Title: Doctors Do Get Sick
Author: tarotgal
Fandom: Firefly
Rating: G
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. I am only playing with them/torturing them.
Notes: Written for Written for RUNNING HOT: A Multi-Fandom Fever Fic Comment fic meme

Prompt: Firefly, gen or Simon/Kaylee

The crew has been passing around a bug for weeks, and Simon can only avoid it for so long. He tries to ignore it and ends up even sicker than the others did, spiking a high fever, etc. Kaylee (and possibly others) take care of him.



Doctors Do Get Sick


Simon sits in the Med Bay, elbows resting on a bed. He has an apple he’s enjoying eating in one hand and a book he’s busy reading in the other. He doesn’t even look up when he hears the door open. But a little whimper catches his ear and he peers over the book to see Kaylee. She’s leaning against the doorway, looking exhausted and ragged. “Didn’t mean to bother…” she murmurs, putting her hand to her head. “But I ain’t feelin’ so good.” He abandons both the apple and the book at once.


He reaches her just as she loses her footing, half fainting, half falling into his arms. He carries her over to the bed and lays her out. She’s running a fever and her cheeks are flushed red, but so’s her nose and he can hear the catch of phlegm in her throat when she breathes. He presses a cool compress to her forehead and sweeps her hair from her face. “I’ll get you so you’re feeling better. That’s a promise, Kaylee.”


*             *             *             *             *


Simon can hear the sneeze all the way across the cargo bay. Even though the place is packed to capacity with crates, Simon finds Mal in about a second, thanks to the man’s constant sniffling. “You’re sick, Mal. You need to go to bed.”


Mal pushes a small crate into place on top of another one and steps back. He drags his wrist across his forehead. “I can’t stop now, Doc. Got loads to do. So quit botherin’ me, dong ma?” He gestures to the stacks of crates. “Gotta get all these moved before we get to Um…brulla.” His eyes flutter shut and he gasps. Then he pitches forward, sneezing freely. “Huh-Sheeeeeeeh!”


Simon winces. He can practically see the spray of germs in the air. “Well, then you’re just going to have to get someone else to do that. You do have people working for you. Get one of them to do it.”


Mal looks at Simon as if he’d just made the most brilliant statement ever. “Yeah… I could do that…”


Simon nods. “You’re relieved of duty, Captain.” He takes Mal’s arm and guides him through the cargo bay.


*             *             *             *             *


“But she’s calling for me!” Wash is like a loyal puppy, scratching at the screen door to come in while you’re eating dinner. He stands outside the door to the bunk he shares with Zoe, flexing and dragging his fingers against the door. “Can’t I just go give her a quick hug?”


“No,” Simon says sternly. It pains him to put Wash through any pain, and he feels sorry for the man. “This virus is pretty contagious and Mal said he really needed you well so you could fly with a clear head.


“Clear head?” He holds his lower lip between his teeth. “But I’m worried about her.”


“I know.” Simon pats Wash on the back. “But I’ll look after her. Don’t worry.”


*             *             *             *             *


Wash groans as just moving hurts his fever-ridden body. With Simon’s assistance, he gets into bed and curls against his wife’s body. She puts her arm around him and draws him close. It’s the most voluntary action Simon’s seen her make in a day and he wonders if that spike in her fever was as bad as it was going to get for her.


He hopes so, even though it’s starting all over from the beginning with Wash. He coughs into her shoulder and closes his eyes. The fact that the crates never got moved doesn’t matter now that they’re stuck on autopilot for a while.


*             *             *             *             *


Simon enters and immediately comes face-to-face with a gun. The barrel presses against his nose, though the whole weapon is shaking, as are the hand and arm holding it up. Jayne is drenched in sweat, panting in panic. He doesn’t even seem to recognize Simon at first; maybe that’s for the best.


Moving slowly and with purpose, Simon moves aside. He puts a gentle hand on Jayne’s shoulder and guides him into relaxing enough to lower the weapon. “I brought another glass of water and a pill,” Simon says, showing both to him as evidence.


