Dr Carson Beckett is asked to help treat a medical outbreak offworld and comes in contact with medicine of a different kind.
Trudging through the damp and steamy jungle foliage on P6T398, Doctor Carson Beckett hoisted his medical bag in a tighter grip, sweat dampened fingers causing the handle to slip slightly. He stopped briefly, putting the bag down and wiping a handerchief across his sweaty forehead and heard Colonel Sheppard's sigh at the fact that they had had to stop yet again.
“Seriously Doc? That's the fifth time in ten minutes. Can we just get there already?” Not a particularly patient man, Colonel Sheppard had been contacted by the ambassador of P6T398, the planet designated Andrina in the ancient data base. Deeming it a medical emergency, the ambassador had been a little too vague for Sheppard's liking, requesting medical assistance due to an overloading on his own medical staff. They had formed an alliance with this particular planet some time ago and had participated in the occasional trade, mostly medical supplies versus produce and it had been deemed an acceptable alliance. Doctor Elizabeth Weir had approved a team to answer the ambassador's request and as a result, Sheppard was now trudging through this god-forsaken jungle with a slightly unfit Doctor and his medical team of assistants. Not knowing the nature of the medical emergency, he had come prepared with back up.
Ten more minutes through the debilitating heat of the jungle and they reached the settlement, more than a settlement really as they did boast a hospital of sorts. Carson stopped yet again to take out his water bottle and greedily inhaled the rest of the contents, knowing at least they could get replacements very soon. “There's a reason Colonel, that I chose not to live in Florida when I was back on Earth... remember, I come from Scotland, land of the cold crisp air, easy to breathe and the smell of heather...” He had closed his eyes briefly and had a slightly sad smile on his face and Sheppard, laughing now, gave him a slap around the shoulders to pull him out of his reverie.
“That's all very well Carson, but you're here now, and we're not in Kansas anymore...”
“Kansas Colonel? Hell, I'll settle for anything that's cooler than this! Ach, I don't even like the heat... not to mention the humidity...” Muttering to himself, he picked up his bag and continued in the direction of the small hospital, followed by his medical assistants.
Sheppard shook his head and murmured, “I could have sworn I left Rodney back at Atlantis... I think you've been hanging around that whining scientist a little too long Doc...” earning himself a chuckle from Carson.
They reached the centre of the settlement and were met by Ambassador Karlin who dressed in the somewhat simple clothes of his people and spoke with a calm authority that Sheppard immediately had grudging respect for. “Thank you for coming Colonel Sheppard, and bringing with you your medical personnel. We have a problem, and it was difficult to describe through transmission – it is best if your doctor and his team are to look for themselves. Come...” he held out his hand in gesture for them to follow, and strode briskly towards a large building on the outskirts of the settlement.
“This is our healing facility and it is operated by our physician Lanten Our equipment is not as sophisticated as what we had been led to believe your's is and we have been fortunate to be able to secure more advanced medical supplies through trades with Atlantis, however Lanten has found this present problem... beyond his experience and expertise.”
A harried looking older man in a laboratory white coat came to meet them as they stepped into the facility and it appeared from his somewhat frazzled expression, that he was indeed beginning to feel the strain. “Doctor Beckett I believe? Thank you for coming. Come, come... I will show you what it is we are up against.” Sheppard followed along at a more leisurely pace, content to let the doctor and his team take the lead,. He was, afterall, only here in a babysitting capacity and it was unlikely that he would be of any further use. As he moved through the facility he did, however, note that all the beds were full and contained people who lay almost unnaturally still, showing none of the signs of agitation that he would have expected from sick people, at least some of the sick people, anyway.
Carson had stopped at the furtherest bed and was pulling up the eyelids of the woman that lay in the bed. She was unresponsive, but it was her skin that had the doctor most concerned, and he looked sharply up at Lanten. “Have you tested any of the scaling yet? Do you know if it is viral or infection? What can you tell me?”
“We have taken samples Doctor, and while I have assigned scientists to look into this, it is beyond our knowledge and equipment. That is why we need your help.”
