I hope I'm not stepping on any toes... this fic was inspired by John and Elizabeth's couch conversation.
Title: In Sickness
John Sheppard had once heard that when women spend enough time together their cycles align. Staring out across the sea of cranky, impatient and irrational faces that currently comprised his Math for Girls class, he decided that this might not be far from the truth. In what he could only attribute to Friday afternoon restlessness – at least until he could gather more evidence in support of his newest theory – John had wasted the last hour of instruction repeating himself, breaking down the most rudimentary problems, and utterly disproving the maxim that ‘there are no stupid questions.’ He resolved then and there to discreetly probe
Yet even in the face of such insurmountable odds (and hormones), John still couldn’t wipe the shit-eating grin from his face. He was down right giddy and he liked it. Classes were done, office hours were over, the weekend was here, and Elizabeth Weir owed him a slice of cheesecake. What more to life could there possibly be?
With a little extra bounce in his step John made his way down the hall, past Peter’s empty desk, and knocked once before grandly swinging open
“Hey, Eliz—” The cheerful greeting cut short as soon as he caught a glimpse of the figure before him. Her normally flawless suit was wrinkled and her jacket was askew. Her curls were frizzy, her face was white, and he was pretty sure that she was shivering.
“You look like crap,” came out before he could sensor it.
Tired, red-rimmed eyes looked up at him askance. “Thanks, John. So kind of you to say.”
Her deceptively casual response and unassuming tone didn’t fool him; if there was one thing he felt confident in judging it was Elizabeth Weir’s appearance. “I’m sorry,” he faltered, “but… did you get hit by a truck?”
With one more warning look,
“You know,” he drawled lazily as he leaned a shoulder against the doorframe and folded his arms across his chest, “that’s not the first time I’ve been told that.”
“I’m just a little tired,” she explained. “I was up all night coughing.”
As if on cue she began to cough – loud, raspy, horrible noises that John was surprised could come from such a small frame.
He cringed sympathetically as she clutched her chest. “
“Really,” her voice was scratchy, “I thought it was sexy.”
John crossed the room and pressed the back of his hand to her forehead. His brow furrowed in concern. “You’re burning up.”
She brushed him off with a wave of her hand. “It’s just hot in here, John. Stop babying me.”
“It is not hot in here
She opened her mouth to argue the point but was instead hit by another violent fit of coughing. John watched helplessly as she crumpled limply into her chair. He placed his hand on her back and began to rub gentle circles in a futile attempt to sooth her.
John gave her an appraising look. “You’re right,” he said after a moment, “that was sexy.”
Taking advantage of her momentary speechlessness, he grabbed her briefcase and inclined his head toward the door. “Come on, let’s go.”
Not having the energy to argue with him,
He ushered her out of the office and into the hall. “I need to make one quick stop and then you’re going home.”
“Why don’t I just go home now?”
“Because I insist on escorting you.”
“Please,” she countered, petulant. “I’m perfectly capable of caring for myself.”
John sighed and turned back toward her. “Don’t make me fight you, Weir. You’re scrappy, but in your weakened state I think I could take you.”
She appeared to consider that for a moment before finally rolling her eyes and trailing after him. “And what is this one stop?”
John snagged her keys. “I have to ask a colleague a question regarding my Math for Girls class,” he answered vaguely, locking the door.
She fixed him with a stern expression. “That name is so inappropriate.”
He didn’t answer, smiling mischievously before grabbing her hand and dragging her down the hall.
“John,” she blurted testily, “why are we at the
He shrugged, unfazed. “I told you. I need to ask Doctor Beckett a question.”
If that look was any indication, she wasn’t buying it.
“Seriously,” John put his hands up defensively, “I promise I am not going to say anything about how deathly ill you are. I’m just doing a little research.” He tried his best puppy dog pout. The fact that
John jumped up onto one of the empty beds and swung his feet back and forth like a little boy. “Hey Doc, have you got a sec?”
“Doctor Sheppard, Doctor Weir,” Beckett nodded. “What can I do for you?”
“Well,” John began, scratching his chin thoughtfully, “I was teaching Math for Girls this morning, and something was bothering me.” He glanced over at
The choke that came from
The doctor listened for a moment before querying, “How long has this been going on, lass?”
She shot John a fierce glare that told him she knew exactly what he had done and that he would suffer the consequences later. At least he had the grace to look chagrined. Finally turning her attention to the doctor, she reluctantly answered the question.
“Fever? Tightness in your chest? Shortness of breath?”
