A/N: This is a companion piece of sorts for my earlier story "Mashed, But Not Broken." In it, an alien kitten follows John and Rodney home and wreaks havoc.
A/N: This story also features a dog named Pete that I first introduced in a fic called "One Sick Puppy." Alas, I don't think I'm ever going to finish that one, but I'm still keeping the pooch character alive.
A/N: I'm back! At least for now... :-)
The first thing that Carson Beckett saw when he walked into the jumper bay was the kitten. He shook his head disgustedly. Rodney was supposed to be watching her, but he obviously wasn't paying attention. The young cat crouched low to the ground and tried to hide behind one of the Marines' legs. She mewed piteously when she saw the physician.
A low growl from the other side of a parked jumper answered the question of why the kitten was so afraid. Jinto was holding his dog, frantically trying to keep him from lunging at the other animal. Part of Carson's mind noted how much both the lad and the pup had grown over the past few months. Despite the ever-present threat of the Wraith, the Athosians seemed to be thriving in their mainland village.
A muffled curse drifted out of the craft, followed a minute later by the man who uttered it. Eyes closed, John Sheppard leaned against the side of the jumper with his left arm bent at an unnatural angle. "Son of a bitch, that hurts!" he hissed through clenched teeth.
Sighing, Carson activated his radio. He spoke to one of the nurses in the infirmary, requesting a wheelchair. He hadn't brought a medical team with him since he'd been informed that John's injury was minor. He should have remembered that "minor" meant anything short of amputation or coma where the colonel was concerned.
John opened his eyes on hearing the soft burr. He gave the physician a slightly sheepish grin. "I don't suppose I could convince you that this is only a flesh wound."
Carson rolled his eyes. "Unlikely, lad." He turned and beckoned to an orderly, who had brought the wheelchair. Then he patted the seat. "You can tell me all about it when we get to the infirmary."
John made a face as he sat down. "And there will be much rejoicing..."
The cat's name was Morrigan. She'd been with them for a little over six months now, having followed Colonel Sheppard's team back through the gate after a trading mission. Her first encounter with the Atlanteans hadn't gone well – Colonel Sheppard had tripped over her and narrowly missed flying head first through the wormhole. Once back in the city, he'd needed a cane to walk on a severely bruised foot, and he loudly proclaimed to anyone who would listen that the kitten was an "evil little furball of doom." On hearing this, Dr. Erin Flannery from Engineering had snickered and called the cat Morrigan after the Celtic goddess of death.
The name stuck.
Carson and Rodney had squabbled over who would get to keep her. Predictably, though (and to his disgust), she only wanted to stay with John. After the first few days, everyone had settled into an uneasy détente. Carson and Rodney had taken turns keeping an eye on her and keeping her away from the colonel. As for John himself, several rumors had spread about him petting her gently when he thought no one was looking. Although he protested loudly, he never actually denied it.
The dog's name was Pete. He and Jinto had been almost inseparable ever since Teyla's people had settled in their new home. The boy claimed that these animals had guarded their homes on Athos, and some had managed to escape with them when Athos fell. Pete was one of the first puppies born on the mainland.
Carson had first met Pete right before the hurricane forced the evacuation of Atlantis. Jinto had been visiting with the dog, and the pup had gotten into some mischief involving a glass vase. The resulting cut was very deep, so the physician had found himself playing James Herriot and stitching up the wound. (In retrospect, he realized that Rodney's taunts about veterinary medicine had started not long after that.)
Fortunately for everyone concerned, both Jinto and Pete were quite healthy. Carson usually saw them only on rare trips to the Athosian village.
Teyla had been very apologetic that morning when she asked John to fly her out to the mainland. The husband of one of her close friends had died suddenly – an undetected heart condition, Dr. Beckett had surmised – and the woman was in need of a shoulder to cry on. John had agreed readily. He was glad to lend a helping hand, and it also got him out of doing paperwork to process some new recruits. Elizabeth and Lorne weren't too happy about the latter fact, but there wasn't much they could say.
John and Teyla didn't notice the feline passenger in the jumper until they were far out over the ocean. John gave her a disgusted glare. "Stupid cat," he muttered under his breath.
Teyla arched one eyebrow but said nothing. Secretly she was amused by the whole thing. It sometimes seemed that John was carrying on mainly for effect. He obviously enjoyed watching Carson and Rodney go to great lengths to keep Morrigan in line, and wasn't above egging them on.
She patted her lap, and Morrigan jumped up. Teyla ran her hands over the soft fur and watched the ocean far below. She decided that she would bring the cat with her when they reached the Athosian settlement. Hopefully the warm, fuzzy animal would be a comfort to her friend.
And she was. At first, Morrigan showed little interest as Teyla and Lina sat and talked at a table in the kitchen. But when Lina curled into herself and began to sob, the cat walked over to investigate. After a minute, she jumped onto Lina's lap, curled herself into a ball, and started purring. The woman leaned over and buried her face in the soft coat.
