A/N: Another short little something starring our favorite engineer. Please R&R. Oh, I'm pretty sure everyone knows I'm not making any money off this, but I just want to reiterate that, just in case.
Hope you enjoy!
That one word bounced around his frazzled mind like a pinball and he was unable to ascertain why, until consciousness flooded through him and he felt the raw, searing pain that radiated from his abdomen and sent flames dancing along his skin.
Now he knew and his mind and body ached to go back to the blissful black of oblivion to relieve him of the hellish hurt that was racing along his nerves, bringing hot tears to his eyes and causing his brain to barely comprehend anything but the wrenching pain and the one all consuming word.
It briefly occurred to him that he might actually be on fire and if that were the case, it would be the smartest thing to try and move. He must have succeeded in his endeavor because gentle hands and a familiar voice penetrated his haze.
"Don't try to move, Seamus."
Beka? He allowed his panicked mind to relax slightly. He could trust her. If he were on fire, she'd definitely put him out. But, then why did he feel like his flesh was burning?
Maybe, she didn't know. Maybe, she was in danger as well.
He parted his dry lips in an attempt to communicate his question or his warning, he wasn't sure which, but his words became garbled in the trip from his brain to his mouth. His ears registered a weird, strangled groan, and though he didn't want to admit it, he knew that it had originated from him.
"Shh, you're going to be alright," Beka's voice drifted to him.
It sure as hell didn't feel that way. In fact, it felt as if he was smoldering.
He opened his mouth again and managed a faint noise that sounded somewhat similar to her name.
"Trance, get a sedative. He's coming around and I'm sure this hurts like hell."
Trance? She was there?
At last, something cool was pressed to his neck and he felt and heard the medicine rush into his system. It took only moments and the sweet void washed over him like the cooling waves of Infinity Atoll.
Unwelcome and unbidden, awareness came to him, slowly, disjointed and altogether maddening. Images, sounds, memories assaulted his mind and it took him quite a few minutes to untangle the present from the past, the dreams from the reality. Once done, he knew he was on the Maru from the familiar feel of the mattress to the soothing sounds of the engines.
He also knew the familiar signs of a fever.
The earlier fire had been slightly extinguished and his abdomen no longer felt like the tip of a soldering wand, but rather a dull ache.
The other inferno that was burning from his core was much more disconcerting in a way. He knew the symptoms, knew the implications and while he was still bewildered as to what had exactly happened to start the chain of combustible events, at least he was blissfully ignorant. Fevers and illness, however, he knew all too well.
He felt the sweat dripping, rolling over his skin, felt the tightness of his joints, and the cutting dryness of his throat. Parting his lips, he ran his swollen tongue over them before attempting to call a name.
"Shhh," he heard her say. The mattress shifted as she sat down beside him and he couldn't stop the small groan that slipped from him at the movement. He felt her small hand slide beneath his head, and felt a cup pressed to his lips. "Drink this."
Though more of the heavenly liquid splashed down his cheeks than actually made its way down his throat, it still felt wonderful. A cool, wet, rag was then placed on his forehead, further quenching the blaze. He could've sworn that he'd made it to heaven.
Feeling slightly refreshed, he needed his question answered.
"What happened?" he managed.
He could almost hear the indulgent smile Trance wore as it came through her voice. "You're sick."
Well, he'd already established that part!
"You did the stupidest thing that you've ever done, Seamus Harper!"
Beka? Where'd she come from?
He had been concentrating so hard on getting the right words to actually come out of his mouth; he had missed hearing her come into the crew quarters.
Wait, what did she say? He'd done something stupid? That certainly didn't sound like him. Maybe it was better that he couldn't remember.
His confusion must have been evident.
"Don't worry about it now, Harper. Just get some rest," Trance said softly.
The cool tip of a hypospray was pressed to his neck, and just as before, the medicine over took him and carried him back to sweet oblivion.
Med Deck. He must be on med deck. At least, that is what his nose and ears were telling him. There was no gentle rocking rhythm of the Maru's engines and he could definitely smell and feel the sterile air. He'd been in Med Deck more times than he could count and was able to easily tell when fate or bad luck had landed him there again.
He hated it.
But at least this time, upon awakening, he felt better. In fact, there was no trace of the fire that had burned his skin or of the inferno that had tried to melt him from the inside.
Now, if only he could remember what the hell had happened.
He wracked his brain. It was supposed to be a simple supply run to a drift. He remembered the drift, the people, the sights, the smells. He remembered getting the necessary parts….
It came back in a rush of images.
Beka had come running from a bar, gauss guns discharging and angry yells followed her fleeing figure. She grabbed him and they both started running back to the Maru. It was just like the good old days. But after that point, it was just a blur of colors that he couldn't make out.
"Harper, you awake?" he heard Beka whisper beside him.
For the first time since whatever had happened, he opened his eyes.
Harper was met with the vision of a very tired Beka, with mussed hair and dark circles beneath her eyes. He opened his mouth to reply but she was quick and a straw was produced by his mouth.
"Drink this first," she commanded.
He did as he was told, the lukewarm water sliding down his parched throat. He made a face.
"I was hoping for Sparky," he croaked.
It garnered him a small smile. "Maybe later, when you're up to it. You gave us quite a scare, shorty."
That statement never boded well for his recovery time. It meant that Trance would become a golden pain in the ass and not allow him to do anything until she deemed him well enough. Andromeda could be falling apart in slipstream and she'd make him stay in bed. To top it off, she would refuse his multiple requests of joining him.
"How long have I…"
"A week," Beka answered, knowing the end to the question.
He closed his eyes and let his head drop back to the pillow. "A week?" he murmured astounded. He must've done something really dumb.
"What the hell did I do that was so stupid?"
There was silence, an uncomfortable one. He opened his eyes slowly, knowing he would see Beka more than likely mad and trying to calm herself before responding.
Except, that wasn't what he saw at all. He saw her struggling with tears and with what looked like guilt. It caught him off guard and vaguely scared him.
"Bek?" he asked softly. "What'd I do?"
She swallowed. "You pushed me out of the way." At his look of confusion, she continued. "Those guys followed us back to the Maru. I was shooting at one and I didn't see the other one. You must've because he fired, you pushed me and you took a gauss gun blast right in the stomach."
Not Fire! Fired!
It came back to him in flashes. He had seen the guy hiding behind the crates on the docking bay. He'd seen him charging up his gun. The goon had fired on Beka and he had just reacted.
He let his hand wander down to his abdomen and he felt the large bandage that covered most of his stomach and side. That explained the searing pain he had felt. He knew that the other inferno was a fever, either caused by infection or just something he had picked up while on the drift.
"That's the stupidest thing I've ever done?" he asked, astonished. "Come on, Boss, I've done way more stupider things that that!"
She smiled, her tearful expression gone and replaced with one more cheerful, albeit still tired, when it was confirmed that her best friend was back. She gently ruffled his hair. "Let's just say it's up there with some of the Harper classics."
Harper returned the grin and allowed his eyes to close again, exhaustion getting the better of him. He hated the weakened stage that always followed being sick or hurt. It made him feel entirely too vulnerable.
He began to drift, but heard Beka promise she'd sneak him in a Sparky later.
"Thanks, Boss," he said, his voice barely a whisper.
"It's the least I can do for saving my life, Seamus."
He meant to reply with a 'what are friends for' like comment but was pretty sure it came out jumbled and incomprehensible. Then he drifted off to sleep.
Hope you enjoyed it!