At least 60 per cent of the woman's body had been covered by a scaly growth, that was a deepening pink in colour. It did not have the reddened look of excema, but rather drier and scalier, almost as though the skin was transforming into something else. Sheppard stopped beside the bed and quirked his eyebrow at Carson.
“Ok, so I guess that does warrant a panic attack on the part of these people. Looks nasty... does everyone in here had the same symptons?”
Lanten nodded at the Colonel. “We began with one case 48 hours ago, and now we have 30. I am unsure where to go from here.”
Sheppard spoke to Carson. “Do you want me to go back to the jumper and radio Atlantis. Is there anything else you're going to be needing now that you have an idea what you're up against.”
“Yes Colonel, I'm going to need a portable lab set up here, with some of our equipment from Atlantis. I'll give you a list lad, and if you could organise to have it sent back here. It would take too long for me to take the samples back and forward to Atlantis, I need to be on hand here to try and work out just what the hell is affecting these people.”
“Onto it Carson – I'll be back as soon as I can – I might bring back a few marines as well, just in case.” Taking Carson's list once he had prepared it, Colonel Sheppard left the medical team to begin their work.
“Ok people.” Carson spoke briskly to both his team and the medical team of this world. “This is what I need you to do. A small scraping needs to be collected from each and every person. Once Colonel Sheppard returns, the lab needs to be set up and I have a special machine coming that will be able to determine specific properties within this growth and allow us to formulate the correct course of treatment. It can be one of two things. If it is fungal, then it is likely carried through spores and we need to isolate the plant that carries this specific spore. We also have access to the necessary equipment to perform this particular task, so I'll need some of you to get onto that. If it is spread through infection, then we may have an epidemic on our hands, and that my friends, is the worse of two scenarios. So, we'll get our samples taken... any questions?”
The staff and assistances all shook their heads. Carson busied himself taking samples and carefully placing them onto slides for use under microscopes and some of the other equipment when it was due to arrive. Part way through this collection, Colonel Sheppard returned with a small team of marines all carrying the list of equipment that Carson had provided. He paused in his task and had two of his medical assistants set up a temporary laboratory at the back of the hospital.
“Ok Lanten, now I can put some of these samples under our machines and see if anything is clearly defined and obvious. Then we'll know a little more at what direction we need to turn in.”
He bent over a microscope, carefully inserting a slide and peered down into the lit area, to see the sample of the skin scaling blown up to a large magnitude. He stepped back abruptly, and Colonel Sheppard, seeing his sudden concern came up quickly behind him.
“Trouble Doc?” He said it softly, not wanting to cause alarm.
“This can't be right Colonel. These things are alive. It is not a fungus, nor does it appear to be infectious in origin, but it does seem to be growing and I detect the presence of very minute microbiotic blood cells in the sample.”
“Well Doc, I only got about half of that, but guessing it's not a good thing, huh?”
“No Colonel, it most certainly is not. Lanten?” He called the physician over to show him the results under the microscope.
“What do you suggest Doctor Beckett? Will your antibiotics be of any use to to these microorganisms?” Lanten turned and looked wearily around the room, noting that another two patients had been brought into the hospital since the team from Atlantis had arrived.
“I can try a general line of antibiotics, but I have a strong feeling that we will need to be looking at a vaccine, rather than an antibiotic to treat, and that is going to take some time. Lanten – I need a team of people out in the that jungle, collecting samples. That micro organism is from out there somewhere, and we need a live sample, one that has not manifested itself as the condition we are seeing here. Colonel Sheppard? Will you accompany this team?”
“Great Doc, send me back to the jungle... “ Sheppard, grumbling just a little, checked to make sure that his weapons were secure and gestured for one of the marines to follow him.
The oppressive heat of the jungle swallowed them up quickly and the group set about collecting foliage and soil samples, assuming that the micro organism would likely be living on these before they had transferred to human skin. They had almost completed their sample collection, when Sheppard heard a rustling in the undergrowth, and flipping his P90 into readiness, he turned to face the direction of the noise.
