John walked a heavy case into the command area, putting it down. "Major, Xander wanted this safely stored in the armory."
Major Lorne looked at it then at him. "Does it work?"
"How did he get it?"
"It was a going away present from someone who owed him some money."
"That's so charming!" he said dryly. The others were giving them horrified looks. "According to the guy on base who was part of that project his former team helped take down, that doesn't really surprise me any."
John snorted. "Don't get me started on that group."
"His or the one they took down?" Chuck, their gate tech, asked quietly.
"The one they shut down."
The major, being a smart man, got two grunts to carry it down there so he could log it in. Then he went to talk to Xander. Something was twitching his senses about the boy and the colonel and he wasn't sure why. He found Xander doing CPR and called a medical team. The guy coughed and choked up water. "What happened?"
"He broke the force field generator by kicking it on purpose," Xander said. "He got a face full of water for a few minutes until it restarted." He helped him sit up. "Cough all you want, dude. You've already probably bruised some ribs." He nodded, holding them. Xander helped by bracing him. The medical team rushed off. "He broke the field generator and got drowned. I did CPR. He's probably bruising his insides coughing."
"That's fine." She knelt down to check him over. Xander moved away from the scanner. "Yeah, you have a good bruise there," she said, helping him up. "Some trachea damage and I see you inhaled a small fish," she said dryly.
"Let's hope it's not an Amazon River fish then," Xander quipped. She smirked at him as they rolled him off. Xander looked at the Major. "Do I have to clean this up?"
"No. I wouldn't. Put some 'wet floor' signs out. You're not the janitor, Xander." Xander nodded, getting those to put up. Evan waited, watching him. "How many more pieces of artillery do you have?"
Xander looked at him. "Why would I have more than that?"
"Because Sheppard looked amused?" He smiled. "I'm not going to bust you but if we need them I'm coming to you."
"If we need them I'd break them out and use them. Or the swords or guns, whatever."
"Good." He smirked. "How many?"
"Another one. Maybe a third, not real sure. I haven't looked at the thing Willow made for me."
"I was wondering how you snuck that up here." Xander grinned and pulled out a twinkie. "You stocked it with snacks?"
"I live on twinkies some days." He ate it as he walked off. "She brought me down here so let me get back to the wiring project."
"Sure," he agreed, checking things. "Why didn't you call?"
"With what?" Xander asked with a small shrug, turning to look at him. "I have no idea how to use your comms."
"Damn it," he muttered. "That'll be fixed."
"However, Major." He shrugged and got onto the transporter to go back to work.
"You just left things lying around?" Rodney demanded.
Xander stared at him for a minute. "Yeah, because the city beamed me to where some guy had kicked the field generator and drowned. She didn't give me time to clean things up."
Rodney gaped, staring at him in horror. "Is he all right?"
"I got him breathing before the doctor got there."
"That's good," he said, looking confused. "Why didn't you call?"
"With..... Do cellphones work up here?"
Rodney smacked himself on the head. "No one gave you a comm yet even after I ordered them to," he muttered, stomping off.
"Sorry I made your day, Rodney," he called after him, waving a bit. He cleaned up his mess and got back to work. Apparently someone had tripped over things by not watching where they were walking. He picked his iron to get back to the attaching wires project he had. He made a mental note to tell Rodney they needed more wire. He'd tell him at dinner. Wiring was more fragile than her structural supports in most cases. Years ate away that stuff.
John sat down across from Xander. "Thank you for saving him."
"I wasn't going to leave him dead."
"I know." He smiled and held up something. "Your comm earpiece. One tap is general, for emergencies and things. Two is private, say their name first. Three is off." Xander nodded, putting it into his shirt pocket. "How's the wiring going?"
"We're going to run out in a few days." Rodney looked over. "Does the ship have more?"
"I hope so or you can start taking a day off," he said dryly. "I did specify that gauge and higher since it's been mostly the heavy draw wires." Xander nodded. "When asked how they were supposed to know I suggested Home Depot."
Xander grinned. "That's what I do." He ate a bite of dinner, looking at John. "I was a good boy. She sent me to him."
"You're a very good boy," he agreed. "You still can't have the artillery." He grinned.
"You confiscated it this morning."
"Uh-huh." He stared at him. "Don't make someone spank you."
"You spank me and I'm going to break your hand," Xander said seriously, staring at him.
"I'd never do that, Xander. I'm not that sort of guy." Xander relaxed. "You still can't have it."
"If I had any, I'd pull it out if we needed it. The same as I would any swords I have. Or the guns."
John stared at him. "That's good to know. What swords?" Xander shrugged and dug into his dinner again. "Is that why you don't sleep?"
"I haven't slept more than four hours in years, John. It's not who I am. Maybe since I was a little kid."
"If I ever meet your parents, they're getting their asses kicked."
"Thanks." He grinned and stuffed his mouth again. "Sparring tonight?"
"Yeah, I need the tension break." Xander smiled. "Then I'll let you work on my shoulder." Xander beamed.
"If you have a shoulder strain you should see someone," one of the scientists said from the next table.
"Xander does excellent on my stress knots. He's got very good fingers."
"Oh," she said, shaking her head.
Xander grinned. "I do good with cramping muscles too." He looked at John again. "If you want I can do that then we can go spar."
"No, it'll be more effective after I wear the tension out." Xander nodded, finishing up and taking John's empty plate with him to hand to the dirty dish window. John followed him to the room they used for sparring. Xander stripped down and it was good. He was glowing with good health. Though he seemed to be skinnier. John walked behind him. "Are you losing weight?"
"No. Why?" he asked with a grin.
"You look like you lost weight and those jeans were a bit baggy."
"They were the old ones."
"That's fine." He got the rods out tonight to work on them. Xander was learning very quickly. He wasn't showing off or anything, which still bothered John. Usually a mate would want to show his prowess, become impressive. Xander was quieter and he wasn't used to that.
"Quit thinking so much," Xander said. He attacked and John defended. "I know, footing issues."
"Yup." John attacked and Xander was better at defense. "Why don't you ever try to really push me in here?"
"I wasn't aware I was supposed to try to awe you with my meager skills," he said dryly.
"Yeah I'd like to see you try it every now and then." Xander shrugged one-sidedly and attacked faster and harder. "Have you been holding back?" he demanded.
"I learned how to fight faster, stronger things first, John, and then people. I've been learning against people so I've been using people skills not vampire skills."
"Good point." It was nicer and they were getting better. John could anticipate moves now but Xander still did a few unexpected things. One of them got John to yelp when one stick hit him on the side.
"You okay?" Xander asked, pulling back.
"I'm fine. You get bruised if you're doing it right." Xander nodded, defending himself from John's attack. Xander tripped them both and John ended up on top, staring down at him. "Hi," he said dryly. Xander bucked and rolled backward to get back to his feet. John laughed, getting up. "Good job, Xander." Xander beamed at him. "We'll work on things." Xander nodded, cleaning up their mess. They walked back to Xander's room so he could work on his shoulder. He didn't want to see Keller for something so tiny so he'd let Xander fuss over it. He spotted Rodney scowling at his tablet PC. "That bad?"
"Team 8's late for check-in to a friendly world."
Xander got something and put it on John's shoulder, making him moan. "Let that soak in and I'll work on it when you're free." John nodded, going back to the command center. Xander took a shower and got into his storage areas to find a sword to practice with. He needed to keep in practice there too. He zipped them back up and hid them then checked around him before moving into the sword katas he had been taught by the other guardians.
Rodney walked in and paused. "You did bring up a sword." Xander jumped and looked at him.
"Or six, yeah. Why?" He stared at him.
"We think there's something broken in the command center."
Xander pulled on a t-shirt, one of his older ones, and some sneakers, going up to check it. "Hi, Chuck. Something broke?" he asked as he walked up the stairs. Chuck pointed at the machine that was tilted. "How did we do that?"
"There was a boom and Radek said it wasn't the machine."
Xander nodded, pulling out his flashlight to look around the base of the machine. "Looks like they barbequed the rat and they're a bit explosive. I'm seeing clumps of fur burning." He took the fire foam sprayer and got it in there. The fur quit smoking. The floor quit feeling so hot. "So it's bent," he said, checking as best as he could around it. Xander popped out the floor section and looked at it, taking it to bend against the railing.
"Don't you usually have to heat those?" Rodney said dryly.
"I'm not forging it, Rodney. I'm just bending it." He groaned as he got it a bit less humped. Then he flipped it around to push on that area. It gave with a groan but was almost straight. "Small dip," he said, flipping it back over to work on that. He stared at it from the side. "That should be okay." He put it back. "Chuck, walk over it and see if you can feel a difference?" He did and shrugged.
Rodney did. "Small dent but that'll mostly be covered by the console." He got Xander to help him move it back into place. "Thank you. John, he was doing sword katas."
"Good, they're good for him to keep in practice with," Major Lorne agreed from his seat in the office.
"I might need them again someday," Xander agreed happily. "Let me go back to that."
Major Lorne looked up. "Mighty Mouse?" he asked, spotting the t-shirt.
Xander looked then at him. "He was a good, generous hero with good morals." He gave him a strange look. "I have Underdog too but he's still in the closet." He walked off.
Doctor Keller came off the transporter when he was waiting. "How many times have you gotten shocked by static discharge?"
"Few times even when I'm grounded. Someone seriously ran some current through the ground wires and structure for some reason. Why?"
"Is it bothering your heart?"
"No. If I felt chest pains I'd tell you." She stared at him. "Really, it's not. It's not affecting the rhythm that I have at all that I can tell."
"Fine. I'm checking it tomorrow."
Xander snorted. "No, there's no need to and I'm sure you'll be busy with whichever team they're worried about. I'm fine, there's nothing wrong with me."
"Is that why you have new stitches on your neck?" she asked.
He touched them then grinned. "A tiny piece of metal went 'twang' and snapped to hit me. It's three whole stitches, Doc. I'm good. Really." He got in and went back to his room.
She went to talk to Rodney. "He did his own stitches?"
"That wouldn't surprise me any," Major Lorne quipped.
"Me either," Rodney said. "He did take care of his team's post-patrol medical and I know he's done some of his own in the past. Why are you worried?"
"Someone told me they saw him get zapped a few times. He said there's current running to the ground wires and the structure at times?"
"There shouldn't be," Rodney said. He went to look at where Xander was working. The panel was off and he could see a few wires that he was certain the boy hadn't placed. He clipped them. He got a mild shock. Not all that pleasant. He took them out and brought them to the lab to see if he could find fingerprints. In the morning, he swung by there before hitting breakfast, noticing they were back. "I didn't know she has a self repair feature." Xander came up the hall with a cup of coffee and a donut. "Eat something better."
"I did. I had toast earlier." He looked. "Are you seeing a problem or did she tell you there was one?"
"How many times has someone tampered?" he demanded, staring at him.
Xander handed him the cup of coffee. "I haven't had an untampered with panel yet. Some people are apparently jealous that I have skills they'll never have. It's great when someone's jealous of you because of something like that," he said sarcastically.
"Start sealing the panels at night."
"It's a pain to get them off if she doesn't remove them for you. It's fine."
"They're wasting wire."
"None of this is the stuff you got me."
Rodney gaped, then went to check. It wasn't the same sort of wire. It was computer and machine wire. They kept track of that but someone hadn't been signing the log like they should. He found the person over that. "Why have things been signed out without anyone using the log?" he demanded.
"They said it was a machine repair," he sneered.
"Instead they wasted it trying to kill someone."
"No one's going to care about the Colonel's piece of ass boy. Maybe if he leaves he might find respect again."
Rodney repeated that conversation to John, who came down with MP's to arrest him and others. "Who said I'm sleeping with him?" John said dryly. The man struggled. "Even then it doesn't really matter what you think. You're sabotaging the city. They could have needed those supplies for critical repairs during an emergency. Did you want to die?"
"Better than having him here," he sneered.
"Janus had three very nice male lovers," Rodney said smugly. "The Ancients were bi."
"Then maybe we should sink," he sneered.
"No, we don't need to sink," John said. He walked him off.
"I'll tell everyone," he said smugly.
