I’ve become quite fond of your ocs, especially Darragh. I was wondering if it wasn’t too much trouble, or you have the time, would you write something where Darragh starts to have an episode but Orlaith isn’t home (she’s out of town or something) , but this episode is too much for Darragh to handle on his own so he has to call someone to come help? (Extra points if he’s so weak he can barely hold himself up) thanks so much!! you rock!!
Sooo, I loved loved loved this prompt - it made me realise that Orlaith is the only person I ever pair Darragh with. In the end, I wrote this as a collab with @emetoandotherthings using my Bridie and her McKenzie, and I’m personally a huge fan of how it turned out. Fair warning though, it is very long...
Darragh, 6:05: Patch ice is looking lonely without you…
Darragh, 6:57: I forgot to bring change for the hot chocolate machine ☹
Darragh, 7:30: So weird that you’re not awake yet. If I’m in class when you get this, I hope your workshops today go well!
Orlaith, 8:15: Hey, sorry! Had a bit of a late one last night (oops) Anyway, how was your session?
Orlaith, 8:23: This breakfast buffet is looking lonely without you…
Orlaith, 8:23: Just kidding, the breakfast buffet is looking ABSOLUTELY DIVINE and it doesn’t need your help 😉
Orlaith, 8:24: I miss you though <3
Darragh, 8:26: Can’t believe you’d do this to me, you know how much I love a breakfast buffet.
Orlaith, 8:27: It really is heavenly
Orlaith, 8:27: They have all these little bite sized pastries
Orlaith, 8:28: And they make omelettes to order
Orlaith, 8:28: they’re so fluffy and buttery and golden, mmmmm….
Darragh, 8:28: Don’t talk to me, I don’t like you anymore.
Darragh, 8:28: We’re breaking up right now, and I bet you don’t even care. You only have eyes for your cheese platter.
Darragh, 8:29: (I miss you too though, come home to me sooooon <3)
Orlaith, 8:42: OMG how did you know they had one of those? Are you spying on me? Do I need a restraining order?!
Darragh, 8:48: ugh, lucky guess, but I wish I was wrong
Darragh, 8:48: got labs this morning so g2g, I love you big <3
Orlaith, 8:50: love u big <3
Darragh, 10:06: Fuck
Darragh, 10:06: Vommed all over my work bench :’(
Darragh, 10:07: Ruined experiment, lab partner is FUMING
Darragh, 10:08: Don’t know what came over me
Darragh, 10:15: Why are the bathrooms here so gross already, the day has barely begun?
Darragh, 10:17: Thought it was the fumes or some shit, but no, SURPRISE I still feel like crap
Darragh, 10:17: I’ve pomy6hr43ejk;
Orlaith, 10:20: You’ve what?
Darragh, 10:22: shit sorry
Darragh, 10:22: hit send by mistake
Darragh, 10:22: I’ve puked like six times already, I was saying
Darragh, 10:22: but it happened again before I could let u know. So seven now. It’s definitely an episode, fml
Orlaith, 10:23: Awwww shit. I’m sorry baby.
Darragh, 10:27: ughhhh, when are you home? I need cuddles *pouts ADORABLY*
Orlaith, 10:28: tomorrow night I’m afraid ☹ You gonna be okay?
Darragh, 10:31: meh, im a big boy, ill survive
Darragh, 10:32: gonna just rehydrate and crash into bed
Darragh, 10:34: as soon as I figure out how to peel myself off this toilet without my stomach hitting eject
Darragh, 10:35: phone screen making me nauseous, call me later
Orlaith, 10:35: Feel better xxx
Darragh, 11:12: made it home
Darragh, 11:13: thnks miss u
Darragh, 11:13: sleepin now
Orlaith, 13:30: You awake? I’m on a lunch break if you want to call?
Darragh, 13:37: only if u like the sound of me retching in an echoey bathroom
Orlaith, 13:40: ew, okay, no thanks. Unless it’ll make you feel better?
Darragh, 13:41: think ill spare u that ordeal
Darragh, 13:42: is not pretty
Orlaith, 13:42: Baby </3 Make sure you drink some water!
