McKay, who spent most of his hours in his lab, which made him quite tired of it after awhile, was now more thankful to be back there then he had ever felt before. The ordeal over the last few days had given him a greater appreciation of the work he took for granted. Often thinking it too easy or not worth his expertise as if he might be wasting his time and energy there.
Now he sat behind his desk, piles of papers and books scattered in front of him, waiting to be organized; field reports that needed to be looked over and advised, categorized, what he liked to call busy work when he wasn't running around, nearly getting himself killed off-world with the SGA team.
He was about to turn the page of the current report he was reading, pen in hand to make any notations that came to mind when a shoe suddenly dropped down, thudding dully and pushing the report out of his hand. Rodney stared at the shoe for a moment as it wobbled back and forth finally settling. He slowly looked up, wearing an expression of great annoyance when he saw that it was in fact, Major Sheppard standing in front of his desk, a smug grin on his face.
"I think, you dropped that." John said plainly, with his wry sense of humor as he pointed to the shoe on McKay's desk.
Rodney gave him an awkward grin and took the shoe up in his hands, running his fingers over it before glancing up at him. "Thanks." He said shortly, reuniting the lost shoe with its mate behind his desk. "Oh, how's Lt. Bouds doing by the way?"
Sheppard eased up a little, shoving his hands in his pockets. "Oh---Beckett said he'll be right as rain and killing disgruntle alien butt in no time. He just needs rest, maybe a little consultation." He paused glancing up to the ceiling mid-though. "And whole-lotta of ointment." Finishing with a shrug. "How's the hand?"
Rodney took a short glance to his wrapped up left hand, which at the moment hadn't been hurting until the Major drew his attention to it.
"It's ah, fine. Still sore, but it's not hindering me from anything."
"Oh. That's good to know." John commented with a sly grin. Rodney stared at him, blushing slightly. He wasn't too sure if Sheppard was implying something or not, or if it was just his imagination getting the better of him. John laughed at seeing the physicist's embarrassed expression, and decided to relieve his mind. "Can't have all this stuff go to waste now, can we?" He added, motioning to the ancient 'junk' as the Major liked to call it, scattered about the lab.
McKay relaxed and gave the Major a nod and a weary smirk, returning his attention back to his report, picking up the paper and gently chewing on the back of his pen in thought before he stopped himself and put it behind his ear instead. That was when he realized that John was still standing there, watching him intently.
"So, Skippy, whatcha up to?" Sheppard asked innocently, tipping back and forth from his heals to toes, motioning to the papers with his chin that the physicist was holding. He pulled his hands from his pockets then, placing them on the edges of Rodney's desk, leaning over, attempting to get a closer peek.
Without looking up McKay replied flatly. "Going over my report to Dr. Weir on this week's fiasco---and since when do you care about what I'm doing?" He added quickly, glancing up then, catching Sheppard looking at his documents, to which he then drew them towards himself, protectively.
John backed away, cocking a brow at Rodney, raising his hands in defense. "What? Can't I take an interest in a fellow colleague's work?"
McKay simply stared at him, unmoving, frowning with his usual 'you take me for an idiot don't you?' expression, waiting for the Major to, cut the bullshit and get on with what he wanted from him.
"No?" John winced, scratching the back of his head, as he glanced gracefully around the man's lab, noting its current disarray. "You know, this place could use a real good cleaning."
"Major." Rodney said promptly, his patience wearing thin when he thought someone was teasing him. Sheppard caught his glare and cleared his throat, dropping the hand from his head to his side, speaking now in all seriousness. "Fine, I just wanted to make sure you didn't screw up that report, and how you and your potty crystal system nearly got us all killed."
"Potty crystal? Are you five?" McKay exclaimed with disgust, yanking the pen from behind his ear as he hastily jotted down a note, not really paying attention to what he was writing, before he shot his head up, pointing to the Major with his pen. "And besides, if I had the time I should have been allowed, the detonator would have worked. I mean I only had a day for Christ sakes. What do you expect?"
