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Summary: During a mission, something happens that changes McKay's and Sheppard's personal lives.

Categories: Slash Pairings > McKay/Sheppard
Characters: Aiden Ford, John Sheppard, Original Character, Rodney McKay, Teyla Emmagan
Genres: Action/Adventure, First Time, Team
Warnings: None
Chapters: 1 [Table of Contents]
Series: None

Word count: 5164; Completed: Yes
Updated: 31 Dec 2005; Published: 31 Dec 2005

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The sun was burning in the sky as the two men walked along the small path between the forest and the coastline. Looking over his sunglasses, Major Sheppard stopped for a moment and stared at the sea.

"You know, I really should have brought my surfboard."

"You don't *own* a surfboard, Major," McKay remarked snidely.

"I *know* that," Sheppard answered, pushing his sunglasses back up. "I'm just saying, it would be *nice* to use those lovely waves and have some *fun*. You know fun, McKay?"

"I know what *fun* is, Major," McKay answered, a bitchy undertone in his voice.

"Yeah? Like that prime numbers game you play with Zelenka?" Sheppard asked, keeping his voice restrained.

"For example, yes." McKay's snippy tone remained.

"Should be boring after a while," Sheppard stated.

"No. It's never *boring*. It's compelling, educational and trains the mind." McKay eyed Sheppard suspiciously, an inquisitive tone in his voice. "How did you get to know about that anyway?"

"Ford told me about it."

"So he did." There was a slight undertone in McKay's voice, as if he were wondering what Sheppard was up to.

"How does it go?"

"He didn't tell you that then?"

"No." Sheppard looked at McKay, as if waiting for an explanation.

"It's very easy," McKay said, unconsciously moving into a lecturing stance. "It's a true/false game. One says a number and the other has to guess if it's either a prime number or not a prime number. Just by guessing, statistically you should get at least half of them right."

"Cool," Sheppard answered, a slight smile on his face. "You think I could play that with you when we need to kill time?"

"I don't know, Major. Would be quite a test for your brains, wouldn't it?" McKay's voice almost dripped with sarcasm. "Now, not that I mind having these scintillating discussions with you, but this place is hot and as far as I remember the directions, we still have a good way ahead of us. Can we *please* stop this now and go on our merry way?"

"Sure. If you don't need a break anymore..."

"A break?"

"Yeah. Just ten minutes ago you were going on how hot and uncomfortable you were. So I thought you could use a break."

"Oh." There was a surprise in his voice, as if he hadn't expected that Sheppard had listened to him, but McKay quickly caught himself. "Right. Shall we... continue then... Major?" McKay couldn't see Sheppard's eyes through the shades. But the slight smile on his lips made him feel a little bit uneasy. And a little bit intrigued.

"Of course, Rodney," Sheppard simply answered and started walking along the path again.

* * *

As they reached the end of the long line of forest on their right, the path took an upward curve away from the coastline. Still, they continued their way uninterrupted.

"Either these people are unconcerned," McKay mused. "Or the natives just don't care who comes onto their island."

"Maybe," Sheppard said, "Or maybe they just haven't noticed us yet." He clicked his radio twice as he and McKay crested the top of the low hill. "Teyla, Ford. Come in."

"Ford here, Sir." The lieutenant's voice was clear over the radio. "Teyla's still talking to the two women."

"Gimme a status report, Lieutenant," Sheppard ordered calmly.

"Yessir," For said casually, "We still haven't found out the exact origin of the Meldara Root. They're still insisting that you can only find that out in the Family Village. Have you arrived there yet, Sir?"

At that very moment, McKay's yell prevented him from answering. Sheppard looked up and over towards Rodney, several feet ahead of him. McKay was holding a pair of binoculars in one hand and waved with the other into the general direction before him. "We're there!"

"It looks like we're nearly there, Lieutenant. Notify me if anything new happens. Sheppard out."

Quickly catching up with McKay, he looked down, recognizing the silhouette of a village.

"There are children," McKay stated.

"I guess that's why the women called it a family village then." With a slight smile, Sheppard pushed his sunglasses down to his neck and took out his own binoculars from his vest pocket to get a first glimpse of what lay before them.

There were small houses, which was to be expected, but he was more surprised to find a wide complex of gardens in between them. Lots of gardens actually. And there was a bigger house in between them all that looked almost like a monastery.

"That's evident, Major," McKay interjected, sounding a tad annoyed. "But aside from male adults, I didn't see any women there."