Darragh, 13:48: yes mom
Orlaith, 13:53: Wait, is anyone there to keep an eye on you??
Darragh, 14:01: no
Darragh, 14:02: weekend
Darragh, 14:02: gone home
Darragh, 14:07: im all alooooone theres no1 here beside me
Darragh, 14:23: I bet ur in a workshop now, but I though id let u know that im feeling fuuuuuucking haggard
Darragh, 14:28: standing up is
Darragh, 14:30: hard
Orlaith, 15:43: sorry I can’t be there ☹
Orlaith, 15:44: that sounds really rough
Orlaith, 15:44: stay hydrated
Orlaith, 17:03: you okay?
Orlaith, 17:15: hope you’re getting some rest xxx
Orlaith, 18:34: Please let me know whether you’re still alive? I’m worried :/
Orlaith, 19:03: Darragh??
Orlaith, 19:47: Babe?
Darragh, 19:50: fuck
Darragh, 19:50: sorry
Darragh, 19:51: im rly bad
Darragh, 19:51: sorry
Orlaith, 19:51: Thank fuck you’re okay
Darragh, 19:53: idk
Orlaith, 19:53: ???
Darragh, 19:56: m so sick
Darragh, 19:57: idk wht to do
“Darragh, honey, talk to me,” Orlaith said gently, cradling her phone between her ear and her shoulder as she scrolled through the contacts on her laptop. Who did they know well enough who could get to him?
“’m so fucking sick,” he whispered brokenly. “Have to crawl between the toilet an’ the sink. Bed’s too far.”
“Oh love,” she consoled. “You still throwing up?”
She heard Darragh shifting restlessly, his skin squeaking against the tiled floor.
“Urrrrmmngh, yeah…,” he admitted. “Jus’ like, water and acid and phlegm though now. Fucking hurts.”
“I’ll bet it does,” she murmured, eyes lighting on a name. Hadn’t Bridie said she was visiting her boyfriend for the weekend? And wasn’t he somewhere near them?
“’m not really okay,” Darragh croaked, and she could hear the tears in his voice. God, this was all just such bad timing; she wanted so badly to go to him, but her place on this conference had been funded by the department so she couldn’t exactly just leave a day early. And besides, it would be the next day before she could get to him by public transport. She’d checked. “’m feeling like, loopy. ‘n dizzy. Not like, hospital sick, but I don’t wanna be alone…” His voice cracked at the end of the sentence, and he sniffed pathetically.
“No, I’ll bet. You must be exhausted too, and that can’t be helping,” Orlaith commiserated. “Listen, I’m going to get Bri to come and take care of you, okay?”
“Mmmmm….,” Darragh agreed, swallowing hard.
“You need to make sure she’ll be able to get in when she gets there, yeah? As soon as possible, so you don’t forget.”
“Yeah…,” he agreed faintly. “Oh fuck…”
There was a faint gulping sound, and a clatter, and then the line went dead.
Orlaith sighed. Fuck, indeed.
Orlaith, 20:18: Hey Bri, can you do me a huge favour and go check on Darragh, maybe stay a bit with him? I’m sorry to interrupt your weekend, but he’s really really not doing very well…
Bridie, 20:31: Oh shit, is it his thing? Don’t fret, I won’t abandon you in your/his time of need 😉 Chuck us an address and I’ll be there as soon as xx
Orlaith, 20:32: My saviour!!! I owe you one x
Bridie, 20:35: Hey kiddo, heard you’re not doing so good x
Bridie, 20:35: Anything in particular I can get for you on my way? And I’m going to stay the night, so is your couch comfy bc if not I can bring an air mattress x
Darragh, 20:41: diet coke
Bridie, 20:42: Okey doke x
Darragh, 20:59: fuck sorry
Darragh, 21:00: rude
Darragh, 21:00: me not u
Darragh, 21:00: sofa is good but small.
Bridie, 21:01: aw sweetie, don’t worry, you’re not well. I’ll see you soon. Try to stay alive until I get there x
“Okay, so I’ve got coke zero, some of those rehydration sachets, one of those forehead cooling things that you crack then it activates,” McKenzie was loading things into a canvas bag. “Aiden said I should bring some motion sickness tablets cause apparently that can help get rid of nausea, but what do you think?” McKenzie paused and looked up at Bridie.
