It took Kimblee a while to realize that Archer was missing. They'd been sharing the couch after dinner when Archer had gotten up. Kimblee lost track of how long he'd been gone, but it had been an unusually long time. He didn't bother calling for him, since he knew that got on Archer's nerves. Instead, he got up and walked first to the kitchen, then the office, then the bedroom. When his search ended fruitlessly, he turned to the bathroom door. It was closed. He walked over and knocked.
"Go away," Archer snapped from behind the door.
"I was just wondering if you'd fallen in," he called back.
"No! I didn't, so go away." Archer sounded annoyed, more annoyed than he should be for Kimblee inquiring about his whereabouts.
"Is everything all right?"
"Fine! Wonderful! Can I get a little peace here?"
Kimblee faintly heard the sounds of someone doing their business and decided not to argue. He went back into the living room and picked up the alchemy journal he'd been reading. Ten minutes later, he was walking back towards the bathroom. He heard a muffled grunt before he knocked again.
"Are you sure you're all right in there? You've been in there for a while."
"Yes! I'm merely doing what nature requires. And I require a little privacy if you don't mind."
Kimblee thought about it. In the beginning of their relationship, Frank had been really uptight about things like body functions. He tried to do them when Kimblee wasn't around, but when two people lived and worked together, that was a little hard to do. Over time, they intruded on each other enough so that it wasn't as big of a deal. Archer didn't exactly leave the door wide open but if Kimblee knocked first and walked in, he wouldn't throw a fit. Things had settled into a resigned sort of familiarity. They were resigned to such little intrusions, but weren't resentful of them. The fact that Archer was snapping at him told him that something was wrong.
"I'm coming in," he announced, turning the knob.
"No! Go away dammit!" Archer growled.
"Too late," Kimblee said as he stepped into the bathroom. The smell was certainly not roses, but he had enough piece of mind not to ask what died. He took in Archer's angry expression and noted the tense lines around his face. "All right, what's wrong?" He asked, leaning against the counter.
"I'm using the toilet! People use the toilet all the time and other people let them do so without barging in like this!"
"Yeah well, you've been in here a long time and you're really pissy. Something's got to be up."
"Of course something's up! You won't leave me the hell alone!" Archer pointed at him accusingly, a wadded up ball of toilet paper clenched in his fist.
Kimblee looked him over. He looked rather uncomfortable sitting on his porcelain throne. He took in the pink tinged toilet paper in the waste basket and his eyes widened. "Are you bleeding?"
Archer turned away, his fist tightening on the toilet paper in his hand. "That's really none of your concern."
"The hell it isn't!" Kimblee stomped forward. "Are you all right? Is it because...was I too rough last night?" He asked hesitantly.
"No. I'm not some delicate flower. I don't fall apart if you get a little rough."
"Then what's the matter?" He asked, getting worried about what it could possibly be.
"Something I ate."
Kimblee paused. "It wasn't my cooking was it?" He wasn't the best cook, but he was careful about his food preparations. He'd been reading his househusband magazine faithfully and he was getting better. He had only made a simple pasta dish that night. There shouldn't have been anything in it that would disagree with Archer's stomach so violently.
Archer shook his head. "It was the cafeteria's food."
"Food? That slop they served today?" He thought back on the soupy mess that they claimed was chili and shuddered. He'd gone out to grab a sandwich from the local deli instead of taking his chances with the chili. "You ate it?"
Archer sighed. "I skipped lunch. My secretary brought in a tray from the cafeteria. It was either that or nothing."
"That damn cafeteria. That food is hardly ever edible. It's worse than school cafeterias! At least you knew the old lunch ladies were trying to feed you healthy stuff. The military cafeteria doesn't care if they turn your intestines inside out with their shit!"
Archer stayed silent as Kimblee ranted. Kimblee never did like the cafeteria food. To him, it was as bad as prison food, if not worse. He rarely ate in the cafeteria unless Archer specifically invited him and there was something resembling a normal dish being served. Archer tended to stay away from the cafeteria as well, but that's only because he tended to eat less. He would have a large breakfast and usually brought along a piece of fruit for lunch so he could work through that time and get ahead. Unfortunately, they were out of fruit that morning, so he was forced to rely on the cafeteria food, something that he sorely regretted now.
Kimblee pulled out a wash cloth and wet it in the sink. "Well, let me see," he said.
Archer's head snapped up at him. "What?"
"Let me see. I want to see how bad it is."
"It's nothing for you to worry about, I'll be fine in a while."
"It's too late for me to not worry about it. Now show me."
Archer's face began to heat up. "But..."
Kimblee shook his head. "I don't care about that. I care about you though, so show me what's wrong."
Archer sat in silence. Kimblee tapped his foot. Archer sighed. He got up slowly, wincing. The toilet bowl was empty but for a few more pink tinged pieces of tissue. Kimblee frowned. It appeared that Archer had already completed his business, but was still sitting on the toilet for another reason. He took Archer's arm, turning and bending him over the counter. Archer dropped his head onto his arm, feeling humiliation burn deep in him. He felt the cool cloth on his skin and hissed.
Not lifting his head, Archer nodded.
Kimblee frowned. "How does it feel?"
"Like acid. Fucking hurts," Archer mumbled.
Kimblee nodded. He was a little swollen and irritated down there. He reached up and opened the medicine cabinet. He pulled out a bottle of aloe and squeezed some of the gel onto his fingers. As Kimblee touched him, Archer's head jerked up.
"You're not going to do that!" He yelled.
Kimblee snorted. "Of course not. I'm just trying to help." He pushed Archer's head back into his arms. "Now be quiet and stay still." He carefully spread out the aloe and Archer gradually relaxed, his body losing the tension it'd been holding. "Better?"
Archer nodded. "Much."
Kimblee put the aloe away and pulled out some stomach medicine. "Here, take this and go to bed."
Archer looked at him. "What are you, my mother?"
"No. I'm your husband, now be good and take your medicine."
"Yes dear," Archer said sarcastically. Despite his sarcasm, he washed his hands and filled the glass sitting near the sink with water and took two of the bright pink pills. Kimblee nudged him over with his hip as he washed his own hands. Archer knelt to pick up his pants and flushed the toilet. As Archer tried to squeeze past him out of the bathroom, Kimblee turned and grabbed his bare hips. He pulled Archer towards him and gave him a light kiss on the lips.
"Don't forget, in sickness and in health babe."
Archer rolled his eyes. "Yes dear." He kissed him back.
The next morning, the bed was empty when he woke up. That was unusual. Kimblee was typically the last one out of bed. Feeling dirty from the night before, he took a quick shower before dressing and walking out into the kitchen. Not only was breakfast already on the table, but there were two small paper bags sitting together on the counter. Each one had a name scrawled on it with black marker.
When they arrived at work, they heard about the gas explosion that destroyed the cafeteria's kitchen. "Good thing we decided to brown bag it today," Kimblee said with an innocent smile.
"Yes. Good thing," Archer murmured in agreement.
Well, finally got that one posted. It's been finished for a while, but I just never got myself around to posting it ^_^;; Now I have ten themes down and ten more to go! Cockroach is next. Ew, I hate roaches O_o!
Next - Shiny and New