Xander walked up to him. "You do realize that you're threatening someone who has presidential permission to hoard weapons, right?" Xander asked. The man gave him a horrified look then at Sheppard. "No, not him. Me." He smirked. "Were you on Earth in the last year?" The man tried to get away from him. Xander moved closer. "There's nothing you can say that would get them to kick Sheppard out. He could be bent over a table and be loving the fucking the generals were giving him and they wouldn't discharge him. Because if they do that, the city won't respond to many others." He smirked. "Plus the Council has already adopted him as one of our own," he said quietly. "The president said that meant John was pretty well sacred and untouchable." He stared at him. "Be a man."
"I could say the same," he sneered.
"I am one. I've been in *real* battles, unlike you." He smirked. "I'd love to have seen you in the invasion in LA, dude. Really." The man gave him a horrified look, backing away. "Hell, ten days after I lost the eye, I was in a battle inside a portal area against an overwhelming force with a bunch of girls who're tougher than you are. You are fucking pathetic as a male example and I'll make sure the girls know that they need better than you. As for anything else, are you the half of the gaybashers who're secretly sure they're gay and hate themselves or are you the other half that are fighting so hard against wanting things that they think is wrong?"
The man broke free and attacked him. Xander punched him once. He went down. Xander stared at him. "Feel better? Looks like the better man won," he said blandly. "And you still don't have any reason to spout lies. You have no proof of your allegations. You have no brain so that doesn't really surprise me." He stared at him. "Keep fucking with me. I blew up a high school to save everyone. One person's room...." He stared at him. "And I can make fertilizer bombs." He got up and ran off.
"Have a nice day," Xander called with a smirk and a wave at his back. He glared at the MP's, who headed after him. He looked at John. "It was Buffy's birthday present to you. The demons told her how important you were and how good you were so she adopted the project as part of the Council. The president liked it because it gave you less oversight. Her email said that's why the oversight guy's so late getting back."
"How long have you known?"
"Last update was last night. I forwarded that email to you."
"There's no way the system ate it," Rodney complained, going to look into that. "You may not blow him up on the city, Xander. And take a day off. You clearly need it."
"No, I'm perfectly fine," he quipped with a grin. "Even if someone did cut some of the wires on the backside. They might have a really nasty shock." He looked at John. "So anyway, happy birthday from the Council." He smiled.
John smirked. "Thank you for trying to protect me but that mental image is going to scar me for life."
Xander blew a kiss. "O'Neill wasn't bad. Landry I'd have nightmares about." He walked off. "Tell him I'll have to rewire that whole section thanks to whoever. And we're out of wire."
"The ship comes in a day and a half," John said. He followed to look at it. Rodney came to see as well. They had cut the backside of the wires. "We've got to stop them. They're sabotaging the city."
"They did it after the wire went in," Xander said with a grin. "That went in about two and the wires were cut when I went to check on the supplies." John moaned, shaking his head. "So Keller should probably be looking for an irregular heartbeat since that's a full current."
"Yours?" Rodney demanded impatiently.
"No, mine feels like normal when I concentrate enough to hear it. Or normal for me now anyway." He shrugged and grinned again. "Have fun. She can probably scan all the people and find the irregular heartbeats."
Rodney called to tell Keller that. He found she already had them. They had come in saying they were having chest pains. "She's got them."
"Good!" John said with a smirk. "You have presidential permission?" Xander nodded. "For how long now?"
"After LA's invasion."
"Why did you let me confiscate that then?"
"Because you felt very strongly about it. And if I needed to I can still get it."
"Good point," he muttered, shaking his head. "I still want an inventory."
"We'll see." He strolled off. "I'm going to check what we have on hand to see if it was sabotaged too, Rodney."
"Please do and report that directly to me or Radek, Xander."
"How did he get a sugar high?" Radek asked when he joined them.
"Long story," John said. "Someone's sabotaging us, Radek."
Radek said something his native Czech, nodding. "I knew. Idiots I have sent to do dirty work. I found out last night."
"You should tell me who," Rodney said.
"Are in Tunnel 5," he said smugly. "Dealing with sewer leak into plasma tubes."
"That's nearly evil," John said with a smirk.
"He makes you happy, none should care," Radek said bluntly. John glared at him. Radek smiled. "We are brightest in two universes. We can even figure out that he treats things so you do not worry." He walked off again.
"I think I corrupted him," Rodney said.
"Yup, I think so too," John said dryly. "Does everyone know?"
"I have no idea," Rodney admitted. "No one's said anything to me."
John walked off to talk to Evan and Ronon. "I just heard some speculation," he said bluntly. "How widespread is it?"
"He makes a good mate," Ronon said. "A fussy one that takes good care of you."
Evan nodded. "Definitely. Some day I want a wife like that too, Colonel." He smiled. "Is he good in bed?" John groaned, looking down to shake his head. "Then I'm sure you can train him."
"He's damn good," John assured him with a smug look. "So everyone knew?"
"That little fit you threw about people leaving him alone that you never let him hear about? It was kind of telling," Evan said smugly.
"Huh. I was trying to protect him even without that. They've been trying to kill him."
"That's because they're jealous," Ronon said.
"Does Teyla...." Ronon nodded. "She didn't say anything?"
"She's not sure why the boy doesn't react well to her. She's not sure if it's that wraith taint or something else."
"No, it's not," John said. "She reminds him of one of his two female friends who keep telling him he's normal."
"Huh," Evan said. "I don't think he is. I caught him doing sword katas the other day on his balcony at four in the morning."
"He swears up and down he only gets four hours of sleep a night. I don't know why."
Evan snorted. "Need to work some more, sir," he quipped.
"I have. Then he'll get up." They smiled at him. "Anyway, he's off. They did a lot of sabotage and we need the wires on the ship."
"Charming," Evan said dryly.
"The few that don't will get told by the ones who are sure he cast a spell or something. They think there's a prettiness gap."
John shook his head. "I don't think so. I'm not that shallow."
"Others have said a brain gap appeared," Ronon said.
"Xander's very smart. He doesn't learn in lectures but he's a really smart guy."
Ronon nodded. "He does learn fighting very quickly. Though his eye is hampering him."
John nodded. "He did a lot of work to compensate and I don't expect perfection, I expect him to do as good as he can." He leaned against the wall behind him. "You guys have known?"
"The days it's more than cuddles, you eat eggs, a lot of fruit," Ronon said. "The days it's just cuddles, you have coffee and some minor bit of eggs." He stared at him. "Is it good?"
"It was when we were on earth but I've been exhausted."
"Fix that," Evan ordered. "Before he gets pouty."
"He doesn't." Evan gave him a dirty look. "We have plans for my birthday."
"We'll keep things down that night," Evan assured him with a smile. "It'd be good to see him not working himself to death."
"I've tried. So has Rodney."
"Some people are like that so they earn their own spots," Ronon said simply. "I was like him before."
John nodded. "I know that about him. It's great, guys, really, but why didn't you say something?"
"I can't care who's doing who, sir," Evan said bluntly. "Never have. You're not the only one. You just brought your consort home."
"Yeah, I did," he agreed.
"He's done a good job fixing up the home," Ronon said. "Which is their job." He walked off. "Perhaps if those ones were doing that themselves, they wouldn't need to sabotage things."
"I think they're jealous and want Sheppard themselves," Evan countered.
"No, if I had wanted them I would've already done that." He walked off. "Let me know if there's more problems, Evan."
"Yup, I can." He went to talk to the team leaders. Most of the soldiers had shrugged it off as Sheppard being happier.
John went to find Xander. Xander was doing sword katas. He watched him move, staring at his back. "When did you get cut?"
Xander looked back at him. "Few days ago. It's a scratch from a structural support."
"That's not a scratch."
"It's fine. I fixed it."
John walked over to hug him from behind. "If you let me I'll do that too," he reminded him. "It's my job to protect you and help you as much as it is yours."
"I know but you've been really busy thanks to the same people."
John gave him a squeeze. "They're being beaten to death." Xander turned, putting the sword aside. "We never do get time alone."
"I figured you were a bit wary because your oversight guy is coming on the ship."
"No, Woolsey won't care." He kissed him, leading Xander to their bed so he could please him. Xander made such pretty noises for him. They could have dinner in tonight. And tomorrow.
Richard Woolsey looked up as his newest staff member walked into his office. "Mr. Harris."
"Mr. Woolsey." He shook his hand. "You needed to talk about the schedule for fixes?"
"I wanted to know how it's going but I had a few messages." He handed over the sealed letters.
Xander sat down to read them, frowning at them. "That's good, but he knows he can borrow and he did send a lot to Cleveland before we left. Plus I'm pretty sure Willow could break it from that side." He went to the other one. He smiled. "That's cool. John?" he called. "The president said you should've given more of my stuff to Cleveland."
He walked in and took the letters, staring at one. "Huh, his Chief of Staff told him." He looked at the other one. "I gave them all that I thought you had."
"That was all I had," Xander said dryly. "The rest was paying off my poker debts. I missed one but I gave it to his cousin and it's sealed."
John looked at him. "I don't want to hear you're still playing for weapons."
"Okay." He grinned.
"They need to go into the armory."
"If Willow needs to she can probably break into it from that side."
"We'll send her an email to make sure and him to say thank you for the congratulations." He looked at Woolsey. "Problems?"
"Not many ones." He looked at them. "Is something going on I should hear about?"
"No," John said with a smile, walking off.
Xander shrugged. "So far nothing unusual is going on as far as I can." He pulled out his phone. "This is where we are on the fixes. I need the wire on the ship to fix what's presently broken."
"Aren't those new?"
"Someone sabotaged it."
Woolsey stared at him. "What?"
Xander nodded. "They've been doing that recently. I ignore all the childish shit."
"Good. Sheppard? Or McKay?" They both came in. "Sabotage?"
"A lot," Rodney admitted. "There's no wire either." Xander sighed, looking at him. "We'll work around it."
"I can do that. There's that one that needs brought down."
"That'll work," John agreed. "Can we fix that?" he asked Rodney.
"I've already put an email into the queue." He looked at Woolsey. "Problems?"
"I believe the president was thinking about his friends being unable to find weapons."
"No, they're still getting fed from the circuit. Faith's playing." John shook his head. "They don't tend to try to screw her and she gets to flash a bit of cleavage to make them beg."
"Your people are insane," Rodney said with a smile.
Xander grinned back. "Thanks. The next apocalypse I'll have to be there for is next year. This year's is minor. Wanna help?"
"No." He walked off. "I get enough of that up here."
"Okay." Xander smiled at John.
"You go into a battle, you're getting backed up." He patted him on the back of the head. "Anything else, Woolsey?"
"I need to know about anything that would affect how Atlantis runs."
"We have a serious rat problem and they're New York rats. They *love* the rat poison the biology people put down. It's bulking them up and everything," Xander told him. "They like to nibble on plastic and the latex coatings on the wires."
"Charming. Anything less disgusting creature oriented?"
"The PETA member we have in botany wants us to do a live capture and release on a planet," John said.
"I suppose we can."
"No we can't," John said.
"No, nothing to share," John said, walking off again.
Xander smiled. "Me either. Anything else you needed to know?"
"No, have a good day destroying things, Xander."
"Yup, sure will." He walked off. "Guys, since we have no wires on the ship, I'm going to go tear down that building on the pier."
"We can make sure that no one gets in the way," Evan said, making that note. "No explosives."
"No, I have a hammer." He grinned. He walked off. He went to his work room, finding someone in there. "What are you doing?" he asked, tapping his earpiece. "I didn't know you knew how to set a jigsaw."
Rodney walked in and glared. "What the hell are you doing?" Xander turned off his earpiece and grabbed his two different sledge hammers before walking off. "Hard hat, Xander."
"I am." He grabbed it from his room. He found his safety glasses and headed out.
The guard on the pier looked at him. "That building?" Xander nodded. "No more wiring?"
"None on the ship."
"I've got stuff I can do without it." He smirked. He walked out to the building and looked at it. "We have rats," he called back to the guard. "Fair warning for me shooting them."
"Okay," he said, calling that in. Sure enough, a few minutes later there were some shots and then rats went running out. He shuddered and fired on them so they headed into the ocean. Most of them did. A few more guards came running to fire on the dirty little beasts.
"No! We can capture and release them!" a female voice shouted, hurrying their way.
"No, we can't!" John shouted from a balcony. "Kill every single rat, guys. I don't care how." They nodded and switched to zats. It was good target practice and quit wasting bullets. His botanist was sobbing over the little lost lives but he didn't really care. He hated rats. Pegasus rats were worse than New York rats.
