TITLE: Not So Sweet Slumber

AUTHOR: Merlin7/clarkangel



SPOILERS: Midway stuff

ARCHIVE: Anywhere

SUMMARY: Nothing but a whump Shep tag for Midway


"You feeling okay?"

The question surprised John and he narrowed his gaze at Ronon, who was watching him intently. "I'm fine. Why?" He countered, as he poked at the eggs on his plate. They had been rescued by the Dadaelus after the Midway station had blown up, and the first thing Rodney and Ronon had wanted to do was eat.

The first thing John actually did was take a shower, which was why he was dressed in a generic cammos that were slightly too big for him. His teammates had still been eating when he arrived in the messhall, but Rodney had excused himself to take his own shower after John had sniffed at him while making faces. It had taken about fifteen minutes for McKay to get the hint.

Ronon had remained with John, finishing off a third stack of pancakes. "Thought you liked eggs," he said, pointing at John's, still full, plate.

"Just not hungry," John replied, pushing the plate in Ronon's direction. The Satedan was alike a walking, talking, Hoover when it came to food. Which wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Food didn't go to waste with the big guy around.

"You look kinda pale," Ronon continued, before digging into the eggs. "McKay said you almost died. Did you get checked out?"

John scowled. "I didn't almost die!" Because, in his book, almost only counted in horseshoes and hand grenades. Suffocation wasn't in the running.

Ronon merely shrugged at him. "Just telling you what McKay said."

"Well, you know better than to listen to Rodney," John chided. He reached for his coffee mug and took a sip, but grimaced as he swallowed because it had cooled off. Pushing back his chair, he stood up and felt himself lurching to the left. Grabbing the edge of the table with both hands kept John on his feet but swaying.

"I think you'd better sit back down," Ronon said, pushing John into the chair.

Which made John wonder when the Satedan had gotten up and moved over to him. He should have noticed that. Flattening his palms on the table, John took a few deep breaths and after a moment the dizziness passed.

Ronon was crouched beside him, looking concerned. "You don't look so good." Succint as always.

"I just stood up too fast," John stated firmly, because no way in hell was he going to the infirmary and Ronon totally had that look on his face. The one that let John know he was about to disobey him in some way. Not that he was giving orders or anything, but Ronon could be one stubborn bastard when he wanted to be. Which, when combined with the fact that he had a bad habit of trying to take care of John, in a mothering sort of way, at the most inopportune times. Like now.

"I'll take you to the infirmary," Ronon said, reaching for John's arm and hauling him out of the chair as easily as if John were nothing more than a rag doll.

Digging in his heels didn't work all that well in a literal sense, when he was on a flat-surfaced floor, but John made the attempt anyway. "I'm not going to the infirmary!" he snapped, all the while trying to tug his arm free of Ronon's iron grip.

The Satedan wasn't listening. He just started manhandling John towards the exit. "Might as well give in, Sheppard," he drawled. "I'm going to get you there one way or another. Best way would be on your feet." He left no doubt to what he meant.

Being well versed in Ronon-speak, John stopped struggling. No way in hell was he going to suffer the indignity of being carried to the infirmary like a sack of potatoes. He'd been in that position too many times in the past for his liking. But as he fell into step, arm still trapped in Ronon's fingers, John leaned in to hiss, "We are so having a long talk about insubordination when we get back to Atlantis!"

"Look forward to it," Ronon replied, giving John a cheeky grin.

The continued on to the infirmary in silence. A silence that was broken when the rounded a corner and nearly collided into McKay.

The Physicist glared at them. "Watch where you're going! You almost flattened me?"

Ronon poked McKay in the gut. "You've got enough padding to cushion your landing," he replied.

"Oh, ha-ha. Very funny. Not!" Another glare for Ronon, then Rodney turned his attention to John. "Hey, you don't look so good. Not that you were looking good before because you weren't. But you look worse now." He glared at Ronon again. "What did you do to him?"

"He didn't do anything to me, Rodney!" John exclaimed. "And thanks so much, by the way. Love what you're wearing." He let the sarcasm ooze from his tongue. Rodney did look ridiculous in what appeared to be a too small sweatshirt and too baggy cargo pants.

Cheeks flaming, Rodney defended his attire, gesturing to it with flailing hands. "This is not my fault! The marines wouldn't let me borrow a uniform!"

John wasn't really surprised to hear that. "Whatever." He made another tug at his arm, hoping Ronon was distracted enough by McKay to let him slip away. No such luck.

Ronon clenched his fingers and said to McKay," Sheppard almost passed out so I'm taking him to the infirmary."

"What?" Rodney's indignant expression was replaced by concern. "You passed out?"

"No, I didn't pass out!" John snapped. "I just stood up too fast. It's no big deal."

But Rodney was shaking a finger at him. "I told you to get checked out. You almost died on the station. You had the oxygen sucked out of your brain. You should get lots of scans. There could be permanent damage."

