Walking with my Commanding Officer, Major John Sheppard, I appear outwardly calm and positive. While on the inside I could feel butterflies in my stomach, my legs feel like jelly and my palms are sweaty. I absently wipe them on my BDUs. We have been in Atlantis for three months now and I still find Sheppard attractive as much as I did when we first met in the Antarctic Outpost; with his longish black hair that spiked in all directions, that made me tempted to run my fingers through it and on several occasions I've had to stop myself from doing so. His emerald eyes that sometimes sparkled with mischief or at times with a deep sadness when he thinks no one is watching him. His laid back manner isn't something I'm used to from a Commanding Officer, but I find that I like it and I know he wouldn't ask us of anything that he wouldn't or couldn't do himself.
I recently informed my sister, Astra, who was delighted for me. She'd know that I was gay since we were teenagers and I discovered that I preferred men to girls, no matter how hard I tried. I just never found that connection with the fairer sex, who I have nothing but complete respect for. It just never seemed to work out, much to the disappointment of my adoptive parents. As much as I loved my twin, she just doesn't understand all the rules and regulations of the USAF. She's a civilian scientist and doesn't understand the DADT rules when it comes to gay people in the military. It's really the only thing we've seriously argued about.
There were two problems I faced pursuing any sort of relationship with Sheppard. I'd been hurt in a long term relationship before I left for Atlantis. I'd found my ex, Drew Patterson, in bed with another guy, he was a civilian and I could never tell him that I travelled to other planets for a living, that I negotiated with aliens to become our allies. Our enemy wasn't just ourselves, but actual aliens, who were very much like us, but more advanced and hell bent on destroying us because we wouldn't bow down to them. Drew and I had often fought about what sort of work I did and he'd stay angry with me for a few days whenever I wouldn't tell him.
The other problem was, that we were both men in the USAF. It's considered taboo and if we're caught, we'd both be court martialled. I didn't want to be responsible for the destruction of two perfectly good careers because I'd fallen in love with my Commanding Officer. I also didn't know if Sheppard returned those feelings either, so I guess you'd consider that a third problem. In the past I've never held back when approaching someone I'm interested in, but this time it is obviously different.
Having Sheppard around has been great. He's a good leader and he has the ATA gene as naturally strong like Astra and I do. McKay was delighted to learn that and if he can't find me or Astra, he goes and bugs Sheppard to be his light switch. I try to spend as much time on the mainland or off world as I can to avoid McKay, but I also love travelling off world and don't usually need to be asked twice about it. Its one of the things I love about my job, apart from flying of course.
At the moment we were walking towards the Jumper Bay for we were heading off world with Sheppard's team; Teyla Emmagan, Lieutenant Ford and Dr. Rodney McKay. One of the lower teams had found something in a mountain that was of interest to Dr. McKay. Originally he'd asked Dr. Zelenka, but Dr. Z had outright refused to go and told McKay to take me instead. I have a degree in engineering and astrophysics, so I could do pretty much what Zelenka could do. McKay had reluctantly agreed to take me, well, it was more like an order really. I was quite happy to go along as it gave me a chance too spend time with Sheppard, not that I'd ever admit that to anyone.
"Captain O'Neill," a soft woman's voice spoke to me.
I glance up from my musings and find Teyla was walking on the other side of me. I hadn't even noticed the stunning Athosian leader had been there. She smiles and gave me a knowing look, I find to my embarrassment that my face was turning a slight shade of pink. I very rarely blushed and often teased Astra at how quickly she could turn red.
"Um, sorry, Teyla did you say something?" I ask, fumbling over my words like a young school boy.
"I asked, have you finished your project with Dr. Zelenka?" She queries, a broad smile across her lovely face and her deep brown eyes sparkling. It's like she knows something that I don't.
"We are working on some assimilations in the labs before we try experimenting. Dr. Z wants to run a few more calculations and tests to make sure we don't blow anything up," I answer. It always amazes me how much time Teyla has taken to get to know just about all the expedition members. "How are your people?" I ask her.
