Weary No Longer
SUMMARY: Sometimes you forget exactly what you do have. Carson fic. Sequel/Companion to Weary.
SEASON/SPOILERS: Season One.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I had so many requests for a sequel and since I'm easy to convince and the muse complied, here it is. This time, Carson gets plenty of comfort with his hurt and there's one more Carson fic to add to the pile :).
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Stargate: Atlantis or anything associated with it. I'm simply borrowing, but I promise to return all in one piece. Eventually.
Carson Beckett knew who was entering his infirmary before the footsteps even reached his desk.
"Rodney, how many times to I have to tell you before you get it through your thick skull. You are not sick."
He was tired, weary. His head hurt, his throat hurt and though it was now 8 a.m., his next nurse wasn't due to report in for another hour. He picked his head up and watched Rodney start at his words and hoped the man would get a clue and leave him to his misery. He had work to do and bandages to change. He got up from the desk and was surprised to find his legs were slightly shaky. He was even more surprised to feel Rodney reach out and steady him.
"Okay, I may not be sick, but you definitely are."
He gave Rodney a small smile. "I have charts to get to." He tried brushing his friend's hand off, but Rodney wouldn't budge.
"Sit down before you fall down." Carson sighed again and met the physicist's eyes, noting that he was indeed serious. And determined. And Rodney McKay was a stubborn man.
Not unlike yourself, his brain told him, but he politely told it to bugger off. "Rodney..."
"You look in a mirror lately, Carson? 'Cause, frankly, you look like
"Well, thank you so much for your scientific opinion."
"And where exactly did you go to medical school?"
Rodney threw him a glare. "I don't need any of that voodoo to figure this one out." He reached and felt Carson's forehead. "You feel warm. At least I think so." He felt his own forehead and frowned.
If he weren't feeling so poorly, watching Rodney attempt to play doctor would have been very amusing indeed.
"Did you come here for a reason, Rodney?"
"Stop trying to chance the subject. Did anyone look at you?"
"I looked at me. And maybe I should look you over again, because I'm beginning to think a different Rodney McKay is standing in my med bay."
"Ha ha, very funny, Carson. I can be caring every once in a while, you know."
"That's a shocker."
"Since you are obviously feeling poorly, I'm going to choose to ignore that blatant dig at my personality. And you can't diagnosis
"Aye, I can and I did."
Rodney gave him his patented 'what you said is obviously stupid' look. "That's crap. You need to be looked at by a doctor."
"But I'm a -"
"Who isn't you."
"In case you haven't already noticed, Rodney, there is only me. Almost all of my staff, along with the better part of the Atlantis population, has strep throat."
He saw Rodney frown again. "And you're sure I still don't have it?"
He seemed to ponder the statement. "Really?"
Carson resisted the urge to lay his head again. "Don't tell me you are disappointed."
"No, of course not."
"Right." He swallowed and regretted the choice. Rodney seemed to notice him again.
"Did you take something at least?"
"I'm not that stupid, Rodney. I am a doctor, after all."
"Geez, just asking. You're testy when you're not feeling well."
It was his turn to glare at Rodney. "And you're not?"
"Okay, point made." Carson saw his friend study him and glance at the beds occupied by SGA-2. "Everyone on your staff is sick?"
"Aye. Save a few nurses and techs." He rubbed his forehead. "Don't you have a project you need to be getting back to?"
"There's naught you can do about it, Rodney. I have patients." He forced himself to smile. "I'll be fine, really."
Rodney looked like he didn't believe a word Carson had just said but nodded. "Get some sleep at least."
Rodney McKay reluctantly left the infirmary, but he wasn't happy. Regardless of his abrasive attitude towards most, when he did manage to make a friend, he was protective of them. And he considered Carson a friend, probably one of his best friends, if he was being honest. No one else had put up with him so frequently from the start. They both threw themselves into their work and both were unlucky when it came to relationships.
Yes, theirs was an odd friendship, but it worked. Therefore, it wasn't pleasant to see Carson, the stubborn man he was, working himself to death. Not that he should really talk - it was the pot calling the kettle black, after all - but looking back he realized that Carson was the one that usually made sure that everyone was okay, himself included, and he, or anyone else actually, rarely returned the favor.
He supposed he needed to be the one to change that.
For once, Elizabeth Weir was listening to someone's orders and relaxing in the privacy of her own quarters. Of course, part of that had to do with the spies she knew Atlantis' CMO had secretly placed within one hundred feet of her front door.
But the rest had helped, more than she could ever have hoped, and coupled with the shot and pills Carson saddled her with, twenty-four-hours had made a world of difference. She could swallow and think clearly again. Her muscles still ached and she still had a slight fever, but another couple of days and she figured she'd be back to normal. If she didn't climb the walls by then, of course.
She'd had very few visitors, save a few moments with John Sheppard and brief sightings of Peter Grodin when he dropped off food. Carson had been by once to check on her, but despite her friendship with the man, she still didn't openly welcome someone who wanted to stick her with a needle. Yes, she hated needles. Petrified of them, really. Very few people knew this fact and she preferred it to stay that way.
Therefore, taking in account her illness and lack of contact with the outside world, she was surprised to find Rodney McKay at her door.
"Elizabeth," he greeted.
"Rodney," she returned. "Not that I'm not glad to see you, but why are you here?"
"I know you're under the weather, but I need to talk to you." He let himself into her quarters as he spoke. "It's about Carson."
