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Bright sunlight streamed through the blinds, illuminating a rather rumpled figure sitting casually on the couch. The lanky young man's ear-length black hair was dishevelled, his eyes bloodshot. Every once in a while, his long fingers would rise up to rub vigorously at increasingly twitchy nostrils.

His nose was running again. Todd wiped it on the back of his hand, the warm wetness trailing along his skin in a thin stream, then wiped his hand on his jeans, sniffling thickly. 'I am not getting sick,' he told himself. But the frequent sneezing he had suffered all morning and the sore throat he had woken up with were serving to make a liar out of him. Sneezing he didn't mind - in fact, he actually rather enjoyed it - but the inability to breathe coupled with coughing and aches were a pain. Not to mention the sore throat.

Dragging himself up from the couch, he crossed the room quickly, an itch growing inside his nose. Snatching up a tissue from the box on the kitchen counter, his eyes squeezed shut as the sneezy sensation assailed him. The pressure was building, his nose gathering strength to burst forth with a wet, satisfying sneezes. He buried his nose in the paper, and it burst forth.

"Eh-ehsSHOOOUmph!" He pulled the tissue away long enough to take a thick, snuffly inhale through a blocked nose, nostrils flaring with another approaching sneeze. His head reared back, the sneeze jerking his head forward, "Eht-TCHHOOO!" catching its mess in the damp tissue. They echoed off the walls of the small room. "Hiih-HIISSHOO!"

Todd's head felt foggy, his eyes watery. Taking the tissue in both hands, he took a deep breath and blew hard into it, his nose gurgling as it expelled the thick fluid. He tossed the used rag into the trashcan at his feet, bringing another one up just in time.

"Heh... eh... ehIIISSHOO!" He sighed, the harsh sneezing irritating his already fiery throat, and coughed a few times, his body proving that it was indeed ill. He groaned, already feeling the beginnings of a dull headache.

His nose was still a mass of itching, so he held the tissue there while it gathered strength. He grabbed two more tissues, bringing them up to his face so his nose and mouth were well covered.

"Eh-SHOUmph! Uh-TCHOOmp! SHOOM!" They fired off one after another, each sneeze wrenched from him almost painfully. These were nothing like his allergy sneezes, which tended to be more controlled, as if he knew exactly when each one was coming and was prepared for them. These were more desperate, as if taking him by surprise. "Hih... ihSSHOO!-ihSHOO!-IHSSHOO!...SHOO!-IISHOO! UUSHHOO!" His stomach muscles were becoming tired.

Just then, the phone rang. Todd's eyes rolled between sneezes, and he crossed back to the table by the couch to answer it.

"EESHHOO! Hello?" *snuffle*

"Hey, baby. It's me. How are ya?"

"I... huh... hag ond... huSSHOO!" *thick snuffle* "I'b good. I... I thig I'b... ehSHOOMP! I'b gedding a cold. ihSSHOOMP!" *snuffle* "Where har you?"

"I'm over at Genna's, about to come over, but I wanted to make sure you were home. I'll be there in few minutes, okay?"

"Hokay," Todd hung up just as another sneeze burst forth. Taking the sodden tissues, he took a deep breath and gave a huge, snotty blow into them, ears popping with the force of it. He shoved the ball into his jeans pocket, trying to sniff some of the fluid back up his runny nose.

He and Kerrie had been friends for a couple of years. Truth be told, he was crazy about her, but she always seemed to have one boyfriend or another, and when she didn't, she was swearing off men entirely. Somehow, he just never seemed to find the right time to tell her how much he cared about her.

Shuffling into the kitchen, he poured himself a glass of juice. The coolness of it felt good to his sore throat, but the acidity of the orange didn't. He forced himself to finish it, though. He had a feeling he was going to need all the vitamin C he could get.

Flopping back down on the couch, he bent over as a brief coughing fit overtook him. His chest felt tight, and his breath wheezed slightly as he recovered from the coughing. He wondered if his cold was already moving down to his chest. He really hoped it wasn't.