She nodded again.
“Sounds like acute Bronchitis.” Beckett pulled a small bottle from a nearby cabinet and handed it to
Still scowling, she glanced at John briefly then turned her gaze to the bottle of pills and nodded sullenly.
Beckett rolled his eyes and grabbed his bag. Following Elizabeth and John out of the room, he switched off the lights and closed the door behind them. As they walked down the hall Beckett raised one eyebrow. “Now John, what was it you wanted to know about menstruation?”
“You didn’t have to drive me home, John,”
“Hush, you.” He put his hand on the small of her back and guided her into the house. “I’m dusting off my gentleman skills. They’re a bit rusty.”
They shed their coats and shoes in the entryway and, after a break for more coughing, John led her upstairs to her bedroom. He opened up her dresser and pulled out a pair of flannel pajama pants, a cotton tank-top and some fuzzy socks. He was only slightly disappointed he had found the pajama drawer on his first attempt.
She quirked an eyebrow as he handed her the stack of clothing. “What, you’re not going to dress me too?”
A hungry warmth settled in his stomach, but he quickly clamped it down. “Not tonight…business before pleasure.” Congratulating himself on the smoothness and suavity of his response, he turned on his heel and called over his shoulder, “Come downstairs when you’ve changed.”
John found a can of chicken noodle soup and began heating it on the stove. When it was ready, he poured a bowl, filled a glass of water and grabbed two Tylenol. He headed into the living room and found
He handed her the pills and water. “Take these,” he instructed. “Did you take the cough suppressant?”
Her smile was soft and quick. “Yes, Mom.”
In a remarkable display of maturity, she stuck out her tongue.
“Eat some of this,” he ordered, giving her the bowl, “then you can go to bed.”
“Thanks,” she smiled, blowing on a spoonful to cool the liquid down.
“All in a day’s work, ma’am.” He flopped on the couch beside her, clicked on the television and began flipping through channels.
“John, we are not watching Sci Fi.”
“I hadn’t –“
She cut him off with a pointed stare.
Hiding a grin in his shoulder, he tossed her the remote and stood up. “Fine, fine. Pick out some girly show if you must. Sedge and I will be back in a bit.”
At the sound of her name, Sedge bounded into the room and began panting heavily.
“I was going to say you didn’t have to walk her, but I’m afraid that now you’ve gotten the poor girl's hopes up.”
“Finish that soup,” John said, gathering the leash and struggling to calm Sedge enough to be able to reach his collar. “Be back soon.”
When she smiled at him like that he’d willingly do clean up duty for a week. “How could I forget my favorite part?”
By the time John and Sedge had returned from their outing
“What are you –” she didn’t quite manage to finish the sentence before a wave of coughs sent her sputtering. He held her for a moment, not feeling nearly as guilty as he should for attempting to carry her without asking first. Eventually the words ‘put’ and ‘down’ somewhere in the mess of hacking caught his attention. Reluctantly, he loosened his arms, letting her slide down his body until she stood before him.
Looking thoroughly rumpled,
Forcing an innocent expression just in time to meet the glare she sent his way, John shifted his weight on the balls of his feet and shoved his hands into his pockets. “Isn’t it obvious? I was going to carry you to bed.”
Her gaze turned considering and just the slightest bit indulgent. “You could have woken me, John,” she pointed out. “You don’t have to be a hero.”
With the feigned stiffness of offended dignity he scoffed loudly. “Ah, there’s where you’re wrong m’lady. It would be selfish of me to have these magnificent powers and not use them for the greater good. Can you imagine if Superman had one day decided to no longer save people?”
She made a show of rolling her eyes, but a hint of a smile tugged at her lips. “I fail to see the correlation.”
He winked. “You’re just not trying hard enough.”
“Regardless,” she began as she headed toward the stairs, “you could have just woken me. I’m fully capable of walking for myself.”
“You sure make a lousy
Instead, he leaned in to kiss her gently on the forehead and, with a final caress of his fingers along her cheek, he switched off the bedside lamp and retreated into the hallway.
Once downstairs he walked through the house, methodically turning off lights and checking the door locks. As he gathered the blanket from the couch and began folding he heard the faint sounds of coughing coming from upstairs. He glanced at the door, then back to the couch. She would probably appreciate some breakfast in the morning, he reasoned. It would be silly to go home now, just to return in a few hours time. And this way he would be here in case she needed him. Convinced, he stretched out on the couch and spread the blanket over himself. Besides, John resolved, he would be up long before