Title: Teacher, Teacher
Rating: K+ Slight language
Season/spoilers: Season 1; reference to 'The Brotherhood'.
Thank you: Sincere thanks to Kamelion, nebbyjen and imskysmom for invaluable feedback and encouragement.
Disclaimer: Stargate: Atlantis and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. No copyright infringement is intended.
"Doc, are you sure you're not still... upset about this morning? 'Cause, really, you're punishing poor Lakemore here, not me." He tried to inject a touch of humour into his tone, and threw a reassuring smile at the young lieutenant in question. He received a weak grin in response, but Lakemore's eyes were wary.
John Sheppard had only hesitated a second when Beckett asked him to assist with the young soldier's treatment - he'd dutifully donned the gloves, handed over scissors and sterile wipes, even pretended to have a good look at the deep shin laceration as Beckett inspected the injury and pointed out the gory details – all good practice for emergency field medicine, like the doc said, he supposed.
Besides, he was eager to smooth things over with his friend; tempers had flared on both sides during the morning's disastrous flight training session, and Sheppard was feeling a little guilty about pushing the doc so hard. After hearing Bates' report on Beckett's piloting during the Wraith recon incident, he'd thought his most reluctant student might finally be ready for something a little more challenging than basic ferry-trips to the mainland. Man, was he wrong. Not that their training sessions didn't always involve a lot of indignant huffing and hand-wringing from his nervous pupil, but this one had been the worst by far, ending with Beckett storming out of the jumperbay not only in a fury, but shockingly close to tears.
Sheppard hadn't meant to lose his patience, and he certainly regretted the low blow he'd dealt with a guilt-trip he knew the soft-hearted doctor wouldn't be able to resist – People are counting, on you, Carson! Regrets aside, it was a harsh truth; they couldn't afford to lose another jumper. They couldn't afford to lose another pilot. The loss of Markham and Smith – and yes, the ship, too – had been a stunning blow, and he was more determined than ever to get all of those who'd trained in the jumpers as ready as possible for whatever the hell the approaching Wraith forces had in store for them. The doc's indignant reminders that he wasn't a bloody fighter pilot, damn it, were beside the point.
If Beckett was holding a grudge, he didn't let on. He gazed mildly back at Sheppard as he sat on the level with Lakemore's prepped leg, suture kit at the ready, with a vial of local anaesthetic in one hand and hypodermic in the other. These he held out expectantly towards his reluctant volunteer 'nurse'.
"Now, Major, it's a practical skill to have for emergency first aid, administering a painkiller intravenously. Don't worry, I'll walk you through it step at a time." He gave his young patient a gentle dimpled smile. "You don't mind playing guinea pig for the Major here, do you, son? It's for a good cause, after all."
Lakemore's eye's flicked over to Sheppard and back to Beckett, and the Major saw him swallow hard, but he covered quickly. "No, sir, I don't mind at all, sir." There was that weak attempt at a grin again.
Sheppard still suspected that the timing for the doc's sudden urge to teach medic skills wasn't a coincidence, but he wasn't about to get on the Scot's bad side again so soon. Besides, he had to set a good example for the nervous and suddenly somewhat pale lieutenant.
"Well, Lakemore, I apologize in advance if this ends up feeling more like a big jab than the usual 'wee pinch'." He reached out and took the proffered items from Beckett, only a little gingerly.
"That's the spirit, good lads. Now, grip the syringe like so... you've got it, now fill to 10 cc's. Very good." The Scot nodded approvingly and rolled his stool a bit off to the side to make room for Sheppard at Lakemore's knee.
The Major set the lieutenant's foot on his own knee as gently as he could. "Okay... no problem. How hard can it be? It's not like I'm doing the actual stitching or anything."
Beckett 'hmm'ed at that, and his tone was thoughtful. "Actually, now that you mention it, I have been meaning to talk to you about adding emergency suturing to the training sessions on field medicine for all off-world teams." Sheppard paused, needle in hand, and raised a disbelieving eyebrow at the contemplative doctor. Lakemore quietly let out the breath he'd been holding and shifted uncomfortably on the exam table.
"Is that really necessary? I mean, we all know how to do the basics - CPR, pressure bandages, McKay's EpiPens in case of attacking bees or... citrus." He ignored Beckett's amused snort. "Anything more complicated, and we'll be hightailing it home or calling in one of you guys, doc."
Beckett leaned forward and frowned, all humour lost. "I'm confident that you have all the basics down, Major, but what if you're cut off from the 'gate? We might not be able to reach you quickly, and you'd have to deal with a more complex injury yourselves. Really, we should have started this when we first arrived." He frowned again and rubbed his chin absently, then sighed and clapped his hands against his knees. "Well, there's no time like the present," he said cheerfully. "Right then, let's get Mr. Lakemore medicated here, and we'll start you in on the sutures."
