Carousel (part 16) Conclusion
"I want you to die."
"No," he whimpered.
The assailant lifted the heavy gun slowly and aimed. He could see the finger tightening over the trigger. Bang! A body fell to the floor, only it wasn't his. Blood began to pool on the floor slowly trickling towards his feet, dark venous blood. Making his way over to the body, he turned it carefully over and jumped back when glassy eyes of a dead man met his. Dark hazel dead eyes. Major Sheppard's eyes.
"No!" Rodney cried out shaking his hand, trying to drop the gun he was holding.
"Rodney. Rodney, you're dreaming. Wake up, lad."
"No," he gasped, trying to comprehend what his mind was showing him. A sharp smack to his cheek startled him, causing him to draw a deep breath. The picture changed and now a boy lay dead on the floor. "I killed him."
"Rodney, it's a dream. You didn't kill anyone, lad. Open your eyes."
He was shaking. No, that wasn't right, someone was shaking him. That voice that kept insisting that he wake up was so familiar. If he only could open his eyes but they betrayed him and remained tightly closed. "Please," he begged, trying to inhale only to feel a crushing weight on his chest. "Can't breathe."
"Yes you can, lad. I've got you. You're safe now. Relax."
Something tight encircled his head before cool air blew gently against his face. Drawing in the precious substance, he slowly became aware of a hand patting his chest. The voice continued talking. It was so familiar, so calm. He could trust that voice.
He tried to move, he really did, but he felt so heavy. Disjointed. Concentrating on his hands, he thought he might have moved a finger.
A warm hand encased his. "That's it, Rodney. You're doing fine."
Grasping the hand in return, he struggled to open his eyes. He had to know who was with him.
"Come on, lad. That's it. You're doing fine," the voice continued to encourage.
With one final mental push, he was able to see. Blinking, he attempted recognize the blur in front of his face. "Carson?" he whispered.
A smile of relief shone across the physician's face, "Yes, Rodney."
Beckett sighed, carefully studying the haggard face staring up at him, "That's a long story."
"Oh." McKay's lids began to droop before he glanced back to Carson in confusion. "Why's it so dark in here?"
"It's 2:30 in the morning." The doctor smiled again as he looked about before turning back to the physicist, "Everyone else is asleep."
Rodney blinked heavily. "I'm so tired."
He could feel the pull of sleep, "I don't want to dream anymore."
Carson adjusted the blanket and removed the oxygen mask. "How about I stay with you and if you begin to dream again, I'll be here to help."
Blue eyes studied him a moment before he finally nodded, "Okay."
The doctor hooked his foot around his stool and pulled it closer to the bed. Sitting so that he would be in Rodney's line of site, he placed his hand over the other man's arm. "Rest now, lad. I'm here."
One final blink and Rodney's eyes remained closed.
Sheppard grunted, shifting carefully on his bed to look over at Rodney, only to find his view blocked by Beckett's back. "How's he doing?"
"He's sleeping again," Carson replied, without turning around.
Something about Beckett's tone put the major instantly on alert. "Doc?" He watched the man's shoulders rise and fall with a sigh before turning around. Dark circles had gathered underneath the physician's eyes and he looked exhausted. "Have you been sitting there all night?"
"Aye, Major. Rodney had a bit of trouble sleeping and I told him I'd stay."
John sat up, ignoring the pull across his shoulder. "He woke up? Why didn't you wake me?"
"Because you needed to sleep."
The curt answer annoyed him. "I've been laying here doing nothing else for the last two days except watching him sleep. You should have wakened me."
"He was having nightmares, Major, so terrifying that he made himself hyperventilate. There was nothing you could have done for him that I didn't do."
Sheppard was startled to hear anger in Beckett's voice until he recognized that he man had sat all night with their friend, keeping him safe. "I'm sorry. It's just that, with Rodney and all of this…" he waved his hand in the air, "I guess I just want to help."
A slow smile spread over Carson's features before he turned to face Rodney again. "We all do, lad."
"Doc, you look like hell. What do you say I take the next watch while you catch some shuteye?"
Carson ran his hands through his short hair, making it stand up in disarray, before facing Sheppard once more. "On one condition."
"You sit in a chair and not on this bloody stool. It's killing my back."
John grinned, "Deal."
And that's what they all did for the next 48 hours until their exhausted teammate finally began his road back to recovery.
"Stop it," Rodney snapped in irritation, pushing Carson's hand away, causing a spoonful of purple jello to fall on the floor. "If you insist upon treating me like a two year old, I'm going to sign myself out of this prison ward and go back to my quarters."
