Category: First time
Summary: Brains versus brawn; winner takes all.
"We need a medic over here!" Aiden shouted as he and Teyla stepped through the gate with John supported between them. Carson and his team pushed their way through the cordon of Marines guarding the gate and placed John on a gurney before the gate shut down. Teyla followed the gurney to the infirmary while Rodney doubled over and tried to catch his breath.
"What happened out there, lieutenant?" Elizabeth demanded. Aiden unhooked his weapon and passed it off to one of the security team as he headed up the steps to where she stood.
"We were on our way back to the gate when everything went to hell. There was an earthquake, ma'am. Nothing major, but enough to knock us off our feet and it was followed by a series of smaller tremors. The major said that a series of small tremors usually precedes a major quake so we made a run for the gate. We didn't want to be caught on the wrong side if it fell."
"Good thinking. What are the major's injuries?"
"He fell and twisted his knee; the rest of us just got a few scratches and bruises," Aiden said as he turned around and scanned the gate room till he spotted Rodney. "McKay! Go get that arm seen to!"
"It's just a flesh wound," Rodney protested.
"You heard the lieutenant," Elizabeth said as she noticed the trickle of blood down his left arm. "You need a post-mission check anyway. You go, too, lieutenant. It sounds as though this debriefing can wait."
Aiden accompanied Rodney to the infirmary, but seeing that there would be a wait for a doctor--a mishap in one of the supply rooms injured three men--he decided to go and take a shower. Rodney considered doing the same, but his plans to sneak out were abruptly canceled when Carson got a glimpse of his bloody arm and forbade him to leave. Thus Rodney was forced to sit and wait while one of the security team had his sprained wrist bandaged.
"Why can't I come back after I've showered?" he asked. "I'd have a nice clean wound for you to dress."
"I'll just be another minute, Rodney," Carson said wearily. "There you go, lad," he said, dismissing the soldier and waving Rodney over.
"How's the major?" Rodney asked as he hopped up onto the table.
"He's in x-ray now. It's probably a sprained ligament and he'll be kept off of it for a bit till it heals. Roll up your sleeve."
Rodney sighed and did as he was bidden. Carson reached for a few things with which to clean the wound and bent to examine it.
"That's an impressive bicep, Rodney. Where did that come from?"
"I've been working out a bit," he replied diffidently.
"Working out? You?"
"Yes, me; what, don't you think I can be buff as well as smart?"
"Buff? I wouldn't go so far as to call you buff, but come to think upon it, you do look a bit more fit."
"Thank you, Carson," Rodney said smugly.
"So what's gotten into you?" Carson asked curiously as he cleaned the cut. He noticed that Rodney didn't flinch or complain as he usually did when Carson treated him. He also noticed that an absolutely lecherous grin briefly flitted across Rodney's face and disappeared so fast Carson thought he might have imagined it.
"Nothing," Rodney insisted. As if suddenly remembering himself, he cried "ouch!" and began to protest as Carson rolled his eyes and finished dressing the wound.
"You haven't answered my question," he teased. "What's with the sudden interest in your physique?" He observed Rodney carefully but this time the physicist gave nothing away.
"I've been training with Aiden--uh... Lieutenant Ford."
"You've been training with Lieutenant Ford?"
"Yes, and that's not for public consumption," Rodney said. "Now if you're done there's a hot shower in my immediate future." He slid off the table and all but ran out of the room. Carson shook his head and turned when a nurse called his name. He took the x-ray she handed him and went over to the table where John was having his knee iced.
"It's just as we suspected, major: a slight strain of your anterior cruciate ligament."
"Swell," John drawled. "What are we looking at?"
"Complete rest of that leg for a few days and then we'll reevaluate. I'll give you a brace and some crutches and you can spend the night in your own bed."
"The cure is simple: rest, ice, compression and elevation."
"I remember from gym class," John said. Carson sent the nurse to fetch bandages and a brace. He waited till she was out of earshot before he spoke again.