A petite woman with waist length fiery red hair and stunning green eyes stepped out from behind a tree, carrying a basket of what looked to be herbs, mushrooms and other items that had appeared to have been freshly gathered in the jungle. Sheppard lowered his weapon slightly, but still kept a finger lightly on the trigger. “Who are you? And where did you come from?” His eyes, trained to take in all detail, noticed the simple dress that fell gracefully to mid calf, the bare, somewhat dirty feet, the beautiful clear skin, but kept coming back to the stunning green of her eyes.
“I am Lara. I wish to speak to the physician who travels with your group. I have something that will assist him.” Her voice was clear and light and she looked directly at Sheppard as she spoke, green eyes unwavering and unafraid. “You need not point that weapon at me – I carry no weapon of my own, so you have no reason to fear me.”
A little sheepishly, Sheppard lowered his weapon and attempted a smile in order to show a gesture of friendship. “Sorry about that, habit... always assume that the other guy is the enemy. Not always the best way to start a new friendship though...My name is Colonel John Sheppard, and the man you'll be wanting to see is Doctor Carson Beckett. I can take you to him.”
“No Colonel John Sheppard, it is not the best way to start a friendship – suspicion and scepticism has been the downfall of many a nation in this galaxy, and I suspect in your's.”
Sheppard's head tipped slightly to one side in quizzical response to her comment. “You know we are not from this galaxy? How?”
“Ahhh Colonel John Sheppard, just because I live in the jungle, does not mean I am impervious to what is happening in this galaxy. I have... ways... of obtaining information. Please... I need to speak to your physician. It is of the upmost importance.”
Sheppard stepped back slightly to allow her to walk in front of him, and found his eyes drawn downward to the gentle sway of hips that were just about perfect. Shapely and womanly... and he had to forcibly drag his gaze upwards again. She was a beautiful woman, that much was clear and he was here to do a job.
They arrived back at the hospital to find Carson running a hand impatiently through his hair. “Damn it” he was saying, “these results just do not make sense. The type of bacteria that is present in these mico organisms should respond to a mixture of these two antibiotics. I can't understand why there is absolutely no effect. The damn things are continuing to spread...” He looked up at the physician Lanten and paused when Sheppard entered the room with the medical assistants and their samples, his eyes widening when he saw the woman standing just in front of Sheppard.
“You are sick also?” he asked the woman, getting up quickly to move in front of her, hands reaching out automatically to place at her glands, with one hand quickly grasping a wrist to take a pulse.
Her green eyes roamed over him,noting his actions and she smiled. “You are Doctor Beckett?”
“Aye, love – that's me. And who would you be?” Realising that he had yet to let go of her wrist, he coloured slightly, feeling just a little off balance in her presence.
“My name is Lara. You are attempting to treat a new strain of bacteria that has been introduced because of the recent climate change on this planet. Are you aware of this information Doctor?” When he shook his head she continued. “The jungle has previously maintained a temperature of between 75-80 degrees fahrenheit and at this temperature, humans on this planet had learnt to co-exist with the micro organisms and the bacteria and all forms of plant and wildlife that thrives in the jungle environment. It has been this way for a very long time. In the past month, temperatures have risen by an average of 10 degrees fahrenheit – not a great amount in the whole big picture, but enough to introduce a new bacteria strain, one that is causing your problems here.”
“Ok Lara, what you are saying does make some sense, and while I am not a climatologist, I do have enough of a background in biology to note that your theory is a sound one. Are you a scientist?” Carson's eyes had drifted downward, noting the bare feet and he frowned, knowing that he answer was going to be a negative.
“I am a healer.” She held out her basket of herbs, mushrooms and dried flowers. “I use the plants of this world to create remedies and potions to stop most of the sickness that has been found on the planet. Unfortunately, many are now distrustful of my methods and chose to come here, to see Lanten for what they consider to be a modern and more respectible form of medicine.”
Carson glanced sideways at Lanten, whose rigidly held body showed that he was not in agreement of her methodology. “Your methods are not proven, nor based on science Lara. You have no business here. We have got serious work to do and cannot be distracted by your witch potions and spells. Go now, and let us work.” His voice was brusque and Carson felt torn, in agreement with Lanten's assessment, but not wanting to create a discord between the Lantian's and this woman.
