Jump to content

72 Hours

Recommended Posts


I know I posted this idea in the 'Fan Fiction Request Thread' and I'd still love to see someone else's take too I thought I'd have a go too! ? I haven't written any kind of fanfiction in years, so please be gentle!

DISCLAIMER: I have done my best to use the correct depictions of Maori customs and language but I only have a translation program, it is not my intention to offend and I apologise if I have.

Story Title: 72 Hours
Type of story: Short/Medium Fic
Main Characters: Tane Parata, Ari Parata, Mia Anderson, Nikau Parata
BTTB rating: A (I think)
Genre:  Drama, Family, Comfort
Does story include spoilers: No
Any warnings: Talk/description of illness, Language (mild), SC.    *This fic is slightly changed from H&A's storylines, Matthew was chased out of town and Ari did in fact only have appendicitis, so Tane and Flick's relationship is still 'friends with benefits casual' *?
Summary: Intro:  The Difficulties of Brotherhood 

Everyone thinks Tane Parata is indestructible, sometimes, he even believes it himself!
Ari has always been protective of his family, especially his younger brother, some would say a little too much.
However, when a simple sniffle threatens to bring Tane to his knees, Ari must face bad old memories to pull him through.


Chapter 1 – A Storm Brewing

The explosive cough woke him faster than any alarm, making his eyes and nose stream incessantly, the fit seeming to last an eternity. He could hear a bit of wheeze but that was normal after you’d just coughed up half a lung, right?
Tane lay back for a moment, waiting for the dizziness to settle as he pulled the blanket over himself again, he’d spent the night chilled to the bone despite weather reports of sticky nights ahead as temperatures rose.  
“Whakatara.” He groaned softly, gently kneading at his stinging temples.

It had started with a sneeze here and there a couple of days ago, then came the aches and feverishness with a bit of fatigue but he put that down to the fact that he’d been working extra shifts in the gym, trying to help Ari and Mia recoup the losses they’d suffered given the recent setbacks; they needed all the help they could get. It was a little bug, he just needed to keep working...however, if Ari even had an inkling he had felt remotely crook or heard this cough he’d have him tied to the bed for days, he was such a worrier. 

So he’d had a tendency for a high fever and the occasional chest infection when he was a kid, that was years ago; much as Ari didn’t treat him that way, he was all grown up now!

“Come on, Parata.” He coached himself; he was stronger than this, as he got everything together to prepare for the day ahead.
He caught sight of himself as he stepped into the shower; over-moist eyes ringed by lurid red-pink lids hooded by tiredness and a generally slightly dull-greyish pallor...hopefully the shower would refresh him enough not to arouse suspicion, not that he was actually sick sick; it wouldn’t be like before.

Breakfast at Casa Parata was always a hive of activity so sneaking out shouldn’t be too difficult...the smell of the morning meal almost had him hightailing it back to the bathroom, another new non-symptom; he took deep, steadying breaths trying to centre himself; he’d throw this thing off in no time, it was nothing he couldn’t handle. Avoiding Ari might not be so easy; he zipped his hoodie up tight, trying to keep the chill off.  

Ari greeted him first.
“Morning.”  Mia chimed in. “You literally just missed Nikau.”
“I’ll catch him later.”
He grabbed his keys. “I’m gonna head to the gym, set up early.”
“Oh, okay.”
Mia was surprised. “You sure you don’t want breakfast first?”
“Er, no thanks.”

Ari’s eyebrows practically hit his hairline. “Hoi, you sick or something, bro? I’ve never known you turn down a feed.”
“I’ll pick something up later.”
He coughed softly, hoping Ari hadn’t heard as he headed for the door.
“Hey.” He caught up with him. Damn, no dice. 
“Later.” He tried to shy away as Ari put the back of his hand to his forehead. 
“Kei te ahi koe!” (You’re on fire.)  He breathed. “You sure you should be working?”
“Ari, I’m not a kid anymore; it’s nothing.” 
“Just leave it!”
He snapped.

Ari sighed heavily; Mia came cuddling up to him. “Ouch.”
“Can you keep an eye on him today?”
“He’s a grown man, Ari.”
She saw the worry in his eyes.
“Sure, I’ll try.” Now she realised, not that he’d ever told her much. 
“I knew something was wrong last night, the only time he’s restless is if he’s sick.”
It was true, Tane wasn’t a light sleeper per se, well, prior to his stalker ordeal, anyways, even though he seemed to survive on very little at the best of times... that and Ari had heard him coughing, which practically shook the wall near enough every hour. 
“You think he’s heading for a rough time?”
 “Yeah, the fever’s come on already. He sounds bad, Mia.”
“Mm, you’re just going to have to be ready to catch him.”
She kissed his arm. “I’ll be right there too.”

Ari hoped he was overreacting...but experience said otherwise.

As Tane arrived he saw Mac struggling with boxes from an early delivery.

“I’ve got it.” He jogged over, ignoring the hot sharp pain across his lungs and sinuses and helped transfer them. 
“You’re a life saver!” She flicked a wayward hair behind her ear. “Several of my staff have called in sick with this flu that’s been going around and the agency cover hasn’t arrived yet.”

Two journeys up and down the stairs meant most of the delivery was now ready to be unpacked.

Setting the last box down his breath caught suddenly; he clamped his mouth shut in an attempt to subdue the cough, though it still sounded pretty rough.
“Whoa, you sure you’re okay?” Mac arched her eyebrows, seeing the sweat spring to his forehead. “You’re not coming down with it are you?” 
There was the merest hint of breathlessness as he scoffed. “Nah, no way.” 
“Thanks for your help.” 

Tane winked.
“Sorry, I’m here!” Ryder came haring down the stairs.
Tane smiled wryly, poor kid he’d hated to be in his shoes right now!

