Title: Rough Landings
Author: Grey Lupous
Summary: The people on Sheppard's team are Carson Beckett's best friends... except when they're in the infirmary. (tag to "Condemned").
Disclaimer: If I owned Stargate Atlantis, my word would be canon. And that thought is just scary, so let us not contemplate it any further.
Spoilers: Condemned, and possibly some episodes before that.
Beta: Once again many thanks to my wonderful beta Linda, who without I would be installing all sorts of additions to the Gateroom and rearranging sections of Atlantis at will.
The ground shook as Sheppard ran for the gate, arms pumping, legs burning with the effort. Despite all his team's close calls since coming out to the Pegasus Galaxy, hell, despite all the Black Ops missions, this was probably the hardest he'd ever run. He couldn't hear anything over the ground exploding around them as the Wraith cruiser's very bad aim tried to get revenge for them letting the all-you-can-eat-prisoner buffet get away. However he could feel Teyla close behind him, and the last time he'd dared to glance over his shoulder he could see Rodney, Ronon, and the jittery prisoner guy keeping pace as well.
He didn't look back much though, as the huge explosions were a pretty good incentive to keep focused on the shimmering blue portal that shone like a beacon. He didn't slow his stride as he approached, just acted on the faith that Weir wasn't pissed at him today and remembered to send an IDC so he wouldn't wind up a Sheppardesque bug splatter on the Atlantis shield.
The cold shock of traveling through the gate hit him, stole his breath away, but just like that he was on the other side, finishing his half-leap into the Gateroom.
And that's when one of his legs decided to very conveniently fold under him, and he fell flat on his ass, trying to pretend that he meant to roll out of the walkway like it was part of his elaborately planned entrance. He could see a medical team already making a beeline for him, with none other than Dr. Beckett in the lead, but he was already twisting his body into crazy contortions, and saw Teyla emerge through the gate, graceful as always. She seemed fine, and didn't seem to spontaneously develop any injuries.
God he hated her sometimes.
Then came the stuttering guy whose name he'd already forgotten, landing from a leap, arms reaching to cover his head as if the ceiling would come crashing down any minute. He had to slow his running, but wound up at the bottom of the gate, peering through his arms to see if he had really made it.
For a moment Sheppard didn't breathe, wondering if he had just imagined looking back to check on the other two members of his team. If they had been hit, or tripped, they wouldn't be able to dial out for—
Rodney came flying through the gate, arms pin wheeling wildly as they searched for purchase. He winced as he saw that the scientist wasn't thinking clearly enough—never was—to try and crouch into a roll to decrease the impact. Almost at the same instant Ronon came diving through in a similar manner, but was already curling his body so he could land safely in a crouch.
It would've worked too, if the flying wonder known as Rodney McKay hadn't been in the way. They both came down in a heap of tangled arms and legs. It would've been comical, except that Sheppard was afraid he'd heard a crunch and a whoosh of air. And did he smell smoke?
He made a move to help them, but fell short with a hiss as his knee spasmed, sending him back into a heap on the floor. As she was closer to him Teyla came over to help him to his feet, so in deference to her kind gesture he decided not to glare at her for having more grace than the rest of her teammates put together.
A bellow of pain and annoyance grabbed his attention and he watched as Ronon did his best to regain his footing, but was impeded by McKay flopping around like a fish. He heard a heavy sigh from behind him, and looked over to see Carson shaking his head sadly.
"What on Earth did you boys manage to do this time?"
"You big oaf!" An out-of-breath McKay feebly slapped one of Ronon's dreadlocks out of his face. "Get off me!"
"Gladly," the Satedan growled back as he freed his arms from McKay's flailing limbs, "as soon as you stop struggling like a spotted roebuck!"
Sheppard gave Teyla a questioning look.
"It is a type of fish found on several worlds," she supplied helpfully.
"Ah," he nodded.
"I think I broke something," McKay groaned miserably. "Like my back."
"You're worse than a private at training camp," Ronon gave McKay a dark look and struggled to his feet, "it's like—agh!"
He went down, clutching the leg that had been impaled by an arrow. Beckett apparently took that as his cue to put a stop to the ongoing stupidity. As the Scot strode past, Sheppard sniffed the air experimentally. "Does anyone else smell smoke?"
Rodney's eyes widened. "Dex."
