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PuddinPop

Greetings, forum~! 

This thread is dedicated to an idea that transpired on Discord between myself, @Selene, @Reader, @Koda and @Bondi

Our idea was for each of us to think of an element of a story, we would then put it all together to make one prompt, and would then each write an independent story based on the same prompt. (Bondi was our adjudicator so we only had four elements :lol:

We decided between ourselves that we would post our outcomes on the forum! So this thread is dedicated to just that! The other guys will be along shortly to post their parts, but for now, I will leave you with my own take on our prompt! 

The elements we worked with were: Occupation, scenario, sneeze cause (allergy/illness/other) and a random word. So our prompt is: 

Museum curator; Ice Skating rink; Illness; Heat

This is what I came up with based on the above :zippy:

Also please bear in mind that this is completely un-beta'd, and was written within the space of like, maybe an hour at most? 

ENOUGH EXCUSES AND ON WITH THE SHOW.

 

~*~*~*~

Museum curator
Ice skating rink
Illness
Heat

 

 

Water. Water everywhere. 

That was the only thing Jonthan could see. Well, aside from the decor of the museum. And hear; the annoying splish-splashbeneath his feet with every step he took. And feel; the cuffs of his slacks were beginning to evolve from ‘damp' to ‘drenched'. And.. well, perhaps not smell. He couldn't recall smelling a single thing since the previous morning. 

It all had to go so spectacular wrong today of all days, didn't it? One week after his promotion to curator, the first official event he had the (dis)pleasure of overlooking, on the hottest day of the year when the mercury was edging towards 110°F, and just because all of that wasn't enough, he was soldiering through his second cold of the year already. He blamed the stress, but there was no fooling anyone that it was down to anything other than living off junk food, sleeping late, waking early, and generally taking shitty care of himself. He was terrible at being an adult. 

But he did have a job to do. And right now, that job was apparently mopping up fucking water from the inside of the Ice Age exhibit. 

Some genius had decided it was a good idea to facilitate a damn ice skating ring as a part of the exhibit. ‘It'll be fun!’ they'd said. ‘Families will love it!’ Which was all well and good for the damned families, but one person who was most certainly not loving it was Jonathan. He hadn't spent five years at college and then a further three doing his doctorate to be mopping up puddles of water from a temporary, currently melting ice skating rink after the power had gone out. He swore, this wasn't in the job description when he signed on that dotted line, agreeing to become curator. 

Though there wasn't much that could be done about it now. The janitor had called in sick (not that he did that much anyway) and they were due to open in a matter of hours. Which meant that everything had to go spectacularly wrong. Jonathan cursed under his breath as his sweaty palms glided against the slippery wooden handle of the mop he was using, damning his life and every moment in it that had led him to this current moment. 

He sniffled as he worked, the sound liquid, his nose finicky and seemingly undecided if it wanted to clog or drip. As of now, it was the latter, and he was forced to deploy a sleeve beneath the increased blushed state of his nostrils, swearing as he dirtied up the linen suit his wife had bought him in celebration of his new job. 

Of course, it didn't take long for the sniffling to become problematic. As he swept a sulky line across a patch of water, he felt something prick him, high up in his nose, deep near his sinuses, where the tissue was raw and inflamed. It was potent enough to make his breath hitch softly, his eyes growing sticky with moisture as they narrowed against his conscious will. He tried his damnedest to keep his eyes open, but he just couldn't manage it. The sensation was too strong, growing irrepressibly large, expanding inside his nose with enough force to flare his nostrils out once.. twice.. It was coming, coming quickly, there was nothing he could do to stop it, he just had to –

“hh'EEHTSSCH'!!”

That was one... Frozen, waiting, knowing his sneezes always came in twos, Jonathan didn't even bother to open his eyes, his head tilting back just slightly as his nostrils pulsed angrily, desperate for relief, his expression snarling until he finally -!

“hH'EEIIYYASSHH'AH!!”

He hummed in relief afterwards, lowering his arm down from where he had curled it around his face to bury his nose into the crook of his elbow. Those two sneezes had been beneficial and a hindrance at the same time. Beneficial, because they had cleared out that cumbersome itch that had plagued him since that morning. And a hindrance, because his sinuses were now throbbing, his nose stuffed with thick congestion, making each subsequent sniffle he was forced to utter every other breath thick, wet, and heavy. 

Though there was no rest for the wicked. A case of the sniffles wasn't reason enough to cry off work. So with a final sigh, Jonathan hefted a great sniff, gripped the mop handle with both hands, and set right back to work. Why anyone thought ordering in a temporary skating rink was a good idea, he would never know. He didn't even know such things existed.. 

“That's dedication right there if I ever saw it.” 

Jonathan would recognise that voice anywhere. Thalia, one of the hosts and his partner-in-crime for years before his promotion, had sneaked up behind him without him even noticing. The sound of her voice startled him a little, and he spun around clumsily, almost dropping his mop in the process. He was usually pretty alert, which pissed him off. He blamed his cold for blocking up his ears. 

“I have d'no idea wha'd you're talki'g about,” Jonathan snided, sliding her a wry smirk as he propped himself against the mop. He didn't sound very convincing, and the snuffle he uttered afterwards was enough to make Thalia raise a brow. 

“Sure you don't,” Thalia quipped, and before Jonathan could move out of her line of fire, there was a palm rested flat against his brow. He would have reeled back had her hand not been cool and oh-so-wonderful against his warm skin. He blamed the broken air con as he fought valiantly against closing his eyes, losing himself briefly to her touch. “Didn't you know it's in violation of Work Ethics 401 to  come into work while you're sick?” 

“You jus'd b'ade that up,” Jonathan sneered, because no way was that an actual rule. Thalia gave a similar sneer in response, though she soon frowned when she noticed the twitch of his nose; the subtle flare to his nostrils; the way his lips parted, jaw slackening. 

