Some Assembly Required

by Domenika Marzione

Welcome to the Working Week

Yoni Safir looked around at the room full of people and froze.

"You've got to be kidding me. No."

The room used to conduct exams of any individuals coming through the stargate had been chosen for its location -- easy access to both the gate room and the medical suites -- rather than its size. Overfilled with Ancient technology, it was a little cramped with only medical staff and a returning offworld team inside. But throw in a half-dozen marines in full armor, one officer, and a guest and the line between cozy and ridiculous had long since been crossed.

The focus of the room's attention was a tall, dreadlocked man who seemed to be taking far too much enjoyment in casually menacing those around him and making the crowded room feel even smaller. Yoni respected the power on display -- the guy looked like he could take everyone without breaking a sweat -- but didn't think much of anyone who thrilled to such muscle-flexing. Some of it was presumably reflexive behavior and not conscious action, but most of it was probably posturing. It usually was in these situations.

Colonel Sheppard pushed off the examination bed he'd been leaning against and made a vaguely apologetic face, the kind Yoni had long ago learned to recognize as 'not really apologetic at all and you'll just have to deal'. He looked at the marines stationed around the room and then back at Yoni. "Sorry, Doc."

Yoni understood the precautions -- he'd gotten the story in between tossing a thankful Major Lorne out of the infirmary and Carson's frazzled arrival there a few hours later -- but he didn't have to like them. A few armed guards were not unexpected considering what had happened that day. But six was not only excessive, it was also making the exam room into an obstacle course and ruining everyone's effectiveness. Not to mention the ethical considerations of a public examination.

"Don't apologize if you're not going to do anything about it," he retorted peevishly, crossing the room and glaring at the marine who was standing in front of the counter until he moved. He reached for the box of latex gloves and pulled out a pair. "This is a physical exam, not a seminar. Put guards outside, but I will not turn this into a circus."

He turned back to face Sheppard as he snapped on the gloves, peripherally aware of the dreadlocked man's attention. He was not above his own bit of muscle-flexing, if only to express his lack of willingness to be intimidated. He'd practiced medicine upon people who really did want to kill him and it took more than the idle threats of a man not even a prisoner to make him flinch.

Sheppard met his gaze for a long moment, then nodded. "Kaufman, set up outside. If our friend Ronon comes out alone, shoot him."

Kaufman, who looked far too gentile for the name, snapped off a slightly dubious "Aye-aye, sir!" and barked an order to the other marines, all of whom hesitated for a beat before exiting.

"I'll stay out of your way," Sheppard promised, casually hoisting himself on one of the other exam beds and adjusting his thigh holster for ease of access to his sidearm. Lazy drawl aside, it was a non-negotiable kind of offer, the one that clearly stated that Yoni'd gotten as much as he was going to get. Under the circumstances, however, it was enough.

After more than a year in Atlantis, he'd learned that averaging Carson's fretful fatalism with Sheppard's phlegmatic understatement was usually an accurate means of threat assessment. In this case, Carson had been practically apoplectic while Sheppard had the hopeful wariness of a child bringing a stray puppy home for parental approval, so the happy medium was somewhere around respectful caution but no real imminent danger.

Yoni turned to the dreadlocked man -- Ronon -- and gestured imperiously with his hand. "Take off your coat and shirt. Put them on that chair."

Ronon had been pacing a tight circle, but stopped. He cocked an eyebrow at him, looked over at Sheppard, then slowly complied, walking -- stalking -- over to where Yoni was waiting by an exam bed. Yoni watched his face to see how much pain he was in; the movements were a little stiff, but Ronon was obviously pretending to be unbothered. The tightness around his eyes, however, was not part of the act.

"Get on the bed, please. Face down."

The exam, executed between fits of meaningful pauses, pointed hesitations, growls, and other nonverbal cues for everything from menace to lack of trust to anger to pain, was mostly uneventful if somewhat tiresome and frustrating for Yoni. Ronon was compliant, if extremely unwilling, passively challenging Yoni at every request until Sheppard told him that the less he fussed, the quicker it would be over and this was not the doctor he wanted to be pissing off.

The surgical site was far less trouble than Carson had indicated it would be. For all of his disinclination to go offworld -- justified in this case -- and his agitation upon his return, Carson had done a truly spectacular job under impossible conditions: spinal surgery on a hostile, unsedated patient in an unsterile, unsafe environment and all Yoni had left to do was slight touch-up work and re-dressing the wound. It was all the more incredible considering that the chances of them getting Ronon to spend the necessary time immobilized to facilitate healing were somewhere between none and laughable and yet there wouldn't be any serious lasting damage unless Ronon did something especially ill-advised and stupid. Which were distinct possibilities, but not Carson's fault.

