~ The nice thing about only having 38 minutes is it relieves you of editing 'til the darn thing does what you want. So -- not perfect, but time's up. (For the sga_flashfic 38 minute challenge.)

The first time he knocked on Major Sheppard's door, he wasn't fully convinced he even had the right door. Carson had consulted the room assignments list on the server posted for just this sort of need -- but all the doors looked alike and there was no actual numbering system.

But he'd knocked and waited, then the door had slid open and a very confused man stared back at him.

Carson had managed to stammer his offer -- not much as it was, a cuppa and an apology for what was, at that point, only the fifth time he'd begged pardon for nearly killing the man -- not to mention the commander of the entire SGC. He'd only apologised to the General twice, but he felt compelled to make sure Major Sheppard knew -- they did, after all, have to work together and chances were Carson would have another opportunity to accidently almost kill him.

Major Sheppard had started to wave him off, but then he'd stopped and let Carson inside.

The second time he'd knocked on the door, Carson had been wondering what the hell he was thinking. They'd only been on Atlantis for eight days and there was no good reason to bother Major Sheppard. But he'd gone anyway, with the bottle of ale he'd got from Dilon, one of the Athosians, as a thank you for Carson's medical treatment of his family.

Carson hadn't known what to do with the stuff, too much to drink alone and he'd had the oddest notion of sharing it. Rodney had been his first choice -- but Rodney hadn't been found and later Carson had discovered his friend had been up to his elbows in circuits or panels or some other such thing.

He'd been unable to think who he wanted to sit and have a drink with and for some reason he'd thought of the Major. So he'd gone, half expecting to be turned down but it never really hurt to be friendly.

He'd left several hours later, the bottle completely killed and at least two more apologies made, and vaguely aware of having taught John the words to an old song that only the Scottish would understand enough of to blush at.

That had also taken care of the third, fourth, and fifth time he'd knocked on John's door. The Athosians paid for his services with whatever they had, and often as not it was something he could share.

The sixth time he'd knocked was after a month of telling himself he was being ridiculous. But he hadn't really seen much of John or Rodney since Rodney had joined John's team. When Rodney wasn't working on some Atlantian technology, he'd been training with John, learning to fire a pistol with some semblance of accuracy and doing something Rodney called a mockery of hand-to-hand.

A month went by with Carson telling himself that there was nothing to get worked up about, that it wasn't as though he hadn't things enough to do, himself. The infirmary was filled with Ancient equipment that needed figuring, and staff to make sure were settling in and not quietly freaking out. He'd focused himself on those until finally he couldn't keep pretending he didn't want to be somewhere else and he had found himself in front of Major Sheppard's door, knocking.

John had answered, and as Carson had opened his mouth to say -- god knew, because he hadn't -- he had seen Rodney over John's shoulder.

He'd stammered an apology for disturbing them then turned and walked away.

That was when he'd understood why he had gone and he'd told himself that it was time to find something else to think about.

There was no seventh time.

The first time John knocked on Carson's door it was because it had taken a week and a blisteringly sarcastic lecture by Rodney to realise that there was a reason he was pissed off at the world. The lecture had ended with the ultimatum that if he wasn't going to do something about it, Rodney was going to drag him by the ear and make him.

So he'd opted to be a man about it and found himself standing at Carson's door, trying to get the nerve to knock.

When he finally did, Carson opened his door and John held out a bottle of wine he'd traded his poster for.

"Hey. I thought... we could split this."

For a second he'd thought he was utterly, embarrassingly, going-to-kill-McKay wrong.

Then Carson's eyes had gone soft and his surprise turned into something like delight and he'd stepped back to let John inside.