Collection of Prompt-Fics

life, interrupted

It’s a normal morning—Max wakes to their phones’ alarms, climbs out of bed, and makes her way to the kitchen to start the coffee. She double-checks that nothing is out of place in the house and that Sean is still asleep in his cot. Then she goes to wake Brigid for school before heading back to the kitchen.

It’s exactly as she’s done since they moved into the house a year ago instead of remaining in that one-bedroom flat. It’s a routine she loves. It’s the stability she never thought she’d have before. It’s taken far too long to get this—this love, this easy peacefulness.


Max turns toward her stepdaughter and stifles a laugh. Brigid’s blonde hair sticks up in all directions. Too similar to her father’s in that regard. The shade of golden yellow is from her mother, Max knows that, but Brigid looks so much like Niall. There is no denying she is his child.

“What’s up, sweetheart?”

“I don’t think Dad feels well.”

Max’s breath catches in her throat. Forcing herself not to react, she sets the bowl of oatmeal on the table. “Why do you think that?”

“He’s puking.” It’s such a simple statement, delivered in the typical preteen ‘duh’ tone. Max can’t find humour in it.

“Okay. Eat your breakfast while I go check on him.”

“Can I have cinnamon?”

“Of course. You know where it is.”

Max presses a kiss to Brigid’s forehead then hurries to the bathroom. True to her stepdaughter’s word, Niall is sat on the hardwood floor in front of the toilet, head resting against the edge of the tub. His eyes stay closed even as Max crouches beside him.

“You okay?”

He nods slowly, but Max knows it’s a lie. She can see how much the action drains him further. She presses her hand to his forehead and frowns. His ashen skin feels like a furnace.

“Let’s get you back to bed, babe.”

“’M fine,” he croaks out. “Just ate something that didn’t agree with me.”

Max snorts as she flushes the vomit down. “You’re as bad a liar as Brigid. Look, you’ve taken care of me so many times since we met. Let me take care of you.”

“I feel awful,” he admits before shivering.

“I can tell.”

Niall doesn’t argue, only holds out a hand. Max grunts when he’s finally on his feet; his body lists against hers, and they shuffle toward the bedroom. Sweat accumulates down her side as his fever leeches into her skin. She helps him lie down and cards her hand through his damp hair.

“I’m gonna call in a sub for you then take Brigid to school. I’ll be back soon, okay? Sean will be with me. Don’t leave this bed.”

“Yes, Doctor Horan.”

“Don’t even play one on television, darling. I love you.”

“Love you, too.”

His breathing evens out, leaving only a rattle wheeze in the air. She rushes to grab a glass of water and an empty bin in case he throws up while she’s gone. Phoning the school takes a minute, then Max is in the kitchen once more.

Brigid looks up from her oatmeal. “Dad’s feeling poorly, isn’t he?”

“Yeah. So how do you feel about a sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa’s until he’s better?”

Brigid agrees readily, so Max sends her to her room to get dressed. While the child is doing as asked, Max dials her mother’s number and prays silently that her parents are up to keeping Brigid for a few days.

“Hey, baby girl.”

“Dad? Why are you answering Mom’s phone?”

“Because she’s sleeping in today.”

Max huffs out a laugh. “That makes sense. Um, I have a favour to ask of you two. Is there any way Brigid and Sean can stay there for a bit? Niall is under the weather, and I don’t want them to catch whatever he has, especially since Sean is only four months old. But if it’s gonna be an imposition, I can ask Dolly.”

“Absolutely. Darling, we’d never turn those kids away. It isn’t like we don’t love them to death.”

“Okay. Thanks, Dad. I’ll be right there with the baby and drop Brigid off after school.”

Max ends the call a moment later and exhales slowly. This isn’t what she expected this morning—she planned on using the hours alone to edit and clean. Instead, she has to play nurse to the man she loves, the father of their children. Brigid passes by the kitchen, dressed in her typical jeans and patterned T-shirt. Max had spent hours sewing her old tops into something that would fit Brigid, since they no longer fit Max herself after Sean was born.

