John Sheppard opened first one eye and then, slowly, the other, breathing a sigh of relief as he looked around the apparently empty medical room. Slowly, ever so slowly he did his best to slide out of bed noiselessly, yelping slightly when his bare feet came into contact with the icy floor. He reached down under the bed, grabbing his shoes and socks.

"Major?" Dr. Beckett asked, behind him. Sheppard jumped up, smashed his head on the metal bar on the underside of the bed, and, clutching it, rolled out from underneath.

"Damnit," he moaned, pushing his hand hard onto the head as if to push out the pain. He looked up at Beckett and scowled—the doctor appeared to be holding back a smirk.

"Are you all right, Major?" Beckett asked. Sheppard glared up at him—it was definitely a smirk.

"I'm fine, Doctor," Sheppard replied through gritted teeth. Beckett frowned down at him.

"You don't look it. What were you doing out of bed? You know I said you have to stay there for another week."

"A week?? I thought...didn't you say a couple more days yesterday?" Sheppard asked, eyes widening. "A whole week?"

"So you did remember that you were supposed to stay in bed?" Sheppard blinked and avoided Beckett's frowning face. "And you still tried to leave?" Sheppard put his hand over his eyes, wincing and waiting for the inevitable. "For the third time today?"

Sheppard uncovered his eyes long enough to give Beckett an innocent smile and say, "Three times? Has it been that many?" Beckett was not amused.

"You are, without a doubt, the worst patient I've ever had. You're even worse than Dr. McKay!" Sheppard looked up at him in outrage

"I am not!"

"Yes you are!" Beckett frowned.

"I am not!" Sheppard yelled, pulling himself to his feet.

"Yes you are!" Beckett scowled. Sheppard waved a hand at him, took a very shaky step forward, and collapsed to the ground.

"Major!" Beckett knelt by his side, checking his pulse. "Major?"

"Am not..." Sheppard groaned, and was silent.

"Dr. Beckett? Weir asked, coming into the room.

"Over here," he replied, not pausing to look up. Weir crossed over and came next to his side.

"What happened?" she asked, frowning in worry.

"Get Laura," he told her, ignoring her question. "And Tom as well." She obeyed without question and returned moments later. "Thomas, help me get him back on the bed, and Laura, set up the IV."

"Don' want IV," Sheppard mumbled, eyes still closed.

"John?" Weir asked, still worried.

"Ungh..." he replied, not really there.

"Tom, help me move him." Beckett grabbed Sheppard's upper body and Thomas his legs, and together they lifted him onto the bed.

"Don' wan' bed...." Sheppard frowned. Beckett rolled his eyes in mock consternation.

"Open your mouth, Major," he ordered, holding a thermometer.

"I don—," Beckett slipped it into his mouth.

"What's wrong? I thought he was going to be fine," Weir asked Beckett.

"Well, he was trying to sneak out of the room," scowl, "and when I confronted him we were—ah—arguing and he collapsed. I'm guessing a relapse. The thermometer beeped and Beckett glanced down at it. "Damnit! His fever has come back again—103 degrees (F). "He turned from Weir. "Laura, get me some ice cold wet washcloth, we've got to try to get this down. Thomas, get his shirt off."

"Can I do anything to—,"

"Dr. Weir, I don't mean to be rude but the best thing you could do right now would be to leave." Weir nodded in understanding. Beckett watched her walk away and then turned back to his patient.

"Worse than McKay," Beckett shook his head, looking at Sheppard.

"'m not," Sheppard whispered groggily. Beckett sighed.

....

...

TBC