Characters/Pairing: Neal, Peter, Diana, Jones; Gen
Genre/Rating: Very fluffy h/c; G
Word count: 1300
Notes: So, when I said I'd write a fic based on my experiences with blood donation, I was mostly joking. But then several people told me to actually write it, and I tend to do what people tell me.
Summary: The team take part in a blood drive. It goes a little less smoothly than expected.
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"I'm going to win this," Jones said, and grinned.
Peter smirked. "Not so fast." Like Jones, he was clenching and unclenching his left fist, the way they had been told would increase their blood flow rate.
"This isn't a competition," Diana said. She had her free arm tucked behind her head and looked perfectly comfortable. She winked at Neal, who was probably out of the race since his needle had been inserted a couple of minutes behind everyone else's.
"You know you wouldn't catch us, Caffrey," Jones taunted, as if reading his mind.
"This isn't fair," Neal grumbled. It wasn't his fault the nurse dealing with Peter had refused to start them all off at the same time.
"He'd just have cheated, anyway," Diana said.
"How would I cheat at blood donation?"
Peter gave him a mock-stern look. "I'm putting nothing past you."
"Like to see you argue that to a jury," Neal muttered darkly, which made Peter laugh.
Neal concentrated on flexing his hand, determined not to finish too far behind the others. It must have been obvious, because Jones laughed again. "In your dreams, Caffrey."
"I'm not getting involved in your petty game," Neal said loftily. "I'm just eager to be giving a gift to society."
Diana snorted loudly, and Peter nearly choked trying to hold in his disbelieving reaction. Two of the nurses were laughing quietly at the group of them, and Neal waved at them with a broad grin. The one who had put his line in, Jo, returned it.
A few moments later a shrill beeping started up. Neal glanced over to Peter and Jones to see who had won their race.
"Yes!" Diana exclaimed, punching the air triumphantly with her free hand, and Neal chuckled at the expressions on the faces of the two men.
"Can't believe we fell for that 'it's not a competition' crap," Jones complained.
"Suck it up," Diana told him. She continued gloating as she had the needle taken out and was given a gauze pad to press into the crook of her elbow.
The monitor at Peter's bed started beeping, followed barely a second later by Jones's, who made an exaggerated huffing noise. "Caffrey teach you how to cheat?"
"Don't be such a sore loser," Peter said, with a trace of smugness.
The back-and-forth continued as Peter and Jones were disconnected from the equipment. By the time Neal finally hit his donation weight the other three had been allowed to first sit, and then get up off the cots.
"Sit up slowly," Jo told him, as she pressed the small dressing in place. Neal wriggled his fingers, which were tingling with pins-and-needles.
"Yes, Ma'am," Neal said, with another of his best smiles, and did actually do as he was told, moving cautiously.
He had just reached vertical when he abruptly felt sickeningly lightheaded, and his vision blacked.
"Neal?" he heard Peter say, sharply, but his voice sounded a long way away, muffled and distorted. Ne-e-a-al?
Neal mumbled something — he had no idea what — and passed out. He was faintly aware of beginning to fall, but not of hitting the cot.
Unconsciousness didn't last for more than a few seconds. He became aware that he was lying on his back, too weak to move, and overwhelmed by the sensation that the world was spinning very, very fast. He felt sick, and heat-flushed, and miserably uncomfortable. He squirmed, his eyes screwed tightly shut, and hands pressed him down, keeping him still.
"Neal, can you hear me?" Peter's voice still sounded distant and strange, but Neal could just about make out the words.
"Yeah," he mumbled. He felt horrible. Sweat was sheening his face and scalp. Half-opening his eyes brought up a fresh surge of nausea and dizziness. He moaned.
Something wonderfully cool and damp wiped his forehead and face, steadying him enough to be able to risk another glance. It was Peter who was wielding the cloth, while Diana and Jones hovered in the background. Jo fanned him with her clipboard, sending a stream of cool air over his face.
Neal closed his eyes again, hoping that the world would stop moving soon. He tried to find himself a more comfortable position, with no success.
"Hey, hold still," Peter said, kindly, and put his hand on Neal's shoulder. "You'll feel better in a minute." His voice was reassuring.
On the next attempt Neal felt able to keep his eyes open. He could also think clearly, for the first time in a while, and realise exactly what had happened. "Oh," he said.
"You're looking less grey," Diana told him. "How're you feeling?"
"Kind of embarrassed," Neal muttered.
Peter rolled his eyes, but he was smiling. "I don't think even you can be smooth all the time."
"There's nothing to be embarrassed about," Jo said, briskly. She tilted the head of the cot, raising Neal slightly, and handed him a large tumbler of water with a straw in, so that he could drink while still lying back. "You drink this for me now, okay? Don't try to sit up again just yet." She frowned slightly at the agents. "You know, you three really should be sitting down and getting drinks yourselves."
"I'm fine," Peter said. "I'll stay here with Neal til he's feeling better."
"You really don't have to," Neal muttered, staring hard at his water, and feeling extremely self-conscious. He'd fainted. That wasn't something he did.
"Tell you what," Peter said, and pushed Neal's feet to the side so that he could perch on the edge of the cot. "There. Everyone's happy."
Neal didn't argue — it would require a lot of effort, and he still felt strange and shaky. And he was quite pleased to have the company, really.
He finished the water and then decided to try the sitting-up thing again — very slowly this time. Peter frowned at him and sat tensed in a way that suggested he was ready to leap forward to Neal's rescue if he collapsed again. Which on the one hand was thoughtful of him, but on the other did absolutely nothing for Neal's embarrassment levels. Breathing deeply, he tried to ignore that feeling, and flashed a triumphant glance at Peter on finding he'd regained the ability to be vertical, who turned down a perfectly valid opportunity for sarcastic congratulations in favour of an encouraging smile.
"Ready to try standing?" Peter asked a couple of minutes later, once Jo had given her permission.
"Yeah," Neal said, and Peter took his arm. "Peter, I'm fine," he protested.
"Humour me," Peter told him, firmly.
Neal rolled his eyes. "Yes, mom, he said, although without much force, and he admitted to himself that it was reassuring to have Peter there to support him. Even if he didn't need it.
A muffin and some juice later, Neal felt mostly himself again. Diana was ribbing him gently about stealing the spotlight from her win, Jones laughing along.
Peter checked his watch, and tapped the table. "Okay, everyone. Playtime's over; back to work now."
Neal smiled at him winningly as he stood. "Peter. I have been told to take it easy for the rest of the day…"
Peter chuckled. "Yeah, nice try." He clapped a hand on Neal's shoulder, steering him towards the elevator. "Don't worry. I've got some very restful case files for you to work on."
"Besides," Diana said, cheerfully, "You don't see the rest of us going home just because we lost one tiny pint of blood."
Well, he couldn't back down from a challenge like that, could he?
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