Carson's eyes fluttered open and he rolled over in bed, expecting to find Laura Cadman beside him. They'd had dinner together the previous night and then come back to Carson's quarters for a while, but Laura had dozed off on the bed in mid conversation and Carson didn't have the heart to wake her, so he'd left her sleeping there.
When he rolled over and Laura wasn't there, he touched the spot where she'd lain the night before and it was still warm. Maybe she was still here somewhere, he mused, before checking the time. '0800! He was late for his shift in the infirmary! Carson jumped out of bed and dressed swiftly, pulling a white lab coat over his usual uniform and running a hand through his messy hair. It just wouldn't do for the CMO to be late to work, especially not with Sheppard's team due to go off-world. God only knew that Sheppard and his team would end up in a fix and Carson would bloody well have to patch them up.
"Laura?" He asked, hoping she was still in the room so that he could give her one last kiss before he headed out. Hearing no response, he clipped his wireless com-link into his ear, turning it on as he went. He started a little when it immediately crackled to life, as if Atlantis was wide awake without him.
"Dr. Beckett to my office, please!" Elizabeth Weir's voice rang out. Why would she be calling him to the office this early in the day, unless she was going to…oh no! Carson shivered. The only times Elizabeth had done this at this hour were when she had sent him off-world, through that bloody Stargate.
"On ma' way," He spoke into his headset, as he headed towards the door, thinking it open as he went and then thinking it closed again behind him. How nice it was not to have to stop and manually open every door along the way, especially for the Chief of Medicine.
Carson walked past Rodney's lab, spotting a new device on one of the desks. Why hadn't Rodney come pestering him to turn it on yet? For that matter, where was Rodney? Carson dismissed the thought, trotting down the hall towards the transporter.
In Elizabeth's office, Colonel Sheppard's team sat waiting but not relaxed as they usually were before a mission. When Carson blew in the door, he looked at all the faces waiting for him, and his heart sank. Colonel Sheppard looked highly amused, Teyla and Elizabeth looked concerned, and Ronon was distracted by whatever it was Rodney was holding.
"Rodney, would you like to explain the situation to Dr. Beckett?" Elizabeth spoke up, breaking the silence as everyone looked up at the doctor.
"Aye, what'n the bloody hell is goin' on in here?" Carson asked, and suddenly felt bad about how frustrated he'd sounded. He sighed and turned directly to Rodney.
"Well…let me show you…" Rodney had a sheepish look on his face as he revealed what he was holding. A turtle stood on his hand, looking from person to person until it found Carson's face in the crowd. The turtle started to move towards Carson, whose love for the creatures made him reach out to take the turtle from Rodney's hand.
"Carson, meet Laura," Rodney grinned slightly. Carson started to smile at the name, thinking of Laura Cadman, but stopped when he caught the looks on Sheppard, Elizabeth and Teyla's faces, sharp glares in Rodney's direction. Oh no, what had Rodney done now? That physicist was always starting something, and usually dragging Carson into it.
"Er, Carson, this is Laura Cadman. She came into my lab this morning while I was testing a device. She was asking me a question—about you—she thought that since I was your best friend, I could help her, and—well that's beside the point. One of the rookie scientists I'm forced to work with," Rodney paused his monologue to glare in Elizabeth's general direction, before turning back to Carson, who was looking more and more baffled, "The kid with the ATA gene that they gave me so I'd stop pestering you. He took the device from my desk to turn it on even though I know I said to wait for me, and Laura happened to be in the way when it discharged. I found myself staring at uh, our friend here…"
This was when Carson first began to wonder if he was dreaming the whole thing up. Could even someone as advanced as the Ancients come up with a device to turn people into animals?
"Carson…" Elizabeth started, stopping when she saw Carson's icy blue eyes blazing. She'd never seen the Scotsman so angry over something, but then she'd never seen anyone turn his girlfriend into a turtle either…
"Rodney, for God's sake, tell me yer kidding! Ye did NOT turn Laura into a turtle!" Carson still stood there, turtle in hand, directing his gaze around the room from face to face. Teyla looked taken aback, Ronon's hand had inadvertently slipped to his gun, Sheppard's eyebrows were raised as high as they could go, and Rodney looked genuinely frightened at the usually gentle Scot's reaction. Elizabeth was the only one whose face did not give away her reaction.
