Title: The Hidden Strength of Quiet Waters
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Pairing: Eventual Carson/Rodney
Dr Carson Beckett smiled to himself as he made his way down to the South Pier. He glanced up at the clear Lantean sky and out across the wide blue expanse of ocean surrounding the Ancient city and his smile grew wider. Walking out onto the pier, he glanced around to make sure no-one was watching him. Carson carefully sat down on the edge of the pier, took off his boots and socks and slid his bare feet into the cool, blue water with a soft sigh. He tilted his head up to the sky and closed his eyes, the gentle smile never leaving his face. Eyes still closed, he swished his feet lightly in the water. He sighed again, wishing he could stay here all afternoon.
"Beckett!" the voice came over his earpiece, causing him to jump and his eyes to fly open.
He sighed, tapping his comlink, "What is it, Rodney?"
The temperamental astrophysicist huffed, "I could be dying here, and all you have to say to me is 'What is it, Rodney?'"
Carson fought back a snicker, "If ye were dyin' ye woulda been wailin' and cryin' like the banshee, so aye, I say to ye, what is it, Rodney?"
"I've found something…" was followed by a scuffle and muffled swearing, "Ok, ok, Zelenka and I have found something."
Carson frowned, "Found what, Rodney?"
Zelenka's voice came over his comlink, "Do not know. Room, broom closet, do not know. Need gene carrier to open."
Carson looked puzzled, halting the movements of his feet in the water, "But Rodney has the gene…"
There was a scuffle, then Rodney's voice spoke to him again, "But I need to be taking readings and things from the outside. I've got the Major and Teyla coming with me… us… OW! Radek, I said us!"
Ignoring the arguing scientists, Carson asked, "Well, if the Major's goin', why do ye need me?"
The Canadian managed to sound scathing, even over an earpiece, "Carson, we are going to look at an unknown alien room in an alien city. Knowing the Major, we'll probably all end up in the infirmary anyway."
Carson rolled his eyes, "Rodney, I am not droppin' everythin' because ye think ye may need a medic on a possible expedition to somethin' ye think could be a room that might be dangerous."
"Fine," the astrophysicist snapped back, "Be that way."
Carson's radio went dead and he breathed a sigh of relief. Now he could stay out here all afternoon, nothing but him and the blessed quiet of the water. His feet resumed their gentle swishing and his eyes slid closed again. Not even two minutes had gone by before his radio crackled to life in his ear again. He sighed. Sometimes it sucked being the CMO.
"Doctor Beckett?" Zelenka's accented voice came softly into his earpiece, as though he were trying not to be overheard.
"Radek?" Carson asked, confused, hadn't he just finished this conversation?
"Am sorry to bother… but… am really thinking you should come down…" the Czech's voice got progressively lower until Carson had to strain to hear him.
"Radek? What's goin' on? Has somethin' happened? Speak up a bit, lad," Carson replied, worry shooting through him.
"Is Rodney," Zelenka said, voice still soft, "Is not hurt, but is… aahhh… when he switched radio off, ano? Turned to walk away, was talking about going down to room anyway… stumbled and swayed… thinks I did not see."
Carson winced, pulling his feet out the water and tugging on his socks, "The daft bugger. When was the last time he ate?"
"Do not know. Has not eaten since I have been in lab. That is since… 9? 9.30?" Zelenka said.
Carson yanked his boots on, cursing in Gaelic, "Stall him, Radek, I'll be down there, with food, in about 5 minutes."
"Ano, I can do that," the Czech answered, before signing off.
Still cursing in Gaelic, Carson went down to the infirmary, grabbing what he'd dubbed his 'Rodney-pack'. The pack contained everything needed to treat anaphylactic shock, hypoglycemia, minor cuts and bruises, burns and at least 3 doses of a fast-acting sedative. He then moved onto the mess hall, grabbing a tray of sandwiches and a flask of coffee, shooting the cook a grateful smile. With the Rodney-pack on his back and the sandwiches and coffee in his hands, Carson quickly walked down to the lab, wincing as he heard the raised voices of both Radek and Rodney.
"Radek! Grab your stuff! We are going, now!"
"Ne! We check schematics!"
"Fine! We check the schematics… and… oh my, I'm still right!"
Radek muttered darkly in Czech as Carson sidled his way into the room, putting the sandwiches and coffee down on an empty desk. The Scot cleared his throat, making Rodney whirl around to snap at him. The astrophysicist swayed slightly on his feet. Carson sighed, taking two quick steps forward and steadying him. He led Rodney to a chair and sat him down. The astrophysicist shot him a glare. Carson gave him a mild look, before taking his pulse and feeling his forehead. Turning away, he picked up the tray and flask and deposited them on the desk in front of Rodney.
