Summary: I wanted to write a short, fun piece for Deirdre to read as she recovers from her gall-bladder surgery. I wanted it to include a sick Martin, but thought it should be humorous, so this is what I came up with. Feel better soon, Deirdre!
Characters: Martin and Danny, with a splash of Sam and a tiny bit of Jack thrown in.
Disclaimer: Don't own them. Not making money off of them.
Author's Note: I did not use a beta reader on this story, so please excuse the errors. Quick thanks to Nancy, who's archiving my stories.
"He looks like hell," Sam murmured.
Special Agents Samantha Spade and Danny Taylor sat at the small table in the middle of their team's work area, watching their fellow agent approach. Martin Fitzgerald seemed as though he could barely put one foot in front of the other. Danny catalogued his friend's condition. His normally bright blue eyes were mere slits, with dark circles underneath. His nose, nearly Rudolph red. His cheeks, flushed. His forehead, shining from a fine layer of perspiration.
Danny leaned toward Sam. "Think he'll last the whole day?"
"Well," she mused, "if Fitzgerald pride is the determining factor, then I'd say there's a good chance he's here until at least 3 o'clock."
Martin was notorious for coming to the office when the average person would be at home, huddled in bed in abject misery.
"Hey guys," Martin said, voice raspier than usual and almost a full octave lower. He took a seat at the table and ran a finger under his collar to loosen it, then abruptly jerked his hand to cover his mouth as he stifled a coughing fit.
Danny quickly leaned back in his chair. "Keep those germs on your side of the table, Fitzgerald."
Martin threw his partner a dirty look and turned his attention to the white board, reviewing the timeline on it. So far, the team had had little success locating their missing person, Ivan Collins, a twenty-something stock-market whiz who kept to himself and apparently had made little impression on anyone, in either his personal or professional lives.
"Nothing new, huh?" Martin asked, retrieving a white handkerchief from his suit pocket and swiping it over his face.
As he replaced the handkerchief, Sam frowned and shook her head, her long blonde ponytail bouncing. "Nothing yet. Martin, why are you here?"
"We can handle this one without you," Sam said, eyeing Martin's forehead, which had already beaded up again with sweat.
"We're already short-handed, and the case is at a standstill. You guys really want to work this thing with just the two of you and Jack?"
Danny and Sam exchanged uneasy glances as they considered Martin's logic. It was Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and both Vivian Johnson and Elena Delgado were enjoying some quality time with their families. Several other co-workers were also taking vacation days. They really could use Fitzgerald's help.
"Look," Martin said firmly. "I'm fine, really." He sneezed twice into his handkerchief.
Danny smirked. "Yeah, you sound great." He sighed. "I guess we're stuck with your germs. For now."
Martin smiled slightly and then coughed harshly, expelling some congestion into his handkerchief. Sam's mouth curled down in disgust and Danny grimaced.
"Just keep that crap away from us," Danny said.
Martin rolled his eyes. "Whatever." He moved his handkerchief to catch another cough and two sneezes, and then groaned softly.
A knowing look crossed Sam's features. "Did you take anything this morning?"
Ignoring her, Martin leaned his elbows on the table and rested his head in his hands.
"You didn't, did you?" Sam said in exasperation. "Men. They're either babies or martyrs when they're sick." She got up and went to her desk, fished around in a drawer, and pulled out a box of medicine. She popped two pills out of their packaging, grabbed a cup of water, and placed the items in front of the ill agent. "Take them."
Martin suspiciously eyed the pills, and Sam nudged them closer.
"They're not going to bite, Martin."
He lifted his head and gave Sam an annoyed expression. "You know I don't like taking medicine."
"I don't care," she said testily. "You're sick, and you're not going to be any good to us if you're this miserable all day long."
Danny had said nothing during his friends' little pill war, preferring the role of observer. It was kind of amusing, watching the two ex-lovers go at it. Sam had clearly dealt with a sick Martin before, and had not enjoyed it.
"Are they going to knock me out?" Martin asked petulantly, poking at the pills.
"No," Sam said, nearly grinding her teeth. "They're DayQuil. They won't make you sleepy."
After yet another coughing fit, one that left him red-faced and breathless, Martin popped a pill in his mouth and washed it down with water.
Sam pointed to the remaining medication. "Both of them."
"Sam - "
Sighing, the ill man swallowed the remaining pill and then pushed himself up to a standing position, using his soggy handkerchief to mop his sweaty face.
"And for God's sake," Sam muttered in disgust. "Get a new handkerchief."