His nose still felt cantankerous, and as another wet sneeze sprayed out of his mouth, there was a soft knock at the door. He wiped his nose on his knuckle and hauled himself up. He swung the door open, and there she stood.

Her chin-length brown hair was pulled back from her face on either side with little barrettes. Green eyes smiling, she managed to get as far as "Hi" before she noticed Todd's state. She took in his pale skin, pink nose, dark circles under his eyes, and his exhausted expression, and then reached out to lay a hand on his shoulder.

"Wow, you weren't kidding about that cold. How do you feel?"

"Like shit," he stated flatly, moving away from her to drop back down onto the couch.

Kerrie came in, closing the door behind her. She followed him over to the sitting room area of his apartment and noticed how his body sank into the couch as if it didn't have enough strength to support itself, eyes closed, his head falling back to rest against the cushions.

"So, I take it you're not having a good day?" she asked wryly.

"No. I'm fine. Id's jusd..." his nose suddenly closed with congestion as the urge to sneeze built. "Hah... hiih iih... hiiIISSHOO! I'b jusd sdeezig a lot."

"I can tell." She grinned. "Do you need a tissue, bud?"

He nodded vigorously, breathing ragged, his nostrils flaring wildly, gearing up for another go round. She spun around, whipping two tissues from the nearly empty box and turning to press them into his hand just as the messy "EEHIIISSHOO!" sprayed forth.

"Thags," he said weakly.

He took them in both hands, letting forth a strong, full "SSHHHNNNGUGHUGG" that gurgled in its intensity. The fluid ran through the porous tissue and onto his fingers. He wiped his nose gently, then coughed a few times, giving her a pitiful look of utter helplessness - nose red and swollen, eyes tired, hair dishevelled. Her heart melted.

"Come on," she said, leaning down and placing her hands under his arms to help him up. "Let's get you into bed."

"We're not..." he had to stop and cough again, more forcefully than before. She waited until he finished before gently but firmly pulling him to his feet. After he had caught his breath, he tried again. "We're not going out?" He had promised he would go with her see the new exhibition at the art gallery, since she couldn't convince Genna or Sara to set foot inside that place, but didn't want to go alone.

"Not tonight," she said soothingly. "I think you'd better stay home. Wouldn't you rather curl up in bed and go to sleep than have me drag you around that freezing museum?"

God yes, he thought. Fleetingly, he had a vision of himself blindly following Kerrie around the museum, desperately trying to stifle his explosive sneezes in the quiet atmosphere and shivering in the sub-zero temperature the curators insisted was best for all those priceless works of art. His aching body protested at the thought, and he gratefully let her lead him by the hand back to his bedroom.

She deposited him on the bed, and proceeded to his closet where she found a pair of boxer shorts and a T-shirt. Tossing them at him, she went into his bathroom to give him privacy to change, and when she heard sounds telling her he was finished, she came back out with a glass of water.

"Here, she said, sitting down on the bed beside him. "You need to be drinking lots of fluids."

He started gulping it down, the first taste eliciting a thirst he didn't know he had.

"Slowly," she warned, and he heeded her advice, sipping the water a little less greedily. She moved to sit behind him on the bed, her hands firmly and gently working the aching muscles in his back, neck, and shoulders. A grateful sigh escaped his lips, and his eyes started sliding closed, his mind drifting off.

Feeling him sinking into slumber under her fingers, she took the empty glass from him and went to refill it. When she came back out, he was lying down, his cheek against the cool pillowcase, with his eyes closed. Placing the glass on the nightstand, she noticed he was shivering slightly.

"Come on," she murmured softly as she coaxed him up and pulled back the covers, gently guiding a nearly-asleep Todd underneath them. She pushed the dark hair back from his face and laid the back of her hand on his cheek. It felt warm. Back in the bathroom, she retrieved the Tylenol from the medicine cabinet, and managed to get two of them into him before he fell asleep. With his face relaxed, he looked younger and more vulnerable. Her heart ached, and she found herself wondering at the strange sensation. Absently, she ran her fingers through his hair once more before going to settle on the couch to watch T.V. while he slept.

