A one shot.
"I'm fine." Stegz repeated for the umpteenth time. Now he was positive that T-Bone was getting some sort of revenge agenst him. He didn't know why, but he could come up with a long list of what's, T-Bone had stacked up to get a form of revenge on him for but this was getting on his starting to fray nerves.
And T-Bone was about to jump on his 'case' again.
"No," he says holding up a finger, as if it could hold off the on coming verbal assault.
"You are not a doctor. Nor do you have any sort of medical training besides getting your hide patched up by me. Scientist's are not doctors so don't try to bring John or his father into this." He turns back to his work, but while he can't see T-Bone he can sure as hell hear the smugness of his tone. As if he had just walked into an elaborately planed trap.
He felt a chill as this last part sunk in.
"Alright, have it your way. Gentlemen, and Lady, please come in." He hears T-Bones overly courteous voice drip and coil around the items around his current workspace to reach his dreading ears. Of which this causes him to look over to the door to see just who entered. He didn't think T-Bone would be foolish enough to have some random humans running about, nor did he believe that he could have gotten in contact with one of their own doctors. T-Bone makes a flourish as he steps to the side so they can enter.
"Allow me to introduce to you Jet and Clint. Both of whom have taken courses to train to be EMT's. I hear they can use needles now with out sticking themselves with it." The gentlemen enter with their solid steps and cross their arms with a grin to each other. To say chills ran down his spine would be a far cry from the truth, it was more reminiscent of a glacier of fear and terror.
"And last, but most defiantly not least would be the Lovely Lena. Who has nursing experience and a medical degree under her belt." She gives him an apologetic look before turning to give the others a reprimanding Look. Fortunately Jet took the hint and sudelly nudged Clint, who grudgingly gave up the act. At least someone didn't approve of T-bones tactics.
T-bone of course paid them no heed at all.
"So here are your medical experts. Choose wisely because if you are sick, you will be spending all the time it takes to recover with them." Leave it to T-bones trade mark ultimatum to get his point across.
And by putting the proverbial ax in his hands, T-Bone had just made him the bad guy. If he chose either of the guys, which he was positive were there solely for show, then he would suffer himself to possibly an agony worse then death.
And if he chose Lena…
He was sure he'd never hear the end of it from any of the younger crew or from the younger shark brothers. Of this he was quite certain. It wasn't that he couldn't handle the brief jokes and quips from them; he just didn't want to suffer that onto Lena as well.
"T-Bone, I think you've made your point clear to him, now will you please stop tormenting him? Good, thank you, now out." Her tone had been kind, non-mocking and quite soundly firm. He blessed all the powers that be for women who possessed a good head. at this, the younger ones seemed to know their place on the pecking list. T-Bone however, seemed reluctant to allow it to seem as if he was listening to her. He gave her a good look of his own.
She mearly smiled.
"Ah yes, thank you for staying T-Bone. If Stegz is in fact sick I'm going to need someone of your health and stamina to be my… guinepig of sorts." She starts as she turns and begins to fumble around with the needles on the table that she happened to slide next to. She bent over the table and stretched a bit to retrieve a rather large syringe. All the while still talking to him.
"You see, I can't just go randomly injecting him with various things before knowing how he might react. So I'll just need to give you only 15 shots of varying thing- T-Bone?" she says his name in question as she turns back around having missed his not-to-discreet exist.
"Hmm… oh well." She shrugs as she puts the syringe back in it's place.
He knew better then to believe her oh-so-sweet tone. Even tho they had only been working together for a seemingly short time, he had started to learn all her little quirks. Her tendency to follow thru on things being one of her stronger suits.
And then there were her legs.
And then blinked again. Where had that come from? He wondered to himself and tried to reason out that it was probably some echo of a comment that he had heard one of the others make. It's not that he didn't like her, but she was just too… human. He mentally cringed at his cores thoughts, he wasn't normally so callus. Maybe he was getting sick?
"Stegz?" he blinked and looked at her. She was now closer to him and he defiantly hadn't been aware of her moving. "are you sure your feeling alright?" she had a concerned look on her face and before he could answer she reached over and rested the back of her hand agenst his forehead. It was cool to him but who knew what she was thinking..
"Are you normally so… friendly with your patients?" he tries to be a polite as possible. He didn't want to seem rude, but her motions were a little too close for his tastes.
She blinks at him and blushes just a bit as she pulls her hand back. "I'm sorry about that. I'm not really used to someone who doesn't put up a fight while insisting that they're 'fine'."
