Sam would gladly be one of the first to admit that the work that was done at Diego Garcia was not what you’d expect on a military base, and that many things therefore was different from the norm, but one normal thing was the way scuttlebutt spread faster than fire in dry grass drenched in gasoline. So basically, by breakfast after AT-5’s snake-hunt ‘everyone’ knew that Graham had been the one responsible for Sam’s spectacular shiner, even if they did not know the story behind the action. However, they did have theories. Man, did they have theories.
“I am starting to regret not letting you heal the bruise.” Sam muttered as she heard the people at the next table over gossip about a possible lovers spat between her and the Brit, while someone else thought she was going after his position within NEST and Graham had just defended himself.
“They already knew that he sent you through a window. It would have been strange if you showed up the day after with no visible injuries.”Danny repeated back her own words from the previous argument against using the healing device. “But at least now we know that they have a decent imagination. And if the truth comes out, it will only be seen as one of the more unbelievable theories.”
“They work with giant alien robots that can turn into cars. Of course they have a viable imagination.” Josh snorted in amusement. “But you do have a point.”
“Of course I do.” Danny responded, puffed out his chest proudly and stuck his nose up in the sky, trying to act like a posh Brit to the Scot’s never-ending irritation. This spurred on a new set of verbal barbs from the red-head. Sam followed the friendly banter until dead silence fell over the room and drew the entire AT-5’s attention. There in the door way stood the Brit that everyone had been speculating about, looking both guilty and defeated.
Without saying a word, Sam left her seat and walked over to the hunched man. A man that visibly flinched when he raised his head and took in the colorful bruise on her cheek.
“Captain Witwicky, I just wanted to give you my sincerest apology. There is nothing that can make what happened…”
“Stop it right there.” Sam demanded. “First of all I want you to know that none of what happened was your fault.”
“But I…” Graham raised a hand and gently touched the hurt area on her face.
“That wasn’t you. Yeah, it might have been your body, but it wasn’t you in charge.” Sam sighted when it did not look like her words reached the guilt-riddled man. Well, extreme situations, extreme solutions, she thought as she closed the small distance that separated them and engulfed the man in a fierce hug.
“I don’t blame you and neither will anyone else that knows the truth. But if you truly need to hear the words, then okay, I forgive you.” At first, he stood straighter than Sheppard in her grip, but slowly he started to relax and hesitantly return the hug.
“Come on. Let’s join my team and me at our table.” Sam nodded in the direction of the secluded corner they had claimed earlier, out of the way from most of the canteen traffic, yet still giving them an overview of the other occupants. “No need to give everyone a free show.” she smirked and if the widening of his eyes and red seeping into his cheeks was anything to go by, he had either forgotten or not realized that they were the center of attention for the whole mess hall. Luckily, neither of them had spoken loud enough for anyone else to hear them.
“I… Okay.” Graham nodded his consent and Sam grabbed his hand in silent comfort as they made their way over to her smirking team.
“Great way to disapprove the rumors about your lovers spat.” Danny grinned as they sat down, Graham stiffening in alarm at her side.
“Oh? You didn’t know? Matt and I’ve been secretly seeing each other since Egypt. Nobody here could know since I was kinda hiding from them and the Decepticons. Recently he asked me to marry him and I said yes.” Sam revealed carelessly. She had not released Graham’s hand and now she held on to it tightly as she looked up at him dreamily.
Silence dominated the table for a short moment before it was broken by joyful laughter.
“Good one Boss, but what about the lovers spat yesterday then?” Charlie inquired with a bright smile on his face.
“That would be me just being a jealous git. Sam has refused to set a date, or inform our friends about our engagement, and after meeting her team I overreacted. Maybe a bit understanding seeing as how Red here was infamously known as a womanizer back at the SAS.” to the team’s delightful surprise it was Graham that answered Charlie’s question, not Sam.
“I wasn’t that bad!” Josh tried to defend himself.
“Was?” Sam snorted. “After that one joined mission I heard McKay quite heatedly ranting about two Kirks.” Josh did not have a retort to that and instead just stuck out his tongue in response, making the four other people at the table chuckle merrily.
“Enough about me. I believe we have some serious business that we need to deal with.” Josh exclaimed and clapped his hands. “Graham. We need you to understand that we hold no ill will towards you. We know that it was not you that attacked the Boss, and that you’d fight tooth and nail to prevent it if you could have. But I have to be honest with you; a seasoned Colonel was once snaked and he didn’t manage to fight it, so your chance was quite low to begin with. The only time I have heard someone partly succeed was when the snake was still too young to enslave it’s host fully. And that was one incidence in… what? 13 years?”
“I… I get it, I think, but…” Graham sighted and looked down at his plate.
“But you were violated.” Sam’s voice was almost a whisper. “It’s probably similar to rape victims. They tell themselves that there should have been something they could have done to prevent it. But I am telling you Matt, may I call you Matt? I am telling you there were nothing you could have done. You didn’t even know about the threat. As Josh told you, people with longer experience dealing with this kind of shit, have not been able to do anything. You are 100 % without blame.”
