Chap. 41:


Three weeks later, McKay is sitting in his lab, working on a project. He looks up at the sound of someone clearing their throat, "how long have you been standing there? he asks, as he realizes who it is.

Pushing himself off the doorframe and walking into the lab, "oh you know, long enough. It's pretty late, why don't you leave that till tomorrow?" John says, as he walks into the lab.

Shaking his head, "oh come on Sheppard. When in the past five years have we ever gone to bed at a decent hour?"

Taking a seat on the stool opposite of McKay, grimacing, "very true. Anyway, the Daedalus arrives tomorrow."

Zeroing in on some information that the simulation he was running, just spit out, "uh huh."

Picking up a device that is sitting on the table in front of him, turning it over in his hand, "and that means that Dr. Jackson will be arriving along with it."

Looking up from his tablet, an annoyed look on his face, "what are you talk.." and seeing the device in John's hand, snatching it away from him, "do you mind? This is a very sensitive device."

Smiling and getting up from the stool, "sorry."

Rolling his eyes and placing the device back on the table, out of John's reach, "you were saying that Dr. Jackson is arriving tomorrow?"

Nodding, "Yeah. Woolsey expects us to meet him in the Gate room tomorrow morning." and walking out the door, talking over his shoulder, "just wanted to let you know. I'll swing by around 0930. Get some sleep Rodney."

McKay watches him go and a couple of seconds later his attention is brought back to his tablet, as it beeps at him. Refocusing on it, he loses himself in his work again, pushing the information about Daniel out of his mind.

xxxx

Leaving McKay's lab, John takes a look at his watch and shakes his head at the time. Swiping the control panel for the transporter, "Lexi next." he says under his breath, as the doors open and stepping in, he hits the screen for the section where her office is.

Stepping out of the transporter, he walks down the corridor and as the doors to her office come into view, he stifles a sad chuckle, as they are open and the lights are on.

Leaning against the doorframe, he smiles to himself as she is sitting at her desk, fully engrossed in what she is reading on her tablet. Running his eyes over the desk, he takes in the papers scattered across it and as his eyes come to rest on the waste paper basket, seeing it full of coffee cups, "you're worse then McKay."

Looking up at the sound of his voice, "what do you mean?"

Walking into the office and taking a seat across from her, "isn't it past your bed time?"

Scowling, "when did you become my dad?"

Leaning forward, resting his elbows on his knees, "about the time you decided to spend the past forty eight hours locked up in here." and standing up, he comes around to lean against the desk, looking down at her, "what are you working on anyway?"

Leaning back in her chair, running her hands over her face and through her hair, "Jen asked me to take a look at these patient files and the symptoms they're showing reminded me of something that I've seen before."

Looking from the tablet screen to her and back, "where?"

Sighing and refocusing on her tablet again, mousing through more of the windows that are open on it, "that's the problem. I can't remember and it's bugging the hell out of me." she growls in frustration and out of the corner of her eye, she doesn't miss his grip tightening on the edge of the desk. She looks up at him, catching the flicker of fear that shoots through his eyes, "oh, John. I'm sorry. I know that you hate that word."

Realeasing his death grip on the desk and staring out of one of the windows, "don't ah...don't worry about it." he says, as he takes a couple of deep breaths to calm his nerves and getting up he looks down at her, "hey, why don't we head to bed and you can get a fresh start in the morning?"

Reaching out for his hand, she squeezes it and smiling up at him, "are you okay?"

Squeezing back and returning the smile, "yeah, I'm good."

"John."

Frowning at her, "Lexi. I'm fine. Let's just go to bed."

Standing up, she leans in and kisses him and as she pulls away, "I really should stay and work on this."

Pulling her into him, he kisses her back and as he pulls away, "but can't it wait till tomorrow?"

Looking him in the eyes, seeing the hint of pleading in them, "yeah it can." and pulling him towards the doors, "let's go get some sleep."

Smiling as he drapes his left arm over her shoulders, "so are you excited about seeing Dr. Jackson?"

Weaving her left arm around his waist and mentally shutting off the lights, "you mean Daniel?"

Reaching the transporter and swiping the control panel, "yeah."

Hitting the screen for the crew quarters section, "most definitely. I can't wait to tease him about that photo."

Stepping out of the transporter, "oh yeah, I completely forgot about that." and heading for her quarters, she explains what she's been researching a little more and as soon as they reach her quarters, they head for the bathroom to get ready for bed.

Twenty minutes later as they're getting into the bed, "Lexi?"

Rolling over and propping her head up on her left hand, she frowns at the look on his face, "what wrong?"

Running his hand over the back of his neck, "ah, um. Will I ah."

Seeing his uneasiness, "you want to know if you'll always have a problem with bugs?"

Grimacing at the word, "yeah, how'd you know?"

Letting her head drop tiredly against the pillow, "wild guess."

"Good guess. But..."

