RATING: PG-13 for Language
SEASON: First season right after The Eye
MAJOR CHARACTERS: McKay and Sheppard with appearances by Weir and Beckett
DISCLAIMERS: The characters, Atlantis, etc, all belong to MGM, Gecko, Showtime, the Sci-Fi Channel.
NOTE: This is my first venture here… I don't know much about SG stuff... have patience!
SUMMARY: Tag, follow-up to The Eye. Rodney is dealing…not so well.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:Tipper is to blame and then Tip and NT ganged up and dragged me here screaming. Thanks to both for beta-ing and reading through this!
FEEDBACK: Yes , reviews are appreciated!
SPOILERS: for The Storm and The Eye, I don't think there are any others.

What Kind of Man?

By Sable-Cain

Part one:

Rodney followed after Sheppard for a few steps, pulling awkwardly at his sleeve before veering off and heading for his quarters. He was pretty sure he'd pulled it off, making both Weir and Sheppard think that all was well. In truth, most of his report was true and he supposed things could have been worse…but really, he didn't feel close to as fine as he'd insinuated.

Sure, he had enjoyed a good meal,finally, but his clothing had dried stiff and scratchy and God, if he wasn't still freezing. Already he could feel the pressure building in his sinuses. Of course, he'd known the rain would make him sick, he'd said as much.

Near the transport, McKay passed a small cluster of soldiers and,after only a brief second of eye contact, looked away, busying himself again with the bandage on his arm. He didn't want to see anything in their expressions. Didn't want to face their judgments. He just needed to get to his quarters.

He heard whispering as the transporter doors snicked closed behind him. Oh God, they did already know.

He made his way to his quarters, carefully avoiding conversation or even further eye contact with anyone else. He had a plan. If someone tried to stop him, he'd just claim exhaustion. It wasn't like it wasn't true. The storm was over, the threat was gone and nothing in the lab was currently important enough to require any attention. No one needed him.

It wasn't until the door to his room slid closed securely that he let out a long low sigh. He flopped onto his bed, ignoring the pain that flared across his lower back and closed his eyes--only to see and feel the genii soldier pressing the blade into the skin of his arm—and jolted upright again.

"Damn it."

A hot shower, that would do the trick. He'd relax in a hot shower, grab a snack and then force himself to put the last twenty-four plus hours behind him. He had to move on…he would move on.

Moving with determination, Rodney unwrapped his bandaged arm, thankful again that his silly and unorthodox wrap had had the desired effect, humor instead of concern. If Sheppard and Weir could be distracted by the obvious haphazard first aid attempt, they wouldn't pry as to its seriousness.

The bandage had pressed his shirt and jacket sleeve against the wound and without thinking; he pulled it away quickly. He hissed, biting his lower lip and jumping around in a tiny circle at the painful sting. Carefully he eased out of both layers of clothing.

It didn't surprise him to be bleeding again. Mesmerized, he stared for a moment at the three deep cuts along the fleshy part of his arm right below his elbow. Just three cuts. That was all it had taken for him to blabber out the entire plan to save Atlantis…three damn cuts.

Blood seeped out and bright red drops rolled across his pale skin leaving uneven trails behind. It wasn't until he realized he was dripping all over the floor that he quickly grabbed his wadded up shirt and pressed it to the wounds again. Another hiss escaped between his teeth but this time he was spurred into constructive motion.

Moving to his bathroom, he turned on the shower, tossing the shirt aside and letting the water run hot before he quickly stripped and stepped in. He pushed away the memories of hurricane force rains beating at him as he turned his face into the forceful hot spray. He ignored the pink water swirling at his feet and tried to let the shower relax him. He let the spray massage his face where Kolya had smacked him, trying to shove the memory of the pain and humiliation away. He wanted to forget it all.

McKay didn't stay under the water long, not as long as he would have liked anyway. Instead, once he convinced himself he felt warm, he stepped out and quickly dried off, wrapping one towel around his waist and using another to blot his arm. Common sense told him he needed stitches but Beckett was in no shape to be bothered with something so trivial right now and the rest of the medical staff were too busy trying to put the place back together after Kolya's ransacking.

Another wave of guilt and shame washed through him. He'd almost sacrificed the doctor and Teyla to save the city; he'd been ready to. He sneered at his blurry, distorted reflection in the fogged mirror. "What kind of man are you?" he questioned harshly.

Fighting the rolling emotions inside, he turned away, no longer willing to look at himself. He hurriedly re-bandaged his arm, the proper way this time, and dressed in warm sweatpants before crawling into bed. He closed his eyes, struggling to think of anything but the memories that assaulted him and longed to sleep.

Sheppard dropped his tray onto the table beside Elizabeth's and pulled out a chair.

"You look better," he commented before digging into his supper.

