Written for the Fever challenge on the Sheppard HC LJ, this is a little ficcie that is gonna take the form of short chapterettes, each one from a different POV. We're starting with John. Next POV to follow very shortly.

All feedback gratefully received.

Sheppard first suspects something is wrong during an interminable-seeming staff meeting. True, he finds these meetings pretty dull at the best of times and struggles to stay focused on the discussion at hand. But this is different. He is pretty sure he's actually zoned out completely a couple of times because he keeps tuning back in to the conversation and finding it in a completely different place than he recalled. He's starting to find it difficult to keep his eyes open, the constant drone of voices and the warmth of the room lulling him into drowsiness.

He'd woken up feeling out of sorts that morning, his body feeling sluggish and tired, lacking his usual energy and vitality. He'd even forgone his morning run, choosing instead to take a long shower, leaning against the cool wall for a long time, letting the hot water pound against his skin. He'd turned the water to cold for a minute before exiting the shower, hoping the shocking chill would wake him up. He'd emerged shivering from the shower stall, his flesh tingling but his head still feeling stuffy and slow. He's beginning to wonder now if he's starting to come down with something. John grimaces. He hates being ill.

He fights to keep his concentration up, beginning to feel that the room is too warm, too stifling, and hopes that his abstraction is not too obvious to the rest of the meeting. He looks up to find Elizabeth's eyes on him at one point, her brow creased slightly, and wonders if she's noticed his lethargy. By the time the meeting wraps up he is feeling pretty damn awful, tired and hot and a little dizzy, and wants nothing more than to head back to his room and crash for a while. His afternoon is clear other than a scheduled equipment stock-take and that can wait. He figures he'll sleep whatever this is off and probably feel a whole lot better when he wakes. He lets the rest of the room clear before rising from his seat and is surprised to find it quite an effort to do so, his legs feeling ridiculously shaky under him. He levers himself slowly to his feet, his palms flat on the conference table bearing much of his weight as he leans forward heavily. His vision spins for a moment as he looks up, clearing to reveal Elizabeth standing in the doorway, watching him closely. Busted.

"John? Are you alright?" She steps forward, an expression of concern on her face.

He tries for a grin, pretty sure he isn't fooling her for a second, and tries to head off her concern. "I'm fine. Just feeling kinda tired."

Her frown tells him she isn't buying. "Are you sure? You don't look too.."

"I didn't sleep too great last night, " he lies quickly, cutting her off. He steels himself to take a shaky step and then another, locking his knees in place by dint of sheer willpower. All he wants to do right now is sleep. If he could just get as far as his quarters, then he could sleep. Elizabeth steps aside, frowning, as he moves carefully past her, his muscles tense with the effort of feigning nonchalance.

"I'm just gonna hit the sack for a coupla hours.. I'll be right as rain." He speaks over his shoulder, not waiting for a response as he heads for the transporter, wanting nothing more than to get to his quarters and fall into bed before his legs give out on him. He knows without looking back that she's following behind him.

He wobbles for a moment as his visions swims unexpectedly, his steps faltering as his balance deserts him. He slaps a steadying hand against the wall, breathing heavily. When did it get so hot in here?

"John.." Her voice is stern now, moving past concern and edging towards exasperation.

"I'm good." Was that his voice? Did he usually sound that shaky? He pushes himself off the wall. Bed. Get to my quarters and get to bed. That's all he wants. He dredges up a reserve of energy from god knows where and strides off determinedly, focused on his goal. His almost to the transporter when, without warning, his head spins dizzily. He staggers to a halt, swaying for a moment, darkness crowding in at the edge of his vision. His head feels hot and stuffy and his limbs are trembling. The last thing he hears as his legs give way is Elizabeth's voice.


The darkness swallows him.