Sighing and looking him in the eyes, "you want my honest medical opinion or my, I love you and I don't want you to worry opinion?"

Not breaking eye contact, "your medical opinion."

Frowning, "John, in my medical opinion, you'll always have an issue with them."

Matching her frown, "is it normal though?"

Smiling and trying to keep her eyes open, "yes it is perfectly normal. After everything you've been through with them, it's not hard to understand why. So don't worry about it, okay?"

Pulling her close to him, "okay. It's just you know."

Yawning, "I know."

Seeing the yawn, "so sleep?"

Yawning again and mentally shutting off the lights, "sounds like a really good plan." she says.

A few seconds later, he smiles to himself as he feels her breathing even out and closing his eyes, he also falls asleep.

xxxx

"Hey, I thought you were going to be in session today?"

Lexi looks up at the sound of John's voice from her doorway and smiles at him, "I am, but I'm also doing research. It's called multi tasking. I know you know about it."

Coming to sit in one of the chairs opposite of her, "I think I might. Any luck?" he asks, waving at her tablet.

Sighing, "no, not yet." and getting up from her chair, walking around the desk to lean against it, looking down at him, "what brings you by?"

"Well I thought we could go hit some golf balls. Teyla is spending time with Kanaan and Torren, Ronon is with Keller and McKay is helping Dr. Jackson."

Smiling, "sure, I could do with a break. Since I'm planning on pulling another all nighter tonight."

Frowning, as he gets up and falls into step next to her, heading out for the transporter, "I guess that means I'm on my own tonight?"

Stepping into the transporter, "yeah. Sorry." and as they step out of it in the crew quarters section, "I really want to figure out where I've seen these symptoms before."

Reaching her quarters, "I guess I can find something to keep me busy." and watching her grab her golf bag, "just promise me that you won't make this a habit."

Falling into step with him as they walk to his quarters, "I promise."

He swipes them into his quarters and grabbing his golf bag, they head out for the driving range. Reaching it they practice their swings for a couple of hours, each trying to out hit the other and laughing the whole time. When they finish they head to the mess and grab a quick lunch, after which they drop their clubs off at their respective quarters. With a kiss, she leaves him at his office and sitting down at his desk, he starts going through the paper work that has piled up.

xxxx

Three hours later, after working his way through all the paper work that was in his inbox, as well as putting out a couple of fires between the botany and physics departments, he gets a radio call from the Zelenka.

"Zelenka to Colonel Sheppard."

Reaching up to activate his radio, "Sheppard here, go ahead doc."

"Colonel, Rodney and Dr. Jackson have found Janus's lab and it is located on the south pier, corridor six, level three."

Getting up from his chair and heading for the transporter, "anything else I need to know about?"

"Yes. The door is hidden by harmonic resonance."

Stepping into the transporter and hitting the screen, "what?"

"Harmonic resonance is where sound is used to disrupt the particles of something solid, such as a wall. You will be able to walk right through it."

Stepping out of the transporter and heading for corridor six, "good to know. Thanks, doc. Sheppard out."

A few seconds later he is walking around the corner into corridor six and seeing the wall that leads to the lab, he takes a deep breath and walks right through. Looking back at the solid wall he's just walked through, "whoa. That's pretty cool."

Watching John, annoyance written across his face, "harmonic resonance."

Still looking back at the wall, "yeah, I was told. But what happens if the sound goes off and you're in the middle of the...wall?"

"Well, the wall would break apart your body."

Turning to face McKay, "maybe we should, uh..."

"I've set up a sub-sonic tone generator outside." and walking towards another console, "the wall is now permanently open. Don't worry."

Looking back at the wall again, "good. So what do we got?"

Turning around to face John and McKay, "well, the good news is it's definitely Janus's secret lab. The bad news is getting in was the easy part." Daniel answers.

Looking up at John, who is playing with a stone of some sort, "there are levels of encryption on all of the data here that even the most paranoid NSA agent wouldn't use. I mean it is deep." McKay says, a little frustration inching into his voice.

Walking over to sit next to McKay, "some of them are straight up math ciphers while others are ancient knowledge puzzles."

"And until we start deciphering, there's no way to tell what any of this stuff does."

Smiling and looking at McKay and Daniel, "sounds like you guys make a good team, though."

Grimacing, "hmm." McKay says.

Daniel looks up from his notebook at McKay, "yeah."

John puts down the stone and placing his hands on his hips, "well, I guess I'll go back to being the boss."

"How's that going?" McKay asks.

Grimacing, "pretty boring, actually."

Looking from him to the console, his lips twitching in a small smirk, "well, you're more than welcome to help us crack this first stream cipher." and looking at Daniel from the corner of his eye, "you know, um, he could've been in Mensa."

Catching the grin on Daniel's face as well as the laugh that McKay tries to stifle, he glares at them, "why don't you contact me when you two geniuses have a breakthrough?"