"Uhhh, I'm really not sure," she muttered, looking through the route on her phone. "I've never really had to deal with this before, he used to just disappear from school for a few days. Crackers, maybe? Or soup? Whatever, let's just go - I'm sure he lives near a shop." Her phone pinged and she glanced down at it.
“What?” McKenzie glanced across at her as he shoved his bag onto his shoulder.
Bridie checked in her pocket for her car keys and began to head for the door. “I’m not really sure,” she said uncertainly. “He doesn’t seem entirely with it. Let’s go.”
They arrived at Darragh’s building almost five minutes earlier than the SatNav had predicted. Bridie parked hastily and jumped out of the car, checking her phone.
“Is this the right block?” McKenzie asked, unfolding from the small car. “Do you know what number we’re looking for?”
“Yeah, yeah, it’s this one,” Bridie muttered, still peering at her phone. “He says he’s left the main door and the door to his flat on the latch. Ground floor, on the right.”
McKenzie headed to the door, then paused. “You should definitely go in first.”
Bridie brushed past him and through the door. All the lights were off, save for a glowing sliver that peeked out below the bathroom door. “Darragh?” She called out, knocking on the door before poking her head round. “Oh sweetie…”
McKenzie hung back, feeling slightly awkward at the whole thing. He was here for Bridie, but he still felt a bit strange. He didn’t want to get in the way.
Bridie hurried into the bathroom, crouching down next to her friend. Darragh was white as a sheet, and there was something reminiscent of a ragdoll in the way he sat propped up against the side of the bath.
“Made a mess,” he croaked, his lower lip trembling as he gestured to the wetness staining his pyjama shirt. “I tried… I tried to make it.”
“Don’t worry about it,” she said, she reached out and squeezed the top of Darragh’s arm. “That’s why I’m here - to help.”
“Just wanna sleep,” he breathed hoarsely. He took a sharp breath in, wincing, and pressed a hand against his stomach. “I feel rubbish,” he groaned, and then as an afterthought: “‘M sorry about all this.”
“No, no…” Bridie shook her head. “No apologies. I’m gonna get you to bed, and some water for you…”
“Thank you…” He trailed off, looking a little vacant, and then threw up a soft gush of water down his front. It all happened very quickly - a jolt of his shoulders and a gurgle in his throat and it was over. “Fuck, ‘m sorry.”
Bridie forced a smile. “At least I can tell Orlaith you’ve been trying to rehydrate.”
Just then, a crash came from another room in the house, causing Darragh to nearly jump out of his skin. “What was that?”
“I… um, brought some help with me,” Bridie looked back towards the door. “I can’t - I’m not strong enough to help you.”
“Oh jeez,” Darragh groaned, rolling his head round to rest against Bridie’s arm. “It’s your man isn’t it… The really attractive, super sexy rugby player that Orls keeps banging on about. This -” He waved vaguely towards himself. “- is not how I wanted to meet him.”
“Well maybe,” Bridie countered, rolling her eyes, “you should have thought of that before this little bathroom floor pity party.” She flicked the side of his head and he chuckled roughly.
“Ughhh, stop that,” he complained. “I’m sick, you have to be nice to me.” It was clear that he was trying to joke with her, but the rasp in his voice and the way each word seemed to take effort gave him away.
“I’m here, aren’t I?” Bridie’s voice softened slightly; Darragh’s face had gone very pale again, as though the colour had literally drained out of it.
“Along with - your man…” Darragh muttered.
“Don’t be such a whiny bitch,” Bridie reprimanded him, stroking her hand gently over his hair. He swallowed heavily. “Are you going to chun again?” She asked, narrowing her eyes at him.
“Mnnn…” Darragh groaned, screwing his face up a bit in a slightly non-committal manner.
“Alright, come on,” Bridie shifted to the side. “Let’s get you nearer the toilet.” She began to steer him by the shoulders, suddenly thankful that he wasn’t as broad or as beefy as McKenzie.
“Hurts…” Darragh ground out, clutching at his stomach and pressing his face into the cool, hard tile of the bathtub.
