Word Count: 1,329
Summary: Richard is sick, and his fever makes him say a few things that he shouldn't.
SPOILERS: Tiny ones for episode 6.
Notes: #2 in my Richard/Fidel series, the rest of which are here
Fidel sat beside Richard’s bed, watching as Catherine bustled about trying to make him comfortable. He really hadn’t known who else to call; he needed to go back to work, what with Camille being in Paris and Richard confined to his bed, and Catherine was the only person he could think of who Richard would feel comfortable with.
“No, I don’t want to go to bed.”
They both looked at Richard, Catherine leaning over and brushing his hair back from his damp brow.
“You already are in bed,” she told him. “Poor man is delirious.” She stood again, returning a few moments later with a wet towel to try and cool his fever.
As she lay it over his forehead, her gaze fell to Fidel and she frowned.
“What’s the matter, honey? You aren’t getting sick too, are you?”
Fidel shook his head, forcing a smile. “I’m just concerned about Ri- the Inspector.”
“Camille, is that you?”
“No,” Fidel told him, reaching out to touch his hand lightly. “It’s me. Fidel.”
Richard frowned. “Where’s Camille?”
Fidel sighed miserably and stood up. Richard didn’t care if he was here or not; all he wanted was Camille. Muttering his excuses, he left, heading back to the station. Catherine would make sure that Richard was alright.
Two hours later, Catherine perched on the edge of Richard’s bed and straightened his sheets again. He’d been tossing and turning for a while now, his fever still not broken, and he was still talking absolute nonsense. Every now and then, however, what he said wasn’t nonsense. Such as now.
“No, we can’t let them see us together.”
Catherine leaned in closer. “Who?” She knew she really shouldn’t be prying, taking advantage when he wasn’t in control of what came out of his mouth, but she was curious. She’d suspected that her daughter was rather fond of Richard for a while now. Maybe…
“Everyone,” Richard muttered. “Fidel, don’t tell them yet.”
She knew her expression resembled that of a startled kitten at this point, but she really hadn’t been expecting that. Fidel? Well, now that she thought about it, it would explain his concern, how he had been sitting at Richard’s bedside most of the morning. Right up until he left suddenly. Oh dear. Richard had asked for her daughter, hadn’t he? Not Fidel, but Camille.
Not letting on that she had worked it out, got him a glass of water and encouraged him to sit up and drink some.
“I’m fine. I don’t need you babying me!”
Catherine smiled. He was definitely improving and probably didn’t need her here, but she had promised Fidel that she would look after him and she was determined to do just that no matter how cantankerous he was being. He was well enough that he didn’t need watching today, but she doubted that he would rest, or even eat, if she didn’t keep checking up on him. He would probably try and go to work and end up passing out on the way there.
“Here. I made you some more chicken soup; it’s good for you, so eat up.”
He scowled at her and took the bowl she offered, setting it down on the bedside cabinet. She knew that he was going to wait until he was alone and then get out his phone, calling in to see how the case was going, but she left him believing she didn’t know. He seemed a lot happier when he was working and so she let him as, quite frankly, he was a dreadful patient. Bad tempered and stubborn, he refused to let her help him.
Fidel had been back a couple of times yesterday and again today, but she had been listening in and it had been strictly about the case and their new temporary commanding officer. Richard had been so caught up in the case each time, or falling asleep, that hadn’t noticed the wounded puppy expression on Fidel’s face each time he called in. It amazed her that such a brilliant detective could be so oblivious when it came to other people.
Looking out into the main room, she saw Fidel come inside, and kept out of their way as they discussed his and Dwayne’s latest interviews with the suspects. From what she had heard Dwayne telling Richard from his visits, Fidel was getting the worst of it from the new inspector, too. Though he wouldn’t say a bad word against her, Dwayne had filled Richard in on her patronising him and not even bothering to get his name right. She had been watching and, when he heard that, Catherine had seen a flicker of anger cross Richard’s face before he hid it again quickly. Dwayne never noticed, but she had.
Waiting until Fidel had gone, she came back out to collect his empty soup bowl, pleased that he had eaten it all. She paused, frowning, looking around the room. Hadn’t there been a plant in a pot standing near the foot of the bed? She shook her head; she must have been mistaken. Why on earth would he have moved a huge pot plant?
“You know, you’re going to have to apologise to that young man,” she told him. At his blank look, she rolled her eyes. “You really haven’t noticed, have you? Honestly, you are meant to be a detective!”
“I’ll have you know that I am a bloody good detective,” he snapped. “Now what are you wittering on about?”
“Your young man is upset with you, and please don’t insult my intelligence by denying that he’s yours,” she added, seeing him open his mouth to do just that.
Seeing her glare, Richard backed down again. “Have you told anyone else?”
Catherine shook her head. “No, though I do not see why you won’t.”
Ignoring that, Richard asked, “What have I done to upset him?”
She could see how much it irked him having to ask her for help in this, but at the same time it said a lot about how much he cared about Fidel that he had swallowed his pride and done so.
“Do you remember any of the things you said when you had a fever? Do you remember asking for Camille, perhaps?”
Catherine knew the moment he did recall it, the muttered curse, his shoulders sagging as he sat down on the bed.
“He was here, wasn’t he?”
That evening, once the case had been wrapped up and the interfering busy-body of an inspector sent packing, Richard asked Fidel to drive him home. Camille had offered, seeing how unsteady on his feet Richard still looked, but he had refused. He wanted to talk to Fidel.
“Will you come in?” he asked, as Fidel made as though to turn around and take the vehicle back to the station.
“I wanted to say thank you for what you did for me over the past couple of days,” he said as soon as they were inside and sat down.
“You mean for feeding you information?”
Richard shook his head. “Not just that; I meant for looking after me too. I also wanted to apologise. I know that I said a few things that upset you yesterday, even though, in my defence, I was delirious and therefore not in control of what I was saying.”
Fidel just stared at him and Richard sighed. As apologies went, that one could have been better.
“Had I been thinking straight,” Richard tried again, “it would have been you I wanted with me. Not Camille. To be honest, I heard her mother’s voice and they sound very similar-”
Finally, Fidel took pity on him and stopped him. “It’s alright; I know that you couldn’t help it.”
Richard heaved a sigh of relief before remembering something else.
“As you seem to be in a forgiving mood,” he said, “I also seem to have told Catherine a few things I didn’t intend to…”