Gen team fic written for the prompt "messy" at kriadydragon's Gen Comment-a-thon at Sheppard H/C, specifc request appears at end of story.
Author's note : I took a break today from finishing "So Near, So Far" and wrote this little fic instead. SNSF should be up by the end of the week, and I thank everyone who has read that story so far and commented. Reviews are much loved and appreciated, as is your patience.
The city of Atlantis awoke to angry seas and a threatening sky. Dawn made way for a grander light show, as towering black clouds rolled in from the horizon on sets of rumbling thunder and lightning bolts. Teyla placed her breakfast tray on the table, zipped her jacket closed and sat down opposite Ronon and Rodney as heavy rain lashed against the mess hall windows. Ronon briefly looked up from his mountain of food to nod at her, then resumed shoveling scrambled eggs into his mouth. A lap top was open in front of Rodney and his untouched breakfast tray sat to one side.
Although there appeared to be little hope of any meaningful interaction, Teyla attempted to begin a conversation.
"Good morning. A good day to be off world, I believe."
Ronon made a snorting noise and continued the methodical eradication of his food. Rodney stretched a hand out and located his cup of coffee without looking away from the computer screen. Teyla softly sighed, took a sip of orange juice. The noise of the rain grew even louder, and her thoughts turned to the team's previous mission. They had assisted in the evacuation of a flooded village and Ronon had taken a heavy fall in the muddy conditions. He'd been fortunate enough to only have bruises and minor ligament damage to show for the mishap. His crutches were nowhere in sight, so it was probably safe to assume his condition was improving. Although knowing Ronon as she did, it could also mean that he'd flung them over the balcony and into the ocean.
"How is your leg feeling today, Ronon?"
"Yet you still remain on restricted duties?"
Teyla drew a deeper breath. Rodney looked up, glanced around and said, "Hey, it's raining."
A true test of patience, Teyla thought, one she really didn't care to participate in today. She wished instead for company with the capacity for grace and good humor.
"Where is Colonel Sheppard?" she asked.
Rodney shut his lap top and pushed it away. It collided with Teyla's tray. He pulled his breakfast closer and began to eat like he hadn't seen food for several days. Teyla slid her chair and tray sideways to make more room.
Ronon had finished his meal and was wiping his hands down the front of his shirt. "Saw him earlier. Said he was going for a run."
Teyla understood that even in a city the size of Atlantis, John sometimes struggled with feelings of confinement. He was a man who found contentment in open skies. Teyla smiled. An early morning jog would do him well. When she did see John she would invite him to join her in stick fighting practice that afternoon.
Rodney glanced past Teyla's shoulder and said, "Here he is now."
Ronon's eyes narrowed … something seemed to be puzzling him. Teyla turned her head and saw John leaning in the doorway. On closer inspection, it seemed every inch of the man was wet. His black tee shirt clung to his body and his hair was wild and windswept, pointing in many directions at once. Water dripped into his eyes and Teyla watched him bring a clumsy arm up to wipe his face.
Before Teyla could call to him, John spotted their location and slowly walked over. Rodney remarked loudly, "I hear normal people exercise indoors on days like this."
Ronan snarled, "That's as close as you ever come to exercising, McKay. Hearing about it."
Teyla wondered why she would want to seek conversation from these two.
The colonel sat down heavily in the chair beside Teyla, directly opposite Rodney. Ronan's slur had in no way discouraged Rodney's nagging. "You couldn't, I don't know, maybe towel yourself off before coming in here?"
Sheppard blinked. Then blinked again. Teyla put a hand on his arm. "John, are you okay? Has something happened?"
Sheppard turned his head slightly towards her. His face seemed very pale and his lips were a little blue, but he gave a small smile and quietly greeted her.
He didn't say anything else, just continued to stare at Teyla as her sense of unease grew. Why would Sheppard call into the commissary in such a state, unless there was something that needed his urgent attention here?
Ronon's voice rumbled, "What's going on, Sheppard?"
John looked across the table at Rodney. Rodney stared back for a second or two, before pointing at Ronan. "He talked, I didn't."
Sheppard's eyes slowly moved to settle on Ronon, and his expression changed to one of intense concentration, as though he was searching for an answer.
Or perhaps trying to recall the question.
Rodney groused, "Surely breakfast could have waited until after you showered?"
Sheppard looked back at Rodney and mumbled, "Yeah, I guess." He started to get up, only to lose his balance. He almost fell sideways before landing back in his seat.
"What is wrong with you today?" Rodney glared at John.
The colonel didn't return any one of the many playful insults he usually reserved for this type of exchange, and Rodney's brow furrowed in response. Teyla watched him lean forward, until he was only a matter of inches from John's face.
Rodney squinted. "Your left eye looks weird." He said to Teyla, "Does his eye look weird to you? It looks weird to me. Tell me if it looks weird to you."
"Please be quiet, Rodney." Teyla gently took hold of John's chin and turned his face towards her. Rodney was correct. John's left pupil was larger than the right and his skin felt clammy. "Rodney, please call Doctor Beckett at once."
Rodney tapped his earpiece. "Carson. We need you in the mess hall. Something's wrong with Sheppard, one of his eyes looks weird." He paused for a few seconds, "Yes, that. Unequal." Then he said abruptly, "How the hell am I supposed to know? Just get your ass down here!"
John winced at the loud volume of Rodney's voice. He pulled his head away from Teyla's grasp. "I'm going to my quarters." He attempted to stand again, this time with a little more success. He made it to his feet, but had to lean heavily on the table with both hands. He closed his eyes and said, "Oh wow. Head spins."
