Wee Little Bugger
Synopsis: "We fought the majority of them off… but Carson has a… uh, well, a little problem.". Warning: plausible cuteness overload. [Au, CarsonJohn friendship/bond (not slash)
A/n: Giving credit where credit is due: All major characters and settings are owned solely by the creators of Stargate, and unfortunately, not by me. Also, the basic plot line of this story was inspired by Danny Phantom SG-1. I hope they don't mind me concocting a plot-bunny out of it (:
Dr. Elizabeth Weir liked to consider herself an expert at expecting the unexpected. After all, she was living in another galaxy that was inhabited by green, life-sucking aliens. But: the one thing she could never predict was the strange and downright freakish things that the members of her SGA-1 team could get themselves into.
So when Sheppard told her that he was taking Beckett and McKay to a primitive planet for a food-in-exchange-for-drugs trade; she readied herself for the good, the bad, and the ugly.
From the control room the whoosh of air was heard as the big blue puddle flashed into life, casting its teal-ish glow around the room. The gate tech confusedly announced it was Lieutenant Colonel Sheppard's ID code. And by 'confusedly' it was meant to be interpreted as Sheppard checking in with Atlantis nearly six hours ahead of schedule. Now, albeit the Colonel wasn't the greatest person at being on time for anything, but he was never, never, early checking in. In fact it was a great rarity. "Open a connection," Weir stated with a hint of curiosity and bewilderment. The technician quickly obliged. "Sheppard? Something you needed?" The radio connection crackled as the facetious drawl of John Sheppard responded.
"Dr. Weir," it was his normal starter when the answering of a question would end up being a long-winded explanation, "we've encountered our green friends again. A band of about twenty ambushed us, jumped down from a ledge that side-railed one of the village paths. We fought the majority of them off… but Carson has a… uh, well, a little problem." The crackling took the place of his voice for a moment. "You won't believe me until we get there, so I'll explain more in depth once we're eye to eye. I just need you to do one favor for me."
"Depends on what it is," She tried to withhold the worry from her voice, but John caught it anyways.
"Clear the gate room?"
He was out to make a liar out of her and her 'expect the unexpected' speech. The puzzlement in her voice was clear as day. "Alright, I can do that" She motioned for the gate tech to shoo away the other people lower the shield. "Come on through, the iris is open and the room is clear."
Within seconds Rodney appeared in front of the Stargate, carrying what looked to be more than the share of equipment he left with. Was that a medical pack? That didn't bode well for whatever condition her CMO was in. The Colonel appeared behind Rodney, also with more than his share of field equipment. Carson didn't follow. It wasn't until the gate shut down that Elizabeth noticed the small, yet familiar bundle that was held in John's arms. She covered her mouth with her hands to hide her surprise and shock. "Oh my…"
John gave a look of surprise and sarcasm, "Uhm… oops?" She glared at him and pointed at her office. This would be interesting.
Rodney was sent away to the infirmary for a post-mission checkup, whilst John and his precious cargo were firmly directed into Weir's office. Doctor Susanne Apollo, the 2IC for Carson, was also summoned to collect them after what was sure to be one hell of a story. With his gear and vest deposited by the door, he sat carefully into one of the poorly padded chairs that sat opposite her desk, the small, sleeping figure leaning comfortably on his chest. Even though the features were young and fresh, the mound of thick and unruly hair plus the pastel blue eyes gave it away. The toddler that was napping on Sheppard's lap was none other the Carson Beckett. He stirred as John resituated, but did not wake. Weir just stared for a moment, and then looked to Sheppard, "How…?" It was all she could manage.
John glanced down, then back to meet her eyes, "Well, we aren't really sure. But I can tell you, vaguely, what happened."
"Please do," she said, lips pursed.
"Well, we couldn't have been more than a mile and a half from the gate, and maybe four miles from the village when the Wraith decided to surprise us. I gave the order to scatter, and we all ended up in different directions. It didn't last long than maybe thirty minutes, and we took out maybe half of their little party. The living retreated, most likely to tattle to their superior or something. Do Wraith do that, tattle?"
"John, get on with it." She rolled her eyes. Men.