"They are fine and are settling on the mainland. They have planted the first of our crops. It has been hard work, but we are a hardy people and the hard work has been good for us. Especially those who still keenly consider the loss of our homeworld Athos," she admits to me.
"I'm sorry we were the ones responsible for you to lose your home," I say softly, only soft enough for Teyla to hear.
"It is not your fault. It is the fault of the Wraith. They take what they want and have never really been challenged before. Many people have lost loved ones and their homes because of them. One day we will rid ourselves of the Wraith. You were only doing what you were thought was right by rescuing your people and some of mine. I know how close you and Astra are and that you would do anything for each other," she reassures me.
"I guess you've been spending a lot of time with Astra?"
"Yes. She is most eager to learn from my people and spends a lot of time on the mainland helping us. We do not mind sharing when she offers her help," Teyla confirms.
"That sounds like her. Whenever she goes on digs in foreign countries, she tries to dress and live as they do. It makes the experience more real for her and more comfortable for the locals she told me," I tell Teyla.
"Yes, she has told me a lot about the places she has been to. She has a fascination for these Egyptians, Mayans, Incas and ancient Celtic cultures," Teyla said, trying to pronounce them.
"That's right," I agree. "It's more like an obsession for her. When most girls growing up on Earth would have poster of famous pop stars and celebrities, As always had pictures of ancient ruins all around her room," I confide in her. "She was very different from girls her age."
"I wish I could go see these ruins she speaks of and Astra has shown me her photos," Teyla says wistfully.
"I'm sure one day we can take you back to Earth and show you them. I'm sure Astra would be delighted to give you a tour of them." I smile at her.
"I would love it very much."
We enter the Jumper Bay and we head to Sheppard's favourite Jumper, which McKay has called Jumper One. I've flown it a few times and find it easier then some of the others and I've always thought they each had their own personalities. I kept that to myself as I didn't want anybody laughing at me over the idea.
"What's this thing that Sergeant Stackhouse's team have discovered?" Rodney demands Sheppard.
"They aren't really sure, but it was affecting all their equipment and they had to park their Jumper a fair way so they could actually use it," John answers.
I roll my eyes. I have no idea why Sheppard has McKay on his team. I've worked with him enough times to find he is rude and arrogant. The man's ego astounds me and I think he doesn't realise how many lives are at stake and how many live on Atlantis and not just Atlantean's. It's weird referring to myself as an Atlantean when I've always considered myself a human from Earth. After being on Atlantis for three months, she gets into your mind and under your skin. Every time I come home from off world, it feels like an old friend greeting me home and I was deeply missed.
Most of the time I don't even have to think about opening doors whenever I walk around Atlantis. She seems to know where I'm going more often then I do half the time. I swear Atlantis is a sentient being and can understand us a lot better then we understand ourselves. A lot of us scientist tend to agree that we think Atlantis maybe female, don't ask why, but that's the way it seems to us. I maybe a USAF pilot and wear the blue uniform, but underneath I'm a scientist at heart, who just happens to love flying. So, I combined all my loves when I applied for the Royal Australian Air Force. My adoptive parents were happy and I could still pursue my love of science. My adoptive parents are part of the RAAF and expected all of their children; male or female, natural or adopted to join the RAAF. Astra was the only one who had refused to follow tradition and became a civillian, which had turned very ugly indeed.
I run my fingers over the outside of the Jumper and marvel at the technology that had gone into creating it. A goofy grin spreads across my face and I thought I felt something, but disregard it as becoming emotional.
"Fly boys and their toys," I hear McKay mutter not far away.
Not even his comment would get a rise out of me right now. I glance across at Sheppard and see a look on his face that seems to mirror my own. He nods in acknowledgement before sitting down in the pilot seat. He turns to glance at me, a grin spreading across his face and how I wanted to melt right then and there, but I kept my cool. I've always wandered if he knew what kind of affect his smiles had on people.
"Captain O'Neill want to sit next to me?" He offers, his eyes daring me to say no.
"But, I always sit next to you!" Rodney protests in the background.
"Yes, when the Captain or another pilot doesn't come with us. I at least trust the Captain to fly in a straight line," Sheppard teases gently, winking at me.