"So what's going on with Rodney?"
"What do you mean?" John asked.
"He seems to have taken a sudden interest in his boyish figure."
"Oh that; Rodney decided he'd be less of a liability to the team if he was in better shape so Ford's put him on a diet and got him working out. It's paying off, too. We didn't have to wait for him to catch up today. He was right on our six all the way back to the gate."
"Rodney's on a diet?" Carson cried, shock evident in both his voice and expression.
"Yeah and I have to say I'm very impressed with his progress. According to Ford, he's followed his regimen faithfully and hasn't missed a day of training in five weeks."
"I imagine not."
"Doc?" John frowned. Carson looked around and then sat down on the edge of the bed.
"If you ask me, Rodney's got an ulterior motive for wanting to get into shape."
"What would that be?"
"Obviously it's The Babe."
John's eyebrows nearly disappeared under a shock of unruly hair.
"Have you been sampling stuff from the medicine cabinet?"
"Why else would he willingly subject himself to diet and exercise--two things he ranks very highly on his extensive list of allergies?"
"You really think he's doing all this just to score quality face time with The Babe?"
"Have you got a better explanation?"
John sighed and shook his head.
"Our Rodney? Sweet on The Babe?"
"What? Half the people in Atlantis are sweet on The Babe. Why should he be any different?"
"I didn't say he stood a snowball's chance in hell... but stranger things have happened."
"Not that strange!"
"You just provided the evidence yourself, man! Wake up and smell the physicist!"
"You know, you're right; I should have suspected something was up when he asked me if Ford could train him," John said, scratching his chin. "Damn!"
"I'd dearly love to see Rodney working out," Carson chuckled.
"So would I, but he insisted that his workouts be completely private. Only Ford's allowed to see him sweat. I have seen the results, though. Rodney's looking good and he's not nearly so whiny anymore. I kind of miss the old Rodney. He's not as much fun when he's not bitching about something or other."
"I daresay he's got other things on his mind these days," Carson suggested.
"I'll bet! Rodney's got a crush on The Babe..." John shook his head wonderingly. Carson chuckled as he rose to his feet and assumed a more professional demeanor. The nurse returned with the supplies and Carson began to wrap John's knee. Just as he finished, Elizabeth entered the infirmary.
"John, how's the knee?"
"Come to sign my cast?" John replied and laughed as her mouth fell open.
"Ignore him," Carson said. "He'll be as right as rain within a week, most likely. We can give him a shot of cortisone if need be, but there doesn't appear to be any serious damage." Elizabeth folded her arms and gave John a stern look.
"Is he on medication?"
"Not yet," Carson said. "I was about to prescribe something."
"Make it a very small dose," Elizabeth said wryly as Aiden entered the infirmary. He strode over to the bed to check on his commanding officer.
"How's the leg, sir?"
"Just fine, Ford. Looks like you'll be getting a little extra downtime."
"Cool; I can use the time to catch up on a few things," Aiden said.
"Dr. Johnson is nearly through with her last patient and will be with you in a moment," Carson said. He gave John a look and then walked away.
"So how long will you be laid up?" Aiden asked. John didn't reply; he was too busy staring at Aiden oddly. "Sir?"
"Huh? Oh; the doc didn't say. Guess we'll play it by ear. So," John said, regaining his focus, "what are going to do with a few days off?"
"I don't know. Dr. McKay's been after me to take part in some research he and Dr. Zelenka have been working on."
"What kind of research?"
"They found some Ancient equipment they think was used for fitness testing. They've been trying to get a few volunteers to try it out but so far they've had no takers. McKay thinks that if I do it, others will follow."
"Ah," John said, frowning. Aiden looked down at his shirt.
"Is there something wrong, sir?"
John shook his head as Dr. Johnson called Aiden over to her table. As soon as he left, Carson reappeared.
"Did you ask him?" he whispered, causing John to nearly jump off the bed.
"Ask him what?"
"About Rodney's crush; if anyone is aware of it, it would be him, don't you think?"