Ronon put a steadying hand on Sheppard's right forearm. "You're not going anywhere, buddy. Sit down and stay still."
Sheppard did as he was told. He sat, but immediately began to list sideways. Ronon tightened his grip, and Teyla added her support. "Perhaps it would be better if John were to lie down until Carson arrives. Rodney, could you help me assist the colonel to the floor, please?"
Pushing his chair back from the table, Rodney stared at Sheppard in a mild state of panic. "Please tell me you didn't contract alien meningitis from that muddy hell hole we were just in."
"I didn't catch … what?' John was beginning to look quite distressed. His breathing was speeding up and he was sweating. "I feel…" His eyes rolled up in his head and Teyla found herself suddenly propping up the colonel's entire weight.
Within seconds both Rodney and Ronon were there to help lower Sheppard carefully to the floor. Teyla sat down close to John and eased his head onto her thigh. When she moved her hands away they were bloody.
Ronon was sitting down on the chair that John had just vacated, his bad leg stretched out in front. He leaned forward and said, "He hit his head?"
Rodney let out a relieved, "Yes!" He had the good grace to look a little ashamed when Teyla glared at him. "I'm sorry, okay? But we've just avoided a lockdown against unknown contagions. Although if we had to be caught up in quarantine, I guess the mess hall would be the best place for it."
Teyla glared harder. "John may have injured himself in a fall, or he may have blacked out from an illness and then hit his head. What happens to us at this moment is of little importance."
Rodney knelt down beside Sheppard, took his jacket off and laid it over John's chest. "You may not have noticed before, but I tend to ramble a little when I'm worried." He slapped the radio in his ear again. "Where the hell are you, Beckett? He fainted. I don't know, about a minute ago. He has a head injury. What? Okay." Rodney didn't look any less stressed. "Carson says he'll be here in under two minutes. He said to keep Sheppard warm and elevate his legs."
Rodney moved around to sit at Sheppard's feet and pulled them up into his lap. People were beginning to gather, most of them from the science department. "Don't you idiots have work to stupidly stare at instead?"
The small gathering quickly dispersed.
Teyla laid one hand on Sheppard's chest. His breathing seemed shallow, but regular. She slipped the other hand underneath his head again to gently probe. There was significant swelling near the base of his skull and the area felt spongy.
Sheppard woke at her touch and groaned.
"Stop doin' that," he mumbled.
"Be still, John. Help will be here very soon. Can you tell me how you came to hit your head?"
Sheppard groaned again, "I hit my head?"
Teyla saw Rodney roll his eyes, and behind him, the welcome sight of Carson running through the doorway. A medic pulling a stretcher was close behind. The doctor was soon kneeling where Rodney have been only a minute before. He glanced at Teyla and Rodney and said, "I'll ask you both to move away now and allow us to work."
"Forgive me for not looking relieved," Rodney grumbled as he climbed to his feet.
Teyla folded Rodney's jacket and placed it underneath John's head, then backed away to stand beside Rodney and Ronon. She listened as Beckett asked John, "What have you done to yourself, lad?"
"I hit my head."
"Oh please." Rodney said loudly. "He only knows that because we told him thirty seconds ago."
Beckett and the medic proceeded to check the wound on Sheppard's head, asked about his pain, examined his pupils and took his vitals, before the doctor announced that Sheppard's blood pressure was a little low for his liking.
"We'll get you down to the infirmary, dry you off and put you under the scanner, see what the exact problem is, John. You'll be feeling better in no time."
One hour later ...
Sheppard was lying flat on his back in a hospital bed, a very skinny pillow under his very sore head, and he'd had pain medication injected into his IV port not long ago. He decided he was feeling a lot better, at least his head wasn't playing the drum solo from that Phil Collins song anymore. It had scaled down to more of a Zeppelin number now. He still couldn't remember the exact circumstances that had landed him here though.
Falling down on the East Pier while he was running seemed to be ringing a bell. Or more to the point, had rung his bell.
Beckett said not to stress about the temporary memory loss, and John had suffered enough concussions in his time to know that the confusion would lift, but the headache and nausea would hang around to make his life miserable for a day or two. Longer, if he was unlucky.
And that was all the thinking he wanted to do for now. He yawned. He was very sleepy.
When he opened his eyes the next time, Teyla was standing beside his bed. She placed her hand softly on his shoulder. "I do not want to disturb you John. I simply came to wish you well, and reassure myself that you are beginning to feel better."
"Thanks Teyla, I'm good."
"Ronon asked that I pass on his good wishes as well. He will be here later, but for now he is following Doctor Beckett's instructions and is resting his leg. Rodney would be here too, except … he had a fall."
Sheppard went to sit up, and the room spun. He carefully put his head back on the pillow.
"He slipped on a wet floor in his lab and wrenched his back. He is resting in his room. Carson declined to accommodate him in the infirmary, as he believed his presence may interfere with your recovery."
Sheppard smiled. "His complaining can get a little loud at times."
Teyla nodded and smiled back at him, "I have noticed."
"So, first Ronon falls, then me, then Rodney. They say three's a charm, but you better take it easy for a while. Stay away from heights and all that."
Teyla laughed, covered his hand with hers and lightly squeezed. "I will John. Now rest and recover." John closed his eyes as she walked away, and smiled when he heard her softly say, "I will call on you again tomorrow."
Diane requested : Sheppard, appearing at the entrance to the mess hall completely wet from head to toe, messy hair (of course), confused, and with, at closer inspection, a head wound. Everyone and everything in the mess stops in bewilderment or shock. His team is the first to reach him. Fill in the before and after (comfort, please).
My story didn't fill this exactly, 'cos Sheppard will aways do what he wants to do :)