"Eat," he told him in a no-nonsense tone.
"I don't have time; we have to look at that room. Plus all the work I have to do around here," Rodney snapped, turning back to his laptop, still ranting about how much work he had.
Carson simply raised an eyebrow at Zelenka, picked up a sandwich off the tray and stuffed into Rodney's mouth, effectively gagging him, "Ye'll eat first."
Rodney shot the Scottish man a glare that would have sent most people screaming for the hills. But Carson Beckett was not most people. He simply returned Rodney's glare with a small smile and a mildly raised eyebrow. Gesturing to the sandwiches and coffee, he put the Rodney-pack down on the floor before sitting down next to Rodney.
"Rodney, I saw ye swayin' on your feet, ye nearly stumbled and fell. You're skin is cold and clammy and your pulse is trying to beat its way outta your wrist. If ye dinna get that down ye, ye'll be well on the way to a hypoglycemic reaction. Just slow down for a bit, lad. That room'll still be there in the ten minutes it'll take ye to inhale your food."
Rodney sighed. The doctor's soft, calm voice with its lilting brogue always did it to him. Carson could probably ask him to jump off the balcony in that voice and he'd be halfway to the ground before he realized what a stupid idea it was. And he was pretty hungry. Rodney pulled the sandwiches towards him, not bothering to ask if it had citrus in it, he trusted that Carson would've checked, and started eating. He shot Zelenka a scowl as the Czech grinned.
Finishing the coffee and sandwiches, Rodney looked speculatively at Carson, "Well, Carson…"
Carson's eyes narrowed, "Well, Carson what?"
Rodney looked dubiously innocent, "Now that you're down here…"
"No," Carson said flatly.
"Come on, Carson, you know the Major… Everyone wants a piece of him," Rodney gave Zelenka an odd look as the Czech choked on his coffee, "He'll probably get called away just as I need him to turn something on. And before you say anything about me having the gene, I need to be on the laptop taking readings."
Carson sighed in exasperation, "Rodney…" he glanced up at the Canadian, "Oh fine… I'll go."
Both the Scottish doctor and the Canadian astrophysicist missed the soft chuckle and the knowing smile that flitted across Radek Zelenka's face. The two scientists and the medical doctor packed up their gear and set off towards the unidentified room. They met up with the Major and Teyla in the control room and headed off towards the hallway.
The team walked down the hallway, Sheppard and Teyla talking quietly together and McKay and Zelenka engrossed in a game of Prime, Not Prime. Carson sighed, wishing he were back on the South Pier, back in the water. How did he get roped into this? Oh aye, he thought sardonically, the gene. He frowned slightly, the fact that he had a crush the size of Ben Nevis on one Rodney McKay probably didn't help much either. He kept walking down the hallway after the others, still fervently wishing he was back on the South Pier.
Lost in his own thoughts, Carson didn't notice the team had stopped until he glanced up, almost running into Teyla. Flushing with embarrassment, he apologized, trying hard to ignore Zelenka's raised eyebrow, Rodney's annoyed frown and Sheppard's amused smirk. He stepped back, adjusted his pack slightly and glanced over at Rodney and Zelenka, who were talking excitedly over a laptop.
"It's a database archive," Rodney babbled, his eyes bright, "It's the Ancient database only…"
"… is sorted, is organized, not like database we work with now," Zelenka interrupted, causing Rodney to glare at him.
Rodney turned back to the laptop, "It looks like anyone can access it, as long as someone with the gene initiates it," he trailed off, mumbling to himself.
Sheppard raised an eyebrow, "So… it's like the Lantean Public Library?"
Rodney shot him a long-suffering look before continuing, "It just needs someone with the gene to go in first. You enter the archive by simply walking up to the door, placing your hand on the panel and saying your full name and title out loud."
The interest that had sparked in Carson's eyes at the thought of finally being able to access all the medical data the Ancients had in one spot faded at Rodney's last statement. He paled slightly. Full name and title? Holy crap. He felt Teyla's concerned gaze on him and shot her a quick smile. The smile flew off his face as soon as she turned away. This couldn't be happening. Not after the gene discovery. Maybe he could… No. He shook his head slightly and smirked mirthlessly. All the trouble he'd been through to hide this… and he was about to be outed by a door.