John crossed his arms in front of his chest, lowering his head vaguely as he kicked the leg of McKay's desk softly with the toe of his boot. He knew this argument was going nowhere, and in fact, the physicist was right. They were all rushed; split decisions needed to be made regarding a threat that didn't give them much of a window for planning.
Rodney calmed himself, knowing the Major's silence usually meant that he thought himself wrong, and that John had nothing to combat said wrongness with. Sighing, he looked down to the type-written documents, waiting to be stapled together and dropped on Weir's desk. However, something was still bothering him about it.
"There's one thing though, I don't understand."
"Why you've never had a serious long-term relationship?" Quipped Sheppard as he looked down at McKay without a speck of humor on his face shifting then to a playful grin.
"Ignoring you." Rodney replied in a sing song voice before he got back onto his train of thought. "No, what I don't get is, no offence Major, but how in the hell did you survive the eroding blast?"
"Magic. Wooooo---" Sheppard raised his hands, wiggling his fingers up and down at McKay with a wide-eyed look of mysticism on his face. "No?" He stopped his finger waving.
Rodney nodded, drawing his lips up tightly. "Humor, that's good, you should keep working at that." His tone far from complementary.
"Fine!" John exclaimed, throwing his arms out to his sides in defeat before yanking a chair from a nearby table and sitting himself down with a plop. "But only so you get it right in that report, and even if you don't, mine's a lot better anyway." He cleared his throat as McKay, with a weighed patience waited for the story.
"Well, as you know, after your device, FAILED---"The Major began, catching McKay rolling his eyes but refusing to combat with any sort of rebuttal, so he continued. " I was left with very little choice in the matter and time was a-wastin, and the space monkeys were getting real pissy so I decided to fire the eroding wave myself, like you said." Sheppard recalled his thoughts then, as he closed the door behind Ford and Beckett, seeing the helpless look on their faces, especially Aiden's. He'd never forget his face, he had more respect for the boy then, then he had since he met him.--------
-------He had thrown several flares underneath the shield door, catching the creatures by surprise and scattering them out of his way. Quickly, he slipped under as Dr. Zelenka closed the door behind him. John took off like a bat out of hell, charging across the small stretch of sector between himself and the generator room. Behind him, John heard the creatures snarl and howl as he passed by; the damn things were getting smarter it seemed, and the Major hadn't counted on that.
Leaping towards the hole cut into the wall, Sheppard scrambled up, pulling himself through the space and violently rolling down the embankment of ceiling until he hit bottom and slid across the floor. Rolling to his feet, he ripped a flare from his side and struck it.
The red glare flashed within the room, instantly lighting it. John waved the flare around, listening to any other suspicious sounds over its crackling.
There came a commotion at the generator room's exit, meaning the door that was no longer a door. Sheppard turned just in time to see several creatures pouring through the hole, streaming into the room like a dark cloud. He threw the flare to his feet and reached for his gun, blasting the things as they slipped inside.
After a slight pause, the Major rushed over to the hole, grabbing for the heaviest parts of debris he could find that were loose enough to place in front of the door, essentially sealing himself inside the generator room. Behind the stacked pieces of metal, John could hear the creatures clawing and hissing in anger. He glanced up, about to shine the flashlight on his gun into the open roof above when he realized it was no longer working. The light must have been busted when he fell into the room.
Cursing, Sheppard slid down the embankment, grabbed the flare and shined it upwards, right into hundreds to beady glowing red eyes that were illuminated when the flare's light washed over them.
"Ah shit!" He snarled, pulling back as the creatures fell down into the room, like a dark waterfall, covering the ground in a churning, wailing, mass. John backed himself up until he bumped into the generator, the things swarming round him in a circle.
He glanced to his left, seeing the cable along the ground running from the door sensor to the ancient device. Sheppard needed to get the creatures clear of both the cable and the crystal tower that was just in front of him.
There was a sudden pain in his leg as one of the creatures tried to claw its way up him. He kicked it furiously off as the thing flung, airborne into the ballistic crowd. John looked to the flare in his hand, knowing it wasn't enough to attract a good portion of the creatures away from him. He needed something else, something bigger.
