief for her.

“Bless you. I think you made the right call,” he said. “Drive carefully, okay?”

Blake didn’t want to accept the handkerchief, but she had to. There was no way she’d get out of this without anything to clean herself up with.

Drippy, disgusting, disaster, she thought in a sudden flash of profound self-contempt.

“Blake,” Hotch said, as if he knew exactly what she was thinking. “It’s not your fault you got sick. Everybody does at some point. Go and get some rest now. Feel better.”

“Thank you,” she said from behind the handkerchief, exhausted and grateful and humiliated, all in one single mashup of emotions. 

***

The drive back to the hotel was uneventful – she only sneezed three times, even though her nose was burning incessantly – and she managed to sneak through the lobby and into the elevator without being noticed. But right before the elevator doors closed, another woman stepped inside. Blake’s heart sank.

Behave, she silently ordered her nose, but she didn’t trust it for a moment. She tried to breathe through her mouth, but her nose was streaming, and she knew she would have to at least sniff quickly to avoid the situation getting completely out of hand.

It was the tiniest, most discreet sniffle in the world, but it made the itch in her nose rear up like a distraught wild horse. Oh God, metaphors involving horses was probably not the best idea when she already struggled with a sneeze. Blake very slowly got her hand up to her face and pressed her knuckles under her twitching, damp nostrils.

Please don’t sneeze now, she pleaded with herself. Once you get inside your room and close the door, you can sneeze as much as you like, but not right now Alex, okay? Not right now. Okay?

It was not okay. The itch seemed to focus into a single, throbbing pinprick far back in her left nostril. She wanted nothing more than to get rid of this stinging, it was pure misery, and she wondered if she might be able to get away with a silent stifle. The problem was that she wasn’t sure she’d stop at one. Her poor nose was so badly battered right now, the slightest provocation might very well set off a long fit, and it would not be soundless. She was too stuffed up to stifle properly. After hanging on the edge for several seconds, her body made the decision for her. She couldn’t not sneeze.

“HNGGtSHuugh!”

It was deep and throaty, not quite a stifle, not quite a full sneeze. The other woman glanced at her, and Blake felt her cheeks heat up. She was extremely self-conscious, feeling as though the germs dripped off her.

“’scuse me,” Blake mumbled. The other woman said nothing, but took a discreet step further away from her. It wasn’t like Blake blamed her; she probably would have done the same thing herself, but… she felt so gross. She fumbled to get a tissue out, but then didn’t know what to do. She was so massively congested there was no use trying to blow unless she did it with force, and she was not prepared to do that in here, with an unwilling spectator two steps away. So she settled for just holding the tissue up to her tickly, runny nose, a flimsy shield, but better than none at all.

She felt feverish and pitiful, and her head was pounding, and it felt like the world was spinning around her. She couldn’t have that high of a fever, but she was rather sensitive to fevers, so…

I guess this is the infamous rock bottom, she thought to herself and closed her eyes for a few seconds.

The elevator reached her floor and she stepped out as fast as she could, cupping the tissue around her nose. She was so congested she wasn’t sure if she’d even be able to sneeze right now, but she wasn’t willing to take any chances. The corridor seemed to go on forever, but she eventually reached her room, used the key card and slipped inside, relieved to finally have a closed door between her and the rest of the world.

Okay. Go on. If you have to sneeze, then do it.

She waited, eyes half shut, mouth slightly open, head leaning back against the closed door. Her nose burned intensely, and watery liquid threatened to leak out of her irritated nostrils, but it didn’t feel like she had to sneeze. Wouldn’t it be typical, after a day spent entirely in the grip of sneezy anguish, if that was it, if all that was left in that department were a few strewn-out sneezes, and then the cold would begin to taper off?

“Sounds exactly like sobething that would happed to be,” she mumbled to herself and winced at the raw, stuffed and husky sound of her own voice. Her nose kept burning. She stood still, waiting to see if it would transform into a sneezy sensation, but it didn’t. She sniffed thickly and shook her head as she dropped her purse and coat in a pile on the floor.

“Ugh, great.”

Oh well, at least she could suffer in privacy now. The first thing she would do would be to take a hot shower. Then she would climb into bed. And then, she supposed, she would have to inform her husband that yes, he was right, and yes, she was a miserable cold-ridden mess. She wasn’t looking forward to that confession at all. She may have had it coming; she was always the one who got to say the smug “I told you so”s, but gee, it was not appealing to be on the receiving end of them. Not at all.