“Thanks.” Tane picked up the Vit -C booster juice, anything to help...if he took it slowly he’d be able to keep it down, skipping breakfast had clearly not been a bad idea.
“Tane!” The irritatingly gossipy chirrup of John Palmer felt like a drill through Tane’s skull; who else would he run into this morning?! “I’m surprised to see you this early; is everything all right with Mia?"
“Thanks for that vote of confidence, John.” 
“Oh no, no, I didn’t mean it like that, just not used to seeing you here first that’s all, I mean...”
Whether it was the foggy head or just plain ol’ civility, he decided to throw the guy a bone to save himself digging himself further into a hole!
“Just pitching in.”
“Early bird catches the worm, eh?"
“Something like that.”
Tane made a quick getaway.
“Hmm.” John knew something wasn’t quite right.

“Try not to worry.” Mia knew it would fall on deaf ears but she hated seeing Ari so anxious.
“Easier said than done...he thinks he’s indestructible.”
“He is, he’s your brother, after all.”

Ari smiled, his heart spilling over, he truly was the luckiest man alive to have her; he gently kissed her.
“Aww guys.” Chloe smiled. “I hate to break up the love-fest but.” She showed her watch.
“She’s right, you don’t want to be late.” Mia caught his meaning.
“See you later.”

Chloe noticed how subdued her mother was.
“Is everything okay?” She ventured. “You and Ari seemed pretty intense before.”
“We’re fine.”
Mia reassured her. “Ari’s just a bit worried about Tane.”
“Is he okay?”

“Yeah, he’s just being stubborn about something that’s all.”
Chloe laughed. “Never.”

Soon the gym was set; in record time too, the busyness had revived Tane, just as he thought.  Next was the circuit outside for the morning class; as he loped around the corner to the storeroom he felt the lead weight slam into his chest again.
Falling into the wall slightly, he pulled the collar from his hoodie from his throat with one hand, the other palm pressed hard against his chest to subdue the pain as he arched his head back trying to catch his breath; it felt like the panic attack he’d suffered a little while back, only about 50 times worse. He felt weak as spots appeared in front of his eyes; he remembered Nikau’s mantra that day and tried to slow his breathing.

Almost as quickly as the fit started, it was over, a shiver going through him as he sneezed twice; he winced, blowing his sore nose carefully, it felt as if it’d been dipped in chilli powder. Tane shook himself suddenly; he wouldn’t give in, it was just a moment, that’s all...well, it would be when he could see straight again!

As he set up outside, His phone beeped with a text from Flick:

Hey Handsome,
Ready for a morning workout, Flick style?

Normally such a text would start certain stirrings instantly but not today; he would hardly be an attractive prospect if he had a repeat performance of just now, besides his head felt like it was filled with concrete ...rain-checking for a headache, oh the irony!

No can do, classes.

Her response was almost instant and sparked him just a little.

Only if you’re on the menu!

Well...it would be another way to burn off this little fever quickly!



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you so much RR1! I'm afraid comedy isn't my stronger point, neither's drama per se but I'm slightly better at that so this is a little more on the dramatic side! ?

DISCLAIMER: I have done my best to use the correct depictions of Maori customs and language but I only have a translation program, it is not my intention to offend and I apologise if I have.

Any warnings: Talk/description of illness


Chapter 2 – Falling In

By late-morning, Tane was three classes and nearly 2 bottles of water down, he should be feeling strong and energised, right? 

“Well done guys, see you same time next week.”
A chorus of thanks, whooping and agreement answered as they filtered away.
“Great class, Tane.” Roo waved.

Alone, he dropped to his haunches, briefly submitting to the bone-melting fatigue as the hot and cold sweats lapped over him, making him almost nauseatingly dizzy; the activity had certainly aggravated his cough, how he’d hidden the symptoms from the class he had no idea.

Maybe, just maybe, he wasn’t quite 100%; through bleary eyes he checked his watch; his lunch hour was coming up and the house would be empty, so he’d be able to rest up a bit and no-one would be any the wiser; as he straightened up he toppled slightly.

“Hey, you okay there?”
He felt someone touch his arm, realising it was Talia, from the recent class.
“Yeah.” He flashed one of his (he hoped) dazzling smiles.
“I’d say take your own advice; stay hydrated and don’t overdo it, you sure you’re okay?”
“No worries, thanks.” 

In the Surf Club Nikau was just coming in to sign off for lunch when John hurried over.
“Hey Nik, you seen your uncle today?” 
“I saw them both this morning.” 
“He seemed pretty crook when I saw him, hope he’s okay.”
“No, Tane.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Saw him outside earlier doing one of those ‘hot-to-trot’ workout classes, claimed he was fine but had one heck of a cough on him, looked more like he should’ve been in bed.”

 Nikau looked perplexed, deciding to text Tane. 

The journey home seemed to prove more difficult than he’d thought, the fever and nausea taking charge more than once, with his breathing getting harder too but eventually he found himself collapsing on the couch...

“Bella, I miss you too, hang out later maybe?” Nikau smiled at the positive response as he let himself in. “See you then, love you.”

A soft, almost growling, chitter caught his attention; Tane was curled tightly in a ball on the couch, still in his hoodie, shivering violently. 

“Uncle?!” He felt the scalding forehead. “Hey, you all right?”
“C-cold, freezing.”
He sneezed pitifully into the crook of his arm, trying to burrow further into the hoodie to get warm.
“I’m gonna call Ari, you’re gonna be okay.”

“Kia ora?”  Ari’s brow furrowed at his nephew’s voice. “Nik, where are you?”
“At home, Uncle Tane’s collapsed; I don’t know what to do, Uncle, he’s really burning up.” 

