Category: First time
Archive Permissions: Area 52
Summary: McKay has a cold and needs to be taken care of
Notes: This probably has been done before, but it demanded to be written.
“God, that’s gross,” Rodney McKay muttered to himself. The sneeze had caught him unaware and now there was snot all over the Ancient device he had been working on. He sighed and grabbed a rag to clean it up.
The next sneeze at least gave him half a second warning and he could turn his head and put his hand over his mouth. The snot was all over his hand, but not on anything else. He went over to a sink and rinsed his hands before going back to work.
“McKay. Coming to lunch?” asked John Sheppard from the door. He leaned in the doorframe lazily. Life had been quiet for a few days and he was rested for the first time in quite a while. “I hear there’s near-turkey and chocolate pudding.”
McKay looked up and sniffled slightly. “Yeah. I guess,” he replied absently.
At the unenthusiastic response to two of McKay’s favorite foods, Sheppard looked more closely. “You feeling okay?” he asked, concerned. Now that he looked carefully, Rodney looked paler than usual.
“Yeah. Well, not quite. But, working here,” McKay said focusing on the device in front of him. But his eyes were tired and he had not-quite-a-headache.
“Since nothing special is going on at the moment, come with me for lunch,” Sheppard insisted. Some food would do the scientist good.
McKay sighed. He knew Sheppard wouldn’t leave until he got his way and at the moment it was easier to give in than fight. He suddenly didn’t have the strength. “Okay, okay, I’ll come,” McKay said. “Chocolate pudding?” he said, hopefully.
“Not if we don’t get there soon,” Sheppard said. “You know it disappears, which is why I came to get you as soon as I heard.” But he knew the cook would have stashed a couple servings in the back for him, so he wasn’t too worried.
McKay closed up his work and stood to go. He sneezed again. “Sorry,” he said.
“You okay?” Sheppard repeated, concerned.
“Yeah, just sneezing from something. With my luck I’m allergic to this device,” McKay said, more like himself.
“What is it?” Sheppard asked, curious.
“If I knew that, would I be taking it apart?” McKay said. “Well, I probably would but it’s something that was found in one of the Ancient labs that has been hanging around and since we’ve had a couple of days of down time, I thought I’d play with it. It didn’t respond to my gene, so I thought I’d take it apart since I didn’t want to bother you with something that might be nothing more than a remote control for who only knows what.”
*If you had asked,* thought Sheppard to himself. Aloud he said, “Good. Tired of doing the on switch thing, anyways.” He moved out of the lab into the corridor, “Coming?”
“Yes, yes, yes,” said McKay impatiently. “Said I was coming.” He followed Sheppard to the mess. They got the near-turkey and potatoes and pudding. Sheppard nodded thanks to the cook for making sure they got some.
McKay ate the meal, but not with his usual gusto, Sheppard noted. Although McKay closed his eyes as he mouthed the chocolate pudding. It was a near-religious experience. Sheppard watched in fascination as Rodney’s tongue carefully licked the spoon. He had to look away for a moment to control himself.
They walked back to the lab, where Sheppard left McKay to work. Sheppard needed to catch up on some of his own paperwork, but his mind kept wandering back to Rodney all afternoon. He soon gave up and wandered back to the lab. His excuse to himself was that he was checking on security in the city and it was only by coincidence that his tour ended at the lab.
Sheppard found Rodney slumped at his lab table. His forehead was resting on his hands and he didn’t hear Sheppard come in. Sheppard moved quietly, so as to not startle the scientist. “Rodney? You okay?” he said softly.
“Will you stop asking me that?” Rodney said, raising his head. “No. I’m not okay. I have a massive headache and I’m sneezing and…” he sneezed again. “I’m tired and I hurt. Are you satisfied?”
“Okay, then. Time to see the doc,” Sheppard said, putting an arm around McKay. “Up, come with me.” He pulled the scientist out of the lab to the infirmary.
“Beckett!” he said when they entered the facility. “McKay’s sick.” He guided Rodney to a bed and sat him down. It was an indication of how bad Rodney must have felt that he didn’t protest at all.
“Shoo,” Beckett told Sheppard. “Let us see what’s wrong.” He knew Sheppard wouldn’t go far, but he didn’t want him hovering when they examined McKay.
It seemed like forever to Sheppard but Beckett came out shortly and said, “Looks like an old fashioned head cold. Not much we can do for him but deal with the symptoms and let it run its course.” He grinned at Sheppard’s obvious relief.
