Fever Dreams

By Juli

August 1999

Based on a premise by Voracity


"What are you doing out of bed?" Derek Rayne put his hands on his hips and tried to glare at his youngest lover. It was difficult to stay angry with the ex-SEAL under the best of circumstances, let alone when the smaller man was under the weather, but somehow the Precept was managing.

Nick made a truly woebegone figure, standing forlornly as he was at the bottom of the stairs. The tail of a white t-shirt peeping out from below a rumpled and faded jersey, cute-as-a-button upturned nose red from sniffling and sneezing, old blanket wrapped around his shoulders. Derek, Nick, and their third lover, Philip had all recently suffered from bad colds. The older two, being fairly reasonable men, had been careful with their health once they started to recover. Nick, on the other hand, had insisted on going jogging even when it was lightly raining outside. The relapse that resulted had left the dispositions of all three men somewhat strained, accounting for the Dutchman's less-than-sympathetic mood. When was Nick going to learn that it was important to take care of himself?

"I'm tired of being in bed," Nick finally answered.

"But I thought you liked being in bed?" Derek asked in exasperation. The young American had certainly dragged him there on many occasions - not that Derek had ever put up much of a fight.

Nick thrust his lower lip out in an exaggerated pout. "Not when I'm by myself, I don't."

Philip "The Peacekeeper" Calligan walked into the foyer to break up what looked to be a potential disagreement between his two favorite men. "I think Nick's just bored, Derek. He knows that he has ta take care o' himself or risk it turning into pneumonia. Right, Nick?" The ex-priest shot the other young man a serious look, prompting the ex-SEAL to shake his head vigorously in agreement. "See, Nick just needs a change a scenery."

The Precept glanced suspiciously at his colleagues and lovers. They were a mischievous pair and he couldn't always tell if they were up to something or not. Still, it wouldn't be like Philip to take any risks with Nick's health......

"All right," the Dutchman conceded. "You can stay downstairs. But you have to rest."

"It's a deal," Nick agreed.

The two younger men watched while the grumpy Dutchman stalked down the hall towards his office. "Man, he sure gets fussy sometimes," Nick commented, finally dragging his gaze away from Derek's receding backside. Some sights just had to be savored, even when you weren't feeling your best.

"Do you think that either one of us actually enjoys having you not feel well?" Philip asked, steering the younger man towards a comfortable easy chair.

"Well, no...."

"Then do what the doctor says this time and take care of yourself." Being uncharacteristically firm, Philip settled Nick into the chair, handed him the television remote, and headed back upstairs to get the cold medicine.

The bathroom the three men shared had become cluttered during the recent bout of illness and bottles were strewn haphazardly in sloppy pile by the sink. Philip brushed the hair out of his eyes and grabbed the flask of red medicine, correctly remembering it to be the daytime cold remedy. Unfortunately, the Irishman was in a hurry to get back to his patient and snatched the first available plastic cap, not realizing that it was the much larger top that was normally used to measure a dose of the sniffling-sneezing-nighttime-so-you-can-rest medicine.

Trotting back down the stairs, Philip watched while Nick bent over in another round of coughing. "Here, this should help." He poured the viscous red concoction into the plastic cap and watched while Nick swallowed it down. The ex-Priest smiled at his lover's grimace, not aware that he'd just given the younger man double the recommended dose of the medication. Leaning down, Philip pressed his lips to Nick's fever-warmed ones for a quick kiss.

"What was that for?" the American wanted to know.

"Didn't your mother ever tell you," Philip answered with a grin. "A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. Now, you stay put in that chair and rest while I help Derek finish up with those infernal reports. I think we'll all be a lot happier when he can ship them off to London." With that precautionary warning, the ex-Priest hurried down the hall to join the Precept.

Nick settled himself back in his chair and began the painstaking task of finding something worth watching on daytime television. "Crap, crap, crap," the young man muttered, quickly surfing past soap operas, court television, and paid programming. "Ooooh, now this is more like it," he finally declared, sinking back even further into the chair's soft cushions. "Give 'm hell, Jerry!" On the screen, an animated mouse was besting his nemesis, Tom the cat.

Nick always liked to root for the underdog, even when it was a rodent.

*********************************

Nick felt a sudden chill and sat up with a start. "Wha- ......?" The room, hell, the whole castle, had gone dark and gloomy. "What happened? Where is everybody?"

