Just want to thank every one for sticking with the story. I have really appreciated all the great reviews and helpful advice.

Disclaimer:- SGA isn't mine. If it was it would be on its 6th Season by now.

Well is Sheppard going to leave Atlantis for good ?....



Carson walked through the drab concrete bunkers of the SGC and wondered, not for the first time how any one could work down here full time. What he wouldn't give to be back in his native Scotland or even Atlantis again but at least his time here would be short and hopefully he would be able to return to his cabin again, sooner rather than later.

Sheppard really did have the worst luck..The plan was for the pair to stay at the SGC for a few days while they underwent the standard physical and to make sure that they weren't carrying any Pegasus galaxy bugs back to Earth. Well that particular protocol was there for good reason as within 48 hours of arriving John came down with the Pegasus version of the measles. It turned out that Torren was the culprit having caught the virus while on a visit to the main land

As Teyla and Ronon had caught the illness as children they were fine. Rodney developed a few yellow spots and a mild fever but despite his protestations that he was dying, Kellar released him to rest in his quarters within a few days and he was back working in his lab the following week. John on the other hand had not been in the best shape to start with so he was currently lying in the SGC Infirmary covered from head to toe with bright yellow spots and running a temp of 102.

It turned out that Carson had escaped the virus because of Michael. Who would have guessed that the biggest serial killer of the Pegasus Galaxy had done him a favour as during the cloning process Beckett's DNA had been altered to resist most types of virus, apparently including this one. However the SGC doctors decided to keep Carson in quarantine for an additional 48 hours just in case.

John felt like crap. Part of him knew that this virus was nothing compared to what he had been through recently but he was completely miserable, roasting hot one minute and shivering the next plus every part of his body was one big ache. The only visitors he'd had so far were the medical staff dressed in hazmat suits but they were treating him like the prize exhibit at the science fair which was really pissing him off.

One particular doctor (who looked a lot like Kavanagh )was constantly in his face – literally- taking close up pictures of his spots. When John glowered at him the guy had the audacity to scold him saying that he should consider himself lucky as the virus was getting named after him and "Sheppard Spot" was to be the subject of a research paper. Lucky was certainly not the way he was feeling. Yet again he was back in the Infirmary but this time there was nothing but concrete and metal to look at and no balcony to escape to. This was supposed to be the start of a new life. Well so far it sucked and as far as he was concerned it didn't bode well for the future.

Carson walked into the Infirmary and could see John lying curled up on his side looking like a wet rag. His face was flushed and his eyes looked distant, staring into space. Why was it his friend never seemed to catch a break?

"Hi Colonel how are you feeling?"

"Carson, thank God ! I thought I was going to go crazy down here! Have you heard how Torren and Rodney are? I've asked but no-one will tell me. They poke and prod, take pictures...Do you know they've named the freaking virus after me!"

Beckett hid a smile. "Torren and Rodney are both fine and yes I have heard about "Sheppard's Spot". Fat lot of good it will do them though as the only place they could publish would be in the Pegasus galaxy" Sheppard should have realised that. The thought that Kavanagh's twin had done all that work for nothing made him smile for the first time in days.

As soon as Johns fever broke Beckett had him transferred into the guest quarters as he could tell that the pilot was becoming depressed again. At least there Carson could supervise his care and start him back on some gentle exercises for his leg. When the two men were sharing a pizza one night Carson asked the the million dollar question.

"So John, have you given any thought about what you want to do next?"

John put down the slice he had been eating and looked into the face of his friend "After my leg is on the mend I thought I would have a holiday first. I was left a beach house in my fathers will, cant remember the last time I saw it. Anyway I want to check it out. As for after that, I don't really know. The Air Force has been my life for so long now I don't think that becoming a commercial pilot would cut it for me. Maybe I should finally follow my fathers wishes and join the family firm. That would have made him happy."

"You could always go back to Atlantis John, there are people there who care for you. I know that you made a decision to leave but you know now that the situation wasn't as clear cut as you first thought and it really is okay to change your mind."

"I know that Doc but to be honest I am really tired of the whole nearly dying thing. The fact is I would give my life for any one of you but recently, its not been about that. It seems that even helping a kid on the street gets me into grief and to nearly lose my life because of that...well I didn't sign up for that"

Beckett thought that John looked beat in more ways than one. "What do you say we give the clinic a miss for a few days, how do you feel about going on a road trip?"