When the rest of the exam was over, Yoni peeled off his gloves and nodded to Sheppard. "He's free to go. You should get him something to eat."

Sheppard looked pleased and a little smug. Yoni rolled his eyes.

"You hungry, Ronon?" Sheppard asked curiously. He hopped off the bed he'd been sitting on and straightened up. Sheppard himself had gnawed through an energy bar while waiting.

Ronon, dressing gingerly, couldn't bite back the pain of moving his shoulders and speak at the same time, so Yoni took advantage.

"He's lost blood and hasn't eaten in at least the last ten hours. I don't care if he's hungry. Feed him." Ronon gave him a look that was more baleful than spiteful. Yoni ignored it. "Preferably something with iron in it. Red meat, beans, liver if they have it would be best. Nothing rich, nothing too heavily processed. Lots of fluids."

"I'll see what sort of requests the guys feel like taking at 2200 on a Wednesday night," Sheppard replied wryly, looking at his watch. "Let's go, Ronon. Thanks, Doc."

"My pleasure," Yoni replied, handing him a handful of packets of Tylenol tablets. "Give him these, two every four. Keep a couple for yourself."

Sheppard cocked an eyebrow. "I wasn't hurt, Doc."

"Teyla reported that you two were both knocked out by a stun weapon," Yoni said evenly, as unimpressed with Sheppard's stoicism as he'd been with Ronon's. Sheppard had probably been nursing one hell of a headache for hours. Teyla had gratefully accepted medication when she'd accompanied Carson back to the infirmary.

"Teyla is a tattletale," Sheppard replied a little petulantly, but accepted the drugs. Yoni had given him far more than both he and Ronon would need. Sheppard could hold on to the rest and use them the next time he chose valor over discretion.

"What are those?" Ronon asked, gesturing with his chin to the handful of white foil packets in Sheppard's hand. His voice was deep and rusty from disuse.

"Anti-inflammatories," Yoni replied, intentionally not calling them 'painkillers'. "I only give lollipops to children who behave."

Sheppard snorted a laugh as he headed for the door, Ronon watching Yoni for a long moment before following Sheppard. Yoni could hear the sound of the marine guard snapping-to as the door opened, but Sheppard waved them off and the door swooshed closed quietly behind them, leaving Yoni to clean up in peace.

Specialist Ronon Dex, Yoni reported as part of the circus-like mission debrief, was a healthy adult human male in his mid-late twenties in a physical condition commensurate with his stated existence as a fugitive from the Wraith. No diseases and nutrition levels within the normal parameters for pre-industrial Pegasus Galaxy. He wasn't obviously mentally unstable and was indeed socialized -- the feral attributes were part learned but mostly for effect, although Dr. Heightmeyer would have to perform a thorough interview for proper assessment. Nonetheless, he disagreed with Dr. McKay's diagnosis of sociopathic tendencies and, barring security concerns, didn't have any medical objection to Ronon being given liberty to move within the city.

The meeting had been slow to break up, getting bogged down in a discussion about whether there should be a follow-up mission to Ronon's homeworld of Sateda and what to do about Aiden Ford, who most definitely was exhibiting drug-induced psychosis. Yoni had taken the opportunity presented by Sheppard's post-meeting bombshell announcement that he'd like to use Ronon on his offworld team to flee the room; the outraged squeals of McKay audible even as he skimmed down the gateroom stairs and around the stargate platform. He felt a little guilty sacrificing Carson to the argument's chaos so that he could escape, but that was what heads of department did -- protect their subordinates by presenting a better target.

"Doc, wait up!"

Yoni turned around to find Major Lorne chasing after him. "Not staying for the fireworks, Major?" he asked as the other man joined him.

Lorne snorted and gestured for them to continue walking. "I see enough of that as it is," he replied with wry amusement as they left the gateroom. "Also, I know how it's going to end."

Yoni had had limited history with the Atlantis Battalion's executive officer, mostly pleasant and nothing outwardly confrontational. Lorne had the reputation of being smart, competent, and, most importantly according to the marines Yoni practiced with, "not a dick." They weren't yet prepared to forgive him for being Air Force, but it had taken the original batch a long time to forgive Sheppard for the same offense.