John walked out to check on Xander since he had missed lunch. He watched him pant and stretch his back. "Hurt yourself?"
"Just a tiny twinge."
"Don't do that to me," John warned quietly.
Xander looked back at him. "I swung wrong and it twinged under my shoulder." John put down the bag, walking over to check him. Xander relaxed against the wall. "Thank you."
"This is what I'm supposed to do, Xander." He petted him on the head and went back to checking the shoulder. "We should have Keller scan it." Xander shook his head. "Please?"
"It's not broken."
"No but it's pulled a lot." He made Xander look at him. "She has promised me that she won't scan your blood or anything. She can even pull those stitches for you."
"I was going to do it tonight."
"You need to sleep more." He smiled. "Let's eat and if it's not better by the end, you're seeing Keller."
"I like it when you say that," he teased. "Pegasus ham?"
"I like near-ham." John smirked, letting Xander have his sandwich. They settled in and ate. By then Xander could barely move his shoulder. John walked him to the infirmary. "Doc?"
She looked and grimaced. "What did you do?"
"I was trying to take down a wall on that building that's condemned on the pier. I didn't swing hard enough so it bounced on me and the next few weren't much better."
"So you kept going?" John asked.
"Yeah, I couldn't find another way."
She shook her head. "You're scarily starting to really fit in out here," Keller said. She sat him on the bed, scanning his shoulder. "You strained it but you'll be okay."
"Yup." She checked the stitches. "It's time for those to come out." She got what she needed before he could complain, and he didn't. John smiled at him for that. "Any others?" He took off his undershirt. John was smiling so it was apparently a reward situation. She pulled them and put something on one of them, making him yelp and flinch. "What's going on?" she asked. She checked. It was bubbling so she wiped that off. "Why are you allergic to that?"
Xander shrugged. "Is it neosporin? Holy water?"
"No," she said patiently. "It's an antibiotic herb syrup we gelled." Xander shrugged but twitched. She put something on over the newly burned and bubbled skin. He sighed and leaned forward with a whimper. "Hurts?" He nodded. She checked, no new signs of an allergic reaction. "Is this about the stuff that I can't know about?"
"No," Xander said. "I'm guessing it's more to do with a skin allergy."
"What do you usually use?"
"I have some neosporin I spiked with holy water and some gel alcohol too. I don't get into the fancy stuff."
"All right, that's usually a sensible thing. How do you spike it?"
"Squeeze it all out, let it get gooey at room temperature, stir in the holy water, then use a little medicine syringe to put it back. Put it in the fridge so it regels faster. I do the same with aloe gel."
"Huh." She got some of that and put it onto the skin, making him sigh in pleasure. "It has lidocaine in it." Xander grinned at her. "Any other stitches?"
"Some from a few days ago that aren't ready to be pulled yet. They're clean."
"Good." She handed him his shirts. "Let me know if that gets worse." John nodded, helping Xander back out to his spot. She made note on the desk and made sure it was seen.
"Atlantis," John called. "Xander has to take this down because it's dangerous for humans to be in. Can you quit blocking him?" A little light went on at the base of the wall.
Xander got down to look at it. "Okay, I can use those. Thank you, baby." He petted the wall. "I'm sorry I have to remove them." He got his drill and the hex head, it looked like a hex head bolt. He ran the first one out and John helped him get them out. The front of the wall came down and they put it outside the door for Rodney to look over. Xander got the wires cut and the structural supports had to be cut. John got his hand-held power saw so he could do that. They got that first wall done and started on the next one. They went to dinner together.
Keller pulled Xander over when he walked past her, looking at his back. "That's still nasty looking. Itches?"
"Little bit," he admitted.
"It should be okay by tomorrow. See me later if you need something for it after your shower."
"Good boy." He grinned and went to get dinner.
"Xander, that light's blinking again," one of them told him.
"No wire on the ship." She moaned. "I'll get to it when I get some." She smiled at him and gave him some extra potato. "Thank you." He walked over to sit down. "Rodney, did you get those walls?"
"I did," he said. "They're interesting. I checked, we have that same structure on some of these walls. Not all of them though."
"That's fine, if we have to I can handle that. I know you can't use a sledgehammer."
He stared at him. "You did?"
John sat down with his food. "He did and wrenched his shoulder. Then we found out he's allergic to that herbal anti-bac spread." He looked at Xander's plate then smiled. "Good, eat."
"I had lunch. You made sure I had lunch." He did dig in.
John ate another bite. "I'll check your back later."
Ronon smiled at him. "It's good you can do that."
Xander looked at him then at John. "Half of everyone guessed," he said quietly.
"Oh. Okay. As long as you won't have problems."
"No, I won't have problems." He smiled and Xander beamed.
"Xander, can I look at the device that Willow sent you with?" Rodney asked.
"No, because if you break it everything in it disappears. Which means I lose about three hundred bucks worth of stuff and other things."
Rodney sighed. "Just scanning it?"
"Would that work against the way it's built?"
"I don't know."
"I can let you look at it but if you hurt it you have to build me a new one and put stuff back."
"That's reasonable." He dug into his own food.
"No sparring?" Ronon asked.
"Not with the way his back bubbled at the herbal thing." Ronon shuddered. "Exactly. So tomorrow night we'll spar." Ronon nodded and finished up, going to find a new victim.
Xander finished and looked at Rodney. "Any answer on the wires?"
"Eighty to one-hundred-fifty bucks for 250 feet," Xander said. "The heavier gauge versus the home gauge," he said at the looks he was getting.
"We need miles of it," Rodney complained. Xander nodded. Above them an alarm started. "What now?" he complained, calling in as he finished his dinner and headed off. John was already heading.
Xander finished up and went to make plans. And get something out since it was apparently trying to come through the gate. He walked in and dropped something, opening it and pulling it out to fire on the idiots. They went up with a lot of screams of pain. Xander put it down so he could lean on it. "Did you need something? I have more of them." He reloaded. They fled. The last few were killed. Xander looked at John. "See, I told you I'd give it to you when you needed it."
"You did but that's not staying in your room," he said with a grin.
Xander smirked. "You can search me if you want." He strolled off.
Major Lorne looked at him. "You're lucky," he said quietly.
"I am." He went to find all those weapons. They could sit in another room. He didn't want Xander to be petting anything but him. John couldn't bring a jumper to their room to play with, Xander couldn't have the weapons to play with.
Rodney sighed, looking at the case. "Someone take that to the lab so I can recycle it." Two of the soldiers did that. He looked at Evan, who was still smirking. "He's very protective of what's his."
"Which one?" he asked.
"That's why I introduced them."
"Nice job, McKay. Good choice too." Evan went to check on people. He was near a balcony when he heard, "Oh my God, Xander! Did you raid a military base! Oh, there! Right there!" Evan closed the doors and walked on. He didn't need to know what weapon Xander was playing with.
John, Xander, and Rodney sat down together at the most private table on the mess hall balcony before the dinner rush could start. They were the only society members on Atlantis as far as they knew so Rodney would mediate while they worked out some issues. "We're going to work out an agreement," John said, looking at Xander. "Rodney's going to referee. You know he won't automatically take my side if I'm being dumb and he's as close to a neutral party as we can get."
"Yes I am." He sipped his coffee. "I have written Miss Rosenburg, who said she can, if it was absolutely necessary, break into your little library/storage area container. She said it should not be necessary this year and next year they expect you'll simply show up and start helping." Xander shrugged a bit. "So that means you can leave a few things in there and put the rest in a stored room."
"If I do that, someone will try to sabotage them or the room so I can't get into it," Xander said.
"Which is another good point," Rodney agreed. "Though we have stopped most of the problems."
"Then I would've had hot water this morning," Xander said dryly. "And my sonic shower wouldn't have been set at the pitch to kill my hearing."
"It was," John said. "I heard it from up the hall when he tried to start it. It hurt my ears and could've killed him."
"I have no idea who it was but I'll look into it," Rodney assured them. "I'm tired of that petty crap and I'm going to stop it even if I need to borrow a weapon."
"You can borrow a sword," Xander offered with a grin. "Everyone looks hot with a sword."
"I may," he decided. "The storage area that has all of your snack cakes we need to empty anyway. I was looking it over and the zipper's not very solid." Xander grimaced. "It was cheap when she bought it apparently."
"I've been very careful."
"I know you have. Those can go into your closet." Xander shook his head. "They won't fit?"
"How much did you spend at the warehouse club?" John asked with a grin.
"About six hundred?"
"We have a room next to mine. I will lock it under my DNA and your DNA only," John offered. "That way the jealous assholes can't touch anything." Xander relaxed and nodded. "But I get to steal some now and then."
"I wouldn't mind. I figured I'd have to share a few times anyway."
"Cool." John smiled. "Can we do the same with the weapons?"
"If we lock it with his DNA someone can get into it," Rodney said. "A room can be isolated, not all the rooms."
"I can move back to the other building," John offered.
"Or we can all move to the Eastern building," Xander said. "Pretty views across the city."
John considered that. "That's a long way to run for emergencies."
"I know, but it's pretty."
John smiled. "We can have that picnic out there." Xander smiled and nodded. "Then we'll put your weapons in your closet, and in my closet," John said. Xander shrugged but nodded. "And by the gateroom in case we need some because it'll start there."
"I can agree to that as long as no one can tamper with them," Xander said. "I doubt I'd have time to fix them during an emergency."
"No, probably not," John agreed. "I will make that clear to the military guys. Who are watching the science squad for any other problems like that."
"You're kinda their demi-god hero," Xander said quietly.
"I know. I try really hard to live up to it too." He patted Xander on the hand. "You're doing good integrating into the base outside those few jealous sorts."
"Maybe it's because I'm not some high degree flaunting person," Xander said with a grimace. "They have Goddess syndrome really bad."
"We can," Rodney agreed. "Though if you wanted to go on...." Xander glared at him. "I didn't think you would. Though if you want I can assign you projects so you're not bored after hours."
"That would cut into my time," John complained. "We're barely getting any time right now."
"That's because you both work astounding hours," Rodney assured him. "Even though he doesn't have to."
"Then I'd have to be the sort that waits at home and knits," Xander said dryly.
Rodney shook his head quickly to kill that image. "Don't do that to me or I'll make you buy me coffee."
John smirked at him. "He gave me some for my birthday. Good stuff too."
Rodney pouted at Xander. "You have some in there for yours."
"Good!" He got back to it. "We should move one of you closer to the other. If we had suites we could put you both in one with the extra room going to the weapons and snack cakes."
Evan Lorne sat down. "You have snack cakes?"
"Yes, I brought some up." He grinned.
"I'm so pissed you're hoarding them."
"I've given a few people having bad days one," Xander said.
"Uh-huh." He stared at him then at John. "Email just updated."
"I heard the beep from Rodney's PC. Bad news?" John asked.
"Landry's in a snit." Xander winced. "Not about you. The president's in a snit about something and nibbling on him."
"You sure it's not Council related?" Xander asked.
"Oh, it is, but not you. Two of the girls nearly got killed by agents." Xander stared at him and he could see why he was considered scary. "They're fine now but the president wanted to rip half the agents a new one and one had been one of us. So we all get psych profiling done this month."
"Unless they're sending Heightmeyer back," John said dryly.
"Not that we know of. Also, the president said that if we needed that much wire, we should just build a new city."
Xander patted the table. "He doesn't understand, sweetheart." He looked at Evan again. "Let me write someone an email." He took Rodney's PC to do that, putting it into the queue. He handed it back with a grin.
"Who?" John asked.
"That might not stop the headache."
"Yes it will." He smiled. John shivered. He knew that look. "Anyway," he said, looking at Evan. "We're working on the whole ' Xander's weapons' thing."
"It's going next to the gateroom in that little closet area that only ATA carriers can get to. Half the base has ATA now so it won't hamper anything most likely," Evan told him.
"I don't think it will fit in there," John said dryly.
"Plus I need my swords for practice," Xander said.
Evan considered that. "Why doesn't Xander move to Teller's room?" he asked John. "That's around the corner from you. It has that one room that's connected to it that looked like a nursery. That way he can store the rest and his snack cakes he's hoarding."
"I could put shelves up," Xander agreed.
John considered that. "That'd be easier to sneak out of too. I think there's some sort of open panel that can go between them."
"Does it have the washer?" Xander asked.