"Oh right, sorry. Well, I ran into Rodney, literally, near the path but we couldn't find Carson. We radioed him and called his name, when no response came we feared the worst. We canvassed the immediate area next to the road and surprisingly enough for the two of us, found this little guy," he nodded toward the deeply breathing child, "curled up at the edge of the thicker part of the woods. It took us a minute to realize just exactly what we'd found. I mean, he was awake, frightened to death, but completely cognitive. It was obvious he'd been meant as a meal, you can see the blood on his shirt… something must have gone wrong. When we talked to him we could tell it was Carson. It's like he still has most of his memory, but his brain's just deciphering things different. He didn't make it half way back to the gate before he nodded off, he probably hurts like hell to."
John had yet to notice that Weir had yet to interrupt his musing or ask any questions. She was still partially in shock. This couldn't really be the CMO of Atlantis? They'd do a blood test to make sure. Yes, that was it. And when it didn't match they would send the child back to his home world and apologize for inconveniences they may have caused by taking him. Yes, of course.
If Elizabeth thought she had reacted strangely to John's story, then Dr. Apollo's reaction must have been off-the-charts weirded out. But she did agree to patch up the little guy and run the blood work. However, John wasn't just about to hand over his new little buddy that quickly. He insisted that he carry him back to the infirmary, and then excused it with 'he didn't want to wake him'. Elizabeth laughed inwardly; even rough and tumble Sheppard had a daddy's image while he sat there with a child firmly snuggled into his field jacket. She accompanied them down to the infirmary for she was very curious as to what would show up in the results.
They were halfway to the transporter when the sleepy toddler decided to wake. Still clinging to Sheppard's field jacket, he had his head resting against on John's shoulder. Also, from the rhythmic bouncing, he could tell they were walking somewhere. He gently pried open one blue eye, then the other, blinking away the sleep and reaching up to rub at them. Adjusting his head just a little allowed him to see over Sheppard's shoulder, and he noticed Elizabeth, who was trailing behind them. But Weir didn't notice him and he tried to make eye contact with her, briefly, before turning back to rest his head against John's neck. There was still a lingering sense of tiredness, along with a tingling pain in his chest when he moved. He shifted and gave a small whimper.
It wasn't that Sheppard didn't know that he was awake, he could tell from the more controlled movements, but he didn't acknowledge it, hoping he would doze back off. It was the tiny note of discomfort that made him reach up with a soothing touch. The transporter doors closed behind them and it was then that the entire company noted the now conscious child. Apollo watched curiously as Weir tried to draw out some eye contact. She saw a mixture of exhaustion and uncertainty when she finally managed to do so.
"Hello there," she said, with that sing-song-ish voice people liked to use around children.
Even Weir's hopes of this being an erotic day dream were vanquished when the tiny brogue came out in a child's tongue; there was no mistaking that this was indeed Carson Beckett. "Lo 'lisbefh." Carson rubbed at his eyes again, "Am sl'py." With a sigh he repositioned himself against Sheppard.
Weir smiled, she'd always pictured Carson as a cute little boy, and it appeared to be that she was right. But that didn't abate the nerves that fluttered in her stomach. They were at the infirmary doors now, and the group paused. Susanne turned to face Sheppard and little Carson. She bent forward so she was eye level with him. With her head canted she asked him a few questions.
" Carson? Do you know where you are?" her voice was very light and friendly.
Carson sat up a tiny bit and look around, surveying the hall where he spent a lot of his time. It took him longer than it would have in a normal situation, but he eventually answered. "Owside the infir'ry." He sounded quite proud of his accurate observation. The adults noticed that his tiredness was ebbing.
"That's right, do you mind if we go in and make sure you're not hurt?" there was that patronizingly friendly voice again.
Carson looked at her with uncertainty at first, he'd never been overly excited about switching roles as a doctor normally, and with the vantage point of a two year old, who knew how it would turn out. Finally, he reluctantly decided it was ok, but he had his conditions, "No ne'dels?"
Dr. Apollo twisted her mouth, "Well, there might be, but I promise it won't hurt. Not one tiny bit." A reassuring pat on his back and a friendly smile helped coerce an anxious nod out of him. And even so, his grip on the Colonel's jacket tightened. John held him closer as they filed into the main ward and back towards the more private exam rooms. Elizabeth waited up front until after they were done, there was no need to make him more nervous than he was.