I hear Rodney huff and Teyla try to smooth the scientist's feather. I quickly join Sheppard and sit down in the seat. They are pretty comfortable for short trips, but not long ones. So, I hope this wasn't going to be a long trip, though I didn't mind the company I was in, which would pass the time easy enough.
"Control this is Jumper One and we are ready for launch," Sheppard informs Dr. Weir.
"Good luck, Major and safe flying," she replies.
It wasn't long before we were launching and then flying through the 'Gate to an uncharted planet. It took only forty- five minutes to fly there and Sheppard did a quick fly over, and we saw a lot of mountains when a map of the terrain came up on the screen of the Jumper.
"Interesting place to hide something Ancient," McKay murmurs, staring at the screen. His eyes focused and lips slightly apart.
"It's the perfect place," I disagree. "There'd be plenty of caves inside those mountains where you could hide absolutely anything. We've seen back in the Milky Way galaxy when we've gone looking for Ancient stuff. Some we've just been lucky enough to find."
"Oh! And you are the complete expert on Ancient now?!" Rodney demands, glaring at me. "I'm the one with two degrees here!"
"You aren't the only one with more then one degree! I just chose to go a different way about it!" I snark back.
"You are still a dumb flyboy," Rodney growls back at me. His eyes sparkle and his jaw line is set in a stubborn line.
"Just because we wear a green or blue uniform, doesn't mean we are stupid! How do you think some of us became a Captain or Major in rank?" I challenge, not backing down.
My jaw begins to hurt from how hard I'm clenching teeth and I can feel the heat rising up my neck. I clench and unclench my fists, fighting the urge to punch his arrogant face. It really upsets me when civilians think we are just dumb grunts, only here to protect them. Scientific Expedition or not, no one calls me stupid.
"Maybe because someone's father is the General of the SGC!" Rodney shots back defiantly.
That man knows no boundaries and stoops to all an time low in my books. I'm quite happy with the relationship I have with General Jack O'Neill, who is our biological father. Our mother is currently an unknown Ancient. I consider myself good friends with Jack and we have some sort of father-son relationship that we've been working on the last few years. I was extremely proud when he was promoted to General and I thought he deserved it. Thought it meant him being the man now. I must admit it had been a bit of a shock when I first found out, but it didn't take me long to warm up to the idea. We had a few things in common to build a relationship upon.
"I was already a Captain before I came to the SGC and discovered that General Jack O'Neill was my natural father, McKay. Maybe you should mind your own business and actually do what you came here to do," I say calmly, much to calmly possibly. I have the satisfaction of seeing McKay squirm a little. "Merely made a comment and didn't say I was less or more smarter then you or more of an expert then you on Ancient technology. But, I do have more field experience then you. I was only commenting on from personal experience."
"Is everybody finished now?" Sheppard asks, glancing at both of us.
I could see the amusement in his eyes that someone had taken on McKay. Not many people did and lived to tell the tale or come out without a personal scarring from the scientist. Sheppard was trying not to grin and trying to keep his face neutral. He found a park in the safe permitter that Captain Barnes had mentioned.
"I'm fine, sir. Can we get out of the Jumper and have a look around?" I ask. My voice was pretty dry and could set fire to the foliage.
McKay pulls a face at me. I ignore him and turn around to face the screen again to have one last look, but really it was to calm myself down.
"Well, I've parked it as close as I can get it," Sheppard announces.
"We have to walk all that way!" McKay complains loudly.
"Not even the best pilot on Earth could park through whatever is protecting that mountain. Besides, if you want to be apart of a 'Gate team there is lots of exercise involved. Maybe you should think about doing some in the future to help your fitness, McKay," I snark, feeling grumpy. Not even the thought of an unexplored mountain with really cool stuff in it could lift my mood in the presences of Dr. Rodney McKay.
I storm pass him after grabbing my gear, before I could hear anymore of his comments and get myself into any trouble. I knew Sheppard had accepted McKay onto his team and that wasn't because of his level of fitness. He just seems to bring the worst out of me, when I'm normally a happy and nice person. I know he's helped save the city a few times, but his arrogance just irks me and I haven't really gotten to know him like his team mates would have. I just go to labs and do my work whenever I'm not rostered on doing military stuff, and try to avoid him most of the time.