“Maybe I did,” she said, pulling her hand away and rooting in her pocket for something. “But you are sick, and you're also burning up. You should –“

“HH'EEIISSHHH-!!”

“.. bless y-“

“HHEH’SSCHHHIIYYUH-!!”

“... you.” 

The sneezes had come with little warning, the tickle that had been plaguing Jonathan all morning now having nestled deep and setting up for a long stay in his sinuses. He'd managed to swivel away to avoid pelting Thalia with his germs, but had only managed a feeble attempt at covering with his elbow, which he hadn't quite managed to get up to his face in time. His cheeks flushed instantly with what Thalia could tell was more than embarrassment, and her friendly sneer soon morphed into a concerned look as she produced from her pocket what she had been looking for: a pack of tissues. 

“Look, I know today is crazy,” she said softly, passing the tissues over to Jonathan's hand. He took them hungrily, shaking one out loosely and clamping it to his nose. His eyes scrunched shut as he blew, the sound tight and struggled. Thalia would be surprised if his ears hadn't popped from the effort. “But no one will hold it against you if you go home –“

“N'dot goi'g to happe’d,” Jonathan cut across, his voice muffled and almost indecipherable beneath the tissues and congestion. He pinch-wiped his nose a couple of times before stuffing the tissue into his pocket, offering the pack back to Thalia where she just waved a dismissive hand, silently ordering him to keep them.

“Jonny, you're burning up,” she said, her voice lilting with concern as her eyes roamed across the slightly puffing state of his face. “You won't be any good to anyone if you end up passed out on the floor. And I'm not filling in the Accident Book for that one.” 

She tried to interject some humour in there, because she knew how much this meant to Jonathan. How important it was for him to get today right. But she meant what she said; she could feel the fever brimming beneath the surface of his skin, could feel the tacky state of his brow where he was surely sweating through his suit. 

She could see it in the way that he slumped, in the way that his eyes glanced over the chaos of the Ice Age exhibit; water, people with mops, a huge stuffed mammoth. He didn't want to be tagging out, but he knew – as did she – that there was no way he was going to make it to the end of the day as he was. 

“Leave it to me,” Thalia said, her voice almost a whisper as she placed a delicate hand on his shoulder. She could feel his tiny shivers beneath the bulk of his suit. His head turned, glancing down to her hand, before they lifted and locked onto hers. Her expression softened, a kind smile turning up her lips at the corners. “I can manage this. Go home, get Jenny to make you some of that awesome soup she makes. We'll be fine here. I promise.” 

They were kind words. More than he deserved, honestly. Jonathan felt insurmountably guilty about leaving this shit for Thalia to clean up, but he really didn't have much choice. His head was throbbing, fit to burst, and he could feel the sweat collecting beneath the collar of his shirt. He was definitely starting with a fever. 

So it was with a defeated sigh and a sad smile that Jonathan nodded, muttering a stuffy thanks to Thalia before handing over his mop to her. She took it readily, watching as he splish-splashed across the floor, frantically fumbling to pull another tissue free from the packet as he went before pausing in the middle of the room, launching two powerful sneezes into it, strong enough to bend him slightly at the waist, before he continued on to the door. 

And in that moment, Thalia felt her heart ache as she watched him retreat through the door and disappear for a few days. She sincerely hoped Jenny knew how lucky she was, to have a man like that in her life.. 


TBC...? (probs not xD)

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starpollen

Awww I love this :wub: 

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Reader
Posted (edited)

Occupation: Museum Curator
Cause: Illness
Random: Heat
Scenario: Ice skating rink

                          

            Ava
    I slowly release the firm hold I had on my friend just like one would do to someone learning how to ride a bike. 
  “Hold me steady!” Vanessa shrieks, as her legs wobble like a newborn calf.
   I try to hold in my laugh as my grip tightens again. “You’re doing well. Try to relax and it’ll be much easier.”
   Vanessa manages to glare at me and still stay on her feet. After about an hour of coaching, Vanessa holds only one of my hands as she jerkily glides on the floor. The zamboni driver will need to smooth over the scrapes several times before the performance tonight. 
    “Too fast!” Vanessa exclaims as she grabs on to me with both hands. I look up, realizing I had been spacing out and starting to skate as I normally do. 
     “Oh! I’m sorry, Ness.”
     I slowly lead her through an opening to get out of the rink and to a bench. 
    “I’m a little distracted because of tonight.”
    Vanessa was quick to assure me. “You’ll do great! And everyone has been working so hard!”
    I bite my lip. 
    “Tonight’s performance is important to get that grant.”
    Ice cold fingers land lightly on my face.
    “You will do great! I know it!”
    Calming down, I nod in determination. We will get that grant. 


                Mason
     “It feels like it’s a hundred degrees in here.”
      I looked over at John fanning himself half-heartedly, wilted by the heat from the lack of air conditioning. It didn’t feel that hot. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind if it was a little warmer. I picked up two more fans and carried them into the arts exhibit. It wouldn’t be good for the wooden frames if the A/C stayed broken. Luckily, some people were already working on it now and not many rooms needed the fans. 
     “John, tell the others to go home and then you can clock out too. I’ll finish up here.”
     John didn’t need to be told twice and he left faster than he’d been moving all day. I let out a throat-clearing cough a couple of times, quieting them down when Mindy found me a little later.
     “You should make us do that.” 
      I looked up with a teasing smile.
      “What kind of curator would I be if I did that?”
       She chuckled, crossing her arms with a sigh. 
       “The one that fits the definition.”
       “You coming to the rink tonight?”
        Nodding in answer, Mindy started helping me.
      “Everyone here plans to. You nervous?”
      I wiped the sweat from my brow. 
      “No. I just need to get home and nap. This heat has sucked all my energy today.”
     Mindy frowned as her eyes swept over me. I used my palm to push back the sweat from the side of my face, shivering from the fans hitting my sweat. Nodding, she turned on the last fan. “Get some rest, Mason.”
     I went home and did just that, waking up only to pounding on my door. 