Susanne pulled the privacy curtains around the railed infirmary cot, sealing it off from any curious eyes. Sheppard moved to settle Carson onto the bed, but he was having none of it. He held onto his neck tightly, making a very lost-puppy noise, scrambling with his feet to stay aloft. A warm hand moved to his back and Sheppard's voice, usually sarcastic and playful, was comforting and low in his ear.
"You're alright, it's ok. I won't leave." The grip didn't loosen. Sheppard laughed quietly at the surprising strength the little guy had. "Come on Carson, let go. You'll be fine." Reluctantly, he allowed himself to be pried off and set gently atop the blankets. Even then he stuck right by Sheppard's side, keeping well away from Dr. Apollo.
He was wearing only the standard issue of black Atlantis shirts, his boots and khakis were probably long gone. There were dark stains toward the central area of the grossly oversized t-shirt, surrounding jagged rips in the cloth. It was uniform with any other Wraith victim they'd ever seen, except for one miniscule detail. Carson was still alive. Susanne had slipped out of the curtain fairly quietly, leaving Sheppard to gently comfort the nervous boy. John kept his touches light, simple circle on his back or tossing his hair when he became uncertain of his surroundings. He was beginning to settle when Dr. Apollo bustled back into the curtained area, holding... kid's clothes?
"A big supply of children's clothing was brought on the Deadalus," she explained at Sheppard's very confused look, "Since our population is growing, a number of sizes were included. Everything from little newborns to about six or seven years. The Athosian's use the supply the most." All the while she was explaining, she was moving about, writing things on tablets or looking for something in the drawers or cabinets. She had tossed the dark green, footed pajamas on the bed. They were kind of fuzzy, with what looked like cartoonish dogs imprinted on the fabric. It was better than a giant T-shirt, mused Sheppard. Apollo finally stopped her buzzing around, apparently she had gathered all her things. She knelt next to the bed side, so as to be level with a very fidgety Carson. She had one of the digital read-out thermometers in her hand, out of sight from him.
" Carson? Can I take your temperature?" she said it very sweetly, keeping it like it was an important decision and, all up to Carson. He shook his head rapidly and edged back behind John. Susanne looked up to John, looked to Carson, and then back up at John with her eyebrows raised. He got the message. Moving down a ways, he sat on the edge of the cot. Carson quickly crawled up into his lap. He put his arms around him like a seat belt and tilted his head around to look at him.
"You're not really afraid of that little ol' thing are you?" he said in mock disbelief and gestured towards the little tool in Apollo's hand. She held it out to show that it was benign. John reached out and took it, holding it with both hands in front of Carson for him to see. Little finger's gently reached out to touch it, pushing the buttons and making it beep faintly. It amused him to the point he even smiled a little and pushed the button again. "Can she take you're temperature with it?" John's voice was hopeful. Carson looked up at him concern in his eyes. Susanne stepped in.
"Maybe we should take John's first, just to make sure it works right," she smiled down at the little boy, whose curiosity perked up. Sheppard smiled too.
"That's a good idea." He tilted his head and let Susanne hold the little white thermometer to his ear. It beeped and Dr. Apollo showed it to Carson. "It say's ninety-eight point four," she pointed to each number and read slowly, "That means John's healthy." Carson smiled a little at her. "Now can we try it on you?" He finally nodded and scooted forward a little on John's lap. Susanne put on a new plastic sanitation cover and as gently as she could took, recorded and announced his temperature.
"Ninety-nine point two. See? That wasn't too bad." She gave a little smile to the toddler when he shook his head with a grin. John piped up from behind.
"Are you going to let her finish or do I have to go first every time?" he looked down into the small blue eyes that were staring up at him.
"Ah can do et," he said very quietly. Throughout the rest of the vitals and general exam he sat placidly in Sheppard's lap. Apollo recorded a number of things; pulse, blood pressure, heart and breathing rate, as well as testing his vision and memory. She had him walk across the room and back, tested all his reflexes, along with a number of other neurological exams. He was in perfect health, except he was about thirty years younger than he was this morning. The blood work would answer that question, maybe.