A Really Bad Day
by Valerie Vancollie
valeriev84 at hotmail dot com
Characters: Don, Nikki, Liz
Excerpt: His head hurt, his stomach hurt, his thumb hurt, his hip hurt and now his ankle, leg and back hurt as well. All from today.
Spoilers: The Decoy Effect
Note: This fic was written as a birthday present for my wonderful hurt_Don co-mod, Rinkle.
As he lay on the pavement, staring up at the white fluffy clouds that drifted lazily past overhead, Don decided that getting back up again simply wasn't worth it. His head hurt, his stomach hurt, his thumb hurt, his hip hurt and now his ankle, leg and back hurt as well. All from today. And, as it was only just noon, he really didn't feel like getting up again only to discover in exactly how many more ways this day could go wrong.
Could someone please stop this ride and let him get off here?
There was movement to his left and then Nikki was there, looking down at him with a half-amused, half-concerned look on her face.
"Hey, are you alright?" she inquired.
"Go away," Don muttered, bringing his arm up to cover his eyes.
He knew exactly how ridiculous he must have looked, slipping on a goddamn banana peel of all things. If he was honest with himself, Don knew he'd be forcing down laughter if it had happened to someone else, well, once he was sure they'd apprehended their suspects and that no one was injured. So, in a way, the fact that Nikki was here, teasing him, meant that Colby and David had probably caught their suspects. At least something had gone right today, 'cause God knew nothing else had. He really should have stayed in bed this morning. After all, just how often did he feel like calling in sick and remaining under the covers? It's not like he abused the system or anything, so what harm could come from playing hooky just once?
"You getting up or what?" Nikki asked.
"No," Don snapped. "Had enough for today."
"Huh? Don, what?"
Instead of replying, Don merely ignored her, wishing he could do the same for his aches and pains as well. Despite the fact that he was laying down, doing absolutely nothing that could aggravate any of his multitude of injuries, the pain seemed to be getting worse. His stomach roiled as the scent from the garbage he was laying on grew stronger, but it wasn't enough to make him tempt fate by getting to his feet. He'd had enough accidents today to simply give in and admit defeat. It was more than clear to him that he wasn't meant to be going about business as usual.
Whoever said bad things came in threes was full of shit. First, he'd woken up with a headache and feeling like he hadn't slept a wink despite crashing quite early for once. Then, he'd dropped his toothbrush and managed to bang his head against the sink when he'd retrieved it, sending his headache straight into near migraine territory and him with no aspirin. Next, he'd discovered his milk had gone off, but only after he'd poured it into his cereal and started eating it. That had upset his stomach and it still wasn't feeling quite right, cramping painfully and preventing him from drinking his morning cups of coffee. Not to mention that he'd also lost his appetite.
Then, on the way out of the building, one of his neighbor's little kids had slammed the door shut on his left thumb, making him turn blue from all of the swearing he'd needed to bite back. The boy's mother had apologized profusely, but the damage was already done, as evidenced by the colorful and quite painful bruising that had already been surfacing. Perversely, he now wished that it had broken his thumb as then he'd have been forced to go to the hospital instead of sucking it in and heading for the office. Once there, he'd felt a little better and had optimistically thought the worst was over.
If only he'd known, he'd have turned around right then and there and headed straight back home and barricaded himself in for good measure. His first clue should have been the idiot with the out-of-control cart who'd slammed into him, jarring his hip. He was sure he had a spectacular bruise there to match the ones on his thumb and head, though luckily the latter was hidden from view by his hair. Being the stubborn bastard that he was, he'd not taken the warning and continued on to his desk. Not even five minutes later they'd been slammed with a horrible case that had them running here and there until it finally brought them to this garbage strewn alley in which he now lay, finally ready to admit defeat.
"Hey, Liz, I need some help here. I think Don's injured himself," Nikki yelled to her partner.
No shit, Sherlock.
Don knew he should regret the uncharitable thought, but he simply couldn't bring himself to care. He really did feel like crap and was in no mood to humor anyone, not even his own teammates. Why had he gotten up again this morning? He really couldn't remember what it was that had driven him to this insanity. His warm comfy bed sounded like Heaven just now, with or without all of his aches and pains. It would be even better if Robin was with him, but he'd settle for just the bed right now, which was really quite pathetic.
Just what exactly was wrong with him?
"What's wrong? Did he hurt his ankle?" Liz began as she arrived before doing a double take. "You look like shit, Eppes."
Don lifted his arm and glared at her as best he could, but he had the feeling it wasn't one of his most impressive attempts. The familiar words were also very telling. Liz hadn't used them since he'd broken up with her as they'd been a kind of inside joke between the two of them resulting from a certain incident he'd rather no one else ever learned of. Great, he must look about as bad as he felt for her to fall back on that when addressing him. That was all he needed, for his team to be able to see right through him.
Where the hell was the ride operator? He needed to get off right now.