“Does he have to stay here?” Sheppard asked. He knew how much time they all spent in the infirmary and knew Rodney wouldn’t want to spend any more time there than he had to. “I mean, can he go back to his room?”
“If he promises to stay there and not try to work. He’s not in any condition to work for the next day or so, but he should take it easy for longer than that,” Beckett said. He knew a convalescing Rodney McKay did not make a good patient.
“What does he need? I’ll make sure he rests,” promised Sheppard.
“Fluids, food as he’ll eat, sleep and I’ll give you something for the aches,” Beckett said, relieved that Sheppard would tackle this. “And you can call me at any time if it develops into anything else. But he should be okay in two days. But keep him down for a third day, if you can.” He turned and found a bottle. “Give him two of these, at least four hours apart, for the headache and body ache. Isn’t much more that I can do.”
“I can do that,” said Sheppard, taking the bottle. “Let me get some things from the mess first and then I’ll take him back to his room.” He was thinking fast.
“Sure,” replied Beckett. “I just gave him two, and he’s feeling a mite better for the moment. Take your time.”
Sheppard raced to the mess and begged the cook prettily for some food and drink to take back to McKay’s room. He wanted to make sure he didn’t have to leave Rodney for too long, once he got him back to the room. Having things on hand would make that easier.
He swung by Elizabeth Weir’s office. “Elizabeth, Rodney’s sick,” he told her. At her worried look, he hastened to add, “A head cold mostly, but Beckett’s going to send him to bed in his own room if I’ll watch him. So I’ll be there if there’s an emergency.” He didn’t even realize that his eyes said that it better be an end-of-the-world emergency.
She wanted to grin but managed to look concerned instead. “Not a problem. Thanks for letting me know,” she replied. “Go.” She grinned at his retreating form.
He dropped the supplies off in Rodney’s room and made the bed up with fresh sheets. He looked around and seeing nothing else to be done at the moment, went back to the infirmary.
“Okay, Rodney,” he said gently. “Let’s get you to your room and to bed.” He put an arm around Rodney and helped him to stand.
The aspirin or whatever Beckett had given Rodney must be kicking in since he was slightly more alert. “I can walk, you know,” Rodney protested. Then wobbled as he stood up. “Well, maybe not so well.” He leaned into Sheppard.
“Got you,” Sheppard said. “Tell me if I move too fast.” The two men made their way to Rodney’s room. “Okay, sit and let me get those boots off,” Sheppard directed. Rodney sat on the bed and let John take his boots and then his socks off. “Okay. Shirt and pants,” Sheppard said. When Rodney was down to boxers and a t-shirt, John said, “Okay, drink this first then you can sleep.” He handed Rodney a glass of apple juice.
Rodney took the glass and drank thirstily. “Thanks,” he mumbled, handing the glass back. “Tired now,” he said. He could relax now that he was in his own bed. He lay down and John covered him with the blanket.
“Sleep,” John said, thinking the lights to dim. “Call if you need anything, I’ll be right here.” He kept enough light to be able to watch and to not stumble over anything if Rodney called during the night. He settled into a sleeping bag on the floor. He lay awake for a long time, watching Rodney sleep.
He woke with a start as Rodney stirred. He was up instantly. “What do you need?” he asked softly.
“Piss,” Rodney said. “And headache.”
John shook two tablets out of the bottle. “Take these first so they kick in faster,” he directed, handing Rodney the pills and a glass of water. Rodney took the pills and a sip of water. “Bathroom,” Rodney insisted.
“Okay,” John said. He guided Rodney to the bathroom.
“I can do this, you know,” Rodney said. “Been doing it myself for a long time.”
“Yeah, but if you fall and hit your head then I have to drag you out of there,” John replied. “That won’t be pretty.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” replied Rodney with something that resembled a grin. He moved carefully. He came out a couple minutes later. “See? I can manage.”
“Yeah. Sure,” said John. “Not going anywhere just as yet. Beckett said this would probably be a couple of days and if you didn’t rest, he’d have you in the infirmary. Promised I’d get you to stay here,” John said gruffly.
“So back to bed and get some sleep,” John said indicating the bed. Rodney climbed in without any backchat, which meant he really wasn’t feeling all that well. He lay back and was asleep in minutes.
