Toby eased the door shut behind him, keeping the knob turned. Once it was closed, only then did he let up and allow the striker to slip home.

Nothing stirred within the apartment; nobody had responded to his key in the door, nor answered his soft greeting. That was understandable; it was, after all, getting pretty late. It would’ve been nice if John was still up, and it wouldn’t have been all that late for him to be, but it wasn’t all that surprising.

Somewhat more so was that he’d pulled out the sofabed in the living room and gone to sleep there. Surprising, and probably not a good sign; guests aside, they mostly used that bed if one of them wasn’t feeling well. That hadn’t been the case when Toby went to work, but a lot could change in ten hours.

The fact that he hadn’t called Toby at work suggested it wasn’t too dire, at least.

Shoes left on the mat, Toby crept into the darkened room. The bed was sturdy; it made no sound as he sat gingerly on its edge. What light came in from the hall showed John curled up on his side, blankets tugged tight around him. Even as Toby watched, John shifted, curling up a bit tighter and pulling those blankets closer.

The dim light didn’t let Toby see any obvious signs of something wrong, but the man definitely didn’t seem to be resting comfortably. Toby bit his lip, feeling a sudden surge of guilt for his quiet evening at work.

He leaned over, holding his hand over John’s cheek, then his brow. There wasn’t a conspicuous amount of heat there, even when he let his hand come into contact with the latter; no fever. John stirred a little, but did not rouse at the contact.

Toby pulled his hand away, letting it rest instead on John’s blanket-covered shoulder. John made a soft noise in his sleep, and then he settled. Breathing that Toby hadn’t even noticed was a bit ragged grew somewhat steadier. The blankets went slack as some of the tension left the sleeping man’s frame.

Well, if that touch was possibly helping John sleep a little easier, it was the least Toby could do.

He stayed there a few moments more; then, satisfied that John was resting peacefully, he eased away and upright. Hopefully by morning, John would be feeling better; if not, well, Toby had the day off. He’d do what he could then.

Making something to eat would make more noise than he wanted to; tonight, he could eat out. He quietly changed out of his work clothes, and on his way out, leaned back into the living room for one last look.

Nothing seemed to have changed so far.

“Feel better, love,” he whispered from the doorway; then he let himself out as carefully and quietly as he’d entered.