"McKay does not mean what he says," Teyla assures me.
"Sorry. I don't mean half of what I say either," I apologise, giving her a sheepish grin. "I can usually control my emotions a lot better the rest of the time. I know he's brilliant at what he does and we wouldn't be alive without him. Just don't tell him I said that, as I will deny it to my dying breath."
Teyla smiles a beautiful smile at me. "I won't. He just hides behind a mask that he has created for himself," she said cryptically.
"Don't we all?"
We wait for the others to join us and for Sheppard to take the lead. I follow behind Sheppard, with Teyla behind me, then McKay and then Lieutenant Ford. I don't mind Ford and find him a nice guy and his attitude is refreshing.
It takes us about an hour and forty-five minutes to walk too the cave entrance that the lower team had mentioned. I really love caves and used to love exploring them when I was growing up, not much has changed really, I still love exploring them. There always something new and different in each cave, thought they may appear to be the same on the outside. I run my fingers over the inside. It feels cool and damp. All colours of the rainbow glitter at me and when I look up I see stylolites growing from the ceiling of the cave. It looks magnificent. I can't help but stare up in wander and awe at the beauty of Mother Nature. She can be amazing, no matter what planet you're on. I can hear various noises in the background and I try not to think about what sort of animals they are. As long they are bats and not man eating ones, I'll be just fine. Not far into the cave we come across a dilemma already. There was a crossing of sorts of other cave entries; one to the left, one to the right and one straight ahead.
"Did, Sergeant Stackhouse say which way to go?" I ask Sheppard.
"He said he went right, as nothing would work here in the caves," he replies.
"Oh, just great! More Sheppard scenic tours!"
I'd momentarily forgotten about McKay, as I was wrapped up in the beauty of the first cave. I sigh and mind my tongue, then follow Sheppard. It was no good getting into an argument with the scientist. The cave was more exciting then him anyway. I try and tune him out and take pleasure in what the cave has to offer me. I didn't realise where I was walking, so lost in my own thoughts and the cave that I bump into the back of Sheppard.
"You wanted my attention, Captain?" He drawls, eyes twinkling.
"Uh, sorry, sir. I was just admiring the view," I reply.
"Admire away," Sheppard teases.
"Why don't you two get a room!"
Sheppard rolls his eyes and winks at me. I ignore the little man from the back and keep walking, being more careful not to run into Sheppard. I only hope that my face hasn't turned several shades of red. I'm not the type of guy who blushes so easily. It's just that sort of affect that Sheppard has on me, like I'm a school boy again with a crush on the teacher. I try to ignore the swagger in his step now and lift my eyes up from the rear view.
It starts to cool down the further we go into the tunnel, which was a relief. The humidity outside was awful! Within minutes, perspiration had began to pour down my forehead and my clothes start to stick to me. It has been most uncomfortable and you think growing up in Australia I'd be used to this heat? It felt different, with more of a bite in it. I reached for my water bottle and drink a few mouthfuls, it didn't matter if it was cold or not, just wet.
"How far until we get there?" McKay calls from the back.
"Sergeant Stackhouse said it was about fifty minutes into the mountain before they found this big cavern with a flat floor and on one side of the cavern it had a lever wedged in between two giant rocks," Sheppard replies.
It was quiet for a while, until we walk into a much larger room with a flat floor. The surface of the floor looks like it has been polished and was smooth like a baby's bottom. We tread carefully, not to trip over and hurt ourselves. The colours in here were of every shade of blue and purple that you can imagine. It was very beautiful and I immediately grab for my camera in my bag, then start to take photos. Taking photos was a hobby of mine and it was great to record things for later. I'd actually taken a few photography courses and really enjoyed them. When I glance up, Sheppard is giving me a curious stare. I show him the photos I've taken and he seems to show interest.
"You're pretty good," Sheppard compliments me.
"Thanks, sir," I say pleased. "It started off as a hobby and a great way to remember holidays and stuff when we were kids. Now, I find it useful to record any trips off world and even to the mainland."