"Carson," Elizabeth tried again. Carson turned to her, his face softening and his eyes losing their blazing appearance, regaining their normal twinkle.
"I wish I could say Rodney was joking or that we knew how to undo this, but we don't. We can have the SGC include turtle supplies in the next supply shipment so that you can care for her until Rodney can fix this," Elizabeth tried, hoping to sound encouraging. Carson nodded, smiling gratefully at Elizabeth.
"I don't know if I can fix it though!" Rodney's exclamation should have scared anyone, but everyone else in that room knew that if Rodney said it was impossible, it was a sure sign he'd be able to fix it. With a nod, Elizabeth dismissed the team from the office.
Rodney raced off towards his lab, muttering something about turtles and voodoo, Colonel Sheppard and Ronon headed off to the mess hall to get some breakfast, and Carson headed out the door to take the turtle to his quarters and then go to the infirmary. Teyla put a hand on Carson's arm as he went, stopping him for a moment.
"Carson, I'm sure Rodney will be able to figure out why this happened, but until then, try not to worry," Teyla smiled gently at Carson before heading towards the gym to get in some practice with her Bantos rods before Sheppard arrived for his sparring session.
Carson couldn't help but smile at Teyla's words. Try not to worry. My girlfriend's been turned into a bloody TURTLE and I'm not s'posed to worry, Carson thought to himself. He nodded to Elizabeth, departing the office and heading down the hallway.
'Carson. Carson? CARSON!' A voice in his head startled him out of a daydream as he walked down the hall. It was Laura's voice…but how could that be? She was a turtle, wasn't she? Carson glanced back down at the turtle in confusion.
'Yes Carson. I'm talking in your head. Don't look so surprised,' Laura-the-turtle lifted her head and looked Carson in the face.
"Well, you'll excuse me, Love, if I'm a little surprised that you're small, green and wear a shell on yer back. I'm rather used to the tall, blonde, human Laura," He chuckled, smiling down at the turtle cheekily. A nurse walked past just then and burst out laughing at the sight of Carson and his turtle.
'You're right; this is sort of an amusing situation. It's weird even for Atlantis,' Laura's voice said to Carson, as he walked the halls of the city. Carson made his way to his quarters slowly, beginning to enjoy having Laura's voice in his head, and thought the doors to his quarters open as he approached.
"Love, I wish I could carry ye with me all day, but I'm afraid it goes against quite a few rules," Carson apologized, placing the turtle in a small clear cage, borrowed from one of the reptile labs.
'It's alright, Carson. But I wouldn't complain if you'd come check up on me once in a while,' Laura stared up at Carson from her little cage. With a sigh of relent, Carson picked up the cage and carried it back out the door. He supposed if he kept it in his office, he might be able to get away with not leaving Laura in his quarters all day.
It was after this conversation with the turtle that Carson again wondered if what he was experiencing could be a dream…or maybe he'd finally begun losing his sanity…
"Beckett, come to my lab please!" Rodney's voice echoed in Carson's ear, from the headset he'd quite forgotten he was wearing. Carson startled, before switching course to head for Rodney's lab, all the while thinking to himself. Aye, this is how today's goin' ta be, is it? I may as well give up on makin' it to the infirmary this mornin', Carson thought to himself as he rushed through the corridors.
"Carson! Well this, you're never going to believe! I know how to get her back, but it's going to sound really weird," Rodney was flashing back to the time when Laura Cadman had been in his head—literally—and the kiss he and Carson had shared.
"What on earth IS it, Rodney?" Carson asked, glancing down at the turtle, whose head was beginning to shake in disbelief.
'He's probably figured out how to change me back already. I knew he could do it!' Laura's voice echoed in Carson's head, and apparently Rodney's too. Rodney jumped about three feet in the air with a strangled yelp.
"Not again! She can't be-" Carson put a hand on Rodney's arm to stop his rant, knowing what the man would say next.
"Rodney, she's got some sort of telepathy. She's been talkin' to me for a bit now," Carson explained, giving Laura-the-Turtle another adoring smile. Rodney shook his head, trying to remember what he'd been about to say.
"Oh. I see. Well then. But to turn her back into Laura, you have to kiss her," Rodney said bluntly, jabbing a finger at the screen of a nearby computer, holding a translation of the text on the device.