"Are you going to share?" Yoni asked, curious about the answer as well as why Lorne wanted to talk to him. The entirety of their interaction had been purely professional -- in the medical suites or down in the marines' training areas -- and it made sense that this was one or the other. He hoped it wasn't one of those on-the-sly consults, the ones where embarrassed individuals chased down doctors outside of clinic hours to avoid witnesses. It was a persistent problem in Atlantis, where everyone knew where everyone else was on- or off-duty. He hated the imposition on his time and on his patience and thought that the shame of illness was overrated and maybe they should just hang some Athosian blankets, set up a confessional next to the clinic, and dispense aspirin instead of absolution.

"If Colonel Sheppard wants Ronon on his team, he'll get Ronon on his team," Lorne replied with a shrug. For a shorter man, he moved quickly and Yoni didn't have to slow his stride to let Lorne keep pace as they approached the medical suites. "McKay'll bitch and moan, but he's not going to quit and I think Teyla liked the idea."

"I think it's more what Dr. Weir likes," Yoni retorted as he raised his arms to avoid the scurrying Dr. Yee, who apologized from behind a too-tall stack of what looked like test tube boxes.

"Dr. Weir's not going to interfere if Dr. Heightmeyer and Dr. Beckett and you have no objections," Lorne said vaguely. "She trusts Colonel Sheppard to know what he needs."

"She let him pick the original team," Yoni agreed, stopping in front of the door that led to the larger research suite. His lab -- and, even with the Daedalus-enabled presence of other epidemiologists, it was still his lab -- was off in a far corner of the suite, easily isolated in case something got loose. "This is my stop," he said. "Did you need me to help you with something?"

If it was a medical consult, Lorne would ask to go someplace more private and Yoni waited for the hesitant request. Instead of shy embarrassment, though, Lorne looked speculative and and a little sly. "You've been offworld a lot, right?"

Yoni blinked. "I suppose. For non-military personnel, at least. I take most of the humanitarian missions."

His willingness to go offworld was, in fact, a marketable asset in Atlantis's barter economy. Pulling teeth and performing basic care and hygiene on other worlds was arguably more relevant to his own research than dispensing painkillers and treating burns among Atlantis's alarmingly hypochondriacal population and, in the course of the expedition, he'd traded off countless rotations of clinic hours before Carson had put his foot down. But Yoni still managed to acquire everything from extra time on the most sought-after equipment to creature comforts simply by embracing the spirit of adventure that had had him willing to go on a one-way trip through a wormhole in the first place.

"You also have infantry experience," Lorne went on.

"I am from a nation with mandatory military service and a constantly threatened population," Yoni replied, a little suspicious and a little defensive. The former because it was starting to sound like a pitch and the latter because his martial competence had come up more than once as a topic of unflattering discussion, either within the context of Israel's sovereignty or deemed as a sort of character flaw by a social group dismissive of physical achievement. "You've seen me train, so we both know what I can and can't do. The question is why it suddenly interests you, Major."

"I'm putting together my own offworld team," Lorne replied, nodding to three marines who were passing by. "I'd like you to be on it."

Yoni let his surprise and confusion show. The idea of being part of a regular offworld team, as opposed to the default doctor on the humanitarian missions, had its appeal. But... "Shouldn't you find someone who knows what to do with a ZPM or can hotwire Ancient technology? Or at least has the gene?"

Lorne's face broke into a conspiratorial grin. "I have the gene. You are a field medic who can shoot. There's more to do in this galaxy than chase down toys and besides, I'm pretty sure you'll be easier to deal with in the field than McKay."

"That's hardly a compliment," Yoni said, mindful that Lorne had recently spent a great deal of time with McKay.

"I know," Lorne agreed wryly. "But I meant it as one. Listen -- you don't have to give me an answer right away, but I'd really like you to think about it."

Yoni nodded, pretending that he didn't see Dr. Laurentian lurking down the hall. Augie wanted him to peer-review an article before he sent it off to be checked for classified data and then submitted to the outside world's journals. The science was probably brilliant, but the language would be mind-numbingly tortured and crammed with jargon. "Who else have you spoken to? May I ask?"

"Nobody yet," Lorne admitted. "I'm still thinking about what sort of makeup I want. Maybe get one of the RDRs as a local guide, get a feel for some of the junior officers -- see who's got the kind of instincts you need for offworld interactions. What worked on the SG teams in our galaxy may or may not end up working here."