John rolled his eyes, which was not a good idea, it made his head ache more than it already did. "I didn't almost die, Rodney. I might have been mostly dead, but it's not the same thing." John hoped his Princess Bride reference would distract his friend so everyone would get off the topic of taking him to the infirmary.

"You and your stupid movie references!" Rodney spat, looking annoyed now instead of worried. "Forget about oxygen deprivation causing brain damage. Your brain was rotted out during adolescence. There's nothing left to damage!"

"I like that movie," Ronon interjected, before tugging on John's arm again. Then they were moving down the corridor, ever closer to the infirmary, with Rodney trailing behind them, still complaining.

The infirmary doors were open and Dr. Flint was headed their way even as they crossed the threshold. His eyes were locked on John's face and he looked concerned. John was beginning to wonder if maybe he really did look like shit.

Reaching for John's wrist, Dr. Flint asked, "What happened?"

"Nothing happened," John replied, resisting the urge to jerk his wrist away. Between Ronon still clutching his arm and the doctor hovering in front of him, John was feeling the lack of personal boundaries.

"He nearly passed out in the messhall," Ronon offered, helpfully, ignoring John's death glare.

Rodney decided to join the chorus as well. "He nearly died on the Midway station. We had to vent the station and he was trapped on the outside for hours without oxygen!"

John muttered a curse before turning his death glare on Rodney. "It wasn't hours and you know it. It was minutes and I got myself in the space suit. I'm fine!" But his knees decided to pick that moment to make him out a liar, buckling hard and nearly sending him to the floor despite Ronon's grip on him.

The next thing John knew, he was lying on a bed in the corner and Dr. Flint was fussing over him. He felt too lethargic to protest much until an oxygen mask was fitted over his face. John tried to pull it off but Ronon grabbed his wrist.

"It's just a precaution, Colonel," Dr. Flint explained. "Just relax and let me do my thing."

"Fine," John mumbled, his voice sounding hollow beneath the mask. So he lay there and let Flint take his BP and his temp and do a few other things, like check his eyes. The penlight thing sucked, no matter who was doing it to him. It sucked even more with a headache.

Flint studied him with a squint-eyed gaze. "I'll get you something for the pain in a moment. We'll get you in scrubs and settled in then I'll push it through an IV, it'll be more effective in the long run."

John tensed at hearing the words scrubs and IV. He started to sit up, pulling the mask off. "Wait a minute there, Doc. I'm not staying here so I don't need any scrubs. We're being beamed back to Atlantis in the morning."

"I'm well aware of that fact, Colonel." Flint's tone sounded a bit snide as he pushed John back against the pillow. "But until that time you're going to get into scrubs and rest where I can keep an eye on you and run a few tests."

"There's nothing wrong with me!" John protested, staying down only because Ronon had slapped a heavy hand down on his chest. "I don't need any tests. Look, I'm a bit tired and probably need to eat. Other than that I'm fine!"

Ronon kept John down as Flint grabbed the oxygen mask from John's hand and put it back over his face. "You are dehydrated and suffering a headache, which isn't uncommon after the experience you had. It's also not uncommon for symptoms to show up after a lag period. We've caught them and I'll treat them and you'll be back to yourself in a few days. Understand?" His tone went from doctorly compassion to Drill Sgt extreme in the blink of an eye.

John wasn't happy about it, but he knew he wasn't getting out of here any time soon, so he relaxed back down and nodded. "I understand," he replied, trying hard not to pout about it. "But I don't like it!"

"Shut up and let the doctor do his voodoo thing," Rodney countered, as he crowded Ronon over so he could lock eyes with John. "You almost died. You can chill out and nap for a day. What's the big deal?"

"Go away," John said, waving at both Rodney and Ronon. If he had to get into scrubs, he was going to do it without an audience. And, right on cue, Flint appeared with green scrubs in hand.

Ronon clapped John's shoulder. "Be back to check on you."

John glared at him. "Traitor." He wasn't happy when Ronon merely laughed.

Rodney hovered a moment, looking uncomfortable. "I can bring a lap top later and we can play games?"

John knew it was Rodney's way of trying to make ammends. "That sounds good," he replied, a smile almost curving his lips. "See you later." He watched them leave, then Flint was drawing the privacy curtain. Five minutes later John was in scrubs, tucked into bed and attached to an IV. Sometimes his life really sucked.

What sucked more was sleeping the afternoon away, nearly puking up dinner, and being too tired and achy to even consider playing video games with Rodney. By turns John felt anxious, lethargic, hot, cold, achy and miserable. For two hours his head pounded and made him feel nauseous, then he switched over to heavy cramping and wanting to curl up and die.

