You Don't Say: Rodney's POV to the day's events
Oh, for Pete's sake! He looks like hell and smells even worse. Is that crap on his feet? So help me, if he clogs my drain with hair and, and fecal matter, he damn well better be willing to clean it back out. I've got too much to do to be playing Janitor in a Drum.
Would you look at this? Just look at it! An hour of trying to figure out how this to get this idiot box of Zelenka's to work, and it's the batteries! Did he even try them? Oh no. 'I've got to get party set up, Rodney.' 'Boom box not working, Rodney.' 'Maybe you take look at it, Rodney?'
What? Do I look like the Energizer Bunny? Let me just run on down to Wal-Mart and get you a fresh pack. I'm a busy man. Don't people realize I'm a busy man?
Speaking of busy, look who's back. Wait a minute, I know that expression. Oh, I don't think so. No, no, no, I must not cave. I can't believe him, lecturing me on social etiquette. Do they even have such things in the States? Zelenka…Team…Beckett…We're in, we're out. Selective hearing. A gift that keeps on giving.
Fine. Whatever. I caved, alright? He knew I would. I hate him for that. He thinks he's won this round. Did that follicularly challenged bastard just call me Roddy?
I pegged him perfectly with that useless battery by means of pure precision I didn't even know I had. Smack dead center to the back of his head. Yeah, he looks scared…and he should. Go find Weir you coward!
"Medical team to the control room! Medical team to the control room!"
Don't ask what made me go there at a run. I couldn't explain it even if I wanted to. Shoving bodies out of my way, I plowed up the steps from in front of the gate only to come to a screeching halt on the landing, stopping dead in my tracks.
He was smoking. There was smoke rising off his hands and hair. There was smoke rising from the control board. There was the smell of burnt flesh and melted connections hanging heavy in the air. There was a live wire slapping against the floor mere inches from Sheppard's body, and not a damn soul moving to do a thing about it.
"Get the hell back!" I snap and see the bodies shift away from the console and the Major. Ignoring the sound of pounding feet coming up the stairs from behind me, I focus on the live serpent writhing on the floor before me. Stepping quickly over, around, and up, I make my way to the opposite side of the console, grab three tiles and toss them to the floor before slapping a fourth into one of the empty slots. The serpent dies a silent death.
Glancing back up, I watch in horror to see Carson already working feverishly, demanding items that my brain refuses to identify. Sheppard's seizing, his body trying to unload the excess energy downloaded in the one massive jolt to his system. Unable to tear my disbelieving gaze away, I watch as one of the largest needles I think I've ever seen is plunged into his now unmoving chest. Hands pressed together in compressions, someone counting out loud. I find myself counting with them.
"Come on. Come on," I encourage under my breath.
A hand dropped to my shoulder in an attempt at comfort and I shrug it off.
"I can't find a pulse," a tech anxiously informs Beckett.
"Come on, Major," Carson urges under his breath, sweat dripping from his brow as he continues to pump the mans chest. "You bloody damn well not be thinkin' about meeting your maker. Breathe, damn it." Stopping momentarily, he listened with his stethoscope before shaking his head. "Airway," he demanded, grabbing the appliance and tipping Sheppard's head back. Inserting the tube with precision, he snapped the bag to the end and began pumping. "Bring that litter over here. We need to move him now."
And then I found my feet were moving. Somehow I was at the major's side, helping to lift him onto that gurney. Carson looked up briefly to catch my eye, his expression telling me everything I didn't want to know, before he directed his team for departure.
Seconds later, I blinked. The smell was still there. Used medical wrappings littered the floor. Shocked crew members with glazed expressions stared at one another in disbelief. And one man appeared to be shrinking back away from the rest.
"What the hell did you do!" I raged, grabbing the ratty haired weasel bastard son of a bitch by the front of his jacket, slamming him with the force of all the adrenalin flooding throughout me. "If he dies…" I start, wanting him to understand everything that I could do to him, to make his every moment from now until eternity to be a living hell.