"Rodney's got a crush on someone?" Elizabeth asked eagerly.
"Carson seems to think so, but I'm not convinced," John replied.
"You're just in denial," Carson snorted.
"And who, may I ask, is the supposed object of Rodney's affections?"
"The Babe, of course," Carson said.
"The Babe? Well, I can't fault him on his choice, but The Babe is way out of his league."
"That's what I'm saying," John insisted. "Carson seems to think otherwise."
"According to John, Rodney's gone on a diet and a training regimen to get himself in shape," Carson reported.
"In hopes of attracting--? You don't think he really stands a chance?" she asked.
"You can't stop a man from dreaming," Carson shrugged with a significant look at John, who blinked back at him. The doctor quickly averted his eyes and wrote something in John's chart.
"Well, I think it's cute," Elizabeth decided. "As long as Rodney doesn't get hurt..."
The trio turned and observed Aiden as he was checked out, till Dr. Johnson saw them staring and drew the curtain. Rodney returned to the infirmary just as she opened it again. As the curious threesome looked on, he went over and said something to Aiden, who pushed up Rodney's sleeve and took a look at his bandage. John noted that they stood very close together as they talked and that there was more physical contact than strictly necessary between them.
"The Babe and The Bombast," Elizabeth said as she watched the pair engage in conversation.
"Beauty and the Beast, more like," Carson teased, earning a stiff elbow from John.
"Rodney's just making some lame excuse why he can't work out for the rest of the month," he said. "They aren't--." John paused when the pair began to laugh, using it as an excuse to gently bump each other. "They can't!"
"They can," Elizabeth said.
"Aye--and they definitely do."
"But they can't be a couple," John insisted. "Aiden Ford and Rodney McKay are like oil and water."
"Opposites attract," Carson said.
"Opposites, yes; Ford and McKay are more like different species."
"I don't know; stranger things have happened."
"So you said," John sighed.
"Well, I think they look good together," Elizabeth said. "Rodney looks very happy."
"Yeah but--." John shook his head. "Ford wouldn't--."
"They've been working out together for five weeks, you said?" Carson asked.
"Three times a week for five weeks... "John admitted.
"Did you order Ford to work with him?" Elizabeth asked.
"No; I just asked him if he was willing to train Rodney and he readily agreed... very readily."
"I rest my case," Carson said. John shook his head as the pair in question approached.
"I hear we're going to have a bit of downtime," Rodney said. "That works out well for me; I've had a few things I've been wanting to get to around here," he said with a glance at Aiden.
"That fitness testing thing I mentioned," Aiden said hastily.
"Yes, yes, of course I meant that fitness testing thing," Rodney amended. "Well, we ought to go, lieutenant, if we want to eat before--."
"You still don't listen, do you?" Aiden said. "If I told you once I've told you a dozen times: first you work out, then you get to eat."
"Thank you so much for outing me, lieutenant. It wasn't common knowledge that I've been working out," Rodney said peevishly.
"I already knew about it," John volunteered.
"And you just told me," Carson said.
"And just yesterday you told me that you were trying to lose a few pounds," Elizabeth said.
"And even if you hadn't told me, I saw the way you hauled ass this morning," John said brightly.
"He saw you haul considerably less ass," Carson said with a roguish gleam in his eye, earning a glare from Rodney.
"See?" Aiden said. "No harm done."
"No harm done to you," Rodney said "You know, I keep telling you that it's dangerous for me to exercise on an empty stomach. Ask the doctor!"
"You haven't got an empty stomach, Doc," Aiden countered. "You probably haven't had an empty stomach in years, what with the amount of food you've packed away."
"Oh, don't start that again," Rodney said as the two men walked off. "Every time I mention being hungry you--."
"Do you wake up in the middle of the night to eat?" Aiden quipped.
"Oh yeah, they're definitely involved," Carson said.
"You go, Rodney!" Elizabeth said with a grin.
"Damn," John said as he watched them leave. "Never saw that one coming."