"Yup, most of them do," John said.
"Cool. I usually need it by the end of the day."
Evan looked at his t-shirt. "I thought you were kidding about Underdog."
"A geek never kids about his superheros," Xander said, looking totally serious.
Evan smirked. "Good to know." He looked at John. "That would give you guys that shared balcony that you hoard."
"That would," he agreed. "Though it'd be kind of obvious."
"Everyone knows, colonel. I do mean everyone. Why do you think so many are jealous. Their hero is blowing their minds by not having someone busty, blonde, and airhead on his arm."
"I can pretend to be an airhead, but I'd look bad as a blond," Xander said. Rodney swatted him. "Hey!"
"Be yourself and we'll like you."
"I tried that and half the base hates me."
"They don't hate you but they think you're taking someone's rightful spot," Evan said, pointing at McKay.
"I've wondered about that myself a few times," he said when John and Rodney both started to protest. "But they're best friends and sometimes that can be closer than blood or marriage."
Evan smiled. "It's good you're not jealous."
"I had a friend like that until he got killed." He shrugged. "If you're lucky you do."
"Good point." He looked at them then at Xander. "We can help you move."
"We need to guard the workshop area," Xander said.
Rodney nodded. "Because I'll be killing someone the next time they tamper with things."
Xander nodded. "Yes, I will be." They smiled. "By the way, I've removed all the screwed in walls. I have no idea how to remove the others. I don't want to try the sledgehammer approach again."
"We'll see what we can find about cutting it maybe," John said. Xander nodded. "I don't want you to do the sledgehammer again either. You wrenched your shoulder pretty badly."
Doctor Keller stomped in. "Xander, General Landry ordered me to do a full physical workup of you."
"I thought I had a presidential pass on that."
"You know what, have Landry go talk to DiNozzo and House in New Jersey." She gaped. "They're my doctors of record. They're the ones that have done all my bloodwork and weeded down my DNA taint. They worked with the virologist who was working on a vaccine and treatment option in case someone else caught it. Go see Doctor House at PPTH." He smiled. "Because your little machine reads me as an experiment."
"That's.... yes it does." She walked off. "You might warn him."
Rodney tapped out an email to him and someone else. "That's going to be fun to watch. I hope he'll send us the security tapes." He smiled at them. "Let's get Xander moved to that other room so we can unpack things. I'll put better locks on the workshop area." They all nodded and even Evan helped move Xander. Ronon and Teyla showed up to help too. Xander shooed them out while he emptied the storage areas he had. Then the third one he had won in a poker game. He let them back in and Rodney looked around. "Holy Mother of Newton," he muttered.
Xander smiled. "I'm sure she was."
Rodney glared at him. "You've been hoarding all this? Even when I was out of coffee?"
"Where do you think that jug of coffee came from?" Xander asked.
Rodney shook his head. "You're a loveable goofball."
"Yeah, I try. My lovers usually like me this way, even if most of them are deadly."
"Yes, I am," John called, walking in. "Oh, damn," he said, blinking at the weapons. He looked at the other stuff. Then at his mate, who could only grin. "Evan, come help me sort weapons for each of the areas."
He walked in and stared then got a cupcake from an open box. "Thanks, Xander."
Evan grinned. They sorted weapons into what had to stay, what shouldn't stay, and what John was afraid Xander might coo at like it was a pet. John had his planes and Xander had his weapons. Not that John didn't like weapons but not the same. Xander was playing with the grenades like they were toy dogs. A few even had pasted on leather ears. He noticed Rodney taking film and shook his head.
Ronon looked over. "Don't those explode?"
"Yes but they're good puppies," Xander told him with a grin.
"You're incredibly strange," Ronon said. "But I like your weapons." Xander smirked. "What is that long knife for?"
"It's a sword and sometimes you have to have one to kill something or behead something. If we get back to earth, I'll take you on patrol with me some day."
Evan shook his head quickly. "Have fun, boys. We'll stay at home."
"Fine," Xander said. He put the grenades aside and got into the rest of the case they had come from. "Awww, Dawn made me a bullet family." He showed off the drawn-on bullets. "These are the lead family and we have a few silver families and one gold family it looks like. All the specialty bullets."
John looked in that case then at Xander. "Who's Dawn?"
"Buffy's little sister. She's a lot like mine." Xander smiled. "I kinda miss Dawnie."
John patted him on the shoulder. "It'll be good to catch up to her when we go back next time." Xander beamed. They got things together and carried the stuff for storage by the gateroom out to the living room area. When they came back, Xander had a lot more sodas. "How many more do you have stored?"
"I don't have room to pull the rest out," Xander defended.
"Let's just stack it and we can shift it around later," John said. "If we have to, we can put the swords in the gym with the bantos rods." Xander shrugged and finished pulling things out. He stuck his hand into the zippered case, pulled out something and it grew as it came out. All sorts of sodas were coming out. As well as more candy and snack cakes. Then chips got put in a pile. They all watched as everything else came out.
Evan took another cupcake and handed one to Ronon. "They're sweet and good."
He unwrapped it and ate a bite, nodding. "Those are good." Xander shot him a grin. It took nearly an hour to finish removing everything from that one. The other two were emptied by John and Rodney. Rodney found his birthday present and nearly hugged the really expensive coffee beans. Finally it was all out and the cases went into a drawer. Xander and John organized things with Rodney's directions helping. So there was a corridor to walk into the room. There wasn't much other space but there was that walking area in a 'T' shape.
Evan shook his head. "I'm keeping this stash to myself." He walked off with a can of soda.
Ronon and Teyla went to look over the weapons some more. John took Xander out to the balcony to relax. Rodney was still hugging his coffee but now he was handling a computer issue as well. "Did Dawn make you the puppy dog grenades?" John asked.
"Yup." He grinned. "I taught her how to use one and a gun."
"That's cool. She sounds neat." They settled in and it was nice. Comfortable. Xander fell asleep on his arm. Even when someone knocked and was let in Xander was still asleep; it showed how much he trusted John to protect him. He stared at the team leader. "What?" he asked quietly.
"Where did Evan Lorne get a soda? I've got a PMS'ing female on my team who about tried to kill him for it, sir."
"Xander's Wicca friend made a way for him to bring some up that was hidden until earlier," Rodney said from his seat. "He brought snack cakes as well."
"I'm not sure why she was going to beat him," he sighed. Rodney got him something and a soda. He grinned. "Thank him for the candybar, McKay. It might save my life later on our mission. I won't tell anyone." He went to hand it to her. "The only one on base and I had to beg McKay for it."
She pouted. "I'll thank him later." She went to her room to hide and eat it. That way no one else could try to get any from her.
That team leader went to look at the room they had been sorting things into earlier, staring at it. "When did we get these?"
One of the Marines on guard snorted. "Harris."
"I don't want to know." He shut it and made sure it was closed before walking off shaking his head.
"That's about how we feel too," the Marine said dryly to himself. He was technically guarding the gate room from the doorway so he could see that closet and the gate. They didn't need some jealous sort who wanted Sheppard to ruin the weapons; they might need them some day.
Richard Woolsey walked up to where Xander was eating lunch on the pier. "General Landry said that the wire will be on the next ship up."
"That's fine. There's nothing critical that needs some as of this moment." He ate a bite of sandwich. "It'll take me another two weeks to gut that building and then I'll start on the roof and work my way down."
"What about the wires you already have?"
"Those are lower gauge. From what Rodney was complaining about, he needed some of that but a lot of it was the heavy gauge that took damage from time, water, and the rats."
"I heard," he said with a grimace. "So that wire in there?"
"A lot was sabotaged. Did he send up a new ladder?"
"That's on there as well though he wasn't sure why."
"Oh. I heard about that as well." He considered that building. "What about other critical level repairs?"
"I need wires to finish off that one building for letting people back. I'll have some plumbing that needs fixed but it's not critical, just has to be done pretty soon. There's the light in the caf again. Which is probably more rat damage." Woosley nodded. "Rodney and I made up the list. The greenhouse I need wires for. That I could've used the lesser wire they sabotaged and Rodney made that real clear to them." Woolsey smirked a tiny bit. "He got so tired of them." He ate another bite and looked at his phone's note feature. "This is our list of critical repairs."
He took it to look at, nodding. "So mostly it's wiring?"
"There's very few structural things. The metal held up well but wires have insulation that got destroyed and the casing too. The plumbing wasn't made of the same metal mix so it has some cracks here and there. I've sealed what I could and sent pipe specs. There's going to be places I'll need to replace whole pipelines and some I can bridge in, depending on what the other stuff is made from because you can't bridge PVC or rubber to metal very easily. Not with an airtight seal."
"I can understand that." He handed the phone back. "What about after you're done with that?"
"I'm going to be looking at the roof problem. I can use some of what we're taking out of that building to possibly fix some of the wiring but it's all in shorter pieces than I need for the housing building. I can probably fix the greenhouse, that light, and the roofing problem with it. As a matter of fact I'm doing the caf's light issue later this week once all the rats are dead. I told them that earlier."
"I'm sure they'll be pleased. That flickering is annoying." Xander nodded. "Was that time and water?"
"Mostly rat damage."
"They're disgusting anyway," he decided. "All right, let's keep me informed weekly of your progress and anything that gets added?"
"I usually sync my list with Rodney's."
"That's fine. Just send me a memo, Xander." He walked off.
"Sure, I can do that." He finished lunch and went back to work cutting walls off. Rodney was getting a lot of recycled material and had one of his idiot minions checking wires for him. He came out that night and patted the building. "Just a few more days, dear. I'd do it faster but they said no explosives." He walked off, going to get the wire for the lights and do that since dinner was over with. They held a plate when they saw the wire in his hand. He popped the tile with the broom and climbed up onto a table to get into it. He fixed the light's wires and came down, taking off his t-shirt carefully so he could beat the rat hanging on it on the floor. It died. He shook it off the balcony then came back to sanitize his hands and get dinner with a grin. "Thanks, ladies."
"Thank you, Xander." He sat down outside to eat. The ceiling panel had popped itself back into place.
Evan walked out, staring at Xander. "Sheppard's looking for you." Xander frowned at his comm earpiece. Evan looked at it. "It's dead. How did you do that?"
"I don't think I did. Battery dead?"
"I don't know. I'll check it." He called in where Xander was. "He said that two bathrooms exploded."
"Then someone should quit pissing off the explosives experts?" he guessed. He ate a bite of dinner. "I can come shut off the water but I don't have the stuff to fix those." Evan told him that and he politely asked the water to be shut off. Evan smiled so apparently that worked. "Have him add whatever exploded to Rodney's list and I'll put it in when it gets here."
"I can do that." He walked off. He and John passed in the halls. "We don't have the stuff to fix it and he said to quit pissing off the explosives experts."
"One of the bathrooms belonged to Cadman." He walked into the caf, staring at Xander. "They destroyed the walls behind the sinks."
"We have no pipes."
"Can we clear from somewhere we're not using?"
"Probably but I'd need to have a building cleared." John shrugged. Xander looked out the balcony, leaning back to point. "That one. It's got a lot of interior walls that have screws according to Rodney. The top floor is housing."
John looked and nodded. "I think we cleared it. We can make sure." He called that in. "We'll have it cleared tomorrow. How long will it take you to scavenge?"
"If it's in good shape, and most of them have been, an hour to get a wall down and cut out the old system to replace the new one. It might not be exact but it'll be something in place until I can formally fix it with new pipes."
John nodded. "Wires?"
"I fixed the one in here but we still have rats. We have got to get the rats gone."
"We can't really tent the city, Xander. Or sink it without the shield for two days."
"We may be able to use a gas though," Xander said. "Going section by section."
"I'll let you and Rodney figure that out." He settled into a chair. "Cadman is pissed."
"Which other one?"
"Ah. Then it's the jealous slut society." John frowned at him. "They are. There's one that gives Radek gooey eyes when he's not looking and thinks he's dating Cadman. I heard her telling her astrophysics buddies that she hated her because she had stolen Radek." He handed him something. "Because you probably didn't eat."
"I did eat. I ate when everyone else ate."
"I was taking down one last wall. I'm down to external things."
"Congrats," he said with a smile. "We'll clear that first thing in the morning."
"Okay. I'll go see if Rodney has a solution to the rat problem. It's what did the light up there. I killed it."