"Rodney. Rodney!" Elizabeth grabbed my arms in an attempt to peel me off of Kavanagh's quaking form. "Let go!" she demanded.
But I can't. I slam him again, watching in satisfaction as his head strikes against the wall, causing his glasses to clatter to the floor.
Another set of hands grabs me, stronger this time than Elizabeth's. They tug harder and I have to let go, the sheer force of the pull dragging me to the floor with a thump. Cool hands grab the sides of my face and turn me away from glaring at the largest mistake Atlantis has ever seen.
"Rodney." Elizabeth waited, gave me time to focus on her before she continued, "We need to go to the infirmary. Carson just paged and it's urgent."
"I can't," I snapped, a sudden tightening in my chest told me not to go. I wasn't ready to see death finalized. "I have to fix the board."
"Dr. Zelenka is here, Rodney. He can fix it." Her hands stayed on my face, her grief filled eyes trying to relay that we could do this together.
Searching the room, I spot Radek standing next to the control console, his eyes on me and not the board. He gives me a slight nod.
An overwhelming sense of drowning washes over me and I can't hold my head up any longer. The firm grip that still holds my arm squeezes slightly and tugs, pulling me to my feet. I would have fallen if it hadn't been for Peter's support. Eyes full of compassion met mine as the gentle Brit gave a slight smile. "He's the major, Doctor McKay. Nine lives and all."
A wrenched shudder releases from my chest. And then another. Losing it in front of all these people is the last thing I want to happen. Tuning brusquely, I snapped, "You know where to find me," and then jogged down the stairs, Elizabeth close on my heels.
We waited. Her arm looped through mine, her small hand giving the occasional pat of reassurance on my forearm. She tried and I had to give her credit, but as the time continued to press on, unrelenting calls that demanded her elsewhere eventually forced her to make the decision to leave my side. Not that I wasn't grateful, but once I found myself alone, I allowed myself to shut down.
On the other side of that decorated door lay the burned, dead, empty shell of one of the few individuals I ever gave a damn about. An unfamiliar feeling gripped my chest and I found it difficult to breathe. Gasping to pull air into lungs too small, the first sob broke forth. And then another. And then another.
I don't remember ever crying in my entire life. Sarcasm and brains successfully carried me through every disappointment, every loss, and left me hollow but alive. I didn't need anyone, didn't want anyone, and as long as I was on top, didn't care about anyone. But now lightyears from home, surrounded by individuals who refused to accept an arrogant bastard as just that, I discovered for the first time in my life what it meant to have friends. Not many, but enough to make a difference.
And now there was one gone. I watched him die. With firm resolve, I decided to never allow that to happen again. The pain hurt too badly, the loss too great.
My resolve lasted a mere ten seconds, the amount of time it took for the doors to open and Carson to step forward, a small hint of a smile easing the burden of his weary face. "I got him back," was all he said.
I jumped to my feet and practically planted myself face first on the floor if he hadn't caught me. His blue eyes studied me carefully, recording everything they saw while taking me by the arm and leading me back to a curtained off bed in the corner. "He's asleep, lad, and I need to keep an eye on him for the next few days, but I believe he's gonna be fine."
We stop outside the curtain and I lift a shaking hand to pull it back, still seeing the fresh images from the control room in my mind. Swallowing back the trepidation and fear, I tug the soft material away to reveal one living breathing Major John Sheppard.
For the second time in less than twenty-four hours, I think he looks like hell and I tell him so. "You look like hell. You know that?" I whisper. "Of course, this time you aren't covered in shit and smelling bad." I pause to take a whiff and change my mind. "Okay, you do smell bad and if you thought you were having a bad hair day this morning, you're in for one helluva shock later when you wake up."
Realizing my poor choice of words, I felt my knees weaken and if it wasn't for Carson using his psychic voodoo powers, dragging a chair up behind me, I would have made the proverbial 'third times the charm' crash to the floor. I felt his hand on the back of my neck pushing my head forward between my knees. "Breathe slowly," he instructed.