“Have you managed to keep any painkillers down?” Bridie pushed away a strand of hair that had fallen into his eyes. “Or anything down?” She bit her lip nervously; Darragh looked horrific. He shook his head. Latching one hand onto the rim of the toilet, he slowly, painfully, pulled himself up so that his head was hanging over the water. “Okay…” Bridie put her hand to the indent in between his shoulder blades. “You’re going to be okay, I’ll make sure of it.”
He whimpered, his head bobbing erratically, and then a strained retch worked its way up his ragged throat. He coughed, and retched again. Bridie winced at the harsh, scraping sound and the obvious pain it was causing him. She felt his back arc, and the shaking feeling of him spluttering on the thin trickle of liquid that he managed to choke up. “Can you….did you bring any coke?” He asked eventually, still gripping onto the toilet, white-knuckled.
“Yeah, we did,” Bridie replied, reaching to tear a strip of toilet paper so she could wipe his face. “Do you want it now?”
“Please.” He folded his arms on the toilet seat, and pillowed his head against them.
“Okay sweetie, I’ll be right back.” Bridie patted him on the shoulder as she left.
McKenzie was still standing, clutching the canvas bag rather awkwardly, in the middle of the room; he seemed a little relieved to see Bridie again.
“How’s he doing?” He asked quietly.
"God, he looks awful," Bridie muttered, reaching for the bag. "Where's the coke, we brought it right?" She rummaged frantically through the contents.
"I'll find it," McKenzie said, taking it gently from her. "Your hands are shaking, maybe you should sit down."
“I can’t Kenz,” Bridie shook her head as McKenzie put a large hand inside the bag and scooped out the diet coke. “He really is bad…”
“Would he not be better in bed, trying to get some rest?” McKenzie questioned.
"I don't know!!"
“Hey,” McKenzie caught hold of Bridie’s forearm and pulled her towards him, “it’s okay. You’re doing your best, and that’s enough…”
She was stiff in his arms for a minute before sinking against his chest. "I never knew," she whispered, distraught. "He was one of my best friends and I never knew!"
“But you’re here now,” McKenzie kissed the top of her head. “I know it’s scary, but you’re helping now.”
"Yeah," Bridie agreed. "Yeah, you're right. I'm going to take this through -" She waved the bottle of coke at him. "- and you can come poke your head round the door in like five minutes and we can get him to bed."
“Okay,” McKenzie nodded, “just call if you need me before.”
Darragh was still curled around the toilet, and he groaned dramatically when Bridie entered. "I thought you'd left me for dead," he accused her, making grabby hands for the bottle. His phone buzzed on the floor next to him, and he squinted at it while Bridie unscrewed the bottle lid.
“Of course I wouldn’t leave you - not in this state!” Bridie crouched back down next to him, offering the bottle with the lid off. “Are you sure coke is the right thing to be drinking right now?”
“It’s what my mam always gives me,” Darragh replied, taking a tentative sip. He closed his eyes, feeling the cool, syrupy liquid trickle down his raw throat. “Sugar is important.” He took another tiny sip, and then handed his phone to Bridie. “Can you tell Orlaith I’m alright? I keep spelling stuff wrong so she won’t believe me.”
“Course!” Bridie pulled out her own phone, “I’ll send her a message to let her know I’m here, and you’re being looked after.”
“Thanks,” he mumbled, looking down at his hands. He rested his palm on his abdomen and made a little grunt of discomfort in his throat. “For everything. Really.” He swallowed, and took a longer pull on the coke. “I’m such a wuss, I don’t like to be by myself.”
“No one does when they’re not feeling well,” Bridie placated,”but don’t worry - I’m going to stay here until you’re better… or until Orlaith comes back.”
“Thank you,” he repeated quietly.
Just then, McKenzie peered in through the crack in the door.
“Hey, Kenzie, this is Darragh.” Bridie beckoned him in. “Darragh, this is McKenzie.”
Darragh smiled weakly, the dry skin of his lips pulling tight.