             Travis
Mason raised his voice miserably to be heard over the running water. 
       “I was fide this bordigg, but I woke up like this.”
        I stuck my head out the kitchen entranceway.
       “Can you perform?” I asked with anticipation , waiting for an answer as he hurriedly pulled tissues from the box and brought them to his twitching nose and contorting face, 
      HUH'GXTSCHUU! 
      He stood up, nodding his head as he passed me to sit at the kitchen table. 
      “I have to. I’ll just take a pill.”
      “I can take your place?” 
      

               Ava           
      The music starts slowly, the plucking sounds of the guitar a precursor to the sharp strings of the violin. I push against the ice, side by side with my partner as we glide around the rink. Moments after he places both hands on my waist, I push against the ice and soar through the air as the audience becomes a blur in the spin. The blade of my right skate lands so smoothly on the ice that hardly any ice flakes disturb the air. We start skating side by side, moving in perfect synchronization as the cold air sways with us before I am tossed up in the air again for a triple toe. The music slows and so do our movements as I lean back into him, skating backwards near the outer edge as three skaters step on the ice and follow the choreography I taught them for months while we wait in the background for our next part. His arms tense. The strings of the violin come in jaggedly and my partner’s breaths begin to mirror the rise and fall of the music. He ducks into my neck, squeezing me as he stifles quietly. 
NGXT
I turn my head toward him and bring my hand up in the same way a lover would, hiding his second stifle as he squeezes against me again with less control. NGXT-shuu! 
     “Are you ok?” I whisper discreetly.
     “I...hihh...I’b fah-fide.”
His shaved down voice, hoarse while still deep ends in a lilt, hitching breaths escaping as he tries and fails to hold on to the next sneeze. 
     RrgxChMph! 
     He lifts his head from my shoulder, having muffled the sneeze quietly enough to keep the focus on the other skaters. With less than a minute left before we need to start moving again, I bring my hands up in a quick flicker with palms out and lower them down behind me. The backs of my hands slide down both sides of his face, an added element of heat hotter than exertion raging against my skin and confirming my suspicions that he’s sick. He shivers and pulls me closer even as I start to pull apart to move into the last segment of our dance. I slow down as he reluctantly moves forward, making sure we always stay in sync. The audience is none the wiser as we dance together with our hands connected and finish out to their cheers. We leave the rink as the next part of the performance continues. The door barely closes before he gives up trying to fight the sneezes. 
AH’TSCHiUU
His chest moves sporadically as he leans away from me,
Hihh’AETSCHUU!
Huh...huh...huhhh...
   His eyes flutter and his mouth slowly opens as he takes in a final deep but tired breath before letting it out. 
      HuH’ihhTSChUUahh!
      Looking around for tissues, I spot some across the room and quickly go retrieve it for him before I leave to change into my next outfit. I’m up in a few minutes. “I’ll be back, Mason.”

Edited by Reader

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M214186

Awesome 

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Selene
Posted (edited)

My contribution to the story prompt idea. No female characters, but slight M/M tendencies here depending on how you want to read it. So consider yourself warned in case this is not your cup of tea ;)

 

Prompts:

Occupation: Museum Curator
Cause: Illness
Random: Heat
Scenario: Ice skating rink

 

Of Mammoths and Colds

 

Who on earth was responsible for the idea of having the opening for the new exhibition on “More than Survival – Ice Age Art and Culture” on an ice skating rink was something Dr. Nigel H. Sheridan would never find out – and believe me, he tried.

It seemed, however, that whenever he posed this question to any of the museum’s employees, they were befallen by a sudden bout of deafness and chose not to hear his question or abruptly changed the topic to whatever question lay at hand in preparation for the grand opening.

Why he had agreed to this plan, on the other hand, was another question altogether and frankly this was the greater mystery to him.

To be fair, it sounded like a marvellous idea at first. Holding the opening gala for their new exhibition on an ice skating rink in the museum’s courtyard with a replica of one of the life-size mammoths put on display right at the centre of the ice skating rink, some of the more decorative pieces of Ice-Age art surrounding it….  and right in front of the mammoth would be Nigel’s spot in the limelight, giving his opening speech and cutting the red ribbon to open the exhibition to the public.

For him, this exhibition marked the peak of his career in many ways – regarding his position as the museum’s curator as well as his scientific profession, and he was therefore very proud of the fact that the exhibition would finally come to life in only a few days’ time. It had taken him several years of schmoozing countless foundation board members for financial support of his idea, as well as other museum curators for exhibits on loan. Additionally, he had worked relentlessly to persuade the mayor and several real estate managers to get the permission for excavations on the building site of the new Wechsler Hotel building complex where – as he had stated in numerous journal articles and at several conferences – he suspected to find remains of a shelter used by our Ice Age ancestors. His extensive research had let him to this spot again and again and in the end, his constant nagging had yielded success. Only three days after the excavation had begun, they had found their first artefact. Nigel had been over the moon with the discovery. The mayor had been as well since their city had suddenly become the centre of attention. Even international reporters had turned up to cover this story.

