|Road to Recovery
Author: tridget PM
John Sheppard tries to come to grips with an extended recovery time after an accident. His team is there to help him find the road to recovery.Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Friendship - John S. - Words: 1,434 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 12 - Published: 03-13-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5812476
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: This was written for Round 9 of the Last Fiction Writer Standing #3 challenge at LiveJournal's sga_lfws. The prompt required a team fic dealing with an aftermath of some sort. H/C and/or angst had to be present. My entry is a Shep whump and team comfort story. This was the last round of the challenge. I was the last fiction writer standing. *Does a happy but rather inelegant dance.*
Road to Recovery
John reached for the bottle of water at his bedside, grunting with the effort. Taking that as his cue, Ronon leaned over to assist, but John batted his teammate's hands away. Ronon muttered something under his breath that might've been 'stubborn fool.' Might've been worse.
"I spoke to Carson." McKay gestured to his earpiece as he walked towards the bed in John's quarters. "He'll be here in about an hour to check on you. He said he'd bet one of his 'dear wee turtles' that you're not taking the painkillers."
John scowled. "They made me sleep too much."
"So, you'd rather puke again because of the pain?" McKay shook his head as he tapped his comm. "Carson? You can keep your turtle." Snagging the prescription from among several medications on the table, McKay emptied out two tablets and slapped them into John's hand.
John suppressed the urge to utter a few choice phrases that he'd learned in Afghanistan. He placed the pills in his mouth and took a shaky swig of lukewarm liquid, draining what was left of the water. He steeled his gaze, defying his teammates to comment on the fact that he'd spilled half of it down his shirt. Then he tossed the empty bottle on the floor, too exhausted to do anything else with it.
Teyla retrieved the bottle and put it in the wastebasket. She took a few steps and scooped up a discarded towel.
John waved her off with a weak gesture. "Teyla, just…just leave the stuff, okay?"
"It is no trouble, John." Teyla headed towards a crumpled swatch of black fabric — John's T-shirt — the one he'd worn for three days straight because it hurt too much to change it.
"I can pick up my own damn laundry!" John snapped, regretting his words as soon as they flew out of his mouth. "Sorry," he sighed, searching Teyla's face for a moment before turning away. He'd seen only compassion in her gaze. It might've been easier to handle if she'd been ticked off. "Recovery sucks," he mumbled.
McKay narrowed his eyes, studying John. "Hmmm." Reaching a hand into his jacket pocket, he withdrew a small datapad, made a brief entry, and then pulled his head back, surveying the screen. "Cool!" he breathed.
John wasn't in the mood for taking the bait. He wasn't. No way. "Fine," he spat out. "What's so cool?"
"Oh, nothing," McKay practically sing-songed.
"McKay…" John snarled.
"It's just, you know, one item to add to the list of things I do better than you."
"What is? You keep a list?"
"I recuperate better than you do," McKay answered. "I make full use of all available services to aid in my recovery."
"You have to be kidding me!" John's voice rose as the combined effects of medication, pain and fatigue wrecked havoc with his self-control. He pushed himself up off the stack of pillows on his bed, gritting his teeth against the agony that flared in his side. "Do you know what I went through after the accident? I fought to get better every friggin' day I lay in that infirmary!" Blood rushed to John's skull and pounded in his ears. He wasn't sure what he yelled after that.
It didn't take long for John to run out of steam. His friends' voices began to filter through the chaos in his head.
"You don't think I know that?" McKay spoke softly now. "I watched you every single day. I…I didn't…" His voice broke. "I didn't think you were going to make it this time."
"Maybe it's time to stop fightin' so hard. Give yourself a break," Ronon rumbled.
Teyla's hand was soothing and cool on John's forehead. "Perhaps there are other ways to help…"
John stared at the screen, not knowing what movie he was watching. All he knew was that his feet were cold, so cold that they ached. It took him two minutes to brace himself for what he had to do. He turned to Ronon. "Hey, buddy, would you mind grabbing a pair of socks for me?"
"No problem." Ronon ambled over to the dresser, pulled out a couple of socks, and handed them to John.
That wasn't so bad, John thought. But that was before he tried to put the socks on. Crap. He'd thought he'd be able to do this by now.
Ronon stood up again.
"Don't," John protested. "That's as far as it goes. You are not putting them on for me."
"Got that right. Be back in a few minutes." Ronon left the room.
He returned carrying a pair of brown leather slippers.
John folded his arms. "I am not shuffling around in those."
"They're Satedan," Ronon growled, as if that trumped them being slippers.
John looked at the scuffed moccasins. He thought he might be able to slide them on easily.
"See that stain?" Ronon drew himself up, pointing to a dark spot on the toe. "Wraith blood."
John put his feet into the slippers. The fur lining was soft and warm.
McKay dropped by with a cobbled-together contraption. "You've heard of the robotic Canadarm? Well, that's Stone Age technology compared to the McKay-Arm. It's not fully functional yet, but I'm giving you the honor of being the beta tester."
John laughed. Then he learned how to program the robot to pick up dirty laundry.
Teyla brought healing ointments and lit aromatic candles. John had to admit that her natural remedies eased some of his discomfort, but…
"I don't wanna take up so much of your time, Teyla."
"On the contrary," Teyla said, pulling a small cart into John's room, "it is I who will be using your time." She handed a bowl of leaves and a pestle-like tool to John. "It is the Athosian harvest season. We can assist by preparing the medicines and teas for the winter."
John was glad to have something useful to do.
Progressing to lunch in the cafeteria felt like a milestone to John. His chest tightened with a rush of gratitude at being able to sit there with his team again. "So…uh…" John ducked his head, feeling suddenly awkward. "I just wanted to say thank you for…for…" He chewed his lower lip, seeking the right words.
"It is alright." Teyla reached out and clasped one of his hands. "We know what you mean to say."
"Hang on." McKay gulped down a mouthful of pie. "I wouldn't mind hearing a few words of appreciation."
Ronon shifted in his seat.
"Ow!" McKay grabbed his shin, glaring at Ronon. "What did I say wrong this time? That Neanderthal kicked me!" he accused, appealing to John and Teyla.
John smiled as normalcy triumphed. He took a deep breath and looked at his team. "I wanted to say thank you for being there. Even when I thought I wanted to do it by myself, hell, even when I thought I was doing it by myself, you were there for me. I…um… Thanks." He busied himself with what was left of his meal.
John wanted to be there for his team, too. He needed to be able to do something for them just as much as he needed their support. So, he would never tell Teyla that he figured he'd mashed enough herbs to last the Athosians for five winters. He'd never tell McKay that he suspected the prototype had no function other than picking up his laundry. And he'd never tell Ronon about the 'Made in China' label he'd found on the inside of the 'Satedan' slippers.
But John kept the label. He tucked it under his ever-present wristband as a reminder to himself that as long as he had his team, he was never fighting alone.