“Can you please tell that to the Autobots?” Graham tried to lighten the atmosphere with a joke, “I feel like I assaulted one of their royalties, and should expect some kind of punishment any moment now.”
“Don’t worry.” Sam chuckled as she placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder. “Ratchet knows enough to know that it wasn’t you that attacked me, and he’ll keep the other ‘bots away. And someone will soon be here to give some sort off explanation to keep the human element of NEST away.” All four members of AT-5 rolled their eyes, almost in unison, at the thought that someone would actually inform NEST that there existed aliens other than the Cybertonians. Don’t misunderstand, they understood why the public could not know about the stargate program or the Autobots, but at times things would be so much easier if the two programs could work together and brainstorm their problems.
“Besides, stick with us and everyone will see that we’ve got no problems with you. And seeing how in their eyes we’re the wounded party, we should be the one to decide if you should be punished or not.” Josh commented with a wicket glint in his eyes that made Graham stare at him warily and carefully inch closer to Sam.
“Bad Josh.” Sam scolded playfully. “Remember Matt is not one of those we’re mad at, be nice to him.”
“Despite risking your wrath I feel like I should be completely honest with you.” Graham stopped any comeback Josh might have had ready. “After Egypt I was one of those that agreed that the Major had the right idea.”
“I did too. Do actually.” Sam’s response brought Graham’s startled gray eyes up from the food he had been studying intently during his confession, to meet her own calm brown eyes.
“He had the right idea. We all agree with you on that. What we don’t agree with was the way he did things. He should have taken me to the side and explained things to me, or discussed it with me so that we could reach some sort of compromise that would probably have involved online courses of some sort.” she explained. “I’ll never intentionally bring harm to my friends and family, and will do practically anything to keep them from harm. As my friend he should have known that.” Sam let out an aggravated sight. The disappointment and knowledge that he did not trust and/or know her still hurt. “But I guess things worked out. If he hadn’t done what he did I might not have been where I am today. I know I wouldn’t have had the best team I could have imagined, or almost all of the scientists at our base involved in my education; teaching me what they feel is necessary knowledge. And let me tell you that in a community where only two doctor grades is almost undereducated, that is a lot.”
“Don’t remind me.” Danny groaned. “Sometimes I think that I never should have come up with the idea that we should all attend the lectures together and think of it as a team bonding exercise.”
“Yeah, but don’t you feel like a smarter man? And how many times haven’t those lessons saved our lives in the past?” Josh snarked brightly.
“Oh hush you, I remember a fair share of the complaints coming from your side of the table.” Danny snapped back and the boys was back to arguing like schoolchildren. Those two would never grow up.
“Hard to believe that they are two of the best and brightest Earth has to offer within the military.” Sam confined to Graham as they watched the now three bickering men, somehow they had managed to drag Charlie into their argument as well. “Do you want my best advice when it comes to handling them? If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” She sent him a wicked grin before effortlessly jumping into the middle of the discussion.
Graham stared at the four friends disbelievingly before with a shrug following the Autobot liaison’s advice and jumping into the discussion about which term was most correct; soccer or football, without any knowledge of how they had actually arrived at that subject in the first place.
After an enjoyable breakfast, the five friends parted ways. Sam and Danny together in one direction while Josh and Charlie quietly slipped away. Shortly thereafter a russet wolf could be seen shadowing the British NEST operative while the mocha colored wolf joined the two Americans.
“What now Boss?” Danny asked as he casually walked beside his close friend and team leader, easily ignoring the stares that after last night had been renewed in intensity
“After the tumble through the window I’d say a spar or any kind of training is out.” Sam sighted and grimaced. “We do have that paperwork that we put on the backburner because of the snakes.” At the corner of her eye she caught the Ranger’s grimace, but both their attention followed the brown blur of their mathematician as he ran towards the area they knew a certain girl were.
“Traitor.” The Raven muttered, but he followed his Captain when she change direction and started to walk towards their office. “Bureaucracy is a challenge to be conquered with a righteous attitude, a tolerance for stupidity, and a bulldozer when necessary.” He then went on to quote something he had read online.
“We might not have a bulldozer…” Sam grinned wickedly at him, “But we do have multiple transformers and a Jumper at out disposal.”
“Patience might be a virtue, but persistence to the point of success is a blessing.” Danny grinned back. “And if there is anything we don’t lack then it is persistence.”
“What do you say about doing something fun after doing our share of the work?”
“I’d say I like the way you think.” The two Lanteans shared a grin that did not belong together with destination or task at hand, but neither cared. They had always worked under the belief that a promised treat worked better than punishments when you wanted to get a undesired task done fast and thorough. That the both of them shared an opinion of what a ‘treat’ could be was only a bonus.