He arches a brow at her, he didn't think he was being cooperative and said as much.
"Ah… trust me. you've never had to get the guys to sit still." She sighs and shakes her head a little as she turns back to the table and looks for something. "It's like pulling teeth, only worse."
He snorts. "I don't even want to think about that. It's hard enough dealing with the rest of the Crew. They tend to act reasonable, but not always." Acting reasonable for them was telling him of a being 'hurt really bad' before they waited until the last minuet.
She nods politely as she listens to him.
"It's almost like a battle, I have to find their proverbial weakness and use it to my advantage before I can help them. All the while hoping that I'm not injuring their delicate egos." She moves back over to his side. "The easiest to deal with is Clint."
"Really? I'm surprised it's not John, him being…uhmm." He wasn't sure why, maybe it was generations of innate male instincts, but he suddenly knew he had said the wrong thing. Then again it could have just been the look on Lena's face. "I'm… sorry, I thought you two were, you know."
He tries to think fast but it seems painfully slow for him as she sits and waits for him to continue. His hand move in a small motion as he tries to think faster before he just sighs and gives up. "I'm sorry, that was rude of me. It had just been implied to me, I'm not sure why and I didn't think to give it a second thought." He closes his eyes and rubs his face. "I'm sorry, I'm usually not like this."
He feels her rest her hand on his shoulder. "It's ok, it's an easy mistake to make. Now… I need a blood sample. Would you like the honors or should I?" and as he looks at her, he knows he has a rather unpleasant look on his face.
"For fear of sounding childish, is that really necessary? Please say no." he knew he was pleading, and he hated it. Almost as much as he hated his blood drawn.
It's not that he was afraid, but there was something about the needle being in his vein that made him think he cold feel it as his blood went thru it and into the vial. He idly knowticed that his hands were clinched into fist's and that someone had learned one of his better kept secrets. He just felt so childish knowing that t was her.
"Ah…" is all she says as she slips a small ball into his left hand. She starts idly talking about something and soon had the conversation moved to her little brother. He hadn't even known she had one, but a few more quirks about her slid into place. The mother henning for one.
And so they talked.
Later on that evening he came to realize that there was a small wad of cotton taped to his arm. He had no idea when she had managed to accomplish it, nor could he help the small smile that formed when he looked at it. He defiantly had to re-think his opinion of her, perhaps her methods weren't so bad after all.
Two days later he was absolutely miserable.
He considered that statement absolutely under rated.
He had a fever, he was coffing and no matter what he seemed to try he just could not seem to get warm. He was having a hard time sleeping, he wasn't even sure if he had slept. All he thought he did was toss and turn.
The looks of concern he kept getting didn't help.
Adding to it, they had decided that it would be best to quarantine him. They had just informed him and he wasn't happy about it, but He didn't protest. He knew it was best just in case. Just incase he had some lethal mutated sickness that could decimate the rest of the galaxy.
He had also come to the conclusion that he was getting bitter, cynical and touchy the worse he felt.
Before he found himself ushered away from the lab, he had managed to make a small translation program for Lena. It's not that he didn't trust the ones that were already out there, but he just felt better knowing that he was helping. If only a little.
Now he found himself standing in a small room, that was Away for all the noise and bustle of the rest of the guys area, while holding a duffel bag. It was, as he had said, small but tidy. If he closed his eyes he could just faintly catch the sent of its last occupator. Lena.
The bed was agest the wall on the far side of the room. Simple white sheets were covered with a dark green confiter. But with it's larg pillows it looked inviting, possibly comfortable. Next to it was a small nightstand. She had a CD player on the night stand. Upon which was a glass and a pitcher of water. As well as a book of blank and brightly colored CDs. He was almost afraid of them.
Directly across from the bed was a small desk. It had the basics, but the back was lined with an array of books. Ranging from medical texts to fairytales and mystery novels. It mildly got his attention as he poked thru them and looked at the titles. At a soft knock he turns to the door and sees Lena peeking thru it.
"Yes? Oh, come in. and thank you again." She slips in with something in her arms and a faint thank you. He was starting to get uncomfortable around her. She just seemed to show up when something was bothering him and he didn't know quite what to do about it.
And that was bothering him.
"Uhmm.. This room can get chilly at night, so I looked around my apartment and found this." She holds up a dark purple thing. "It's my heating blanket. The guys don't know I have it."
And at once he knew it was a peace offering. Not only had she offered that but she had stated that she had someplace else to stay. Which in Lena translated into 'something was discussed and you're not going to like it'.
