The Obligatory Infirmary Scene

A/N: Thanks to Kerravon for the loan of Dr. Lawrence, and all the technical advice in this chapter. Hope I got it right.

The jumper bay was a hive of activity; Sheppard was just trying to stay out of the way. Dr, Lawrence and his team of nurses and medics were working on Beckett, getting him stable enough to be moved to the infirmary. The makeshift bandaging had been cut away just enough so that the wound could be seen and Sheppard was getting confused with medical orders being snapped at the team, and questions being directed no less abruptly at him. Finally the good doctor was satisfied that Carson would make it as far as the infirmary's surgical suite and Sheppard got one last glimpse of the Scot as he was rushed off. He looked as pale as the blankets that he was swathed in, bags of IV fluids swinging from their poles as the crew raced to get him in to surgery.

The Major looked up to find himself under Dr. Lawrence's scrutiny. The physician was in a hurry to get to Beckett but knew the Major needed attention too. He took in the flushed appearance of the man and the glazed expression that was turned up to him. "How are you feeling, Major?" he asked.

Sheppard gave the standard answer. "I've felt better, Doc. I'm tired and could do with a shower?" The last was asked hopefully. Then, "Will Carson be ok?"

"I think so. It depends on what we find when we get to work, but…you did a good job back there Major," Sheppard shrugged depreciatingly, "I'll see you in the infirmary when I'm done with Dr. Beckett." He regarded the man again. "Go straight to the infirmary Major, one of my team will see you there. No shower until we've looked you over. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'd better catch up with them," he waved in the direction his team had left in moments before.

Sheppard nodded. "See you there later, Doc," he said to the man's retreating back, but Lawrence was already gone. He stood, swaying as the dizziness returned with a vengeance.

"Major?" asked Teyla concerned.

"I'm good, just tired. I could sleep for a week," he grinned, but Teyla wasn't fooled.

"Let me help you." She leaned her weight into John, and walked with him as far as the infirmary, sitting him down on a chair next to McKay.

"McKay?" asked Sheppard incredulous. "I leave you alone for one lousy mission, and you can't keep yourself out of trouble? What happened?"

McKay had the good grace to look abashed, but responded in his usual manner.

"I could say the same about you, Major. One mission without me, just one simple straightforward meet and greet and Beckett comes back more dead than alive, and you look like Robinson Crusoe's poor relation."

The two men regarded each other for a moment then McKay relented. "I was trying out a new piece of technology and it blew up in my face. Satisfied? After all, if it hadn't been for my insistence that Beckett be brought back to check me over properly, you might still be on that planet. What about you?"

Sheppard was meanwhile, fascinated with McKay's startling appearance. The snarky scientist's eyes had checked out ok but his face was sunburn red and missing eyebrows. Rodney's hands were bandaged up too. Finally John dragged his gaze away, looking towards the door to the theatre suite.

"Oh," he tried for nonchalance, "One of the Loch Ness monster's long lost cousins decided we looked like lunch. Beckett got pretty well banged up."

"And you?"

"Apart from being fetch and carry boy, I had a run in with another one of the friendly local creatures who decided to use my leg for target practice."

"Hmmm," was all that McKay had to say. A nurse appeared in front of Sheppard, telling him she was just going to get a cubicle prepared and would be right back for him and he wasn't to move. John looked after her mutinously. McKay smirked. "I so envy you, Major," he said. Sheppard scowled, but was secretly glad.

The Major was beginning to feel quite unwell and hoped it wouldn't be long before he could get to his quarters for a decent sleep. He was very, very cold, but hot at the same time; everything ached and he was desperately thirsty. John felt light-headedness return and thought maybe he should eat something, but the resulting nausea after that thought changed his mind. He couldn't seem to get enough oxygen into his lungs and his breathing stepped up, though he didn't know it. The headache that had been ever present was now also making itself felt. All in all he was one unhappy bunny.