The only positive thing was that Dr. Flint assured him that his symptoms weren't that surprising and that it should all pass soon. Only soon couldn't come soon enough for John. He was tired and feeling bleary-eyed and miserable when morning finally rolled around. He peeled his eyes open and saw Ronon sitting in a chair at the foot of his bed. He wondered how long the Satedan had been keeping watch, but didn't have the energy to ask.

Ronon had, apparently, picked up the ability to read John's mind. "Been here most of the night." He pointed to the bed next him, which held a Rodney-shaped lump. "McKay too."

"I must have gone deaf last night," John said, wincing. "I didn't hear him snoring." But he could hear him now and it sounded too loud in his skull. LIfting a hand to scrub over his face, he was surprised to find the nasal canula gone. At dinner time Flint had switched John from the mask to the canula, and he had no clue when he'd lost the latter. He was just grateful it was gone. However, the IV was still in place.

Before Ronon could reply, Dr. Flint bustled over and did a quick IV, pulse and eye check. "How are you feeling, Colonel?"

John considered carefully before replying. He wanted out of here, like right this minute, so he went with the semi-truth. "Better than I was. A little tired but good to go."

"We've reached the Pegasus galaxy so you'll be beamed over to Atlantis shortly," Dr. Flint replied. "I figured you'd want to change first." He pointed to John's own uniform which had been laundered and pressed and was now lying on a nearby chair.

"That's great, doc. Thanks." John was already pushing the covers back, forgetting about the IV. He held out his hand and was relieved when Flint removed it without comment. Rising to his feet, John leaned against the bed to make sure he was steady enough to walk before attempting it. He felt a bit light-headed, but it quickly passed. Gesturing to McKay, John said to Ronon, "Get him up and ready to go. I'm gonna change in the bathroom.

John didn't wait to see if his order was obeyed. He knew it would be. Once in the bathroom he took care of mother nature before shucking the scrubs and sliding back back into his own gear. He felt better once dressed, taking the time to splash water on his face and use one of the disposable toothbrushes that were packaged in a drawer for just such a purpose. After finger combing his hair, John felt more himself. Still tired, a bit weak, but himself.

Leaving the scrubs on the counter, John made his way back over to his teammates. Rodney was sitting up, his hair flattened on one side and sticking up on the other, complaining about the lack of coffee. "Let's grab a cup before going home," John said, clapping him on the back.

But Flint was a killjoy. "No coffee for you, Colonel. Or anything else with Caffeine, at least for a few days. Some toast or oatmeal would be good for you though."

"I'll eat when we get back to Atlantis," John promised. He nudged Rodney. "You can get your own coffee stash at home. Let's go." He rounded up his team and they headed out. After a short discussion with Caldwell, John stood with Rodney and Ronon and a moment later they were back in Atlantis.

Being beamed always gave John a bit of a headrush, and this time was no different. He felt himself sway and then Ronon was grabbing his arm to steady him. John whispered, "Thanks," then brushed him off, turning as Carter approached them. Out of the corner of his eye he caught something that made him tense up. To his right was Keller, two medteam members and a gurney. "That had better not be for me," John growled.

Keller wasn't the least bit intimidated by either his tone or his glare. "Dr. Flint contacted me and gave me an update on your condition, Colonel. I want to do my own exam and we'll go from there. If you clear then you'll be free to go."

John would have argued with her but Carter spoke up before he could.

"I want you to get a check over, John. I need to know you're okay." Her smile was as genuine as her tone, so how could he argue with that?

"Fine, I'll get the all clear." He turned back to Keller. "But I don't need the gurney." To John's annoyance, his body disagreed with him. When he took a step around Keller to prove his point, his knees buckled and he nearly toppled over. Only Ronon's quick reflexes saved him. "Sonofabitch!" John hissed.

Keller was right beside him. "Up on the gurney now, Colonel. We'll give you a smooth ride."

John didn't budge. "Look...I'm tired and I haven't eaten in over 24 hours. I just moved too fast. I can walk. Really. I can." He knew he was pleading with her to believe him and he didn't care. He would beg if it would get him out of the gurney ride.

But the choice was taken out of his hands when Ronon suddenly bent and scooped John off his feet before smoothly depositing him on the gurney.

"Hey!" John protested the action, only too late. Keller's team was already covering John with a blanket and buckling him in.

"Enjoy the ride, Sheppard," Ronon rumbled at him.

John pinned him with an incinerating glare that should have reduced the Satedan to ashes. However, all Ronon did was chuckle. "I hate you!" John hissed, as Keller's team started rolling him away.

Ronon nodded. "I know." Then he was moving to catch up.

Keller was keeping pace at his side. "If it's any consolation, Colonel, I doubt I'll have to keep you longer than twenty-four hours for observation. Some food and a good night's sleep and I'm sure you'll be yourself again. It's no big deal."

John didn't respond. Instead he heaved a sigh and closed his eyes, listening to Rodney rant and ramble from somewhere behind him, as he was pushed along.

On the bright side - he was home, sweet home.