"The women are probably elsewhere," Sheppard mused. "Out in the fields, away from there or something?"

"Like where Teyla and Ford are?" McKay snorted. "It's obvious that this must be the," he was raising the forefinger and middle finger of his right hand, "*difference* the old Athosian..."

"Charin," Sheppard threw in.

The interjection earned him a short glare from McKay, who continued his sentence as if he hadn't been interrupted. "...Charin meant when Carson asked her about the village."

"You can't be sure about that yet," Sheppard said, putting his binoculars away.

"No, but the evidence supports my conclusions. And when someone says 'different', I tend to expect 'different'."

"Don't you want to check it out then?"

"Of course I do, that's not the point. You and I both know we need those roots," Mc Kay said, a slight patronizing tone in his voice, "since it's the only thing that cures the Athosian flu."

"Then what is the point?" Sheppard said, a little irritated.

"I think we should be cautious."

"Then we'll check it out *carefully*," he stated, with a side of sarcasm. Pushing his sunglasses back up his nose, Sheppard proceeded downhill, McKay following.

* * *

As they walked into the village, the way they were looked at suggested that they were carefully checked out by the aliens. The clothes these people wore seemed to fit the same area and time as the two women's earlier, looking like a mix between Amish farmers and leather fetishists. Which was an odd combination anyway, especially as it seemed that most of the men wore skirts. Adolescents and children, though, wore pants, shirts and vests in various styles and colours, making them look like they'd fallen out of some old western movie.

"High Noon meets Rocky Horror Picture Show," McKay muttered snarkily.

"Easy Rider," Sheppard argued. "High Noon meets Easy Rider."

"Oh, come on," McKay waved into the direction of a group of adolescents. "Those vests and shirts look like something Rocky or Frank would wear."

Glancing over, Sheppard stated, "Too much yellow and green. Far too little black."

Giving Sheppard a look, McKay changed the topic. "No women. Just men and children of all ages."

"No women *so far*," Sheppard corrected. "We'll just have to see what the explanation is."

Just as Sheppard finished saying that, a man in what could only be described as a cross between a kilt and a motorbiker's outfit walked toward them.

"May the goddess soothe your pain, strangers. I am Ketar."

"Hi." Sheppard took off his sunglasses. "I'm Major Sheppard, this is Doctor McKay. Our... healer sent us here. We need a special kind of root..."

"There are many roots," Ketar said.

"This one's shaped like a bagel..."

"They won't know what that is, Major," McKay interrupted him. Turning to the alien, he added, "The root has the form of a circle with a hole in the middle. We were told we could trade for it here."

"I understand." Ketar smiled. "The Meldara Root is not for trade. It will be only given to those who ask for it properly."

"How do we do that?" Sheppard asked.

"You will stay with us for a night, sleep together in a bed in one of our houses. At night, the goddess will come and wake you. If you answer her questions truthfully, you will fall asleep and in the morning you will find what you desire. If you are untruthful to her, she will take you with her, and you will not be able to return to your home."

Pushing his concern at the 'never return home' clause away, Sheppard smiled at Ketar. "Shouldn't be so hard to do."

"Then you are welcome," Ketar said. "Join us for the evening meal, Major Sheppard and Doctor McKay. After that, I will show you to your house."

"Sure. We'd love a bite," Sheppard glanced at McKay, who seemed to be frowning for a moment. "Wouldn't we, Rodney?"

"Oh." Rodney met Sheppard's gaze. "Yes." Turning to Ketar, he asked, "You don't use any citrus, do you?

After being assured there weren't even any citrus existing on the alien planet, they walked over to the big house they had seen earlier from up the hill.

* * *

The big house indeed looked like a monastery, especially as the room where the evening meal was held in was used as refectory. It seemed as everyone in the village was there: men, adolescent girls and boys as well as children of all ages. Even toddlers who were fed milk coming from bags over their father's shoulders were present. The only thing missing were the adult women.

If McKay was still wondering about that, he didn't say, and Sheppard couldn't ask. He was sitting with Ketar, while McKay was surrounded by a few villagers of both genders, chatting amicably with them a few feet away from Sheppard.

"Ketar," Sheppard turned to the alien, "Can I ask you something?"

"Of course, Major Sheppard. What is it that you desire?"

"Don't misunderstand me, but," Sheppard hesitated, "Where are your wives?"

"Wives?" Ketar looked at Sheppard curiously. "I do not understand."