Elizabeth Weir chose that moment to arrive in the infirmary to check on Carson and Sheppard. Seeing John sat next to McKay, she stopped there first.

"Major Sheppard?" she asked.

Sheppard lifted his head at her question, looking at her with an unfocused gaze. "'Lizbeth?" he slurred.

She looked at him more closely; McKay stopped staring at his laptop and transferred his attention to the Major too.

"John?" she asked, more gently.

"Don' feel so…good…" he replied, then gently slipped off the chair to land in an ungainly heap at her feet.

"I need some help in here!" she shouted, falling to her knees beside him. The nurse who had spoken to Sheppard a couple of minutes previously rushed over. Elizabeth recognized her as Debbie, a nurse who had helped care for her on one of her fortunately infrequent stays here. Another nurse joined her.

"What happened?" Debbie asked Elizabeth.

"I don't know I was talking to him when he just…passed out." McKay made a soft noise that sounded like 'fainted' but was ignored.

Debbie gave Sheppard a brief check then turned to the second nurse. "Go get Dr. Lawrence, we need him here now."

"But he's in surgery."

"I know, but he's got to come as soon as possible, or send someone else. I think the Major's in trouble." The second nurse bolted for the theatre. "Dr. Weir, do you think you could help me get him somewhere more comfortable? "

Elizabeth nodded in the affirmative and between them they managed to get Sheppard's unconscious form onto one of the beds. It wasn't as difficult as it should have been. Debbie pulled some screens around quickly and began removing some of the Major's clothing, checking vital signs. Elizabeth watched from the sidelines, unsure what to do, but unwilling to leave.

A few minutes later, Dr. Lawrence, still in scrubs strode into their curtained off area. "What happened?" he demanded.

"I came to check on Major Sheppard and Dr. Beckett," replied Elizabeth, "And asked the Major how he was. He just said he didn't feel so good then…hit the floor."

"He didn't look too well when I saw him," said the doctor, "Right, let's get a line in and bloods taken, I need some for culture, as well as the usual. What are his vitals?"

Debbie reeled off a list of figures that meant very little to Elizabeth, but she did recognize that the Major's temperature was very high. Dr. Lawrence asked her politely but firmly to wait outside, which she did, going to sit with McKay, who had given up all pretence at working on his laptop and waited with Elizabeth, worrying about their friends.

After a while, a commotion in the area set aside for Dr. Beckett announced his arrival from surgery. Elizabeth wandered over to find out how he was doing. The doctor who was with him at the time was one the diplomat wasn't so familiar with, though just in time, she remembered his name.

"Dr. Johnson?" she asked.

Dr. Johnson smiled at her query. "He'll be fine, given time," he said. "He had a nasty fracture of his femur, but it's been pinned and plated and will be as good as new once it's healed. A couple of broken ribs, a concussion, bad bruising just about everywhere and an infection on top of all that, but we got him back in time. Lots of rest, lots of antibiotics, and eventually he'll be fine."

The doctor left and Elizabeth gazed sadly down at her friend. He was sleeping peacefully now, but still looked pale to her eyes. Tubes and wires were going in and coming out; doing things that Elizabeth didn't want to know. The constant beep, beep, beep of the cardiac monitor was vaguely reassuring, in a way, so she took hold of his hand and sat with him waiting for news on Major Sheppard.

It seemed a long time later, Beckett hadn't moved at all when a very tired-looking Dr. Lawrence came to talk to her. She gently let go of Carson's hand and walked with him to a more private place.

"Major Sheppard appears to be very sick," he said without preamble. "I'm not exactly sure what is going on, it could be septicaemia developing, or it could be some kind of toxin from the spines in his leg. I won't know for sure until I can get them out and send them for analysis. We're trying to stabilise him for surgery now."

"Spines in his leg?"

"Yes, according to Teyla, the Major told her he was attacked by an animal that left behind some spines or barbs in his leg. He's been walking around on them for nearly 48 hours and either some kind of toxin is attacking his system, or they've introduced some pretty aggressive bacteria into his bloodstream."