Sheppard nods in agreement. "I don't think Sergeant Stackhouse's team had thought of that, though he did give a detailed description of everything he found. It seems to match what we've discovered so far. We should spread out and look for that lever to see what got him so excited that it called for McKay's attention."
I nod in agreement and reluctantly put my camera away, knowing that there will be time later to take more. Everyone spreads out and starts searching every nook and cranny. I was leaning against a pointed rock that was sticking out and I felt something dig into my back. I had taken a quick drink and I turn around, when something black and shiny catches my eye. I put my drink container away and have a closer inspection, wary not to touch anything.
"Hey, I found something!" I call out in excitement, waving my hand for everyone to come over.
"What did you find?" McKay demands, shouldering his way through and then pushes me out of the way. I grind my teeth and bite my tongue. "That," I answer, pointing to the handle that had been irritating me.
"Excellent!" McKay says enthusiastically.
He sticks his head in closer for a more up closer look. I can't help but grin and share in his eagerness to find out what the lever meant, and what it did. He looks up and grins at me and I see his bright blue eyes shinning with anticipation.
"Nice work, Captain. Not so dumb after all," he snarks.
I just grin and tilt my head in acknowledgement. I've decided to take it for the compliment that it was meant to be. It was rare that the scientist praised anyone.
"Figured out what it does yet?" Sheppard queries.
"Not yet," McKay answers absently, already holding up his scanner. "It's definitely Ancient," he confirms.
"Maybe someone should just pull the handle?" Ford suggests.
"Humph," McKay grumbles. "It's Ancient technology and should be handled with care!" He protests.
"Well, we need to do something to find out what it does," Sheppard argues. "You've got two people here with a strong dose of the ATA Gene."
"You know I should do it!" McKay surprises me by volunteering.
"If something goes wrong then who would be able to fix it?" Sheppard challenges.
"Fine!" McKay growls, stepping aside.
"Captain, want to do the honours?"
"Sure," I agree.
I walk right in front of the lever and bring my right hand up. Before I pull it, I mutter a little pray in Ancient to the Ancestors and then close my eyes and tug on it. I feel the room around be shake and rumble. I hang onto one of the protruding rocks and hope for the best. I don't hear any screams of dying and so I open my eyes. I couldn't believe what I saw and my eyes go wide with shock and disbelief.
A strange machine comes down from the roof and its descent begins to slow when it almost to the floor. I'd say there was enough room for someone to slide in underneath and have a look at the bottom of the device. It had strange cords and wires running every where out of the top and not so much around the outside. There were buttons of all colours, but the main colour of the device seemed a bright blue.
"Wow," is all I can manage.
I see Ford and Sheppard nod in agreement. Teyla is staring with wonder at the machine. I don't blame them, it is really amazing.
"What does it do?" Sheppard finally asks.
"I don't know," McKay admits. "Give me a few hours and I will definitely find out!" He says with confidence. "Captain, I need you to start taking pictures and notes to figure this thing out."
"Sure," McKay. I understood it's his way of asking for my help and knew he would deny it to his dying breath if I ever mentioned it back on Atlantis. Apart from that, he'd make my life a living hell, which I'm sure he wouldn't hesitate to do.
After several hours, McKay and I are lost in our own world working in the mysterious device. We've pulled things apart and put them back together again to see how they work. We point, wave hands, argue about what is what and it is meant to do.
"Any idea of what it is yet?" Sheppard asks boredom evident in his voice.
"This is a highly advanced piece of technology that requires a brilliant mind to study it!" McKay challenges.
"You've been at it for hours, McKay!" Sheppard says, with frustration in his voice.
"You have no idea how it works and the only way to find out, is to keep running assimilation tests on it."
"Captain?" Sheppard asks me.
"He's right, sir. Please give us more time with the device. We've barely scratched the surface and only have theories at the moment of what it could be," I answer honestly.
Sheppard sighs. "Alright, I will give you a few more hours. I'll send Teyla and Ford to radio Atlantis, and to tell Weir what we've discovered so far."