It was Yoni's turn to look thoughtful. He had gotten so used to Sheppard, who had been largely ignorant of the SGC and its workings, that it was almost jarring to remember that other officers may have had experience with stargates and aliens before showing up in Atlantis. That Lorne had been a part of an offworld team in their own galaxy, that he might have even led one, hadn't even crossed his mind and Yoni felt a little embarrassed by that.

"Jonathan!" Laurentian called out as he approached, apparently unwilling to wait any longer. He was waving actual paper, which meant that he had printed out the draft, which meant that Yoni was going to have to read it. And find a red pen. "There you are."

Yoni must have sighed aloud because Lorne chuckled and patted him on the shoulder. "Think about it. Come talk to me later," he said and went off down the hall.

Laurentian was still explaining the wherefores and whys of his theory when Carson appeared, looking like he always did after command staff meetings -- bleary and in need of whisky. "Next time you run away like a rat off a sinking ship," he sighed, waggling a finger at Yoni, "Take me with you."

Yoni smiled apologetically as Carson turned into the suite where he had his own office -- both men knew that it had been one escaping or neither -- and put up a hand to stop Laurentian. "Augustine," he interrupted. "If you explain everything to me beforehand, then I will not be able to tell you if you communicate any of your points. Caveat lector and let me read."

Before Laurentian could get in another word, Yoni bid him farewell and headed to his lab, shooing away Velikhova en route. Discretion was the better part of valor and if he was going to seriously consider Lorne's offer and join an offworld team, then he probably needed the practice in running away. Even if Ford's stories had been only half truthful.

The idea of getting to go offworld regularly was not one to be considered lightly. Personally, a guaranteed opportunity for a change of pace couldn't be turned down -- cabin fever was a non-trivial problem in Atlantis. Even the most minor field trip inside the city required approval along with a military escort and then all non-work hours were spent in the relatively tiny portion of the city cleared for civilian use. Even in Antarctica there had been regular opportunities to escape the facility and while almost no one took them, that the possibility itself existed was a comfort.

In the first year in Atlantis, when there had been no such opportunities to flee, people had gone a little crazy with claustrophobia and the inability to escape both each other and the same surroundings. Some clinically so. The constant threat of meeting the Wraith offworld had made the problem worse; the realization that the Wraith were coming for them had made it acute. Now, the option of returning to Earth for leave aboard the Daedalus seemed to have rendered the situation less oppressive -- just as in Antarctica, few people took up the offer (leave was offered only in four month blocks), but that there was a place to run to if it was required had seemingly made the need less immediate.

Yoni didn't think he himself was fooled; he still had days when he couldn't stand to see his colleagues, couldn't bear to be in his lab or his quarters or any of the places he could go without armed escort. Whether it was a sign of restlessness or a lack of an inner life, he wasn't sure.

Professionally, joining Lorne's team would require an adjustment of priorities and focus. He'd done field research every time he'd gone offworld, asking questions while performing exams as he'd done on Earth, but the lion's share of his time was spent in his lab and that would change if he were offworld on a regular basis. Sheppard's team practically had been built around McKay's researches, but Lorne's team wouldn't be the same. He would be spending a lot of time doing things that had nothing to do with epidemiology, with science, or with higher brain functions beyond aim, fire, duck, and run. The danger element didn't factor in; life was dangerous in or out of Atlantis. The hours spent trading for bags of grains and sides of beef when he could be working in his trained profession did factor. His interplanetary adventures would be time coming directly out of his research -- his obligations as a medical doctor would not be lessened; Carson would be flexible about how those clinical obligations were met, but met they would be and Yoni already viewed that as a relative waste of his time and definite waste of his patience and admittedly limited goodwill.

On the other hand, any trip offworld was a boon for epidemiological research. The effects of stargates and interplanetary travel on the transmission of disease had been a topic barely broached by SGC scientists; it had been a shock to see how little work had been done in the field considering the sheer amount of contagion the SG teams brought back through the gate in Colorado. But if Earth's native galaxy, with its myriad of alien life forms, was an intellectual feast in one direction, the entirely human Pegasus galaxy provided a completely different set of questions. Coupled with the perverse population control exerted by the selective Wraith cullings and a reproduction rate fighting to attain replacement quota, epidemiology here was unlike anything in their native galaxy, past or present.

The question was whether Yoni could live with being granted an up-close look at what he would then not have the time to study. He'd have chances, sure, but just not as many as he'd like. Lorne seemed like a reasonable man; if he had experience with the researchers from the SGC, then he might even be willing to allow a side-trip or two. If McKay's relationship with Sheppard was the barometer, then Yoni had quite a bit of leeway in that regard.

