Stargate Atlantis: Still Waters Title: Uncharted territory
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Characters: Carson Beckett, Rodney McKay, Radek Zelenka, John Sheppard, Elizabeth Weir, Laura Cadman, original characters
Word Count: 3,883
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Meet some of the other people on Atlantis. Will eventually include sex, drugs, and rock and roll, but not in that order.
Author's Notes: So far, spoilers include ‘The Storm’, ‘The Eye’, ‘Duet’, and ‘Grace Under Pressure’. Takes place in season 2 shortly after ‘Grace Under Pressure’. Morgan Adair is my character. Please don’t take her.

It took Carson the better part of an hour to track Morgan down. Figuring that she’d head down to docks, he checked there first. Instead of Morgan, he found the rest of the oceanographers and a team busily putting together the submersible they’d eventually be using to explore Atlantis’s deep oceans. He left before they even noticed him and went to check all of the balconies he could find that had a good ocean view. He found her on the third try. It was a very isolated balcony, one that couldn’t be seen easily from the other widows around it. It made the perfect hiding place for someone like Morgan.

She didn’t seem to notice that she wasn’t alone anymore. She was leaning forward on the railing, bent over, looking over at the water. Her profile looked almost sad. Her loose fitting dark blue jeans and baggy green shirt were such a contrast from the skin tight dive suit she’d been wearing earlier that morning. She had a pair of sandals on her feet.

Carson walked up beside her. “Morgan?” he asked tentatively.

She jumped, looking around wildly. Spotting him, she calmed down a little. “Don’t do that! I don’t really enjoy being scared like that.”

“I couldn’t really think of a way to do that without scaring ye,” he apologized. “Ye were so lost in thought.”

Morgan eyed him. “Yeah, I guess I was. I do that sometimes.”

“So, the results of your tests came back,” he continued. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to recommend that you be removed from the active duty roster. You have a very rare, untreatable illness. I hate to tell ye this, but ye only have a few weeks left to live.”

She stared at him for a while. “This is some kind of a joke, isn’t it?”

“Aye, it is. I just wanted to see what your reaction would be.”

A corner of her mouth twitched. “I’m not one for that kind of joke. Dad used to make those jokes pretty regularly.”

Carson smiled and handed her the book. “Ye forgot this in the commissary. I thought I’d bring it to you.”

Puzzled, she took the book from him, her fingers brushing his briefly. “Why didn’t Laura bring it? She knows where my quarters are.”

“She was going to, but we were talking about you a little, about how you don’t feel like you fit in here.”

“I’m going to find that little twerp and pummel her,” Morgan growled.

“Hold on a minute, there, lassie,” Carson interrupted. “Let me finish. We don’t want you to feel like an outsider. It’s good that Cadman is a friend and you trust her to some extent, but wouldn’t it be better to make other friends as well? To have someone else to talk to?”

“I have the other oceanographers to talk to. We’re not friends as such, but we know each other pretty well.”

“I meant real friends, Morgan. It’s a big city, but there aren’t really all that many of us here.”

“If this is the part where you say that we should stick together, skip it. I’ve heard it from both Dr. Weir and Dr. Barry.”

Carson eyed her. “I wasn’t going to say that. You need people you can trust and how will you know until you try.” He shook his head. “Look, I don’t really understand about having a parent who is a doctor, but as a doctor I can imagine what it must have been like.”

“Just how much did she tell you guys anyways?”

“Not much. Just about what people in your family did for a living, about you preferring to be in the water, and you feeling like an outsider.”

“So not much, really. Look, Dr. Beckett, I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but I prefer to be alone.”

“Carson.”

“Pardon me?”

“My name is Carson. I’d really like to be your friend, Morgan. I’m sure if you asked Colonel Sheppard, Rodney, and Radek, they’d say the same.”

“Yes, well, in Sheppard’s case, I’m quite sure it can be chalked up to his Kirk-like personality. Rodney, well, he likely feels an affinity for a fellow Canadian. Radek…who knows? The only other Czech I know is quite crazy.”

Carson laughed a little. “Yes, John does get around, doesn’t he? Look, you could always chalk our interest up to simple physical attraction. Now, I won’t deny that I think you’re quite lovely, but I’m sure there’s more to ye than that. Someone who reads this kind of fantasy clearly has more to her than meets the eye,” he said, indicating the book. “I’ve heard about Amber. One of my nurses reads it. It’s an interesting plot idea that you can create your own world just by walking until you see what you want.”

“It’s a little hard to read as a result, though. Again, I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but please. I really do prefer to be alone.”

“I think that’s just a result of your constantly feeling like an outsider.” Carson walked over and placed his hands on her shoulders. “Look, Morgan, I’d really like to get to know you better, but I’ll let that happen on your terms. What kind of friends would I be if I tried to force things?”

