A/N: I haven't tried writing RGB before, but this one popped into my head while I was stuck in bed sick :P
And no, I don't own anything, so please don't sue me!
"Egon, has Janine gotten in yet?" Peter yelled as the phone started to ring. As he took the call, he thought She is sooo in for it this time! Not that he would ever seriously consider firing her; if he did, he wouldn't get the fun of giving her hell every time she was late.
"She's not here?" The blond physicist asked as he came down the stairs looking concerned. "She wasn't feeling well yesterday, but she said she would be in. Are you sure she hasn't arrived yet?"
"Yeah, and now we've got a call," Peter answered. "Good thing it's nothing too tough because one of us is going to need to stay here to hold down the fort."
"I'll stay," Egon said quickly. Ray and Winston exchanged a grin, not surprised at all. If there was even a hint that Janine was in trouble, Egon was usually the first one to rush to her aid. "I…uh, have some work to do in the lab anyway."
"Fine, whatever. Just let Janine know she's in big trouble this time!" Peter smirked, trying to hide that he was getting a little worried. It wasn't like Janine to be this late without calling, and the weather had started off with a cold rain that was now turning to sleet as the temperature dropped. What if she…no, don't even think like that! Probably she just overslept or something, right? As Ecto-1 pulled out into the street, Peter knew he wasn't going to feel better until he knew for sure that Janine was okay.
Janine Melnitz was having one of the worst days of her life. She hated cold and rainy days, and this one had gone from bad to worse when her car finally died about six blocks from the firehouse—and she had forgotten her umbrella. After the tow truck arrived to take her car to the repair shop, she decided to just walk the rest of the way in. It wasn't a long way, but before she got very far, the rain turned to sleet. She began to walk more quickly, trying to get to the firehouse before the weather got worse, but slick sidewalks and heels were never a good combination. Everything happened so fast she didn't have time to register that she had fallen before she hit the cold wet pavement. Swearing impressively, she tried to get to her feet, but a sudden burst of pain from her right ankle caused her to sink back down for a moment. Great, Melnitz, now you've really got yourself in a mess. Her ankle felt like it was on fire and the last thing she wanted to do was to walk on it, but she couldn't stay out in this weather. She was already soaking wet and miserably cold, but the firehouse was less than a block away now. If she could just get there, she could borrow some dry clothes and figure out what to do from there.
After what seemed like a year, Janine made it to her desk. She was worn out and desperately wanted to collapse into her chair, but she knew she couldn't sit around in wet clothes on a day like this. Since the guys were obviously out on a call, she decided to get a hot shower too—at least it would warm her up. Trying to ignore the how weak she felt, Janine started to limp painfully toward the stairs. She didn't make it. Swaying as a sudden wave of vertigo hit her, she was unconscious before she hit the floor.
"EEEGGGOOONNN!" Slimer's panicked cry made the physicist jump about a mile and he turned in time to see the spud flying into the lab, eyes wide with fear.
"What's wrong, Slimer?" He fought to remain calm, but the little ghost was so frightened that he knew something was very wrong. Slimer babbled incoherently for a few seconds, then gave up and pulled vigorously at his arm. Egon followed, unable to understand anything Slimer had tried to tell him. As they reached the ground floor, he was horrified to see Janine's crumpled form on the floor. He ran to her side, gently touching her shoulder and sighed with relief when she stirred at his touch.
"E-egon?" She blinked up at him, trying to piece together why she was on the floor—not to mention why he looked so scared. Then she shivered violently, making pain shoot through her injured ankle and bringing her to full awareness.
"What happened?" Egon asked, helping her sit up and permitting her to lean against him. With some alarm he realized that her clothes were wet and icy cold. He wrapped his arms tightly around her as she shivered again.
"My car broke down and I tried to walk the last few blocks in," she answered, trying to cuddle even closer into his warm body. "Could I…um…borrow some clothes from one of you? I'm really cold here."
Egon carefully lifted her into his arms, holding her close to try and warm her. As he carried her up the stairs he was concerned to note that she was flushed and her skin was hot as she pressed her face against his neck. Not a good sign. Even though he knew getting chilled didn't cause illness, for someone who was already unwell it could make an illness much worse. "Maybe you should have stayed home today and rested."
"I'm okay, Egon. I just need to get into some dry clothes." Janine tried to ease his concern, but at that moment another chill racked her small frame. As her ankle throbbed in response, she added, "And an ice pack—I twisted my ankle trying to run when it started getting bad out there."
"First we have to get you dry and warm," Egon told her gently. "Then I'm calling Dr. Matheson to see if he can come by to take a look at you."
"It's not that bad," Janine protested weakly. "I'll be okay."
"Janine, you're thoroughly drenched and I suspect you're running a fever—not to mention the fact that you fainted downstairs. I believe a visit from Dr. Matheson is warranted." By now they had reached the spiral staircase leading to the bunkroom and Egon realized there was no way to carry her up the narrow steps.