"Dr. Safir? Do you have a moment, please?"

A tiny blonde head appeared in his doorway. One of the visiting scholars, a Swedish endocrinologist who'd had most of the medical unit in a lather until she'd casually mentioned the partner she had waiting back in Uppsala. Something Hagstrom; Yoni wished he was better with names. "For you, my dear Dr. Hagstrom, I have many minutes. What can I do for you?"

It had started with Ronon's asking "Why did Sheppard say that you are the doctor I'm not supposed to anger?" and the agreement to spar and it had ended with both of them being hauled off to the infirmary with blood-soaked towels pressed against the worst of their wounds. Twenty minutes later, the electricity of the fight still remained.

"Sit still, Yoni," Carson sighed, holding the needle away and looking annoyed. "You know better than that."

Yoni found a comfortable resting pose and nodded to Beckett, who swabbed the wound again and resumed stitching. Closing his eyes, he could feel Carson's breath on his face as he worked, slow and steady and vaguely redolent of the honey-pine candy the Athosians made.

The knife had made a clean cut, not too deep, not too close to the eye, above where his beard line would be if he had one, and Carson was the best suturer in Atlantis; there would be no scar. The same could not be said of the gash on his hip, which would probably pucker a little because of the angle and change in depth. But it had been an embarrassingly long time since anyone had paid attention to that stretch of real estate, so it was not a concern.

"You're not going to win any beauty contests for a couple of weeks," Carson said conversationally as he sewed. Yoni regretted being allergic to the liquid skin adhesive they'd brought. "I don't know what you were thinking, taking on that behemoth. Armed, at that."

Yoni fought the urge to reply; Carson would only complain at him for moving again. All wounds aside (and there were a few of them), the fight had been refreshing. Invigorating. He'd hate himself tomorrow -- and probably Lorne and Sheppard as well -- but right now, he was happily cruising on the endorphin rush.

"You're lucky you don't need knee surgery," Carson went on, words timed to the pull and stretch of thread and skin. Thankfully, his pique hadn't extended to not being generous with the local anaesthetic. "You're lucky you don't need new knees."

There Carson was probably right.

"I rather like this one-sided conversation." Carson paused in his work, swabbing again and examining his work. Yoni opened one eye to look at him. Carson smiled, a little cruelly. "It's very hard getting a word in edgewise with you sometimes. Especially when it comes to telling you things that you don't want to hear."

Across the room, there was motion and noise and the simultaneous exhortations from Sheppard and Clayton for Ronon to stay still and Ronon's frustrated noise of non-agreement. Yoni had easily taken the worst of it -- an expected result considering he'd been fighting a younger, stronger, bigger man who had far more experience -- but he'd gotten his own in.

Carson sighed again, drawing Yoni's attention back to him. "I don't even know who I'm supposed to be disappointed by," Carson said, tapping Yoni's cheekbone to get him to move his head a little to the right. "Colonel Sheppard for suggesting it, you for going along with it so enthusiastically, Major Lorne for his nebulous involvement, or the entire expedition for turning a training match into some reenactment of Fight Club."

Lorne's involvement wasn't really nebulous -- Carson knew that he'd asked Yoni to join his offworld team -- but the process by which a simple request for a sparring match had graduated from meeting in one of the training rooms at 1500 to needing to limit the number of spectators... Yoni wasn't quite sure how that had happened either.

The curiosity surrounding Ronon was natural, especially after more than a week of him tearing through marines like they were training dummies. There was rumor that he'd vanquished Teyla with only a little less ease, but that was unconfirmed and none of the marines had the guts to ask her outright.

Yoni had been flattered, if not completely surprised, that he'd been on the hit list of people against whom to test Ronon's prowess. He'd been teaching krav maga to interested marines since they'd arrived in the Pegasus galaxy and it made sense to test the newest warrior against the full spectrum of disciplines available in Atlantis. That he had fared better than the marines with their Semper Fu or Teyla with her stick fighting was perhaps less a comment on his own abilities and more a statement about the nature of krav maga, a more desperate and brutal style of warfare than the others and thus more compatible with Ronon's no-holds-barred instincts. Not that years of dedicated practice had hurt his chances any. Yoni didn't think he could stickfight worth a damn (Teyla told him otherwise, but she never lost to him, either) and didn't have the inner quiet for Asian martial arts, but krav maga wasn't about elegance or grace or honorable restraint; it was about survival and learning how to do whatever worked with whatever was at hand. He'd kicked at knees and groin and aimed at places that would inflict maximum pain and that was why he had lasted against Ronon -- and why the fight had escalated from test match to bloodsport.