"They want you to baby sit me." There was nothing added to his voice, he just merely stated his thought. Her wince told him he was right on the money.
She sighs and looks apologetic. "I'm sorry; I tried to talk them out of it. But-"
"But T-Bone said so and you have no choice." He sighs. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean that."
"No, it's ok. I completely understand." She says as she hides the heating blanket under the comforter, all nice and ready for his use. "It's not like I'm going to baby you. Check in and possibly work at the desk yes, but nothing more then that. So don't worry."
He doesn't feel at all reassured as he watches her leave. Just as she starts to leave, she leans her head back in the door.
"One last thing, you might hear a lot of yelling in a moment. Just try and ignore it, ok?" she gives him a quick smile and slips out. Closing the door behind her before he could ask what she was talking about.
He never did find out what all the yelling and banging had been about. Every time he tried to peek outside the door someone would be there to shoo him back into bed. Very frustrating.
In fact this whole ordeal was becoming frustrating. In a few days he had read all of the books in the room, every last one. Taking into account that he had to translate all the books before he could easily read them… he just had too much free time. he had even caught up an all his past reports and documentation that had been building up for goodness knows how long.
And he was still board.
Unfortunately he was starting to take his irritation out on anyone who append to catch him at the wrong time. it wasn't anything overtly abnormal, just more snide and picky then he would usually be. Sad to say, Lena was generally the victim of his outbursts. Most of the time they would just roll off her like water off a ducks back. But occasionally he had found that she was avoiding him if he started to get into one of his moods.
Or if he some how got her angry she would send Bends to deal with him for a few hours. Bends would then proceed to tease him about Lena's supposed temper and then never put forth any proof other then 'just wait and see'. He was starting to feel that he was becoming as irritated as Clint, and probably just as charming. Which suited his mood not at all.
But now, now he was mostly bed ridden.
Fortunately after many many tests, the others had found out that he wasn't contagious. A good thing in everyone's books. So now others would come around and pester him. Or as they called it, seeking his advice. Luckily for him T-Bone knew better then to stick his head in the door, as he would probably loose it to a flying book.
He had found out that he had been isolated for a little over two weeks. To him it seemed like an eternity of nothing but suffering and Lena looking in on him and trying to make him comfortable.
That interesting little revelation brought to mind something he hadn't noticed. He hadn't seen Lena that day. Actually, the more he thought about he realized that he hadn't seen her since just before they had found out he wasn't contagious. Some part of his rational said that he should relax and enjoy his freedom, how ever another, smaller part wondered why she had stopped coming by.
As the day went on, that little voice got stronger. And he was pretty sure he was watching the door, almost waiting for her to come and pester him. He also found that he was procrastinating asking about her. He just seemed to feel bad when ever he tried to get up the courage to ask.
He had never been one to beat around the bush.
So, mustering all the courage he could, he was determined to ask who ever came in next about her. Come hell or high water he was going to find out.
Cursed be to all the gods when that person turned out to be John.
"Hey, everything ok in here?" John asked leaning into the room, probably just making a quick stop by on request from T-Bone.
"Well, uhmm.." He faltered. How did one go about inquiring about someone that everyone assumed to be another's significant other? Especially when dealing with an alter who might be a tad territorial. He didn't know John well enough to gauge a possible reaction. He suddenly found that the blanket in his hands had suddenly become the most fascinating thing on the planet.
"You know," John said slowly, drawing his attention, as he leaned agenst the door frame and crossed his arms. "If you are curious about Lena you can just ask."
He could only look down guiltily.
"Ah…" is all he says before fully entering the room, closing the door and pulling up a chair next to Stegz. "So… want the long version or the abridged?"
"The abridged if you wouldn't mind." His voice seemed so quiet but John merely smiled.
"Heh. Well, back in high school Lena started working for my dad. Since we have similar interests in school she offered to help me set up my collage classes so I could avoid some of the more memorable teachers. Eventually I started helping my dad also and we both ended up spending more time together.
Eventually my brothers decided to deem us a couple. Unfortunately we gave it a shot."
"Yeah, I'm lucky she doesn't hate me. I made a complete ass of myself. Long story short, we're not together. I'm not her type. Don't arch your eye ridge at me, it's true. I am and I quote 'to reckless, immature, territorial and bull headed' to be her type. And that was the nice version." John smiled at him. "She's more for the quiet and calm types. Someone she can snuggle up to and watch a documentary with."
"Is that supposed to be a hint?" Stegz says with a glower, he really didn't need a matchmaker. Especially one that could look innocent when he wanted to.