Jayne stares blankly at him, unable to make sense of him for a moment. Then he drops his mouth open and closes his eyes, expecting Simon to feed him the pill.


Rolling his eyes, Simon actually does it, content in the knowledge that Jayne will be mortified when he finds out he let Simon tend to him like he’s some baby bird.


*             *             *             *             *


The shepherd twists and turns, moving restlessly, fitfully, despite the drugs Simon gave him an hour ago. Tired and having not left the man’s side for going on three hours now, Simon wrings the washcloth out in the basin of cold water and gently touches it to the dark skin again, trying to cool the man down using whatever methods he has left at his disposal.


Hours ago, Book had been rambling about scriptures, not at all right in the head. But since then his fever’s dropped a few degrees, sliding away from the dangerous side of the scale. Book’s still out of it and somewhat delirious.


Simon wipes the cold compress over Book’s chest, noticing not for the first time the large, diagonal scar. It’s not uncommon for him to patch up Serenity’s crew—a stab wound from a bar fight here, a gun blast from a battle there. But Simon wonders how a man of God gets such an injury.


*             *             *             *             *


Simon collapses face-down in his bed fully-clothed and dead on his feet. He barely has time to close his eyes before the com beeps at him. He’s inclined to ignore it; the damn thing is probably malfunctioning anyway because it says he’s been there for twenty minutes and he’s sure it’s only been about five seconds. It beeps again. “Aiya!” He groans as he lunges over to answer it.


Inara’s face fills the screen, her cheeks flushed, a tissue pressed to her nose. “Dr. Tam? Simon? I think I need you after all.”


Simon had thought that confining Inara to her shuttle when this whole mess with the virus started would be enough. It had been days since the initial outbreak and she’d seemed fine, albeit bored.


“Running out of provisions?” he asks, hoping. He can barely keep his eyes open, but he listens closely.


There isn’t an immediately answer. There’s a pause. And then he hears her start to sneeze before her finger slips from the communication button. He sighs, rubbing thumb and forefinger at the bridge of his nose, squeezing his eyes tightly shut. “I’ll be right over.”  


*             *             *             *             *


Simon’s head is pounding as he leads River down the hallway for what seems like the hundredth time. “You have to let your body rest or you won’t get any better.” He wrestles his struggling sister into her bed and tries to tuck her in. But she’s restless and she kicks and pulls at the sheets and blankets. He realizes he doesn’t have the energy to compete with her on any level. “River…”


“Don’t want to sleep in my bed,” she protests. Some people get needy and babyish when they’re sick. Others get quiet and reclusive. River just gets stubborn. “Can I sleep in yours?”


Simon had been wanting to sleep in his, but at this point he doesn’t even care. He’s pretty sure he could sleep huddled in the corner of the ship during a Reaver attack, though he’ll opt for a bed in the Med Bay. Nice, clean, white sheets. Soft, warm blanket. Firm pillow. His head throbs so much he feels he might get ill, but he guides River across the hall to his room and sees her to bed. “Now, please, get some rest.” He’s pleading now, but it does the trick. River closes her eyes and snuggles into his pillow, hugging it to her chest.


*             *             *             *             *


Simon rubs at the bridge of his nose. The congestion is overwhelming and makes his head hurt every time he uses his eyes. He knows the ship well, but not *that* well, so he’s forced to endure the discomfort as he makes his rounds with his eyes open.


At least when he makes tea and snacks for everyone he gets to sit still for a few minutes. “Simon?”


His eyes snap open and he looks over to see Kaylee leaning against the doorway to the galley. “Kaylee?” He stands up and pressed a hand to the back of his head as the pain threatens to overtake him. “Are you all right? I’m making tea and sandwiches for everyone. I’ll bring it ‘round in a bit. Jayne gets his first because otherwise he’ll kill me. Then I’ll be over to see you.” The tea kettle whistles and he hurries over to it.


“Actually, I’m feeling much better. Musta kicked the worst of it. So I don’t need any tea, but I hope you’re making yourself a cup.”


