Spoilers/Timeline: AU. Takes place in the universe established in The Prophecy, so post Heroes (s07e17-18).
A/N1: Written for fluffbingo, free space: (touch), 100prompts, prompt: gloves, and genprompt_bingo, prompt: tired.
A/N2: Special thank to my wonderful beta jazwriter.
Even before I graduated from medical school, latex gloves had become an ever present part of my life. Since I don a new pair with each patient, I always have a few tucked into my pockets—my lab coat pockets, my skirt pockets, my dress uniform pants pockets, my BDU pockets, my jacket pockets, any possible pocket. I swear, there are days I spend morning, noon, and night wearing the damn things.
I’m a firm believer in the healing power of the human touch, so whenever it’s possible and, appropriate, I try to provide that for my patients, even if it’s nothing more than checking their pulse with my bare hand. Unfortunately, with the virus we’re facing, that’s not possible. I, and all of my medical staff, must wear biohazard gear. I can’t even touch my patients with merely latex gloves. Until we get a handle on this damn bug, though, it’s thick hazmat suits between us and our patients.
Having specialized in virology, I’ve certainly logged a lot of hours in hazmat suits, but that doesn’t mean I like them. They always feel too bulky for the precise lab work needed to identify and combat nasty little bugs. And hazmat suits are not impervious—they can be cut, torn, or punctured. I’ve lost more than one colleague due to a suit being compromised. Unfortunately, that’s the nature of the work in virology.
Damn, I’ve got some sweat running into my eyes and, of course, I can’t wipe it away. God, I’m so tired. Maybe if I stretch a little bit.
“General Hammond’s on the phone for you.”
“Tell him I’ll call him back after I finish with this series.” I look at the latest slide in my microscope.
“Um, he said you’re to report to his office, immediately.”
I’m too damn tired to hide my sigh. “Okay. Come look through this series of slides, Leanne. Notify Dr. Phillips if any show a change in the virus.”
I stretch my back as I make my way to the decontamination airlock where I doff the hazmat suit. It’s not often we have to use the level 4 bio-lab—normally the level 3 lab is sufficient—but I’m infinitely grateful for it. Finally, I can wipe the sweat from my eyes and scratch the itch on my shoulder that I’ve been ignoring for the last couple of hours. Feeling a slight chill, I grab my lab coat, slip it on over my scrubs, and head to the elevator.
The general’s office door is closed when I arrive, but Walter tells me to go on in. Rapping my knuckles against the door, I hear Hammond call for me to enter.
“You wanted to see me, sir?”
“Have a seat, Doctor. I want a progress report.”
I sit in one of the two chairs in front of his desk. “We’ve isolated the virus that SG-2 brought back from P2X-509. What we haven’t determined is why some people seem to be immune to it while most people aren’t. Nor have we discovered a cure or vaccination yet.” I pause a moment. “Airman Larson passed away at 0425. Cause of death was hypoxia due to the fluid buildup in his lungs—he basically drowned to death. The rest of his team, except Lt. Matthew Rutledge, are very sick and getting worse. Lt. Rutledge is still showing no signs of infection. Those sick due to secondary exposure are also getting sicker but at a slower rate than SG-2. I have no reason to believe they won’t get just as sick as SG-2. Sir, if we don’t find a cure, they could all die,” I conclude with a grimace.
“Are we sure we’ve got everyone who was exposed in quarantine?”
“As sure as we can be.”
“That doesn’t sound like a guarantee.”
“Sir, the only thing I can guarantee is people will die if we don’t find the cure. No one should ever step foot on P2X-509 again.”
“I’ve already locked it out of the dialing computer.”
“If that’s all, sir, I need to get back to the lab.”
I look at him, confused. “Sir?”
“You’ve been working for the last three days without a break, and I know you haven’t had a decent meal during that time. Since Kris is sick I’m not going to order you off base, but the lab is off limits to you until you get something to eat and, more importantly, get some rest.”
“That’s an order, Doctor. Don’t press me,” he says in a hard tone. It’s the tone he uses when his mind is made up and can’t be changed. There’s no use arguing with him.
I go to the commissary but stay only long enough to eat a sandwich and drink a cup of coffee. I head back up to the infirmary. I may not be able to go back into the lab, but that doesn’t mean I can’t spend some time with my wife.
After donning the hazmat suit, I go into her room, relieving the nurse taking care of her. God, I hate it when Kris is sick like this. Her alien heritage helps her to self-heal, but only if she’s conscious. With her unconscious like this, she’s unable to enter into a self-healing state. She’s as vulnerable as any human. And in this damn hazmat suit, I can’t even touch her.
I wet a cloth with rubbing alcohol and gently wipe her down in an attempt to lower her fever. By the time I finish, I see her fever has come down a couple of degrees. Suddenly, I feel woozy and need to sit down. I pull the chair up next to bed and sit, holding her hand.
I jerk awake, nearly falling off the chair, but Kris steadies me.
“Easy, honey. You don’t want to fall and break something,” she says.
I suddenly realize my helmet is missing, and Kris is holding my bare hand. I start to say something, but Kris beats me to it.
“It’s okay. They found a drug that killed off the virus. You were dead to the world, and General Hammond told them to let you sleep. I told them to take your helmet and gloves off to make you a little more comfortable, and so I could hold your hand,” she finishes, with a sleepy smile.
I return her smile, but then yawn. “Sorry. I am so tired.”
“I know. Come here.”
Standing, I slip out of the hazmat suit, letting it pool on the floor, and lie down next to Kris. Once she wraps her arms around me, I drift off to sleep, my head on her shoulder. Her touch—all the healing I need.