The Beastmaster was on TNT. The Beastmaster was always on TNT. She'd seen it hundreds of times, but she watched it anyway. And after that they played Overboard, which she had also seen hundreds of times, and she watched that as well.

After finishing both movies, she went to the kitchen to make Todd some soup. Opting for the microwave instead of his dangerous-looking stove (It was a bachelor pad, after all. She highly doubted he took the stove into consideration when deciding to rent the place), she grabbed a dishtowel and carefully carried the steaming bowl up to his room.

She entered to find him curled up peacefully, snoring slightly through the congestion in his nose. He looked so comfortable... she hated to wake him, but it was time for him to have another dose of Tylenol and it wouldn't hurt him to have some of the protein that was in the noodle soup.

Shaking his shoulder gently, she roused him from his slumber and, placing her hand on his brow again, asked him how he was feeling.

"Better," he murmured sleepily. "Tired," he added, coughing a couple of times. His cough sounded much better, and he didn't feel as warm as he had before he fell asleep. He sat up, and took the bowl she thrust into his hands.

"Eat as much of this as you can," she said. "And we'll get you some more Tylenol before you go back to sleep."

He ate more than half of it, which she was pleased to see. It meant that his cold couldn't be that serious, if his appetite was mostly unaffected. He probably would have finished it off, but his mouth went slack, and he placed the bowl on the nightstand with shaking hands as he launched into a sneezing fit.

"Hih... ihSSHOO!-ihSHOO!-IHSSHOO!...SHOO@!...ihhIISHOO!... uhHSHHOO!..."

She disappeared into the bathroom, having noticed there was no box of tissues in his bedroom, and reappeared carrying a soft roll of toilet paper. Unrolling him a handful, she placed it in the hands that were tented in front of his face as he sneezed helplessly into them.

"AASHOO!... UhhhHAASHOO! ATT-CHHOO! HEH HEH HEH HEERRUSSHOO!" He nodded his thanks, taking a deep breath and catching a big sneeze in the paper, proceeding directly to a forceful blow. She guessed he was one of those sneezers that wouldn't stop until they'd blown their nose. Watching him shaken with the sneezes, she found herself thinking how incredibly attractive he was... Whoa! She stopped herself. This was Todd, after all. One of her best friends... and sick to boot. How could anyone find him attractive?... and yet... she did.

He brought the impromptu tissues down from his face, sniffling weakly and giving her a charming smile. His eyes saw the look she was giving him, and they widened in a mixture of confusion, hope, fear, and anxiety.

"Kerrie?" he asked, nervously. He didn't dare hope... but that look. He had seen that look a thousand times in his dreams, but never on her beautiful face.

She looked at him again, this time her desire colored by awe and wonder. She sat down on the bed in front of him, one hand moving to brush the hair away from his astonished blue eyes. Leaning forward, she kissed him, her lips enfolding his in a rose petal embrace that sent a shudder of pleasure coursing through his body. When she drew back, she found tears in his eyes, and knew in that instant that her heart was his.

He took her in his arms, his lips fluttering up her neck and causing her to break out in goosebumps. Her breasts started to press against him, nipples hard under her soft T-shirt. The sneeze burst forth unexpectedly from his lips, spraying her shoulder and neck and causing him to grow red with embarrassment. However, she moved to give him a look that nearly undid him - one of intense desire that caused him to grow hard with longing for her. He had never told her how sexy she was, but he thought now would be a good time to show her.

His hands ran up and down her body, catching underneath her T-shirt so that it was skin to skin. He undid her bra, pulling his hands around to run them over her large breasts. Her breathing quickened with her arousal, his mouth nibbling at her ear, and he whispered softly.

"I want you so much."

She moaned, giving in to him. He pulled her down on her bed, kissing her neck, cheek, mouth... He was sniffling softly, trying to keep back the fluid in his runny nose. He pulled off her shirt, kissing her breasts slowly and tenderly. She moaned, running her hands over his strong back. He rolled on top of her, pulling off his shirt, then her shorts, then his own, kissing and caressing her at the same time. Her body was aflame with passion, her breasts hard, her mouth soft, her legs throbbing with desire. His body echoed her feelings... and his nose was itching with an approaching sneeze. He wiggled his face around trying to dislodge it, but all that did was make the feeling more intense. He sniffled loudly, thinking to himself, "What a mood-breaker."

