"I thought you were going to sleep," John croaked.
"We decided to come back," Ford announced, bright and chipper.
"I can see that," John's voice cracked painfully. Teyla took pity on him and presented a cup of water. He gratefully accepted it and sipped on it, feeling the cool liquid soothe his aching throat. "I appreciate the gesture, but I'm fine."
Teyla smiled at him, but her eyes were resting on the large bandage covering his throat. "I am finding it difficult to sleep."
"The beds are too soft," Ford snorted, earning a raised brow from Teyla.
"I find my bed most comfortable, Lieutenant."
Either Teyla did not appreciate the levity, or did not understand that Ford wasn't serious. John decided they needed to work on Ford's sarcastic voice. They could probably get help from--his eyes slid over to the silent member of their team. "What about you, McKay?"
"Huh?" He looked up from his laptop. "When did you wake up?"
"An hour ago."
McKay frowned slightly, then it hit him, and his face puckered up into a scowl. "Not even going to deign that with a comment."
"But you just did."
That earned John another fierce glare, but McKay mimed zipping his lips and turned back to his laptop. Warm and fuzzy bedside vigils were apparently not his strong point. Hell, mornings weren't his strong point. John learned that the hard way on lightswitch duty. He grimaced at the thought, realizing he had some unfinished business.
Sheppard jerked his head towards McKay and gave both Teyla and Ford a long look. They seemed to understand and quickly announced a midnight run to the commissary.
McKay set his laptop aside. "Wait, let me just save--"
"We've got it," Ford quickly assured.
"But I want--"
"Blue jello, yes," Teyla added.
He narrowed his eyes, suspicions aroused. Before he could voice them, Teyla and Ford exchanged a look and made a quick retreat. His mouth dropped open and he quickly thrust his laptop to the side and struggled to move around the mess of blankets he had somehow gotten tangled up during this ridiculous Ford-inspired team bonding session at Sheppard's bedside.
"Get back here you cowards!"
"Hey," John croaked again, and he winced before taking another long sip from his glass.
"Cork it, Kermit." McKay gingerly pulled himself free of the infirmary blanket and stood, straightening his jacket. "You sound like a disgruntled bull frog."
John's brow furrowed, trying to figure that one out. "Uh, sure."
The scientist gave an annoyed huff and turned back to his laptop.
"Listen," John tried again, thankfully less hoarse this time around, "I wanted to talk to you."
"About what? My spectacular lack of grace under pressure? We're all still here aren't we?"
Sheppard blinked, blindsided by the combination of self-deprecation and arrogance. "Um, no."
McKay's hunched shoulders relaxed ever-so-slightly at that. "Oh."
"I need to ask you for a favor."
"Favor?" McKay's mouth thinned into a straight line, but his eyes had widened slightly, whether due to surprise or something else, John wasn't sure.
"Yeah." John decided to ignore pretend like he hadn't noticed the startled response. Hopefully that was the right tactic. "Well, you're not going to like it."
"Oh, good! For a second there I thought you were going to ask me to do something I actually wanted."
"Almost died here."
"Fine." McKay crossed his arms and stared at some point past John. "What sort of awkward and embarrassing thing do you need me to do for you? I only assume this because you sent Teyla and Ford on a munchie run."
"I need you to take my shift tomorrow."
McKay stared at him. "Why on Earth would you need me to take over the military--wait... no!"
"C'mon, McKay." John tried to give the scientist his best impression of a kicked puppy.
"Did you forget that I just saved us all from suffocation and a slow, agonizing, crushing death?"
John fixed him with a stare. "Yes, let's also forget that I had a giant bug attached to my neck that was forced off by stopping my heart."
McKay grimaced. "Right."
"It's just until Beckett releases me, I promise."
"I hate you," McKay muttered as he kicked some invisible spot on the floor. "I don't see why I have to."
"Because," John said plainly, "you were the only one Beckett gave the retrovirus to before Jinto got a hold of it."
McKay's face scrunched up in a pained expression as he vividly remembered the incident in question, and the chaos that had ensued when the boy had used his new ATA abilities to unwittingly release the energy beast on Atlantis.
"There's no one else," John continued, not wanting to relive that particular piece of history at the moment. "We were already short handed in the mornings even with Jinto helping out. Now that I'm out of action..."
"Why haven't you asked before now?"
"There were some... anonymous requests to leave you out of the waking party."
"What?" McKay's jaw dropped. "Why?"
There was suddenly a convenient spot at the ceiling to look at. "Well..."
"If they want it that way, then fine!" The scientist spat, uncrossed his arms, and then crossed them again. Since John was staring at the ceiling, he missed the momentary look of hurt flash over Rodney's face before it was covered with an indignant sneer. "I accept!"
"Are you sure?" Sheppard wasn't so sure he liked the sudden change in attitude.
A wicked smile crept across McKay's face, and the pilot found himself scooting further back into his pillows.
The sound of someone clearing their throat roused John from his light slumber. He cracked open an eye to see a giant lobster glaring at him. He blinked, rubbed his eyes, and then opened them again. The Czech scientist from his morning route, John thought his name might be Zelenka, stood at the foot of his bed, every patch of visible skin bright red.
"What's up, uh, doc?"
"You!" Zelenka sputtered. "How could you?"
"This is the thanks I get for helping save you and your team?"
"What did I ever do to you, Major?"
"You gave Dr. McKay your route!"
"What's wrong with that?" John frowned.
Zelenka muttered something under his breath in Czech, which John was fairly sure wasn't complimentary. Finally when Zelenka got himself under control he pointed to his bright red skin. "He is not nice man!"
"I did not finish shower in under two minutes. He decides to help out by turning water to scalding."
"Oh," John grimaced. "Sorry."
"Oh yes," the look Sheppard received was anything but kind, "we are all sorry."
A nurse chose that moment to come by, apparently to find her errant patient. As he was escorted back to another section of the infirmary, Zelenka shot John a venomous look.
"Get well soon, Major."
And for some reason, that sounded like a threat.
"Your five minutes are up!"
The skittish Finnish scientist flew from the Atlantean bathroom at the warning with a startled cry. He had learned his lesson the hard way about not taking McKay seriously the day before. Who knew someone could make the Ancient toilets backfire with the press of a few buttons. The Fin made his second mistake that morning by daring to look the irate Candian in the eye.
"What are you looking at? If you have time to stare, you have time to be in your lab ten minutes ago!"
"Sorry, sorry!" The Fin squeaked and rushed out of his quarters.
As Rodney watched the retreating form, he looked down the rest of his assigned block with a self-satisfied smile. By the time Sheppard was out of the infirmary, no one would ever want to even think about asking him to take lightswitch duty ever again.
He made his way to Kavanagh's quarters, rubbing his hands together in demented glee.
Until then, though, there was no reason he couldn't enjoy himself a little.
Thankfully, I don't think you people can inspire anything for "Suspicion". Hah!