Therefore, the mayor Mr. Beckett had suggested to have a bigger opening ceremony than was usual. Nigel had whole-heartedly agreed, and the ice rink concept sounded like the perfect, quirky venue to host such an exclusive opening gala. Until he had signed the contract and realised that to get his one, glorious moment of triumph and attention for his work, he somehow had to get to that darn spot in the limelight right at the centre of the ice skating rink. The problem was: Nigel did not even know how to ice skate

Beckett had been his last hope. The man was way older than he was, past fifty already and Nigel was sure that he had no intention of wobbling on ice skates in front of everybody. However, as Nigel raised that question at one of their meetings, it turned out that the mayor went ice skating about once a week together with his two daughters spending quality time. Therefore, he would not hear anything of Nigel’s suggestions concerning a boardwalk or carpet for them to reach their ‘stage’ at the centre of the ice skating rink. To quote Beckett’s exact words: “I would not want to miss the pleasure of skating near a real life-size mammoth in front of the press for anything in the world. Just think about what a terrific image that would make for our reporters, Sheridan.” Yes…. Nigel was sure the local newspaper would love nothing more than seeing him slip and fall down face first on the ice next to a beaming mayor Beckett…

It had not been easy and it had taken Nigel more than one evening of brandy and good long talks with himself before he had coaxed himself to admit that he needed to swallow his pride to ask for help with this ice skating dilemma.

And suddenly, it dawned on him. He still had Wilkins. Wilkins was young, late-20s, eager, and in dire need for guidance and the support from someone who was an expert and established in the field to open a few doors for him here and there, to get introduced to the right kind of people who could further his professional future and career. In short: Wilkins needed someone like Nigel. Wilkins had been Nigel’s assistant for about a year and a half now and Nigel had to admit that he Wilkins was probably the best he’d ever had.

What Nigel liked to forget about, though, was that there was another side to that coin. Just like Wilkins needed him, Nigel needed someone like Wilkins. He was patient, clever, a fast learner and intelligent, but not too confident – and clearly not cocky enough to challenge the power relations Nigel wished to be established between him and his assistants. Nigel always wanted to be in control and expected 100% dedication and devotion from an assistant. Fortunately, Wilkins was willing to offer this and even put up with Nigel’s antics and idiosyncrasies. All in all, the two of them were the perfect match.

And fortunately, Wilkins knew how to ice skate like a young god. How Nigel knew about his assistant’s ice skating talents you wonder?

The thing was, at some point, Nigel had been so desperate that he had talked to Wilkins about his dilemma. To Nigel’s surprise, Wilkins had offered help and told him that he had been the captain of a university ice hockey team for more than two years. Since Nigel was desperate and he had known Wilkins as a loyal, discreet person, he finally accepted.

~~~

“Dr. Sheridan?”

Wilkins’ soft voice jolted Nigel awake from an indistinct dream. He sat up, blinking confusedly before he stared into Wilkins’ searching eyes. My goodness, had he fallen asleep at his desk? As it dawned on him that this had indeed been the case, he stared back at his assistant with the wide-eyed guilty conscience of a person who knew very well that they’d been asleep, yet tried to pretend otherwise. Nigel’s hand quickly found its way to his mouth, only to discover in horror that a tiny trail of saliva had run down from his mouth to his chin while he slept. He turned away in his chair, pretending to get one of the folders lined up on a shelf behind his desk while he tried to wipe away the trail with the cuffs of his button up shirt.

“I’m sorry, I did not mean to disturb your.. erm.. work…,” Wilkins said, just as embarrassed by the situation as Nigel himself. “I just wanted to ask whether you’ll still want to have a training session this evening?”

“Of course,” Nigel said, swivelling round with his chair to face his assistant once again. “Why wouldn’t I? We still have a lot of training to do before the grand opening.”

“I know…,” Wilkins said, visibly uncomfortable with how this conversation was going. “I just um…. Well.. I thought you might want to skip today’s session, since you’re not feeling well…”

“Not feeling well?” Nigel rose from his chair in indignation, but had to hold onto the desk for support since the sudden change of position so shortly after his nap had made his throbbing head swim with dizziness.

“I am sorry, Wilkins, but you must be mistaken. I am feeling perfectly fine… splendid in fact! And certainly more than up to our next training session this evening.”

He aimed for a casual tone of voice and tried to keep the conversation rather curt, hoping that Wilkins would leave soon, since a tickle deep down in his sinuses heralded a new set of sneezes rolling on. The truth was that Nigel had been feeling under the weather since after their first training session last Friday. The ice skating hall had been freezing and the coat Nigel used to hurry from the tube to the museum and back had clearly proven to be too thin to withstand two and a half hours of ice skating training – a good deal of which Nigel had spent with his hands tightly clasped to the rail since he was too afraid of letting go and falling with Wilkins there to witness it all.

So they had spent the majority of their training going through the motions in theory, Nigel holding on to the rail for dear life, while Wilkins elegantly glided over the ice as if he’d been born with skates on his feet to show him what the theory of ice skating should look like in the end. Nigel, however, was not prepared to let go and give Wilkins the satisfaction of seeing him slip and fall on the ice. Having him there, flying across the icy surface as if his feet did not even need the ground to stand on, while Nigel himself was glued to the rail had been humiliation enough.

After this first humiliating evening, Nigel had decided to have some training sessions on his own. Wilkins had explained and shown him the basics after all. However, Nigel might have been just a little too focused and obstinate in his endeavour. He had spent almost his entire weekend at the ice skating place, resulting in him being chilled to the bone for two straight days in a row. Not to mention the countless falls he had suffered. He had badly bruised his knee and his bottom was still sore on Monday from his first fall on Saturday. Stress and lack of sleep had done their part so yesterday Nigel had woken up to the beginning of the new week with a sore throat and a headache so drillingly loud that Nigel had been sure his employees saw his temples throb and pulse in pain.

The sore throat and headache had felt awful, yet he would have given anything he had if he could go back to this state of the cold, because today, the sneezing had started. There had been one innocent little sneeze after he’d woken up – nothing to be concerned about. This sneeze however had cleared the path for a seemingly endless amount of ensuing sneezes, sliding down his runny nose, gaining momentum and intensity with every hour that passed. Nigel had done a good job of stifling most of the sneezes, but they had become so powerful and urgent at some point that his chest and throat hurt with every stifle he forced upon himself. So after lunch he had retreated to his office to get some of the paperwork done – which he had barley started working on before his tired, worn out body had fallen asleep right at the desk.

“Well if you are sure that you’re feeling up to today’s session, I’ll wait for you in the hall after closing time.” Wilkins’ voice startled him out of his musings and back to the present.

“Thank you, I’ll be there,” Nigel said, trying not to wiggle his nose as the tickle surged against a spot deep in his sinuses, which made the delicate membranes in his nose quiver.

Wilkins nodded then turned to leave, but lingered for a moment, hand already reaching out for the doorknob. He hovered there for a few seconds, unsure of what to do, while Nigel prayed to his and any other gods out there that Wilkins would finally leave so that he could sneeze. The tickle had become so strong that his eyes started to water, and his breath came quick and uneven in a flurry of suppressed hitches. After what seemed like an eternity, Wilkins finally decided against whatever it was that he had wanted to do or say and left. Nigel sighed. Then sneezed immediately afterwards. Sudden, harsh and uncovered, misting the papers on his desk.

“Hiiyy’ESSHhU!… ISsHH!…Hihhh….Hi’yIDZzsSHU...”

After the fit Nigel sank back into his chair, exhausted and with a handkerchief pressed against the underside of his angry pink nose. This would be a long day – and an even longer evening.

 

 

 

