Title: Mashed But Not Broken
Author: Dr. Dredd
Rating: PG or K+
Disclaimer: Stargate Atlantis, characters, concept, etc, aren't mine. I get no profit or reward from this except the joy of writing.
Summary: John has yet another accident off-world. And of course it's Rodney's fault again. Go figure.
From her perch in the control room, Elizabeth Weir watched as Colonel John Sheppard limped through the gate, supported by Teyla and Ronon. John looked up at her and flashed a forced grin. "Sorry we're late! Ran into a little trouble on the way home from work." He sounded cheerful enough, but she didn't miss the annoyed look he sent in Rodney's direction.
"Now what?" Elizabeth wondered. Peter's replacement had already called a medical team. "Go directly to the infirmary," she thought wryly. "Do not pass Go, do not collect two hundred dollars."
Just before the gate shut down, something small streaked through in a blur. The marines tensed and pointed their weapons, but hesitated when they saw it was a small, catlike animal. Eyes wide as it stared at its new surroundings, the kitten froze in place and let out a high-pitched squeak. Elizabeth couldn't help thinking that it was rather cute once you got used to it.
John's reaction, however, was a little different. "Bates!" he snapped, looking around for the security chief. "Get rid of that thing!" Everyone in the gateroom gaped at him. "Don't be fooled by its cuteness. It's an evil little furball!"
Elizabeth knew she had to intervene before blood was shed. "Uh, John, can you let the cat live for a few minutes while you tell me what's going on?"
"That monster is the reason I'm in this condition. I'M GONNA KICK ITS ASS!"
It was all Elizabeth could do to keep from bursting out laughing. "Let me see if I have this right," she said diplomatically. "That tiny kitten injured you so that you can't walk. It must really be vicious."
The marines had started to relax, and some of them now snickered at their CO. Before John could call them on it, the medical team arrived. As usual, Carson was leading it. The cat took the opportunity to bolt for freedom, but didn't look where it was going and smacked into the physician's shoe. "What's this, then?" he asked, bending down. "A wee kitten!" He picked it up, and it promptly burrowed into his lab coat pocket, mewing piteously.
Elizabeth looked at John and shrugged. "Looks like you're going to have to go through him if you want to get the cat."
"Get the cat?" Carson echoed. He glared at John. "Why would you want to attack something so small and defenseless? It's obviously confused and scared."
John quickly decided not to respond, in order to avoid digging himself in deeper. Anything he said might earn him a few more vitamin shots or unpleasant medical procedures involving barium. How had he managed to become the villain in this piece?
As he prepared to limp to the infirmary, Ronon whispered. "I could grab it while Beckett isn't looking. It would probably be a better dinner than what they've actually got planned."
"No! We don't even know if it's edible. And I thought you were from Seteda, not Melmac." Ronon gave him a funny look, but didn't bother to ask.
"Well, in technical terms, I'd say it's mashed but not broken." Carson looked critically at the second toe on John's right foot. That had to hurt!
"They teach you that in medical school?" John asked, glowering at the furry ear tips that stuck out of Carson's pocket. They weren't that far away. If he just stretched like so, he might be able to…
"Colonel! Would you please stop trying to kill the cat and tell me what happened?"
"Not surprising, it's Rodney's fault again."
The astrophysicist, who was undergoing his own post-mission checkup, looked up at that. "My fault? I don't even want to know how your deranged mind came up with that one."
Carson groaned to himself. Just once, he'd like to have post-mission checks without any bickering. But the two of them took perverse pleasure in needling each other. Needles? Hmm, now that was a good idea… But before he had the opportunity to look for any of the sharp, pointy things, John continued his tale of woe.
"Teyla and I were finishing up the negotiations while Ronon and Rodney waited outside." In a stage whisper to Carson, John added, "Diplomacy isn't their strong point, you know."
"Hey! Pot. Kettle. Black," yelled Rodney.
"Whatever! Anyway, when Teyla and I joined them, we found Rodney with the cat. He was feeding it, if I recall. So naturally, it started following us home."
"It was abandoned and hungry! But YOU would have let it starve to death, you brute."
A muffled yowl could be heard from Carson's pocket, as if its inhabitant agreed with Rodney's assessment. The physician reached down and scratched behind the kitten's ears. He smiled as he was rewarded with loud purring, and pretended to ignore John's disgusted expression. Then he folded his arms and leaned against the wall. "All right, lads, let's finish this before the wee beastie and I fall asleep."
"Not much left to tell," John said. "We walked back to the gate, which was located on a raised platform. I started climbing the stairs, something spooked the cat, and..."
"He tripped!" Rodney interrupted gleefully.
Now Carson understood the reason for John's irritation. The self-confident officer would definitely be embarrassed after nearly taking a pratfall over a cat. No doubt it threatened his military dignity or something like that.
Well, too bloody bad.
"All right, then. Like I said before, your toe isn't broken. No fracture on the x-ray. We'll be able to get away with 'buddy taping' it." At John's confused look, Carson clarified. "We'll tape the injured toe to the uninjured one next to it, for support."
"The other thing you have to do is stay off it for a few days! It'll take a lot longer to heal if you keep running around." The physician was not impressed by the innocent look John gave him. "You know what? I don't trust you. You're on crutches for the next week."
"You can't be serious! I'm no doctor, but even I know that people don't use crutches for busted toes."
"They do when they would otherwise disregard medical advice and insist on doing their normal activities! Don't argue, or I'll make you sleep with this guy in your room every night." Carson lifted the kitten out of his pocket and put it on the exam table across from John's. "I'm going to get your crutches, and I wouldn't try sneaking out of here if I were you."
"Hmmph." After Carson had disappeared, John leaned over towards the cat. "For the record, you'd better stay out of my way. I know an Athosian dog who would just love to meet you, get my drift?"
The kitten looked at John and gave a huge yawn.
A/N: This came from a challenge on the SGAHC list. The title of the story had to be "Mashed But Not Broken."