John didn’t know what time it was when he heard Rodney thrashing in the bed. He moved to the bed and laid a hand on Rodney’s forehead. It was burning hot. John got a washcloth from the bathroom and soaked it with cool water. He wrung most of it out and then laid it on Rodney’s forehead. He sat on the edge of the bed and rested one hand on Rodney’s chest. Rodney stilled and fell into a deeper sleep. John sat there until he was sure Rodney would stay sleeping soundly. He reluctantly removed his hand but didn’t leave the bed. At one point, he got up and refreshed the washcloth and carefully placed it back on Rodney’s forehead. Rodney murmured, “John..”
“Shhh. I’m here,” John whispered back. “Sleep.” With that reassurance, Rodney slept.
At some point, John moved back to his sleeping bag. The next time he woke, it was daylight. Rodney lay quietly in his bed, his eyes open watching John. “Hey,” Rodney said.
“Hey,” John said back. “You okay?”
“Feel like shit,” Rodney said.
“Not surprised,” John said. “You had a bad night.”
“Remember pieces of that,” Rodney admitted. “But not all of it.” But he did remember a warm hand touching him.
“Let me use the bathroom and then you can get up for a bit,” John said, stretching. For all the sleeping on the ground they did on missions, sleeping on the floor was still hard. He got up and moved to the bathroom, coming out a few minutes later. “Your turn. You need help?”
Rodney swung his legs over the edge of the bed. “Don’t know yet.” He stood carefully. He reached out to the wall to steady himself. John resisted rushing to his aid. “Okay, that was hard,” Rodney admitted as he came out of the bathroom.
“Then back on the bed,” John directed. “I have supplies so you don’t have to do anywhere just yet.” He produced more apple juice and two more tablets. “Start with this,” he said handing Rodney the pills. As Rodney swallowed the pills, John laid out breads and fruit. “No coffee, but that would only keep you awake and you’re supposed to sleep,” John apologized.
“Oh, okay. I guess,” Rodney grumped. But without much heat. He picked at the food, eating some bread and a piece of fruit. He drank the apple juice and couple glasses of water.
“Back to bed, then,” John said. “Rest is that the doctor prescribed.” He packed up the remains and threw the used papers in the garbage to take out later.
“Voodoo,” said Rodney as he lay back. “Not tired.” But he closed his eyes and soon was asleep.
John moved about the room, straightening out what little needed to be done. He looked through Rodney’s bookshelf and picked out a novel he had given Rodney to read at one point. He turned up the light behind him slightly to be able to read.
At one point he closed his eyes and dozed. When in doubt, pee, eat and sleep, in that order, was one of his mottos. Since he had peed and ate, sleeping came next.
Rodney woke a couple hours later and they had lunch. John gave him couple more tablets for the pain and Rodney went to the bathroom again. “Hand me a clean t-shirt?” Rodney asked from the bathroom. John opened a drawer and handed Rodney a shirt. “Maybe a shower, later,” he said, “but this feels better.” He sat heavily on the bed. “I *hate* feeling this way,” he complained.
“Won’t be forever,” John soothed. “Beckett said probably two days, three at the most. And you’re through the first day already.”
“Like that’s supposed to make me feel better,” Rodney groused. “Two more days?” he whined.
“Two more days here, in bed,” John said firmly. “Or back to the infirmary,” he threatened.
Rodney swung his legs back on the bed. “Anywhere but the infirmary,” he sighed. He closed his eyes. “Sure those pills are just for pain?” Rodney asked. “Sure they aren’t sleeping pills? I’ve never been this tired.”
John shrugged. “That’s what Beckett told me. Dunno,” he said. “They help the headache, don’t they?”
“Well. I guess. Okay, yes they help,” Rodney admitted, reluctantly.
“You really are sick, you know,” John pointed out.
“Mmph,” Rodney mumbled. He didn’t want to give in on this, but he shut his eyes and fell asleep again. As he fell asleep, he knew he had lost that argument.
John went back to the book for a while. Since it was something he had read before, it didn’t hold all of his attention. He sat for long periods of time just watching Rodney sleep. He dozed.
Rodney woke for a bit in the middle of the afternoon. He used the bathroom and drank more juice. He looked over to the book John was reading, “That was pretty good in a bad sort of way,” he offered as a conversation gambit.
John looked up. “Didn’t think you read this sort of thing,” he admitted. Spy novels weren’t the sort of thing that he thought Rodney was interested in.
“Well, I’ll read anything when I’m bored. And I’m easily bored. So I read it. Pretty unbelievable, you know,” Rodney said. “After everything we’ve been through, that sort of thing is far fetched.”
“Well, it’s supposed to be mindless entertainment, you know,” John retorted.
“Totally mindless. And the technology is gawd-awful,” Rodney said.