~~~~

Only a few hours later, Nigel regretted how boasting he’d been about his health in his conversation with Wilkins. His health had considerably deteriorated within the last hours, a constant sheen of cold sweat clung to his burning forehead, resurfacing again and again no matter how often Nigel wiped it away with one of his handkerchiefs. His nose had turned a deeper shade of pink and was now almost flaming red. He felt absolutely miserable and if it weren’t for his fear of public humiliation and scoff from his assistant, Nigel would have gone home and straight to bed.

Instead, he had met Wilkins in the hall and trotted off together with him to the ice skating hall where he silently cursed himself for his own stubbornness as he struggled with putting the skates on his feet.

Wilkins was already on the ice, patiently waiting, even though it took Nigel almost 15 minutes to get the skates to his feet.  

“Ah, there you are!”, Wilkins said with a smile and glided over to the entrance of the ice skating rink once Nigel had managed to stalk there with the skates on his feet. He held out both hands to help a tottering Nigel enter the icy surface. He almost slipped as he’d set his second foot on the ice, but Wilkins’ gripped his hands firmly and managed to steady him.

“Wait… what are you doing?” Nigel realised in panic that Wilkins was gliding towards the centre of the ice skating rink, taking him with him since they still held each other by the hands.

“I’m taking you ice skating. Last time, we had the theory. This time, I want you to try to perform the movements yourself.”

Nigel stiffened, turning more or less into a wooden stick on skates. He had never been this far away from the safe railing surrounding the ice, even during his lonely extra training sessions over the weekend. He could just thank his lucky stars that he had practiced on his own. Without this extra practice, he would not have even made it this far without falling despite Wilkins’ strong, well-meaning grip around his hands.

“That makes sense, of course, but I’d still prefer it if we could start from there…” he pointed towards the railing with his chin, but Wilkins shook his head.

“You’ll never going to let go as long as the railing is within reach. Trust me, you can do it. In fact, you’re doing great. We’ve come thus far without a single fall.” He smiled reassuringly, but Nigel could only give a hollow scoff. Being dragged onto the ice by another person barely counted as doing great in his books.

“Do you remember what I told you about how to move your feet?” Nigel nodded and sniffled. Of course his nose had chosen this precise moment to start running again.  “Great, then try to imitate those movements. I won’t let go, just try to move your feet while you glide with me… Yeah, just like that!... Now try bending your knees a little…”

With Wilkins’ help, Nigel managed several rounds around the ice skating rink without falling. To be honest he barely did anything other than move his feet here and there, while Wilkins was guiding them over the ice. From time to time, Nigel had to give in to a wet sniffle. He also felt uncomfortably warm and was wondering whether the thermostat of that place might be broken. Yet, the ice seemed fine – just as glossy and solid as when they had first entered the hall.

“Ok, I think you’re ready, Dr. Sheridan.” Wilkins’ words forced Nigel to concentrate on the outside world again.

“*sniff* What for?”

“Ready to try on your own,” said Wilkins and started to disentangle one of his hands from Nigel’s, who almost lost his balance and firmly held onto the other man in a sudden panic.

“What?! No!” Nigel almost shrieked.

“Dr. Sheridan…,” Wilkins said with an amused grin. “You’ll have to try and let go at some point, if you want to learn how to do it before the grand opening gala…”

Of course he was right. Nigel knew that he was in his heart of hearts, so he let go of the other man with a reluctant sigh, almost instantly losing his balance. He only managed to prevent a fall by wildly flailing his arms around like the parody of a windmill. He thought he’d seen Wilkins’ grin from the corner of his eye, but when he had regained enough of his balance to face the man, Wilkins just stood there with a neutral face.

“Ok, now that you’re on your own, just try to do what you did with your feet when we were skating together… don’t overthink it.. Let your body do the work, it will remember the motions.”

Nigel heaved a heavy sigh. From what it felt like, someone was drilling a hole right through his left temple with a blunt object, and he was a little dizzy from going round and round in circles. Additionally, it had become so unbearably hot in that ice skating hall that he felt sweat trickling down his back.

“Right then…,” he finally said after clearing his throat. The sooner he’d try, the sooner he’d be able to leave this horrible place and get home.

Arms outstretched for balance, he gave a first, tentative push with one of the skates. It sent him gliding forward in slow motion.