She was thinking the complete opposite.

She knew he was trying hard not to sneeze, and she was determined to make it happen. Kissing his face, she let her hair dangle in his nose, knowing that the tickling would make the urge irresistible. The strands fell inside his flaring nostrils and finding the sensitive membranes that caused the sneezy sensation to increase in intensity. She continued to kiss and caress him, feeling his body gasp quickly underneath her, struggling not to sneeze. Her kisses trailed up his neck and cheek, the final one light and feathery... right on the end of his nose. That did it.


Ooh, that felt good. He was growing hard and hot, kissing her mouth passionately. His kisses became fast and hungry. He slid his hand down, massaging her slick sex until she fairly thrummed under his deft fingers. Where did he learn to do this?? It was driving her absolutely crazy!

She moved down on his body, leaving a trail of kisses in her wake. He sneezed again, trying to control it so it wasn't as loud and messy as the last one had been. His sleep had done his body worlds of good - his headache was gone, his coughing nearly gone, and his fever considerably down. He wasn't even really tired. All that remained of his cold was this tickly, itchy, stuffy nose that fought and urged to take over his entire body.

Kerrie had reached his rock hard member, and began to kiss and caress it with her tongue, sending shock waves of electricity through Todd's body. Before he could stop himself, his nose fired off three loud sneezes. "EHHKKCHOO! AATCCHOO! SSCHHOO!" God that felt good! It all felt so very, very good!

She moved back up to nibble on his neck, his hands massaging over her entire body. Their kissing became rhythmic, passionate. And then, he entered her, moving in a rhythm that rocked them both in cosmic ecstasy. His nose, however, was not finished. As hard as he tried to ignore it, the pressing need to let go and sneeze the prickly sensation out of his quivering nostrils was mounting.

"I... hah... Hi deed to... hah... deed to sduh... sduheeze..." his voice trailed off, rising in pitch.

"Hold it back, baby. Try," she asked, knowing full well he couldn't hold out much longer. His rhythm became faster, pulling them both closer and closer to the edge.

His nose was twinging and seizing, nostrils flaring involuntarily.

"Hiih... I huh... I can'd... hiih iih... Hi can'd seem to... hah... seem to sthob... theb... HiiH hIIh iih HIIH HIIH... HHHIIISSSHHHOOO!!"

Her entire body convulsed with the force of his sneeze, causing her to tighten around him, squeezing his engorged penis as he came into her, his rhythm peaking, and she was filled with the sweetest orgasm, heightened by the feeling of relief that washed over him after that mighty sneeze. She arched her back, and cried out. He curled over her, filled to overflowing with the sweetest sensation his body had ever known. His nose was still a little tickly, but he felt so full and alive and in love that he didn't care, firing off two small sneezes onto Kerrie's chest. "EehhHIISSHOO! IISHOO!"

He leaned in and kissed her deeply, easing in the rhythm. His attentions became slow and silky, full and languid. As they finished their lovemaking, he rolled off to lie next to her, sniffling to keep the fluid from running out his overflowing nostrils, and giving a very tired, contented sigh. Smoothing his hair back from his face, she looked into his eyes, smiling.

He just stared at her, unable to hide the adoration shining in his eyes. "I love you so much," he whispered, his voice choked with emotion. "I have for the longest time."

She kissed him again, gently, sweetly, and he brought one hand to her face, his eyes closed as he savored the taste of her.

Unwillingly, he broke the kiss as he drew a quick breath to sneeze off to the side. Despite how much better he felt - after not just his sleep - his body still wanted him to know he was sick. He gave a few coughs, then stifled a yawn, his illness causing him to tire more easily than he would have expected.

Kerrie sensed this, and drew him to her. He burrowed his face in her neck, and in a few minutes, they were both asleep in each other's arms.