He stepped closer to her, catching her scent, which smelled both earthy and of the jungle, and he closed his eyes briefly as the smell of sunlight also came through these smells. Opening his eyes again, she had moved closer, and he saw an awareness there also, as though she too was responding to a chemical reaction between them, but like himself, strove to push it away.
'I am sorry you feel that way Lanten. I only wish to help and I was of the hope that a new physician, one from another world, another galaxy, would be more open to what I have to offer...” he eyes flickered then back to Carson, and her eyes promised more and he was just a little mesmerised at what he saw there.
“Lara, your offer is kind, truly it is, but we have brought equipment and medicines from Atlantis and we will find out what is attacking these people and help them using our modern medicine and scientific knowledge. I don't want to distrust, I really don't, but my training encourages me to explore the scientific possibilities, not the whimsical – I hope you can understand.”
Closer now, she touched his arm and he felt the warmth of her touch, right into his very soul.
“I am sorry you feel this way Doctor Beckett. Perhaps you will permit me to prepare my herbs and natural medicines anyway, if your scientific methods do not work, you will be forced to try something not so clinical...hmmm?”
“I can't stop you from preparing your medicines Lara, but I have to do it this way.” He turned away from her then, to return to his microscopes and vials hoping to make a breaththrough that would this bacteria to be rendered inactive.
Two hours later and Carson had a headache from the heat that still continued to pulse in waves outside, rapidly building up to sauna levels inside the building. “God, when will this planet invent something that resembles air conditioning.” Sheppard was sprawled out in one of the chairs, waving a giant leaf backward and forward in front of his face in order to attract some sort of breeze to dispell the heat. “It's hotter than hell in here...”
“Well Colonel, not having been to hell, I can only assume that your analogy is a correct one... God, I have a splitting headache. Where is the Anvil.” He turned and rummaged around in his medicine bag, slapping it shut in disgust. “Would you believe it, every other damn medicine under the sun, and nothing for a damn headache. That's just typical!”
“Easy Doc, seems you're working yourself up a little there. Why don't you take a break, get some water. That's probably what's causing the headache, dehydration.” Sheppard continued fanning himself with the leaf, in between taking large gulps of water.
“Since when did you become a bloody expert Colonel? I don't recall seeing any Medical Practicioners Certificate on your wall...” he grumbled, eliciting a chuckle from Sheppard.
“Ooh, cranky much! For God's sake Doc, just take a damn break!”
Carsen dropped his head slightly and heard Lara's soft voice beside him, causing his head to come up sharply again, and the resounding headache to throb still further.
“I can give you something for that Doctor, if you will allow me.” She held some crushed herbs in her hand, softly aromatic and placed them just under his nose so that he could sniff them. “Simple herbs that will not harm you, I give you my word. I will brew them into a tea. Please let me help you a little.”
He sighed, and nodded, wincing one again as his headache pounded mercilessly. She was back in minutes, with a steaming cup in her hand, he took the cup, a little ungraciously and took a sip, screwing up his nose at the taste. “This is digusting Lara, tastes like dried ants...”
Hearing Sheppards dry chuckle and corresponding comment “How would you know what dried ants tasted like Doc?” he snapped back at him “Just shut up Colonel, why don't you go and shoot something?”
“Keep that up Doc, and it might just be you!” Sheppard, tied of his sniping, pushed himself to his feet and left the building, leaving Carson feeling a little guilty at losing his temper far quicker than he was used to.
As his sipped the hot tea, he felt Lara's hands, warm and sensual, on his temples and forehead and she began a light massage that felt like heaven. He groaned, letting her fingers massage away some of the pain, then they moved lower to his neck and shoulders and they became not so gentle, but dug expertly into the knotted and tightened flesh, easing our the knots and loosening muscles.
“Lara, that feels exquisite, thank you. You do have magic fingers, even if your potions and remedies do not work, your hands and fingers certainly do the trick.”
She continued this for ten minutes and when he opened his eyes he realised that his headache was completely gone, as was the hot tea that he had been drinking. He looked quizzically into the empty cup then turned his head slightly so that he could look up at her face and the innocence she forced into her green eyes. “Doctor? You are feeling fine now?”