He had a brief flashback to that time his parents had taken him and Charlie to some local fair and he'd been allowed to ride one of those twirling contraptions. Don could only remember the slow realization that he was gonna be sick all too well. He'd tried to warn someone, to get them to stop the ride so he could get off, but it had been to no avail and he'd puked his guts out right then and there instead. He was really starting to feel like that again, the slow certainty settling over him and finally overcoming his lethargy.
With a sudden determined lurch, Don forced himself upright just as he vomited, barely managing to avoid getting it all over himself.
"Don!" Liz exclaimed in surprise and dismay. "Quick, call an ambulance, Nikki!"
Whatever else the two of them said to each other was lost on him as his stomach felt like it was trying to crawl up his esophagus and out of his mouth. This couldn't just be the bad milk he'd consumed this morning, could it? Don didn't think so, but he almost wished it was as that would merely be another side effect of a bad thing that had already happened to him instead of something new. He had the sneaking suspicion this was yet something else.
What had he ever done to deserve this hell?
At some point during the course of his trying to empty himself onto the pavement, someone had approached him and was now helping to support him as he dry-heaved. The arm around his chest was a blessing as his arms were starting to feel achy and weak, his joints on fire. It took a while longer before he finally felt like he could risk sitting up without upsetting his stomach any further.
The familiar perfume told him exactly who was crouched beside him, rubbing his back soothingly. Unthinkingly, he allowed himself to lean into the embrace before his mind caught up with him. He and Liz were no longer dating and she might take offence at the familiar action. Besides, it would be just his luck if Robin learned of this and decided to kick up a fuss. He had the bizarre image of her and Liz going at it, cat-fight style, and he laughed pathetically before moaning as the action caused the pain in his skull to worsen.
"Don? Are you okay?" Liz questioned. "You're really starting to worry me here. What's going on?"
"Sick," Don replied.
"Yes, this I can see. And smell."
Don grunted, managing to twitch his lips slightly, her quick squeeze indicating she'd noticed. A cool hand touched his forehead and he turned into it, suddenly too hot.
"He's burning up!" Liz cursed as Nikki returned. "How far out are they?"
"A few minutes," Nikki replied. "What's going on?"
"I'm not sure, but it seems like he decided to be macho again and work when he should have stayed at home."
"Not macho. Felt fine," Don protested weakly.
"Sure, that's why you're on your ass in the trash," Nikki retorted.
"Telephone duty for you."
"Sorry, Boss, but I think David's in charge right now," Liz stated. "Seeing how you're unable to even drag your sorry ass off the pavement."
"Insubordination," Don responded, eyelids drooping.
"Hey, hey, none of that now, stay with us here," Nikki ordered, tapping his face softly.
Annoyance swelled within him, but Don forced his heavy eyelids open, trying to glare at her. He really was very tired and now that he wasn't actively doing something, it was incredibly difficult to stay awake. If he didn't know for certain he'd slept nine hours straight, he'd never have believed it.
Despite his best efforts, he must have dosed off briefly for the next thing Don knew, the paramedics were there. Instead of moving away, Liz stayed where she was as they started looking him over, the first's questing hands quickly finding the knot on his head.
"Ow!" Don exclaimed, trying to pull his head free.
"What happened here? Did he hit his head as he fell?"
"I don't think so," Nikki frowned.
"No," Don stated. "Morning, head, sink."
"You brained your sink? Why?"
"And this?" the EMT asked, holding up his left hand.
"I see, anything else we should know about?"
"Stomach, hip, back, leg, ankle."
"All today?" the man questioned in disbelief.
"I'll say. Anything else?"
Don glared at the man for a moment before closing his eyes and letting Liz explain the rest. He grunted whenever they asked whether he was still awake, but otherwise refused to cooperate. He just wanted to sleep, why couldn't they leave him alone? He'd admitted defeat, what more did they want from him? It seemed like forever before he was transferred onto a gurney, apparently they were taking him to the hospital. A part of him wanted to protest, but he shoved it aside, not wanting to contemplate what else could happen to him today if he tried to go back to work.
Besides, it looked like he was finally going to be allowed to sleep. Sleep was good, surely he couldn't get into trouble if he slept.
"Okay, so vomiting, listlessness, fatigue and fever," the EMT summarized. "My guess would be swine flu."
"Swine flu!" Nikki exclaimed, horrified.
"It's not as bad as it sounds," the young man hastened to explain. "The vast majority of people who catch it don't experience anything worse than common flu symptoms. It's only those with a compromised immune system who are really at risk of complications."
"So Don should be alright?" Liz inquired.
"Barring any unexpected complications, yes."
"Then why are you taking him in?"
"Just to be sure. Besides, given the fact that he was lying in the garbage, there's a risk of infection to the scrapes on his hands."
So, yeah, this little ficlet was thought up when I realized Rinkle's birthday was in a few days and I wanted to give her something. Which, naturally, meant Don whump.
All I knew for certain when I started it was that I wanted Don to be on his back, ready to admit defeat after a horrible day with lots of little accidents. The rest came as I was writing it. For instance, I hadn't intended to give Don swine flu until partway through the fic.
And, yeah, this is most definitely whump without plot, so sue me.