At that second, Tane erupted in a coughing fit, the heavy metallic whoop made Ari’s gut coil fearfully.
“I’m on my way, try and get a cold compress on him.”
“Will do.”
 Nikau disconnected the call then tried to help his uncle. “Breathe, Uncle, take a breath.”
Tane dragged air into his burning lungs, panting as his vision swirled and tripled, everything practically down to his toenails tingling painfully as Nik comforted him.

“Who was that?” Mia asked, but seeing the look on her fiancé’s face she knew immediately. “Tane?” 
“Nikau; Tane’s at home, he’s in a bad way.”
“Go, call me if anything changes.”
Ari kissed her cheek before dashing off.

“You all right now?”
“Yep, fine.”
He cleared his throat, carefully rubbing his stiff neck. “What are you doing here anyways, I thought you were on patrol?”
“Lunch break; lucky I came home, eh?”

Tane raised his eyebrows in a ‘Really?’ fashion; he flinched as Nik draped a tepid facecloth across the back of his neck before handing him an uncapped bottle of water. 
“Thanks.” He started to try to take a long drink, soothing his bruised throat but he started shivering again, almost knocking his teeth out as it started to spill.
“Take it easy.”
“Don’t f-fuss me, boy.”
He tried to put up a front but he was struggling; his head felt like it was exploding, stomach rolling as his ears sang.
“Steady, Uncle.” Nikau steadied his hand so he was able to sip some water. “You should be in bed.”
He growled. “You’re worse than Ari.”
“Did someone call my name?”
Ari came through the front door.
Tane rolled his eyes. “Cavalry’s here I see, not that it’s needed.”
“Nik did the right thing.”
He regarded the unhealthy flush to Tane’s skin, the slick of hair practically super-glued to his forehead and the fact that his chest was heaving. “The only place you should be is resting in bed.”
“Are you two ganging up on me or something?”
He tried to flash one of his devil-may-care smiles but it looked like more of a grimace. “I’m fine, it’s just a sniffle; I’ll be right.” As if to disprove the point, he coughed and sneezed practically simultaneously.
“Sure,” Nikau drawled. “And John’s auditioning for Australia’s Next Top Model next week.”
The image made Ari and Nikau chuckle as Tane blew his nose heavily.
“You’re sick.” Nikau continued softly. “Let us take care of you.”   
“He’s right.”
Ari looked him in the eye. “I know how bad your ‘sniffles’ can get.” He added under his breath.
Sudden defiance sparked in Tane’s eyes. “Just leave it; I should be getting back to the gym.”  He stood swiftly, vision swimming as he pinched the bridge of his nose; suddenly everything skewed sideways, his strength deserting him.
“Tane!” “Uncle!” The boys caught him in a split-second, his breath coming in heavy gasps.
“It’s okay, we’ve got you.” Ari murmured close to his ear.
“’m fine..jusst..s-stood up...too...f..” He slurred exhaustedly, teeth chattering as he started to cough again.
Now, will you let us take care of you?” Nikau implored worriedly. Please, Uncle.”
Tane gave an almost whimpering moan.
“I think that’s a ‘yes’.” Ari gripped Tane a little tighter. “Come on, let’s get you to bed, we’ll see you right.”

“Is he gonna be okay?” Nikau asked worriedly as Ari pulled the door to slightly.
“Yeah; listen why don’t you call Bella, go stay with her for a couple of nights?”
The young man’s brow furrowed. “I thought you said he was going to be okay; it’s just a cold, right?”   
Ari sighed. “It is, but he’s been through a lot lately and sometimes this kind of thing can get a bit hairy with him.” He smiled crookedly, trying to lighten the mood as he squeezed his nephew’s shoulder. “Besides, we can’t have Summer Bay’s best lifesaver getting sick, can we?”
Nikau rolled his eyes, pretending to cringe. “I’ll let Chloe know, I think she’s staying with Ryder tonight, doing business stuff or something.”

Mia arrived home that evening, dropping her bag and keys on the counter; she noticed how quiet the house was.

“Ari? Nikau?” She called carefully.
“In here.” Ari’s reply came from Tane’s room.

The place was like a sauna, a familiar scent hanging in the air of the special inhalations; Ari was at the bedside, gently laying a cool facecloth across Tane’s forehead. Mia gasped softly; the change in Tane from this morning was startling; he was visibly shaking now, skin sweat-soaked and barely conscious.
“Hey.” She murmured.
“Hi.”  Ari came and held her, kissing her cheek. “How was work?”
Mia waved her hand, brushing away such mundane talk. “Fine, usual stuff. How’s the patient?”
“Fine, stop fussing.”
Tane slurred croakily, one glassy eye barely focussed on her.
“The picture of health (!)” She drawled wryly.   
“You be..” He started coughing violently, scrabbling to get further upright to try to catch his breath, spluttering and wheezing as Ari sprung to his aid; Mia grimaced empathetically, despite all his bravado,  if Tane felt even remotely as bad as he sounded, no wonder Ari was so concerned. 
“Kia mate...” Tane moaned softly, his head and neck stretching forward.
“Mia!” Ari clicked his fingers rapidly.
She’d seen it too, pushing the yellow basin under Tane’s chin as he started being sick.
“It’s all right, Tane.” She rubbed his back. “It’s all right; take it easy, shhhh.”
Ari couldn’t help smiling slightly, remembering how she’d used the same soothing croon with Chloe when she was sick as a little one.  

“Sorry.” Tane sniffed softly.
“Don’t worry about it, occupational hazard.”
“For a gym owner?”
He squinted, raising an eyebrow. 
“Being a mum; but sometimes a gym owner.” She was glad her attempt at humour brought a ghostly smile. 

Bella looked up at her boyfriend; he looked a million miles away.
“Hey.”  She gently stroked his face, turning it to face her. “He’ll be okay; you know that Ari or Mia will call if anything changes.”
“I know; it’s just...”
He sighed heavily. “I always thought he was indestructible, even after seeing what Anne did to him...it seemed so much more than a cold.”
“Nik, he’ll be fine, trust me.”