"All those kids... where are their moms?"

Ketar smiled. "The women are hunting or live in seclusion. They do not share our lives. They rather prefer to be out in the nature, with their own kind."

"So you guys raise your kids alone?"

"Yes." Ketar smiled. "And when the time comes, and our children are of age, the young women will join their mothers, while the young men will stay with us until their time comes to take care of children of their own."

"Cool." Sheppard smiled. "What about the Wraith? Don't you have trouble with them sometimes?"

Ketar's face darkened and he looked away. "Our forefathers hid in the caves near the sea when the Wraith came. Fortunately, they have not hunted us for generations. But we heard the tales travellers bring to us. The Wraith are thirsting for blood again, and I am afraid we will lose several of our kind soon. I pray to the goddess that she will soothe our pain when that day comes." Ketar paused, taking a deep breath. "But none of that anymore. Can I ask you a question also, Major Sheppard?"

"Sure."

"Do men raise the children where you come from?"

"Not always," Sheppard explained. "Sometimes a man or a woman raise kids alone, sometimes with others, but more than often, a man and a woman raise a kid together."

Ketar stared at Sheppard, frowning. "That is... unusual."

"Yeah, we're a bit different than your people."

"I am aware of that now." Ketar's face softened again and he glanced over to where McKay was sitting. "I noticed you have seen the girl Doctor McKay is talking to. Her name is Kelara. She has just come of age. While her mother will soon return to claim her, it is prudent that she looks amongst the men to pick a father for a child. I think she might choose your companion."

"What?" Sheppard couldn't quite believe his ears.

"Do you not agree with her choice?"

"No! I mean... I don't think McKay is aware that she's... what she's doing. Doesn't he have a say in that too?"

"If a man is not claimed by another man, a woman of age can choose who she wishes. The goddess will heed her claim." A loud bell was ringing somewhere, and the people in the refectory were starting to raise. Ketar smiled at Sheppard, who rose as well. "It is time. Come, Major Sheppard. I will show you and Doctor McKay the house you will sleep in."

* * *

"This doesn't look so bad," McKay grinned, as he returned from the bathroom, wearing only a towel around his waist. He walked over to the left side of the big four poster bed where he'd earlier left his clothes. With its high head- and footboards, the bed itself was an impressive sight in a room which was void of any other furniture. Beginning to towel himself dry, McKay added, "These people look rather primitive, but they do have a decent shower."

Standing near the window, Sheppard twisted a little, glancing at McKay, then turning back towards the window. He'd showered first and had already dressed again. "You go to bed, Rodney. I'll take first watch."

"Don't be stupid, Major."

Sheppard turned around, getting an eyeful as McKay pulled his briefs up. "Excuse me?"

"Don't you remember what Ketar said?" Continuing talking, McKay pulled his uniform shirt back on. "Ketar said we have to sleep in the bed together. Not solitary, not one after the other. And I don't see a chair, couch or anything else to sleep on here. There's just this bed, and it's big enough to fit the both of us." After wrapping his holster around the headboard's bedpost and his pants and his vest over the footboard of the bed, McKay pulled the covers back and slipped under them. With a high dose of sarcasm, he added, "Do you want Carson to have a fit because your sense of 'modesty' prevented us from bringing him those roots? We're guests here, Major. They won't attack us in the middle of the night."

Well aware that he was most probably right, Sheppard glared at McKay. Having earlier put his P-90 near the front end of the bed, he brusquely walked back to the bed. He unstrapped his holster, pulled off his boots, took off his pants and uniform vest, all in full view of McKay. Mirroring Rodney's earlier motions, Sheppard wrapped his leg holster around the bedpost and hung his pants and vest over the footboard, then slipped under the blankets at the right side of the bed. "Satisfied?"

"Immensely." McKay simply said and laid back. Pulling the covers up to his neck, he muttered, "Now you can take first watch."

"Rodney!"

But McKay had already fallen asleep.

* * *

As Sheppard opened his eyes again, the first thing he noticed was that it was totally dark outside. But before he could get pissed off with himself for dozing off on watch, he had the distinct feeling there was someone else in the room with him aside from McKay.

Grabbing his gun from the holster at the bedpost, Sheppard sat up quickly, only to realize that he'd been alone in bed. McKay was standing a few feet away, looking at the glowing figure of a woman almost in front of him.

"Major!" McKay exclaimed. "I couldn't wake you earlier. Anyway, this is Benaris. We've been chatting for a while. She's quite fascinating..."

