A/N: Fic Challenge to SGAHC "What happens when Weir goes away?" Atlantis does not belong to me. Not betaed.
No Girls Allowed by nebbyJ (Jen)
Archived: Fanfiction, SGAHC
Rated:K (no spoilers, season 1)
Sheppard's team made their way back to the gate in silence. Hot, tired, and dusty, they each were lost in their own thoughts as to what had transpired over the past few days. Only one person was clean and smiling, and right now the others weren't very interested in what she had to say.
A bit uncomfortable with the hostility aimed in her direction, Teyla increased her stride to match that of Sheppard's quick steps, only to come to an abrupt halt when he turned to face her, his eyes unreadable behind his dark glasses. "Major, all I tried to do…" The rest of her comment froze on her lips when he waved his hand in the air to discourage her from saying anything more.
Rodney stalked past the pair, muttering curses under his breath, making his way to the DHD and savagely punching the symbols for Atlantis. With the gate activated and the code cleared, he brusquely gestured for the Athosian to enter before the others. Once she disappeared into the puddle he turned to face Sheppard and Ford, his angry face looking more sinister from the painful sunburn he'd recently acquired. "All I have to say, Major, is that if you ever make me come back to this godforsaken planet…I will shoot you." And with that, he stomped through the gate.
"I second that, sir," Ford grumbled, stiffly passing his leader to follow Dr. McKay.
With the others gone, Sheppard did a slow turn to glance back at the gleaming deceptive city behind him and shook his head in disgust. "Women," he spat before turning to the gate. After this trip, it was going to take a lot of sucking up to get the male members of his team to agree to travel with Teyla ever again.
One week later, Elizabeth strolled down the hallway looking for Major Sheppard. She and the other women would be leaving soon and she wanted to check in with her 2IC to finalize any remaining orders. She hadn't been able to locate him in any of his usual haunts and had grown concerned over his quiet attitude throughout the week. Scowling, she realized McKay and Ford had also appeared distant. Carson reported that their post mission physicals were fine, that perhaps the latest trip had pushed the men a bit much and time alone was normal.
She smiled to herself, remembering the reports she had read. A society dedicated to the fulfillment of the female members. Men were merely the suppliers to whatever the women desired and apparently Teyla had enjoyed herself immensely, while the men found themselves quartered in a small hut on the outskirts of the city, ordered around by hostile women, and annoyed at being treated as second class citizens.
Wiping the smirk off her face, she rounded the doorway into McKay's lab, finding the scientist literally head to head with Dr. Zelenka. "Gentlemen," she said, watching both men look up from piece of machinery they had dissected on the table before them. Rodney's tight squint and Radek looking at her over the top of his glasses made her feel like a bug under a microscope. "Have either of you seen Major Sheppard?"
Both men scowled at her. "No, Doctor," the Czech replied while the Canadian returned to their project, visibly ignoring her.
"If you see him, would you tell him I was looking for him?"
Radek gave a brief nod and then he too turned back to the project.
Surprised at being so obviously dismissed, Elizabeth made her way out of the lab, certain she heard one of the bowed heads mumble 'traitor'.
She didn't fare any better with the remainder of her search. Ford had been in the mess hall with Stackhouse and Bates; all three men were cool to her questions in regards to the major's whereabouts. With one last possible spot to check, she made her way to the Jumper hanger and found him inside Jumper 1 adjusting the equipment.
He glanced up and spotted her standing outside the craft. Sighing heavily, he set the equipment he'd been handling down and stepped out to join her. "Can I help you?"
She glanced at her watch. "We will be leaving soon and I wanted to be able to speak with you one final time before we departed."
He studied her a moment, his face bare of any emotions. "I think we can handle a couple of days without you and the other ladies. Don't worry, Ma'am, we'll take good care of Atlantis."
When he called her 'ma'am', she knew he was upset with her trip. "John, I hope you can understand why we are going. The majority of women on Atlantis aren't military, and this invitation for us to return to 759 is one that many need."
