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Next Time I Start Sneezing, It Could Make You History

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It was Monday. Again. It happened every week.

Madagascar hated Mondays. Particularly Mondays after a holiday weekend, when half the new patients were much sicker, because they'd put off visiting the hospital until it would be less of an inconvenience for them.

Fortunately most of the time Madagascar didn't have to work Mondays. She was pretty much a Tuesday through Saturday girl. But Ireland had called asking for a favor and at the time Madagascar had thought saying yes was worth it for the way Ireland had been so happy and thankful. Maybe this way if Madagascar ever got up the courage to ask Ireland out, she would say yes.

Madagascar let the first quarter of her shift go by with daydreams about the other doctor, until she realized what she was doing and that her carelessness might have let a Vicious Illness through. Madagascar buckled down again, taking a blood sample from the man who had come in with a broken leg. She never knew where the next Deadly Disease was going to show up, and it didn't hurt the patients much to take precautions. Precautions that might keep them all alive in the end.

Then Madagascar would see who got taken to task by the Hospital Review Board.

When Ireland had called Madagascar to cover her shift while she picked her younger brother up at the airport, she had forgotten how weird Madagascar could be about some things. Including, apparently, Mondays.

Ireland had five text messages on her phone when she remembered to check it, after she'd taken her brother to their parents' house. Three of them were from France, whining about how Madagascar was ruining everything. Ireland was inclined to just ignore them - Madagascar was actually pretty sweet and she was clearly trying really hard - until she noticed that the other two texts were from Canada. They were politely worded but had much the same content as France's messages, along with the observation that Madagascar had locked herself in the supply cupboard when one of the patients she had been supposed to diagnose had sneezed. Canada seemed to think that Ireland could coax Madagascar out where everyone else had failed.

Ireland checked the time stamp on that text: five minutes ago. She could definitely swing by the hospital on her way home. She didn't see how she could help, but she was willing to try. This was her fault after all.

Madagascar heard another knocking at the door to the supply cupboard. She really hoped it wasn't Canada again. She could take France's angry demands that she stop being such a scaredy-cat better than she could take Canada's rational arguments.

"Madagascar, dear?" That was definitely Ireland's voice, and Madagascar would feel really guilty if she was the reason Ireland had had to come in.

Madagascar must have murmured a reply, because Ireland continued. "Listen, sweetie, you want to talk about it?"

"I hate Mondays."

"I can't really hear you very well through the door. Care to open it?"

Madagascar did, then repeated herself. "I hate Mondays. The risk of there being unconstrained infections is much higher and there are more patients and everyone just seems much more unhappy."

"Like you?" Ireland said softly. "I'm sorry I asked you to come in for me."

Madagascar shrugged. She didn't blame Ireland for her breakdown; she blamed herself. "I'm not usually this bad. I swear. Just there's nothing good about Mondays."

"Nothing good? I was going to ask you to join me at karaoke tonight, but I suppose that's a no then."

Madagascar forgot that she had been trying not to look at Ireland and glanced up. Was Ireland really asking her out? "Karaoke? I'd kind of love to. But I mean it, I'm useless at Mondays. Really useless."

Ireland laughed. "Call me when your shift ends, and I'll pick you up."