Paradigm Shift 33

Title: Paradigm Shift
Author: Harper Kingsley
World: ParaShift
Genre: mm sci-fi

There were all kinds of things going on around him, but he couldn't force himself to care. His head felt like it was cracking down the middle and every part of him was seeping out.

He moaned deep in his throat, just making the sound comforting some base part of him.

He didn't feel good, sweat already beginning to run into his eyes, and though he refused to think of it, there was a building discomfort in his groin. It felt as though something was pressing down on his crotch, a pressure against his pubic bone that didn't *quite* hurt yet.

Without much planning, he turned his head over the side of the bed and vomited.

There were damp cloths pressed against his face. An unfamiliar figure in green made him drink all kinds of concoctions, from foul tasting syrup to mugs of hot spice. There was blood drawn, pills forced on him, and even a distantly humiliating suppository pressed into him.

Then finally there was a pinch at his hip. Seconds later he felt himself drifting away, slipping right out of his skin.

* * *

Gregor woke to a horrible tasting and dry mouth. His whole body ached, especially the dull throb between his legs. It felt like someone had kneed him in the groin.

"You're awake," Park said, sounding deeply relieved.

Gregor rolled his head toward him and somehow wasn't surprised that Park was sitting on a chair next to the bed. "Thirsty," he croaked.

Park poured water out of a ceramic orange pitcher into a glass and brought it over with a straw. Gregor didn't even have it in him to care about the indignity; he just drank and was grateful for the cool wetness. His mouth and throat were so dry, and an IV didn't help that.

"What happened?" he finally asked.

"Stress and physiological adaptations don't mix well," Park said. "You strained yourself too much considering your body is still throwing off
the effects of the suppressants."

"Why does ..." Gregor felt his cheeks burn, but he was concerned enough not to care about embarrassment. "My crotch hurts."

"Yeah, Medical said that could happen. You Flared a bit, and since you've never allowed yourself a Heat there was some slight tearing. The doctor left some cream for you to use--soothing and antibacterial to get rid of the pain and prevent infection. You're supposed to use it twice a day."

Gregor appreciated Park's blank expression; it let him pretend this wasn't the worst kind of exposure. Anyone else, with sympathetic eyes and soothing words, and Gregor would have felt stripped completely bare. With Park he could pretend they were talking about something else and not about the head of his penis swelling in preparation for penetration and impregnation.

"There was also mention of slight dehydration and malnutrition. I've already talked to the kitchen and your meals will be adjusted accordingly." Gregor groaned, but quieted under Park's look. "There are some supplements you are to take from now on and we'll be keeping a closer eye on your liquid intake.

"Just because a Third can go a week without water doesn't mean you should do it all the time. There's plenty of everything here; we're not in a famine situation and you will take better care of yourself."

"I take care of myself just fine," Gregor said. He tried to sit up, but the painful twinge in his groin had him lay back down. "You don't have to hover or reorder anything for me."

Park gave him a stern look. "You are part of this Family now and we take care of our members. Even the stubborn and foolhardy ones."

Gregor wanted to protest that he wasn't a member of the Duadenora Family, but there was something in Park's expression that kept him from it. Besides, even though he would rather bite his tongue off than admit it, there was something nice about being taken care of.

It had been a long time since he'd had even the illusion of someone caring about *him*. So why ruin it?