"I do understand." He shifted uncomfortably and glanced about the room, not making eye contact. "Actually, we all do. You go enjoy yourselves and we'll keep the fort safe."
"Elizabeth…. just go. Have a good time. All of you all deserve it."
She watched him closely and realized he meant it. "Thank you," she said with a blossoming smile. "She's all yours. Call me if you need me."
The slight quirk of a smile put a brief sparkle back in his dark eyes. "Go," he gestured with a shrug, "You don't want to be late for ladies night." She disappeared from the hanger before he glanced down at his watch. T minus thirty minutes. A slow grin spread across his face as he reached for another tote and headed back inside the jumper.
Grodin's signal came right on time with a single burst of static over the intercom system: the women were gone. Moments later, Sheppard made his way into the control room and stepped up to the main console, tapping the 'on' switch, "Gentlemen, this is something that will most likely not happen again while we're here. For the next forty-eight hours we are on stand down. You all have your assignments and all I expect is for you to keep Atlantis safe and afloat. But, other than that, we're all on unofficial leave."
With a quick slap to Grodin's shoulder, he trotted back down the stairway and went in search of a few of his friends. With no one to stop him and the Jumper loaded and ready to go, it was time to begin the next step of his plan.
Carson was easy to find and readily agreed with the major's idea. Ford was next and after a few well placed words and suggestions, the young lieutenant accepted the invitation to accompany him. With only one person left, he made his way to the labs in search of McKay. The major had a feeling this one wasn't going to be easy.
And he was right…
"What do you want?" the scientist snapped, unhappy to be taken away from his latest project.
"I was thinking…"
"Not a good start for you, Major," interrupted Rodney's dry retort.
"Shut up, McKay!" When a stiff irritated scowl greeted his outburst, Sheppard knew it was time to change tactics. "Look, it sucked okay? It's time to get past it and go on with our lives. The women are gone and I have free reign until Weir returns. Trust me for the next twenty-four hours." Pulling out a canteen filled with Zelenka's latest potent brew, he waved it enticingly in the air. "I've lined up something, and Beckett and Ford are waiting."
"Ford said 'yes'?" disbelief evident in his voice.
He adjusted an item on the table with a screwdriver, "Beckett's probably only coming for the alcohol."
Sheppard nodded nonchalantly, "Probably."
Rodney raised one brow and gestured to the canteen, "You have more than just that?"
The major crossed his arms and nodded, recognizing that McKay was about to cave. "Mm-hm."
"Fine," the Canadian huffed, putting down the tool he was holding and following the American out the door. "We're we going?"
"Can't tell ya. Just grab some gear for overnight and meet me in the Jumper bay in say 30 minutes."
And just like that, half an hour later, the four men were on their way to participate in Sheppard's latest plan. He'd piloted the jumper silently out across the deep waters surrounding Atlantis to the far off uninhabited sandy beaches of the mainland. Landing smoothly, he turned in his seat, "Gentlemen, it's time for a little R&R. The only rule for this trip is 'no girls allowed'. This means no discussions or whining about any of the women onboard Atlantis. This is man time!" he said with a Neanderthal grunt.
Rodney rolled his eyes, shoving his way past the others to step out onto the warm sand. Kicking off his boots and shedding his socks, he made his way down to the gentle surf, letting the water lap at his feet. It had been a long time since he'd stood with his toes in Lake Ontario, right out side of Toronto. Closing his eyes, he could almost imagine being back in Canada, the cool wind gusting across his face, the cry of hungry gulls filling the air. Taking a deep breath, his eyes snapped open in disappointment at the smell of saltwater, bringing him out of his reverie of home.
Turning to face the others, he was surprised to see them silently standing there watching him. "What?"
"Where were you?" Cason asked while picking up a few smooth stones to skip out across the water.
He shrugged, "Trying to remember what a trip to Horton's tasted like."
Ford glanced at the major," What's Horton's?"