 

Edited by Chanel_no5

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tenderwarrior   
tenderwarrior

I love this, Chanel! Although I usually just love allergies, you describe misery and sneezes so well. This is great! :D

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Chanel_no5   
Chanel_no5
17 hours ago, tenderwarrior said:

I love this, Chanel! Although I usually just love allergies, you describe misery and sneezes so well. This is great! :D

Awww, thank you!! I'm usually way more into allergies myself, but, well... a miserably sneezy Blake is my Achilles' heel, however it happens. :whistle: Next part will contain a bit of caretaking and some fluff, but first there'll be some more misery. :naughty: 

 

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Aliena H.   
Aliena H.

I loved that part, especially the scene in the elevator. She is really miserable, and I feel sorry for her. I prefer colds than allergies (is this correct in English? it doesn't seem right), and this story is exactly what I like, so thank you for writing and sharing it! I'll be glad to read the next part (did you say comfort, caretaking and fluff??? YESSS!)

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Chanel_no5   
Chanel_no5
On ‎2017‎-‎12‎-‎03 at 10:31 PM, Aliena H. said:

I loved that part, especially the scene in the elevator. She is really miserable, and I feel sorry for her. I prefer colds than allergies (is this correct in English? it doesn't seem right), and this story is exactly what I like, so thank you for writing and sharing it! I'll be glad to read the next part (did you say comfort, caretaking and fluff??? YESSS!)

Thank you so much, I'm glad you enjoy it!! :D Oh yeah she's miserable alright, I think I probably pay for that now, getting sick myself. :rolleyes: I think it's "prefer colds over allergies", but I'm no native English speaker either, so don't rely on my statement. :P And yup, next part will include all those things, so stay tuned. Thank you again! :heart: 

 

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Chanel_no5   
Chanel_no5
Posted (edited)
On ‎2017‎-‎12‎-‎03 at 10:31 PM, Aliena H. said:

(did you say comfort, caretaking and fluff??? YESSS!)

Here comes that part... :P 

 

So, we meet again, o fic left behind by writer's block... finally finished. ^_^ I hope you guys will like this part. :) If you do, it would make me really happy if you'd like to leave a comment and let me know. :heart: 

 

 

It took several minutes in the shower, the water as hot as she could get it, before Blake stopped shivering and began to feel warm again. The hot steam loosened up the congestion as well, causing a shift in the far back of her nose, and the urge to sneeze returned like a slap in the face. So she wasn’t past that symptom yet. Not by far.

AaaRGSCHHuh! Oh by God, ow…”

The tingle unfolded like a flower… one with deep, firm roots. She could feel how deep the sneezy sensation went. It really did feel like these sneezes started to build from the bottom of her lungs.

Huh-AKTSHHH! Uh… aaayISSSHHiew!”

She actually raised a hand as if to cover the plentiful spray, then recalled that she was in the shower, and placed her hand against the tiles to steady herself instead. The last thing she wanted was to end up in the E.R with a concussion after slipping in the shower, adding injury to insult, so to speak. Because that’s what this cold was; a personal insult.

Somehow, she still had to sneeze.

“EIIISSCHHew! HuhISSCHH! AaaIISSHHah!”

Sniffling, she reached for the shampoo bottle, but the strong flowery fragrance set her off again before she could even rub it into her hair.

AaaEESCHH! AESSSHHH! Hah! HaaISSHHHuh! ARGSSHHHuh!”

The last, forceful sneeze ended in a deep, chesty coughing fit and then she just stood there trying to catch her breath, lungs burning and nose prickling. Water mixed with shampoo dripped off her.

I swear, if I didn’t feel so lousy, I’d be angry with this whole situation.

Eventually she managed to quickly wash her hair, then she stumbled out of the shower with a towel wrapped around her, and went straight for the tissues. She grabbed a handful, buried her nose in the whole wad and blew as hard as she could, feeling as though it would never end. The congestion had loosened up and now broke through all dams. At least the headache calmed down somewhat now that the sinus pressure had diminished. But her nose felt like an inflamed inferno, throbbing with pain, and it made her feel like sneezing again.

Oh please, please, just stop already, this is ridiculous.

As if giving in to her plea, the itch in her nose calmed down. She predicted it wasn’t going to last, but she would be grateful for every bit of respite she could get.

***

There was a knock on the door. Blake was not in the mood to socialise with her colleagues (nor was she very keen on subjecting them to even more contagion than she already had), but decided she could at least be polite enough to thank them for their concern before shooing them away.