She followed Rodney into her small sitting room and sat on the couch. The walk to the door had exhausted her. "What about him?"
She frowned. "He was just here a few hours ago. He seemed fine."
"That's just it. He always 'seems' fine, doesn't he?"
She shivered and pulled the blanket she'd thrown off when she got the door back over herself. "I don't know if I'm seeing your point here, Rodney."
"He's the CMO."
She blinked. "Yes, and? Rodney, I'm not up to reading your mind right now."
"We all go to him. Injuries off-world, throat infections, lab accidents."
"Well, yes, I guess that's true. But it is his job. And he has a full staff to help him. Just like you do."
Rodney met her eyes. "Right. And how often do I ignore that particular fact and push myself to the limits?"
"A lot. But Carson's a -"
"Stubborn man, Elizabeth. We underestimate him. He may hate and even be deathly afraid of anything to do with using the ATA gene, but he's damn good at his job."
"Yes, he is," she agreed. "But one of other physicians on staff could and should-"
"Even if he'd let them, they're all sick. Strep."
"Yeah. Can you believe it?"
She sighed. "I'm not sure I can do anything, Rodney. Lorne's team is in the infirmary with some rather serious injuries."
"I know. But there are some free nurses. I know you're not up to it, but I have an idea and I want your approval."
She pulled the blanket closer. "Okay. What exactly is this idea?"
Carson never thought he'd be so happy to see one of his nurses. When Rachel came on duty, he piled her with Laurie's notes and rambled out orders, his throat burning with every word. Rachel smiled and listened and when he finished, patted his shoulder and steered him towards his cot.
"Pardon me saying so, sir, but you don't look very well," she told him.
"I don't really feel that well," he admitted. "But I'm all we've got, I'm afraid." He sat down on the bed and feared he'd never be able to get up again.
"Get some rest. I'll wake you," she encouraged.
"I fall asleep and you'll be unable to wake me, lass." He smiled. "I'm just going to sit."
She frowned, but seemed to accept that there was no pushing him. "Okay," she agreed and left to take patient vitals.
He sat, contemplating getting back up, when Barbara Hamilton, his extremely talented and military bred head nurse came his way. He frowned; she wasn't on duty for another two hours. Just how long had he been sitting there?
He blinked. "How long have I been sitting here?"
"Oh, not that long, really." He looked up and realized Rodney was behind her.
"I thought you left." He was confused and chalked it up to the fever, no doubt.
"I did. I came back. Brought Nurse Hamilton with me."
It was then he realized Barbara had a stethoscope in one hand and a thermometer and a tongue depressor in the other. He frowned.
"What is going on here?"
"While you're nowhere near my degree of intelligence, you are a smart man, Carson. What exactly did they teach in that voodoo school of yours that one does with a tongue depressor?"
He watched Barbara pull out a chair and pat it. "I know I'm not a doctor, sir, but I think I can handle you just fine."
He didn't move. "I don't have time for this."
"Yes, you do. You see, I had a chat with Elizabeth-"
"You talked to her? Rodney, she's ill!"
"Relax, she's still tucked up on her couch in her pajamas, I assure you. But I did tell her you were under the weather and we discussed a solution."
"Why do I feel like I'm not going to like this?"
Rodney grinned. "Because you won't."
"Oh, that's so reassuring. May I point out, once again, that I have a ward full of patients, Rodney, and no other doctors well enough to be on duty?"
"Carson, give me some credit. I'm well aware of the situation. But Dr. Aters, whom I also spoke to, thinks she'll be back on her feet tomorrow, so I figured that with some help, you could still do your job and manage to improve your health. At least for the next twenty-four hours. Then you'll probably be thrown in your quarters and you're on your own there."
Great. "And what exactly is this help?"
Carson almost laughed. "You?"
"Yes, me. What's wrong with me?"
"No offense, Rodney, but you are no medical professional. You wouldn't even know where to begin. And not to mention your bedside manner needs a lot of work."
"I'm not stupid, Carson. I'm not going to treat anyone. You have nurses. You lay back and just give the orders. We'll be backup."
He raised an eyebrow. "We?"
Rodney smiled and pointed across the room where Rachel was handing Sheppard, Ford, and Teyla each a set of scrubs.
"I think I'll write 'Nurse Sheppard' and 'Nurse Ford' across them. Nice touch, don'tcha think?"
"What about Teyla?"
"Are you serious? She could hurt me. Severely. I'm not going
"Of course not." He was confused again. "Why are you doing this, Rodney?"
"Because you're sick, Carson. And you're my friend. Our friend. You do the same for us."
"Yes, but it's my job."
Rodney shook his head. "I know. You're always putting one of us together and we never really just a chance to say thank you. But this time, we're all healthy, probably because we were offworld, and you're not. Someone's got be there to put you back together, Carson. And since I'm no doctor, this is the best I can offer." He gestured to Barbara, who patted the chair again. "Take it or leave it, Carson. Because it's a limited time offer I can't promise will ever happen again."
He didn't know what to say. He was touched that he'd, that they'd, that anyone would go to such trouble. Just a few hours ago he'd been feeling sorry for himself and now...well, he wasn't sure he had words to express his feelings.
He was wrong. He did put everyone else back together; it was his job. It did need be done, even in the worst circumstances. But he'd forgotten one thing.
He had friends, who, in the end, were there to help him.