A/N: So now we take a really big step away from the original story. Hope you like it, please review, love xx Shezzi
Carson had declared it would be another two days before he let Willow out of the infirmary. He delayed her release, concerned that he still didn’t have a clear answer as to why she had collapsed.
Willow didn’t really mind, because it gave her the opportunity to meet quite a few of Atlantis’s residents, including some of the Athosians. She had had the opportunity to talk with Teyla when she came to check on Halling, the man whose leg had been broken, and it had been an interesting meeting.
The two redheads had hit it off quite well, and Teyla had offered to spar with Willow to help her get back up to her previous level of fitness after Willow complained about how long that was going to take when she tried to stand up and only Teyla’s quick action saved her from kissing the floor.
At her request, Cheryl was able to bring in her pack and she got out her laptop, a machine she had seriously updated before leaving Earth. It held several terabytes of memory, and she had stored as many things as possible on it; medical and computer texts, programs, movies, music and books.
She had struck up a conversation with the Sergeant who was in the bed on one side of her and Halling who was on the other, and the two of them (she and the sergeant) set about introducing Halling, his son Jinto and any of other visitors who happened along to some ‘Earth Culture’.
Carson had laughed long and hard when he had come into the main infirmary from his lab to the sound of bagpipes.
“And this is the music of our illustrious Chief Medical Officer’s homeland,” expounded Sergeant Stackhouse from his bed. “And the public playing of it should only ever be attempted by someone who has received extensive training.”
“Wha’ have you got in there, Willow?” asked Carson, curious.
“A bit of everything, Carson. I’m fairly eclectic in my tastes, and I figured I would probably end up spreading a fair bit of this stuff around, so…They said we were allowed one personal item, so I brought my personal laptop. I figured that way, I would have something for myself, and something to trade with.”
“Excellent idea. Does the Major know anything about it yet? Only you could get him out of bed time story duty with the Athosian children; he’s recounting the plotlines of horror movies.”
“Oh, that I have to see,” Willow said, a grin stretching across her face. Major Shepherd had already impressed her with his ability to be remain calm and logical and work through a situation, and an equal ability to throw all of that out of the window and have fun. “We’ll tell him about this…later. Jinto, see if you can convince him to do story time in here tonight; say you want to keep your dad company or something,” Willow suggested.
“Maybe,” Jinto replied, frowning slightly. “I do not wish to lie to the Major.”
“Fair enough, I shouldn’t have asked you to,” Willow replied quickly, seeing the expression on Halling’s face.
“Besides, I was about to turn Halling loose, with these,” Carson held up a pair of crutches. “Cheryl will teach you how to use them,” he added, and Halling nodded his thanks.
“So, he breaks his leg and gets out of here after only one night, while I, who have nothing physically wrong with me, am stuck here indefinitely,” Willow scowled playfully at the older doctor, who just rolled his eyes at her as he moved up beside her bed and started taking her vitals again.
“I’ve got Rodney coming by in about an hour to take the gene therapy,” he told her, and her eyes lit up.
Willow remembered when she first became interested in genetics and DNA manipulation – one of her professors, during her first year of post grad work, had been looking for a lab assistant, and she had applied for the position. Once she proved that she had steady hands and could follow instructions, the man had set about getting her up to speed on his experiments. She had found herself utterly enthralled with his research and had no problems with applying herself with the depth of commitment he demanded.
Much of what Professor Jorgenson had taught her had been useful in understanding and helping with Carson’s research; cutting edge genetics was cutting edge genetics everywhere, only what you were trying to manipulate changed.
She had read all of Carson’s work on the gene therapy, and had made several suggestions when he was stumped as to where to continue, ideas from a different perspective that allowed him to find his way to where he was now. They had worked on it together before they had even met officially; email truly was a wonderful thing.
“How did you get him to agree to be your first human subject?” asked Willow as Carson checked her pupils with his penlight, wincing a bit as it aggravated the slight headache that lingered despite the medication.
“Head still sore?” asked Carson
“Just a little,” Willow replied, shrugging it off.
“And to answer your question, he volunteered,” Carson told her, even as he turned away and grabbed something. “You’re due for more pain meds now anyway,” he added, when she glanced questioningly at the tablets he held out for her.
“I’m okay, Carson, I don’t need anything, really,” Willow replied. “It barely hurts anymore.”
Carson simply raised an eyebrow and extended the medicine cup further towards her, and Willow sighed, recognizing an expression that she had seen on her own face, and that of countless other physicians, when dealing with intractable patients. It greatly resembled the ‘resolve face’ that she had been well known for among the Scoobies, and she gave up the fight then and there, taking the tablets and the glass of water with a half-hearted glare.
