Pernicious? Really? Was "malicious" or "destructive" too easy? I hate when writers use words I feel like everyday readers would have to look up and I asked three people to prove a point and they all didn't know what "pernicious" meant. I, myself, only had a vague idea. That could be why this prompt set here for over a month without being touched. There have been entire Princeton studies done on the subject and the results were all the same: don't use a complex word when a simple one will do.
Anyway, Pernicious... Riley crooked his finger and watched as the tiny bandage stretched a bit with his knuckle. A bandage like that was a funny thing to him when he thought about. It was such a little thing with such a trivial task that he almost laughed outright once he considered it.
But when he really took all matters into account, he knew it was more than what it appeared. Sure, he'd gotten a papercut on a cardboard box at work and sure, it had bled. But not much. He'd immediately brought his hand to his mouth and winced, but the blood had stopped fairly easily.
He'd had to look everywhere for a bandage. The first aid kits had plenty of wipes and burn creams and such, but Band-Aids were used so frequently that they were out of them in the first two places he checked.
He ended up going back to his desk with a tissue and some tape and creating a makeshift one, but it worked fine. It wasn't attractive, but it was a bandage all the same.
Riley's co-worker had leaned over the partition at one point and laughed, "You made a Band-aid for your finger?"
Riley pretended to be consumed in his work, only making a "hmm" noise in reply. In reality, he thought of what lie under the bandage, of what lie beneath his skin. The pernicious virus had run in his veins for years, slowly and methodically destroying his body's resistance to outside affects.
He'd learned to be careful. Not for himself, but because he knew others weren't careful. They didn't know about him and they didn't live with the virus themselves. Sanitizing wasn't something that subconsciously ran through their minds at all times. He'd think about these things for them, make sure he didn't infect anyone by being careless. He'd protect them.
Riley looked up from his work and to his crooked finger. He shrugged a bit and glanced calmly up at his friend leaning over the partition, "Yeah," he commented, "Didn't wanna get blood everywhere."