Still staring at my shoes, my tunnel vision returning to normal, I feel his hand remain on my back between my shoulder blades. "It was close, lad, but we got him." I hear a slight crack in his voice and realize that I'm not the only one who finds this whole damn mess uncomfortably painful.
The hand shifted off and Carson stepped to the side. "Knew what?"
I sit up and lean back into the chair, taking in the pale wrapped form on the bed before giving the Scot my best quirked brow, "Him. You and I've known each other since practically the dawn of this whole mess. But him, he's just a glorified flyboy with a luck of the draw gene. Who knew he'd be the one to make this place interesting?"
That made Carson smile. "We did try to scare him off."
"We? You're the one who sent a drone missile after him."
"I didn't know that was goin' to happen! And what about you, treating him like the hired help for weeks until we finally got here."
"I just wanted him to know who was boss."
"Aye, lad. He certainly laid that idea to rest."
Quiet filled the room except for the beep of the heart monitor.
"You stay put while I get you some juice," Carson said. Patting me on the shoulder, he turned to leave me to my thoughts.
"You know, this chair is really beginning to hurt my ass and I do have work to get back to, so if you're planning on dragging this out for days on end, I hate to tell you , but you've got another half hour and then I'm out of here."
He didn't move. Not that I thought he would but it was worth a shot. Standing up, I stretch and pop my back before walking over to the other side of the bed. I might as well check out some of Carson's toys before he gets back from picking up the latest lab results. Following the heart lead lines, I examine the back of the monitor before turning it slowly and study the rhythm of Sheppard's ticker. Up and down, up and down, up and down. Is it me or are they changing? The numbers on the side increase slowly, one tick, then another, and then another.
Leaning forward, I watch his face, seeing if his eyeballs move. There it was! A twitch! I saw a twitch!
Hurrying out around the curtain, I half yell, half whisper, "Carson, get your ass back in here. I think he's waking back up." Ducking back inside the curtain, I missed whatever hex the Scot declared after me for making too much noise. Moments later, he stood on the opposite side of the bed and waited with me.
There it was again! Another twitch! I glanced up to meet Carson's look and saw him smiling down at the major, so I looked back down, only to see slits of hazel trying to stay open. It dawned on me, watching the two interact, that something was wrong, and when Carson started scratching out notes on the back of his clipboard, it hit me like a ton of bricks, 'He can't hear!'
I stand a little closer, my hands resting on his upper arm when he turns his head to look at his hands. About that time, the heart monitor began picking up speed and the look of Sheppard's face was one of complete panic. Not even thinking about what I was doing, I leaned into his line of sight. "Breathe slowly," I said, mimicking Carson's words to me earlier.
"Keep him calm, lad, while I increase his morphine," Carson instructed and I looked up just a second to see him insert a needle into the IV port on the bag before giving it a little shake.
Glancing back down, I found the hazel eyes locked onto mine. Trying to be reassuring and hoping he could read my lips, I said slowly, "You'll be okay. You were electrocuted." Okay, so not the most comforting words, but from the look on his face, he understood me.
When he frowned up at me, I felt my blood begin to boil once more. "Kavanagh didn't shut off the power," I snapped angrily but then quickly shut it down, not wanting to get him upset. Watching his drugged lids droop, I rolled my eyes and smiled, "Go to sleep. I'll be here when you wake up." And he did.
Carson finally got tired of me being underfoot and kicked me out, sending me after a sandwich. It could have been the IV bag he carried over to me, waving the large bore needle attached to the end that finally got me moving. Sure I knew it was only a threat, but with my luck, I'd fall asleep and that blood sucking vampire would find a way to siphon me the first chance he got if I tried to ignore him.
Actually feeling refreshed, I settled back in my chair at the bedside, only to hear a scratchy quiet voice demanding 'water'. Passing over the cup of water to Beckett, I watched the major savor his first small sip. Carson was already in full blown doctor mode so I just sat back and waited, surprised that he didn't kick me out.
