Chapter 5

When he made his way back to Rodney’s lab he was glad that nothing seemed to be on fire, despite Rodney and a pissed off Zelenka looking as if they’d crawled through chimney’s all night. “What did I tell you?” John said angrily. The workbench the device had been standing on was obliterated, and there was a big black spot on the floor. He wasn’t a scientist, but for the magnitude of the blast, the damage was limited.

“I’m fine thanks!” Rodney snapped back. “And it’s his fault.” he said pointing at Zelenka.

“Oh sure, blame me!” Zelenka threw his hands up in the air. “YOU turned it on, despite Colonel Sheppard saying so and YOU did this and thus YOU clean up this mess!” he then walked off muttering things in Czech.

“I get it, you’re bored,” John said. “We’re going on a mission tomorrow, could you at least have waited until tomorrow to try and kill yourself?”

“There was a force field around it!”

“Yeah well…”

“Fine,” Rodney sighed. “It’s not like we can continue playing with it anyway considering it blew up.”

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Ziva had been on her way back to her quarters when the exposion was heard. She immediately jumped and reached to her side to grab her sidearm that was not there. Looking around she noticed that many of the other people in the corridor were just as surprised, but glanced out through the open windows to see if something was attacking. When there was nothing, they went about their business.

Confused, she still went forward to see where the blast came from before bumping into Colonel Carter along the way. “What do you suppose it was?” she asked curiously.

“Ohh, having an idea of where it came from, I’d say it was McKay,” Sam smiled. “You get used to these things with him around.”

“And he does this often? Blow up things in the city?” she asked.

“Not usually. I’m sure Colonel Sheppard is already there yelling at him anyway…” she paused in her walk and looked around to decide the direction to head. “Ah, that way…Generally, whenever something like this happens, John isn’t too far away.”

Ziva was perplexed, “So John causes some of the trouble?”

Carter laughed. “Sometimes, but not the things like this. No, this had to been Rodney ignoring his orders I’m sure.”

A muttering, scorched Zelenka walked passed the two women. “He’s going to kill me some day!” he said in English, loud enough for everyone else to hear, before he reverted back to Czech.

The NCIS agent stared at the man blinking in shock while her CO merely shrugged a shoulder and continued on as it was another daily occurrence.

“I’m not helping you clean it up, Rodney!” John said, “Zelenka walked out on you, which is your own fault, the thing blew up, which is your fault, and you know that I said not to do it!”

“Who’s going to clean it up then?”

“How about you?” John crossed his arms as he leaned aganist the door post. “These are YOUR labs, you’re always complaining about people not cleaning up their own mess, how about you give YOUR people the RIGHT example and clean up YOUR mess?”

Sam and Ziva had just reached the labs and they could hear John and McKay yelling at each other down the corridor. “What is going on in here?” Carter asked, walking into the lab and looking at the mess.

Ziva being right behind her went wide eyed when she saw it herself. “Oh my…”

“McKay was tinkering with a device, and I told him not to activate it,” John said. “McKay being McKay, didn’t listen, created a force field around it – Thank God – and activated it. It blew up right in his face.”

“I … !” Rodney was silently protesting and John just glared at him.

“Well whatever happened, clean it up Rodney. Before tomorrow. You have a trip off world for a standard recon. John, do you think you would be okay without Teyla? Halling just sent a request for her presence in the Athosian settlement as one of her friends has fallen ill,” Carter asked.

“Sure,” John nodded. “Not a problem.”

“I’m not cleaning this up by myself.” Rodney put his foot down.

“I wasn’t even here when it happened, this is your mess, this was me yelling at you,” John smirked. “Have fun Rodney.” He turned around, saw Ziva and smiled widely before giving her a chaste peck on the cheek, he then made his way to his quarters to finish the paper work.

Ziva smiled and watched him leave with Carter following to bring him up to speed on the changes to the team’s mission. Looking back into – what was left of the lab, she smile sympathetically at Rodney. “I could help you a little if you like but don’t expect me to do all or the majority of the work for you in cleaning,” she said.

“Sure.” Rodney said tiredly.

Looking around again, she made a face. “Where do we start?”

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The next morning, John was up early to check his gear in the armory and then headed for breakfast. He hadn’t seen Ziva yet, and Teyla was already off to the Athosian settlement.

By 0600, Atlantis time, Ziva had already gone for her run and showered. She wasn’t sure if John had been up yet or not, truthfully she doubted it as she always woke much earlier than her American friends due to her training. Sitting with Ronon in the mess, quietly working on breakfast of champions…imitation pancakes and bad coffee, she read the details of the mission on a tablet that Carter issued her the night before.