“I’ll agree with you there,” John said unexpectedly and grinned. “But it’s kinda like watching a train wreck. Can’t turn away.”
“That part in the middle where the hero hacked the computer,” Rodney went on…. Soon they were pulling the entire plot apart, comparing notes on what was preposterous and what was just wrong. They were laughing by the time they were done.
Rodney wheezed a bit. “Oh, not good. Hard to breathe,” he admitted. He coughed a couple of times. But it wasn’t tight, John noted. While he was tempted to call Beckett for a second, he didn’t want to interrupt this time with Rodney. He’d wait to see if the cough got any worse.
“Time for couple more pills, I think,” John said. “And some food, if you’re interested. I have some sandwiches and more fruit.” He unpacked food from the package he had. “And drink.”
“How am I going to sleep if I have to piss all the time?” Rodney asked rhetorically. “What kind of sandwiches?” he asked with some interest, John noted.
“Near-turkey,” he said, handing Rodney a sandwich. “Not terribly special, but the best I could do on short notice.”
“You mean the best you could con the cooks out of on short notice. You didn’t make anything,” Rodney responded. “They’ll do anything for you.”
“Got me,” John admitted. “You complaining?”
“Heaven’s no,” Rodney said, eating the sandwich with more hunger than he had eaten breakfast. “Keep feeding me like this, is all I ask.” He took another bite of sandwich before he could say something he might regret. When they were finished, he yawned. “Damn, I swear those are sleeping pills.”
“If it makes you feel better sooner that’s okay,” John said.
“I guess,” Rodney said. He closed his eyes and soon was asleep again.
John took advantage of this to clean up again and leave the room for fresh food and drink. Since it was early evening, the cooks were just cleaning up from dinner and gladly made him up another packet of food. He swung by the infirmary but didn’t see Beckett so he didn’t stop. He wanted to make sure he got back before Rodney woke. As he slipped into the room, he noted with satisfaction that Rodney hadn’t moved. He settled in with the book to look for the sections Rodney had particularly disparaged.
As it got late, it looked like Rodney might sleep for a while so he turned down the lights again and lay in the sleeping bag. He lay awake for a while, watching. Then he slept.
He knew it was the middle of the night when he heard Rodney move again. John got up and found Rodney shivering. John pulled up another blanket and wrapped it around Rodney. But Rodney didn’t stop shivering. John dithered for a moment. He didn’t want to call Beckett at this hour because he would make John bring Rodney to the infirmary. Without really thinking about what he was doing, he took off his boots, pants and shirt and climbed into the bed with Rodney. He wrapped himself around the shivering man and whispered, “Relax. Sleep.” As his body heat soaked into Rodney, he relaxed and the shivering slowly stopped. John fell asleep with his arms around Rodney.
He awoke slowly. He was warm, but slightly uncomfortable in a tight space. Oh. He opened his eyes to see warm, blue eyes looking back from a very short distance. Since John’s arms were still around Rodney, he couldn’t move. “Hey,” Rodney said softly.
“Hey,” John echoed, equally softly. “You had a fever and were shivering.” He didn’t want to offend Rodney. Or worse, scare him off. He waited.
“If I knew it took getting sick like this to get you in my bed, I would have done it a long time ago,” Rodney said closing the small gap between them. His kiss was light and tentative.
John’s brain kicked into gear and he started kissing back. The soft kiss became less tentative and more urgent. They had to come up for air sooner than they would have liked.
“Sick person, here,” Rodney wheezed. John frowned, concerned. “Not that sick, dummy,” Rodney reassured him going back for a soft, quick kiss. “Just have to breathe once in a while.”
Breathing and kissing turned out to be a good thing, John quickly learned. Rodney found a couple of spots that John didn’t know were so sensitive. John was no slouch himself and soon had Rodney moaning, “Oh, god. Yes, there... Oh... Oh!”
A little while later John snuggled back into Rodney’s embrace. “We’re going to have to get a new room with a bigger bed,” John said. He looked up, uncertainty in his eyes.
“Have one picked out,” Rodney said smugly. “Been waiting for a good moment. And for you to come to your sense.” He kissed the uncertainty away.
“You have, have you?” demanded John. “What if I hadn’t come to my senses?” He was curious.
“Well, if it had been too much longer, I would have simply jumped your delicious body,” Rodney leered. “This worked much better.” He put a hand on the side of John’s face and kissed softly.
“Tell me again. How much longer am I stuck here?” Rodney asked with a smile.