Hearing how he was in pain, and then Carson filling him in on what had happened, I stood back up and gave his arm another light reassuring squeeze, before spouting off something about not wanting to go to Radek's party. His gaze shifted to meet mine.
"I'm sorry," he whispered.
Crap, I could feel the tears threaten to make a reappearance and I swallowed several times to get everything back under control. "Don't…" I started, looking at the wall, and then back down at him, "don't ever do that to me again. Do you have any idea what Carson and I went through?"
Can you believe he apologized again? Carson was talking to him again but I was too damn happy to pay any attention. Studying him closely, I took another gander at his hair and reached up to feel if it was as dry and sharp as it looked.
"Stop that," he whispered to me. But in all honestly, I had no intention of doing so. "Can't help it. I'm still checking to make sure all the fires are out."
"Rodney," Beckett scolded from across the bed, "I told you to wait until later."
I've just sat for hours, waiting and watching for him to wake up. If they think I'm not going to take full advantage of this, they're crazy. "Maybe they caught it on surveillance?"
"What?" Sheppard squeaked, a look of utter dismay crossing his face.
I couldn't resist and patted the spiky dry tufts once again, a few pieces breaking off and sticking to my fingers. "Let's just say, you'll need to make an appointment with Radek for a trim."
Vanity, your name is Sheppard. He's starting to look a little concerned. "You're lying."
I shrug and look to Carson who is also grinning and pulling out a mirror. When the major stared in dismay at his fried hair, grunting 'Great' in disgust, we both lost it, the previous hours of anguish slipping away like a bad dream.
I sat with him that night in the infirmary until he finally fell asleep. How he pulled that one off with Mickey's rendition of Waltzing Matilda, sung in a drunken stupor, is beyond me. It must have been the drugs, is all I can say. Slipping out silently, I made my way back to the control room to stare at the scene of the crime. Everything was back in its rightful place and there wasn't any sign left of the earlier trauma that had occurred.
The night tech on duty gave me a nod of acknowledgement before returning to whatever it was he was doing.
Making my way back down the steps, I stood and stared at the gate, lost in thought over several lightyears away, when the sound of someone clearing their throat behind me caught my attention. Not in the mood for company, I frowned, putting on my best glare for whoever dared to disturb me. Only this was yet another immune soul who had discovered that my bark and bite were useless.
"You need something?"
A slow smile blossomed over the Czech's face as he brought his hands out from behind his back. There was that damned boombox making a hideous reappearance. "I made something for you." Tapping the power button, the sound of Wraith stunners, people shouting, and a small explosion could be heard.
In his other hand, he held out a couple of homemade cherry bombs and some super glue. "I was thinking…" he started, waiting for me to reply.
"Always a good plan," I snarked back, tossing in an eye roll for good measure.
"Maybe, we find good use for some leftover party favors?"
Now, see, there's someone who knows how to release a little tension after a hard day at work. "What do you have in mind?" As if I even have to ask.
"Dr. Kavanagh, he sleeps to peaceful. Needs to learn to wake up quickly."
"Hmmmm. True. What if he was off world and his team was getting attacked?"
"Yes, yes," my devious cohort grinned, handing me the cherry bombs and then pulling out a handful of empty rubber gloves. "Warm water in these with small hole?"
I feel the final edges of stress slip away. Trying to cover up my laughter by pretending to cough when the tech glanced over the railing in concern from above, I gestured towards the hallway, "We need to get Beckett."
"Aye, lad, I'm already here," the Scot whispered from the shadows.
Okay, I jumped. "Don't do that to me!" I hissed.
"Come," Radek urged, grabbing me by the sleeve and dragging me forward. "No time for chit chat. Work to be done."
We didn't get a lot of sleep that night, but all I have to say is it was so worth it! Wait until Sheppard hears about this one!