He ignored Rodney as he made another attempt to stand.
"Dex," the scientist's voice grew more urgent, but was still ignored. "Ronon you're on fire! On fire!"
That apparently was enough to warrant attention and calmly Ronon patted himself up and down until he found the smoldering section of his person and beat the tiny flames out.
"All right you two, that's enough lollygagging. Now Ronon sit your bum down and let me see that leg," Beckett told him sternly. Ronon met the physician's gaze for a moment, challenging it. Carson didn't blink, and after another moment he rolled up his pant leg to reveal blood soaking through the bandage that Teyla had applied earlier.
"Och, that's not good. Let's get you on a gurney and to the infirmary."
"I can walk," Ronon insisted quietly.
"No offense son, but I don't think that's such a great idea. You're losing enough blood as it is. Walking on it will only increase that."
"Oh don't mind me, I think I'll just die," Rodney moaned as he rolled onto his back, cradling an arm to his chest. He closed his eyes as his back met the cool grating. "Oh yes, that sounds rather nice."
Ronon lifted his lip to reveal his canines, darting a glance over at McKay. "I'll meet you in the infirmary. I'm sure he needs more attention."
"I'll lecture you on your use of sarcasm later Conan," McKay muttered, face screwing up in pain.
Beckett kept one hand on Ronon to keep him from trying to get up again, clearly that argument wasn't over yet, but also reached over to rest a hand on McKay's shoulder. "Rodney, you all right?"
McKay cracked open an eye, and made the effort to quirk up one corner of his mouth into a smile. "Oh hello Carson, fancy meeting you here?"
"We're going to have to stop meeting like this," Beckett agreed with a hint of a smile. "Now what's wrong with that arm?"
"Nothing much. Shooting pain, fingers are a little numb. Did I mention pain?"
"Aye, ya did. Can I see?"
"No, no, I think we're fine just like this. Just bring the drugs to us," McKay clenched his eyes shut again.
Beckett ignored him and gently probed the injured arm, eliciting a breath sucked in past clenched teeth. McKay's eyes snapped open as a strangled noise escaped his throat.
"We're going to need to take some x-rays," Beckett confirmed, before he felt a shifting next to him, and tightened his grip around Ronon's arm. He swung his gaze to look back at the annoyed Satedan. "Don't even think about it, lad."
"I can walk," Ronon said again, annoyance infusing his tone. "Just like I've been doing all day."
"Are ye crazy?" Carson turned to spear the slightly hunched Sheppard with a glare. "You've been lettin' him walk on this leg?"
Sheppard stood up a little straighter at the dreaded Beckett glare. "Let is such a strong word. And he did get a lot of rest when we were all tied up on the prison island."
"The prison—" Beckett sputtered and gave the entire team, plus now-gaping-former-alien-prisoner a quick running look, deciding they were all out of their heads. "Into the infirmary with the lot of ya!"
Sheppard shrank a little behind Teyla at the ire emanating from the Scot. He didn't think for one moment she'd protect him from the doctor, but perhaps he could use her as a human shield if Beckett snapped and started tearing through the Gateroom in a Hulk-like rage.
Ronon made another struggle to stand, and was promptly pushed back down not-so-gently by Beckett.
"Stay down and wait for some help. Don't think I won't sedate you into next week."
Ronon hadn't survived running from the Wraith for seven years by not learning when to lie low. He wisely chose that moment to take a temporary retreat and settled back down. He looked over at McKay, who was looking more pitiful than ever.
"Is he always like this?"
"Oh yeah," Rodney wheezed, watching Ronon through slitted eyes, "just make sure to duck if that vein in his forehead pops out."
Ronon pursed his lips together as he watched as several medical personnel rolled in a wheelchair and various other medical equipment. "I'll keep that in mind."
Sheppard eyed Beckett warily as he rolled up the colonel's pant leg to reveal a grossly swollen knee. He winced as he eyed the bright array of colors that use to be his knee, trying to remember how the heck that had happened. The doctor seemed to have forgotten his earlier annoyance at John, and he wasn't about to remind him.
"And what exactly were you doing to get this, hmmm?" Beckett lightly tapped the knee, causing John to grunt.