“Certainly no friend of mine,” she replied. “You’re not going to leave me alone until I make a friend are you?”

“No.”

She sighed and shook her head. “Fine, fine, but I still don’t think this is a good idea. I know how Cadman feels about you.”

“What does that have to do with anything?” he asked, confused.

“I don’t want to gain a friend only to loose the only person in this city, in this galaxy, who knows me, who I can trust with my life.”

“I’m sure she’ll be alright, Morgan. We’re just friends, right?”

She smiled. “Right.”

“Anyways, I just wanted to return your book and have a chat with you. I have a few things to do down in the infirmary. Maybe I’ll see you at dinner?”

“Maybe. I’m cleared for duty, though?”

“Absolutely.”

“Great. Dr. Barry will probably want to send me down again. I might see you at dinner. Depends on how this goes.”

He smiled at her. “See you then.”

It was almost a week before Carson really got much of a chance to talk to Morgan again. He managed to catch a few words with her here and there, but mostly she was off doing other things. According to Cadman, she’d been busy helping analyze sample from dives as well as going on them herself. They’d gotten their sub put together with some help from Rodney and Radek to get their instruments functioning and were doing at least one dive a day in it. Their exploration of the waters around the city itself was going extremely well, or so Elizabeth told him and the other heads of the expedition. They’d even sent some plant samples his way to see if they could be of use.

He found her sitting at a table in the commissary, nibbling on a turkey sandwich. He grabbed himself something to eat and sat down with her. “Mid if I join ye?” he asked politely.

“Hmm? Oh, go right ahead. I wasn’t expecting company.”

He sat down in a chair beside her. “Even after that talk we had about making friends?”

“I’ve been a little busy since then. Between that dive suit and the sub, I’ve spent more time beneath the city than in it. Frankly, that’s how I prefer it.”

“That sample you sent me looks promising.”

“I’m glad. Really, I am. It was a pain in the ass to get my hands on.”

“Enjoying your sandwich?”

Morgan shrugged. “It’s alright. Turkey’s not really my favorite thing to put on a sandwich, but it’ll do. How about you? You like egg salad?”

“It’s alright.”

She shook her head. “I never could understand egg salad. It looks bad, smells worse and tastes awful. My big sister Siobhan had a thing for it growing up and again when pregnant with both her kids. Frankly, egg could be put to better use in pancakes or French toast, or even baked goods for that matter.”

“You’re a strange one. Most people like eggs.”

“Most people don’t have to watch their three older siblings eat eggs every day for years on end. Any food would start to get disgusting after that.”

“That makes sense then. Cadman tells me that ye’re the youngest of four siblings.”

Morgan nodded. “Yes, that’s right. My older sisters are twins, Siobhan and Ainsley. They’re twelve years older than me. My brother, Bran, is only seven years older than me. It’s odd. My family doesn’t behave much like a family. My sisters are so much older than me that they were out of the house by the time I was six. Ainsley went to the local university and Siobhan went to a community college, getting married not to long afterwards. I grew up with Bran around, but pretty much once he hit high school I rarely saw him. Never mind about my parents.”

“Busy?”

“Very. Mom resumed her practice once I started junior high. Dad wasn’t around a whole lot while I was growing up, and when he was, he was more like a good buddy or an uncle that comes by for a visit every so often.” Morgan shrugged. “It doesn’t bother me, really. That was just how life was. I imagine things are different if you’re the oldest instead of the youngest.”

“They are, actually. I have two younger brothers.”

“Really? For some reason, I had you pegged as an only child. Don’t know why.”

“I don’t talk about them too much. We weren’t really all that close. I don’t see my father too much, but I’m quite close to my mother.”

“Must be nice. I was always closer to dad than mom.”

They were both silent for a while. Carson ate some of his sandwich, watching Morgan. She seemed a lot more alive and vibrant than she had a week ago. A week ago, she wouldn’t have sat here telling him about her life and her family. Most likely, she would have politely excused herself. I also wouldn’t have sat with her a week ago. How is it that I didn’t notice her until then?

“Umm, is something wrong?”

“No, nothing’s wrong. Why?”

“You’ve just been staring at me for the last couple minutes. Do I have something on my face?”

“Yes, there’s a spot of something on your cheek. Here, I’ll get it for ye,” he said, leaning forward to wipe off the imaginary spot on her cheek. Her skin was soft and firm, warm to the touch. He met her eyes as he gently stroked her cheek. “There. That’s better,” he said, his voice cracking a little.

“Are you feeling ok, Carson?” she asked, fighting back the hotness in her cheeks. “Your voice is cracking.”

“I’m just fine, thanks,” he replied, pulling his hand away.

“Uh…I’m sorry, but I have to go now. It was nice talking to you.” Morgan stood and smiled apologetically before heading off.

