A/N: Title changed from the original "Office Space"


I like my office. Granted, it's a mess, and it certainly doesn't have a view like Kate Heightmeyer's. But it's mine, and it provides me with a place to retreat if things get too hairy.

For example -- and no pun intended -- I once holed up in there for several hours after informing Colonel Sheppard's entire team that they would have to shave their heads. A particularly nasty species of alien bug had decided to take up residence in the Colonel's hair, and I needed to take drastic measures to keep them from infesting the city. When Ronon began bellowing like a moose on steroids and John started fondling his P90, I decided that discretion really was the better part of valor.

I also spent a lot of time in my office following virus-related incidents. After the nanovirus outbreak, it had taken an entire evening in there for my hands to stop shaking. I almost had to watch one of my best friends die in front of me while I could do little more than watch. (And it wasn't even me who came up with the solution to that one!) The same was true with John's infection with my damnable retrovirus.

However, I don't only retreat to my office when things go wrong. Several months ago, everyone surprised me with a 37th birthday party. They had baked a cake with ingredients brought over on a Daedalus run, and we ate it enthusiastically. (Albeit not without some hesitation on my part, as both Rodney and Zelenka had been involved in the baking.) John managed to produce children's birthday hats from somewhere and, to my embarrassment, tried to get me to wear one. The ensuing attempt to explain this to Teyla and Ronon was full of hilarity. One thing led to another, and we ended up staying awake most of the night in my office enjoying each others' company and a bottle of old Scotch that I obtained from classified sources.

The only time my own office scared me was when I was unable to occupy it. I had gone on what seemed to be a routine mission. (Note to self: never EVER use that word again. It's like saying things are "quiet" in the infirmary.) But instead of obtaining new medicinal plants to work with, I wound up being poisoned by a plant that looked much like foxglove. I could feel my own heart beating irregularly as John flew the jumper at top speed back to Atlantis and Rodney panicked in the seat next to him. Fortunately we had blood-filtering equipment in the infirmary that could take care of the problem, but I'd have to stay on the machines for almost 24 hours.

During that time I lay in a hospital bed and contemplated my closed office door. Although I knew nobody was in there, it symbolized a huge role transition for me -- from doctor to patient. My colleagues who came around fairly often were now the "in crowd" and I lay on the outside. Whenever I tried to ask about the status of various projects or patients I had been seeing, I was informed that someone else was dealing with it. The rebuffs were polite for the most part, but I gave serious consideration to kicking Schwartz's ass when I got out. Oh well, not the first time and probably not the last.

Was this how others felt when they were guests in my infirmary? Brilliant scientists or dedicated soldiers turned into nervous people waiting for any scraps of information? I'd have to think about that. And maybe I would start leaving my office door open more often...