"You're good at protecting my city," he said with a grin, getting a smile back. "Finish up. I have the night off so we can watch a movie?"
"I could like that." Xander inhaled dinner, putting his tray up. "Thanks, ladies."
John and Xander went back to John's room. What started out as a movie and a cuddle turned into a blowjob for John and him cuddling Xander as he fell asleep on him.
Xander heard the commotion when John's mission came back. It was bad. It was on all-channels calling for the medical team. Xander looked at the guards near him, getting looks. "He'll be fine," he said calmly. "John's a strong guy and he'll be fine." They nodded. Xander finished up and went to install it. Cadman was giving him odd looks. "He's in surgery, Laura."
"We all know."
"And if I make it that obvious there's problems." She nodded that's true. "So for right now, I can't get to him anyway. Me fixing things is better right now." She patted him on the arm. "Then I have to rewire a lot of the medical bay." She smiled.
Xander showed up after lunch, looking at Keller. "All right, you're up on the list for repairs." She gave him a weak smile. "Where do you want me to start?"
"Just stay out of the way of the beds. Half of everyone is coming in to check on them."
"He's their version of Hercules on this legendary journey. Of course they are." She nodded. "So I'll start on the broken window?"
"That'll work, thank you, Xander." He nodded, going to do that. It was on the same ward as the others were. When someone came in to yell at Rodney, Xander picked them up and tossed them out for the nurses. Then he went back to his window repair.
Teyla looked at him. "Are you jealous of them?" she asked.
"No. I'm not a jealous person, Teyla. I've never been a jealous guy. Jealousy is for those who are insecure." She smiled at him. "Beyond that, there's going to be some asshat who's going to try to cause a problem. Might as well happen in here so he can get immediate help." She giggled.
"What's an asshat?" Ronon asked from his bed, his eyes closed.
"Kavanagh," Rodney said. "And yes, there's already been two."
Xander grinned. "There's about ten on the base." Rodney snorted, going back to his resting. John was sedated. He had some pretty new stitches above his ear. Xander got back to fixing things.
"You!" someone shouted when they walked in. "You shouldn't be in here."
"I'm fixing the medical lab's critical issues."
"We all know why you're in here," he sneered.
"Yes, because I asked him to fix ours now," Keller said firmly. "You yell in my infirmary again and I'll make sure you can't speak for months." The guard huffed and tried to grab Xander, who kneed him in the groin while crushing his throat in his hand. "Xander, please don't make me more work today," she sighed.
"He's not damaged. A good ice pack will cure him." He dragged the guy into the hall and left him there, then walked in and grabbed an ice pack, going to drop it onto his throat. He stared down at him. "I'm fixing things and if you *ever* say something like that to me again I'll use your ass for currency. I'm sure someone *somewhere* would want the worthlessness you shit out." He stared at him. Then he went back to his repair jobs. Doctor Keller smirked at him. He smirked back. "I've done worse than that," he muttered. "Fucking gaybashers have always annoyed me, Doc. My best female friend is a lesbian."
She beamed at him. "That's good to know. The blonde?"
"The other one. I've known Willow since kindergarten."
"That's sweet." She let him do what he needed to do. The guards on shift were dragging that one off so he could admit he was a failure as a human being and a Marine.
"I take it he's an asshat?" Ronon asked, cracking Keller up.
"Yes," she told him. "He's a mild version of it."
"It's occasionally a disease you can catch but if you're a good person who thinks you never do," Xander told him. Rodney cackled, holding his side. "Easy, Rodney." He came over to help him lay back down. "Calm down and try to breathe." He went back to his repair. By the end of the day he had two done.
Ronon and Teyla would get out in the morning. Rodney too. John was going to be here for days. Rodney would hover near John until he woke up and growled at someone. Xander would be fixing things nearby. Everyone would talk about Xander being jealous and keeping Rodney in check but no one would say anything to him for days.
Xander finally looked over when he heard that rumor. "They're best friends," he said bluntly. "People are very lucky when they find a friend that close. I'm not going to say a word about Rodney hovering like a protective mama cat over him. I had a friend I was that tight with and I would've done the same thing."
"Had?" she asked.
"He died when we were sixteen. He's why I have that blonde friend. Why I ended up in the battle in LA and all of that. Rodney can hover because sometimes your friends are closer than your relatives." She nodded at that wisdom. "Beyond that, speculating on anyone's relationship can get people in a lot of trouble," he said more quietly.
"We'd never say anything."
"You'd never say anything," he corrected. She nodded that was true. He got back to eating. "He'll get out tomorrow."
"That's good." She spread that information around. Xander was a lot less thick than most everyone seemed to think.
Ronon walked into the caf and looked at Xander. "You've been missing sparring practice."
"I have. I didn't want to dent you when you're already bruised."
Ronon snorted, smirking at him. "I'm tougher than I look. So are you."
"I know. I'll be there tonight if you're cleared for it." Ronon nodded, walking off. Xander finished dinner and went to change clothes. He met Ronon in the sparring room and stretched, getting himself ready.
"You can wear out your bad mood," he said bluntly.
Xander looked at him. "I have another few walls to take down and I can use a sledgehammer on them," he said with a smirk. "I'd never do that to a person, Ronon, especially not one I like. I know better." He finished his stretching and attacked since Ronon looked ready. It was nice to get moving, comfortable to do. He calmed his mind for a bit and fell into the old ways. He still tripped but now he could compensate better for it. He still wasn't great but he was getting better. Ronon nodded his approval of some moves. Finally Xander pulled back and panted, bowing slightly. Ronon smirked. "Thanks."
"Shower. I doubt he'd want to see you that sweaty."
"Probably not today, no." He went back to his room to do that. Then to the infirmary. John was awake and talking quietly to his buddy. Xander hopped up onto the next bed, staring at him. "You would not believe how many assholes think that I'm suddenly going to be jealous of close friends."
John smiled. "You took a shower to see me?"
"Ronon wanted some sparring time."
"That's good." He yawned. "It's going to be fine, Xander."
"I know that. I pointed out earlier what close friends could be like." John smiled. "If it was Jesse, I would've pushed his mate out of the way because he had bad taste."
Rodney nodded. "I wouldn't but then again I approve."
Xander grinned. "And I wasn't going to interrupt because I know what sort of bonds people that close have."
John nodded. "Thank you for handling that calmly."
"He's thrown a few people out for pissing off the nurses," McKay assured him. John stared at Xander, who could only smile.
"We liked that he did that," Keller said as she walked over with the scanner. "Xander, off the bed. You sitting down started the scanner." He hopped off. She pointed and he moved away from it. It quit scanning him. "Thanks." She looked at John, then at the readout. She frowned at him. "What's that?"
He looked then at Rodney for a translation. "Your mermaid taint is up."
"Huh. Probably where I dove in to catch one of the Marines that fell off playing soccer the other day. It'll go down again pretty soon."
Keller stared at him oddly. "I didn't see anyone that fell off a pier."
"He wasn't drowning but there's a wicked current there. He was trapped in it so I went down to get him. The other guys got a rope."
She rolled her eyes. "The rope would've worked."
"He was being sucked under the city."
"Oh. Thank you, Xander."
"Welcome, Doc." He smiled.
John stared at him. "Do we have to watch that?"
"That's good." He yawned again. Keller scanned him. "Can I go nap in my bed?"
"No, not until tomorrow." She walked off. "Visitors can go home now."
"I still have a week of work for you," Xander told her.
"I know, Xander. Thank you." He shrugged but grinned. They got John settled back into sleep and it was nicer. She had a quiet infirmary. Even if McKay was moping over Sheppard again. That was going to end up being a problem.
Evan walked up to John a few days later. "We need to talk privately."
John looked at him, frowning some. "Did something happen?"
Evan walked him off to an unused lab room, closing them in there. "There's a lot of talk going on," he said, staring at John.
"You haven't even eaten with your boy since you got out. Rodney was hovering over you like Xander should have been, though we mostly thought it was great how he hovered without hovering. Most everyone saw it as very subtle. The few who didn't realize he was hovering got corrected but they're all saying that you and Xander are in trouble."
"No," John said, shaking his head. "I've spent time with Xander every single day. He's never making it to dinner." Evan gave him a pointed look. "You think he's avoiding it?"
"I think that's a possibility since the science corps are still being assholes." John huffed and leaned against the wall. "Even the city's noticed. She broke something so it'd hit him the other day." John stared at him. "Also, is Xander never allowed to swim?"
"I think most of the times he does his DNA taint goes up. I haven't talked to him about that."
"Okay, some advice. Communication is what kills relationships. I've killed a few decent ones by never opening my mouth." He stared at him. "I don't know what's going on between you three but it is apparent there's something."
"No," John said, looking confused. "Why...."
"McKay hovers over you whenever you're injured."
John snorted. "If he had wanted me he would've spoken up before now."
"Maybe but there's that equality issue since you two are basically in charge of everything. Personally I don't think anyone would care if you did McKay, as long as you weren't cheating on Xander, but if even the city's being pissed off by what's going on it's not good."
John looked at the nearest wall. "Xander was doing what I wanted him to do. If he had hovered someone would've tried something to hurt him, Atlantis. Nothing's going on that hasn't been. We're not breaking up, none of it." He looked at Evan. "Is it that rampant? I knew there were rumors about me and McKay."
"And all those are happy that you found Xander. But now they're upset for Xander."
"It's good they like him. I like that." He sighed. "There wasn't anything unusual going on. Xander knows we're close because all the times we've bled on each other. He said he understood that."
"I'm sure he did. Apparently he had a friend who was that close." Evan stared at him. "Did you two even talk about him?"
"He looked kinda sad when Teyla asked him about him."
"Yeah, at dinner last night. You came in and got dinner with McKay then ran off. Which is why Xander's been picked at by the city all day and the Marines are giving him pitying looks."
"No, there's nothing wrong between me and Xander. I'll go talk to him."
"Like I said, John, if you three make it so be it. They'll be happy if you are."
"I don't think I could do that." He walked off frowning slightly. He found where Xander was working, watching him for a few minutes. He had a few spots of blood on his shirt. "What happened?"
Xander flinched. "Don't sneak up on me."
"Sorry." He walked over. "What happened?"
"The little wire supports broke." He let John look at them. "They really only need a butterfly."
"Let's do that. The fixes will be there tomorrow." One snapped off and hit him. He glared at the wall. "Stop it, Atlantis." He helped Xander clean up his mess and walked him back to his room, helping him out of his shirt so they could clean up the injuries. There were about ten of them. He helped Xander clean up the traces of blood and put on the small butterfly bandages. Then he hugged him. "Are you okay?"
"I don't know why she's mad at me."
"I think she's picking up that you didn't hover like the others did."
"Yeah because it would've caused you problems and me too. I was always there."
"I know. I knew you would be. You would've been beside Rodney worrying yourself into a bed." He kissed him. "Who was Jesse?"
Xander stared at him. "I don't feel like crying today."
"I get that." He hugged him. "There's that few people who think that Rodney and I are going behind your back."
Xander looked at him. "I'd kill you both."
John smiled. "I'd never do that. I'm not that sort of guy."
"I know." He hugged him. "This is nice," he said quietly.
"You are losing weight."
"You are." He kissed him on the temple. "Why are you avoiding dinner?"
"Because the last two times I ate with others things got put into my food."
John pushed him back. "Like poisonous stuff?"
"Like little pine needle looking things."
"Gray?" John asked. Xander nodded. "That's the stuff that's in that gel. Damn it!" Xander nodded. "Any idea?"
"No, not yet."
"That's going to stop. We're eating together from now on."
"No," John said, stopping him. "We're eating together. We don't get enough time together."
"It's not your fault. Everything is frantic and I'm lucky I get to eat at all some days. Eating with you gives me a lot of incentive to get away from my desk." Xander grinned. "C'mon, we'll eat early."
"Okay." He put on a tanktop, walking out with John.
"Your arm muscles are a lot more defined," John said. "Are you sure you're not losing weight?"
"I've been doing a lot of lifting and a lot of sword katas."
"Are you doing any range time?"
"No. I get plenty of practice shooting rats. We really have to fix the rat problem."
"We do," he agreed. "Weren't you and Rodney going to work on that?"
"And then there was a mission to prep for and you all got hurt," he said dryly as they walked into the mess hall.
"If he shows up tonight, we're going to go over the rat problem." The city popped out a ceiling panel and dropped one in front of him. Xander stomped on it. John smiled. "Thanks."