Okay, maybe he hadn't forgotten so much. Sheppard pursed his lips together as the pain dulled, and he schooled his expression to hide his annoyance, lest he tempt Beckett to start testing the knee-jerk reflexes again.
"Trying to remember," he answered honestly, and the image of trying to follow Teyla's lead in gaining a weapon sprang to mind, being knocked down, shoved to the ground, and more general abuse of that nature. "Oh yeah..."
"Care to enlighten me?"
"Um, a stick?"
"A stick?" Carson asked incredulously. "All of this came from a bloody stick? And exactly what were you tryin' to do?"
It was amazing how much one irate Scottish physician could resemble his mother. "Well, I needed a weapon and it worked fine for Teyla..."
"Need I remind you that mopping the floor with your sorry bum also works fine for Teyla?"
John shrugged and gave Beckett his most charming smile. "Can I have some Tylenol now?"
He heard Carson mutter something that may have been Gaelic under his breath and returned with an icepack and placed it rather firmly on his leg, forcefully moving it up onto the cot John was currently occupying.
"Keep that on there until the swelling goes down, and then we'll probably wrap it."
"No Tylenol?" He blinked sadly.
Beckett whirled around, grabbed something, and then thrust his clenched hand towards Sheppard. Timidly John accepted the two pills that were dropped in his hand and cautiously reached for a glass of water to wash it down.
"Don't even think about moving that leg Colonel," Beckett warned, eyebrow twitching dangerously. "I need to go check on the progress of my other patients."
Sheppard settled against the pillow on his cot as the icepack numbed his throbbing knee. He felt sorry for whoever was next on the Scot's list.
"And just what do you think you're doing?" Carson roared as he rounded the drawn curtain to see Ronon pulling on his torn up boot over the re-bandaged leg.
"Dr. Pierce said I should get some rest. I find my quarters more comfortable."
"He meant for you to rest here, where we can keep an eye on ya!" Carson threw up his arms in exasperation.
Ronon eyed the doctor carefully. "I do not wish to remain here, I find it—unsettling."
"It's a hospital, not the bloody Ritz!" Carson shook his head as he strode across the way, noticing once again that he could barely see over the man's shoulder. Not one to be intimidated by his own patients, he steered the reluctant Satedan back to the cot.
Ronon gave him a disgruntled look and continued lacing up his boot. With a grunt of annoyance Carson grabbed at the boot, trying to tug it off. A brief tug-of-war ensued, before Ronon finally relented. With the sudden lack of opposition the boot came free, and Beckett stumbled back several feet.
Breathing heavily so he would not break the Hippocratic Oath and throttle his patient, he set the boot down on the counter harder than necessary and spun around to fix Ronon with the patented Beckett glare. Ronon glanced up at the ceiling, finding the intricate patterns far more interesting to look at.
"Specialist Dex," Carson addressed Ronon in his coolest and most professional voice, "I suppose back on Sateda you had a chain of command?"
Ronon let his gaze drift back down to the doctor, caught off guard by the question. "Yes we did."
"So when a superior gave you an order, you obeyed it, correct?"
"I'm sure you also had military physicians too?" Carson crossed his arms.
"We did," Ronon frowned, seeing where this was leading.
"Well it works the same here," Beckett tapped a finger on his elbow impatiently. "So when I or a member of my medical staff tells you something, it's not a suggestion."
Ronon gazed calmly at Beckett.
"It's a medical order," he leaned forward so that their gazes were only two inches apart. "You are not to get out of that bed until I, or a member of my staff clears you to do so. If you have any pressing matters that need attending to, you best call me first."
Reluctantly the Satedan swung his legs back up onto the cot and resumed glaring at the ceiling as Beckett examined the bandaging.
"Now," the steel in Beckett's voice softened to his usual beside manner, "I'm sure you went over all of this with Doctor Pierce, but humor me. How are you feeling?"
Rodney cracked an eye open, feeling groggy and disoriented. This usually meant one of two things, something had gone horribly wrong again, or he was in the infirmary. Both options seemed to be connected many times, and happened to him entirely too often. He let the other eye drift open and confirmed that he was indeed in the infirmary, and from the dull muted pain in his wrist, that probably meant that the grogginess was due to Carson's magical painkillers.
He lolled his head to the side, his brow crinkling in confusion. "Colonel, what are you doing?"
