by MaccaJ
Rating: PG-13ish, mostly for language.
Fandom: None - the fanfic shackles of my existence are (temporarily) off.
Pairing: Just my own; Brian/Treasa.
Disclaimer: None required - they're mine, and I take copyright issues very seriously, so don't steal. (You don't want these two anyway, they babble incessantly.)
Author's Notes: Just a quick dip into my little world... This about as close to PWP fic as I'll ever come. Enjoy.


The sneeze punctured the steady hiss of Brian's oxygen and the hum of the concentrator. He grinned to himself and waited; Treasa had the most beautiful sneezes, soft and polite sounding but undeniably powerful.

She wasn't a very sneezy person - as with himself, colds tended to waste very little time settling in her chest - and Brian was fairly sure she had no idea just how pleasurable he found her brief but very much annual attacks of hay fever. She never failed to be embarrassed by his overzealous caretaking, but he'd noticed that the more attentive he was, the more likely she was to relax and allow nature to run its course. Healthier for her, surely. And if he got a secret thrill as a fringe benefit, well... so what.

February ruled out hay fever this time around, though. The culprit was more likely to be a cold... or a random occurrence, he thought with disappointment as he lay hoping for a second sneeze.

None came. He resigned himself to its randomness and tried to find contentment in the perfection of that single one.

It worked, but only a little; he was wide awake now and desperate to smother her with kisses, ask tenderly if she was alright, have sex with her for God's sake, slow, sweet, caregiving sex. And then maybe hot, wild, amazing sex, back down into slow and sweet and patient.

A healthy man might have acted with less restraint, but Brian was not that. Sex, at least in the traditional sense, was a luxury largely lost to him... the toll on his breathing was too high, and though Treasa was amazing about reassuring him that he was every bit as much a man as any other, and the only one for her thank you very much, there were still times like this, when he craved the spontaneity of kissing her awake to reaffirm his affections in a standard manly fashion.

No more sex. Sleep.

"Issh! Huh-issh!.... chhht!"

She'd made an attempt to stifle the last, but it had slipped out despite her best efforts. Brian remained motionless, not wanting to disturb her in the event more might be on the way.

The wait felt like eons, but at last he detected a tiny catch in her even respirations.

"Ih-chhht!" she gasped a long trembly breath, "....HESHoo!"

A tiny sniffle followed, dwarfed in the wake of the final sneeze that had held the quiet power of three in one.

Now he could make a move.

Gently, he slid an arm around her and pressed close to her ear. "Bless you."

She sniffled again. "God, sorry."

"Don't be sorry," he nibbled her earlobe. "You alright?"

"Mmm. Fine, luv."

Still, she snuggled into his efforts with a soft noise that in any other woman would've been termed a purr.

He wanted to say more, but experience had taught him that calling too much attention to the reason they were awake would cause her to grow formal and distant. Or worse, she would remember the potential for spreading germs and insist on bunking alone on the living room sofa for the rest of the night.

He settled for holding her, nuzzling the smooth Irish skin that held its own luminescence in the darkness.

"Taim i ngra leatsa," she whispered, reaching up to stroke his hair, and he shivered with the delicious tingle and held her closer yet, well aware that the unsteadiness of his raspy, congested breathing was betraying the depths of his desire.

"Love you - " he turned away as a heavy cough slipped out, " - too."

"You're not up fer annythin'," she ventured, and he knew it for a question.

"Not really."

"Nor am I," was the answer. He read the honest weariness in her voice and was grateful.

"Love you so much," he repeated. "Was just lying... here, feeling so lucky... to be next to you."

A moment of stillness greeted this declaration. He waited, sure that two decades of Treasa hadn't steered him wrong.

Indeed, it was not her reaction but the fierceness in it that caught him off guard - delicate long-fingered hands yanked him closer and she growled, "C'mere'n let me snog th' face off yeh, yeh gorgeous fuckin' specimen."

He managed a careful laugh and submitted to her hungry kisses, occasionally able to match them with one of his own.

"D'yeh know," she whispered just a few minutes later when they were both spent, "that's better than sex. I think, annyway." She gave him a timid glance.

He nodded, winding himself around her again. "If I had to pick between sex and then sleep, or... being able to do this over and... over - and I do, in fact - ... I'd pick this almost every time."

"Easier on your poor lungs," Treasa added, unable to resist pointing that out.

"And yours," he finished, not to be outdone, and softened the teasing with another kiss.

Her mouth felt so right against his. This go-around he took his time, trading hunger for intimacy. As he lingered, lost in the moment, her breathing slid to a series of shallow gasps. Another second slipped by before he realized he'd lost her grip on another sneeze. He held onto the kiss as long as he dared, delighting in both the sensation and the metaphor that came of her involuntary efforts to pull a breath from his own wasted lungs.

And then, as his pleasure threatened to become her desperation, he let go.

"Essht!" she sneezed almost immediately, catching it in the crook of her elbow and sagging in his embrace, face turned away in embarrassment.

"Hey," he said softly, and found himself tightening his hold on her just a fraction as she made a half-hearted attempt to return to her side of the bed. "No, don't pull away from me, listen," he stroked her cheek, "You put up with me stopping to cough up junk and... turn up my oxygen, I think I can... deal with a little sneeze."

"Tisn't 'putting up,'" she mumbled. "I love you... all of you."

"And I love all of you, so quit it."

She hesitated.

"C'mon," Brian coaxed, and she smiled and cuddled up as before.

"Thank you."

Several minutes ticked by before he gathered the courage to add, "That was actually kind of amazing."

"You t'ink?" she murmured, head resting lightly on his chest, Dublin brogue thickened with sleep.

"I t'ink."

She whapped his arm. "G'won outta tha'."

His low answering chuckle became a grinding cough that earned him a light squeeze of love and sympathy combined.

They breathed together.

"It was, a bit," her admission drifted through the white noise of their existence.

"What was?"

"Gettin' hung up in a sneeze whilst snoggin'," she grinned. "Shall have to try tha' again sometime."



"I would be more than prepared for that type of eventuality."

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