“Hey,” McKenzie gave a small wave, trying not to seem as awkward as he felt. “Sorry to be meeting you like this…”
"Tell you what, next time we meet we can just pretend this never happened," Darragh said lightly. "Save all the awkward introductions for then, and I can interrogate you over your intentions for our Bridie. I don't have the energy now."
“I’ll agree to that,” McKenzie chuckled. “But right now, I think I’m the muscle to help you move.”
"Oh, must we?" Darragh wrinkled his nose as he unfurled himself from over the toilet. "Bri, hold my drink," he instructed, paling as a wave of vertigo swept through him. He felt McKenzie's hands grip under his armpits and begin to lift. "Wait," he muttered. The room was spinning, and his head was suddenly too heavy for his neck. "One minute." McKenzie paused for a second, looking over at Bridie, but she nodded her head, and so he continued. With little difficulty, McKenzie scooped his arm underneath Darragh’s knees, just as soon as he went limp.
“Mmmmn,” Darragh moaned, his head sagging against McKenzie’s chest. He pawed ineffectively at McKenzie’s shoulder. “Let me down, I don’t feel well.”
“We’re gonna get you to your bed first,” McKenzie insisted . “Bri, do you know where I’m going?”
“Umm, no. Darragh, care to enlighten us?”
Darragh whimpered, pressing his bloodless lips together. The dizziness was worse now that he was being carried, washing queasily over him in great waves, and the coke wasn’t sitting as calmly as it had earlier. “Second door on the left,” he forced out, gulping down a mouthful of warm, stringy spit.
“Okay, we’ll get you in,” McKenzie carried Darragh as though he was a toy, shouldering at the door that Darragh had intimated, then laying him very gently on his bed, the covers were ruffled and unkempt from the last time he had been in bed. He kept one hand on Darragh’s shoulder but turned to Bridie, a frown on his face. “Do we need to think about taking him to hospital?”
Bridie’s eyes widened. She opened her mouth to answer, then pursed her lips together, looking torn.
“I’m fine.” Darragh muttured, his eyes screwed tightly shut. Even lying down, he was feeling light-headed, and he grasped his sheet in his fist in an attempt to ground himself. “Jus’... Just leave the coke on the bedside table and…” He broke off, breathing out sharply.
“Nah, I'm not leaving anything,” Bridie said firmly, “not with you like this.” McKenzie had taken a few steps back, allowing Bridie in to comfort him; but as he saw the pallor of Darragh's face, he stooped and picked up the waste paper bin from the corner. “’t's gonna be okay - you're gonna be okay.”
“Mmnnnnghh, Bri…,” Darragh moaned, “I think I, I…” McKenzie took one of his giant strides forward and planted the bin right beside the edge of Darragh's bed.
“Oh God," Bridie perched on the edge of Darragh's bed, "is there anything I can do to help?”
Darragh clamped one hand over his mouth struggling desperately to raise himself up on his elbow.
“Here," Bridie picked up the bin and held it to the edge of the bed with one hand, then used the other to gently help Darragh lean further over. He hung his head over it, panting harshly. "It's gonna be okay - you're gonna be okay.”
“God ‘m sorry,” he whimpered, gripping tightly onto the edge of the mattress.
“You don’t need to be sorry,” Bridie said gently, brushing some hair out of his face. “You can’t help this…”
“Hheuurrrggghhhh…” Darragh’s hands flew to his stomach, cradling it as spasms ran through him.
“That’s it…” She encouraged, rubbing his hand up and down his arm as she couldn’t reach his back.
“K’kkrrr’hhhuurrrkk!” Bridie winced at the sound Darragh was making, and she looked across at McKenzie, who returned the look of concern.
“What can I do?” He mouthed at her. She shrugged, her lower lip trembling.
"I - I don't know," McKenzie raised his eyebrows, feeling just as helpless as Bridie. Darragh was still coughing raggedly. McKenzie took the moisture around Bridie’s eyes, the tightness in her face. This all was tough for him to watch, but it had to be a hundred times harder for her when it was one of her closest friends. Crossing the room, he nudged Bridie to one side, taking her place by Darragh. “Go,” he muttered. “Get some air. I’ll come find you once he’s resting.”
"Go," he repeated, then he put his hand on Darragh’s back, his arm long enough to reach round, and made small circular motions.
