"I'm not so sure this is such a great idea..."
"It's perfectly safe, Carson," Melony assured him, holding her hand out to him. "I won't let anything happen to you."
The doctor looked over at McKay, who didn't look any more comfortable than he did.
"Maybe you should take Rodney, first."
"I'm not going first," McKay said, scowling. "I'm not even so sure that I'm going to go second..." he looked at the water that was gently lapping at the sun-warmed metal that formed the edges of the 'beach', and bit his lower lip nervously. "You know... we haven't actually assessed the water around the city all that completely. There might very well be a plethora of sea creatures out here that are just itching to eat someone who's foolish enough to get into the water."
"We've done all sorts of tests on the waters around the city, Doctor McKay," Peter Grodin assured him, smiling. The young man was wearing a pair of shorts and nothing else, and had a towel draped over his shoulder. "There's nothing in there that will hurt you."
"Drowning would hurt me," McKay said, scowling when Jinto and a horde of other Athosian children came rushing past them and jumped into the water with excited squeals.
Melony smiled, but turned her attention to the medical doctor. Her hand still held out to him, and her pale eyes entreating him to trust her, Melony was waiting for him to decide whether he trusted her enough to keep him from drowning.
"Nothing will happen to you."
Beckett sighed, and reached for her hand.
"That's probably what the people were told as they were getting on the Titanic," Rodney said, watching as Mitchell rewarded Beckett with a genuine smile that actually reached her eyes, making them practically sparkle.
Lieutenant Ford was already in the water, treading easily and waiting for Melony to join him with Beckett for the doctor's first swimming lesson. He, too, was wearing only a pair of shorts, and he'd been the first one in the water that day.
Melony and Ford had spent a few days during Melony's recovery looking for an ideal place to swim. The way the city floated on the water, there were a number of inlets that made for good swimming areas, but the two of them had been looking for something special. Something that would catch the sun most of the day and maybe even have enough flat space around it that the majority of the crew could hang out there in their free time.
They'd found it, eventually, and the two had spent several more days swimming the length of the area at various times of the day, making sure that there were no currents that might come sneaking up on an unwary swimmer and making sure that there was more than one area where they could put a make-shift ladder to help people get out of the water. They had Grodin and a couple of others do an analysis of the water to make sure it was safe for swimming, and then another of the area to make sure Jaws wasn't lurking in the wings, waiting for an easy snack. The area was perfect.
Then it was simply a matter of convincing some of the more reluctant to come and use it.
Several strong swimmers were put to dual roles of lifeguard and swimming instructors, and no one was allowed to swim alone. Aside from that, the water was there, always below them, so it might as well be put to use.
Shorts had been found in clothing bags – or were made by cutting off the legs of a uniform – and more than one of the women had decided that panties and a sports bra were just as good as a bikini, and no more revealing than anything else being worn.
Mitchell had agreed, and after the first several days of swimming with Ford to test the waters she had managed to get a fine tan in the hot Atlantean sunshine. Thanks to Talon, she didn't carry any scars on her, and her skin was as smooth as cream – which made more than one of the men on base take more than a second or third look when she'd appeared at the water on the first official swimming day with a very nervous Carson Beckett at her side, preparing for his first swimming lesson.
"If I drown..."
"You won't. I promise."
"I'll give you mouth to mouth," Ford promised.
"Oh, well that's something to look forward to..." He looked down at the water once more, and Mitchell could see his courage failing him. "Maybe I should just sit here for-"
"Carson..." Melony pulled him towards one of the ladders leading into the water. "I won't let anything hurt you. Trust me."
She released his hand and jumped into the water, then swam over to the ladder, gesturing for Ford to join her.
"See? We're right here..."
"Come on, Doc," Ford said, grinning. "It's easy!"
"It's easy if you've done it before..." Beckett mumbled to himself. But he took hold of the ladder, and lowered himself into the water.
Still clutching the ladder, he turned to look at them, and Melony started the lesson, showing him what position he should be in, and how his arms were supposed to move when he swam. Ford added in a few other helpful tidbits and the two of him finally convinced him to release the ladder, each one taking one of his hands and pulling him only a few feet from the edge. That way he was close enough that if he panicked he could grab hold.