"Kiss…her?" Carson asked in disbelief, glancing down at the turtle and back up at Rodney.
'Oh thanks, Carson. Such enthusiasm," Laura's voice was heavy with sarcasm, but Carson thought he caught the turtle smiling a little—if turtles could smile, that is.
"Sorry Love, but ye have to understand, the idea of plantin' a kiss on a turtle is a wee bit comical," Carson pointed out, grinning cheekily.
"Carson, I'm not kidding around with you. You have to kiss her. Like Princess and the Frog? The fairytale? She had to kiss the frog to turn him into a prince? Well you have to kiss the turtle to turn her into Laura Cadman," Rodney stated, a dead serious look on his face.
"Ye're serious, Rodney? I have to kiss her tae bring her back? I canna see why I'd have to do that, didn't the Ancients create somethin' tae change her back?" Carson's accent thickened, as confusion and frustration began to set in.
Carson wondered for a third time if he'd lost his sanity, fairly sure this wasn't a dream.
"Yep. I'm serious, Carson, you have to kiss her," Rodney said, a smile of satisfaction on his smug face.
"Well, care to explain to me why I have to kiss, ah, Laura, in order to change her back? And this best be good," Carson took Laura-the-turtle into his hand, letting her walk about for a moment.
"Well, it would appear the device was a toy, actually. An Ancient toy for Ancient children, created by our good friend Janus," Rodney huffed slightly.
"A toy then? Whatever would they make a toy like this for?" Carson pointed to the device on the desk.
"It was a prank really, anyone who got in the way of it would be turned into an animal and it would take a kiss from someone with the ancient gene to reverse the effect. It was used much the same way as we play Spin the Bottle, actually," Rodney read off some more of his translation from the screen in front of him.
"Ah, so ye got caught by a child's prank then?" Carson tried to get a grip on what Rodney had just told him.
"Yep. Doesn't change the fact that you have to kiss Laura the Turtle there, though," Rodney's face was almost gleeful as he watched Carson look down at the turtle in his hand.
"Alright, so be it then," Carson heaved a sigh, lifting the turtle to eye height. He smiled and shook his head slightly. Only Rodney would be playing with an Ancient toy and turn someone into an animal by mistake.
Carson looked at the turtle, and all in one motion, leaned down to kiss her. This had to work, or he was going to positively KILL Rodney when this was over. That is, if Laura didn't do the honors first. He could feel the turtle's skin on his lips—it felt so bloody strange!—but he didn't stop himself.
Suddenly, there was a blast of white light from the device (the Ancients' signature, or so it seemed) and the turtle began to change. A few moments later, one very shell-shocked Carson was facing one very relieved Laura Cadman. It had worked! Rodney had been right!
…Wait. Why was Laura's voice still in his head if she was standing here in front of him, wearing a…princess gown? What? Carson looked down at himself and noticed he was in full kilt regalia. How in the bloody hell had this happened? And where was Rodney's lab? Why was he back in Scotland? Carson didn't have time to wonder what was going on, before…
Carson…Caaaarson…Carson! Wake up, silly! You'll be late!
Carson jerked awake to find Laura standing over him, a goofy grin on her face. He glanced around, relieved in a way to find himself back on Atlantis, in his own quarters, still in his pajamas.
"Laura! Ah'm so happy y're still here, Love! I just had the weirdest dream," Carson looked up into Laura's face, a sleepy, cheeky smile planted on his face and his amazing blue eyes twinkling.
"Tell me about it later, Carson. I'd like to hear about it," Laura smiled, sitting down on the edge of the bed. Carson sat up and pulled her onto his lap, turning her to face him. He leaned in and kissed her for a moment, a satisfied feeling settling over him.
"Now that was much more satisfyin' than kissin' a turtle," Carson said aloud. Laura looked at him sideways, her face a question mark.
"Aye, I dreamt ye were a turtle, Rodney'd managed to turn ye into one an' I had ta kiss ye ta bring ye back," Carson stopped explaining and chuckled at how ridiculous this sounded. She grinned, highly amused by this dream of Carson's. He kept a grip on Laura, standing up with her gathered in his arms, and carried her out onto his balcony.
Carson set Laura down and they kissed once more as the suns finished rising over the gorgeous city of Atlantis, and Carson thanked his lucky stars that the whole thing had been a dream.