“You little minx, you know that I am. What sort of herbs were in that tea? Have I been drugged? And don't pull that innocent look on me my love, it doesn't work!”
He gripped her hand now and tugged lightly so that she had to move beside him and kept a firm hold on her hand while he awaited her answer. Not getting one, he asked again. “The tea Lara, what did you put in the tea? I'm not going to start hallucinating or anything, am I?” His grip was stronger now and began to hurt and she pulled sharply out of his hold and pushed away from him to go back to where she had been preparing her medicines.
Her spine was held stiffly as she went back to her work and Carson felt the tug of guilt and reluctantly got up to stand behind her. “Lara?” He kept her back to him and he gently tugged on her arm to turn her around when she didn't respond. Startled to see tears in her eyes, he gently framed her face, looking searchingly into her eyes.
“I'm sorry Lara, but I am a scientist, a doctor. I have no knowledge of what you profess to do.”
“Then don't disparage what you do not understand, that is all I ask! I have been healing people with my medicines for a long time, probably as long as you, and it was always enough, until Lanten came along and suddenly everyone wanted his fancy new medicines, ones that he got from you I might add. How do you think it feels to suddenly not be wanted, or needed by your people? I have feelings, and I provided a good service, now I am nothing? How is that fair Doctor?”
Tears ran down her cheeks and knowing that he had caused them, Carson pulled her into his arms and held her, her soft body molded instantly to his and he felt the stirring of desire and attempted, unsuccessfully, to bank it down.
“I'm so sorry Lara, I never meant to hurt you. Please believe that.”
Pulling back from her now, he looked into her eyes and saw the mistrust there and did what came naturally in that moment. He moved his face closer and brought his lips to hers, meeting softly, then more harshly as she opened her mouth to accept him. “Lara... “ he breathed and took her mouth again, more softly this time. Her arms crept around his neck and wound through his hair and he felt desire shiver in his lower stomach, halted only by Sheppard's dry comment.
“Really Doc? Headache gone then is it?”
Carson reluctantly released Lara and stepped back, head turning sharply when Sheppard asked. “What are the first symptons of this bacteria Doc... I'm guessing that it's a headache... bad headache and irritability...hmmm? Sheppard's eyes had dropped to Carson's arm and following his line of vision, Carson noted a patch of scaling that had appeared of his arm. Lara noticed it also, and carefully picked up his arm to look closely at it.
“Crap...” Sheppard said rather succintly, his usual reaction to situations that had gotten out of his control. “Physician, heal thyself... sure. That's just great!”
Lara was leading Carson to one of the few spare beds that were left in the hospital, but Carson tried to block her saying, “I've got work to do Lara, we still haven't managed to isolate enough of the bacteria to find a suitable vaccine. While I'm still lucid, I need to work on that.”
“Fine Doctor...” Lara removed her hand and Carson took her chin in his hand to still her.
“Carson... call me Carson...I think we're beyond strangers now Lara” and he played his thumb softly over her chin.
“For God's sake Doc, you're growing some scaly stuff all over you and you still take time out to woo the woman – just get on to finding a damn cure – what is your problem?” Sheppard huffed an impatient breath and stood glaring at Carson who seemed just a little too reluctant to let go of Lara.
Carson pointed a finger at Sheppard and aimed a gun being cocked, and Sheppard held his hands out in a defensive gesture, however with a sardonic grin on his face.
Lara followed Carson to the temporarily lab and standing behind him she said softly. “I have managed to formulate a compound that I think may have some effect on the bacteria. Would you be willing to let me try? More patients are being admitted and we are at the point here where we are going to be overrun and you seem to be no closer to finding anything from your end. Please Carson... let me try.”
It was Lanten that stepped up with an angry retort. “No Lara. This is my clinic and my decision. You will not try your potions here. Let Doctor Beckett get to work.”
“Lanten, can't you see – he has the bacteria himself! Soon he will not be of lucid mind and will be unable to complete the tasks he has set himself. Then what will you do? You need to let me try!”