Nikau smiled weakly, kissing the top of her head; despite her assurances, something wasn’t sitting right; secretly, Bella knew it too, she’d bet they’d be heading back within the hour one way or another.

“Anything else I can do, make you a cuppa or anything?”
“No thanks.”
His eyes never left Tane, who was growling feverishly; his temperature had crept up a fair chalk in the last little while.
“If you change your mind, just give me a shout.”
Mia looked on, her face a picture of worried sympathy; Ari looked completely exhausted and scared witless...and, according to him, this was just the beginning. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you RR1! Meant to update this sooner but life got crazy! Glad you're enjoying. ?

DISCLAIMER: I have done my best to use the correct depictions of Maori customs and language but I only have a translation program, it is not my intention to offend and I apologise if I have.

Any warnings: Talk/description of illness and implied naughtiness/violence


Chapter 3 – The Never-ending Night

The heat was beating down on him, almost to the point of suffocation as he shifted the weights across his shoulders; this was ridiculous, why was Mia so against hiring movers? Did she honestly expect him to carry every piece of gym equipment from here to Yabbie Creek?!
He saw Flick frolicking on the beach in her favourite barely-there turquoise bikini; he smiled appreciatively, she looked great in it...but even better out of it!

Suddenly, the clouds turned pitch black as unearthly rounds of thunder and lightning crashed and rain practically blinded him but when he opened his eyes the rain had stopped...however, the sight in front of him was far more horrifying...

“Missed me, lover boy?”
He couldn’t quite believe what he was seeing. “Anne?!”
“The one and only.”
She was dressed in a long black blouse with sweeping sleeves and trousers, almost identical to the clothes she’d worn when she’d kidnapped him and Flick.
“What do you want; you’re supposed to be in hospital?” He started coughing again, a chill running right through him.
“Sounds more like you’re the one who needs to be in hospital.” She quipped, a cold silkiness in her voice as she stroked down his collarbone.  “But how can you...when your family needs you?”

A hysterical female voice.

To his horror, he saw Ari and Nikau clinging to Mia, Bella and Chloe, Flick between them all, on a nearby cliff edge which was fast disappearing beneath them.
“Better be quick.”

Tane raced toward them, somehow dragging a heavy branch at speed with him, trying to make a bridge.
“Come on!" He inched forward, hand outstretched. “I’ve got you, its okay.”
Chloe came first, Bella next, shivering violently and Flick practically fell into his arms.
“I’m scared.” She whimpered.
“You’re safe now.” He murmured.
Mia nearly slipped but between him and Nikau, who’d followed were soon safe...leaving only Ari.
“Come on, brother!”
Ari slowly crawled across...suddenly the branch started cracking; he slipped, soon hanging by his fingertips.
“Ari?!” With lightning reflexes, he grabbed him, using all his strength to try to pull him up. “Come on!”
“Tane...I can’t hold on.”
“I won’t you let go.”

A malevolent chuckle came at Tane’s ear; he looked up, seeing Anne’s twisted features.
“Too easy, hot stuff, just...too...easy.”
Suddenly she cut the branch with one swipe, wrenching his grip and Ari disappeared into the abyss.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Tane howled painfully; in a split-second his grief turned to rage and he lunged at Anne. 
She laughed as whip-like vines shot from her hands wrapping around him like a giant python; he fought to free himself but the more he struggled the tighter it became, crushing his throat.
“Let me go!”

“Calm down, calm down.”  Ari held him close, trying to subdue him and cool him down. “I’ve got you, its okay.”
Mia hurried in, Nikau hot on her heels.
“What’s going on?” Nikau asked, Ari raising his eyebrows questioningly at his nephew’s presence but quickly turned his attention back to his stricken sibling.
“He’s hallucinating, his fever’s pretty high.”
“Shouldn’t we get him to hospital?”

Mia caught the look from her fiancé. “No, we just need to calm him down; talk to him.” 
Ari put a hand up warning him to stay back a little.
“Uncle, you’re okay, you’re safe; it’s just a nightmare.”
“Tane, shhh; it’s the fever talking.”
Mia spoke in a motherly tone.

“No, no...” Tane gasped as his eyes snapped open, head jolting from side to side, searching. “Ari?!”

“It’s okay, bro.”
“She got to you...I couldn’t...”
“It was just a nightmare.”
Ari reassured him.
Tane gripped Ari’s arm like a man possessed, his eyes wide and unseeing.
“Hey, hey, you’re okay Tane.”
He wheezed fearfully. “Kaua e whakarerea ahau!” (Please don’t leave me.)
“E kore ahau e haere ki hea.”  (I’m not going anywhere.) He replied.
“Kare au e kaha manawa...e mataku ana ahau.” (I can’t breathe...I’m scared.) 
Tears trailed down Tane’s cheeks, Ari gently brushed them away with his thumb, leaning his forehead to his brother’s.
“You’ve got a bit of a pouaka makariri (chest cold), like before, remember, yeah?”
He nodded weakly.
“You’re gonna be just fine soon, okay; Mia, Nikau, Bella and me, we’ve got your back.”
Mia and Nikau agreed.
“I’m staying right here.”
“Kupu whakaari?” (Promise?)
“Ko te tikanga.” (Of course.)

Tane sighed heavily, slumping exhaustedly against Ari.
“It’s all right, teina iti (little brother), shhhhh.” Ari crooned softly, stroking his hair as he laid him back. “Just rest, save your strength.”