Carson pursed his lips as he tied off the thread and Yoni closed his eye instinctively as the scissor came up to cut it, not opening it again until Carson finished covering it with a bandage.

"I'll skip the lecture on how to treat your wounds," Carson said, throwing away the detritus of the procedure and pulling off his gloves. "You know what to do and will ignore it anyway."

Anything more than a tiny smile would pull at the stitches, so Yoni didn't. "Thank you, Carson. I know your mothering comes from affection."

"Affliction, more likely," Carson retorted without animus, shaking his head. "You're going to scare the customers tomorrow."

Tomorrow was Yoni's turn to sit in the clinic all day and play physician on call; this was Carson's gentle way of informing him that he couldn't beg off for injury.

"Good," he replied, not offended. "Fewer people showing up with self-diagnosed alien diseases."

"Charm is a virtue," Carson said, going off to wash his hands.

"Charm is a quark," Yoni called after him, turning to the approaching Lorne.

"You gonna recover?" Lorne asked, grinning a little smugly, like a man who'd bet on the long shot and won. (There had been betting; this Yoni knew. And while he hadn't won the fight, he'd probably beaten the spread.) Yoni was aware of the subtle competition between Lorne and Sheppard with respect to the fight -- Lorne's prospective teammate versus Sheppard's. Yoni hadn't said yes -- yet -- but was amused to realize that he felt a little pleased at Lorne's pride in him.

"The ladies of Atlantis will have nothing to fear... eventually," he replied, gingerly stepping down off of the exam table. He needed to shower, to grab some painkillers, and to find some food before his jaw started to hurt too much to chew. "I will perhaps be regretting this tomorrow, though."

He picked up the shirt he'd been wearing and examined it: torn and wet with blood and sweat and snot and spit. A year ago he'd have repaired it, but now it could be tossed with impunity. He took it over to the trash and helped himself to the OTC dispensary, holding up his takings to show Carson, who nodded.

Lorne waited for him by the exam bed. "You'll probably get a few more students after this," he said when Yoni returned to retrieve his shoes and put them back on.

"I doubt it," Yoni replied, going to the bin with the spare scrubs to get a top; he wasn't going to wander back to his quarters half-naked and covered in bruises and cuts. "Or at least none that I will want to keep. Ronon, on the other hand, will make out like a bandit."

Lorne snorted. "Probably," he agreed.

They left together, stopping first at where Ronon was sitting impatiently as Clayton instructed him on how not to pull his stitches out, Sheppard listening in with wry amusement and a cocked eyebrow. Yoni met Ronon's glance and they nodded to each other.

They walked in companionable silence. Lorne hadn't pressed him for an answer about joining his team and Yoni appreciated it. Especially if he was, for better or for worse, some sort of lynchpin that decided Lorne's next move. Yoni didn't think he'd be that patient if the situation had been reversed.

He hadn't intended to dither; he'd known immediately that joining Lorne's team was something he wanted to do. But he hadn't known whether it was an expense -- of time away from his true purpose in Atlantis as a researcher in an undeveloped field -- that could be justified or whether it was instead like his fight with Ronon and merely an adrenaline fix.

But the more he thought about it, the more he thought it was a commitment that not only could be justified, but perhaps should be. As much as he feared wasting the advantage of being the first epidemiologist in Atlantis, of gallivanting around the galaxy until he was too old or too injured for fieldwork and then finding himself outpaced and outclassed in the work he could have focused on and hadn’t... he feared regretting not gallivanting at all, of wondering what it would have been like and resenting his research for having kept him from the adventure.

He loved his work, arguably too much so that it kept him from developing a life away from it, but fighting with Ronon had reminded him that he'd once loved other things with equal passion. He was bruised, cut, and would be sore as hell tomorrow, but he felt more alive than he had at any point since the Wraith siege had been defeated. He missed this little bit of euphoria and Lorne was offering him a chance to access it without having to wage battle against Ronon to get it.

They arrived at the transporter and Yoni gave Lorne a sidelong glance. "That offer you made," he began. Lorne immediately grinned. "Is it still open?"

Next: You Break 'Em, You Buy 'Em

27 April, 2008