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I Get Along

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They strolled back into the laboratory after their coffee break, Tom still nibbling at his pastry, Dave only half listening to Jo’s rant against the canteen staff; he was carrying a cup of takeaway coffee for David, who had been refusing to leave his desk at all since the beginning of their shift, as well as acting way grumpier than his usual standards.

None of them was quite expecting the sight that welcomed them as the door buzzed open. Mars David – as they had taken to refer to him – was crouched on the floor beside their David, who was reclining over the bin, retching and sweating profusely; Colin, for his part, was just standing there looking vaguely confused, and not particularly keen on offering his assistance.

“If this is one of your pranks, Colin,” Mars David hissed under his breath, possibly still unaware of their presence.

“Come on, man,” Colin protested, his palms raised in a placating gesture. “Nothing to do with me, I swear.”

Dave released a long-suffering sigh, handing the coffee cup to Tom before stepping in. “Stubborn idiot,” he muttered to no one in particular, taking over from the well-meaning but not quite helpful young Martian. “You’d think he should have learnt to alert his colleagues of a forthcoming migraine by now.”

“Has he always suffered from migraines this severe?” Jo enquired as she surveyed the scene, probably already running through all the different types of medication available in their cabinet.

“Well, he only gets them about once a decade or so,” Tom chimed in, “but as a rule they’re even worse, if anything.”

“I see. Well, he should try and sleep it off, or at least lie in a darkened room until the worst of it is over. You take him back to your quarters, David – see that he takes these painkillers, though I fear they might not be as effective now as they would have been, had he taken them as soon as the symptoms started.”

“What’s a migraine?” he heard Mars David ask, just as he finally managed to hoist his own David up, his arm around his neck; he shook his head, exchanged one knowing look with Tom, and slowly started dragging his patient towards the door.

It took them about twice as long as it normally did to get back to quarters; as soon as they stepped inside, David all but flopped onto the sofa, making it perfectly clear that he wasn’t going to move any further.

“You git,” he murmured, somewhere between irritated and affectionate. “It would have killed you to admit you needed help, wouldn’t it?”

“Sod off,” David managed at length, blindly reaching for the tablets and the glass of water he was presented with.

“I love you too,” Dave grinned, reaching over to lower the lights.