“Doctor – we have managed to isolate the plant that the bacteria has grown on originally.” One of the medical assistants held up a large flat leaf that they had brought back from their foraging in the jungle and were comparing samples from the leaf, to the samples taken from the patients.
Carson was beginning to look flushed, and concerned now, Sheppard moved closer. “Do you want me to contact Atlantis Doc? Send in reinforcements, another doctor?” He reached out a hand to touch Carson on the shoulder. “You're not looking too good... you need to tell me now, before things get any worse.”
Carson did not get time to answer – his body collapsed then and Sheppard dropped down beside him, hand automatically reaching for his pulse which he found weak and thready. “Damn it, Lanten – you need to do something. Let Lara try her medicines – what the hell have you got to lose. We're in trouble here – this now affects members of my team, so I'm stepping in to override your authority.” He turned to Lara. “Lara, do it, please!”
Sheppard lifted Carson so that he could get a shoulder under him, and got him into a bed. The skin scaling was spreading swiftly and Sheppard stood back, uncertain of what he could do to help.
Lara arrived quickly, a small pestle like container with some ground plant paste that she proceeded to smear all over the visible scaled skin. She caught the eye of one of the medical assistants and asked that a cool cloth be brought and once the paste had been applied, she took the cloth and began wiping it over Carson's forehead which was now hot and feverish.
“How long until you see some results, if any Lara?” Sheppard was starting to feel ill in the pit of his stomach, a combination of the heat and fear that he might be going back to Atlantis minus one team member. That did not sit well with him.
“I do not know Colonel. I am trialling a combination of medicinal plants, based on the information that the medical assistants have been able to provide with their samples. It may take some time to show any results. I will keep him comfortable and I have something that I can put on his forehead to help bring down the fever – something we use for common fever's.” She got up quickly and went back to her basket, bring over another container as well as some loose herbs which she handed to Sheppard. “Please brew these up as a tea colonel – I need them to steep for at least five minutes before ingestion.” Sheppard looked at the odd smelling leaves and shrugged his shoulders, leaving to complete the assigned task, happy to have something constructive to do.
When he got back, Lara was leaning in close to Carson and talking to him. “You need to fight the infection Carson. My medicines can do so much, but a lot of your healing needs to come from within. You need the will to get past it and I know that this is not such an easy task, but I sense your strength and know that you can do this. For me... I would like to get to know you better, it has been a long time since I have had any interest in a man... and you interest me.” She stroked a hand softly over his face in a rhythmic motion, only pausing when Sheppard passed the steaming cup of tea to her.
“Can you help him into a semi sitting position Colonel? I want to try and get some of this tea into him.” Sheppard, eased his hand under his shoulders and lifted him slightly, allowing Lara to being the cup to his lips and force small amounts of the liquid into his mouth, waiting until he was able to involunarily swallow, before trying more. He had managed about half of the liquid when she heard him groan. “Worse than the dried ants Lara...” and she laughed then, hoping that his humour meant that he had started the road to recovery.
Lanten, finding that no progress had been made on a formal vaccine, allowed Lara to use her medicinal paste on the scaled skin of the other patients and had the medical assistants brew large quantities of the special tea and administer it to the patients, which now numbered nearly 40. Sheppard could see Lanten's frustration at his inability to find a medical solution for the problem that his people faced and knew that it was costing him his credibility and pride, to allow Lara to use her medicines. And pride was a hard battle to win against yourself.
It had been several hours since the poultice had been placed on the skin of the infected and Sheppard, who had not succumbed to the bacteria, noticed the exhaustion on Lara's face. She was back at Carson's bedside. While he had not gotten any worse, his condition was still not showing enough improvement for them to think that they now had a clear run out of the woods.
“Lara?” She turned as Sheppard came up behind her. “You've done what you can for now. You need to rest. Go and lay down for a little while and sleep – I'll hold the fort here and I'll come and get you if there is any change.” Gently he ran his hand up her arm, seeing the concern on her face for Carson.
“It is you who should be resting Colonel, you have been just as busy as I have. I cannot sleep until I know that Carson is all right. You sleep for a while.”