Soon Tane had fallen into an uneasy sleep, thanks to Ari’s gentle singing; he looked up, seeing Mia barely holding it together, her eyes awash with moved tears and Nikau in stunned silence.
“That’s why I wanted you to stay with Bella.” Ari murmured to Nikau then looked to Mia. “I didn’t want you to see this.”
“Does this happen every time?”
The young man asked.
“Only if he’s stubborn and doesn’t rest.”
Nikau rolled his eyes. “Every time, then.”
“Pretty much.”
“I’m sorry.”
Mia whispered tearfully. “I didn’t know.”
Ari raised a quizzical eyebrow.
“He ran the morning outdoor classes...if I’d known how bad...”
He pulled her to him and kissed her tenderly. “It’s not your fault.”

Nikau exhaled heavily, holding the back of his head as he returned to the lounge; Bella was at his side almost instantly, arms around him.
“I heard all that...you okay?” She nuzzled into him.
“No.” He whispered. “He’s really sick.”
Bella knew how scared he was, it hadn’t been all that long ago that they’d almost lost Ari to peritonitis due to his ruptured appendix...if what Tane had was more serious than a just a cold, she wasn’t sure how much more Nik could take.

As the hours passed Tane’s fever continued to rage; Ari kept trying to cool him down but short of finding a way to get him into an ice bath, not that there were many of those in Summer Bay never mind Australia, he had to hope it would break soon.

How many times had he sat like this over Tane’s growing up?
Ari gently  mopped his brow, though he was a man now, Tane still looked as vulnerable and ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ as he had as a little one...pretty much from the day he was born he’d had everyone wrapped around his little finger and Ari had felt responsible.

He remembered how excited yet serious their mother, Tui, had been when she explained to him and Mikaere that they’d been blessed with a miracle and soon there would be a brother or sister for them to protect and teach, Mikaere was an old hand at it, of course but young Ari immediately took to said duty with a fervour that surprised his parents. 

Tane had been a late surprise, 4 years younger than Ari; Rawiri and Tui Parata had always hoped for another child to complete their family but, at the time, it seemed unlikely...however, fate works in mysterious ways.

Ari had been utterly spellbound by the little scrap that suddenly appeared in their lives; the way the little one gripped his finger with almost God-like strength, hence his name.
 Being the baby of the family, everyone doted on Tane and who could blame them?  He was as cute as a button and cheeky as heck, even then; everything in the new little family went along perfectly well until on fateful night in July 1988 when 9-month old Tane fell sick with Bronchiolitis; though only mild, he seemed to struggle, putting both him and Tui in great distress.

July 1988.

Ari knew something was wrong, very wrong; the atmosphere in the house was different.
His father seemed worried and his mother was upset, he’d never seen them like that; a
tohunga arrived one afternoon, the soundtrack being little Tane pitiful cries and coughing as it had been for 3 days.
“Mikaere?”  Ari looked worriedly to his older brother for guidance, even though he was only two years older.
Mikaere led him away from their parents’ bedroom door, as his father had tasked him to do, to keep him occupied.

Sometime later little had changed, Ari crept back to the bedroom; the room was hot and humid, the scents of many healing mixtures assailed his senses. His mother was in a rocking chair, still trying to soothe Tane.
Ari’s little brow furrowed as he watched, creeping closer to his mother’s side. What could he do?
“Māmā?” He gently reached to stroke Tane’s head.
Tui smiled weakly at her middle son. “The
tohunga says he will be well soon but he does not understand yet.”
Ari realised there was something he could do...singing always made him happy when he was sick, maybe it would work now and began to sing one of the bedtime lullabies; soon Tane had actually started to fall asleep.
“Look!” Ari beamed.
Tui knew the poor little one had likely been worn out completely but she played along. “Thank you,
taku tama (My son.); what would I do without you?” She stroked his face.
“I’ll stay all night.” He promised. “I will pwotect him, Māmā.”
“You must rest Ari; you need to be big and strong.”
She replied gently.

In the early hours of the morning, little Tane began to stir, his mother immediately aware ready to soothe so that the rest of the house would be undisturbed; Tui felt her heart spilling over at the scene before her; little Ari was curled up under his blanket fast asleep, right next to the cot, hand stretched through the bars towards Tane as he said he would, he’s obviously snuck in earlier.

 And he’d protected him ever since, no matter what trouble and headaches he caused, Ari knew he’d always be there.

Thankfully, despite a few rocky times in childhood, 99.999999999999999999999999999999999% of the time Tane was healthy and strong but he’d had a nasty bout of pneumonia in his teens which had nearly landed him in hospital, once again Ari had stayed at his side....they were memories he’d tried hard to lock away, especially when he’d been unable to protect him during the prison years and losing Mikaere; he knew that, despite his many protestations to the contrary, Tane needed him...truthfully, they needed each other probably more than they’d ever admit. 

 Tane began shivering and mumbling in the midst of another fever induced nightmare.
“I’ve got you.” Ari murmured. “I’ll protect you.”

The cool water soothed his aching muscles as he floated down the river, the quiet serenity enveloping him...suddenly he was sucked under, his lungs filling with water; he tried to thrash his way to the surface, just managing to snatch the tiniest breath...how could he be drowning, he could swim?! 
At the last second, he felt himself being lifted from the water, a voice trying to reassure him.

“Tane, Tane, you’re okay.” Ari supported him, the heel of his free hand thumping him gently on the back, hearing the hacking, sticky coughing. “Cough it up, bro, come on, cough it up.” 
Tane choked, lurching forward as he brought up the thick fluid from his chest; soon falling back, sweating and drained against his brother.
“That’s the way, you’re all right now.”
Mia popped her head around the door as she brought a fresh bowl of water, ready to clear the other; it worried her how weak Tane looked. “Should I call Logan?”
He took the cool facecloth she offered, gently cooling Tane’s forehead and wiping his mouth. “The worst is almost over.”
“Coulda fooled me.”
She kissed Ari’s temple. “You look exhausted, you should get some sleep; I can look out for him for an hour or two.”
Ari smiled wanly. “I’ll be all right; I can sleep when he’s better.” He saw the concern in her eyes. “I promise.”


