"Get yourself together, bridgeboy. I don't have all day to take care of you."
Yet despite his words, Adolin was worried. He glanced at Kaladin's shivering form again and repeat the pacing he just did earlier.
They were in the captain's quarter, with the door closed, so Adolin keep himself to standing on the other side of the room after settling the Captain in bed, so as not to intrude on his personal space too much.
He might already have.
"Can't you stop that? It's killing my head."
Adolin paused in his pacing.
"Fever doesn't make you any less grumpy, I see."
"Just— Just shut up." Kaladin said in a hoarse, shivering voice.
Adolin suddenly became aware of the thinness of the blankets, of how scarce of comforts the barrack is.
Odd thing that didn't even noticed when he himself live like this, only now, when the Bridgeboy lay shivering in his bed, that the desire to improve the provisions of the barracks strike him.
"Kaladin?" Adolin asked suddenly.
He is here, at least he could make himself useful.
"Do you need anything?"
Kaladin stared at him briefly in surprise, then said, "So a princeling is personally caring for a lowly darkeyed guard."
There was no touch of sarcasm, though, just tiredness. The longer Adolin stay here, the more worried he is becoming.
"Should I fetch a surgeon?"
"No. Water, just water."
"All right, then. Nothing else?"
"All right. Don't attempt any stunts like yesterday, after the sparring. You can die of fatigue as easily as any wound."
Adolin was reprimanding himself inside for slipping and saying that, and he braced himself, fully ready for a comeback. Instead, what he received was, "You don't want me to die, Adolin?"
Adolin, not princeling.
Adolin's hand froze before he reached the doorknob.
It was silent for a long moment, broken only by the occasional coughs from Kaladin.
Then, finally, Adolin replied,
"No. No, I don't want you to die, Kaladin. So don't you dare die on me."
Kaladin attempted a chuckle, which turned into another cough.
But Adolin barely register that. Blushing slightly, he walked out of the room and demand a glass of water and a lot of blankets.
Kaladin felt terrible.
The Stormlight he consumed last night wasn't nearly enough and his bruises still hurt quite badly.
Not to mention his head doesn't work quite right.
I should have had Adolin call Teft. he realised. That means faster Light, and no suspicion, too.
Kaladin quietly cursed himself.
Syl had slipped off sometime now, without him knowing.
Of course, he don't know how the spren lingered nearby, out of sight, to observe the lovey-doveyness (as she and the other bridgemen call it) of the their captain and the prince.
"Kaladin?" Teft called from the door. It seemed he can still get this fever done quickly after all.
"Come on, Teft. Stormlight."
The older bridgeman complied and offer them to Kaladin.
"This is all I can find."
A few spheres went out of the sack onto Kaladin's bed. He drank in the Light, the storm surged through him, again making him want to jump, run, fly, move. His bruises ceased to exist, the ache in his muscles gone as it has never been. He stood up. His head spins and he collapse back down.
Teft looked as bewildered as Kaladin felt. The old man put a hand on Kaladin's head and frowned.
"Kal, you're still burning."
Stormlight still lit his skin, but the fever isn't going away. Kaladin released his breath, letting the Light drain from him.
This is the first time the healing doesn't work.
Kaladin and Teft looked at each other, baffled.
"...Well, that's it?" Teft asked.
"You still look bad, Kal."
"You know, Brightlord Adolin is going to notice the absence of the bruises."
Kaladin's eyes widened in surprise. Why hadn't he thought of that? Storms, his head really isn't working right.
"Sick with fever, and you're still thinking about work, bridgeboy?" Adolin said, assuming Kaladin called Teft to instruct him on today's work.
"You know, my father won't die as soon as you turn your head. So just take it easy and rest for a few days."
"I'll be going then, Captain. And good day to you, brightlord." Teft gave a bow, and whispered in Kaladin's ear,
"I'm starting to believe the other men about you and Adolin, Kal."
And Teft left with a small smile.
"Wait, you look better... where are your injuries?"
Storms, am I being illusional? Adolin thought incredulously. He was sure he had seen the darkeyed man covered with bruises just now.
Kaladin didn't answer, instead, he closes his eyes, as if in thought, or making peace with himself.
"Look, I'm sure I'm not crazy. You were looking like trampled rags just now, what happened? What did you do? How?"
"Can you please don't pry?"
"Don't pry? Captain, your secret could be used on so many soldiers! Save their lives—"
"It can't— "
Kaladin cut off suddenly. He noticed his hands were shaking slightly, even fisted as they were. And so was his shoulders.
The man was afraid.
The man who had fought through the Parshendi, leading a bunch of half-trained men to save an army. The man who bargained his life and the lives of his men from one of the highprince himself, despite being a darkeye. The man who matches Adolin in every spar. And that man is afraid.
Adolin was suddenly overwhelmed with the urge to know, to understand and share his pain.
He knew Kaladin is a tough nut to crack, but he can no longer feel hatred or jealousy after witnessing all of his dedication.
So, with a considerably softer tone, he asked,
"Can you tell me about it?"
Since Kaladin's fever is from a virus, which is a parasite, I think his body would recognise them as its own cell and does not get rid of it.
P.S. This story would not follow the new developments in Oathbringer, it's just the fluff I need to keep going, so I'll stick to the original story line :))