Disclaimer: Once again not mine. Look what I do to them now, what would I do if they were?
A/N: Dedicated to my husband the arachniphobe. He makes the mental decision whether or not to jump out of a speeding car if a spider crawls across the steering wheel.
There Came a Big Spider
"I do so love the wee babes," Carson cooed over the wriggling infant in his hands. "Why can't all my patients be this cooperative?" He shot Rodney a quick glance.
"Har dee har har," said Rodney as he flicked a bug off his pants leg. He also tried to ignore the coughing and sniffling of the patients surrounding him. Their mere proximity sent him into a perpetual state of flinching. "At least let me have a surgical mask, one of them might be contagious."
"Nope? Nope? Come on, we get regular supply runs now. You must have extras," begged Rodney.
"How did I get stuck with this assignment- your babysitter? I thought I'm the one that is supposed to be babysat." He sighed dramatically.
They were on the Tage home world holding up their end of the trade agreement; food for medical care and tactical support. Carson was in the middle of the medical care portion of the agreement.
"I believe it might be time for another physical for you, Dr. McKay. A full physical," warned Carson.
"Dr. Beckett?" A local healer tentatively approached him, interrupting their verbal sparring.
"Yes m'dear, what can I do for you?" He replied as charmingly as possible.
"Dr. Beckett, I am Mender Dela. I need your assistance with a young boy." She wrung her hands. "He was bitten by a large insect."
McKay and Beckett stood straight up.
"How large?" McKay asked.
Beckett shooshed him.
"The insect is not still attached is it?" Beckett asked.
"Oh no. It released him, but he is really sick. I was hoping you had some experience with these creatures. Maybe you know someway to help this child." She looked as if she would prostrate herself and pretty please beg.
"That I cannot say, but I would be more than happy to take a look at him." He turned to his nurse, "Tracy, can you handle this while I go make a house call?"
She nodded, "I'll inform Col. Sheppard."
"Thanks love. I'll be back before you know it."
Rodney placed himself between the door and Beckett. "I'm coming with you."
"You sure Rodney? If it's the darling tick we all know and love, are ya sure you're not going to freak out on me?"
Rodney glared, "I'll do my best Carson."
Carson gathered up the necessary supplies, Rodney, and then he made the short walk to the child's home. The mender introduced the Drs. Beckett and McKay to very worried parents, who welcomed them into their small dwelling.
"He's the healer. I'm the frequently maligned and misunderstood patient," corrected McKay.
Beckett kicked him in the shin.
"Ow!" whined McKay shooting daggers from his eyes as he hopped away from Beckett.
"Where is the boy?" Beckett asked returning his attention to the couple. The child's father showed them to a tiny dark bedroom. "What are his symptoms?"
"He will not wake up. He has nightmares that make him scream in the night and his skin has turned a gray color," the father replied as he sat on the side of the bed and stroked his child's hair.
While Beckett checked vitals, McKay decided to ask his own questions.
"What did this…bug look like?" He was pretty sure he knew the answer already- no harm in being thorough.
"As long as my hand and forearm, black with a red underside."
McKay swallowed. "Where were you when this happened?"
"The market on Pagon, it is off-world. Some foolish merchant thought it would make a good pet. It bit him on the arm before I knew what the man had."
McKay visibly relaxed. "So not here. Your son was not bitten here?"
"Of course not, here, we know not to walk the forests after dark and always stay on the path." The father looked at McKay as if he had lost all common sense. "And, that they are not pets."
Rodney succeeded valiantly at keeping himself from hyperventilating.
"You have those things here?" McKay asked anxiety radiating off of him.
Beckett stopped checking the child and waited for the father's response.
"Yes. Just take a few precautions and you will not be bothered by them- much."
McKay exchanged looks with Beckett. "Don't let the Colonel know. One experience with those things is enough." McKay was only half-joking.
"One of your people has survived an attack and still walks around?" The intensity of the man's gaze was unnerving.
"I'm sorry, your name is?" Beckett asked.
"Yes and no, Derwood. We made a desperate gamble and it paid off," McKay said absently. He was already thinking that the Wraith bug might be the only thing to send Sheppard screaming like a co-ed. Of course, he would be running right behind him drowning him out.
Deriam was perplexed.
"Colonel Sheppard was purposely electrocuted to stop his heart. Thinking the colonel was dead, the creature released him. We then revived him." Beckett was starting to get an uneasy feeling as Deriam's eyes bored into him. "But I really don't recommend that, besides it will not help your son."
"Can you help my son?"
"I cannot say, but we will do our best. With your permission, I would like to draw blood and a few other samples to run tests on."
Lost in his own thoughts, Deriam nodded.
"Carson, I really don't want to be the one to tell him those things live here." McKay's eyes darted from mender to father to son to Beckett.
"Well Rodney, he needs to know. Now help me would ya, pass me that vial?"
Sheppard lazily smiled at Teyla. The wraith had not culled this planet- yet. He and his lovely teammate had been reviewing security measures with the local politico. This was his zone, his expertise, his realm of knowledge. Not a single ceremony, temple or weird occurrence in sight. No need to sacrifice Weir to any volcanoes or demi-gods. He gave a small self-satisfied smile. Revenge had been sweet though.
"Colonel Sheppard, you seem very relaxed." Teyla stood up from the soft chair by the fire rousing him from his internal reflection.
"I am. Don't know why, just am."
She sat down next to him on the sofa in the large common room. He gave her a sideways glance. He had let it happen. Rodney, Teyla, Elizabeth, and Carson: they were friends and dare he say family on some level. Each one had punched holes in his carefully crafted Great Wall of Sheppard. His only regret was Ford. He had failed him on so many of those levels, but he would rectify that situation. They would get him back and they would help him. His defensive wall remained intact enough to protect him from delving any farther.
And he was feeling way too comfortable in this life. Promotion, official command, and- dare he say it- a home were all making him feel content. There were things that still needed to be hashed out such as his standing with Caldwell. That would also all work out in the wash. It usually did. Of course, when things go your way that meant the other shoe should be hovering just above the floor.
"Colonel?" McKay's voice had too much of a sheepish quality for there to be anything good following his rank.
"Hey McKay, pull-up a chair and enjoy the fire." Sheppard shot an award winning grin trying unsuccessfully to deflect whatever had the scientist so agitated.
"Big freakin', life sucking, hickey giving arachnids!" McKay blurted out.
Fuck. An imaginary clunk echoed in his head. He hated it when he was right.
"Excuse me," he said keeping his voice calm.
"Colonel," said Carson trying to mollify him.
"This planet apparently is home to a colony of the Wraith bugs."
Fuck, fuck, fuck.
"O…Kaay…so…um…" Sheppard was at a loss for words.
There was only one thing to do.
"I'm going to bed."
"Are you all right, Colonel?" Carson blocked his way.
"Peachy keen. See you in the morning." He side stepped and left as fast as he could without running.
"Should we go after him? I mean he didn't look well," squeaked Rodney.
"I will check on him in a little while," offered Teyla shooting a menacing look Rodney's way.
"That'll be fine lass. Let me know if he needs anything. Good night Teyla." Carson nodded at her and also shot Rodney an annoyed look.
She returned the nod to Carson and excused herself.