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks RR1, your comments are always appreciated! ?

DISCLAIMER: I have done my best to use the correct depictions of Maori customs and language but I only have a translation program, it is not my intention to offend and I apologise if I have.


Chapter 4 – A Healing Bond

Mia was up just before the sun, not that she’d slept all that much anyway; she watched the sunrise as she sipped her coffee before getting ready for work, stopping to peek in on Ari and Tane.
“Morning.” She whispered, smiling affectionately at the image before her; both brothers were fast asleep, Tane curled close, there was still a slight clammy sheen to his forehead but his breathing was greatly improved...for the first time in 2 days everything was peaceful.

She headed out to make some breakfast and a little something for Ari when he woke up; Nikau and Chloe appeared.
“Morning you two.”
Nikau looked worried. “How’s...”
“They’re both asleep, I checked on them...I think Tane’s turned a corner, he’s looking better.”
“That’s great.”
Chloe beamed.

The fog was lifting slowly, sunlight appearing; Tane felt exhausted, his limbs heavy and chest aching, almost as if he’d been in a fight, on a 5K run and weight-training circuit all in one go.
He sighed as he opened his eyes, momentarily disorientated...was he at home, hospital? Wasn’t he supposed to be at work? 
“Hey.” Ari squeezed his hand. “Welcome back.”
Home. He rubbed a hand over his face, swallowing dryly, almost immediately feeling a straw being gently pressed on his lower lip; the cool water was the sweetest thing he’d ever tasted.
“Take it slowly.” Ari cautioned.
“How are you feeling?”

He moved stiffly to sit up slightly. “Like I’ve been hit by a train.” He squinted as his eyes adjusted to the light. “What time is it?”
Ari checked his watch. “10:15 am.”
10:15?! He’d been asleep for nearly 20 hours straight, geez he must’ve been exhausted!
Tane’s eyebrows shot up in disbelief. “What?!”
“Yep...you’ve been out for nearly 2 days.”
“Maybe next time you’ll listen to me, little brother.”
Ari teased gently.
“Yeah, I guess.” He yawned, the fatigue starting to overtake him again.
“Get some sleep.”
Tane caught his hand. “Thanks...for being there with me.”
“No worries.”
Ari tapped his arm.
A pause.
“It was bad this time, wasn’t it?”
Another pause.
“Just get better okay.” Ari winked.

“Go and rest.” Tane knew his brother was still watching him. “I’m all right now.”
“You saying you’re bored of my sparkling company?”
“Something like that.”
He smiled crookedly. “Get outta here.”
“You sure? I can stay until you fall asleep?”
“You planning on singing another lullaby? I’m trying to get better, not worse.”
“Hoi  karekau.”
Ari ruffled Tane’s hair.

The house was quiet, almost eerie as Nikau and the girls were at work; Ari sank onto the sofa, he’d barely had 4 hours sleep out of the last 48 but he felt strangely wired...he doubted he’d ever get used to this, rarity aside. The fever had broken; Tane was on the other side of it now, at worst a slight touch of bronchitis, if that. ..every time felt too close.
Maybe it was because of Mikaere, he’d been powerless to save him and that was down the arrogance of bad decisions, that made him feel it more keenly now but seeing Tane push himself to the brink, even the most powerful warrior strength didn’t mean invincibility and the outcome, watching him fight invisible terrors and his body becoming his enemy, it had brought Ari almost to tears.  
He sighed heavily, swiping at his aching bloodshot eyes; sleep deprivation was turning him crazy and it was high time to be cured.

Mia popped home at lunchtime, pleased to see Tane awake and sitting up; they talked awhile, her fussing over him, assuring him Ari was, indeed, resting at last.

“Taking my advice for a change, eh?”
“Hmm, bit like someone else I know.”
She teased wryly, her expression softened. “He wouldn’t leave your side.”
“I know.”
Tane paused. “It’s all a bit of a blur to be honest; I vaguely remember coming back here. I just couldn’t catch my breath, felt as if I was on fire.”
“You were practically cooking like a lamb joint on a Sunday.”
They both chuckled at the image. “It was Nik who found you, he called Ari.”
Tane’s mouth twitched, feeling guilty for having scared his nephew.
“You gave us all a bit of a scare, you know.” She admonished him gently, as if she’d read his mind.
“Sorry. I’ll talk to Nik later.” He sighed. “I knew Ari was right, just didn’t want to admit it.”
“I’m surprised he hasn’t got laryngitis after this, the only time you seemed to calm down was when he was singing.”

He chuckled softly. “That’d be right...it’s been the same since we were kids, so he tells me anyway.”
To his surprise, Mia kissed his forehead. “You’re on the mend now at least.”

A little later Tane had gathered enough strength to head for a shower; the warm water helped his stiff muscles become supple and he felt almost as if the germ was washing away with it, the light steam easing his aching lungs, making his breathing easier still...at this rate he’d be ready for a workout; as he pulled his t-shirt on he felt suddenly light-headed, steadying himself at the sink...maybe not!  

He spent the afternoon between bed and the couch, resting and rehydrating, Ari keeping him company; normally being kept still would drive him crazy, he felt so weak and as if his ribcage had been shattered, it didn’t help that he’d suddenly get caught by coughing fits, Tane could barely keep his head up, his earlier flash of supreme strength long past....and judging by the string of flippantly annoyed texts from Flick he’d need every ounce he could muster! 

“Here.” He looked up, seeing both the mug of just-warm tea that Ari was holding and a smaller cup of something vaguely familiar...oh no, not the tonic.
“It’ll make you feel better, bro.”
His eyes twinkled mischievously. “Come on; take your medicine like a good boy, eh?”
He was in no condition to make a witty retort so settled for arching his eyebrows before he knocked the mixture back, the warmth and acidic sweetness made him grimace, the same exaggerated expression seen so often during their growing up.
Ari handed him the tea, gently squeezing his younger sibling’s shoulder with the other.