"Get away from her, McKay!" Sheppard ordered.

"What?" McKay protested. "We've just been *talking*, Major." He looked at Benaris, then at Sheppard, delight clear on his face. "She's not a threat."

"Your weapon can not harm me," Benaris stated, an angelic tone in her voice.

From Sheppard's point of view, there was an almost hypnotizing aura around the glowing alien woman. Trying not to lose his concentration, Sheppard mentally shook himself and continued pointing his weapon at her. "Yeah, right."

"It is the truth." Again, she sounded angelic. Or at least how he *thought* an angel should sound.

Another one of those smiles, and once more, Sheppard was sure there was something *odd* about the woman. Aside from the fact that she was glowing, of course. And since when did he know how an angel sounded?

"Now tell me, Sheppard," Benaris asked, "are you the one who protests Kelara's claim on your companion?"

McKay stared at him. "Major?"

Not letting Benaris out of his sight, Sheppard left the bed. Without looking at McKay, he answered, "The woman you talked to at dinner. She wants you to be the father of her first child."

"Oh," McKay blinked. "That's... charming... and disturbing..."

"You'd be stuck *here*, McKay," Sheppard interrupted, "*with* the kid."

"Oh." McKay seemed a little disgruntled. "Unfortunate." Looking at Benaris, he asked her, "Is there a way to get out of that?"

"Yes." Benaris smiled. "Your companion must claim you and fulfill that claim."

"All right, the major can do that then." The earlier delight in meeting Benaris was totally gone now, and McKay seemed almost irked. "He'll just tell Kelara that I belong with him."

"That will not suffice," Benaris said. Looking away from McKay, she moved slowly over towards Sheppard, who still had the gun in his hand, willing to shoot, if necessary.

"She means," Sheppard said without looking at McKay, "you'd have to have sex with me."

"You've got to be kidding me!" McKay protested.

This time, Sheppard looked at McKay. "Thank you, Rodney." His voice had an undertone that said something like 'nice of you not to even consider it'.

Unfortunately, this small distraction lasted just a bit too long, giving Benaris the possibility to reach Sheppard.

The next moments seemed like a blur. Benaris touched Sheppard and with horror, McKay saw the major's knees gave way. Confusion spread over Sheppard's face as he lost hold of the gun in his hands and finally collapsed near the bed. The clanking sound of the gun hitting the floor shook McKay out of his momentary stupor and he rushed over to the other side.

"Major!" he exclaimed, surprise in his voice.

But Sheppard remained on the floor, just as he had fallen, not reacting, wide-eyed and immobile.

"What the hell have you done!" McKay glared at Benaris, open anger in his voice. Kneeling down at Sheppard's side, he tapped him on the shoulder. "Major!" He looked at him directly. This time, there was a slight worry in McKay's voice. "Can you hear me?"

Sheppard blinked, but didn't say a word.

Muttering under his voice, McKay added, "Of course you can't hear me, you're paralyzed."

"I have frozen his body." Benaris explained, now hovering over the bed. "He can hear you, and he will understand you and me, but he can not move."

"Why? Why have you done this?" McKay demanded.

"He should not interrupt while I question you."

"Fine!" McKay exclaimed, annoyed. "Question me then!"

"So shall it be," Benaris smiled at McKay, unfazed by his annoyance. "You came here for the Meldara Root. Why do you want it?"

"Our doctor... our healer... he wanted a few of them for studying. There is an outbreak of the flu among the Athosians, and the Meldara Root cured it faster than his own medicine could. He wants to know why."

"That is admirable." Benaris seemed to like that answer. Not taking her eyes off McKay, she continued. "Kelara has made a claim on you, McKay. Yet, Sheppard has denied you could be claimed, in Ketar's presence. Is that the truth?"

"Now it's back to that one, huh?" McKay tried to stall her, not quite willing to answer Benaris' question. He looked at Sheppard, who was staring at him. There was a panic in the major's eyes, but for all he knew it was due to being paralyzed. Remembering well what Ketar had said about the so-called goddess, McKay squeezed Sheppard's shoulder gently. "Great," he muttered more to himself than to Sheppard, "now I have to talk about my sex life to an alien." Standing up, McKay took a deep breath and looked at Benaris. "It's the truth. Even if I thought Major Sheppard might be interested, I wouldn't have tried. You have to understand this, Benaris. Where he and I come from, it's not permissible for him to have a relationship with a man."