Lina's crying slowly eased up. She smiled through her tears at Teyla and said, "Thank you for bringing the kitten. She's a comfort, just like Jinto's dog has been."
Pete chose that moment to stick his snout inside the front door. He sniffed the air, trying to figure out what the strange new scent was. He looked around and caught sight of Morrigan. He gave a low growl and his entire body stiffened.
"No!" Teyla said sternly. "Bad dog!"
Morrigan wasn't going to let the challenge go unanswered. She jumped off Lina's lap and hissed loudly at Pete, the hair on her back standing straight on end. He began barking furiously in response.
Wherever Pete was, Jinto was never far behind, so Teyla wasn't surprised to see him come in next. "Pete, get over here!" he snapped, horrified.
Predictably, that didn't work very well.
"I'm sorry!" the boy gasped. "He just got away from me and... Teyla!" He looked flustered when he saw the leader of his people.
"Jinto, it is good to see you, but please get your dog under control."
"I'm trying!" He lunged forward to grab Pete, but the dog dodged to avoid him. Morrigan took advantage of the dog's inattention to lash out with a claw and swipe his hindquarters.
Pete let out a startled yelp, then broke into a mournful howl. Tail between his legs, he turned around and ran out the door. The cat was only a few steps behind him.
John walked toward the small house that was Lina's. He'd spoken with Halling for a while, then horsed around with some of the kids. Now he wanted to see how Teyla and her friend were doing. Carson had asked him to offer his condolences and to tell Lina that his door was always open if she wanted to talk.
As he approached, John heard a commotion coming from the house. There was barking, hissing, and yelling. Without warning, two furry streaks darted out the door and ran straight for him. One of them was Morrigan, and she immediately tried to climb up his pant leg. Pete was the other, and when he saw that she had turned her attention elsewhere, he stopped running away and returned for some payback. He leapt at her, trying to latch on to her tail.
Unfortunately for John, Pete didn't always know his own strength. He smacked into his leg, bowling the colonel over. John instinctively twisted to avoid crushing the cat, and he landed hard on his left arm. He gasped in pain as he heard a sickening crack.
"OW! SON OF A...!!!!"
"And that's how it happened," John said to Carson. He was sitting on an exam bed, cradling his injured arm.
"What is it about you and tripping over animals?" The physician sighed. "Anyway, you don't need to be a genius of Rodney's caliber to figure out that your arm is probably broken, but I'm going to get an x-ray just to be sure. How did you manage to fly home from the mainland?"
"With difficulty." Carson raised an eyebrow and waited. "It's mostly the mental component anyway, which you'd know if you actually agreed to let me teach you..."
"Hey! I can fly perfectly well, thank you."
"Flying? Is that what you call it?" John smirked.
"How long did you say you wanted to stay in the infirmary?" Carson countered with a scowl.
"All right, all right. Like I was saying, it's mostly the mental component. It was slower to operate the controls one-handed, but not impossible."
The physician just shook his head. "I swear, you and Rodney are responsible for most of the gray hairs I have on my head."
"Yeah, about that," John said. "Didn't you say Rodney was supposed to be watching the monster?"
"Aye, that he was. I'm not sure if he forgot completely, or if he was so distracted she just wandered away." Carson looked around. "She seems to be making herself scarce now, though. Why'd you bring Pete home, too?"
John grimaced. "Wasn't my idea. When Teyla found me lying on the ground, she just herded everyone into the jumper and figured we could sort it out later. By the way, Doc, Lina came with us, too. She's not doing very well."
The Scot's blue eyes were sad. "Poor lass. My mum's sister lost her husband the same way. As soon as I'm done with you, I'll go look for her." He beckoned to John to follow him to the radiology area.
The x-ray image showed the expected forearm fracture, so Carson and a tech applied a plaster cast. When that was done, the two went to the physician's office to discuss discharge planning. "I suppose it's too much to hope that you'll actually take it easy, so I'm going to let you stay on limited duty..." Carson was saying as they walked inside. His voice trailed off, and he had to laugh at the sight that greeted them. Having obviously reconciled their differences, Morrigan and Pete slept in a heap on an old lab coat that was lying in the corner.
"Oh, how nauseatingly cute," snarked John. "They're both still evil, though."
The physician rolled his eyes, but attempted to shoo the dog and cat out of the infirmary. "Scoot! People will think I'm not running a clean establishment."
Neither Pete nor Morrigan showed any inclination to move. After a minute, the dog opened one eye to look reproachfully at John and Carson. He gave a huge yawn, then settled back to sleep.
"Those cheeky little buggers!" said Carson, laughing. "They obviously think they rule the roost around here."
"You know what?" said John. "I think they're right."