Finally, nearly 3 weeks after arriving at the SCG Beckett wheeled John out to see their "ride"

A Volkswagen camper van sat out in the compound car park. It had cobalt blue metallic paint and was decorated with a surfer on a large yellow surfboard riding a wave.

"I'm really sorry John but this was the only one the rental company had left.... "

Sheppard got out of the chair and hobbled over to the van. He place his hand on the side savouring the feel of the shiny paintwork under his fingers. He turned to Carson with a huge smile. "This is cool! How much does the guy want for it?" A phone call later and the van was his. Beckett shook his head. If only the Military contingent on Atlantis could see their CO now.

The last time David Sheppard had seen his brother was just after their fathers funeral. Since then the contact between them had been patchy at best. However when the phone call came from John asking if could come visit with a friend for a couple of days, Dave was relived as he hadn't heard from his brother for several months and was starting to get worried

As soon as the garish looking van came up the driveway Dave knew it could only be John. Patrick Sheppard was right about his eldest son – he was irresponsible and would never grow up. The van stopped outside the entrance and a short stocky man with a Scottish accent helped John out of the passenger seat. Dave was shocked to see his brother looking so pale and leaning heavily on crutches.

"I'd like to say that you were looking well John but what has happened to you now?"

Deflecting all talk away from himself was a John Sheppard speciality"Its good to see you Dave I'd like to introduce you to a good friend of mine. Dr Carson Beckett meet Dave Sheppard my younger brother"

Carson had heard from Ronon that Sheppard came from money but this was beyond what he had expected. The large two story white washed house was set in the middle of a large lawn running down to a steam. There was a huge paddock to the side with stables and he could count at least six horses grazing in the nearby field. Looking at all of this he couldn't really blame John if he chose to go back to a life of luxury compared to what he'd had to endure during the last 5 years. Beckett was starting to consider that maybe his plan to reunite Atlantis with her favourite son might not work after all.

The two siblings had a lot of catching up to do so Beckett make his excuses and left them to talk. It was obvious that there was a lot of unresolved issues between them and he just hoped that they would be able to work it out so that both men could get some closure. Carson was told to help himself and he didn't need to be told twice as he took a large dram of Talisker single malt and walked out into the paddock and down towards the stream. This place was really beautiful, something must have went badly wrong to make Sheppard want to leave all of this behind. Remembering his patient Carson checked his watch, John was due for his meds, so he finished his drink and went back inside. As he entered the living room Dave was helping a sleeping John to lie flat out on the couch.

Carson immediately went to Johns side and started to take his vitals.

"He fell asleep as I was talking to him. Please Dr Beckett, tell me what happened to my brother?"

Dave had seen the faint scars around Johns wrists and he wasn't stupid. While John slept the two men talked for hours. Beckett had told him as much as he was allowed given that Dave didn't have security clearance. It was clear that John was only considered to be a selfish "fly boy" flaunting his fathers wishes, but given the story that this earnest Scot was telling him Dave now knew that wasn't the case. His father had been wrong about John, they both had. He decided then and there that if John was willing he would like to give their relationship a second chance.

Two days later and the Volkswagen hit the road once again. Carson didn't tell John about their conversation, nor did he plan to. He was just happy to see John looking more relaxed than he'd done in a long time. He just hoped that he would stay that way...

It was nightfall by the time that they finally reached for their destination.

John was still weak from the virus so Carson had given him something to help him sleep and settled him down in the back of the van. Sheppard really hated being treated like a kid but he knew that Carson meant well and he had to admit it, the visit with Dave had really taken it out of him. He was so sure that joining the family firm would be the way to go but after taking to Dave he knew now that being a corporate clone wasn't for him. The decision he had made all those years ago had been the right one. So where did that leave him and what was he going to do now?

It was the sunlight streaming through the window that alerted Sheppard to the sound of waves hitting the shore. What the hell, where had Beckett parked last night? – if his van was stuck in the sand...John sat up, he was no longer in the van. at some point during the night he had been taken to this room and placed on a bed. It was strange but something about the place seemed familiar somehow. Had he been kidnapped ? And where was Beckett... His heart thudded in his chest as he looked for something he could use as a weapon. Damn, someone was coming. He got out of bed as quickly as his bum leg would allow and reached for his crutches but it was too late...