"Hey, gang, he's in here!"

Nick was relieved to see Derek stride through the door, but was a little puzzled to see the older man dressed in jeans and a white shirt. Normally the boss was clothed a little more elegantly than that and had, in fact, been attired in a dark suit when Nick had last seen him.

The funky red scarf around his neck wasn't Derek's typical style either.

Somehow, the Precept's outfit looked familiar, although Nick would testify on a stack of bibles that he'd never seen his older lover in that getup before. Nor could he recollect ever witnessing that particular wide-eyed exuberance on the other man's face. The ex-SEAL began to wonder if Derek had been imbibing. The Dutchman always teased that the Legacy's extensive paperwork would eventually drive him to drink, but Nick never thought it would actually happen. Before Nick could comment, however, the Precept was joined by the ladies of the group.

"Groovy!" Alex said, upon spying Nick curled up in the chair. "We thought that ghost had nabbed you for sure."

"If it truly was a ghost, that is," Rachel commented suspiciously, peering at the ex-SEAL through heavy, dark-rimmed glasses. "And not some crook pretending to be a monster!"

Nick looked from one woman to another. Alex was dressed in a bonafide mini-skirt and had her curly hair pulled back with a headband. Rachel, hair in an uncharacteristically short bob, was outfitted in a dark orange pleated skirt and long pumpkin-colored sweater. Both of them looked like they had just stepped out of an Austin Powers movie.

"What happened to you?" Sure, Rachel wore some questionable outfits sometime, but this was a new low, even for her.

"The better question is," Derek corrected, "what happened to you?"

"Yeah," Alex added, "Like, one minute you and Scooby are off to the kitchen for a snack and then we find you sleeping here."

Scooby? As in Scooby Doo?

"What's goin' on here?" Nick asked, getting up from the chair.

"Well, we were heading for a beach party in the Mystery Van when we saw glowing lights at the castle....." Derek started to explain.

Nick was only half-listening. When he'd stood up, he'd realized that he was wearing a green shirt and brown bellbottoms. The ex-SEAL lifted one leg up and jiggled it, mesmerized by how the fabric swung around his ankles. "Man, how do you walk in these things without tripping and falling on your face," he muttered to himself.

Derek, in the meantime, was finishing up his explanation. "....and so, knowing how criminals like to disguise their activities by pretending to be monsters or ghosts, we thought it best to investigate."

"Huh?"

"Zoinks," Rachel said. "You're really out of it tonight. You know, how we're always trying to investigate paranormal phenomenon but every single time, it turns out to be some bad guy pulling a hoax to cover up a crime. And not very successfully, I might add, 'cause we catch them every time."

Was everybody nuts around here tonight? "So, what's the hoax this time?" Nick asked, figuring it was safe to follow along for the moment.

"We don't know yet," Derek said, "but following those footprints seems like a good idea. Maybe we'll find Scooby. Come on, gang!" The big man set out to follow the trail of the conveniently glowing tracks.

Nick looked at his colleagues' serious faces. If this was some sort of a joke, they'd sure gone to a lot of trouble and the ex-SEAL decided to play along for the time being.

The tracks led them to the kitchen, with Nick trailing behind the group a bit. As a result, he heard the others' joyful cries of "Scooby" before he actually entered. The young man hesitated a bit because he had a b-a-a-a-d feeling about what he would find when he got there. Bracing himself, the young man pushed the door open.

It was worse than he expected.

Philip was sitting on his haunches, dressed in some sort of loose baggy velour jumpsuit, a blue collar around his neck, and a pair of puppy dog ears sticking up from the top of his head. The tip of his nose had been blackened, completing the illusion that the ex-priest was a reject from a live-action version of "Lady and the Tramp."

"Oh, man, this is getting really weird," Nick muttered under his breath.

"Hey, look over here, gang!" Derek called. "Scooby found where the footprints go!" The Dutchman patted Philip on the head before leading the spook squad over to look out at the garden. "See at how that moss is glowing...."

"I get it," Rachel said. "The footprints aren't glowing because a ghost made them. They're glowing because someone walked through that phosphorescent plant growth. It's not a monster after all."

"Who would be walking through an abandoned castle at this late hour?" Alex asked.