Morgan walked into her quarters and flopped face down on the bed, her face burning. What’s going on here? I barely even know him! I mean, he’s cute and he’s got that really sexy voice and all, but he’s a lot like my dad, right down to the accent. It just couldn’t work. Mom’s always warned me about getting involved with the people you work with. If it goes badly, then you’re screwed. If it goes well, really well, then you’re still screwed. Who wants to work with someone they’re intimately involved with? Granted, he’s a doctor and I’m an oceanographer, but we’re still in the same city in a limited population. This is pretty much uncharted territory. Anything could happen out here. I just don’t think it’s a good idea. And then there’s Laura. She likes him, I know she does. I’m not about to let a man, albeit a highly attractive and kind one get in the way of our friendship. I couldn’t do that. She’s been here almost a year. I’ve been here to more than a month. What right do I have to even have these feelings?

Another week went by. Since that first lunch with Carson Beckett, it had become a fairly regular thing. They’d meet at the same table in the commissary at about the same time, eat and talk. The one exception was yesterday when Sheppard’s team came in heavily wounded from a Wraith encounter. They met for a late supper that day instead after Carson and his team had finished patching them up. He’d been so tired that he’d barely managed to stay awake. Morgan was quite sure that if she hadn’t helped him back to his quarters he would have fallen asleep right there at the table and not moved until morning.

Moran looked up from her book. As usual, thinking about the Scottish doctor made her flush uncomfortably. Thinking about the previous night made her even more uncomfortable, but it was all she was able to think about since it happened. She remembered helping him stay awake on the way there, getting the door opened, and walking in. It had been a clean and tidy room, something that had caught her attention as it was unusual. From her experience with men, they were generally untidy creatures. She’d helped him get his boots and shirt off and tuck him into bed. He’d mumbled something under his breath as she’d tucked his blankets around him. Try as she might, she couldn’t figure out what he’d said as he’d been incoherent from exhaustion.

There was a knock on the door. Morgan slid the bookmark between the open pages of her book and got up to answer it. “Oh, hello Carson. What brings you here?”

“May I come in?” he asked, looking somewhat agitated.

“Of course.” She stepped aside. “Did you sleep well last night?”

“Not really. I kept having strange dreams. It wasn’t until I woke up that I realized where I was. The last thing I clearly remember is having dinner last night with you at our usual table. Tayla tells me that you were the one who helped me get back to my room last night.”

“Yes, it was me and you’re lucky I did. You looked like you were about to fall asleep there.”

Carson sat down on the edge of her bed. “You’re right, I probably could have. To be honest, I haven’t been sleeping well at all lately.”

Morgan blinked in surprise. “That’s news to me. You’ve seemed fine.”

“I’m good at hiding it,” he explained. “I’m the chief medical officer here. I can’t let anyone see me wearing out.”

She nodded, sitting beside him. “You have to be the leader, set the example and reassure people that things are ok.”

“I thought you’d understand.”

“I’ve seen both my parents crack under the pressure of being in this kind of position, especially my father. I remember seeing him and mom on the couch late at night after a hard day. She’d just sit there with his head in her lap, stroking his hair and not saying anything. My dad is the only man I’ve ever seen cry.”

“We all cry, Morgan. We just don’t like other people to see us doing it.”

“That macho stuff is a load of crap,” she told him bluntly. “The way I see it, there would be far fewer problems in the world if men would just stop sucking it up, quite being such tough guys, and show feelings like the rest of the world.”

He gave her a strange look. “Really? I know people that think women are far too emotional.” He laughed. “But largely, I agree. We’re just as human as ye women are. If it helps, I cry sometimes.”

“Now I know you’re pulling my leg.”

“No really! There are days when I miss my mother.”

Morgan giggled. “Momma’s boy,” she teased.

“Oh, there’s something wrong with that, is there?”

She fought back a grin. “Nope, nothing wrong with that at all.”

“Don’t you miss your family?”

“Some days,” she said quietly. “Mostly I miss my niece and nephew. They’re both growing up so fast. I’m a little sad to be missing it.”

“I’m sure you’ll have wee ones of your own one day.”

“And now you really sound like my mother. That woman’s always pushing me to get married. I’ve got too much else to do still. She might not think too much of my present goal in life, but at least she respects the fact that I have goals.”

“What would that be?”

“I want to break the scuba diving record. This is the most diving practice I’ve ever had in a row and it’s really helping me out there.”

“That’s a good goal, but is that your only ambition in life?”

“Well, no. Making some massive underwater discovery would be great, too.” She laughed. “I don’t know why I’m telling you this, but when I was little, six or seven I suppose, I used to say that I was going to discover the lost city of Atlantis and find a whole civilization down there, and that the prince of Atlantis would fall desperately in love with me and we’d live happily ever after.” She blushed. “So much for that, eh?”

