"...a scene between Sheppard and Caldwell - something gen - and while they are not exactly buddies I'd like to see a scene that captures a little of the positive aspects of that relationship."
Hopefully this suits! Search & Rescue tag, gen, untitled, ~1300 words.
Recovering from surgery, John knew from experience, would have sucked even if he hadn't spent the time between injury and surgery shot up on painkillers and running around a Wraith cruiser. On the other hand, it hadn't exactly helped.
Now he was tired, sore, bleary and achy, perhaps with a side order of pissiness to go along with it, or so Ronon had told him. ("You're being an ass, Sheppard. I'll come back and visit again when you're less of a dick," Ronon had said, though not in a particularly resentful way. "You're spending too much time around McKay!" John had yelled after him, which, in retrospect, probably proved Ronon's point.)
He did make an effort not to be a jerk to Teyla, because she was recovering from having a baby, and John really did not want to get into a pissing match about that, especially not while she was still walking funny and looking like she hadn't slept in days. Besides, he was so happy to have her back that, frankly, he could have done nothing but sit and stare at her for hours. (Unfortunately she caught him in the act; he blamed it on the painkillers.)
And then there was the baby: tiny and fragile and awesome and terrifying. John tried to act cool in its presence, like he saw miniscule newborn babies every day of the week and twice on Thursdays, but he thought Teyla probably saw through his act when she told him, "It is a baby, John, not a live bomb," and put it into his arms without warning.
It. He. Torren. It he even had a name, and as John stared at the baby with a mix of terror and awe, he realized all over again that there was a tiny little person in there. And Torren was going to have opinions, and girlfriends (or boyfriends), and John would teach him how to shoot a gun and hold his little hands on the stick of a Piper Cub like his Uncle Gary did when he was a kid, and oh damn, his facade of cool had totally crumbled into a doofy mess, he could just feel it.
Of course, that was when Caldwell strolled into the infirmary. "Colonel Sheppard," Caldwell said dryly, and John almost made the terrible mistake of saluting, remembering just in time that, woops, baby.
"At ease," Caldwell said, looking like he was trying not to smile, the bastard. Teyla swooped in gracefully to rescue Torren, and then made an equally graceful retreat.
"Cute baby," John said, trying to muster the tattered shreds of his cool.
"Most of them are," Caldwell said. "It's in the factory specs."
"So do you have any, uh " John tried to stop in mid-question, because not only was it none of his business, but he was really way more comfortable knowing nothing at all about Caldwell's personal life. Damn painkillers.
"No, we never did," Caldwell said, leaving John thinking, We? He'd never suspected the existence of a Mrs. Caldwell. "My sister has three, though," Caldwell added, leaning a hip on the empty bed next to John's. "And two grandkids. Girls."
"Congratulations," John said on autopilot, in horror that the pictures were going to come out any minute.
But Caldwell turned to business. "Anyway, I wanted to let you know that we're shipping out at 0600 tomorrow. I think we've got all the Atlantis-to-Earth transfers, but I emailed you the passenger roster so you can check. I know things are a little chaotic right now."
John nodded. That was putting it mildly; things were an absolute mess, with himself and Lorne both in the infirmary, Teyla officially off duty and Carter grounded on Earth. Woolsey wouldn't be here until the Daedalus had made a full round trip, and in the meantime, Rodney was running the city, with a certain amount of input from Teyla, Jennifer, Teldy and anyone else he could snag to help him. And, from all accounts, he wasn't doing a bad job, which John thought should probably not be as much of a surprise as it was. He and Rodney had shared city-running duties during the gap in leadership before Carter's appointment, and apparently neither of them were as bad at it as everyone had always seemed to expect they'd be. Yeah, no one ever thought I'd make captain, either.
"We can delay the launch if we need to," Caldwell added. "If you need me here for another week or two, I mean."
And they'd be burning up US military dollars for every day that the Daedalus sat on the Atlantis docks, which Caldwell would have to answer for, once he was back in the Milky Way. But he was offering. And, to his own surprise, John found that he was both flattered and tempted by the offer, rather than annoyed. It didn't feel like a power grab, not anymore. Caldwell was just making himself available if he was needed.
But, no. Caldwell had duties elsewhere. It wasn't his job to clean up messes they'd created in the Pegasus Galaxy, no matter how often he got tapped for it.
"We'll be all right," John said. "Michael's on the run, if not actually dead not that we'd be that lucky. The Replicators are out of the picture and the Wraith don't seem to be anywhere nearby. And I trust Teldy to handle things if we get a crisis out of the blue." Actually, he wasn't entirely sure about Teldy the oak leaf on her uniform was still shiny, and she hadn't been tested in an actual combat situation yet, at least not in Pegasus. But she'd earned that oak leaf somehow, and from what little he'd seen of her so far, she was level-headed and competent.
Besides, John was temporarily out of commission, but he wasn't dead, missing or in a coma. Teldy had been sending several-times-daily status reports to both him and Lorne, and John knew she'd come to him if she ran into anything she didn't feel comfortable handling without her CO's input.
Caldwell nodded. "I thought you'd say that, but I figured it was worth asking."
"Thanks," John said, and he hoped Caldwell could tell that he actually meant it, that it wasn't just mouthing off.
Caldwell smiled slightly. "Also, that stunt you pulled on the Wraith ship, getting Teyla back? Officially you ought to be on report, and I will deny to my dying day that I ever said this, Sheppard but that was some damned good work."
"You're only saying that because it didn't fail messily."
"Well, yes, of course." Caldwell's smile grew a little broader and more genuine. "But you pulled it off. I don't know if it was luck or that stubborn streak of yours "
"Stubborn, mostly," John said, "and also, I have a damn fine team, sir."
"Yes, Colonel, you do." Caldwell saluted him, and Sheppard pulled himself together and executed the best salute that he could manage while flat on his back in a hospital bed.
"Get some sleep, Sheppard."
"You too, sir," John said, and as Caldwell walked away, the thought crossed his mind that a hell of a lot could change in three years.
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