Three hours later, Danny and Sam returned from interviewing a few of Ivan Collins' co-workers. The agents had not turned up any helpful information, but at least they'd escaped Martin's sneezing and coughing fits for a little while.
As they returned to their desks, Danny spared Martin a glance. The other agent sat hunched over, one hand holding the phone to his ear and the other toying with a coffee mug. After a few moments he hung up the receiver, pushed the cup away and pivoted around in his chair, a bright, somewhat crazed smile on his face.
"Hey," Martin said, breathless from excitement. "I called one of Ivan Collins' old roommates in college, they used to go to Harvard together, and they were roommates, and they graduated together, and so I called him to ask if he might have some helpful information, which he really didn't, but he said he'd think about it, and he seemed really eager to help us out, so maybe he'll come up with something, and then he gave me the name of an old girlfriend of Ivan's, and so I called her up, and she was really nice, and she thought maybe we should check out one of Ivan's old friends who he doesn't really talk to anymore, because they had a falling out over an online betting situation, and so I think maybe you guys should go see him, because it sounds like the guy owes Ivan some money, and so maybe Ivan went to lean on the guy, but the guy got mad, and did something to Ivan, and that's why he's missing, and so if you guys go talk to him, maybe he'll 'fess up, and then we'll find Ivan, and the case will be closed, and Ivan can go home, and we can file our reports, and the case will be solved."
Danny and Sam gaped at Martin, processing his jumbled stream of consciousness, and then Danny turned to look accusingly at Sam.
"I thought all you gave him was DayQuil?"
"That is all I gave him," she said, frowning.
"He's acting like he's high."
Sam stood up and walked over to Martin, who was bouncing his knees up and down and fidgeting with his tie. She peered into the empty coffee cup on his desk, then at his pale, sweating face. "How much coffee have you had?"
"Umm, I'm not sure, but I feel much better. I haven't coughed or sneezed in almost an hour." Martin drew his arm across his forehead. "It's hot in here. Is it hot to you? I think it's really way too warm."
"Focus, Martin. How ... much ... coffee?"
"Two, three cups. I think. I don't know. I lost track. I didn't want the pills to make me sleepy, so I had some coffee. Maybe too much. I don't know. But it tasted a lot better than usual. I think they're buying the good stuff now. Not the generic kind."
"Martin," Sam said impatiently. "You didn't need to drink all that coffee. I told you the pills wouldn't make you sleepy. You must be having some kind of weird reaction to mixing the DayQuil with the caffeine."
"I think it's hot in here." Martin loosened his tie and shrugged out of his jacket, revealing sweat stains under his arms.
Danny looked at Sam, smiling. "You only have yourself to blame here, Spade."
She looked at him incredulously. "How is this my fault? I told him the pills wouldn't make him sleepy."
Martin turned toward his computer, mumbling about the heat.
"Hey," Danny said, "he didn't want to take the pills in the first place, but you insisted."
As Danny continued teasing Sam, Martin kept muttering about being too hot. When the ill man turned around, Danny nearly fell out of his chair at the sight. Martin had unbuttoned his shirt and was moving to take it off.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa," Danny said, jumping up and grabbing his partner's hands. "Slow down there, you Chippendale wannabe."
"Too hot," Martin pouted, trying to jerk out of Danny's grasp. "Let me go."
Danny looked at Sam's surprised but amused expression. "Sam, a little help here?"
"Umm, sorry," she said, trying not to laugh as she touched Martin's chin and tilted his head toward her. She waited for him to stop struggling against Danny before speaking.
"Martin, you're at work," she said patiently, as if talking to a small child. "You can't take your clothes off here."
The sick man smiled dopily at his ex-girlfriend. "Should we go back to your place, then?"
As Danny laughed, Sam's mouth dropped open in astonishment, but she recovered quickly. "I think you need to go home and sleep this off."
"OK," Martin mumbled, and then turned an ominous shade of green. He swallowed hard and looked at Danny. "I don't feel so good."
Before Danny could move out of the line of fire, a sizeable amount of Fitzgerald puke landed on his pants and shoes. He stumbled backward with a disgusted cry.
Martin stared at Danny, at the puke dripping on the floor, and then at Sam.
"Can I have some more coffee?"
Two hours later, Danny ushered a groggy Martin toward the blue-eyed agent's bedroom. After Danny scrubbed his pants and shoes clean at the office, they'd gone to see Martin's doctor. She'd diagnosed the flu -- not exactly a news flash -- and had reassured both men that Martin's reaction to the DayQuil and coffee combo would wear off soon. She'd predicted that he would crash shortly and be out for several hours. Sure enough, Martin's jittery attitude had dissipated during the car ride home, leaving him in a near stupor upon arrival at his apartment.