"I can make it," Janine assured him softly, seeing the question in his eyes. Egon set her gently on her feet, keeping his arm around her waist to support her. Not for the first time, she was thankful for his strength as he half-carried her up to the bunkroom. With a sigh of relief, she sank down onto his bed while he brought her a towel and some dry clothes.
"I'll be right downstairs while you get changed." Egon gently brushed a stray lock of damp hair out of her eyes. "Will you be all right for a few minutes?"
"I can manage. And Slimer can stay with me in case something happens, right, Spud?" Janine tried to keep her voice light to ease their worry, but she felt absolutely awful now. More than anything she wanted to just put on dry clothes and curl up in blankets until this misery passed.
"Slimer stay with Janine," the little ghost answered, glad for something to do. He didn't know what had happened, but he did know that something was very wrong. As Egon went back down the stairs, Slimer modestly turned away to allow Janine some privacy.
"I'll be okay, Slimer, I promise," Janine tried to reassure the little spud as she hurriedly stripped off her soaked clothes and toweled off. Egon's clothes were much too large, but they were nice and warm. As she dressed, Janine could hear him pulling out the sleeper couch downstairs for her.
"Janine sick?" Slimer asked worriedly as she wrapped herself in a blanket and curled up on her side.
"A little." She tried to smile and shivered again. "I'll be fine once I get warm. You did good, Slimer. Real good."
By the time Egon returned to the bunkroom Janine had fallen into an uncomfortable doze and his heart sank as he realized that she was much sicker than he had guessed. He wished he didn't have to move her, but he knew they could make her much more comfortable in the TV room than they could in the bunkroom. He sat on the bed and gently stroked her hair.
"Hey," he said softly when she looked up. "Dr. Matheson is on his way. Do you think you can make it downstairs?"
"Oh, Egon, you didn't have to do that," Janine protested weakly, trying to sit up but not entirely succeeding. "I'll be all right if I can just get a little rest."
"I find that unlikely," Egon answered, gathering her against him in a warm hug. "Your condition seems to be getting worse instead of better."
Janine blinked back tears at the gentleness in his voice. She didn't want him to know how bad she really felt—it would only make him worry more. "I don't think…"
"Humor me?" Egon asked softly, tilting her chin up so he could look into her eyes. He knew her well enough to know that she hated to appear weak to any of them. "Janine, I'm worried about you."
"Really, I'm—"Janine broke off as a coughing fit overtook her. Not knowing what else to do, Egon rubbed her back gently until the spasms subsided. She could feel his worried gaze on her and said softly, "I'm okay now."
"I think you'd say that if a truck ran over you," Egon answered, tracing a fingertip down her cheek, noting again that her skin was overly warm. "Come on. Let's get you downstairs so you can rest."
"Hey, that's Dr. Matheson's car!" Ray exclaimed as Ecto-1 neared the firehouse.
"Uh-oh, what was Egon playing with in the lab this time?" Winston said with a grin. It had been a while since the physicist managed to actually blow something up—always unintentionally of course.
"No idea," Peter said. "What I do know is that Janine still isn't here—or at least her car isn't."
"Maybe she took the subway," Ray shrugged, giving Peter a teasing grin. "Say, you're not worried about her, are you?"
"Hell no! I just want to know how much to dock her pay," Peter grinned. The grin abruptly vanished when they pulled into the garage and saw Dr. Matheson talking to a very concerned Egon.
As the trio approached, they heard the doctor say, "You did the right thing, Egon. She's very ill, but I'd rather not chance moving her to a hospital—not in this weather. And I think she's in very good hands here."
Peter felt as if an icy hand gripped his heart at those words and he quickly asked, "Spengs, what happened?"
"PEEETEERR!" Slimer swooped down and threw his arms around Peter's neck. "Peter, Janine sick!"
"Take it easy, Spud." Peter tried to calm the ghost. "Let us talk to the doctor so we know what's going on, ok?"
"Doctor, what's wrong with Janine?" Winston asked, although he wasn't sure he wanted to hear the answer. For Egon to look so worried, he knew it had to be pretty serious.
"Severe bronchitis bordering on pneumonia," Matheson answered. "She'll need to be on strict bed rest for at least a week, and after that another week of very light duty."
Ray turned pale at the doctor's words, but managed to ask, "How can she have gotten so sick this fast? We would have noticed something before now!"
"She deliberately kept it from us, Raymond." Egon's voice was heavy with regret. "We've been so busy this week with calls that she was able to hide that she wasn't well."
"THAT'S why Janine kept shooing us upstairs after we came back from those busts!" Winston realized.
"Worry about that later," Peter interrupted quickly. "Believe me; I plan on having a few words with Janine about not telling us that she was sick, but right now the only thing that matters is getting her better."
"Peter's right," Matheson agreed. "Now, I do have some instructions for all of you…"