Benaris studied McKay's face carefully. After a few moments, she said, "I believe you. Your companion is free. As are you." With that, she flashed out of existence, leaving the room in darkness.

"Dammit," Sheppard cursed softly. "She could at least have left a light on."

"Major?" McKay turned. He closed his eyes firmly for a second, unsuccessfully trying to make them adjust to the darkness quicker. A moment later, there was a hand on his body, then it was gone again.

"Sorry," Sheppard said.

"Where are the hell are you?" Trying to find his way in the darkness with both hands, he touched skin. "Oh." Surprised at the contact, McKay didn't immediately register that the light was coming back. "There you are." Suddenly realizing that he was cupping Sheppard's cheeks, McKay quickly let go of the major. "You're okay then."

"Rodney..." Sheppard said softly, wanting to say much more, but not quite knowing where to start.

McKay turned away from Sheppard and walked back to his side of the bed, ignoring the tone in his friend's voice. "I guess that means we can go back to sleep. Of course, after we find out how we can turn the light off. These people must be more advanced than we've given them credit for..."

"Rodney!" Sheppard exclaimed, losing his patience for a moment. "What did you mean with what you said to... her... to Benaris?"

McKay froze.

For a moment, the room was silent, and Sheppard wondered if he had gone a step too far.

"I won't act on what I said, Major." McKay's voice was laden with emotion. "I'm well aware of the current U.S. military policy..." Not wanting to let Sheppard see what was going on within him, he turned away a little.

Following McKay to his side of the bed, Sheppard stopped right behind him. Trying to keep calm, he asked, "Don't I get a say in this?"

This time, McKay abruptly turned around. "What would you say?" The earlier emotional tone grew more snippy and patronizing. "Go to Dr. Weir and have a chat with her? Oh, Elizabeth, do you know McKay's gay? Shouldn't pose a problem, as long as he doesn't want to get into my *pants*!" He almost spit the last word out.

Sheppard frowned. "I thought you knew me better than that."

Defiantly glaring at him, McKay's voice changed to heavy sarcasm, threaded with something Sheppard couldn't quite put a finger to. "*Do* *I*?"

At this point, Sheppard realized that any kind of continued debate would probably only make matters worse, and he didn't want that. Within a spilt second, he decided to end argument once and for all, grabbed McKay by the shirt and kissed him.

After his initial surprise, McKay responded eagerly, fueling Sheppard's desire. Within seconds, their kisses became more and more heated. Making short work of the rest of their clothing, they fell down on the bed, McKay on top of Sheppard.

"You're crazy," Rodney breathed, kissing along Sheppard's neck, down to his chest.

"And you're damn eager for someone who didn't want to act on it." There was an amused undertone in Sheppard's voice, mixed with an evident arousal.

"Oh, shut up, John," McKay growled.

"No," Sheppard grinned wickely. "Make me."

Smiling smugly, McKay aligned his naked body with Sheppard's, kissing him open-mouthedly once more.

As their hard cocks touched for the very first time, and McKay started moving slowly against him, thinking became too complicated. In between gasps and trying to snatch the occasional kiss from his lover, Sheppard caressed Rodney's butt - wanting, needing to get closer, to ride on the waves of need that were slowly building up inside him. Holding on to him, Sheppard felt himself getting closer to the edge. Slipping a hand between Rodney's buttocks, he probed for the entrance. As he gently caressed the soft skin, he felt his finger brush the perineum.

With a breathed 'oh, yes' from Rodney, they both came almost simultaneously.

* * *

Lying side by side, McKay stared at the ceiling. The light still hadn't faded out, leaving them in a cozy glow. "Do you think there *is* a button hidden somewhere in this room to turn that damn light off?"

With a soft laugh, Sheppard turned to his side to look at McKay. "You're unbelievable, Rodney."

"What?" McKay looked at Sheppard. "Just because I want to know if there's more to these people than meets the eye?"

"No," Sheppard answered. "I want to know that too." Laying a hand on McKay's hip, caressing him softly, he asked, "But aren't there more closer things on your mind, Rodney?"

"Like how we should deal with this when we're back in Atlantis?" McKay asked softly.

Seeing the look in McKay's eyes, Sheppard tried to reassure his new-found lover. "We'll manage." He leaned over and kissed McKay softly. "We'll find a way. Really." He smiled. "Now stop worrying, Rodney, because I'm not going back to how it was before."