Looking round, Sheppard quickly dropped the flare, the creatures howling and swatting at it growing closer to him, the already small clear circle round him was tightening. Whipping off his jacket, John held it in one hand, scooped up the flare in the other hand held them out before him, taking a deep breath.
"Alright you little bastards; you want some heat? I'll give you some heat!" With that, Sheppard lit his coat on fire, flames quickly licking up the fabric as he tossed it up and over the tower and towards the front of the room. The creatures watch the engulfed jacket soaring over them, leaping at it as they followed it, trampling each other, shoving the ones nearest to the coat right into it, setting those unfortunate ones on fire as well.
Taking the opportunity, John dove under one of the great glass tubes, yanking the cable out of the door sensor, which sparked fiercely. Hand over hand he drew the cable towards him, as more of the beasts fell from the ceiling, drawn to the flame. Sheppard slipped back under the glass tube, heading towards the tower, and connected the open end of the cable into the round port on the bottom-most crystal box, shoving it in.
Sheppard, back behind the generator, reached for the two power wires connected to the timer like McKay had specified. In his frustration, he yanked at them, both jerking the wires free and pulling extra slack out of the generator's insides. Looking at the wires, with a smirk of disbelief, John raised his fist up, pulling more and more length from inside the machine. Who knew how long the wires were curled up inside the generator, but it gave him an idea. A very crazy, more then likely fallible idea.
John glanced ahead of him, watching the creatures leap and dance around his now smoldering coat, though he could tell it was losing some of its magnitude from before. Turning his eyes upward, He noticed the hole in the ceiling leading up to the aqua-ducts above. If he could get enough length of wire between him and the generator-----he had to try it.
Hurriedly, he climbed up unto the edge of the generator where there was enough of a shelf to rest a foot on; he stepped up then on the machine itself, wires twisted round his hand, praying there'd be enough slack as he pulled himself up into the shaft.
John came face to face with the crystal tower that Teyla had set up inside the duct only three feet from were he was crouched inside. Rolling his eyes with a 'that figures' kind of expression, John remembered there was a mirror stationed somewhere behind him in order to bank the crystal beam around the bend. He trapped the loose wires under his rifle, hoping he wouldn't have to face anything more then what could be taken out with a hand gun and quickly crawled through the duct.
Fumbling John felt for the smoothness of the mirror along the walls of the duct, reaching around its edges and after a few, violent tugs, he managed to rip the mirror free.
Sheppard placed it up in front of him back near the hole in the duct into the generator room below, grabbing his gun and the wires he shielded himself behind the mirrors. John held his breath, closing his eyes as he touched the two wires to each other, twisting them together with a sharp spark.
Suddenly the shaft beyond the mirror glowed with a green blast of light, John shot his eyes opened, seeing it creep slightly past the seams of either side of him where the mirror met the shaft wall. He could feel the burning heat of the light enough to know the crystals were working. Below him, he could hear the creatures shrieking in a rush of movement as the beam's haze tore through them. They singed everything in their path sending the creatures clawing round the room in a frenzy, trying to get out of the way, trying to stop the burning. Some of the monsters even managed to leap up into the shaft just beyond Sheppard, pounding against the mirror as they were dissolved instantly.
The shear magnitude of the creatures crawling up into the duct at that moment and pushing up against the mirror gave John the distinct feeling that perhaps moving now would be a good idea. He dropped the twisted wires, propping his rile up against the back of the mirrors to buy him some extra time before it fell back by the force of the things.
He didn't exactly remember crawling through the shaft, how long it took him. All Sheppard knew was that one moment he was bruising up his knees and elbows in the aqua-duct and the next he was falling through a hole that suddenly came underneath him. John tumbled down, the air knocked out of him as his back struck an object in the blackened room he felt into.
The Major managed to open his eyes just in time to see above him the shaft suddenly washed in green illumination, gently glowing down and lighting the cramped room he was in. He could hear down the duct the faint and dimming cries of the creatures, which soon lead to silence.