Ari smiled softly as he noticed that Tane had drifted off again, leaning on his hand, holding a cushion against him with the other; Ari carefully manoeuvred Tane so that his head was actually resting on the other cushion and tucked the nearby blanket around him.

“Aww.” Ari looked up, hearing Mia cooing. “So sweet.” He realised she’d taken a snapshot with her phone.
“He’s never going to forgive you if he sees that!”
“What about you?”
The pair embraced as she kissed his lips affectionately.
“Hmmm, I could be persuaded.” Ari chuckled as they shared a more passionate kiss.
“I have the supplies, we’re good to go.”

For the first time in days, the smell of food actually made Tane’s mouth water despite his stomach still feeling a little on the sensitive side, he recognised it to be the cure-all chicken stew that their mum had always cooked when anyone was sick, her speciality and Ari had inherited her flair for it. He went toward the kitchen, seeing Ari and Mia hard at work. 

“Something smells good?”
“Chicken and veggie stew; light but warm and nourishing, perfect for all.”
“Mum’s recipe.”
Ari looked up to the ceiling. “The Appetite returns, hallelujah!” 
Nikau’s grin practically cracked his face in two as he came through the door, seeing Tane. “You’re up!”
“You saying I’m lazy?”
They greeted each other with the traditional forehead touch.
“Oh-ho, never!”
“Hey Tane, you look much better.”
Bella agreed.
“Thanks, I’m not feeling too bad,”
“Lapping up all the attention, as you can see.”
Ari quipped, which earned him a light-hearted slap with the dish towel from his wife.
“Nik,” He regarded him seriously. “I’m sorry for what happened; I didn’t mean to scare you.”
He scoffed playfully.
“I mean it.” He turned to Bella. “You too, Bella; thanks for looking out for him.”
“No problem,”
She gazed adoringly at Nikau, cuddling his arm. “It’s my pleasure; listen, I’m going to head home.” 
“You sure you don’t want to stay for dinner, I mean if it’s okay?”
  “Of course.”
Mia agreed as Tane nodded.
“Yeah, the more the merrier.” Ari chimed in.
“Thanks but I’ve got an assignment due and I’m way behind, besides I wouldn’t want to overwhelm the patient!” With a quick kiss on the cheek she bade everyone farewell.
Tane noticed the way Nik was watching him, that same anxious seriousness as Ari.
“Hey.” He flashed a weak devil-may-care smile. “I’ll be right, boy. You think a little sniffle’s gonna keep me down, eh?”
Nikau rolled his eyes, glad to see his uncle’s sense of humour had returned.

Over the weekend, Tane’s recovery came on leaps and bounds; he teased Ari that no-one would ever have believed he’d been sick in the first place, he’d been worrying over nothing! 
He saw the shadows behind their eyes; it was clear how scared they’d all been, despite their best attempts to hide it, (except Ari doing his best impression of a sentry meerkat any time he coughed even slightly!) he enjoyed their fuss...he realised their love was the thing that made him feel indestructible. 

Their family had been to hell and back over the recent months and this certainly hadn’t helped; he resolved to be more sensible in future.
Tane chuckled to himself, if he actually said that out loud, Ari would probably collapse from shock!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you RR1 for your unwavering support, it means a lot! ? Here we are at the Finale; I'm hoping to write another story soon but the definition of 'soon' depends on life generally!

DISCLAIMER: I have done my best to use the correct depictions of Maori customs and language but I only have a translation program, it is not my intention to offend and I apologise if I have.

Any warnings: Implied naughtiness/violence


Chapter 5 – Back to Being Indestructible

Just over a week after his collapse, Tane was getting ready for work; he was raring to go...if only everyone believed him!

Mia seemed to have cooked a week’s worth of meals for breakfast, she and Ari practically hovered over him to make sure every scrap was eaten, (Not that difficult!), both Chloe and Nikau assuring him to call if needed. 

“You sure you’re okay, you still look a bit rough?” Mia tilted her head.
Tane rolled his eyes. “Did Ari put you up to this?”
“No, just the concern of a loving sister-in-law.”
“I’m fine. Come on, let’s go.”
“First day back eh?" Ari appeared. “Remember, take it easy.”
“Bro, like I just said to Mia, I’m fine.”
“I know you’re tough, just...”
 “See you later.”
Mia kissed her husband’s cheek.
“Have a good day.”

Tane was almost at the door when...
“Hoi.” Ari tossed him an apple, which he nimbly caught. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
Tane winked in thanks...yes, Ari fussed over him like he was still 5 years old but he’d be lost without him...not that he’d admit it!

Ari watched the vacant doorway; part of him felt like Tane was returning to work too soon but, whether he liked or not, he could make his own decisions. Ari smiled as he headed out to work too...even when they were old and grey, he’d still be looking out for him. 

Mia and Tane stopped by the juice bar to pick up the usual Vit-C booster juices.
“That’s on the house.” A jolly voice called. 
Everyone’s eyebrows shot up, had they all just heard that correctly?!
“Good to see you back.” John clapped him cheerily on the shoulder. “Mia mentioned you’d been pretty crook.”
“Thanks, good to be back.”
“Hey, I thought I heard your voice.”
Mackenzie was leaning down the staircase. “You look so much better!”
Tane laughed softly. “It was nothing, really, just a bit of a cold.”
“Not according to Mia,”
John piped up, looking to Mac. “I’m surprised young Logan wasn’t called."
Mac rolled her eyes; he never could keep his beak out for long. “Anyway, good to see you.”
Tane looked to Mia, raising his eyebrow questioningly, though he suspected he knew the answer.
“I was worried, we all were but Ari knew what he was doing.”
He clicked his tongue. “Come on,” 

He wasn’t going to mention it in front of prying ears, not that it mattered now anyways, but Ari would’ve called Logan on Monday morning to check he was fit for work but Tane had managed to dissuade him!