" Hi Sheppard thought you might be awake, want some breakfast?" - Rodney McKay!

John was furious "Let me guess, I suppose it was Ronon who carried me in last night? And where's Teyla?"

"Teylas downstairs in the kitchen – what ever you do don't take her oatmeal. Don't say I told you but a cook she ain't. Sheppard ! John! where the hell do you think you're going?"

John had to get away. He went straight past Rodney out of a familiar side door and down the path to the beach. By the time he got to the waters edge his leg wouldn't support him any more and he fell down onto the sand. Great, he couldn't get away now even if he had to. Sheppard had run away all the way from Aldova to the milky way where could he possibly go next?

It was cold at this time of the day and Beckett knew that he couldn't leave John outside for long.

He slowly made his way towards the lone figure on the sand and sat down beside him.

"So you don't really have a friend who has a clinic do you? Let me guess, this was all part of some freaking master plan to get me to change my mind and come back to Atlantis wasn't it!"

Carson looked his friend straight in the eye.

"If you think I'm going to apologise John your wrong. For such a smart man you can be a daft bugger at times.. The people in that house, your team, need to heal as much as you do. Don't you realise that they feel terrible for what happened on Aldova. All they want to do is to be given a chance to make it up to you. Ronon and Teyla have spent days working out a programme and installing equipment in the basement to help get your leg get back to normal. Rodney, hell John, the man hasn't been the same since you left, he misses his friend. Its about time that you started to realise that its not all about you. Being part of a team means that when one suffers you all suffer. Get over yourself man and start behaving like the leader that you are."

For a minute Beckett wondered if he had gone too far but a smile crossed Johns face.

"If I could get up right now I would smack you on your ass, you do know that? Help me up,its getting cold out here and I want to see if Teyla's oatmeal is really as bad as McKay says it is"

It was Christmas Eve and it seemed as though the Wraith had got the memo about the holidays as there had been no life or death situations for over a week now. Cadman and Banks were decorating the tree he had brought back from MP9XO and Carson watched as they argued at to wither it should be a star or an angel that was going on top. Beckett didn't normally hang around the gate room but he was feeling a bit concerned as this was the first time Colonel Sheppard had gone off world since he had returned to active duty.

During the time at the beach house Carson had watched as John gradually returned to health both in body and spirit. Ronon and Teyla worked with Sheppard every day until by the end of their stay John was bugging Carson to let him go surfing. A compromise was reached, there would be no surfing this time but John was allowed to swim in the ocean he loved. Rodney insisted that John should have the latest in electronics and security systems installed, so by the time he was finished Beckett seriously doubted that there was any installation on Earth, let alone beach house in Malibu, that had the same security systems as Atlantis!

Slowly Johns barriers came down and he let his team in again. It might not have been quite the way it was before, too much had happened for that, but it was good enough and he finally made the call to Woolsey to say that he would be returning to Atlantis.

David Sheppard became a regular visitor to the beach house. The brothers would reminisce over the happy times they spent their as kids when their mother was alive and later by the fire Dave entertained them all with stories of their CO as a young boy – much to Johns embarrassment.

Carson knew that he had been too had been forgiven for his deception as when he first returned to his cabin there was a case of Talisker single malt waiting for him.

"Off world activation, its Dr McKay's IDC"

Sheppard team came through the gate' soaking wet and covered in mud with Ronon and Teyla supporting their limping CO on either side.

A worried Carson rushed to Johns side " What happened to you Colonel?"

Sheppard drew McKay a dirty look "Blame him, I told Rodney to watch where he was going but he tripped in a pot hole and took me with him!"

McKay snarked back " If Colonel calamity here hadn't been too busy looking over my shoulder at the life signs detector in the first place, he would have been just fine!"

Ronon and Teyla eased John down onto the stair to let Carson have a look at his ankle. "Its only a sprain but I'll get you under the scanner just to be sure"

Giving John a knowing look "Is every else okay Colonel?"

With a smile in his eyes John looked straight at Beckett "Everything is just fine Doc" and Carson knew then that it was.

The End

Thanks to all of you for reading my first effort. I have been thrilled at the great reviews and appreciate the helpful suggestions. I promise to try to find a Beta for my next story!

In the meantime I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas and a healthy happy New Year.