“Hmm?” He doesn’t quite understand, but he counts and double-counts the cups and mugs, making sure he has enough out.


“You look ill, Simon. You should be in bed.”


He shakes his head. “No time.”


“Doctors are allowed to get sick.”


He nods. “Dahng ran.” He stifles a yawn into his shoulder. “But even when we’re sick, we still have to look after our patients.” He coughs and goes to press his palm to his head, surprised to find her hand there instead.


“Simon… I think you’ve got a fever.”


Their eyes meet for longer than they ever have before. Then he pulls away and picks up the kettle. “I’ve got…” He trails off, wondering why she has turned the lights out in the dining area. That seems like a silly thing for her to do, especially as she knows he’s trying to make something here. “Ta ma de,” he begins to swear. Then he hears a crash, feels a sting, and pain shoots through his head so blindingly strong he can’t think any more.


The next thing he knows, he’s in his bed, looking up at the ceiling. He tries to breathe and it ends up in a series of coughs that grab at his chest and throat and makes him hack and choke. He needs to sit up. He tries to sit up. He’s too weak to sit up. He cries in frustration.


“Sounds like you’re awake.” Simon suddenly wonders if Kaylee will ever make any other entrance than standing in the doorway to whatever room he’s in. But he’s glad to see her. He tries to mime what he needs, tries to talk, but he coughs again and then, even worse, sneezes freely. He goes to scrub his runny nose on his sleeve but realizes he doesn’t have a sleeve. He does, however, have a bandage wrapped around his hand. He stares at his otherwise bare arm in horror and coughs again.


“Here, let me help you sit up.” Kaylee slips her hand and arm under his back and pushes. He bounces forward and back and comes to a rest in a sort of upright slouch. He coughs again, productively, and finds a handkerchief in front of him. He barely has the energy to take it, so she holds it as he snuffles and coughs into it, her hand on the back of his head, stroking. “Fang xin hao le.” Her reassurance is good to hear, and he wishes he could believe it, but he’s got patients to see and he feels so awful he’s not sure how he’ll be able to see them.


“Whad habbeded?” He coughs again.


“You passed out and spilled the boiling water on your hand. You hit your head on the counter but I… cushioned your fall to the floor.” He unwraps the bandages from his hand to inspect the wound. It looks good, actually, and it doesn’t hurt when he moves it.


Kaylee continues, “Wash is flying again and the others sorted the cargo out. Everyone’s all better,” Kaylee tells him.


“Everyone?” That seems impossible.


She nods. “Well, you’ve kinda been asleep for two days.”




“This bug’s bad but don’t last all that long. Inara’s still sleeping a lot and Book’s sorta got the sniffles still. But even River’s up and about and feelin’ fine. Which just leaves you.”


He coughs and snuffles into the handkerchief, which he’s taken control of now. “I should go check on—”


“Oh no you don’t!” She sits down on the bed and places her hand on his forehead again. “You’re not goin’ anywhere until you get better.”


He looks back at her with some part gratitude and some part frustration. “Kaylee,” he sighs. “That’s real sweet of you, and I appreciate it, but you can’t keep me h—” He breaks off, hearing the sound of a weapon being cocked. Jayne saunters past the doorway, grinning at him. Simon lets out a sigh, knowing when he’s been beaten. “All right. I’ll stay put for a little while.”


 “Good.” She piles some blankets and pillows behind him, propping him up. “Zoe’s workin’ on your dinner, Mal found you this whole pile of extra pillows, and I’ve got a nice cool pack here with your name on it for your forehead.” She smiles and picks up the book on his nightstand. “Anything else to say or should I start reading where your bookmark is placed, Doctor Tam?”


He shakes his head, which is pounding but feeling better with the coldness against it. “I’m in your hands, Acting Doctor… um…”


She blushes, and though he’s used to seeing her cheeks flushed with fever, it’s nice to see them flushed for another reason. “Frye,” she answers.


He nods and lets her put a cold pack on his forehead. Then he closes his eyes and listens to her read.