AN: Final chapter of this story, at last... Thank you all very much for reading and reviewing!


Despite having a healthy aversion to the infirmary, Aiden found him rather enjoying himself during his enforced stay. Beckett had wanted to keep him for another 24 hours of observation, pointedly reminding Aiden that he wouldn't appreciate having a second seizure while ambling around Atlantis.

A point well taken.

Besides, it kept him in the near vicinity of his recovering team members, and Aiden was amazed how much comfort he drew from that.

Even McKay's constant whining didn't irritate him that much anymore. In fact, he now started to appreciate the razor-sharp wit… as long as it was aimed at any else but himself.

As doctor Beckett had keenly anticipated, it hadn't taken long for McKay to bounce back to his usual overbearing self.

In fact, the first time the physicist had really woken up, yesterday evening, his first words aimed at the Scottish doctor had been indicative.

"When can I break free of the clutches of your voodoo-worshipping cult, oh great Houngan?"

Beckett had blinked several times, obviously not expecting their little game of tug-of-war to start this early on.

"Now, just wait a wee moment, there, Rodney." Beckett had crossed his arms defiantly. "You'll be staying my guest for quite some time more, and don't you even think of pulling another Houdini on me or I'll show you some really primitive medicine involving lots of needles…"

McKay had yawned, clearly not impressed, and had promptly fallen back asleep.

Leaving Aiden to get bored as his three room mates happily dreamed the hours away.

Major Sheppard would wake up from time to time and steal a glance at each member of his team to re-ensure himself before giving in to slumber again.

Teyla had only been awake once, and only just long enough to given him a furtive smile.

Beckett was still at a loss as to why the arrow's toxin had affected her somewhat differently than Sheppard, due to female hormones or Athosian genetic make-up being his favoured explanations. Fact was that she seemed to need far more time sleeping it off than the major had, even if she didn't get half the amount in her blood stream.

Beckett had seemed very pleased with her progress, and so Aiden figured she had deserved a nice long rest.

Nevertheless, he preferred his team mates fully conscious.

But now, with McKay once again awake, trying to drive Beckett insane so the physician would get fed up and release him from the infirmary, things had gotten interesting again.

"Aw, come on, Carson, I'm fine. I'm not even seeing double anymore and… Ouch!"

McKay moaned softly as he gently lowered his hands, which had started their habitual gesturing as the scientist got exited, back to rest lightly atop the blanket.

"You're nae fine, Rodney! And I did I nae tell you to keep those hands still before you're going to bust the stitches again?" Beckett groused, nearly at his wits end.

The poor doctor seemed torn between sedating the convalescing, and therefore increasingly irritated, scientist into next week and acquiescing his request to be discharged. Both options would be nefarious for the Canadian's health, but would save his infirmary staff from sky-rocketing blood pressures, apoplexies and manic depressions.

McKay pouted.

Aiden had thought the major ought to be immensely proud to see his pupil excelling in the infamous Sheppard puppy dog look.

The combination with a clenched jaw, indicative of the residual pain in his hands, and creased forehead, courtesy of a wonderful post-concussion head-ache, reminded Aiden uncomfortably of a kicked puppy.

It did Beckett in as well.

The Scot turned to a proven effective compromise.

"You're nae leaving the infirmary, " He said sternly, but added with a defeated sigh "but I'll have someone bring your laptop over…"

Glancing at McKay's heavily bandaged underarms, he added: "I'll also ask for someone to volunteer for typing duty…"

Predictably, dr. Z was the first to assist his boss, looking thoroughly pleased to see his friend recovering so quickly. The usual banter had ensued, and ideas were tossed around with so much force they hit Aiden into a sleepy half-stupor.

The Czech (and Aiden's nap) lasted nearly an hour.

Sure, Zelenka had managed to work alongside McKay for hours on end several times, but at those time the Canadian had had full use of his hands, which had prompted him to take over whenever he thought something was progressing too slowly to his liking.

But right now, when Zelenka couldn't keep up with the lightning speed of McKay's mind, typing too slow to get the equations down as they flowed out of McKay's mouth, the Canadian couldn't grab the laptop.

Not that he didn't try.

Aiden flinched every time he saw the scientist cringe when his hands painfully informed him that reaching out wasn't such a good idea after all.

Hence, McKay was forced to repeat some parts, and cuss violently as it seriously interrupted his stream of thought.

Suddenly, Zelenka tapped his ear piece. "Zelenka here, go ahead."

He frowned as he listened intently, finally signing off with a worried: "Don't do anything, wait for me, I'll be right there!"

Mumbling an apology about urgent matters to his highly annoyed boss, he hurried out of the infirmary as if the devil was on his tail.

McKay sputtered something about the Czech going off to build paper airplanes, now he'd had a good look at some of McKay's schemes which were saved on his laptop.

Doctor Kusanagi was the next in line. The gentle Japanese woman had an angel's patience, enduring the cussing for far longer without showing even the slightest shred of impatience.