He was surprised to see Ziva and Ronon sit at the same table as if they were reading the morning paper and having breakfast. He got his breakfast – a few turkey sandwiches, some salad, coffee and maybe an egg or two – and decided to join them. “Good morning.”

“Morning,” she said looking up briefly. “These people sound much like the American militia on Earth.”

“Apart from the fact that they’re a bunch of liars, hide bombs from everyone, lie, kill, lie again, a bunch of back-stabbing farmers and oh wait, liars, sure.” John nodded and took a bite out of one of his sandwiches.

“So then why are we going to see these people?” she asked.

“We have some kind of… understanding with them.” John explained. “They don’t shoot us if we don’t shoot them, we’re just going to see if they’re up to something and try to trade something for some of their crops.”

Ziva was still unconvinced. “Don’t we get crops from Teyla’s people? Why should we put ourselves in danger to get something from such dangerous people with that kind of firepower?”

“Know your enemy, and the enemy of your enemy is your friend and all that,” John waved his hand. “It’s complicated, really.”

“They’re not violent people if they aren’t being threatened.” Ronon said, “The meetings usually go well, unless one of them tries something and gets us into trouble.”

She nodded trying to take in the information. “Okay, so when do we leave?” she asked looking at her watch, eager to get on with her first real assignment as being a part of the Atlantis people.

“In an hour,” John said. “I showed you the armory, right? I suggest you go and check your things.”

Ziva grinned and looked at him. “I’ve been there already and checked everything out. I’ve been up since 0400.”

“Hey now! Don’t make us look bad,” John smirked.

Laughing she shook her head. “It is what I was used to. My first year at NCIS I was waiting for everyone else at 0500 when they began at 0700,” she replied. “It took awhile getting used to the fact that I could sleep longer.”

“We head out at 9 am.” John said, “You can easily get up at 6 or 7, and still be able to eat, check your gear and change. Should we head out later, then you can sleep later, most people don’t like it when we’re at their door step on the crack of dawn.” he shrugged. “Besides, I do get up early enough to check and see if I’ve done all my paper work, and if not, I’ve got plenty of time to pass them off to Major Lorne.”

Ziva shook her head and was a little disappointed in John for being so willing to pass his work off to his people.

“It’s called delegating, and I’m doing plenty of my own paper work,” John nodded. “It’s usually small incidents that Lorne needs to check out.”

She shrugged her shoulder but said nothing as she worked on finishing her coffee. Seeing as the two boys were still eating, she stood to clear her area. “I’ll wait for you in the gateroom,” she said and walked off to get ready.

Pleased that the locker room was empty, it gave Ziva a chance to cool her head and get recollected. It was indeed part of the XO’s duties to pick up where the CO is unable but it was always something that bothered her…people doing other’s work. Help yes, but not to pass it onto someone else entirely. Tony did that to McGee time to time and she hated it.

Initially she balked at the idea of the thigh holster but after putting it on, she found that it was quite comfortable and convenient. Zipping up her tac vest, and double checking that she had everything she needed, she made her way to sit in the gateroom after the armoury guard issued her a P-90.

“Your little sprite is impatient,” Ronon said as they walked into the armory.

“Cute, isn’t it?” John replied and zipped up his tac vest.

“I hope she won’t be once we’re at the Genii village.”

“She’ll be fine, Ronon,” John nodded. “It’s a shame she’s civilian really. She would have been fine with a team on her own. Maybe Carter will give her that, you never know. But for now, she’s with us.”

“Whatever.”

“Did you bring me extra energy bars?” Rodney demanded as he walked in. “Please tell me you’ve thought of those as I’ve just gotten out of the lab.”

John rolled his eyes at his friend, “Sure Rodney.”

“Oh, good,” Rodney nodded. “Because I would hate it if I’d get cranky between those Genii freaks.”

“They’re people.”

“With nukes,” he pointed out. “I don’t understand why we’re still dealing with them anyway.”

“We might need their help one day.” John grabbed his P90 and headed towards the gateroom to join Ziva and waited for Rodney and Ronon to be done.

She looked over at him coming in. “You are slow,” she commented, eyeing him up. While she had seen him in uniform before, Ziva found that he was quite attractive in it and luckily she was more than capable of remaining professional. That was at least until the rest of the group came in, one in particular complaining about something which made her sigh dramatically and roll her eyes.

John smirked and threw a wave towards Chuck to engage the gate. “Don’t worry, Rodney is always like that, you’ll get used to it,” he told her as the gate was being dialled.

“Joy,” was all Ziva said.

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