The curly-haired researcher quickly got her answer as the back door was flung open, backlighting Kristin positioned in the doorway, glowing moss smeared on her shoes. The newest member of the San Francisco Legacy house was dressed in a short, pleated skirt and had her hair done up with a big bow on top of her head. A bow that Nick soon noticed featured a little skull.

"Awww..... look at that cute, cuddly little poochy woochy," Kristin crooned in a singsong voice. "Wouldn't you like to come home with me and be my friend forever? I would wuv you and kiss you and hug you......" The glassy-eyed blonde reached for "Scooby."

Philip took one look at her and immediately jumped into Nick's arms. "Rikes!" The ex-priest exclaimed.

Nick staggered under the Irishman's weight, but managed to keep his feet. "Gotta save Philip," he muttered as he reached futilely for a gun he wasn't wearing.

"Nick!"

The ex-SEAL tried to tune out Derek's concerned voice, intent on saving gentle Philip from the evil creature.

"Nick!" This time, a mild shaking accompanied the calling of his name and the ex-SEAL partially opened his eyes to see both of his lovers anxiously looking down at him. Philip was perched on the arm of the easy chair while Derek knelt on the floor in front of him, chafing both of Nick's hands in his large, warm ones.

Philip saw Nick's eyes open, albeit at only half-mast, and lifted his own eyes towards heaven in a quick but heart-felt prayer. When they were unable to wake the young man, Derek had noticed the medicine cap and quickly discerned that Philip had accidently overdosed him. A quick call to Rachel had reassured them that it probably wasn't a dangerous situation, but the Irishman was immeasurably relieved to see his younger lover wake up.

"Wh' happened," Nick slurred. "Where'd th' monster go?"

Derek laughed in relief. "You've been sleeping. The monster was only a dream."

"Good." Nick said as decisively as possible for someone who was still half asleep. "'Cause it was a nasty one."

Eager to keep the young man talking, Derek and Philip coaxed him to tell them about his dream. Neither of the older men had been able to break Nick of his early morning rising habits, but over the months they'd been a trio, they'd convinced him to stay in bed with them late on Saturday mornings by encouraging the ex-SEAL to watch Saturday morning cartoons --- with the volume down low. As a result, it didn't take either European long to recognize the origin of the dream or its cast of characters.

But one of them wasn't very happy about it.

"What I want to know," Philip asked, glaring at Nick, "is why you made me be the dog."

Nick looked abashed. "It's not like I did it on purpose, Philip. I was asleep."

"I know, but I wonder what Rachel would say about it...."

The younger two men heard a stifled snort of laughter and it was Derek's turn to get an Irish glower. The Precept's mirth annoyed Philip, but allowed Nick to see the humor in the situation.

"Well, Scooby is Shaggy's best friend," Nick said in a deceptively meek voice, "and besides, maybe I just got used to seeing you in a collar..."

Philip swung back around to frown at his younger lover. Catching Nick's chin in one hand, he pulled the ex-SEAL's face close until they were nose to nose. "Just because I'm not a priest anymore doesn't mean I don't have respect for th' office. Now, I know you're sick and that I gave you too much medicine, so I'll pretend you didna say that. 'Cause if you did say somethin' like that, I'd have to be mad at you and I don't like bein' mad at you."

"Oh," Nick said, impressed with how serious Philip was. The ex-SEAL felt like smacking himself upside the head. The priesthood was still a touchy subject with the Irishman and one that both he and Derek had learned to avoid.

"Besides," Derek added. "There is a much more simple explanation." He waited until the other two looked at him before continuing.

"No doubt Nick's subconscious cast you as Scooby because he knows you prefer the doggie position."

The way the older man lecherously wagged his eyebrows up and down left little doubt as to just what type of "position" he'd been referring to.

The younger men looked at their normally serious lover in disbelief. Nick snorted first and then both young man dissolved into laughter. The Precept grinned at them in return, glad that the tension in the room that had been caused by Nick's collar comment had been broken. "I think this conversation would be more comfortable upstairs in bed. If I remember right, Nick, you said you didn't mind the bed if you weren't alone?" Derek rose from the floor and gave the smaller man a hand up from the chair.

Still laughing softly, Philip led the way up the stairs and to their bedroom. Nick, watching the Irishman's taut backside as the other man ascended the steps, suddenly had an evil thought.

"Hey 'Scooby,'" he said with a smirk. "How 'bout I slip you a bone?

~the end~

 

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