Breathing heavily, John moved slightly, more then thankful his back wasn't broken as he slid off the top of whatever he was arched across and fell to the ground. He watched as the green light began to dim, hearing a loud explosion that rumbled the floor beneath him. The generator must have finally blown its brains out.
Pulling out a small hand-held flashlight, John at once realized where he was, smiling coyly as he reached an aching hand over to his hip, pulling the radio from his side. Man he was going to feel this day for at least a week after, his muscles hurt that much.--------
--------"And then I contacted you guys at the control room." Sheppard finished, leaning back in his seat as he crossed his arms over his chest once more, wincing slightly yet totally enjoying the look of complete awe on McKay's face. It was all worth it, he thought.
"Jeez----cut it a little close don't you think? I mean; putting your trust in a one and a half inch thick piece of metal and glass, that's---that's just unfathomable." Was all the physicist could utter in one breath after a moment, blinking and seeming to come back to reality. He knew, in truth he had condemned the Major to death with a last resort plan like that, and still the man stepped up to the job. John's selflessness and consideration for everyone else there, astounded the physicist. He would have had someone else go if it were up to him, yet Sheppard would just bite the bullet, take the plunge, call it a day and still have a smile on his face as he looked towards certain oblivion. And even more unimaginable; by some strange luck, the man still pulled the impossible.
"Eh, all in a day's work Skip." John groaned as he stood up, dragging the chair round him and pushing it back under the table that he took it from in the first place. "And now, I'm heading to the mess hall for dinner, you coming?"
"Yeah, yeah in a minute." McKay replied, his mind seeming to be elsewhere. John stopped mid turn, taking a brief pity on the physicist, something he couldn't believe he was doing, but if Rodney was troubled enough not to leap at an offer for food, then something must have been wrong. Though, if Sheppard really was expected to work with Rodney on his team, a choice he really couldn't believe he made, he would have to create some bond of trust between them.
"Listen, I know you were rushed on the pott---the eroding device. For what it's worth, it was a damn good plan, and, I'm sure it would have worked if you had more time."
" Thanks—thank you." McKay broke his objectless gaze from off his desk, turning his attention and a very surprised face towards the Major. He was almost unsure the words of praise and understanding for him where actually coming out of John's mouth.
"Hey, don't let it go to your head." Sheppard added quickly with a pointed finger. "I've heard your pretty easy bait for a headlock." He smirked, turning away and walking towards the door of Rodney's lab.
McKay shut his eyes, exhaling out his frustration before he said, heatedly. "I am going to kill, Dr. Beckett."
Sheppard spun round in the doorway, with a weary grin. "Ah, I wouldn't worry too much about that McKay. I'm sure you'll have ample opportunity to get us all killed, sooner or later." And with that the Major left, fare-welling him as he walked down the hallway with a shouted 'ciao'.
Rodney sat there, mouth agape before he shut it, gnawing on his bottom lip. He picked up his pen in one hand and his report in the other, completely embarrassed and insulted. Finding that he could look at the words no longer, McKay snatched the stapler up, and clamped the papers together, shoving them into a plain folder and went about putting his shoes back on; his reunited, slightly newer ones.
Soon, Rodney clicked off his desk lights, stuffed the report under his armpit and walked across his lab, waving his hand against the sensor to shut the main lights above, off. As he exited the doorway, heading towards the mess hall, on the way he would drop the report on Dr. Weir's desk. He thought about what John had said, about the week's trying events and then about his own actions, his feelings on everything that had happened. McKay shrugged then, mumbling softly to himself. "At least I got my shoe back." And with that, he turned the corner and was gone.
A/N: Well everyone it's been some trip. I hope you enjoyed this story as much as I enjoyed writing it. And to think, all from a challenge on bathrooms; who would have thought huh? Well, thank you all for the wonderful and encouraging reviews, I couldn't have asked for a better response to my story. Just goes to show you how wonderful a community of writers and readers we have here, love you all! And thanks again!!!!