“I can't Lara, it's ingrained in me, my team's still up and about, so that means I am too!” He smiled, dark circles under his eyes and she nodded.
“So, we both wait Colonel. But I shall sit at least.” Sheppard, a gentleman at least, quickly located a chair for her and placed it by Carson's bedside and she smiled at him gratefully. “It must be wonderful to be part of a team such as your's, where everyone works closely together and is in agreement.”
“Aah Lara, a slight bit of disillusionment there on your part sweetheart...we don't always get along, and sometimes we fight like the blazes, but in the end, yes, we are a team and one way or another, there is always the support. Does it get lonely, living out in the jungle?”
“I was not always alone Colonel... once, there was a man and we were together for several years. We lived here, in the settlement then and we had a wonderful life together. He got ill, and I was unable to heal him – for all my medicines, all my skills as a healer, I could not save the man I loved. I did not accept this easily and left the settlement for isolation, a penance you might say, for my sins.”
Sheppard shifted restlessly in this chair. It was a story he had heard many times, in many variations and it was always a sad one. “I'm sorry Lara, that you lost your man. I see how you look at Carson – do you have feelings for him? I apologise if I seem a little forward in asking, but Carson is a friend of mine, and he doesn't get involved with women usually, at least not on a casual basis. I'm sure he will get around to telling you, but there was a woman, and well, let's just say she kinda broke his heart. I guess you might say that I'm trying to find out what your intentions are?”
This earned a chuckle from Lara. “You are indeed a good friend to him, Colonel Sheppard and I have no idea what my intentions are. It has been a long time, and yes I feel something quite strong towards him, but where do we go from here? We live in two worlds, both literally and figuratively. I don't know if there is room for one in the other.”
“If you're going to talk about me, at least have the decency to make sure I'm either dead, unconcious or asleep...” Carson grumbled, earning a chuckle from Sheppard and a grin from Lara, who rose quickly from her chair and went straight to Carson's side to place a hand on his forehead. “Your fever is almost gone Carson and the skin condition appears to be lessening. I believe some success can now be officially noted. Lanten?” She called out to the physician and he joined her immediately, a smile on his face. He too had noted that several of his own cases were starting to show signs of healing and the smile he gave her was a humble one.
“I am sorry Lara, that I mistrusted your medicines. I think, a little of this technology has gone to my head since we have acquired it, and I have forgotten that once I too worked with the same medicines as you. It is indeed a humbling experience to remember that the old ways do not need to be forgotten and can still be used alongside the modern ways.” He put out his hand to join with Lara's.
Twenty four hours later showed significant improvement among all the patients in the clinic and an exhausted Lara dropped into a light sleep. Most of the medical staff had taken turns to rest, and now Colonel Sheppard began the task of gathering up his team and assorted equipment, ready to head back to Atlantis. Carson was up and about again, and now stood looking down at Lara as she slept. Sheppard, walking past, dropping a light hand onto Carson's shoulder and paused.
“So what are you going to do about this one Doc? You know how she feels about you, I'm guessing your feelings dwell in the same direction...hmmm?”
Carson reached out a hand to lightly touch Lara's face, too lightly to awaken her. “I'm going to stay here for a little while Colonel, just to make sure that there is no further outbreak here and to continue to find a medical vaccine for the bacteria. Lanten is right – there is place for both medicines in this world and by completing the vaccine, I will ensure that they co-exist together here.”
“That wasn't what I asked Doc...” Sheppard commented dryly.
“I know Colonel, I want to talk to Lara first. There's a place for her in Atlantis, where her medicines can compliment ours. I want to give her the opportunity to come and work with us and once we have pursued a professional relationship, then it would be entirely acceptable to begin the pursuit of a personal one...don't you think Colonel?”
“So Doc, you let her heal your body? Are you gonna let her heal your heart?” Sheppard was moving away now, to organise the rest of the team and Carson's reply was soft.
“Let's just say that I'm a little more open to the idea...” Carson chuckled and wiping some of the sweat from his brow he added, “and I shall enjoy teaching her a little about our technology... air conditioners for one!” He smiled tenderly down at the healer and knew that she had already begun, to touch his soul, to heal his heart would be the next step.