"Welcome." He grinned back. He got his dinner, sniffing it.
John looked then handed it back. "Those gray things are something he's allergic to. That's the berries on that plant."
"Oh, I didn't know; sorry, Xander," she said. She got him something different.
"It's cool, even I didn't know," he said with a grin. "Thank you." He walked off to get some water. John followed. They got their table on the balcony. John sat across from him, smiling at him. "They do a really good job even though they have to cook for so many people."
"They do. We appreciate their skills a lot. No matter what sort of strange food we give them they can make it mostly edible." He dug in, grimacing. "What's that?"
Xander looked then shrugged. "Faux beef."
"Oh, that's why they used the heavy basil." Xander grinned and dug in. He ended up choking and gulping his and John's water.
"Keller to the mess," John called. He moved to help him. She rushed in. "I don't know what it is. They gave him some without the berries."
She checked him with the scanner. "It's fish." Xander shook his head. "No, not the fish?" He shook his head, grabbing a napkin to cough into. Blood. She scanned his throat. "He still got some of the berries. Let's get him to the infirmary." She helped Xander up and down there. "Get me some throat spray," she ordered as they walked in. "And anti-allergen shot." The nurses rushed to help her. She got Xander calmed down, mostly by sedating him, and treated the injuries.
John touched his comm. "Handle it, Major. I'm busy." He hung up. "Why is he allergic to that bush? I thought everyone was safe with it."
"There's two options. One, we found one guy that had to get a smallpox vaccine reacts to it." John winced and nodded. "Or it's his DNA taint."
"The first probably," he said quietly.
She stared at him. "No way."
"Yup, one of the ones from that falling."
She scanned him, gaping at him. "Damn it!" She got something else and it helped. "That taint is climbing."
"That was probably the fish." He sat beside Xander. "Is it going to be long-term hurting?"
"No. We can heal the damage to his throat." She got another healing machine and used it on his throat. John watched. "Is that ...." She scanned again. "That's bothering his taint."
"We can weed that out," John said quietly. "They did a dialysis treatment to weed it out before. Heal it and we can do that later." She nodded, fixing his throat.
Rodney walked in with two trays, handing John one. "What happened?"
"That berry," John said, putting his tray aside. "I'll eat later."
Rodney patted him on the shoulder. "He'll be fine. He's survived a lot. This won't kill him."
"Did you hear there are new rumors?" Keller asked him quietly. She cleared the results off the scanners.
"We need those," the nurse complained.
"By presidential order we're not to keep any results on him," Keller told her. "His heart function is odd because he has an extra chamber. Otherwise, just treat the allergy and tell me if he starts to cough or cough blood." She nodded, going off. She looked at Rodney again, who was scowling at John. "They're not blaming him."
"They never would," Rodney assured her. "I have no interest in his ass."
"I knew that but Evan warned me," John said. "Also, the city's been picking on him today."
"It's been more than today," Keller told him. "I saw it happen yesterday. That's why I gave him some new steri-strips."
John huffed. "I liked the way he was subtle about hovering while I was in here. It made sense to me and I appreciated the discretion."
"So did I," Keller said with a smile. "He was the least troublesome significant other of any I've had in here." She left them alone to talk.
Rodney looked at him. "Even if you were that hot for me I'd never accept it."
John smiled. "I like that you're honest, even when you blow my ego." Xander shifted and whimpered, rubbing his throat. "Hey, don't do that." He stopped Xander's hands. "Just rest, Xander. Even if Evan calls again, they can handle anything but an attack." Xander relaxed and went limp.
Keller came over to give him more sedative. "Once I make sure his throat's healed he can heal in his room," she said quietly. "I figure this is too open for him, like when we have Peter Staton in here." She left them alone again.
John touched his earpiece. "Major, was I not clear?" he asked calmly.
Rodney took it and tapped his own on, turning off John's. "Major, he's in the infirmary with a sudden onset of an allergy attack," he said dryly. "Is it *that* important?" He listened. "Why call him for that? Oh, that's reasonable I suppose. No, he's going to be off work for the next three days. I'll send someone to work on that." He hung up and called someone else. "Radek, pick three of the stupidest minions who can hammer in a nail and have them help Major Lorne with the wall that wants to fall on him." He hung up. Rodney tapped out a message to House for the next time the email went. Keller needed to know and he trusted her with this. Even if Xander wasn't sure yet. John shifted. "He'll be fine. Eat."
"I'm not going to eat something that could make him sick," he said quietly.
"That's without the berries."
"So was his second one," John said dryly. "There's no telling how long it lasts." Rodney nodded, taking it to eat. John got the vegetables instead. Rodney wasn't going to be kissing Xander so it wouldn't matter if he ate the berries or not.
Evan hung up and sighed. "What happened?" he asked the guard.
"There's berries in tonight's stew," he said.
"Shit, Xander's allergic to them."
"He was coughing up blood in the caf by the time Keller got to him."
"No wonder Sheppard growled at me." Radek showed up with three science minions. "Thanks, guys, it's this one." He pointed at the alarmingly tilted wall. "Its an external one like that window is."
Radek looked and nodded. "Has some leaking on that side." They got into it and braced it. "Xander can fix tomorrow."
"Xander's going to be off for days," Evan corrected. "He got some of those berries." Radek stared at him, giving him a hot look. "They put them in the stew."
"Dirt," he muttered. "Someone has been putting the needles into his dinner."
"Excuse me?" Evan demanded. "Someone tried to poison him?" Radek and the guard both nodded. "Who?"
"No clue," the guard admitted. "We've all come to really like Xander. He pulls his own weight, he cracks jokes, we don't have to worry about him if we're attacked. He's like a former soldier that's in the civilian side now. Though no one's sure why Sheppard's been ignoring him."
"Work's been craptastic and he's not getting any time off," Evan said bluntly.
"The kid was right, he's like our version of Hercules," the guard said with a small shrug. "He had Iolaus and Sheppard has McKay. Let's hope that Hera, or Landry, doesn't try to kill his wife."
"Landry tries a thing and Xander will kill him," Evan said dryly. "We'll all get a long weekend for the closed casket funeral." The guard smiled. The scientists gave him odd looks. "Sheppard and McKay aren't together."
"We knew that," one said. "Though I'm not sure what Sheppard sees in Xander."
"They're a lot alike," Evan said. "Xander's nickname in the underground he was working in is the White Knight." They moaned. "He hates flying, it makes him sick, but he's like Sheppard light. Only he likes swords."
"And artillery," Radek quipped.
"And twinkies," Evan said with a smirk.
Radek stared at him. "He has twinkies?"
"He snuck some up."
"We should raid," Radek decided. McKay showed up to see what had happened.
"I wonder if Xander can do underwater welding," Rodney sighed. "That's bad." They both nodded.
"How is he?"
"The healing wand helped a lot but it caused another problem he'll have to do some blood work to treat."
"Crap," Evan muttered.
"It'll be fine. We have a simpler way of doing that up here." He shifted to help hold the wall in place for the one welding the cracked areas. "He has an arc welder, Radek." He went to get it. It would make a better seal. Radek came back and made sure the welds were secure before moving onto the next one. They got it finished about late night shift change and went to their rooms for the night. Rodney checked on Xander and John but John was asleep beside his bed. So he left them alone.
Hank Landry walked into House's clinical area looking calm and like he was in charge. "Doctor House?"
"I am," he said, staring at him. "And you're General Hank Landry."
"How did you know that?"
"Rodney McKay told me to expect you," he said with a smug look.
All right, McKay had warned him. So he'd be blunt and direct instead of trying to work his way around things. "Why does Mr. Harris have presidential pardons on routine medical checks?"
House smirked. "I don't have clearance from the president to tell you." He called someone. "DiNozzo, House. Landry's here. I need orders." He hung up. "He said let him call someone."
"Is it that important?" he asked blandly.
"Yes." His phone rang and he answered it. "House." He listened. "You sure? Here, tell him." He handed it over. "The Chief of Staff of the White House."
He took it. "Sir." He listened, blinking a few times. "Why... Oh, I see. DNA taint... classified higher than my project, all right. Is he a problem for the city?"
"No, and with the problems the emails showed up with last night, I'm hoping they're right about their advanced capabilities." He took the phone. "Blair, Gregory House again. Xander had to be healed and it increased his DNA taint. McKay said to give Doctor Keller..... She knows enough to know why if she has to stitch him but nothing further. That was John's call." He listened. "Yeah, I think he will need another treatment for it. I can do that. Thanks." He hung up and got into a file in his desk, writing out information. "That needs to go to your Doctor Keller and only her. They've managed to set off his DNA taint."
"How did that happen?"
"Swim coach back in high school." He stared at him. "Considering that's the *lesser* classified thing and NID tried to do it to someone else...."
"I understand that. Is the other classified matter due to a similar reason?"
"No. At one point in time his construction crew broke through a burial chamber and he fell on the remains."
"So he's picked up something that people want to kill him to get," Landry said blandly. House nodded. "What does Doctor Keller know?"
"That. That was what Colonel Sheppard decided she had to know in case she had to treat him. Due to an allergy to something native, it has reawakened his DNA taint and she'll have to do some blood cleaning. She stated she has something to do that."
"That's what she needs to know to do it best."
"I can get that to her tonight. Is Harris a danger to others?"
"Only if someone gets into his blood and boils it down," House said bluntly, staring at him. "That's why we had him up here, so we could deal with it if someone did get some."
"So he's worked with a virologist?" Landry asked. House nodded once. "Oh, dear."
"It's never bothered him," House said blandly. "He didn't even show symptoms from what we heard. We have a treatment in case it should happen. We do know what we're doing but the more people who know, the worse trouble he's in."
"They reported he has artillery?"
"He has presidential permission to hoard weapons after what happened in LA," Tony said as he walked in. "I'm certain you at least saw part of that invasion."
"I thought that was a stunt."
"No," Tony said, shaking his head. "Xander's Council."
"Oh," he said flatly, grimacing.
"So yes, he probably has a few swords as well."
"Fine. He's doing good work up there I'm told."
"All but the few jealous people who hate him for being good," Tony said dryly. "Which is why he got poisoned probably." House grimaced. "He didn't tell you?"
"He did tell me. He sees me as a mentor and someone who can give good advice. I gave him some decent advice and told him to beat the hell out of them if they tried anything else."
Tony nodded. "That might help." He looked at the general. "In about six months, expect a visit from NCIS, General." He smirked. "I'm still NCIS Special Agent DiNozzo as well as Doctor DiNozzo and the president liked that split."
Landry grunted. "That's fine. When it happens we'll talk." He left, getting beamed back to the base. He emailed that message verbatim to Keller. He had no idea what it meant. He talked to his top doctor, who told him she was not allowed to discuss it at all. The president said so. But she apparently had a lot of an idea.
Doctor Keller got the email and nodded, setting the little ball device they had found. She went to find Xander. He was in bed, pouting at an e-book. "We have to handle that DNA taint, Xander." He looked up at her. "It's getting too high according to Doctor House."
He nodded. "I know that. I shouldn't try to swim."
She nodded. "Probably not, or eat fish." She held up the ball. "This is the same as the machine that they used last time. I've set it to leave your other issues alone and just take out mermaid cells." She attached it to his arm. "It'll beep when it needs dumped; come see me."
"I can do that," he agreed quietly. "How long? Last time it was two weeks."
"I should be able to get it down within two days but you'll be off shift because of it. You can come back to the infirmary."
"All right. Rest, nothing strenuous. No moving that arm if possible. I'll tell John and Woolsey that." He nodded. "Good boy." She left, going to the command center. She found them and Major Lorne having a meeting. "He's got the dialysis ball on his arm for probably two days. He'll need another day to heal the wound it'll create," she said bluntly, staring at John.
"Okay. Do you have him?"
"He's to stay in bed. I need to get it to dump it every few hours but otherwise he'll be fine in bed." John nodded. "Nothing strenuous, no using that arm."
"I can do that."
"Good." She walked off.
"Why?" Woolsey asked quietly.
"Xander's another DNA challenged person," Rodney said dryly. "Only his is fish taint."
"Wonderful," Woolsey said. "Does that give him any advantages?"
"If he goes swimming it grows," John said dryly. "Or when he eats fish."