JJ was waiting outside.

 “You don’t want to come in, trust me. I’m probably contagious.” Blake said, and turned to sneeze into the crook of her arm.

“Bless you. Yes, you probably are,” JJ said, as if that didn’t faze her. “Oh Alex…” she sighed as she took in the miserable appearance of her always-in-control colleague.

She reached out a hand and placed it on the older woman’s forehead, keeping it there for several seconds. Blake tolerated it with an annoyed expression on her face, but inside, she was enjoying the cool touch. JJ removed her hand, frowning.

“You’re very hot.”

“I just took a very hot shower.”

“Well, even that considered, you have that glazed look in your eyes that I don’t care much for.” JJ said. “I brought you some paracetamol, so you can get that fever down at least.”

“You know, Reid would say it’s best to let the illness run its course without intervening,” Blake said, stepping aside to let the other woman in. JJ smirked.

“Reid is also the person who takes every cold medicine available at the first sign of a sore throat,” she said. “Besides, you look terrible.”

“How flattering,” Blake muttered under her breath.

“How are you feeling, Alex? And don’t give me any macho talk, please.”

“Honestly? Like I’m coming undone altogether,” she admitted, grabbed a Kleenex from the fresh box JJ had brought, and stifled painfully into it.

Ow. Note to self; don’t stifle. James was right about that too. That smug bastard.

“Bless you. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone sneeze that much before,” JJ said. Blake scoffed.

“Well, you should’ve heard me in the shower twenty minutes ago.”

“I did hear you in the shower twenty minutes ago,” JJ said and didn’t entirely manage to avoid smiling at her colleague’s dismayed expression. “I was getting something in my room on the other side of the wall.”

“Oh God.”

Blake hid her face behind her hands, while JJ laughed.

“Yeah, didn’t exactly convince me that you’re fine,” she said, and reached out a hand to rub the other woman’s shoulder in an attempt to offer some comfort. “Relax! You can’t help it,” she said, feeling the fever heat radiate from the brunette and cringing in sympathy. No one on the team would easily admit to being sick, but Alex was the one who would view it as a personal failure rather than a random, inevitable event.  

“No, I know,” Blake said. “I just… tSSHoo!” She sneezed tightly without taking her hands away from her face, and despite the relative modesty of the sneeze, her entire body bobbed forward as if it took a lot of energy out of her.

“Bless you.”

“You don’t need to keep saying that,” Blake sniffled and finally removed her hands. “Consider me properly blessed.” She rolled her eyes in frustration as yet another burning sneeze took hold of her, but there was nothing she could do to fight them any longer; she was just too drained. “HaaERSCHhuu!”

“Bless you,” JJ said and giggled when Blake glared at her. “Sorry. Force of habit. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

“No. Thanks, but I’m alright, JJ. I’m miserable, but it will pass. Really. It’s just a cold.”

JJ knew Blake was trying to be a trooper, but it was shining through how beat she was. She probably needed rest more than she needed JJ’s concerns right now.

“Let me know if you need anything, okay?” JJ said, heading for the door. “Feel better.”

Blake nodded tiredly.

“Thank you.”

***

A little while after JJ had left, Rossi came to check on her as well.

“How are you, Alex?”

She stared at the wonderfully thick blanket he carried in one hand, and the hot soup he had in the other.

“About to get spoiled, from what it looks.”

“You need to keep warm,” he said. “And I know you’re as stubborn as everyone else on this team, thinking that denying yourself comfort is a proper punishment if you’re not performing on top.”

“That’s your profile of me?” she said, half-smiling.

“More of a general impression,” he said as he took out his handkerchief, folded it neatly and put it on top of the blanket. “It’s much softer than those tissues,” he said matter-of-factly. “I figured you might need it. Get some rest.”

She nodded, suddenly overwhelmed with gratitude, and afraid that if she tried to speak her emotions would come out along with the words. She wasn’t usually one for crying, but she feared she was going to fall apart with the next strong emotion she felt, whether good or bad.

Rossi, always picking up on subtle clues, seemed to sense this and told her to get better, and then left before she could embarrass herself with tears as well.

When the door closed behind him, she draped the blanket around her shoulders, climbed into bed, and tried the soup. She wasn’t able to taste much, but it was wonderful to her sore throat at least, and she relished in the warmth it gave.

***

When James contacted her, she was trying to read through the case files, determined to do her job to whatever extent she could. She had considered avoiding James for a while, so he wouldn’t know how badly this cold had wrecked her (or, that it even was a cold), but knew that would only play into his hands.