"Whoa, back up there, doc... are you kidding?" Sheppard stared at the impassive doctor in disbelief. He knew Beckett's point about field medicine was valid, in general; like many soldiers, he'd been unfortunate witness to good people losing their lives for want of proper medical care far too many times. However, the thought of playing medic himself made him acutely uncomfortable and more than a touch queasy. He was used to inflicting injury, when necessary. Fixing the damage was supposed to be someone else's job.
Even in the face of Sheppard's obvious unease and the growing look of dread on Lakemore's face, Beckett was relentless. "It needs to be done, so someone has to do it. What if this really was an emergency?" To Sheppard's dismay, Beckett's accent had thickened a bit as his volume increased. "We'd be wasting precious time that could mean life and death for the lieutenant, here. What's the hold up, son?"
Sheppard was appalled at the unfortunate turn his bridge-building mission had taken. Both their tempers were fraying again, when he'd been trying for the opposite. "What's the hold up? Uh, how about I don't know what I'm doing? What if I hurt him?" He stole a glance at the silent, saucer-eyed Lakemore. "In a real off-world emergency, of course I'd do what I could, but this really isn't my thing, doc!"
Despite having climbed an octave or two, Beckett's voice was stern. "Not your thing? Well, that's just too bloody bad, isn't it? I know I don't have to remind you of the responsibility you have to those under your command. People are counting on you, John!"
Sheppard's sharp reply was out of his mouth without a second's pause. "I know that! But damn it, Carson - I'm not a doctor!" He blinked, hard, as realization sank in, and he felt his face flush in shame.
Beckett's small, tight smile held little amusement, and his eyes were solemn. He reached out and gently retrieved the tightly clutched hypodermic, then set to work on Lakemore's ragged cut. "I understand, Major. You're off the hook, son - why don't you head out? I'll see to the lieutenant myself."
Sheppard hesitated, still reeling a bit from the unexpected turn their heated exchange had taken and reluctant to leave on such shaky terms with his friend, but he decided a strategic exit was the best option. With a sharp nod to Lakemore, he got up, set the stool aside, and loped to the door, making a conscious effort to keep it from sliding open too suddenly as he beat a hasty retreat. He paused at the threshold, though, and looked back at Beckett. The doctor was already stitching carefully, making quiet small talk with his young patient to distract him from the unpleasant procedure.
Something made Sheppard speak up again. "Hey doc... we still on for dinner? I hear it's Rodney's favourite glop tonight, so we'll be able to pull him out of his lab for a change and actually sit down in the mess."
Beckett's expression shifted from concerned to grateful, and his grin was easier this time. "I'll be there. I'll need all the help I can get to ease Rodney into the idea of the new medic training without him having a stroke." His smile faded, and he looked at Sheppard in earnest. "I was serious about you needing some more training, John. It's become apparent that the off-world teams need to know more than the bare basics, with all the bloody trouble that's waiting for you out there. My responsibility to your health and welfare doesn't stop just because you're light years away." He paused, and his look softened a bit more. "We'll take it slow, try not to tackle too much all at once, how's that?"
Sheppard nodded thoughtfully. He could handle that. With additional help from Teyla and Ford, he figured they'd even be able to cajole Rodney into cooperating, mostly. "Sounds like a good plan, doc. I'm sure Elizabeth will be on-board, she can help set up a training schedule for all the teams." He looked away for a moment, gathering his thoughts. "Not pushing too much at once, that's something to keep in mind for all for any kind of training." He met Beckett's eye again, and braced himself to be firm. "The jumper piloting's gotta happen, too, Carson. We'll just have to figure out a method that works for you."
Beckett had the good grace to look a bit chagrined at that. He sighed heavily. "Aye, I know. I still think it's bloody madness, but I'll try to keep the whinin' and moanin' down a bit. It is a necessity, after all."
Sheppard grinned at his friend, relieved that they'd agreed to at least that much. "Yeah. Same goes for me – we both have lots of people counting on us." He was glad for Beckett's chuckle and rueful head-shake. Another thought occurred to him as he turned once again to leave, and he glanced back to address Lakemore. "Lieutenant... I assume you know about doctor/patient confidentiality, and how it... uh... goes both ways, right?" He gave the attentive young soldier a significant look.
Beckett piped up before Lakemore could answer. "Aye, son. My apologies to you for having to sit through our little discussion here, but if you'd be so kind..." He trailed off, embarrassed. "Well, let's say it'd be most appreciated not to have rumours floating about that the ranking military officer and CMO were screeching at each other like a couple of daft kids." He shot an amused glance over to Sheppard, who was still grinning, but aiming a comically raised eyebrow at the lieutenant.
Lakemore's eyes flicked from one to the other again, but he looked more at ease than he'd been since he hobbled in to the infirmary with Sheppard's help. He straightened up to the best 'seated attention' he could manage, considering his foot was still in Beckett's lap. "Yes, sirs, I understand. You can count on me."