Word count: 2000
Summary: Post Trinity. Rodney realizes something. Angst.
This was written fast and beta'd fast by misty4me. Any remaining errors are mine because I was impatient.
Rodney was staring at the open panel, debating. It was sort of like all the other Ancient panels he’d encountered, but sort of not. It looked more…dangerous. Not that he could explain why, it just did. His brain was trying to work through the logic and schematics of the panel innards when Sheppard hailed him. “Are you there?”
“Yes, I’m looking at it now,” answered Rodney.
“Shut it off, McKay,” John said, rather tersely. That was pretty much his default these days when talking to Rodney. It wasn’t just because Teyla and Ronon were trapped behind an Ancient force field that was slowly leaking out their air. No, most of Sheppard’s attitude lately was the direct result of Doranda. Rodney was certain he could count his remaining friends on one hand and still have fingers left over, Sheppard wasn’t one of them.
“I’m not sure what it will do. It’s different. It could blow up the shield.” Or it could blow up in his face. There was that option. Rodney was sweating, his hands twitching nervously over the panel, unsure what to do. Fear kept him from just reaching in and pulling the necessary crystals. Something in his brain was screaming at him to leave it alone.
Sheppard’s voice come over the radio again, more frantic and angry, “Just shut it down, Teyla and Ronon don’t have much time.”
Rodney’s hands automatically moved closer to the panel. He rubbed his fingers together, unable to make himself do what was needed. He was stalling. “But…”
“Shut the fucking shield off, Mckay!”
Closing his eyes, Rodney threw his left arm up to cover them as he reached in with his right. He was flinching away even as he pulled the crystal. It was a futile gesture and he felt the heat of the blast first before he was lifted off the floor and hurled across the room. He barely felt the impact with something solid before he passed out.
Sheppard watched the shield stutter, then blast inward as it disappeared. Teyla and Ronon had been close to it, ready to leave as soon as McKay turned it off so they both took the blast head on. John watched as his teammates were thrown across the room.
Teyla flew into one of the smaller consoles and went down instantly, probably unconscious before she hit the ground. Ronon lasted a couple extra seconds before he too went down in a heap.
As soon as they settled, John rushed forward. Very carefully, he checked them both despite them being unconscious from the blast. Fear of causing more damage kept him from moving them too much. A cursory examination revealed a large cut on Teyla’s temple. Fumbling for his vest, he tore open the pocket and removed a field dressing and tied it around her head to staunch the blood flow. Neither Teyla or Ronon stirred.
He keyed his radio. “McKay, what the hell just happened?”
Static answered before he heard McKay’s voice. It was barely discernable through the static. “Blast.”
“Yeah, I got that. Look, I’m gonna head to the gate and get some help. Get up here and stay with Teyla and Ronon while I’m gone.”
John could hear concern and confusion in the scientist’s voice, but he interrupted. “Just get up here. Hurry.” The static was playing hell with communications. He ignored it, double checking Ronon and Teyla one last time before running towards the gate. He hated leaving them, but they both needed medical attention and the gate wasn’t so far he would be gone long. McKay could handle things until he got back.
He was well on his way when he heard McKay’s answer. “’kay.”
He picked up speed, running as fast as the terrain allowed. Thankfully the planet was in the dry season and the ground was hard packed and easy to negotiate. He made good time to the gate and was barely out of breath by the time he was punching Atlantis’ address into the DHD.
As soon as the gate activated he sent a message. “Elizabeth, we need a medical team. Teyla and Ronon are both down in a blast.”
There was a moment of silence before she answered, “I have them getting ready now, John. What happened?”
“They were trapped in a force field. It blasted both of them when McKay turned it off.”
“He wasn’t in the blast. He was in the control room when it went off.” Taking a few deep breaths, he added, “I’m gonna head back to the outpost. Carson’s team should be able to follow the path without my help.”
Elizabeth answered, worry and concern mixed with her responsibilities all there in her voice, “We’ll shut the gate down and be there shortly. Keep us updated.”
“Got it. Tell them to hurry.” He broke contact and began the trip back to the outpost. It seemed longer going back than it did getting to the gate, but glancing at his watch he realized the whole trip had taken less than half an hour. Entering the outpost, his heart raced in anticipation. He hadn’t heard a word from McKay so he had no idea what to expect. Rounding the corner, he stopped in his tracks. The room and his teammates were just as he’d left them, Rodney was nowhere in sight.
Pissed, he slapped his radio on, “McKay, where the hell are you? You can’t do a simple thing like getting your ass up here to take care of your teammates?”
“Huh?” Rodney sounded confused by John’s statement. Leave it to him to take his sweet ass time then question why someone was pissed off.
“Forget it, McKay. I’m back now,” John barked, not bothering to mask his anger. John settled between Teyla and Ronon, checking their pulse again to be sure they were still alive. Both had strong and steady pulses and Ronon was beginning to stir but it was sluggish.
John nudged him, “Hey, Buddy, you will us?”
Ronon groaned, “Ugh.” He tried to sit up and immediately got sick, throwing up all over the floor beside him.