Rodney gives me a grateful look. I nod my head at him, because I'm just as curious as he is as to what this device does. With the two of us working on it together, I'm sure we can solve it faster. No matter what I think of McKay personally, I know he is the best man for the job and wouldn't recommend anyone else, except for Dr. Zelenka or Colonel Carter. It's not a very big list of names, and McKay's up there with the best.
"Ford and Teyla, go radio Dr. Weir to let her know what we've discovered," Sheppard says. "By the time you get there, it will be our scheduled radioed check in anyway."
"Yes, sir," Ford replies. "Come on, Teyla," he encourages the Athosian.
"Wait! I was going to see if Weir will send a few more scientists to help!" McKay asks Sheppard.
"Sure, but it's up to Weir," he reminds McKay.
"Keep working till I come back," McKay asks me.
"Don't even have to ask me, McKay. I want to know what it is as much as you do."
Sheppard helps his team mate out from under the machine and then assists him to stand up.
"Take note of everything!" McKay commands over his shoulder, though I can't really seem him. I just picture him doing that.
"I will," I reply, my mind already back on the job.
It was a chance for me to have a look at the thing without McKay in my ear. I have another look and notice a place in the bottom left hand corner, like a storage compartment of some sort. It kind of reminds me of where a battery is kept in a game or toy. I pull out a screwdriver from my bag and gently turn it around in the hole to open it. Just as I open it, the place starts to rumble again.
I don't get much time before Sheppard grabs me by my feet and pulls me up roughly. I'd automatically latched onto my bag as Sheppard had pulled me. I ignore the pain in my back from being manhandled by Sheppard. Rocks fall around us and I'm alarmed at the speed in which they are falling. One nearly misses my head, as we race for the entrance of the cavern. By the time we reach there, a large boulder crashes in front of us and Sheppard pulls me back in time.
"Damn it!" He swears. "What did you do to that machine?"
"Nothing! I went to open a storage compartment and when I just had it opened the dame cavern started collapsing around us. I'm not sure what I did or if I did anything. I guess we were lucky enough we had the hours we did get to spend with it."
"Were you able to grab your gear?"
"Yeah. McKay will just have to make do with what I've got on my camera and in my laptop. He's gonna kill me."
"I don't think so, not with your sister around," Sheppard says, a grin on his face, despite the circumstance we find ourselves in.
"Huh?" I stare dumbly at him.
"I think McKay is scared of your sister and has a crush on her."
"Oh. She's really a pussy cat. You just have to know how to tame her."
"Easy for you to say, you've known her all your life. We haven't," he points out.
When I wake again, I feel a lump is growing on my head and my leg has weight on it. A groan escapes me, one that I couldn't stop.
"Captain?" Sheppard ask me, worry evident in his voice.
"I'm alive," I assure him. "What the hell happened?"
I try to move and my ribs feel sore.
"Keep still, Captain. You've been hit in the head and you have a rock on your leg," Sheppard warns me.
"Crap," I swear. I glance up and saw a huge boulder on my leg.
"A rock?" I ask, slight amusement in my voice at Sheppard's description. "It's more like the size of a bloody house!"
"Now who's exaggerating?" He says.
I snort. "Why are my ribs so sore?"
"I gave you CPR," he says sheepishly. "I was trying not to break anything, but I thought I was going to lose you."
I close my eyes. 'The first time his lips would be on mine, would have to be when I was dying,' I thought.
"Sorry, was just thinking of how we are going to get out of here," I lie.
"I'm sure Ford, McKay and Teyla are working on it. I just hope your sister doesn't kill me. I'm suppose to protect you."
"You are only one man, sir and can't be everywhere. Look," I began.
"No, talking like that, O'Neill," he warns, the first time he refers to my last name, reminding me that not only I have family back on Atlantis, but back on Earth as well.
"I'm just saying," I insist.
"We aren't going there, as we will be rescued," he says in a stubborn voice.
"I just want you to look after my sister is what I'm trying to ask!" I say exasperated, squinting my eyes.
"Are you sure? I'd be living in fear of my life!"
"Oh, she'd be angry with you for a while, but then she'd forgive you eventually."
"Just being honest, sir. She's kind of like McKay in a way; everything's hidden under layers to find the real Astra. What happened?"
