Title: Missing
Author: MegTDJ
Category: Angst/drama
Rating: PG-13, borderline R
Pairing: McKay/Weir, mostly UST
Spoilers: Underground, The Storm, The Eye
Summary: Rodney is stranded alone and dying on an alien world. Does anyone even notice that he's gone?
Disclaimer: Stargate Atlantis, its universe and its characters are not mine. The story itself is, however, so please don't archive without my permission.
Warning: Violence, torture

Author's notes: This isn't a song fic, but it was inspired by the song "Missing" by Evanescence. Every time I heard that song, I got this image in my head that I just couldn't shake, so I had to turn it into a fic.

Many thanks to Kerri, Misty, Julie, the whole gang at Gateview, and everyone else who's given me encouragement and support during the highs and lows of writing this fic. And boy were there highs and lows... Major hugs to all you guys! I couldn't do this without you:)

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

Missing

Prologue

So this is what it feels like to die.

Rodney felt strangely calm as this thought crossed his mind. It was funny - all of his life, he'd been afraid of death. Now that it was staring him in the face, he almost welcomed it.

He tried to shift position to make himself more comfortable, but it only made his head spin even more. He wished he had a bed, or at least a blanket. He was cold, he was hungry, and the floor he was lying on smelled like old cheese. Okay, so maybe not cheese. He didn't want to think about what was really causing that foul stench, because he was face down in it.

With a heavy sigh resulting in a slight cough and a wince of pain, he realized that it was getting dark again. He'd lost track of how many days and nights he'd spent in this place, but he knew this would definitely be his last. There was no way he'd make it through another night. He'd coughed up blood an hour or so earlier. That was never a good sign.

On top of that, he didn't think he could move his legs anymore. No doubt that was due to the knock he'd taken on the head just before he'd been left to lie there face down in God knew what for God knew how long.

Yes, he definitely wanted to die.

He did wish he could see his very last sunset, though. He'd never really taken the time to appreciate things like that throughout his life, and he was starting to regret that now. Actually, he was starting to regret a lot of things. Funny how knowing you're about to die makes you re-evaluate your life and shows you what a waste of time it all was.

Not that he hadn't realized that already. Just the fact that his teammates had abandoned him here to his fate was proof enough. He'd never been very sociable, but that was no excuse for pushing everyone away so much that they actually came to hate him. If he could go back and change the way he'd treated his co-workers, he would do it in a heartbeat. Maybe if he'd just laid off the sarcasm and opened up about his true feelings once in a while... tried to make friends with his teammates instead of just tolerated them in order to get the job done...

He quickly nipped that train of thought in the bud. What was he, Mr. Rogers? The whole "nice guy" routine just wasn't him. If people hated him for being the way he was, then so be it.

Still, he didn't understand why they'd just left him here to die.

The ache that had come over him periodically throughout his time here settled over him yet again at this thought. They'd left him. They hadn't even tried to rescue him, or he'd be free by now. It hurt more than he could ever have imagined, and made him realize that he'd just been deluding himself when he thought he was merely tolerating these people - they had been his friends.

At least, he'd thought they were. Truth be told, they were the closest he'd ever had to a family. He'd never gotten along with his parents, and he hadn't seen or heard from his sister in years. He'd really started to think he'd found his place on Atlantis, and he enjoyed being a part of Major Sheppard's team. Now it seemed that it had all just been a lie.

He could feel himself slowly drifting off to sleep as he lay there thinking about the people who had come to mean so much to him. Major Sheppard, Carson, Dr. What's-his-name, Lt. Ford, Teyla... and Elizabeth.

For some reason, Elizabeth's face passed in front of his mind's eye more often than the rest. He supposed it was because in the short time he'd known her, she'd come to mean more to him than any of the others. He respected and admired her, and that was pretty rare for him. Part of him had hoped he stood a chance of being more to her than just a friend someday, but he had told himself over and over how stupid he was to think that way. She was way out of his league.

Still, she did seem to regard him as a friend, more than anyone else on Atlantis did. She wouldn't have left him behind like this if she'd been with them that day.

Would she?

He groaned as he realized that any kind of rescue effort would come from her order. He hadn't been rescued. He would never be rescued. Maybe she hadn't considered him worthy of risking other people's lives to save. Maybe she and everyone else had already forgotten about him. Maybe he was so unimportant to them that they wouldn't even notice he was gone.

Tears stung his eyes at the thought. Well, they'd certainly notice his absence once something on Atlantis malfunctioned and he wasn't there to fix it. They'd all look around and think to themselves, "Didn't there used to be a guy around here that knew how to work this thing?"

Of course, then one of the other scientists would step forward and pretend to know what needed to be done, and they'd go back to their lovely little Rodney-free lives.

This thought sent him even deeper into despair. The pain in his ribcage threatened to consume him, and he wasn't about to fight it. One more coughing fit and it would finish him. It wouldn't be long now.

Just as he felt himself falling into blissful sleep, he heard the dreaded noise again. Clang. Clang. Clang.

They were coming.

Rodney stiffened in fear, the slight movement causing a fresh wave of pain to wash over him. God, hadn't they had enough yet? Didn't they know he was dying?

Clang.

Only one door remained between them. Rodney sent a quick prayer up to whatever god might be listening, and braced himself.

Clang. Thump. Creak.

He felt rough hands grab him by the arms and haul him to his feet, but his legs felt like they were made of rubber and gave out on him completely.

"Stand," the gruff voice he'd come to know all too well commanded.

"I... I can't..."

"Stand!"

Rodney could feel himself sinking, but his mind was growing foggier by the second. The one good thing about it was that he didn't feel the pain anymore.

Until he felt himself hit the ground, at which point pain shot through his body like knives. Then he felt the familiar sensation of a boot to his stomach, and all of a sudden he couldn't breathe.

Even though he was no longer fully aware of his surroundings, Rodney knew that to breathe meant to live, and to live meant more pain. A feeling of warmth passed over him as he fought back the urge to fight. He surrendered to it, everything around him being swallowed up by darkness that was made of pure light as his body began to shut down.

His last conscious thought was of Elizabeth, and how he would never get to say goodbye to her. Her face flashed before his eyes as everything else faded away. "I'm sorry, Elizabeth," he whispered with what little air was left in his lungs.

Then there was nothing.

To be continued...