"Canadian version of Starbucks."
"Only better," McKay added quickly.
"So, what's the game plan, sir?"
"First off Ford, we're on leave, so don't call me 'sir'. And as for a game plan, whatever you want to do: swim, fish, eat, drink, build a bonfire, play football."
Sheppard stepped back inside the jumper and popped the top off a transport tote, pulling out his football. "Football," he grinned, tossing it in a perfect spiral to the young man.
"Oh, yeah! Hey docs, you up for a little scrimmage?"
Carson and Rodney eyed each other warily before turning to the others. "What exactly do you have in mind, lad?"
"Tag football? Brawns versus brains?"
"Oh right," McKay snorted, "like I want to be stomped into the ground by you clowns. Carson and I wouldn't stand a chance."
"Speak for yourself, Rodney. I was rather good when I was younger."
"Exactly my point…when you were younger. I'm not about to let either of those two use me for tackle practice."
"What if," Sheppard started, waving one of the canteens in the air, "we level the playing field?"
Beckett and McKay glanced back and forth between the Americans.
"I think we can take them when it comes to alcohol," Rodney whispered out of the side of his mouth.
"Aye, lad, that diet cola they call beer wouldn't weaken my grandmother. I'm in if you are."
They shook hands before turning around to face Ford and Sheppard. "Deal."
The grins that met their decision were down right frightening. Once the rules were hammered out and each man took a generous swig of Radek's brew, the game got under way.
As expected, John and Aiden pounded the two doctors in the beginning and if it wasn't for the rule of whoever scored had to take a drink, Carson and Rodney would have stood little chance of winning the game. But with the Scot's apparent immunity to the effects of alcohol and Rodney eventually admitting that he and the Czech had shared the drink often enough that he was now able to withstand its intoxicating result, the score eventually tipped in their favor.
An hour later, stripped down to only their pants rolled up to the knees, the four sank wearily, although happily, onto the warm sand, to soak up the sun. Within moments, Ford began to snore causing Beckett and McKay to laugh.
Sheppard lifted his arm off his face and rolled his head sideways to stare at the two. "McKay, if I'd known you and Zelenka were having drinking contests down in the labs; I would have asked to join in."
Rodney pondered his answer before rolling over onto his stomach. "It wasn't really contests. We were merely configuring the best ways to distill the contents he had available." He grinned when he heard the others chuckle. Almost asleep himself, he jerked when something hit his back. "What…?"
"Put a shirt on lad, before you burn. I don't want to be hearing you whine for the next few days."
This time a handful of sand flew through the air, pelting the scientist in the head.
That evening found the four seated around a large bonfire, watching the embers float up into the night sky, only to disappear. The bright half moon and heavens filled with stars made the setting peaceful, along with the gentle lapping of the surf on the beach.
"This is nice," Ford commented, twirling a long stick in the fire. "Not like being on a mission."
"What do you do at night when you're gone?" Carson asked, sitting up a little straighter to toss another piece of wood onto the fire.
"Stand watch," Rodney grumbled, "and watch for hostile natives."
"And snakes and unknown animals," Sheppard added.
"Or listen to stories, Tey…"
"Uh-uh, Ford, no girls allowed."
"Sorry, Major, I forgot."
Sheppard smiled and laid back on his bedroll. "You know, other than the constellations being totally out of whack, I could almost imagine being home."
"If I was home, I wouldn't be outside," Rodney mumbled from the other side of the bonfire. "I'd be in my bed, having just finished a pepperoni pizza and a few Molson while watching the late movie."
"You know, that actually sounds good to me, right now," Sheppard said wistfully.
"I'd be listening to the radio," Aiden added longingly. "Sometimes, it's just too quiet out here."
"Oh, yeah," they each murmured.
"Earth, Wind, and Fire."
Sheppard, McKay, and Beckett turned to stare at the young officer in surprise. "Country music? You, Ford?" the major grinned.