"So this one started when he saved that marine that fell overboard," Evan said. John nodded. "Okay, we'll make sure he doesn't need to again."
"He does miss swimming," John told him. "I'll go watch him to make sure he rests later."
"You have a mission later," Woolsey reminded him.
"We put it off," Rodney said. "I have to figure out why a wall under the city is bowing to the pressure. That's above what Xander can do." Woolsey sighed. "That way we can fix it and let him get back to the usual repairs. Besides, he hasn't had more than two days off since he got here." He closed his laptop and looked at him. "He works harder than most of us do outside of emergencies." He walked off.
John followed. "Lorne, let me know if there's anything too important."
"I can do that." He went to the office to do some of the paperwork.
Woolsey still looked confused. He wouldn't be calling off work if his wife was in bed. She would have wanted him to go do something other than hover. He went back to his own office to deal with his own reports. They never seemed to end.
Xander wandered in and held out his arm. "It's really frantically beeping so I think it's full."
"I think it's full too." She checked how much time had elapsed and pulled the little ball off to dump it into the medical waste bin. When she saw black stuff she scraped some for a sample and flushed the system then reapplied it to his arm. He looked at the black stuff and shrugged, walking off again.
"Drink more," she called.
"Thank you. And I do mean water-based fluids, not however you got a case of soda snuck up." Xander waved a hand, not smiling. She ran the tests on the swab carefully, making sure nothing was going to be recorded. The DNA warping was astonishing and it was pissing her off. "Why fish?" she complained. She got deeper into it. Hell, maybe she could taint a wraith with it and they'd all have to drown or something. Xander came back two hours later sipping some iced tea and she dumped it again. Just as full and faster. She checked the settings. Then she took a blood scan, grimacing. "It's not shrinking that very much."
"It took two weeks to shrink it down five percent last time," Xander told her. "That's as far as they could get it down and they took gallons of the black, tarry stuff." He walked off sipping his tea.
Rodney stared at him. "Where did you get iced tea?"
"It's got lemon in it. Sorry."
"The caf had some drink mix water packets." Rodney went to look at those while Xander went back to bed. He felt like crap. His stomach and chest were itching too so he went back there and lifted his shirt, looking at the dark lines that usually rested below the surface then at her. "If the gills are coming up, isn't that a problem?"
"Yes." She checked them over. "They're still under the skin."
"They weren't exposed last night. I can't take a shower when I'm like it, it'll make them pop out."
"Oh." She took a better blood scan and removed the little ball. She readjusted it and put it back on. It was cleaning the blood a different way and Xander was shuddering so she removed it. "Maybe we'll have to send you back for real dialysis."
"I don't know," Xander sighed. "I'm going to go wallow in bed." She nodded, letting him go do that. She went back to work figuring things out based on the email she had gotten from the kid's doctor. John strolled in, handing over the dialysis ball. "Do we have any idea why it's so much stronger?"
"We're on a floating city?" he guessed. "The water isn't all that filtered for showers?" She moaned. "We have fish byproducts thickening half of all the meals."
"Which would set it off?" John nodded. "What can we do about it?"
"As long as he's keeping it at a lower level, I'm only going to be concerned. If he starts to yearn for the water and starts to change form, I'm going to go kill that swim coach if he's not already dead."
"He's starting to show gills."
"I think DiNozzo said he did last time too." He went to talk to Xander. And then send through a special request to get DiNozzo or House up onto the city. Quickly. Before his mate turned into a black, slimy merman. He'd hate that.
Tony showed up on the base with a smile, holding up his ID. "I'm to see General Landry today please." They signed him in and called down there. Landry came up.
"Why are you here, DiNozzo? You said six months."
Tony held up the official order placing him on Atlantis as a dual staff member. "I got that early yesterday morning."
Landry read it and grimaced. "Why did the president want you there?"
"To finish my residency hours and give you an NCIS agent."
Landry stared at him. "We don't need one."
"You do need one. There's been three rapes reported on your base recently. My whole team got a year's assignment here. I'm to go to the city. McGee's helping here, Abby's helping the Denver office officially. Gibbs and Ziva are here. She's international so that'll help you somewhat."
"Why didn't I hear about them? And why not JAG?"
"We have the classified rating, me especially. I have the dual training going on. I'm also to bring up a shitload of building supplies for your city." Landry moaned. "Some of our friends said so." He smiled. "Gibbs will be in tomorrow. He'll start with your warrant officer and then move to you to go over any reports you have."
"What sort of internationally trained agent is whoever Ziva is?"
"She's Mossad." Landry gaped. "Transferring to American citizenship. Frankly, the President and Director Vance said we're too physical to be his sort of agent, he wants the geek agents who can't chase people in the field, and we're too good to retire or fire us since we do most of the work in DC."
"Oh, I see. And your residency hours?"
"I'm about halfway done. Vance is going to get me permanently assigned to your project since I have both qualifications so you don't have to pay for both. It's a budget thing and he hates me. And he *really* hates you." He grinned.
"Fine," he muttered. "I can't disobey a direct order from the president. These building materials?"
"They're in a storage container in town. One of those pod things. It's pretty much everything on McKay's wish list."
"The president didn't want to sign those order forms."
"He didn't. Some people that know the both of us donated them." He smiled. "They want her to be a healthy, happy city that loves John Sheppard."
Landry stared at him. "Seriously?" Tony smirked and nodded. "Why?"
"For the same reason Greg House put you on with the Chief of Staff."
"Oh," he said flatly. "Pushy higher ups."
"Yes, there are. Also, that Trust crap? You didn't get rid of all of them and *that* is Ziva's main reason for being here." Landry stared at him. "We found evidence in a defense contractor recently and Vance was *livid*, then transferred that to the president, who was meeting with Miss Summers at the Council, who flatly stated that John Sheppard is to be considered one of their people now as well. Which gives him a lot of help from some different populations."
"Long story I can't tell you. Let's just say that Sheppard is well liked by them for being the same sort they are. McKay is too."
"Fine. The ship's going tomorrow."
"That's fine. How do you want to move those supplies up there?"
"I'll get you and the captain together, DiNozzo." He led him to his office. "Walter, we're getting NCIS people tomorrow."
"Hi, Walter," Tony said with a smile. "Doctor Tony DiNozzo, NCIS." He shook his hand. "My whole team is coming in and Abby's in Denver."
"That's wonderful," he said with a grin.
"We've also got Rodney's wanted building supplies in a pod in town."
"I'll tell Colonel Ellis so they can work that out. Will you need a room?"
"Only for tonight. I fully plan on going up on the next ship."
"Okay." He made that note and sent a message up to the Apollo.
Landry and DiNozzo settled into his office to talk. Tony got the head doc down, handing her a file. "Mine from the docs overseeing me in New Jersey."
"The same doctors as Mr. Harris used?"
"For slightly the same reason without the DNA taint. This will also keep the blood hunters off me."
"Oh, dear." She read it and grimaced. "We've taken samples?"
"We worked with a virologist. It's actually my minor." He grinned.
"Good." She left them to talk.
Tony smiled. "The plague got sent to my office. I stupidly opened the envelope."
"So... that's worse or better than falling into a burial chamber?"
"He has multiple sources of worry, I just have that one."
"Okay, good to know." He went over the responsibilities up there and Tony told him where he could help in both jobs. Including handling complaints, minor punishments with Sheppard and Woolsey, and he wasn't under oversight. So they could move around the IOA some more. That was well liked.
Tony walked off the ship, putting on his sunglasses. "Aww, this is beautiful." Everyone stared at him. "Hi, Doctor Tony DiNozzo."
Evan Lorne looked at his list. "We're expecting you and a lot of stuff for McKay?"
"What sort of doctor are you?" Evan asked.
"Orthopedics with a minor in virology, and I'm also your new NCIS person." He grinned.
Evan gaped. "You're the doctor that worked with Xander."
"I am. That's why I got sent now instead of in six months." He smiled at the younger woman coming out. "Doctor Keller, Doctor Lam showed me your picture."
"Yup." He held up a thumbnail drive. "Harris's file?"
"Thank god. Did you help then?"
"Yeah. I'm finishing my residency year up here with you." He grinned. He followed her. "I'm the one who taught him virology actually. I'm also the one that introduced Xander to McKay and Sheppard."
"Wonderful job. They do fit together very well. Major, send his room assignment to my desk please," she called back.
"I can do that," he agreed. He tapped his earpiece. "Woolsey and Sheppard, our new doctor-slash-NCIS agent is here with Keller." He hung up and went back to checking in the new personnel. Their supply guys were awed at the various bits that McKay had gotten them for rehabbing the city. They got moved to a storage area. The food got offloaded. Xander got a box sent from Cleveland. So it was a good ship time.
Tony checked Xander over and then took a blood sample. He checked it under the microscope and hummed. "Xander, eating fish is bad."
"We have a lot of things that are thickened by a fish protein," Keller said. "Is that why it's so strong?"
Tony nodded, looking at her. "Yeah, we had this reaction after Captain D's too." She smiled. "I only got him fries." Xander was slumped on the bed, looking miserable. "Feeling that urge to go home?" Xander nodded, looking at him. "We'll do what we can to fix that. You know that." Xander nodded again. "Good. So this little ball thing?" She showed it to him and what it had gathered and done to his bloodwork. "Xander, two days of chips, snack cakes, and soda only. I know there's no fish in them."
"Okay," he agreed.
"We don't have those up here," she said.
"He brought up plenty," Tony assured her with a grin. Xander nodded, grinning back. John and Woolsey walked in. "Morning, guys. John, all his needed supplies are on the ship. Mr. Woolsey, I'm also your NCIS liaison officer. That means I can handle minor punishment issues and other things that you don't want the IOA to find out about. I won't say I'm pleasant when I have to give out punishments but I can do it."
Woolsey gaped. "Why do we need one?"
"Because I had to break someone's arm last month when the botanist was shouting 'no, get off me'," Xander said blandly. "The MP's were really nice."
"I sent him back in disgrace," John said.
"And the IOA says that if it keeps happening then they'll shut the city," Tony said bluntly. "Therefore I'm here to go around the IOA's rules. We've got the UMJC to go by." John smiled at him. "There's no way I'd let something like that happen and if we don't report it to the IOA they can't throw fits with the president."
"Even better," John agreed. "How's his blood taint?"
"Three days, just snack food," Tony said. "I want all that fish he's eating out of his system." John winced. "Yeah, I know, he'll bounce but yay."
"We use fish that often?" Woolsey asked.
"The soup thickeners," Keller said. "The fillers in the meat to make it go farther in things like meatloaf and hamburgers. As a spice on the Pegasus duck from the dried scales."
"That's half the menu," Woolsey said. Xander nodded. "That's going to be hard to meet. We don't usually have snack cakes."
"I brought up some," Xander said with a grin.
"You had a box on the ship from Buffy and Dawn," Tony told him.
"Then I might have more." He slid off the exam table. "Am I off the ball thing for a few days?"
"Yes," Tony said.
"Cool, I have some critical repairs to make that'll take me about four days. I'll wear that bounciness out." He walked off with a grin for John.
"I want to see what's in that box in case you get more puppy eared grenades or bullet family members," John called.
"Of course you will."
"Thank you." He looked at Tony. "That bad?"
"Yup, and you're not fully free of that Trust crap. We found some at a defense contractor's office."
"Charming," John said sarcastically. "All right, let me go help Xander. Come by later on and we'll catch up." He walked off happier. That would take some of the work off him.
Woolsey looked at Tony. "How many were there and were they unusual in any way?"
"Not snaked, human members."
"The rest of my team is on the base."
"Even better." He walked off unhappy but they'd figure things out and if he had to he'd force Sheppard to send Harris back to earth. He was sure there were more qualified former construction people.
Tony smiled at Keller. "He has no idea what wall he's going to hit if he keeps pushing at Xander," he said quietly. "Those of us who introduced him to John are a bit...pushy."
She smirked. "I've heard of Gregory House."
"He's a chipmunk of happiness compared to my team leader Gibbs," he assured her. She shuddered. "I believe there's not going to be any more problems on the base with people thinking they can get away with things." He got back into Xander's blood samples. His antigen count was still low thankfully. That would suck if it had went up too.
Xander looked around his storage area, pulling out the refill supplies from the box. Including two boxes with notes taped on the top from Buffy saying she didn't want to know about them. He took the rest of the box to the caf and put it in front of John. "Willow said she wanted to spoil you rotten as a belated birthday present."