Brigid helpfully sets the security alarm and locks the door behind them. Max loads the children into her Accord, making sure the chest clip is properly secured over her son’s chest, then slides into the passenger seat. Brigid chooses the station for the drive—the one playing all the popular music—and Max stifles a sigh. Pop has never truly been her favourite.

Daughter dropped off at school and son left cradled in his grandfather’s arms, Max makes one stop to get flu medicine, Clorox wipes, and hand sanitiser before heading home. Niall is still asleep when she walks through the door, so she sets about wiping down every hard surface that she can.

Niall hasn’t been ill since they met. Max only hopes he doesn’t act like the stereotype of the ‘man cold’, where he acts so pitifully that she feels obligated to wait on him hand and foot. She’ll do it anyway, but she wants to do it because she loves him. Not because of a guilt trip.

She doesn’t want a repeat of Gabriel.

Her chest tightens at the sight of Niall curled into a tight ball beneath the blankets. Sweat darkens his pillow, a damp halo around his head, and the comforter covers only his torso. Max adjusts the blankets then sits on her side of the bed with her laptop on her crossed legs.

She’s gotten through two chapters before Niall coughs himself awake. He leans over the side of the mattress, retching immediately. Max pushes her computer off her lap and reaches out to rub his back as soothingly as possible.

“I think I’m dying,” he groans as he rolls onto his back. His arm comes up to cover his eyes. “Oh, that was a shite decision.”

“You aren’t dying. And stop flopping like a fish before you throw up again.”

“Where are the kids?”

Max pushes his hair from his face, lips tugging down at how flushed his cheeks are. “Brigid’s at school, Sean is with my parents.”

“You should be there, too.”

“Yeah, like I’m gonna leave the love of my life alone while he’s ill.”

His lips twitch, but the feeble smile disappears quickly. Max promises to be right back, leaving the room to get the medicine and a wet washcloth. Niall tries to protest but eventually acquiesces when she threatens to sit on him and force it down his throat. Medication swallowed, he sprawls across the mattress and moans as Max cleans the sweat and vomit from his face.

“Go back to sleep, darling.”

He shakes his head. “What about you?”

“I’ve got editing to keep me company. I promise I can survive a few hours of you resting.”

“Ya sure I’m not dying?”

“You’re not.”

He’s asleep before he can respond.

Max keeps vigil at his side over the next four days. She leaves only to use the toilet, cook meals—mostly soup that she slurps down in solidarity, though she sneaks into the kitchen in the middle of the night to eat something more substantial—and phone her parents to check up on the kids. She edits while Niall sleeps, and she keeps him company during the rare lucid moments.

She doesn’t sleep much through the night. Every twitch from Niall startles her awake, and she has to empty and wash out the bin dozens of times since he first fell ill. He mutters incoherently every so often, gravelly voice and slurred words.

She forces him into a lukewarm bath every morning, before the medicine can make him too drowsy to amount to more than a lump of soggy potatoes. Cool washcloth after cool washcloth makes a home on his forehead. A sick sense of gratitude settles deep into her bones—she’s been witness to vomiting far too many times for it to disgust her now. And not even a third of that has been because of Sean. The rest was Gabriel and his tendency to drink until he passed out in a pool of his own puke.

A small part of Max tells her this could change on a hairpin—Niall could easily decide to take advantage of her willingness to nurse him back to health. That he’ll hold it over her head that she made a mistake or failed in some way. Even after two years together, Max fears the same punishment Gabriel doled out for the smallest transgression.

Niall has proved himself to be different. Everything he’s done since they met has shown her she has nothing to fear with him. He’ll always love her and treat her with respect and care. But it is nearly impossible to break years of reinforcement.

When Max wakes a week after the flu took over his life, Niall is already out of bed and moving around in the bathroom. She follows the sounds across the hall and stands in the doorway with her arms crossed over her chest. The cool air from the vent skims across her bare shoulders, and she shivers at the chill.

“How many times have you brushed your teeth this morning?”