"No, I'm merely stating what she looks for. Although my brothers think she's probably given up on dating all together thanks to me." He stands up and slides the chair back in its place. Stegz blinks as he realizes that he was being left alone.
"Wait, where is she?" there, he said it.
"Hmm? Oh. She's probably at her apartment by now, gathering up a few things before coming back here. Something about falling off a ladder and spraining her ankle. And before you ask, she's fine. Believe me, she's not made of glass." He says and then departs. Leaving Stegz with much to think about.
It was only an hour later when word got to Stegz that Lena was back. Coincidently that was also when he decided that he had been stuck in the room for long enough for his tastes. So, mustering up his strength, he steeled his nerves, told his stomach to politely stay were it was, and stood up.
It took him about three tries to get to the door before he turned back and retrieved the comforter. After which he managed to slowly shuffle to his goal, the main recreation room. By the time he reached the couch he had firmly decided that he was not going to make that trek again this day. His head was pounding and he thought the world was spinning just to spite him.
Instead of sitting properly on the couch he just sort of slumped over it. His hips on one side of the arm of the couch while his body sort of stretched out across the back of it. as odd as it sounded he was actually rather comfortable, even though he thought he must look ridiculous with the blanket pulled over him so it just barely covered his eyes.
With a sigh he slowly closes his eyes.
"John, knock it off."
Yup, Lena was defiantly back and it seemed like she had a mother hen of her own to deal with, Stegz thought, his eyes still closed and grinning. Yes, this had been worth that horrible trek.
He was expecting to hear the swift movements of a person on crutches, instead his ears are met with verbal retorts and threats one wouldn't expect a lady to know, let alone say aloud.
Peeking out from the cover, he can just see a very perturbed Lena slung over a grinning Johns shoulder as he marches into the room. Her protesting the entire way as John then unceremoniously dumps her across from his position on the couch. The glare Lena gives John could wither grass, peel paint and probably castrate any man that fell victim to it.
John, how ever, merely shrugged it off with practiced ease.
"This isn't fair. I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself." She states as she crosses her arms and looks away from John, possibly with the intent of ignoring him. John just chuckles and props her right foot up on the coffee table.
"Sure, that's why you now have a cast instead of just a simple sprained ankle. Now, if you actually sit still for a few hours like your doctor said, maybe we'll give you back your crutches." Stegz idly wonders if he was this bad himself. "Good, now here's your bag. If you need more paper we'll get you some. Until then play nice and be a good girl." As John says this, he pats her on the head before casually fleeing the room.
Weather it was from the daggers she had been glaring or the possibility of real ones being thrown, he wasn't sure. But the image it produced made Stegz snicker.
"Oh hush you." She mumbles at him as she reaches for her bag. She takes a book and a stack of colorful paper squares from it. The book she places on her lap and uses it as a surface to place the paper. But in stead of writing or drawing on it she starts to fold it.
And she keeps folding it. Periodically turning, flipping and unfolding it. The whole act mesmerizes him as he watches her move. She's quick and precise as she folds, then occasionally runs her nail along the edge of the new fold. At the end, she pulls the inner part of the folded paper outwards and to his surprise, she was now holding a flower.
He had never seen anything like it.
"How did you do that?" his voice seemingly awed in child like wonder, his vision still on the paper flower in her hands. He doesn't see her smile but he could defiantly hear it in her voice as she responded.
"It's called Origami. I'm pretty sure it's been referred to as the art of folding paper. It originated in Japan. My Father got a book about it for me when I was little. It's very calming; want to give it a go?"
"Uhmm… are your sure?" he unconsciously hid his hands under the blanket. It wasn't that he was ashamed of his hands, he was just unsure of how he would manage to do what she did when his hands were more then twice the size of hers. He didn't think he had the necessary grace.
"If your worried about anything, try not to." she shrugs. "It's not a life or death thing and it take a good amount of practice to be good at it. But you'll have to be sitting on the couch for me to show you." The teasing tone in her voice sounded as if she was mixing a dare in with her words. As if she had that rumored 'cootie' thing.
"I'm going to guess that your doctor gave you some very good pain relievers for you to be acting in such a childish way." He says to her as he slowly sits up and moves to the vacant seat next to her.
"Yes, but I promised I wouldn't share them." he could only blink at her. "you know, it would be a lot more reassuring if everyone didn't look at me as if I wasn't aloud to have a callous sence of humor." She says, giving him the Look. He fakes a coff so that he could hide his mirth behind his hand.