"Will he be okay?" she asked, stricken.

"If the antibiotics we're giving him get on top of the infection soon, and if he doesn't develop any complications, then I'm cautiously optimistic."

"And if he does develop complications?" Elizabeth dreaded the answer, but wanted to know.

Dr. Lawrence hesitated. "Dr. Weir," he said, "I won't try to pull the wool over your eyes. If it is septicaemia, it's a very serious infection, carrying a high mortality rate. On the positive side, Major Sheppard is young and very fit. On the negative…well, the wound was left unattended too long. We just have to wait and see."

Elizabeth sat on the arm of the chair Rodney had insisted was placed between Dr. Beckett's and Sheppard's beds. The Major and Carson had neighbouring cubicles where an intensive care area had been set up. McKay was sitting between them, scorched hair sticking up at unnatural angles. His laptop was open, but it was mainly for show, the scientist hadn't done anything cognisant with it for quite a while.

Sitting where he was, Rodney had cardiac monitors and ventilators going in stereo, the soft whooshing and beeping strangely reassuring, proof that the two otherwise unnaturally still men were still alive. It was hard to know just looking at them which was the worse off. Beckett's face was pale, contrasting nicely with the colourful bruising all down one side of it, while Major Sheppard's face, also pale, was covered in purplish blotches caused by the disease process raging in his body.

Both men had IVs going, but if lines going in were a contest, then the Major was a shade ahead, having one going into the vein in the side of his neck as well as each arm. Both of them had multiple bags of fluids hanging, but again it seemed Sheppard was ahead on colour variation.

Elizabeth looked down at Rodney. "Any change?"

He shook his head. "Dr. Lawrence stopped by a while ago and said that barring any unforeseen complications, if they both continue as they are, he'll reduce the sedation and they should hopefully be breathing by themselves tomorrow."

"I suppose that's something," she said, sighing. "Let me know if there's any change."

Rodney nodded, Elizabeth left the infirmary. The physicist turned his attention back to staring at his open laptop. He was getting snippy, and wished his two friends would hurry up and get better. No-one to snark at was getting McKay down.

Several days later……

"Dr. Beckett! If you don't lie still and let me do this, then I'll have you put in restraints!"

"But it…Ow! It hurts!"

"It'll hurt a lot more if you don't-lie-still. There, see? Done."

The curtains rattled back with some force and a red-faced and flustered looking nurse stalked by muttering about how Doctors make the worst patients and should be kept sedated for their own safety.

Sheppard watched her go then turned his attention to Carson who was looking no less flushed.

"Thanks Doc.," he said. "She's got to come back and do me next." He smirked at Beckett's obvious discomposure. "Still, she and I have a thing going, you know?" he winked salaciously.

Whatever Carson may have been going to say to that was never to be found out as McKay bounded into their room, chewing on the ever present power bar. He looked pleased with himself. Both patients looked at him expectantly. "Well?" encouraged Major Sheppard.

"Yes, I am, thank you," replied McKay, pulling up a chair with a horrible screeching noise.

"That's not what I meant."

"Oh? Really? Ah. Never mind. I'm getting out."


"Yes. Back to normality."

Carson muttered something about normality not being something McKay usually had to deal with. Rodney ignored him.

"Yes, so, I just came to say goodbye and to pass on a message. Dr Lawrence says to tell you, Carson, that as the nurses are imminently threatening industrial action if any of them have to come near you within the next four hours, he's coming to give you a bed bath himself."

Carson paled. "Ach, ye cannae mean it man," he burbled, accent thickening in anticipated horror.

McKay beamed. "Oh, but I do. And he said to tell you, Major that if any more of the female staff complain about your…er…comments during certain procedures, he'll have Sergeant Bates escort them while they do their duty. Oh, is that the time? Got to go! Things to do."

McKay ignored their horrified stares and bounced out of the infirmary, giving a 'thumbs up' sign to Dr. Lawrence as he excited.

Back to normal.

The End.