Title: "Ground Zero"
Author: Little Red
Spoilers: General season 2 spoilers.
Summary: The third time they detonated a nuclear bomb over Atlantis, it occurred to John Sheppard that perhaps they shouldn't be quite so casual about this.
Author's Note: Written in chat for Pooh, who should totally be blamed for both the writing and the posting.
The third time they detonated a nuclear bomb over Atlantis, it occurred to John Sheppard that perhaps they shouldn't be quite so casual about this.
"Should we be worried about... the side effects of all this nuking?"
McKay raised an eyebrow. "What, now you're having second thoughts?"
Elizabeth shrugged. "It is a legitimate question. We do seem to do this quite a bit."
John pointed in her direction, feeling a childish sense of joy at having his ideas validated in front of McKay. Now that Ford was gone, he often felt like the odd man out in these post-mission briefings.
"I'm not saying that getting destroyed by flesh-eating insects would've been any better," he added. "I'm just worried for the limb count of our future children."
Elizabeth's gaze snapped over to look at him as quickly as if she'd heard a gunshot.
He faltered. "I didn't mean... our children specifically... more..."
She took pity on him. "We know what you meant, Colonel. Rodney?"
McKay was busy looking between them, appearing both horrified and disgusted.
Elizabeth rolled her eyes. "Rodney?"
The scientist actually shook himself. "Relax, both of you. The city was well outside the threshold of probable danger. The Sheppard genes can still live on."
John spoke a little too quickly, doing his best to look as far away from her as possible. Was it warm in here? "And they won't glow in the dark?"
"My children. Our children. All our children! You know what? Just forget I said anything." He disguised his sulk in a long drag of coffee.
Elizabeth snickered. He glared at her.
"So," she coughed, barely disguising her laughter. "Now that the pressing issue of Colonel Sheppard's ability to pass on the family name has been resolved, what else is on the agenda?"
McKay groaned. "Well... before we move on, we may as well have a random sampling of the crew tested to make sure there are no unexpected side effects from the radiation. Which, I assure you again, is perfectly harmless at that distance." The last was said with a sharp look in Sheppard's direction.
"You did say that," John reminded him, aiming for 'threatening' but still ending up sounding a bit worried.
Elizabeth penned a note into her PDA with her stylus, and then smiled brightly at John. "Would you care to volunteer for the random testing, Colonel? It would put the question to rest once and for all."
"Yes, I'm sure we'll all sleep better knowing that," McKay grumbled. "Can we move on now?"
Elizabeth schooled her features into what passed for serious. She was always a little giddy in the days following a harrowingly close brush with death. Normally, it was one of the things John liked about her -- he sought her out after a disaster not only to make sure she was okay, but because her post-disaster euphoria was contagious and reassuring. Like nothing else, it drove home that they really had survived.
Normally, anyway. Considering he seemed to be her favorite target for mockery this time around, he'd just as soon stay out of firing range.
To that end, John attempted to escape from the briefing the moment it concluded, trusting that Rodney's usual attempt to get the last word would provide the perfect cover.
No such luck.
He looked her over, attempting to ascertain if she'd called him back for a real reason or purely for entertainment. "Elizabeth?"
"Do you want to take care of organizing this testing? Carson will do the actual legwork, of course, but we'll need someone to enlist volunteers."
She had a point. As helpful as everyone on Atlantis was -- and he said that sarcastically only when he was thinking about the scientists -- people probably wouldn't be champing at the bit to find out that their DNA had been irradiated and their offspring had a good chance of being born with extra heads.
"Sure." He hesitated before asking her -- he'd been teased quite enough for one afternoon -- but she had just given him this assignment. "Are you going to do it?"
She smirked, casting a pointed glance around the briefing room. "I'm not exactly planning to have children anytime soon."
There was no reason for that to bother him, was there? No. Definitely not. And... well... none of them were really set up for child-rearing out here in the Pegasus Galaxy. Except... now he really wanted to know if she ever wanted children, and that was pretty far down on the list of appropriate questions to ask one's boss.
Even if it was only polite interest.
"There are other reasons to be concerned about nuclear explosions going off in your backyard, Elizabeth."
She winced. "Fine. Tell me when to show up, and I'll be there."
Her face had taken on an air of genuine worry. That didn't suit her well in her post-disaster bliss period, and made him feel a bit uneasy.
Fortunately, he was well-practiced in dealing with a worried Elizabeth.
"You know..." John practically drawled, leaning over the briefing table until his proximity forced her to look up at him. "There are other ways of testing to make sure everything's in... working order."
He waggled his eyebrows dramatically to make sure she'd know he was joking. Mostly.
She snorted out a laugh, and he couldn't help a proud smile. No one else could make her laugh like that.
"Maybe later," she said. Even as she rolled her eyes, she looked dangerously compelling.
So, maybe he wasn't totally immune to the post-disaster afterglow. Theirs was actually a dangerous combination -- too much energy in too confined a space had led to a serious makeout session in the jumper bay after the last time they'd narrowly escaped annihilation. There had been alcohol involved -- a celebratory bash of not-dead-ness -- but not nearly enough to seriously impair either of them.
They ignored that fact. They were good at ignoring. He liked that about her, too, most of the time -- it allowed him to be strangely comfortable around her even when half his brain was screaming to drag her into the nearest supply closet.
There would, of course, be problems inherent in supply closets above and beyond being found out by the rest of the team. For one thing, he'd never again be able to go in search of a combat vest again in quite the same frame of mind. It had taken three weeks before he could go back in the jumper bay without getting a stupid look on his face.
A bed. Yes, a bed would be nice. They had big beds in Atlantis, too.
And that's when he realized he'd been standing there for at least thirty seconds, totally silent, running down a list of places where he'd really like to have sex with her.
From the look on her face, she knew it, too.
"I... uh, you know? I think I'll go talk to Beckett. See if I can't get the ball rolling on this whole... yeah."
She cleared her throat. "Good, good."
He just about thought the awkwardness was completely gone -- helped along by the fact that he was almost out of the room -- when she shot him one of her more dangerous smirks. "And John?"
He was almost afraid to encourage her. Not afraid enough, though, because she was never this evil with anyone else, and that had a tendency to make his day. "Yes?"
"I'd be interested to know the results."
It took him a few steps outside the briefing room before he realized exactly what she had said.
He grinned the whole way to the infirmary.
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