Which he did. More than once. Way more than once. Melony and Ford were patient, though, and even better, they were good teachers. Before an hour was up, the doctor had managed to pull off a fairly respectable dog paddle, and even better had more confidence in his ability to stay afloat. Enough that he'd moved further from the edge when Melony had motioned for him to follow her out a little.
Rodney looked over and saw Sheppard had approached him while he'd been watching Beckett's lesson. The Major was dressed like everyone else; in shorts and a towel. Everyone except Rodney, who was wearing a t-shirt – so he didn't burn, he'd told them.
"Ready for what?"
"Your swimming lesson." Weir told him, coming up beside them as well. She was dressed similarly to Melony and the other women, but she was also wearing a t-shirt – so she didn't burn. Of course, she really was worried about a sunburn and not hiding the affect of one or two too many extra helpings at dinner time.
"I'm not sure I-"
"Aw, come on, McKay," Sheppard said. "Beckett's doing it."
"He's only doing it because Colonel Mitchell is making him."
"Well, I'm going to make you."
"You don't look at all like Colonel Mitchell," Rodney said, crossing his arms over his chest in his most stubborn pose. Sheppard looked over at the water, saw that Ford was close at hand, and then pushed, hard. McKay went sailing into the water with a surprised yelp.
"I told you I was going to make you," Sheppard said, grinning as Ford swam over to help Rodney to the side where he could clutch at the edge of the 'beach' and glare at Sheppard.
"That wasn't funny. I could have drowned..."
"It's easy!" Beckett told Rodney, paddling past with Melony treading water right beside him, watching him carefully.
McKay scowled, but he couldn't really let Beckett do something that he couldn't. It just went against his nature. He sighed, and watched as John dove neatly into the water and swam over to hang out next to Ford.
"Fine... show me what to do..."
"You did great," Mitchell said an hour or so later.
"I had a great teacher."
The two of them had finally called it a day – they were the first to do so – and were walking together through the bowels of the city, heading back to the living areas, but taking a long about approach since they didn't have anything else to do and Melony liked looking around the more deserted areas.
She smiled, not immune to the compliment, and he reached for her hand, almost hesitantly, deciding that while he had her alone like this, he might as well initiate a discussion that he needed to have with her.
"I just wanted to let you know how much I have enjoyed spending time with you..."
Melony felt just a little gooey inside. While she'd been recovering her strength, it had been Beckett who had taken to spending time with her, making sure she didn't get frustrated or wear herself out trying to hard, and she'd found that he was really good company – and not just because of the accent.
"You're good company, Carson," she told him. "And a good man."
Now it was his turn to blush, and he looked down. Which made him look down her bathing suit. Which made him blush even more brilliantly as he averted his gaze. Melony smiled, and touched his cheek – she could feel the heat of his blush even through the neatly trimmed beard.
"I'm not ready for much of a relationship..." she told him, softly.
He did, too. She was still aching over the loss of her Major – and he'd seen the pain in her eyes well to the surface more than once as something was said or done that would remind her of Brad Anderson. But she was getting better, and he knew it – more importantly, she knew it as well. And she knew that life had to go on. Eventually.
"I will be, though." She said.
"And I'll be waiting when you are..."
He pulled her into his arms, then, holding her sun-warmed body close against his own and pressing his cheek against hers and running his fingers through her short, blonde hair. They had time. Plenty of time, and it wasn't as though either of them were going anywhere anytime soon. She was still obsessed with finding the answers to the problem of the Wraith, and he was determined to help her as much as he could with the medical aspect of whatever she wanted to do, but there were other things to think about, too. Other options to explore eventually, and when she was ready to explore those other options, he'd be there, waiting for her to let go of the ladder and plunge back into the waters.
Author's Note: So there it is! My first crossover and my chance to bring Mitchell into a world that I truly am beginning to love (Atlantis) It's not the end, of course, but it is the end of this story – even though there's much much more to tell, and more stories to explore and more people to meet. Besides, the Wraith still need to be dealt with, eh? Let me know what you think!