John looked in at all the tiny little boxes then at him. "That would expose what she can do."
"Giles did magic in front of Congress."
"Good point," Evan said.
"Magic?" Radek snorted. Xander nodded. "Only cranks and those Council..... Oh, no."
Xander smirked. "Reformed after they all got blown up. I was part of the Sunnydale team and they're all in Cleveland right now." He grinned. "That's Rosenburg's present to John."
John sighed and pulled out a box, looking at it. Radek gasped and came over to scan it. Rodney got babbled at until he and the others came in to scan it as well.
"Willow?" Rodney asked. Xander nodded. "Charming."
"He'll share," Radek assured him. "There is enough to share."
John smirked. "We'll see." He took his box back. "I still have to check it for weapons."
"I put them up already unless there's some lower in the box."
Rodney pulled out a box, scanning the process. The others gasped and did the same thing, scanning it all. Including the specially sealed birthday cake for John. That got put in front of him.
John looked. "How did she get the ice cream to not melt?"
"No clue," Xander admitted with a grin.
Rodney looked and scanned it. "It has icing I can't eat so save me a piece without any." They moved the box to another table so they could scan it and figure this out. Though it was probably Xander's evil way of not having to unpack it himself. His arm was still bruised so he'd forgive him that small manipulation in return for getting all this information on magic.
Evan came over and looked down inside. "I think Dawn helped, Xander." He held up a puppy dog painted and eared grenade. Xander beamed and took it to pet.
John casually took it. "No grenades at dinner, Xander. You can pet Dawn's explosive puppy dogs later." Xander smirked at him. John smirked back. "They're going to be doing that all night."
"Better than me doing it all night with how sore my arm is," he admitted with a grin.
"I knew it was something like that," Rodney said, shooting him a dirty look. "But I'll forgive you when I steal a box or two."
"You won't mind either. It'll keep some of the fighting down in the sciences."
"I'm flashing back to Kindergarten and everyone bringing cupcakes for the entire class for their birthdays," Evan said.
"My school didn't do that," Xander said. "But if you want to, make sure it's happy memories."
"I will." He got his own box and a bag of chips. He had missed real chips. The science geeks were happily unpacking that all over the table.
"Remember, guys, that's John's and he'll have to approve of any one stealing something," Xander called. He looked at his dinner of a sandwich then at John's dinner. John patted him on the head. Xander ate and it was good enough for him.
John came over to look in the box, taking the other puppy grenades, and a few kitty grenades. "Xander, what's the kitty grenades?"
"Light, smoke, and heat. They hiss at you." He ate another bite.
Rodney looked back at him. "Is she insane?"
"She's almost sixteen."
"Never mind." He got back into the box. They still hadn't reached a bottom level yet. "I see she thought you were both out of caffeine."
Xander came to look and got what he wanted of it then sat back down. John gave him a pointed look. "I'm out of Mountain Dew."
"Never mind," he sighed, shaking his head. "We'll put the sodas in your storage area."
"Sure," Xander agreed happily. McKay made happy noises when he uncovered the bottom of the box.
"No beer?" one of the Marines joked.
"They know I don't drink all that often," Xander said. "Most of that was my care package but they said to share it with John."
"That's why I'm letting him claim all the high octane sodas and the Orange Crush."
Xander grinned. "I like it for lunch." He finished his dinner and put his tray aside, coming over to look. He lifted out the bottom and showed another row of stuff that might've gotten crushed by the sodas. "I could put that much in my last one."
Rodney stared at him. "Sit and eat something, Xander."
"I just ate and Tony said he wanted me to not eat anything with a chance of fish or those berries for a few days."
"Uh-huh. Then go eat vegetables."
"He can't," one of the cooks called. "It's got that fish scale spice in them." Rodney sighed, letting Xander take a few snack cakes.
"Can you teach me how to record a video message for Dawn's birthday?" Xander asked Rodney, getting a hand wave. "Thanks." He smiled at John. "I think they wanted to spoil people."
"Clearly at least you," Radek said.
"The girls knew I'd share." Rodney nodded, handing over another note he found. "See?" Xander said with a smug grin, showing it to Radek. It said 'let them have whatever they want so you have more friends, Willow'. Radek smiled and took a snack cake for himself. They finally got the box emptied onto three tables and some of the chairs. Xander picked what he wanted and got a cart to carry it back to his room. The rest John could hand out. Those went into his storage area.
John brought in the boxtop of grenade pets, walking off shaking his head. "Video camera on your new laptop, Xander. It can do video mail."
"Cool, thanks." He sat down to screw with it until it recorded for him. "Hi," he said with a grin and a wave. "I just got the box today. I shared a whole lot. John was very happy to share too." He smiled. "He'd say hi but he's trying to keep most of the scientists from a sugar high. Happy birthday, Dawnie, and everyone up here loves the grenade pets. Even the uptight Marines love them and the bullet families." He grinned.
John leaned into the camera. "Rodney McKay wants to know how you did the ice cream cake and so do I, ladies."
"This is my John," Xander said with a wave at him. "I'm pretty sure you'll say something like Dipping Dots so if you want to give a more thorough explanation let him know." He smirked. "My storage area is pretty well packed. I kept most of the good sodas. Scientists apparently bounce worse than Willow the time we got her that double shot espresso even though they inhale coffee all day long."
John snorted. "They mainline the stuff during emergencies. I've seen Rodney clean out a pot by himself within an hour."
Xander looked at him. "That doesn't really surprise me." He turned back to the camera. "Anyway, we're doing okay. I had to dive in to help someone so we're playing DNA taint games again. I nearly have gills but it's cool. It gives me an excuse for a really long shower." John snorted, shaking his head. "Things are going pretty good up here. We've only had one revenge blowing up of the bathrooms. Not mine but they did it to an explosives expert's bathroom. She was not a happy woman either.
"Thank whoever added to the box for us and it's all good. I'm getting in a lot of wiring, welding, and time outside right now. Including taking down a building that's too damaged to use. Remember, you have to give me some warning if you need me for emergencies, ladies. It'll take a few days to get to me and I know there's something going on down there right now. If so, let me know. And if you need *real* help, like the sort I can only give, talk to my doc in New Jersey. He knows where my storage area is and all that. He can get into anything in it. Not that there's weapons there but ya know."
He smirked. "And make sure I hear things. I loved the pretzels and sodas and stuff, but why no letters? I know you can almost all write." He looked back at John. "I think he wants to watch a movie so I'll record another one in a few days. Love you guys. Be safe, be happy, and behave. Or at least try to do all three at once? Especially you, Dawn. Somehow you inherited my taste for dangerous people. Laters." He smiled and waved, signing off. John came over to check it then put it into the queue for him. "Thank you."
John took a kiss. "It's good to keep in touch with friends and near family, Xander." He brought him back to bed to look at the gills. "Not on your neck?"
"No, not on my neck. I might get some but the veins up there are super thick most of the time when I get this bad. I guess it's more direct this way."
"Probably. What do you have in storage?"
"A lot of things, including some of Giles' books he had me store for him."
"Uh-huh." He took a kiss. "I won't be mad." He went back to checking him over. Xander wiggled a few times but John was having fun. He hadn't gotten to explore Xander all that often recently. Someone knocked.
"Busy," Xander called since it was his room.
"I'm sure you are," Rodney called.
John got up to let him and one of the scientist minions who were carrying things in. "I helped him with the video mail thing."
"That's fine." He waved his minion out, looking at them. "Did we need more help?"
"No, I need no help making him squeal," John said with a smirk.
"Oh!" He nodded. "I'll come watch movies tomorrow?"
"Sure," Xander chirped with a grin. "We can even do a team movie night for you guys." Rodney smiled and left them alone.
John looked at him. "We can?"
"Teyla pouted earlier that she never sees you anymore."
"I didn't know that." He laid down and kissed Xander, getting back into the mood. It was great that Xander was happy with his team and all of them being friends. Someone else knocked. "Is it important?" he called.
"Yup," Evan said.
John got up with a sigh and walked over to the door. Xander was up and had the laptop in his lap by the time John opened the door to show Ellis. "Colonel Ellis." He let him and Evan inside. Evan held up his comm. "Got it from McKay?"
"Yup. Harris." Xander caught his. "Dead battery." Xander nodded. Evan left with a look at John, an apology look.
"What's up, Ellis?" John asked, shutting the door.
"I thought you were around the corner."
"I am. I was looking at Xander for advancing signs of his DNA taint coming out."
"What DNA taint?"
"Classified," Xander said absently while he read. "The president said so."
"Iratus?" he asked John, who shook his head quickly.
"This is his first tour of Pegasus," John told him.
"Then how...." Xander got into a video file and showed it to him. He stared then at the kid. "You're part of that freaky shit."
"Yeah, I hunted from sixteen until twenty-two when I lost the eye." He grinned. "Which is why I fit in so well out here. I'm used to weird things going on, don't blink an eye at attacks, and I have the skills to finish fixing most of the city."
"How did the president hear anything....."
"Blood hunters. And the NID weenies."
"Definitely on that count," John agreed. "They tried to make a new one." Xander smirked. "They failed."
"And the guy that they did it to, Willow went to visit his family and tell them." John shuddered. "Including how to weed it out if they give it to anyone else. His wife's a biochemist of some sort."
"Were there others?" John asked.
"Yeah, they're in the Pacific somewhere. Every now and then they get spotted nibbling on something." He got back to his reading.
Ellis gaped then looked at John, who shrugged. "Long before I met him."
"High school, yay," Xander said dryly. "Damn glad that place went up when we needed it to."
"You know explosives?" John asked.
Xander looked at him. "That wasn't in my file?" he asked with a grin.
"I don't remember that." Xander nodded. "Huh." He looked at Ellis, who was giving him a confused look. "The new doc you brought us introduced McKay and me to Xander."
"Interesting. Is he dangerous to the program?" he asked quietly.
"Only if you fuck with me," Xander said bluntly, looking at him. "Then I'd get to make some hell bitches proud of me." Ellis nodded at that. "Then again, why would they? I've been a good boy making the city work and be even more beautiful."
"General Landry wanted me to find out more about you."
Xander shrugged. "He should know everything he needs to know."
"Some researchers at Area 51 have pushed a request up to the Secretary of Defense to look at your blood, kid."
Xander snorted. "I don't give a damn who would order me to do that. He has no right to order anything and if *anyone* tries to capture me, I'd kill them all. It might take me pulling up the spirit guide taint I have, but I'd manage it and it would be epic destruction. You can tell whoever I said that. Everything they need to know about me is in the classified files I'm sure are still floating around the government. And I'm not an experiment. Sorry."
"Why are you so paranoid? The DNA taint?"
Xander shook his head. "No." He smirked. "You don't need to know that either and Landry already heard someone higher up say 'you don't get to know about it'."
"Oh, crap," he muttered. "You're the one the president said no blood testing on." Xander nodded. "Why?"
"Never mind then. I don't need to know."
Xander added another email to the queue and got a pop-up box saying his limit was reached. "Two messages is my limit?"
John looked. "I didn't know we had a limit. Did you save the other one?" Xander nodded. "We'll find that out before it goes," he said, calling McKay. "Don't touch the box, Xander."
"I'm not but it went away on its own."
John told Rodney that and he said he was going to find the root of this tree of bothering him. "He's going to chop people into little pieces."
"Let me know if he needs a sword or axe," Xander quipped.
Ellis gaped in horror. "How...." Xander stared at him. "Never mind. Sheppard, this could grow into a problem."
"I doubt anyone would let them do it to him."
"NID has always been about torturing things," Xander said bluntly. "I helped take down one of their groups a few years ago."
"Huh," Ellis said, walking off considering that.
Xander looked at him. "I'll move to a hell plane first."
"I doubt the group would let them take you, Xander."
Xander stared at him. "It's not like I'm a highly known person, John. I'm not in the spotlight, I'm not powerful, don't have the sort of money someone like you has."
"You have plenty."
"Hmm. My financial manager said my parents tried to get some." He got back to his reading. "Maybe I'll have to blow up parts of their base."
"Oh," he said, laying down beside him. "What're you reading?" Xander let him see and he smiled. They were funny. They relaxed and John would figure out how to shut people down in the morning. When he was well rested, fucked out, and happy. Then he could be evil.
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