“Good girl,” the Scottish doctor said wryly. “You ready to get rid of this?” he asked, gesturing to the IV that was still connected to her hand.
“Absolutely,” Willow replied, extending her hand, and Carson quickly and efficiently removed the catheter, closing the heplock to prevent the remaining fluid from running out of the bag and onto the floor.
“Well, by tomorrow, I think we can safely say that that you are in no danger of relapse. Until then…”
“I know, I know, get comfortable. Hey, Stackhouse, want to watch a movie?”
Willow and Stackhouse doubled over laughing as Cheryl described Rodney’s predicament with the personal shield. The man, so excited by his ability to activate and use the piece of Ancient tech on his own, had used something he didn’t really understand, and was now unable to eat or drink anything, or take the shield off.
He had apparently poured coffee all over the floor of the research lab in an attempt to drink it, and was now driving everybody mad by complaining about his impending death.
Willow and Carson had both been excited about the success of the first human trial, but were now feeling at least somewhat guilty about the results. Elizabeth, however, had had some words of wisdom to share on that front that had improved their moods.
The sun was setting, painting the walls of the infirmary beautiful shades of red and orange when the door opened and Teyla entered.
“Have you seen Jinto?” she asked, glancing around.
“Sorry, no,” replied Stackhouse and Willow together.
“Why?” asked Willow as Teyla’s face fell.
“He is missing. We have been unable to locate him.”
“Let us know how it goes,” requested Willow as Teyla turned to leave. “And if there is anything we can do to help.”
“Of course,” the Athosian leader replied, nodding as she exited.
They had found Jinto an hour ago, and were trying to deal with the energy creature that the boy had accidentally released.
Willow and Stackhouse now had company in the infirmary; Lieutenant Ford had had a run in with the creature, which left him with injuries similar to caused by a lightening strike.
They were now waiting to hear if the idea for trapping the creature back in the holding device had been successful, knowing that if it wasn’t more of their friends and teammates could get hurt.
“It didn’t work,” Major Shepherd’s voice came over the radio propped on the table in the middle of the infirmary. “It took one look at this thing and took off, I think it remembers being trapped.”
“Any sightings?” Doctor Weir’s voice came next.
Various negative responses came back from the sentry posts.
“Keep a close eye. Unless and until we reactivate the generators, we have no way of tracking this thing,” Elizabeth reminded them. “And stay out of its way, I’m sure Doctor Beckett doesn’t want any more patients.”
There was silence for several long moments, the city seeming to hold its breath as they waited for whatever came next. “I’ve got it, it seems to be heading towards the infirmary,” came a voice over the radio.
“Why the infirmary?” asked Elizabeth.
“All of our equipment is fitted with backup power sources, for emergencies, but nothing very large and it’s all powered down now anyway, even the monitors,” Carson reported.
“If it becomes a threat, let us know,” ordered Elizabeth. “It may just be traveling at random, trying to find a food source.”
“Aye,” replied Carson, keying his mike off. The two marines on the door stood ready, scanning the hallway for the darkness. They didn’t have long to wait; it flowed down the corridor towards them, advancing quickly towards the doorway. They fell back before it, one of them on the radio to the control room letting them know that it was definitely coming after something in the room and that they needed a distraction right the hell now!
“Activating generator…now,” came Doctor Grodan’s calm voice, and moments later the creature withdrew from the room and headed off in another direction.
Willow breathed a sigh of relief, releasing the shield spell she had prepared in her mind. She knew why it had come to the infirmary, exactly what it was that had guided it to her so unerringly. Even if she had not currently housed such a huge surplus of energy, her normal power levels would have made her a much more ‘nummy treat’ for this thing than any of the other expedition members. As things stood at the moment, she might as well have a sign screaming ‘EAT ME’ in huge, neon letters suspended above her head.
They listened to the goings on in the control room, the frustration growing amongst those stuck in the room unable to do anything. Finally, the all clear came through, Willow, Stackhouse and Ford collapsing back on their pillows with deep sighs of relief.
Carson watched Willow’s reaction with interest. He knew she had some kind of military background, although not what it was, and her reactions to their current situation had made it clear that her experience was that of a soldier, not just a medic or someone who acted behind the lines. She had reacted like any other warrior trapped away from the front lines; frustrated and concerned for the lives of their teammates.
He filed that away as Rodney was brought in by the first response team, checking the physicist over for any injuries that he may have incurred while ridding them of the creature.