"Sure, why not? I like all kinds of stuff. Besides, Beyounce's hot to look at but hard to sing along with."
Once again, the crackling sound of the burning wood filled the quiet night as each man reflected on his own thoughts.
Sheppard woke instantly, his internal alarm going off to movement near the camp. Pulling himself silently to his feet, he discovered Rodney missing from the group and reached over to wake Beckett and Ford. Within moments, they were able to locate a set of footprints leading away from their site, only to disappear into the dark, now moonless night.
They spread out, carrying flashlights and sidearms, sweeping down the coastline in search of their friend.
It was Beckett who first spotted the missing scientist standing knee deep in the rising tide. Calling out, he tried to gain McKay's attention, but his friend appeared distracted and it dawned on the physician that Rodney might be sleepwalking.
"Major, I found him," he called out anxiously, tossing his gun and light aside as he ran for the water. Splashing loudly through the surf, he watched in horror as a large wave knocked Rodney underwater. When his friend didn't immediately surface, Carson dove below the cold surface, judging where the other might be and grasped him by the arm, pulling him above the swells.
Soon Sheppard and Ford were at their sides, helping drag them from the strengthening tide. The loose sand was pulled out from under their feet by the receding water, causing them to stumble and then be swamped by another wave. This time the major and lieutenant firmly gripped the doctors and made their way to shore. The four collapsed onto the sand, coughing up seawater and shaking from the cold.
"What happened?" Rodney gasped as Carson briskly rubbed his arms and back while ordering Sheppard to go get some blankets.
"You went for a night time walk right into the bloody ocean."
He blinked water out of his eyes, staring at Carson in disbelief. "I don't sleepwalk," he coughed.
"There's a first time for everything, lad, and tonight you were sleepwalking." Carson spied Sheppard's bobbing flashlight rapidly heading in their direction and soon the major was helping him wrap blankets around him and McKay. "I think it'd be best if we head back to Atlantis," he suggested.
"Yeah, I kind of thought so. Ford's breaking up camp and I already have the jumper running to get warm inside."
Rodney coughed again but was able to make it back on his own volition, with Carson and Sheppard keeping a close eye on him. Finally settled in one of the spare seats, he quietly tolerated the physician's examination.
"I was dreaming," he mumbled, recognizing pieces of his vision.
Carson's sharp eyes looked up to meet his, "I thought so. Do you remember what about?"
A red tint flushed across the scientist's face, embarrassed at what he'd done. "I was home, walking along the lake."
The Scot nodded, patting his friend on the knee, "I think all of our talk today got your subconscious to reminiscing."
"We'll be home in about five minutes," Sheppard called back from the pilot seat. "Do you want a med team standing by?"
"I don't believe that will be necessary, Major." Shifting to sit next to McKay, Carson pulled his own blanket tighter around his own shoulders, "I would like you to spend the night where I can keep an eye on you."
Rodney nodded and closed his eyes before leaning his head back against the side of the jumper. "I want a shower. The salt on my skin is making me itch."
Carson snorted, "You're not the only one." Feeling the soft bump of the jumper landing, he stood up and tugged McKay to his feet. "Wake up, lad. You can rest soon."
Elizabeth and the women returned the following afternoon, surprised to find the station tidy and the men appearing rested. When she questioned to the whereabouts of her senior officers, she was directed to the major's favorite viewing lounge.
She and Teyla made their way down, both ready to apologize for going back to the planet. After spending more time there, they'd become uncomfortable with the way that the men were treated, and realized that it had been a mistake to take advantage of the culture.
Stepping into the lounge, she stopped to take in the four sleeping individuals scattered across the furniture wrapped in blankets. Sheppard's football game was only half over and the bowls of popcorn were only half eaten. Judging by the tans on the exposed faces, she imagined the fun the guys must have had to wear themselves out in such a manner.
Turning to Teyla, she nodded to the hallway, closing the door silently behind them. Later, she would ask them what they did, but for now, it was just good to be home…safe and sound.