Quickly looking at John, "will do."

John turns to leave and McKay and Daniel get down to work. As John walks out of the room, no one notices the small device on the podium that has a blinking red light on it.

xxxx

From the lab, John heads for the transporter and getting in he hits the screen for the mess hall. A few minutes later he is walking into it, heading for the food line. Grabbing a tray he fills it up and heads for the balcony. Walking out onto it he catches sight of Lorne sitting at a table and walking up to him, "mind if I join you Major?"

Placing his cup down and swallowing, "sure sir. So, is it true that McKay and Jackson found Janus's lab?"

Sitting down and taking a bite of his sandwich, "yeah. Lots of new Ancient stuff for McKay to pester me with."

Smiling, "I guess I'm lucky that I'm heading off world tonight."

Talking around his sandwich, "you can say that again."

Looking down at his watch, "speaking of which, I should get going." and getting up, "with your permission?"

Nodding, "yeah, Lorne. Stay safe."

Walking towards the exit, "thanks sir."

Watching him go and realizing that he is not really as hungry as he thought he was, John gets up and after grabbing another sandwich, he heads out for the transporter. Getting in, he hits the screen for the section where Lexi's office is.

A few minutes later, he walks around the corner of the corridor and smiles as he sees the doors are open. Knocking on the doorframe, "knock, knock. Feel like something to eat?"

Sitting at her desk for the past few hours, completely focused on the research she has been doing, Lexi just wants to pull out her hair. Looking up at him from her tablet, "food sounds great." and taking a look at her watch, she lets out a sigh, "remind me to have a chat with Jen when she gets back."

Laughing as he takes a seat across from her and hands her the sandwich, "let me guess. You're ready to wring her neck for asking you to do this."

Talking around her sandwich, "no. It's been a while since I've done this type of research and it's something that I've missed. I want to thank her."

Raising an eyebrow, "Lexi, you promised you wouldn't make a habit out of this."

Scowling at him, "I know I did and don't worry, I don't plan on making it a habit. It's just nice to get back to doing research."

Shaking his head, "so I take it that means that I can't convince you to come to bed?"

Smiling at him, she stands up and walking around her desk she takes a seat on his lap, wrapping her arms around his neck and looking him in the eyes, "two nights in a row. Are you getting over protective of me or did you have something else in mind?"

Blushing, "yes, I am getting over protective of you. But if I had something else in mind as well, you can't blame me for it."

Taking his chin in her hand, she kisses him and as she pulls away, "no I can't. But that'll have to wait. Like I told you earlier, it's another all nighter for me. I've got to figure this out, before it drives me crazy."

Sighing and leaning in to kiss her, he smiles through it and pulling away, "okay. But tomorrow night."

Smiling back at him, "if I've figured it out, then yes. "

Frowning, "no, even if you haven't figured it out, you're not pulling another all nighter."

Matching his frown, standing up and walking back around her desk, "okay, seriously you sound just like my dad, John and that's just a little scary."

Breaking into a large grin, standing up and coming around the desk as well, he pulls her into him, "I'm sorry. It's just that it wasn't too long ago that you worked yourself into getting sick."

Resting her head on his chest, trying to hide a yawn, "if I remember correctly, I'm not the only one to have done that recently."

Not wanting to get into a fight, he pulls away and leans down to kiss her again. Pulling away, he heads for the doors, "all right. I'll see you later."

Watching him go, she smiles to herself and sitting back down she refocuses on her tablet. Letting herself get lost in the research again.

xxxx

Around 1030 the following morning, tiredly scrubbing her eyes, Lexi smiles to herself, finally having figured out where she had last seen the list of symptoms. Satisfied that she has done all she can, she hits the save button and drags herself back to her quarters.

Three hours later, she is woken up by the sound of John's voice coming over the P.A. system in her room, "Colonel Sheppard to Dr. Carter."

Groggily rolling over onto her right side and picking up her radio, inserting it into her ear, "go ahead John, what's up?"

"I was just wondering where you are."

Smiling to herself, "I'm in bed."

"I guess that means you figured it out?"

"Yes I did." and frowning as she can detect a hint of stress in his voice, "what's wrong?"

Sighing, "McKay and Dr. Jackson have been taken and Zelenka is trying to figure out how to find them."

Sitting up straight in the bed, "oh my g-d! Is everyone else okay?"

"Yeah. There was a small explosion, but we're all okay. I just wanted to let you know that I'm gonna be heading off base as soon as Zelenka figures something out."

Slumping against the pillows and letting out a breath, "okay. Love you and be careful."

"Ditto and I'm always careful. I'll see you when I get back. Get some sleep."

Chuckling under her breath, "that's what I was doing. Carter out."

The radio link closed, she takes out her radio and placing it on the bedside table she lies back down under the blankets. She falls asleep quickly and is completely unaware of what is about to happen to the Stargate, John and everyone else.