But eventually, Zelenka requested her presence at the lab, and McKay was once again left alone, with a laptop, bound hands and an infirmary full of evil shamans and witches out to hit him with tranquilizer darts.

A situation he was very vocal about.

It didn't disturb Teyla, who still hadn't done little more than playing sleeping beauty.

Sheppard seemed to have that part down to an art form as well, but in his case, Aiden suspected it wasn't entirely because of lingering fatigue any more, but rather to curl up with his face towards the wall, safely out of sight so he could grin at McKay's annoyed but very inventive ranting without evoking the man's wrath.

Nurse Mae eventually managed to silence the physicist with the threat of no more second helpings of Jell-O, and the physicist proceeded into sulking, mercifully quiet, mode.



Totally out of the blue, McKay sat up with a triumphant outcry, winced and fell heavily back into the pillows.

His sudden movement startled two nearby nurses, but as soon as they saw that the scientist was still fine, they lost interest, and pointedly turned away when he asked them again to type something for him.

He even said please.

Aiden narrowed his eyes.

The excitement in the physicist's voice, his frantic fidgeting with a laptop he couldn't quite use, the clenched jaw as he bit through the pain when he attempted to type anyway, they all told Aiden this was no longer McKay whining for attention.

This was important.

Important enough to stop bitching and focus single-mindedly on the laptop.

Important enough to ignore the pain even when blood started to stain thick white bandages.

Aiden later never knew what possessed him (although Sheppard would put his cards on a guilty consciousness), especially given his hands-on experience of watching the others, but he suddenly got up and walked over to the fumbling scientist.

"Doctor McKay." Aiden spoke up softly.

"Hmm." McKay didn't look up, too engrossed in whatever he was doing, but Aiden knew by the slight tilt of his head that the Canadian was paying attention to him as well.

"Do you want me to type?" Aiden volunteered.

The clumsy tapping on the keyboard halted immediately as McKay looked up sharply.

For the longest time, the physicist just blinked at Aiden, the suspicion of being mocked at slowly fading from blue eyes as Aiden gazed back sincerely.

"What?" McKay said slowly.

What he really meant to say was: 'Why would you even suggest that?'.

"Let me type, doc." Aiden repeated patiently as he sat down on the bed, gently pulling the laptop from unresisting fingers. "We're a team, right, so we've got to help each other out…"

Which in turn translated into: 'Thank you for saving me, I owe you big time, and this is me starting to redeem myself.'

"Fine." McKay answered off-handedly.

But his eyes spoke of his gratitude. 'Any time, don't worry about it, I know I can be somewhat trying, but this is really important.'

Then, things became very vocal again, involving lots of McKay cursing at Aiden's horrible typing skills, and Aiden's heated replies concerning scientific mumblings incomprehensible to regular mortals.

After all, Aiden hadn't exactly mastered the greek alphabet or complex mathematical formula the way Zelenka or dr. Kusanagi had.

And McKay seemed perfectly able of having a genius train of thought and ranting at Ford's ineptness at the same time.

But eventually, in an exercise of team building that would make Sheppard proud, they managed to transform McKay's idea into an impressive set of notes and equations Aiden hadn't understood a single line of.

McKay sagged into his pillow, looking very pale, but his eyes were still glittering with the fire of discovery as he gave Aiden a crooked grin.

And Aiden grinned back.

Even if he hadn't understand the concepts or formulae, it had been exciting, to be surfing on the giant, rapidly changing, waves that were McKay's genius.

Sensing McKay's waters had calmed significantly, Beckett made a beeline for his bed.

Aiden made room for the doctor and returned to his own bed, vaguely remembering McKay rudely dismissing the physician when he had come to check in on them a while ago.

Settling himself comfortably, flexing aching fingers, he listened to the Scottish brogue lecturing McKay about reopening his wounds again, but there was no real annoyance behind it, only concern.

Just like there was no malice behind McKay's derogatory sheep-related comment.

Thoroughly exhausted, McKay didn't even stay awake long enough to see Zelenka barrel into the infirmary, no doubt alerted by Beckett, and grab the laptop.

Aiden would describe the little Czech's facial expressions in full detail to his now sleeping team member later, because the incredulous wide-eyed look, the slack jaw and the extremely slow blinking were priceless. Then, dr. Z became hyper, hands flailing in all directions, muttering incessantly in Czech in between giving orders over his radio.

In the door opening, Zelenka turned around, giving his softly snoring boss a look of pure admiration.

Aiden barely caught the muttered 'brilliant, absolutely brilliant', and it gave him a warm, fuzzy feeling.

This team stuff wasn't that bad after all.

McKay wasn't that bad.

E pluribus unum.

From many, one.

Different team members with different strengths together making one great team.

Compensating for each other's weaknesses whenever needed.

Aiden smiled as he nodded off.

Providing the lifeline to save one another...