“Good, now let’s try the second foot… Give it another push.. yes, there you go!” Wilkins seemed delighted, and after Nigel had managed to push himself forward a few more times, he actually felt like he finally had achieved something. He went on for a few more minutes, edgily gliding across the ice in tentative motions with Wilkins closely following him with encouraging words.

And just as he thought that he would manage this ice skating task after all, he was suddenly gripped by an urgent need to sneeze. An army of hot needle pinches assaulted his poor sinuses, the tickle building fast, forcing him to heave a few quick breathes, greedily sucking in the cold air surrounding him, eyes half closed, mouth hanging open, head tilted back in preparation for what turned out to be a set of sneezes so forceful they pitched him forward.

“Heehh…hhiii…..hiiiiihhh?!....HIi-ISSHJU!!...Hii’yESHhU…. hii…HI’DJiZzsSHU!”

The first sneeze had set him off-balance and he had tried to safe himself by flailing his arms wildly again. Wilkins glided over to help, but when he reached Nigel it was too late already – the second sneeze sent him falling down on his butt, the third hitting just as his backside kissed the hard, cold icy surface. Great. He had just sneezed himself off his feet and he could not think of anything that would be more embarrassing than this.

Well.. maybe there was one thing: seeing the bright grin on his assistant’s face as he looked up, his own nose running and nostrils flaring in the aftermath of the sneezes.

“You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?!,” Nigel complained indignantly, sniffling hard.

“No, Sir!” Wilkins hurried to assure him, barely able to keep a straight face as Nigel tried to get up again, only to flop back onto the ice with a loud thud that actually sounded like it hurt.

“Damn it! Wilkins, don’t just stand there, help me.. hiii…mbeee…heee….Hii’YiSSSHUu!!.. *sniff* ugh… up…”

“Right away, Sir!” Wilkins approached so elegantly that Nigel was sure he was doing it on purpose to mock his own ungraceful fall. Yet, he bit back the sneery comment that came to his mind, because he had no idea how he should ever get up again without Wilkins’ help. He was too far away from the rail to hold onto it and what was left of his dignity simply just forbade him to slide all the way from where he lay on the ice to the railing on his bottom like a one-year-old to get to the railing and be able to pull himself up again.

“Ok… here we go. Would you.. um… please give me your hand?” Wilkins tentatively held out his hand which Nigel grabbed and tried to use as a lever to help himself up, but he could not find a hold on the ice with the skates on his feet and flopped down on the ice yet again with a soft thud.

“Damn it, man! You need to pull harder.. I can’t get up if y..hhhhuu… youuhh…” Trailing off, his angry voice lost its edge and dissolved into a helpless, panting array of breathy little build up hitches right before another sneeze erupted out of him. “hiihh..hiii…..Hii’yESSsHu!..”

Suddenly, a tissue appeared in front of Nigel’s blurry vision, followed by Wilkins’ concerned face. “Bless you, Dr. Sheridan. Are you alright?”

“I’b fide…,” Nigel said less than convincing his voice muffled in thick congestion, which made it necessary for him to bury his nose in the tissue Wilkins’ had offered, before another sneeze escaped him. He had tried to stifle it but failed miserably.

“hiihh..Hi’Ng’DISshHJU!..”

“Bless you again,” Wilkins offered softly. There was a pause in which Nigel blew his nose again, very well aware of the fact that his assistant’s eyes rested upon him the entire time.

“I really think we should call it a night, Dr. Sheridan….”

Nigel looked up, his eyes meeting Wilkins’ concerned face.

“Mbaybe you’re right…,” he finally admitted with a defeated sigh. Wilkins skated closer and grabbed him by his arms. Somehow, they managed to pull Nigel’s body into a standing position again with joint effort. Nigel was shivering by now, his headache was killing him, and he was sure that he would have trouble to sit for the next few days after his ungraceful fall.

“Let me take you to the exit,” Wilkins offered, taking Nigel’s hands in his before he carefully skated towards the little door of the ice skating rink.

“You’ve got to probise mbe sobething…,” Nigel said, his voice a congested mess. “Dod’t ever tell anybody what happened here todight…”

A knowing smile crossed Wilkins’ face and he asked innocently: “Why? What happened tonight?”

Nigel sighed in relief. Wilkins really was the best assistant he’d ever had.

Edited by Selene
typo

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Kaze wo Hiku

This is such a good idea and don't mind me I'm just going to fawn over Nigel forever :heart::heart:

 

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Bondi

Okay, so here's mine. It's only a paragraph and probably not the best thing I've ever written but if anyone is curious they can read. Same prompts as everybody else, female.

***

The museum curator thought it might be fun to go ice skating, even though she woke up this morning with a scratchy throat. And now that she was on the ice, her nose was tickling. Must’ve been from that fucking asshole who sneezed all over yesterday at the museum. She sniffled but the tickle only intensified. She tried to slow down as her eyes squeezed into two black slits. She doubled over with two sharp sneezes that propelled her forward even faster. Hiishewww! Haiishewww! She waved her arms as she hurtled across the rink, accidentally slapping a guy across the back of the head. “Sorry,” she murmured as she blushed. At least she was able to slow herself down before she reached the railing, so she leaned against it rather than flipping over it to the other side. Still, maybe a better idea to go sit down before anymore dangerous or humiliating things happened to her.

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Chanel_no5

Helloo everybody!! Well, I had decided to pop in here and give my support to the ones I talk to almost daily, but after reading this I must of course say something about all the other things as well. Wow. It's so impressive to come up with such different ideas from the same prompts. Though the writing his is majorly focused on ill men, which isn't a cup of my fetish tea, I still promised no less than two people to take a look at it, so here I am. :P 

@PuddinPop

On ‎2018‎-‎07‎-‎01 at 3:14 AM, PuddinPop said:

That was one... Frozen, waiting, knowing his sneezes always came in twos, Jonathan didn't even bother to open his eyes, his head tilting back just slightly as his nostrils pulsed angrily, desperate for relief, his expression snarling until he finally -!