Smiling back at him, McKay put a hand to Sheppard's neck, pulling him in for another kiss. "I still think you're crazy, John."

"One problem solved then," Sheppard grinned. "Now, what did you say about that damn light?"

After a bit of searching, they finally found a hidden button at the top end of McKay's side of the bed, mirrored by another one at Sheppard's side. With a bit of persuasion in the form of kisses and touches, Sheppard got McKay away from trying to figure out on the spot at what kind of technological level their hosts were, and they both settled in for the rest of the night.

* * *

There was a loud bell from somewhere. Recognizing that it wasn't an alarm, but rather sounded like a church bell, Sheppard remembered where he was. Opening his eyes, his first sight was of McKay's face, lying on his side, his expression softened with sleep. His arm was resting on Sheppard's side, just below the ribcage. Enjoying the moment, he was content just to watch. He hated having to wake McKay.

But that unwelcomed duty was taken from him as just at that point McKay growled, "Turn that damn thing off, John."

"Not possible. It's outside." Feeling rather cheerful, he added, "Good morning, Rodney."

It must have been recognizable in his voice, because McKay rolled on his back, rubbed his face and murmured in a slightly annoyed tone, "Early riser. You *had* to be an early riser today, didn't you?"

But before he could answer, the radio on his and McKay's vests went off simultaneously. "Ford to Sheppard or McKay. Do you copy?"

Crawling over to the foot end of the bed, Sheppard answered the call. "Sheppard here. Any news?"

"Major!" Ford exclaimed. "I tried to contact you six hours ago, but we couldn't reach you or Doctor McKay. Are you guys all right?"

Glancing over at McKay, who was slipping out of bed, Sheppard smiled. "We're alright, Lieutenant. Neither of us turned the radios off - maybe it was just a glitch."

"Maybe. I'm glad to hear you and Doctor McKay are okay, sir. Did you get the roots Doctor Beckett wanted?"

His eyes following McKay's movements, Sheppard watched as Rodney walked to the door where a brown bag was standing. Someone must have brought it in while they both had been sleeping.

"Hold on a second, Lieutenant."

McKay held up a couple of roots that looked exactly like the one Sheppard had seen at the pre-mission briefing.

"Yeah, we got them."

"Sir..." Ford hesitated, "Doctor Weir was worried about you and Doctor McKay, so she sent Miller and Stackhouse over with a Jumper. We're coming over to pick you up. Oh and Major... Teyla says there's some kind of fertility ritual where you are. She advises to stay away from any women you see."

He glanced over to McKay who was grinning at him.

"Copy that, Lieutenant. What's your ETA?"

"Fifteen minutes, Sir. Ford out."

* * *

As they stepped out of the house, Ketar was walking towards them, Ford and Teyla at his side. "Major Sheppard! Doctor McKay! Friends of yours have arrived!"

Teyla smiled. "It is good to see you again."

"Major." Ford said. "We parked just outside the village. They're waiting for us." Ford glanced at the bag McKay was holding. "Are those the roots Doctor Beckett wanted?"

"Yeah." Sheppard answered.

"You want to carry them, Lieutenant?" McKay interjected, holding out the bag. "Feel free."

"I'd rather not, sir," Ford answered.

Sheppard turned to Ketar, who had been watching their interaction. "Ketar, we have to leave. Thank you for your hospitality, and for these roots."

"It was a pleasure to have you and your companion as guests, Major Sheppard. And if your healer needs any more Meldara Roots, the goddess would welcome his visit, as she would welcome a visit by any other of your people."

"Thank you, Ketar. I'll keep that in mind."

"I will accompany you back to your ship."

Sheppard glanced at McKay, a look of understanding passing between them. "Sure," he answered Ketar.

As they walked the few steps over to the puddlejumper, Ketar turned to McKay, "Kelara asked me to tell you that the goddess explained to her why you are not able to meet the claim she made."

A bit surprised at that, McKay noticed that Sheppard remained at his at his side for a moment, while Ford and Teyla walked into the puddlejumper. "I'll be there in a second, Major."

"Okay," Sheppard said, staying there.

"Kelara said that?" McKay asked, a little smug.

"Yes," Ketar answered. "Those were her words."

Glancing at Sheppard, who gave him one of his short smiles, McKay told Ketar, "I have to go."

Ketar smiled. "Of course."

Watching his guests join their friends in the strange alien ship, Ketar stepped a few feet away as the back of the ship closed and it rose in the air.

---END---