Tane checked the books for his schedule; two classes and a one-on-one PT session, clearly Ari had been in Mia’s ear about light duties but he wasn’t going to argue!

“Well, hello hot-shot.” He recognised Talia’s voice instantly.
Scratch that. Ari may have wanted him on light duties but he was about to be put through his paces, he smiled.  “Right on time.”
“Aren’t I always? The place has had a distinct lack of energy while you’ve been out, everyone’s missed you.”
“You serious?”  
“You’re surprised?”
She countered. “I’m guessing you weren’t that ‘fine’, eh?” She laughed at his rueful expression. “PTs and doctors always make the worst patients, we think we’re indestructible.” She quickly stored her stuff. “Come on, do your worst.”
“You sure about that?”
“I like a challenge!”

Tane laughed softly, he knew she wasn’t joking! Talia had a rep for her zest for the tough stuff, especially boxing, thankfully not why she was here today!

“Time! Beautiful.” Talia fell back, utterly spent as Tane unstrapped the weights from her legs. 
“I bet you say that to all the girls.” She laughed breathlessly as she took his offered hand, soon towelling off and taking a drink. “Same time next Tuesday?”
“Sure, come book in when you’re ready.”

Watching Talia walk away, Tane realised he was grinning like the Cheshire Cat; being able to work with people like her, helping them become or be their best selves was possibly the biggest energy high there was... he’d only been gone a short time but he realised how much he’d missed it.
“Good session?” Mia was pleased to see him looking so strong again, the trauma of last week almost felt like a distant memory...
“Yeah, she’s doing great.” He cleared his throat softly.
“Hey.” She touched his arm. 
“Mia, I’m okay, honestly.” He smiled crookedly. “I’d tell you if I wasn’t.”
She raised her eyebrow. “So last week was a figment of my imagination?”
“Fair enough,”
He actually looked just a little sheepish! “In future.” 
“Good to know.”
She squeezed his arm affectionately. “Right, I’ve got to get out to the next class.” She was almost at the door when...
“And you can tell Ari the same thing when you text him.”
Now it was Mia’s turn to look sheepish, even though she tried to hide it. “I’ve no idea what you mean.”

Speaking of texts...Tane checked his phone...still nothing from Flick; he’d texted a couple of times since her chain of them but ‘radio silence’ continued. She was either busy or still annoyed, though she claimed she wasn’t the needy type.

You free today?

Catching up on TAFE assignments was next on the agenda; he wasn’t technically behind on anything but, as he’d discovered recently several times, life had a way of throwing curveballs at any second; he smiled wryly, pen poised for the waiting essay, his high school self would be stunned, he’d never been the studious kind, how times change.
By the afternoon there was still no response from Flick, only a check-in text from Ari clucking away like a Mother Hen;  it looked like in-person would be the only way to go!

 “Hey Tane, why don’t you take the rest of the day off, it’s pretty quiet.” Mia suggested.
“You sure?”
“Yeah, go home and relax.”
“I mean it, Tane.”
She added teasingly. “Don’t let Felicity wear you out.”
“I’ll try not to!”
He grinned cheekily.

He soon headed up to Salt.
“Bit early for pizza, isn’t it?” Mac teased. “Even for you.”
Tane ‘shrugged’ his eyebrows. “Actually, I’m looking for Felicity.”
“She’s on dinner shifts this week.” 
“Thanks, see you later.”

Soon he found himself at the caravan park; Flick was being surprisingly domesticated, drying laundry.

“Hey!” She didn’t respond. “You’ve been ignoring my texts?”
“Just returning the favour.”
 She continued folding her clothes.
Ooh, she was annoyed...and sexier than ever!
“I’m sorry.” He meant it but he knew she wouldn’t bite. “An old friend came to catch up, lost track of time.”
“A friend?”

Tane decided to have a little fun.
“Bron; we’ve known each other for years, it was unexpected.”
She turned; hand on hip as she rolled her eyes. “Ex-girlfriend you mean...actually I don’t want to know.”
“No; she just swept in, I couldn’t say no to her.”
 She took down the makeshift line and picked up her basket. “It’s nothing to do with me what you and Von or what’s-her-name spend your time.”
“Bron.  Bron Kay.”
He corrected, knowing he might be pushing it. “She really took my breath away, had me burning up for days, always does.” He was trying desperately to keep a straight face; Flick looked like she was about to strangle him!
“Bron Kay, that’s her name?”
“It is.”
His eyes twinkled.
“Bro...” She rolled her eyes again, realising his joke. “Bron-Kay-it is; very funny.” Dumping the basket, she slapped his arm light-heartedly, all peevishness forgotten.
“Ow!” He recoiled playfully. “Hey.”
She wrapped her arms around his neck, her features and voice softening. “Why didn’t you tell me you were sick?”
“It was nothing, really.”
He assured her. “Would you have come round to nurse me back to health?”
“I’m sure I could’ve found a uniform somewhere...”

Tane’s temperature shot up instantly and he shivered...only this time he felt extremely healthy!

“I-uh,” He gave an exaggerated cough. “I think I might be having a relapse.”
“Do you now?”
Flick had the same mischievous glint. “Well then I think you need to lie down...” She touched his forehead, eyebrows furrowing in mock-seriousness. “Hm, you’re so hot.”
“Thank you very much.”
“Definitely a fever.”
She felt him hold her closer. “I’ll have to see what I can do to make you feel better; are you going to be a good patient?”
“I’ll do whatever you say, Nurse.”

“Right answer.”

They kissed passionately before she took him by the hand, leading him into the caravan...





Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.