Rodney turned to Sheppard, "After you, Major."
Sheppard raised an eyebrow, "Why me? You have the gene now too."
Glaring as Zelenka barely suppressed a snicker, Rodney snarked back, "Yes, but you have the big gun… am I using words that are too long for you?" Rodney glared at the Czech scientist as this only made him laugh harder.
Sheppard just rolled his eyes, smirked at the still laughing Zelenka and moved up to the door, placing his hand on the panel, "Major John Andrew Sheppard."
The door lit up and slid open with a soft hiss. The two scientists grinned, both starting forward, bumping into each other as they both tried to step up to the door. Carson tried to surreptitiously back away, but stopped when Teyla gave him a quizzical glance. He took two more quick steps back when she turned back to watch Rodney and Zelenka fight over who would go next. Rodney won.
Grinning smugly, the astrophysicist moved up to the door and placed his hand on the panel, "Doctor Rodney Phillip McKay."
Muttering crossly in Czech, Zelenka followed close behind, "Doctor Radek Mikhail Vasily Zelenka," he said quickly, his accent broadening, his face creasing into a frown at Rodney's incredulous stare.
"You what, now? I don't speak Czech," Rodney said, glancing once at Radek before shifting his gaze back to the archive room.
Zelenka glowered at him, "Is my name, Rodney."
Ignoring the bickering scientists, Teyla cast one more quizzical glance at Carson before moving up to the door herself, "Teyla Emmagan, leader of the Athosian people."
Carson stayed where he was, half in, half out of the shadows, glancing almost fearfully at the glowing door. Teyla shot him a concerned glance, before turning to Sheppard, elbowing the Major gently and gesturing to Carson. Sheppard frowned. Beckett wasn't normally this nervy around the Ancient stuff; he should have jumped at the chance to go through all the medical data in the archive room. Sheppard walked over to the door and gave Beckett his trademark grin.
"You coming, doc?"
Carson shot him a shaky smile in return, "Actually, Major… I think I'll stay here."
Rodney's eyebrows shot up into his hairline as he heard Carson's answer, "Come on, Carson, your middle name can't be as embarrassing as the hellish mouthful that Radek just came out with."
Carson backed away a few more steps, looking nervous, "I'd really rather stay here."
Rodney frowned, his blue eyes darkening with annoyance, "Carson, get over here! We need you to turn stuff on in case the Major decides to go make moony eyes at funky alien priestesses again."
Radek snickered, as Sheppard let out an indignant "Hey!"
Carson looked down at his feet, then back up, catching Rodney's eye and sighing, "Ok then, fine."
Looking nervously at the panel, Carson gingerly placed his hand on it and spoke, "Doctor Carson Angus Beckett, MD."
Radek frowned, muttering something in rapid-fire Czech, before turning to Rodney, "Did not work."
Rodney shot him a look, "Really? Well, thank you Doctor Obvious," before turning to Carson, "Carson, stop being petty, just open the damn door."
Carson winced at his tone, mumbled something that sounded suspiciously like a prayer in Gaelic, looked down at his feet and switched back to English, "Carson Angus Beckett, son of Aglaranna, Selkie of the Roane, and Fenian, Merman of the Great Sea…" here Carson paused, before closing his eyes and continuing in a much softer voice, "Uath Adétche, Abomination of the Fey, banished from their lands these last twenty-five years…"
Carson removed his hand from the panel and sighed sadly as the door slid open cheerfully. He eased his way into the archive room, heading for a computer in the corner, ignoring the stunned faces of his friends. He reached out a hand to turn it on using the gene by touch, then gave it up. He was outed now; he may as well be really outed. The team watched in confusion as Carson flicked his fingers lightly in the general direction of the computer. The confusion turned to shock as the computer and all the panels and data pads around it flared into life. Carson sat down at the terminal, running his fingers over the keys, occasionally flicking them in the direction of other computers. He plugged a data pad into the terminal and sat still and silent, the melancholy look not leaving his eyes. He pulled the data pad free, tucked it into his bag, stood up and headed for the door.
"Where are you going?" Rodney's voice came from behind him.
Carson turned, confused, "Back to the infirmary."
"What! Why? You can't just pull a stunt like that then run away…" Rodney trailed off as he saw Carson's pale face and pain-filled eyes.
"Because I don't think I'm either needed nor wanted here anymore, lad," Carson replied with a sad smile, gesturing to the Major and Teyla, both of whom had their hands hovering over their P-90's.