Once inside Martin's bedroom, Danny pushed the extremely contrite man into his bathroom to take care of his personal needs. In the meantime, Danny rummaged through the dresser, locating a pair of sweat pants and a T-shirt. He tossed them on the bed, and then leaned up against a wall, arms crossed. He jumped slightly when his cell phone rang and answered it, hearing his boss' voice on the other end.
"He still alive?" Jack asked gruffly.
Danny chuckled. "So far. The doc says he'll be OK in a few days. He's at the worst stage of the flu right now."
"Sam and I have wrapped things up here."
Jack's words caught Danny by surprise. "What, you mean you found Ivan? Already?"
"Yeah. Turns out Martin was right. Ivan's friend owed Ivan some money, Ivan went to collect it, and the friend flipped out and they got into a fight. The guy knocked Ivan unconscious, thought he was dead, and dumped him off the side of the freeway. Ivan's suffering from a concussion and exposure, but he'll be OK."
As Martin's bathroom door opened a crack, Danny grabbed the clothes off the bed and held them up. Martin's hand reached out and took the clothes, and then the door closed.
"Wow," Danny said, his attention back on the phone call. "So you're telling me that as wasted as Martin was on the DayQuil and coffee, he actually solved the case?"
"Danny, why don't you take the rest of the day off, make sure Martin doesn't get himself into anymore trouble. Sam and I will handle the report."
Glancing at the bathroom, Danny nodded. "OK. See you Monday, Jack."
After Danny hung up, the bathroom door swung open and Martin appeared, still fever-flushed and gripping a box of Kleenex. His shoulders were slumped, and he wore a sheepish expression on his face. He could barely meet Danny's eyes as he spoke.
"Was that Jack?"
"Is he pissed at me?"
Danny considered letting Martin suffer for a bit. After all, the man had puked on one of his favorite suits, a perennial favorite with the ladies. But he couldn't get past his friend's sad, feverish blue eyes, and filled Martin in on what Jack had said.
Martin's brow furrowed and he opened his mouth, closed it, opened it, closed it, and then shuffled over to his bed. He perched on the edge and coughed briefly into a Kleenex, then rubbed his eyes and cleared his throat. "So I solved the case?"
"Yeah," Danny said, sitting next to him. "Yeah, you did."
They sat quietly for a minute, and Martin slid his eyes to Danny. "Umm, I'm sorry," he said and sneezed, swiping his nose with a tissue. "I can't believe I hurled on you."
Danny grinned. "Yeah, well, at least you didn't offer to take your clothes off at my place."
Martin's already flushed features turned a darker shade of red and he groaned. "I can't believe I said that to Sam," he said, burying his face in his hands.
"Yeah, well, I think she was a bit surprised, too. But hey, it was the drugs and caffeine talking. She knows that."
Sighing, Martin lifted his head and stared balefully at Danny. "I want to go to bed."
Danny got up and turned down the sheets, waiting until Martin crawled in before pulling them up. He checked the time. "The doc said I can give you some medicine in another hour, once the DayQuil wears off."
Bleary eyes widening, Martin shook his head. "No more medicine."
Danny held up his hands in a stalling motion. "Calm down. No more DayQuil, remember? She gave you that Theraflu to try."
"Don't need it," Martin said tersely and sneezed, then coughed harshly.
"Yeah, right." Shaking his head, Danny went to the door and paused, eyeing his ill friend. "Get some sleep, Martin. I'll be in the living room. If you change your mind about the medicine, let me know."
As he burrowed further into the bed, Martin's expression softened. "You don't have to stay, Danny. I mean ... you've already done more than enough."
Danny smiled. "Hey, that's what friends are for, right?" His features turned slightly pensive. "But ... "
"Next time you get sick and want to come to work, do me a favor, OK?" Danny smirked. "Don't. I don't want to risk anymore of your little naked episodes."
"I wasn't naked," Martin grumbled, coughing slightly.
"Close enough." Danny's expression sobered. "On the other hand, maybe a little office nudity wouldn't hurt. It might boost your rep with the ladies, and I could always charge admission - "
Martin aimed a pillow at Danny, who easily deflected it.
"C'mon, Martin, I'll share the profits."
Another pillow, this time hitting the door as Danny yanked it shut. "Just think about it," he called, and chuckled at his friend's muffled, congested voice colorfully cursing him.
Who knew a sick Fitzgerald could be so entertaining?