Elizabeth smiled wryly and leaned back, her hands wrapped around a mug of steaming tea. "Well, a hot shower, clean clothes, a nap and a warm meal helped."

"No kidding." John chewed a bite of his meal, wondering curiously what it was and glanced around the mess hall.

The hall was virtually deserted, the hour being late. Several tables over, he noted Stackhouse and Dunne chatting casually with Zelenka.

"Everyone seems to be recovering quickly."

Elizabeth was talking; he realized and turned his attention back to her. "Yeah. Course most of them weren't even aware of our adventures."

"Adventures?" She arched an eyebrow, giving him a look that clearly suggested he was crazy.

"I didn't say they were good," hedefended, smiling at her light laugh. "But they were definitely adventures."


"Sure, every adrenaline junkie's dream."

Weir shook her head. "Then I'm no junkie."

"That's probably a good thing." He shoveled a mouthful of something akin to potatoes into his mouth. "I much prefer something more…predictable than a crazy commander and ticked off Mother Nature, but we got though it…all three of us."

"Yes, we did. Have you seen Rodney?" Elizabeth asked, suddenly changing the subject. Her voice had softened, the humor gone.

"No. Why?" John looked around the room again looking for McKay. "Said he was fine."

"I know." Weir played with her mug, turning it round and round in her hands.

"But…" He dragged the word out, sensing there was more she wanted to say.

She shrugged. "It's just not like him to miss a meal." She shivered as if a chill swept over her, and he watched her fingers tighten around the cup.

"What?" He pushed his tray back and leaned forward onto his elbows, turning to face her fully and resting his face against his hands, attentive to the worry in her tone and tension in her posture.

Elizabeth met his gaze and looked away again, refocusing on her cup, trying not to reveal so much of the fear she still felt.

"Elizabeth." It was almost an admonishment,but the whisper got to her.

"Kolya was…" Her voice faded and John remembered the look in her eyes as the Genii Commander dragged her toward the gate. He waited for her to continue on her own.

"Cold. Methodical. Brutal." The words came quickly. "He was going to take the city at all costs."

"But he didn't," John reminded, somehow thankful that Weir hadn't been able to see the things he'd done to the Genii when he'd thought she was dead. "You and McKay talked some sense into him."

Weir snorted and angrily set her mug on the table. Tea splashed her fingers. "That was pure luck and timing. If you and Lt.Ford hadn't shown up when you did, heaven knows what we'd be forced…"

He reached out and grabbed her hand, squeezing lightly and interrupting her. "Stop. It didn't happen. You and McKay and the rest of us are all safe. It is over."

Slowly Elizabeth gave an accepting nod. "I just hope Rodney is really as okay as he says he is," shesaid after a deep calming breath.

"What do you mean?" John let go of her hand, casually settling back in his chair again. "He really did seem well…normal." He grinned remembering McKay's short, mostly self-focused summary of how things were. "What happened to his arm anyway?" heasked curiously. He remembered the chunky looking bandage, but didn't recall any explanation for it.

Elizabeth stiffened again, her eyes darkening. "I- I'm not positive." She picked up her tea again but only stared at the cooling drink. "Kolya sent me to show the others where to find the Med Laband the wraith data device. When I got back…Rodney was bleeding and going on about telling Kolya the plan. He said he tried not to tell him, John."

"He what?" Sheppard's voice dropped to a harsh whisper.

She looked at him surprised at his tone. "He felt so bad, and then he went and stepped in front of Kolya's gun to protect me and…"

"No," John cut her off as her she grew more defensive. "Kolya, what did he do to Rodney?" John's mind was reeling. Had Kolya really tortured Rodney for the plan? The possibility hadn't even crossed Sheppard's mind.

"Cut him, I guess. I wasn't there and there wasn't any real time to check his arm before Kolya dragged us to the grounding station."

"But Rodney was okay?"

"Enough to go on and fix everything he needed to. He didn't complain at all."

That fact alone frightened John. McKay was always complaining. He took a deep breath trying to control his anger. "What else did Commander Kolya do to you two?"

Elizabeth shook her head wearily. "Threats mostly. At one point,I did think he was going to shove Rodney over the rail, but again Rodney reminded him that he needed us."

"How'd he do that?"

She smiled. "Lied. Told Kolya he needed my codes."


"He is the genius."

John looked at her and grinned. "So he likes to remind us. Do you want me to check on him?"

Weir thought for a moment then shook her head. "No, he'd let someone know if he needed something." She smiled again, faintly. "I think, maybe, I'm just caught up in my own feeling about what happened. Like you said though, I'll be okay."

"Alright, then." John watched silently as she stood and cleared her stuff. He hoped she was right about McKay seeking help if needed, and wondered if there was anything else he hadn't been told concerning Weir and McKay's time with Kolya.