Oh yeah, angrily pulsing nostrils, that conveys lovely imagery, indeed... ^^

On ‎2018‎-‎07‎-‎01 at 3:14 AM, PuddinPop said:

He pinch-wiped his nose a couple of times

Do you have any idea how long I have wanted a word fitting that action?? THANK YOU for finally creating it. :heart: 

On ‎2018‎-‎07‎-‎01 at 3:14 AM, PuddinPop said:

So it was with a defeated sigh and a sad smile that Jonathan nodded, muttering a stuffy thanks to Thalia before handing over his mop to her. She took it readily, watching as he splish-splashed across the floor, frantically fumbling to pull another tissue free from the packet as he went before pausing in the middle of the room, launching two powerful sneezes into it, strong enough to bend him slightly at the waist, before he continued on to the door. 

This very scene really summed up the word "defeat" for me visually. Poor guy. And the "splish-splashing" across the floor was the perfect added touch. Great work!! :D 

 

@Reader

 Well, you've already been so kind as to letting me read your piece, but I'm going to say something about it here as well. 

On ‎2018‎-‎07‎-‎01 at 8:37 AM, Reader said:

The music starts slowly, the plucking sounds of the guitar a precursor to the sharp strings of the violin. I push against the ice, side by side with my partner as we glide around the rink. Moments after he places both hands on my waist, I push against the ice and soar through the air as the audience becomes a blur in the spin. The blade of my right skate lands so smoothly on the ice that hardly any ice flakes disturb the air. We start skating side by side, moving in perfect synchronization as the cold air sways with us before I am tossed up in the air again for a triple toe

The image you created here was like a watching the opening scene of a movie, to be honest. Lots of emotion symbolised by mere senses, no talking or explanation. Beautiful. 

On ‎2018‎-‎07‎-‎01 at 8:37 AM, Reader said:

The strings of the violin come in jaggedly and my partner’s breaths begin to mirror the rise and fall of the music. He ducks into my neck, squeezing me as he stifles quietly. 

Oh I loved the use of mirroring here! :D

On ‎2018‎-‎07‎-‎01 at 8:37 AM, Reader said:

 He lifts his head from my shoulder, having muffled the sneeze quietly enough to keep the focus on the other skaters. With less than a minute left before we need to start moving again, I bring my hands up in a quick flicker with palms out and lower them down behind me. The backs of my hands slide down both sides of his face, an added element of heat hotter than exertion raging against my skin and confirming my suspicions that he’s sick. He shivers and pulls me closer even as I start to pull apart to move into the last segment of our dance. I slow down as he reluctantly moves forward, making sure we always stay in sync. The audience is none the wiser as we dance together with our hands connected and finish out to their cheers. We leave the rink as the next part of the performance continues.

It was actually surprising to me (I don't know why since I've written ice skating scenes myself in the past) how very intimate this was. Elegant, discreet, and intimate. Well done!! 

 

@Selene

On ‎2018‎-‎07‎-‎01 at 11:04 PM, Selene said:

Who on earth was responsible for the idea of having the opening for the new exhibition on “More than Survival – Ice Age Art and Culture” on an ice skating rink was something Dr. Nigel H. Sheridan would never find out – and believe me, he tried.

 

This is the best opening line I've read in God knows how long. :yay: 

On ‎2018‎-‎07‎-‎01 at 11:04 PM, Selene said:

What Nigel liked to forget about, though, was that there was another side to that coin. Just like Wilkins needed him, Nigel needed someone like Wilkins. He was patient, clever, a fast learner and intelligent, but not too confident – and clearly not cocky enough to challenge the power relations Nigel wished to be established between him and his assistants. Nigel always wanted to be in control and expected 100% dedication and devotion from an assistant. Fortunately, Wilkins was willing to offer this and even put up with Nigel’s antics and idiosyncrasies. All in all, the two of them were the perfect match.

 

See, these dynamics… Ummm... are what I live for. 

On ‎2018‎-‎07‎-‎01 at 11:04 PM, Selene said:

The sore throat and headache had felt awful, yet he would have given anything he had if he could go back to this state of the cold, because today, the sneezing had started. There had been one innocent little sneeze after he’d woken up – nothing to be concerned about. This sneeze however had cleared the path for a seemingly endless amount of ensuing sneezes, sliding down his runny nose, gaining momentum and intensity with every hour that passed. Nigel had done a good job of stifling most of the sneezes, but they had become so powerful and urgent at some point that his chest and throat hurt with every stifle he forced upon himself. So after lunch he had retreated to his office to get some of the paperwork done – which he had barley started working on before his tired, worn out body had fallen asleep right at the desk.

Ah, yes, the progressing stages of a cold. Almost deniable until the sneezing begins. ;) 

On ‎2018‎-‎07‎-‎01 at 11:04 PM, Selene said:

And just as he thought that he would manage this ice skating task after all, he was suddenly gripped by an urgent need to sneeze. An army of hot needle pinches assaulted his poor sinuses, the tickle building fast, forcing him to heave a few quick breathes, greedily sucking in the cold air surrounding him, eyes half closed, mouth hanging open, head tilted back in preparation for what turned out to be a set of sneezes so forceful they pitched him forward.

Beautiful. And the sneeze spellings you use are to die for! Very, very well-written, all of it!!

 

On ‎2018‎-‎07‎-‎01 at 11:04 PM, Selene said:

“You’ve got to probise mbe sobething…,” Nigel said, his voice a congested mess. “Dod’t ever tell anybody what happened here todight…”

A knowing smile crossed Wilkins’ face and he asked innocently: “Why? What happened tonight?” 

