The arrival of the Daedalus was scheduled and prepared for well in advance, but that didn't stop the Atlantis infirmary from turning into chaos as people started coming in for their medical check-ins. The ship had brought a number of new staff, which, in Nicky's opinion, was nice, because it meant the city was deemed safer than before.
What wasn't nice was explaining to some of the more stubborn that there were tests the Atlantis staff needed to do, with the Atlantean equipment, the results of which couldn't be found in their existing medical files. "Look, I know this is annoying, but if I don't scan you, then the city's going to read you as an intruder. Is that what you want?" he scoffed finally at the scientist who paranoidly resisted being "chipped" as he called it. His grumbling didn't stop, but he finally let the nurse go through the motions. Honestly, some of these people acted as if they hadn't already signed an NDA with the UN and the US military of all things.
As he dismissed the man, waving his hand in annoyed disbelief, his gaze caught on the curly-haired man sitting in the corner of the infirmary. He wasn't sketching, which was what he had claimed as his purpose for being there, but instead watching the chaos. His eyes met Nicky's and he winked1 teasingly.
Look, so maybe Nicky let Joe be around whenever, bar an ongoing surgery or a highly infectious disease. And maybe it was because he liked to think Joe's eyes stayed on him longer than on others, even if the man did insist he was just around to sketch the iconography on the equipment or whatever new creature was brought in from off-world. Maybe he liked to pretend that the other sketchbook, the one with the worn black leather binding, was filled with sketches of him instead of the newest discoveries. It wasn't like Joe seemed to mind, with his ridiculous winks and random stretches that he definitely knew showed off his muscles and the insistence on keeping the sketchbook a secret.
It was stupid, really. Nicky was a grown adult, a professional, well-known researcher and a respected physician... he was too old to be obsessing over a crush like this. Stupid Joe, with his stupid sketchbook and winks and curls and an ass to die for...
He was torn out of the budding fantasy by the arrival of Andromache (and thank God for that, the staring would probably get on the weird side any moment). That woman could probably stop a herd of wild horses with a single look, so it was hardly surprising when her arrival hushed the infirmary from the concert hall level noise to something more akin to a beehive.
She brought another woman, one wearing a military uniform with a name tag identifying her as "Freeman." Nicky wasn't familiar with her, so she must've been one of the new arrivals. The two women weaved through the crowd straight to him. "Nicky-"
"Check-ins are first come first serve, everyone waits their turn," he jumped in before Andy could finish her sentence. Just because the infirmary looked chaotic didn't mean he had no sense of order. Organisation was important.
"Nicky, this is Sergeant Nile Freeman, she's the new addition to AR1 - Freeman, this is Nicolo Di Genova, the Chief Medical Officer of the city," Andy continued, stubbornly, although the marine seemed to understand his protest, "and Copley wants her introduced to the team, are you sure you can't let her ahead?" Andy wasn't the best person to butter anyone up. She wasn't a good liar and honestly, an even worse flatterer.
"How lucky for you, Joe's already here," he nodded towards the previous target of his attention, uncompromising, "and Booker's officially quarantined until tomorrow."
Freeman latched onto his words: "Officially quarantined?"
"He'd been awake for more than 70 hours, so I cut off his access to caffeine and locked him in his quarters. Desperate times," Nicky claimed, deadpan.
"Our dottore is very principled," Joe's voice, full of laughter, announced, "All-nighters allowed, but nothing past three days!" Apparently, the man noticed they talked about him and approached. Nicky did his best to keep a straight face and not to blush. Guess you could add his voice to the list of "Things About Joe That Are Very Attractive."
"You don't seem worried about me reporting you to Copley for misuse of medical authority," the black woman stated with a little curiosity in her voice.
Nicky's chuckle was overshadowed by Joe's barked laugh. "Copley's been "officially quarantined" before!" he claimed. "Nicky's got near-absolute authority over everyone's health, be it mental or physical."
None of that, however, changed the fact that the infirmary was full of people who needed to go through the medical check and he couldn't afford to be distracted with Joe or any random conversation. Time to authority. "Sergeant Freeman," he addressed the woman, recognising at least some willingness to follow protocol. "Please take these two somewhere where you're not in the way and wait your turn for the check-in," he motioned with his arm towards the corner where Joe had been sitting before. Most of his staff already knew to avoid it. "Oh, and- welcome to Atlantis."