Beckett huffed in irritation right back, "If you'd eat without me having to feed you, I'd leave you alone."
"I never asked you to feed me. I'm quite capable of taking care of myself, thank you very much."
"Hold out your hands."
"You heard me," Carson snapped.
Rodney glared his most annoyed glare at the doctor before complying. His hands shook slightly in the air.
Carson handed him the spoon with another lump of jello on it. "Hold this."
Grasping the utensil, the rubbery substance jiggled before plopping once again to the floor.
Carson looked smugly at the physicist, "See?"
"If you didn't keep giving me food that moved, I wouldn't be having this problem."
"Well, if you ate something other than smuggled chocolate bars from the major, I might not have to feed you."
Rodney's jaw dropped open, ready for another comeback, only to stop when Sheppard, Grodin, Zelenka, Teyla, and Ford entered the infirmary. "Please, tell me you've come to break me out?" he pleaded, eyeing the half finished bowl of jello with disdain.
A wicked grin passed over Sheppard's face, taking his friend's discomfort. Eyeing up the jello and remembering the physician's warning about contraband chocolate, it quickly disappeared. "Uh, yeah. What do you say, doc? Think the brilliant physicist here is up for a little road trip?"
Carson scowled, studying Rodney's look of utter joy at the thought of being released. "On one condition."
"Oh, here we go again," Rodney grumbled.
"Shut up, McKay," hissed Sheppard under his breath.
Beckett folded his arms, "I go with you."
"What?!" the two co-horts shouted together.
"You heard me," Beckett growled in fake anger. "The lots of you look like survivors from a train wreck. I'm not lettin' you out of my sight."
Rodney conceded first. "Fine, give me some clothes." Within minutes he was dressed. "Where we going?"
"Wait one more thing." Sheppard stopped him with a hand on his arm.
"Oh, for Pete's sake, what now?" Rodney snapped, trying to make his way out the door.
John held up a strip of material that earned a glare of suspicion.
"What's that for?"
"It's a surprise. Trust me." He turned the scientist around before pushing him to sit in a wheelchair and blindfolding him.
"Haven't you figured it out? I'm not real big on surprises," Rodney fussed as he felt the chair being pushed.
"Oh, come on McKay, where's your sense of adventure? Where's the guy who went skinny dipping with Karen Stillson?"
Rodney's head jerked up at the mention of her name, blushing fiercely. "How did you?"
"You told me," Sheppard replied matter of factly.
Sliding down in the chair, McKay covered his face with his hands.
Beckett piped in, "Skinny dippin' did you say, Major. I don't believe the rest of us know this story."
"What is skinny dipping?" Teyla asked.
"Oh, lord," Rodney mumbled, sinking even further.
The rest of their trip was enlightened with Sheppard sharing Rodney's youthful exploit and in no time they came to a stop outside a set of doors. The major nodded to the others before pressing the panel to reveal the large room on the other side. Guiding the chair inside, he slipped the blindfold off McKay.
Rodney blinked as his eyes adjusted to the bright lighting before he realized that many of the crew from Atlantis stood around him in the submersible chamber. A spattering of applause grew to an overwhelming ovation as they all showed their appreciation for his effort in keeping them all safe.
"We're not done yet," Sheppard said as he tugged Rodney to his feet and pulled him over to a covered sub. Handing the scientist a small rope, he gestured for him to pull.
The draping fell off, revealing the ship they had originally used. Painted on the side was 'McKay'.
"You named it after me?" Rodney was stunned.
Sheppard motioned to a man standing near the door, "Actually, it was Kavanaugh's idea."
Rodney didn't know what to say. Nodding to his colleague, he smiled, "Thank you."
The pony tailed scientist shrugged before a small smile graced his features, "You're welcome."
The major eyed up the two scientists and realized that that was as far as they were going to go. Breaking up the awkward moment, he draped his good arm over Rodney's shoulder and steered him over to the small craft. "What do you say we take her out for a spin around the block?"
McKay grinned, "I get to drive this time, right?"
Sheppard grinned back, "Sure, why not?" Hitting the release mechanism on the door, he was surprised when Beckett popped on board before it closed. "Doc?"
Becket merely nodded before sitting on the floor, "There's no way I'm lettin' the two of you out of my sight in this thing."
Grins gave way to laughter as they piloted the ship out into the deep water.
A/N First let me say a big thank you for all of your wonderful, encouraging, funny, prodding comments. I'm totally blown away by all of your responses. To those of you who answered my questions when I emailed you out of the blue…thank you. This has been a blast! Another Day in Paradise is the followup story to this one.
Take care, Jen