Nigel sighed in relief. Wilkins really was the best assistant he’d ever had.

Perfect ending as well. I know how nervous you were about posting, but I promise, 100%, you have nothing to be nervous about, your writing is AMAZING!! 

 

@Bondi

I'm glad to see a female character written here as well, even if it's just a small drabble. ;) Nice work! 

 

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shadows45

This is such a cool idea, loved getting to read the same prompt done in such different ways. It'd be great if you did it again sometime. :)

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Selene
Posted (edited)

Sooo... I might have squeed a little when I read your comments, Kaze and Chanel! Thank you both so much! :inlove:  

@Kaze wo Hiku: I am so happy that you liked Nigel! You know how much I love your work and having you comment on my first piece of writing here was just... :wub: There are not enough emojis for the way I felt, but if there were, I would put them all here! :heart:

When I first came up with my idea, I did not really know where I was going and then suddenly, Nigel appeared and Wilkins with him. Both of them are completely new OCs for me, but I might explore them and their relationship further in the future since I feel like they have some chemistry going on here ~

 

@Chanel_no5: Thank you so much for reading even though it is a male fic and not your usual cup of tea! It means a lot that you've taken the time to read it anyways :hug::heart: You are such a great writer and then to have you here, telling me that you liked the opening scene and the sneeze spellings (I was so nervous about those  :lol: ) and that you liked my writing is like... :woot1:As I said to Kaze, not enough emojis here to convey what I've felt, I'm just a very, very happy Selene right now. ^_^

 

@shadows45: Thank you, too, for reading and commenting! I'm glad you enjoyed reading our texts. It was great fun to work on a prompt and to read what the others came up with for me as well and I'd be totally in for another round :)

 

Edited by Selene
Added comment to shadows45

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Reader

@Chanel_no5 Thankyou boo! It means so much coming from you and your writing skills!  

@shadows45 Just taking the opportunity of you commenting to tell you that I haven’t forgotten your story and if you choose to continue it, I’ll be here! And once I like one story, I tend to read the others so if you decide you don’t want to mess with that one anymore then I’ll still be happy reading a new one. Anyways thankyou for reading our stories and letting us know that you enjoyed them! 

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AngelEyes

What a fantastic idea! The different ideas to come from the same prompts are really great! And what fun prompts! All of you did such a great job. 

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PuddinPop

@starpollen thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it! 

@Chanel_no5 thank you for such kind praises! To know you read my versison, when it was a male illness fic, is truly touching <3 

@shadows45 thank you for your praise too! And to @M214186 and @AngelEyes! Thank you all! 

This was a lot of fun to work on, and @Selene and @Reader I haven't praised you yet! You both did such great jobs! It was so fun to read your versions of this prompt! Thank you all for being involved QwQ 

I also hope that we do it again sometime :zippy:

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groundcontrol

Wow, I really loved this. It was such an interesting idea, and cool to see what five different people did with it. Sick museum curators always get me for some reason, and the ones about Nigel and Jonathan were particularly right up my alley. 

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purpleninja

*sneaks in* Ok so i've been too nervous to post mine up until about ten minutes ago, so here goes....

 

“Honey, are you sure you want to-“

“We have to. It’s his birthday!” Quinn glanced at their son and swallowed against the knives in her throat. She’d known on her way to work that morning that a bad cold was brewing, but there wasn’t much she or her wife could do. Even worse, working in a quiet museum wasn’t exactly the best place to be with a sneezy cold. Quinn, however, had just been promoted to Museum Curator and was not going to take a sick day right after a promotion. 

The tall, slender blonde looked back at her wife, Amelia, then back again at their 5-year-old son, Henry. They’d promised Henry they’d take him to the ice skating rink for his birthday. The day had come, and here was Quinn with this nasty cold. As if on cue, her nose prickled and she cursed her crappy immune system. She turned from her wife and hastily covered her mouth and nose with a mitten-clad hand.

“BBZZSSH!! BBZZZSSH’hh!!” Amelia softened, biting her lip in sympathy.

“Bless you, babe. Just…if you want to go home, at any time, let me know, okay?” She rubbed Quinn’s back, hoping her wife would actually heed her advice and be honest with her. 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Two hours brought them to the rink: Henry excited, Amelia concerned, and Quinn just bordering on miserable. 

“Ogkay, baby, led’s get our skates, hb?” Quinn brushed Henry’s bangs out of his eyes, reminding herself to get him a haircut soon. The trio rented their skates, Amelia helping Henry lace his. Quinn would’ve, really, but she was afraid the congestion would shift if she were to lean over. She scoffed to herself as the itch in her sinuses returned, forcing her to turn away from her family again, this time into her elbow.

“BBZZSSTH!! BBZZSSH’uh!!” 

“Babe…” Quinn sniffled thickly, cringing, then turned back.

“Hedry, baby. You ready?”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It took three hours, not that Amelia counted, for Quinn to crack. She’d fallen, something that normally they’d laugh about, but when she went to help her wife up, she was alarmed to see tears swimming in her eyes. Grabbing Quinn’s hand, Amelia gasped and instead felt her wife’s forehead, cringing at the heat she felt there.

“Babe, no, absolutely not. We’re calling it quits, right here, you’re burning up, you look miserable, and on top-“

“BBZZSTH!! I wadda go hobe,” Quinn murmured with a sniffle. Expecting more fight from her usually-feisty wife, Amelia bit her lip and helped Quinn up, calling Henry back over to them. 

“Hey, nugget! Mommy’s not feeling to good, would you mind if we came back another day?” Henry’s face fell, like any 5-year-old’s would, but when he looked up and saw the state of Quinn, he nodded.

“C’mon, babe, let’s go.”

 

TBC???

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Bondi

@Chanel_no5 Thanks. :D Glad you like it. :)

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