“Hi honey.”

“Hello, Alex.” James sounded smug. “How are you today?”

“Quite good, thank you. You?” She mustered a fake smile, but it took too much effort to maintain it. Besides, her nose was tickling again. It was insane.

“You don’t look too good,” James said innocently.

“That’s how you speak to your wife?” she replied. “If… if we w-were… hehhh… h-home… hahnKTSSHh! HaISSHHoo! ‘scuse me.”

“Bless you.” He sounded even more smug. “If we were home, you’d be in bed.”

“I am in bed,” she said. James, of course, picked up on it immediately.

“And why are you in bed this early, hm?”

She groaned, knowing the battle was lost, but to be honest, she had known that from the moment she woke up this morning, overflowing with the worst cold she’d ever had.

“Because I’m sick, okay?”

James laughed.

“I’m sorry honey, but I’ve been wanting to say this since last night, so can I please just…?”

She sighed.

“Go ahead.”

“I told you so,” James said with a self-satisfied grin. Then he became serious. “You really do look terrible. How are you feeling?”

She sniffled wetly.

“Like I’m drowning in my own body fluids.”

“Ouch.”

“Indeed,” she said and blew her nose, wincing at how desperately wet it sounded. “Sorry, that’s gross. I can’t help it though, I’m not sure it’s better if I’m dripping all over the place.”

He chuckled.

“Well, look on the bright side; that is one hell of a sultry voice you got,” he said and winked. She smiled back and tried to look seductive although she felt like she was probably as far away from that as you could get.

“You want me to talk dirty to you with my new and improved sultry voice?”

James grinned.

“Oh naughty girl,” he said, then grew serious again. “As much as I’d enjoy that, I think you should get some sleep instead.”

She held up a tissue to her face and sneezed heavily into it, wincing as the wetness went right through the thin paper.

“Ugh, yeah. I don’t feel very sexy right now either way,” she sniffled. “H-hold on, I need to… AESCHHhuuh!”

“Bless y-“

HeISSCHHH! .”

“Bless you, sweetheart. Have you been like that all day?”

“Yeah, pretty much,” she said, rubbing her nose through the tissue. “God, I can’t remember the last time I sneezed this much from a cold.”

“Christmas of -09,” James said without hesitation. “The first time we decided to get a real tree and suspected you were allergic to it because you kept sneezing, remember? Then I caught it too, so it turned out the tree was innocent.”

“Ugh, yeah, you’re right.” She lowered the tissue but still clutched it in her hand, feeling as though she might need it again any moment. She chuckled, shaking her head. “I’m such a mess, it’s absurd.”

“Like I said, I think you should go to sleep. I know you’re away on a case, but I would still recommend that you take a sick day tomorrow and get some rest. Plenty of fluids. Stay warm. Now that it’s broken out, it’s best to just let it run its course, so stay off the cold meds. I’ll check in on you when I can.”

“It’s just a cold, James,” she said, although she privately viewed it as a misery that knew no end, or at least had none in sight. “I’ll live.”

“I know. I’m only using it as an excuse, so I can talk to you more. I miss you, Alex.”

“I miss you too.”

“Get some sleep now. I’ll check on you tomorrow.”

“I love you.”

“Love you too.”

 

Edited by Chanel_no5

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Aliena H.   
Aliena H.

 

On 13/04/2018 at 4:29 PM, Chanel_no5 said:

The tingle unfolded like a flower… one with deep, firm roots.

That was of describing a tickle is just brilliant! 

On 13/04/2018 at 4:29 PM, Chanel_no5 said:

I swear, if I didn’t feel so lousy, I’d be angry with this whole situation.

:D As everyone would with a bad cold, I think...

On 13/04/2018 at 4:29 PM, Chanel_no5 said:

“I did hear you in the shower twenty minutes ago,” JJ said and didn’t entirely manage to avoid smiling at her colleague’s dismayed expression. “I was getting something in my room on the other side of the wall.”

:twisted: Poor Blake. I'm really sorry for her.

On 13/04/2018 at 4:29 PM, Chanel_no5 said:

"God, I can’t remember the last time I sneezed this much from a cold.”

“Christmas of -09,” James said without hesitation.

Okay, I don't know why, but I... really liked these lines.

I'm so glad you're back to writing! (For you, of course, because writer's block is never fun, but in a very egoist way too... :rolleyes:) And I've really enjoyed the whole fic, even if I don't know the characters. Thanks!

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