"Shh!" Sheppard placed a finger to his lips, his other hand still clutching the crutch he was using as an oar to wheel the gurney he had apparently hijacked around. "Don't let the warden hear you!"
"Sorry," McKay quieted his voice, "but still, what are you doing?"
"Just paying a visit," he grinned, bringing his 'oar' up onto the bed with him as he pulled the bed up next to Rodney. "How's the wrist?"
McKay glanced at the cast that now encased his forearm, and then back at Sheppard. "It hurts and won't be very useful for a couple of weeks."
"Fractures do tend to do that," John shrugged. "Any idea when they're going to spring you?"
"Soon I hope, I've got a lot in the lab that needs my attention," he massaged his forehead, trying to knead the murky thoughts out. Cracking an eye open he noticed the bandage and rolled up pant leg. "What happened to you?"
"Must've happened during the fight," Sheppard lied quickly.
"You ran on it fine to the gate."
"Well you know, adrenaline and all that good stuff."
"Uh huh," Rodney said disbelievingly, "and still, you haven't explained why you're paddling around the infirmary in a cot-canoe."
"Beckett said I couldn't move my leg. Never said anything about the bed. See," he indicated his leg proudly, "immobile."
"You must have a death wish - that, or a very strong desire to get a shot in the ass."
"I'm behaving!" Sheppard protested.
"He's on the warpath!" McKay hissed. "I hear he's got Ronon behaving like a Catholic school boy. If he catches you, who's telling what kind of awful medical voodoo he'll practice on you?"
"Aw, the concern is real touching."
"And then who knows what he'll do to me for being the cause of this?" McKay continued. "No, you need to paddle on back to your side of the room, for the good of us all Major."
"I'm sorry, but you can't just go changing your name after a year and expect me to not slip up!"
"It's my rank, not my name."
"Same thing right?"
"You could just call me by my first name like all my other friends."
"You mean that's not your first name?"
"Oh very funny, c'mon, call me John. You know you want to!"
"If I wanted to, don't you think I would by now?"
"It wouldn't be so bad, would it?" John used the crutch to scoot his cot closer to McKay's. "You can finally come out of the closet and show the world that you can warm up to people."
McKay gasped and sat back, looking truly offended. "I can't do that!"
"C'mon Rodney, it'll feel good. All the other kids are doing it, even Teyla."
"I won't give into this peer pressure!"
Both heads whirled around at the clearing of the throat to see Beckett watching them with an unreadable expression. Sheppard plastered on a dazzling smile. Maybe if he could blind Beckett with his smile he could make a break for it and paddle out of the infirmary and to freedom.
"He did it! All him, I was being good!" Rodney squeaked. "I was trying to rest, and he came and accosted me and tried to make me call him names and I'm completely innocent!"
"How's the knee feeling?"
"A lot better, thanks."
Carson approached the rolling cot, and John held his breath, wondering if this was it, truly the end. When the Scot leaned down to inspect his injured knee, he let out the breath.
"Swelling seems to have gone down. I think we should wrap it now. Paddle on over to that curtain while I grab some gauze."
"Sure thing," Sheppard mock saluted Beckett and grabbed his crutch oar as the doctor disappeared to find some gauze. He turned his attention back to McKay, who was currently sporting a rather flabbergasted expression. "See? Good."
Rodney let out a small 'hmph' as he crossed his arms. "Just because you can charm him with your playboy smile doesn't mean that I'll call you John."
"Thank you Rodney, that's all I wanted," Sheppard grinned and began to row back to his section of the infirmary.
"Hey wait... I did not call you John!"
"See, it's not so hard!" John shouted back over his shoulder.
"I just said J—it in a sentence. That doesn't count!"
With a wave, Sheppard disappeared behind an observation curtain. McKay glared at the place where the Colonel had taken his leave for a moment, before settling back down into his cot. He really hated it when Sheppard was able to get the last word in.
The quiet of the infirmary almost lulled him to sleep, when a loud voice, carried across the room jerked him back awake.
"Ow! What the hell was that for? I don't need a shot!"
"Now Colonel, I'm the doctor here. Why don't we let me decide on the proper treatment." Rodney didn't have to see behind the curtain to know that Carson was sporting an evil grin.
Content, McKay closed his eyes. Sheppard may sometimes get the last word in, but in the infirmary, Beckett always had the last laugh.