"While we were looking for a way out, the ceiling started collapsing again. That rock on your leg was heading for your head. I had enough time to shove you out of the way. You were lucky that you only got bits of fragment hitting you in the head. It could've been worse; I could have been looking at your dead body."
"Thanks, sir," I thank quietly, hearing the seriousness in his voice. When I glance into his eyes, I thought I saw something or maybe I was just dreaming it with the cut on my head.
"Major!" A familiar woman's voice calls out to use.
"Teyla," John yells back.
"Are you and Captain O'Neill alright?"
"I'm fine, Captain O'Neill has a broken rib, broken leg and concussion," Sheppard answers. "Have you got help?"
"Yes! As soon as we left the cave we heard it shake and rumble. When we came back, the main entrance had been cut, so we couldn't rescue you. We went back to the Jumper and contacted Dr. Weir. She's sent us Captain Barnes' team, as well Sergeant Bates. The engineers are working on a safe way to get you out. Please be patient and we will have you out soon. Dr. Beckett is here also. I shall tell him of Captain O'Neill's injuries."
"Astra isn't here is she?" I ask her.
"No. She is still off world with Sergeant Stackhouse's team, helping with the meet and greet of the people on P4X938. Dr. Weir hasn't contacted her yet."
"It's probably a good thing," I say softly to Sheppard.
I find it a struggle to keep awake and my eyes keep closing on me without my permission.
"Captain! Stay awake!" Sheppard orders me.
No matter how hard I try, I cannot keep my eyes open. The world turns dark on me within minutes.
A bright light is shining into my eyes when I awake again. I hear the hum of machines and can smell different smells that have me thinking I'm in the infirmary. I glance over to my left and on the bench beside me is a music note book and pencil case with a note from Astra. She'd also put a book there for me to read. I recognise her hand writing. I'm more surprised by the fact that Sheppard has fallen asleep in a chair next to my bed with his feet up on another chair. A nurse comes and checks me over and gives me a shy smile.
"He hasn't moved since you've been brought in here. Do you want me to wake him?" She asks shyly.
I shake my head and regret it straight away when a head ache starts to form. I automatically rub my forehead.
"I'll get you something for the pain," she says.
I glance down at my leg and observe its in plaster. I frown, knowing that I won't be going anywhere for a while and I sigh in disappointment.
"Nice to see you are awake, Captain. You had us all very worried," Sheppard scolds me.
"Sorry, sir and thanks again for saving my life."
"Not a problem. Your sister's been in here and she even brought me baked cookies," he says pleased. Showing me a small container of cookies made by Astra.
"She baked you cookies, sir?" I ask, a hint of jealousy in my voice. "Do you know that she can't really cook?"
"You wouldn't be jealous now, Captain? She thanked me for saving your life. They taste pretty good to me," he says smugly, offering me one.
I hesitate and accept it. Taking a bite, I find it moist and properly cooked the way its meant to. "She must have improved," I muse.
"McKay and Zelenka have been to see if you are alright. Teyla left you some flowers from the mainland and some of the Athosian food she knows you like."
"McKay wasn't mad with me for destroying his machine?"
"He ranted and raved for a little while, until I told him that you nearly died." Sheppard smirks.
I shake my head slightly. "That man is unbelievable."
"Though he is happy at what you were able to save onto your laptop and camera. Astra let him have the camera and laptop, she didn't think you would mind."
"No, I don't mind. I'm sure its keeping him busy."
"He's down in the lab with Zelenka now. They said they'd be back to visit you later. Dr. Weir also came and cheeked on you to, just to make sure you were alive," Sheppard reports, munching away on another cookie. "You should get some rest," he reminds me.
Sheppard leaves the remaining cookies for me and makes sure I have a full jug of water and a cup next to me, so that I can reach them. He then leaves quietly and turns the lights down with a thought for me. I sent a thank you to the Ancestors for looking after me and bringing Sheppard into my life for I'd seen that look again before he left and now knew that I hadn't been dreaming it when were trapped back in that cavern. A smile spreads on my face the first time since waking up in the infirmary.