John pushed him back down with a hand on the Satedan’s chest. “Easy there, you probably have a concussion.”
Ronon slumped back to the floor, covering his eyes with his forearm. He grunted, “Teyla?”
Glancing at her, John shook his head. “She’s still out. You hurt anywhere else?”
John watched as Ronon moved his limbs carefully, assessing the damages. He drew in a breath and stopped, a wince of pain evident in his features. “Ribs.”
“Broken?” John knew better than to prod the big man. Asking was safer.
Ronon sighed, “Maybe.”
John patted his shoulder lightly. “Take it easy, Carson is on the way.”
Ignoring him, as usual, Ronon rolled so he could see Teyla. He didn’t say anything, just kept watch on her. The two of them had had a falling out about the same time his and Rodney’s friendship went to hell but they’d somehow managed to make up.
John wished it were so easy. He knew it wasn’t for lack of trying on Rodney’s part but lately, everything Rodney did irritated him. It didn’t matter that he missed spending their time off together, he couldn’t get past the fact that Rodney had almost gotten him killed. Rodney cared about two things, his science and his own skin.
Ronon glanced around and frowned. “Where’s McKay?”
Shaking his head, John shrugged. “Who knows, he was supposed to be on his way back here?”
“Should check on him,” Ronon said in a voice that left no room for anything else.
Letting out a loud sigh, John sulked, “Fine, I’ll go find him.”
“Good.” Ronon glared until John actually got up and started moving towards the exit McKay had used earlier to get to the control room in the lower level. He turned back, gesturing towards where Teyla lay. “Keep an eye on her.”
Ronon just grunted as if he was stupid for thinking otherwise. It was sad that John could actually interpret the man’s grunts considering they’d only known each other for a couple of months. Rodney would have made some sarcastic comment about it being a military thing. He’d done that a lot lately, filling in the void with Rodney’s voice in his head. Maybe it was time to suck it up and admit most of the problem lay within himself and his unwillingness to give a little back.
John took a deep breath, forcing his anger away. It wouldn’t do any good to confront McKay on a mission. It was better just to get them all home and worry about mending fences then. He trudged forward, spotting the stairway down to the control room. They’d found it early on and were actually headed home when the force field had suddenly surrounded both Teyla and Ronon, leaving John and Rodney slightly panicky when it began taking the air out from within the field. Rodney had raced back to the control room to find a way to shut it down.
The lights in the hallway were dim and a light haze hung in the air, but it was the smell of burning ozone that alerted him, raising his heartbeat. He hurried forward, suddenly all of McKay’s short responses worrying him.
“McKay!” he shouted in the narrow corridor, hoping for a disgruntled response. There was no response and John rushed into the control room and stopped dead in his tracks. The room was trashed, debris lying on the floor, some of it still smoking. His eyes darted around the room before he spotted the scientist, sitting with his back to the far wall. Even in the dim light he knew it was bad before he even skidded to a stop, dropping to his knees beside his friend.
John was almost afraid to touch him. Rodney’s left arm and right hand, where they lay in his lap, looked badly burnt, some of the flesh blackened in the blast. John’s fingers shook as he reached forward to check for life. He almost cried out in relief when he felt a pulse, slow and weak, but there. Rodney didn’t move or even stir until John opened his vest and found the worst of his injuries. In addition to the numerous cuts and bruises there was a long piece of metal piercing Rodney’s side. Blood pooled on the floor and his pants were soaked with it.
Rodney tried to bat John’s hands away but the pain in his own hands stopped him with a moan. He was breathing fast and shallow when he opened his eyes. John tried to ignore the pain glazed blue eyes as he pulled what first aid supplies he had with him to pack around the metal in Rodney’s gut. He didn’t dare remove it. Holding pressure on the wound with one hand, he snapped his radio on with the other. “Carson?”
“Aye, Colonel.” John thanked the local deities that the medical team was close.
“Where are you?”
“Almost to the outpost, Colonel,” Carson answered, slightly out of breath.
“Rodney’s hurt bad, I need you here Now,” John said, carefully leaning Rodney forward so he could get to his back.
“He’s got third degree burns on his arms and a piece of metal sticking out of his side.” That was the major stuff as far as John could tell. He didn’t have the patience to elaborate, he just wanted someone that knew what they were doing here.
Rodney winced in pain and moaned but didn’t try to move away. The scientist said very softly, “Sorry.”
John stopped and stared at him. “Sorry. Why are you sorry?”
“Couldn’t…get…to…Teyla…and…Ronon,” Rodney answered, every word an effort.
“No, fuck, I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were hurt too,” John answered, almost choking on the words.
Rodney shook his head and closed his eyes, dropping his head to his chest. “I get it…now. I’m slow…sometimes.”
John continued first aid, absently listening while he tried to stop the blood flow. “Get what, Rodney?” Rodney didn’t answer but the resignation in his friend’s voice scared him. He asked again, “What do you get, Rodney?”
Rodney lifted his head a fraction and sighed, “Huh? You had…to save…your friends…first. I get…it now.”