“Well, you’re in the city of Atlantis now. You didn’t discover it, but you made it here. Now we’ll just have to find you a prince to carry you away on a white horse.”

“And by white horse you mean Puddle Jumper.”

“Well, there’s a distinct lack of white horses around here, but you get the idea.”

Morgan shook her head, examining her fingernails. “It’s not really a good idea to be involved with people you work with. It just never ends well.”

“How will you know unless you give it a try?” he asked gently.

“Let me guess. You have someone in mind? You don’t really strike me as the matchmaking type, Carson.”

“Aye, I do have someone in mind,” he said smiling.

She looked up at him expectantly. He leaned towards her, cupping her face in his hands. Very slowly, he pressed his lips against hers. He kissed her tenderly, stroking her cheeks. When he pulled away, Morgan just stared at him in shock, her lips tingling from the kiss. “Carson…I…”

“I know I haven’t known ye long, Morgan, but I can’t help what I feel when I see ye, whether it be while I’m awake or in my dreams at night. After last night, after what you did for me, I thought I should tell ye just in case I said something last night that I don’t remember saying. I don’t know for sure if this is love, but I feel something and it’s strong, so strong it hurts.” He took her hands in his. “If it’s alright with ye, I’d like to find out if this is real.”

“All feelings are real; it’s simply a question of whether or not they’ll last as long as they feel like they will,” she said, feeling dizzy.

“Morgan? Are ye alright?”

“I’m a little dizzy, that’s all. I think it’s all the blood rushing to my face.”

“You’re face is red. You look kind of like a rose.”

“I thought the standard expression was ‘you look like a tomato’.”

“Aye, but your hair isn’t green, it’s brown, like a rose bush. Besides, you’re too sweet to be a tomato, but if you insist on going with food here I could always call you a strawberry if ye like.”

“A rose will be just fine, thanks.” She couldn’t help but smile. “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think I’d like to know what this is, this chemistry we have. For some reason, I can’t help but trust you.”

“Your father’s influence perhaps?”

“Maybe. Whatever it is, it’s kinda nice. It makes me feel…dizzy and a little tingly.”

“Tingly?” His expression grew concerned. “Where does it tingle?”

“Just my lips and cheeks.”

“I’ll have to have a look at that. With your permission of course.”

“You’re the doctor, not me.”

He leaned in, kissing her the way he had the first time but for a little longer. This time, though, Morgan leaned into it, kissing him back. It was uncertain and timid, but it was there. He pulled back. “Does it still tingle?”

“I’m afraid so, and it’s spreading downwards.” She leaned her face in towards him and whispered, “What would you prescribe for this condition, doctor?”

“I’m afraid I’ll have to keep you overnight for observation. I’ve never heard of this particular ailment before and it could be serious.”

“How serious?”

He kissed the tip of her nose. “It may even be fatal.”

“Sounds serious.”

“Oh, aye, it is. I’ll just have to confine you to quarters and stay here to observe ye.”

“Aren’t you worried about catching this if it’s contagious?”

“If it is, I most likely have it already. No sense infecting the rest of the city, now is there?”

Morgan giggled. “Now I understand the appeal of playing doctor. I never could get into it as a kid.”

Carson kissed the length of her neck. “I was entirely serious. Well, about keeping you here anyways.”

“These are my quarters, Carson. If anyone’s keeping anyone here, it’s me keeping you and not the other way around.”

He stopped and looked up at her. “If ye really want to be technical, then yes.”

“Who said anything about wanting to be technical?” she whispered hoarsely as he caressed her bare arm. She closed her eyes.

Carson sighed. “Do you have any idea how beautiful you are?”

She shook her head. “No, I don’t know. Maybe you should tell me.”

He leaned in to do just that when Dr. Weir contacted him on his radio, asking him to come to the gate room. He cursed under her breath and told her he’d be right there. “I’m sorry about this.”

She smiled and patted him on the shoulder. “Duty calls. It’s not like I’m going anywhere.”

“No, but from the sound of things, I might be. Morgan, thank ye again for your help last night.”

“What are friends for?”

That question seemed to bother him a little. “I hope we can finish this talk later.”

She nodded. “Feel free to come by whenever you like.”

He stood up and kissed her on the forehead. “I’ll see ye later,” he said as he left, closing the door behind him.

Morgan flopped back on her bed. What the hell are you thinking? This isn’t happening. This can’t be happening. She shook her head. Oh come off it, already. He was the one who approached you. You didn’t do a thing to indicate that you’d want him to do this. She rolled over and buried her face in her pillow. Do I want this? Do I want him to stop? He was so sweet and sincere, so gentle. He understands me so well. Gah! I feel so confused!