"Thanks," Darragh breathed once the door snicked shut. The coughs had tapered off; now he lay very still, almost melting into the mattress, trying not to breathe too hard in case it set his still-churning stomach off again.
“When I was younger, my brother used to do this,” McKenzie said quietly. “He says it does something to our nervous system to help calm us. He’s a nurse now, so I trust his advice.”
“Mmmm, what’s his name?” Darragh whispered, rolling himself back onto the mattress properly.
“Aiden,” McKenzie told him, “he’s a good nurse, he always used to look after me and all the other kids too. He used to hum to me, but I’m tone deaf as hell, so I don’t think you want me doing that.”
Darragh sniggered. The movement made his head throb and he groaned, laying a hand across his eyes. "There's an Aiden in the A&E here," he murmured. "He's really nice."
“That’s probably him,” McKenzie laughed. “If he’s got flaming red hair, it’s definitely him!”
"Yeah, that's the one." Darragh rubbed his face, peering up at McKenzie. "Did Bri leave that coke around somewhere? Orlaith will kill me if I fall asleep without rehydrating…"
McKenzie picked it up off the bedside table, but he didn’t hand it over yet. “I’ve got some rehydration sachets with me, if that’d be better?”
Grimacing, Darragh reached for the bottle. "Those things taste so bad they're not worth the hassle," he said, with the grim assurance of someone who'd tasted them too many times, both going down and coming up.
“Fair enough,” McKenzie unscrewed the lid partially and passed it into Darragh’s hand. “You know best, I suppose.”
Darragh rolled to the edge of the mattress so that he could take a swig without sitting up. "Except about my triggers, ha ha, such fun."
“It must really suck…” McKenzie said quietly.
"Eh, you know," Darragh mumbled, sipping more carefully, "you learn to live with it. I'm lucky, I can still do most of the things I love." He went quiet for a minute, his eyes fixed on the middle distance. McKenzie noticed his jaw twitching. "I kind of hate that Orlaith has to live with it too though. With me, like this."
“I’m guessing she really loves you,” McKenzie replied. “And if that’s the case, this won’t bother her. Not even a bit.”
"Bothers me," Darragh muttered, putting the coke down and rolling onto his back. "She nearly left her conference today to come back for me. She can't keep doing stuff like that, we're not in high school anymore."
“Maybe we could help?” McKenzie offered, he didn’t know why he was offering - this was the first time he’d met Darragh and maybe he was being a bit too much. “Like if she’s going away and something happens… I’m nearby anyway…”
"You have your career to worry about," Darragh pointed out morosely. "I bet you barely get time with Bridie as it is once you're done with training and conditioning and game tape and away matches."
“Yeah, but I can make time for friends,” McKenzie shrugged.
"Not for this," Darragh insisted stubbornly. "Not if Bri is right and you want a shot at the World Cup." He reached behind his head, pulling his pillow closer. "I wonder a lot about where Orlaith would be - with the skating - if she didn't have me missing practice and failing to put muscle on and just generally holding her back…"
“Shush,” McKenzie said. “Right now what you need is rest, and more liquids… Your brain does funny things when you don’t feel right.”
“Have another sip…” McKenzie told him. “Then close your eyes…”
Darragh groaned. Every muscle in his body hurt - especially in his shoulders and his abdomen - and moving to get more fluids seemed like an ordeal. “I’ve had enough,” he mumbled, huddling into his blankets.
“Okay,” McKenzie said, “I’m gonna put the light off, if that will help you get some rest?”
“Yeah,” Darragh said quietly. He was almost drifting off when he had a sudden thought. “You guys don’t need to stay. The sofa is tiny if there’s two of you. I’ll be fine now…”
“We’re staying, don’t worry…” McKenzie whispered. “You just call if you need us.”
“Okay…” Darragh couldn’t focus his eyes on McKenzie properly anymore, could feel them sliding off target and sliding closed of their own volition. He still felt twisted and tight and pent up inside, in more ways than one, but it was masked by the heavy, woollen fog of exhaustion that was seeping in through is pores.
“Sleep well,” McKenzie said.
“Okay,” he repeated faintly as the door clicked shut.