Niall grins sheepishly but doesn’t stop swishing mouthwash. She shakes her head, stepping up behind him, and wraps her arms around his waist. His hand rests on hers. Citrus-spice fills her nose; he’s showered, skin still warm from the water. He smells like he always has, and Max finds comfort in that.

She leans with him as he spits the mouthwash into the sink. “I’m glad you’re feeling better, sweetie.”

“So’m I. Thanks for taking care of me.”

“What else was I gonna do, let you feel like shit by yourself?”

“You could’ve gotten ill yourself, though.”

She shrugs, hand pulling at his shoulder until he faces her. His breath warms her cheek when she rises on her tiptoes to kiss him. He tugs her back in before she can back away. Her chest tightens, heat pooling in her belly, as she pushes closer.

It’s been far too long since they have kissed like this. And now they have the house to themselves until she goes to pick the kids up from her parents’ house.

“Think your parents will be okay if I come to get Sean?”

And there go those plans. Max forces a smile and nods. Of course he’d want to see their children as soon as possible. He must see something in her expression. He frowns and cradles her jaw, thumb brushing her cheek.

“Everything okay?”



“I just...” She shrugs helplessly and shrinks in on herself. “I thought we could spend time together without the kids since you’re feeling better.”

Niall grins, bright and real and warm. His hand slides along her arm until he can link their fingers together, and she moves closer at his insistence. Whispering an agreement that the kids can wait a bit longer, he kisses her and leads her to the bedroom.

Heat flares between them. The way it has since she came back home to him from Mendocino. Since she came back to the future he promised and the rollercoaster they’ve been on since Ciara invited them to lunch. Since they met—and gained custody of—Brigid. There have been dark moments, times where Max has withdrawn and avoided physical contact even with the baby.

There always will be. Niall and Brigid understand. It isn’t her responsibility, but Brigid steps up in those moments. She helps care for Sean without complaint and assists Max with cooking dinners. Niall entertains both kids while allowing Max to have her moments alone. She doesn’t deserve this family she’s found, but damn it if she isn’t going to hold on to them tightly.

“Are you kidding me?” she growls, yanking back from where she’s been leaving a mark on Niall’s collarbone. He shifts underneath her, and she gasps aloud when the movement pushes him further inside of her. “Cruel.”

“Don’t answer, love. We deserve this time together.” His hands settle on her waist, guiding her to rise and fall as he fills her again and again.

Max almost gives in—whoever it is can surely wait a few more minutes. She wants to focus on chasing the taste of mint on Niall’s tongue, the high that promises such a beautiful fall, the gasps and moans slipping from their lips. She wants to give her full attention to praying at his altar, begging for his unending love. Unfortunately, her gaze shifts from his awe-filled face to the screen of her phone, and she curses.

“It’s the school.” She plants a hand on his chest and fumbles for the phone, somehow managing to press the green icon. “Hello, this is Max.”

“Hi, this is Molly, the nurse at Harker. Brigid is here with me. She’s gotten sick a couple of times already, and she has a fever of a hundred and one.”

“Damn it. Okay, I’ll be right there. Thanks, Molly.”

“What’s going on?” Niall asks as Max hangs up; his expression has shifted from sex-induced euphoria to concern.

“We’ll have to continue this later, love of mine. Our daughter caught what you had. Go take care of yourself while I go pick her up.”

Niall groans, head falling against the pillow. “Alright. Tell your parents I’ll be staying with them, too.”

Plans made, Max kisses him again then makes her way on unsteady knees to the bathroom. It doesn’t take long to clean up, get dressed, and make herself presentable. The bedroom door is shut by the time she steps back out into the hall, soft groans coming from beyond.

She wishes she could still be in there.

To: Mom
B is sick so Niall and Sean will have to stay with you.

As she makes her way out of the house, Max has to admit that though this week has been awful, she wouldn’t have it any other way.
♠ ♠ ♠
characters: max bauer/niall horan (because i just can’t give this couple up, sheesh)

this was prompted by an ask on my tumblr, so enjoy! (also, if you sent this in, please tell me so i can bow at your feet for being so amazing and bringing this characters back, i love you so much)