"Er, about this folding paper art? You were saying?" He thanked his luck that she took the hidden apology. As she had him pick a piece of paper to work with, she flipped thru her book for some instructions. As he worked, she helpfully answered all of his questions about the art. They also caught up on things he had missed and he informed her of his wonderful substitute nurses.
It was about twenty minuets later, that he had in his hands a less then crappy paper crane.
Of which he was currently glaring at. He had been defeated by a mere piece of paper and he was not pleased. Not please in the least.
And Lena's attempt at support to hide her amusement wasn't helping either.
"So… just how long have you been doing this again?" As he asks, he gives her the Look. The Look consisting of arching his eye ridge just so, so that the person knew he was coming to a conclusion about something involving them.
"Around 14 years." She says innocently in an almost nonchalant voice. He knew that he had asked for that answer and he also knew, she knew that as well. A blessing and a curse.
"You… set me up." He had drawn out the word 'you'. He mock glared at her as she pulled a dramatic innocent pose.
"Why sir! Are you accusing me of purposely giving you something difficult to do with the full knowledge that you would be unable to accomplish such a feat? Why I never." She used a think southern drawl which while convincing, seemed more of a voice he would expected some stereotypical busty blond in some frilly outfit to use. fortunately she only laughed and lightly smacked his arm when he told her.
"I happen to like 'Gone with the Wind'. Thank you very much. The dresses of that day were very beautiful." She stated while putting her hands on her hips.
A stance which made him start to laugh, which in turn caused her to start bopping him on the head with a pillow. A short one sided pillow fight later he snatched it from her hands and placed a light kiss on the tip of her nose.
This caused them both to blink.
"I'm… I… that is to say…er." He was at a loss for words. He hadn't meant to, well he had, but… Hell.
He was startled probably as much, if not more, then she was. She probably thought he was a monster or something. All these thoughts raced thru his head as he tucked his head under the comforter and wished he could shrink into nothingness. He could feel the flush on his face, he was just that embarrassed.
From underneath the safety of his blanket he gives a muffled ''m sorry'.
He didn't hear anything for what seemed like an eternity but then he felt a soft tug on the blanket. In response he just pulled it around him tighter and apologized again.
"Stegz, please? Look at me?" no angry screaming or panic, her voice was calm and just a bit firm. He shook his head no.
"Please?" he repeats the gesture. He could hear her sigh. "Alright then."
Slowly he could feel her move him so that his head would be resting on her lap. He automatically re-adjusted how he was sitting to accommodate this. He could then feel her slowly brushing her fingers over his head, not an unpleasant feeling mind you but it made him realize that she had the patience to wait out his embarrassment. It actually made him feel better.
Eventually he stuck the tip of his nose out from under the blanket.
"Your not upset?" His voice seemed soft, even to his own ears.
He felt her stop brushing his head and rest her arm on his shoulders in a way that almost resembled an embrace.
"Upset? No, why would you think that?" She sounded startled that he would think such a thing.
"Because I'm, well, not human." His phrasing was harsh, but true to his thoughts.
"Ah… is that what you're worried about?" Her voice was as calm as he could ever remember it being.
"Among other things, yes." His own, how ever, reminded him of a nervous child that had just been caught harboring an unknown crush on a teacher. Because that's what it seemed like to him.
He had unknowingly developed more then friendly feelings for Lena and he was completely unaware of when it had occurred. He realized that it sounded cliché but it was the truth. Yet it was relieving that she hadn't done anything blatant to him. She just sat there penitently giving him all the time he needed. Just calmly being there when ever he needed her.
Upon thinking this, he sighed and relaxed more. Almost snuggling into her, but he had a feeling that she didn't mind.
From off in another room, two nosy busy bodies peeked thru a crack in a door. Quietly watching the whole event unfold as they had been doing from the start. The both of them had mutually agreed that their comrades had been too busy to notice what they had with each other.
So they had taken the initiative.
They had planed this over the course of three months and many nights of playing pool. The plan had slowly taken form and from there on it had only been up to the two that they were spying on. Abit with the occasional nudge from one or the other of them.
And a little bit of luck.
Stegz's sickness had been an easy to accomplish task, but Lena's injury had been the work of Fate alone. Neither of them had wanted to do something that would hurt her, but fortunately she was sometimes too stubborn for her own good. The result had been a mildly twisted ankle. but a small bribe to the doctor, with a brief explanation of why, and he had been more then willing to put it in a cast.
They both had one last chuckle before they started up a new game of pool.