Chapter 14-Fallout

Elizabeth walked back into the infirmary after washing up and changing her clothes. She had been surprised when she woke up there in a bed in between ones occupied by Rodney and John. Carson was going to be administering the counteragent and she wanted to be there.

She saw him in his white lab coat, standing over one of the work stations, holding a needle in a beaker. "Dr. Beckett?"

He turned his head, "Oh, you are just in time." He pulled the needle out of the beaker.

She noticed his underlying solemn demeanor, "I assume all the tests on the agent came out well."

"Aye. By all signs, it should be successful at flushing the suppressant out of his system."

"Let's do this then." He nodded and they walked over to where Rodney was still lying in a bed attached to numerous instruments. Carson headed straight to the IV and injected the contents of the syringe into it.

"That's all. Now we wait." He sighed and checked the monitors, looking for any changes.

Elizabeth looked down at Rodney, his eyelashes pressed firmly onto his cheeks, "How is he?"

"The same. I do not want to transport him down to 13B, so Radek and Peter want to bring the computer up here, extract Garin as soon as possible."

"That will be fine. I understand that will be in two hours."

"Correct."

"I want to sit with him awhile."

Carson nodded and left the room after taking one last check over Rodney's stats. Elizabeth grasped his hand and started talking quietly, "We're going to get you out of this, but you have to hang on."

She pulled the chair John had fallen asleep in the night before next to the bed and sat down, still grasping his left hand being careful not to move his broken arm. "I can't even begin to fathom what you've been through these past few days."

She continued to talk for a few minutes about mundane things that were happening in the city, just to keep a sound of a friendly voice in his ears. She stood and ran her fingers through his hair, "I'll be back in a little while. Work never stops in this city."

Elizabeth practically ran into John on her way out, "Major."

"Dr. Weir. How's he doing?"

"The same. Carson gave him the counteragent and they are planning on trudging Garin's computer up here."

"Then they can get him out of Rodney's head."

"Yes. The sooner the better."

"Can't argue with that." They parted and John headed straight over to Rodney. He looked down at his chest slowly rising and falling, thinking he hasn't been this quiet for this long since he was hit by that Wraith stunner.

"So…" He rocked on his heels and finally sat down, "You know you need to wake up here pretty soon because Zelenka's been telling me that Kavanagh has been running amuck in the Submarine Bay. Oh yea, we have subs, how cool is that? Bet you can't wait to get back on your feet so we can go exploring the deep, dark, depths of the ocean. On second thought, that will just make you want to stay in a coma, wouldn't it?"

John eyed Rodney's injuries, "You know there's that Weapons Research Complex waiting for you, though the Ancients didn't leave much in there." He sighed, knowing he was avoiding what he was really thinking about.

"I'm sorry. I should have known earlier about this whole situation. Well, I had a feeling, but still." John could have sworn Rodney's eye twitched, so he continued, "Really, I am sorry. Maybe if I would have done something more direct earlier you wouldn't be lying there." There was no further movement and John let out a breath determined not to move until Rodney woke up to berate him about his apology.

Xxx xxx

Radek and Peter were carefully wheeling the rather large console out of the transporter on a cart and through the hall to the infirmary, trying desperately not to hit anyone on their way, instead hitting the side of the infirmary doorway with an echoing thud.

Their eyes met and they quickly wheeled it through the door, hoping no one heard that. They immediately noticed a four-person group hovering over the infirmary bed, technically five-person- Carson, Major Sheppard, Dr. Weir, and Kate/Elana.

Elizabeth noticed them immediately, "Are you ready?"

"Give us a moment." Peter responded as the two of them wheeled the console over to Rodney's right side.

"That is going to work, right?"

"Yes, Major." Radek typed in the instructions to remove Garin's tagged consciousness. "Okay, all set."

The group watched as Peter gently picked up Rodney's hand and placed it on the panel.

---

Rodney buried his face in his hands, still in the white world, his mind racing with thoughts of his life, his successes, and the failures. Funny how when contemplating your own demise you think about the scope of your life, what sort of mark you left on the world, or in Rodney's case, two galaxies.

When he looked up he didn't see anything, not even Garin. "What the hell?" He whipped his head around and stood, looking behind him into the whiteness as it changed and he found himself standing in the middle of his old kitchen. His parent's kitchen to be precise.

His mom was standing over the stove, spatula in her hand, and turned around, "Roddy, have a seat and breakfast will be up shortly." She smiled and turned back. "It's the big day today, excited?"

Rodney looked down at the table, thinking this must be one of those delusions people had when they were dying, but he wasn't going to let a chance for some real food slip past him, even if it was imaginary. He sat down at his place, "Yea, I suppose it is."

She brought a pan over and slid a thick piece of maple ham on his plate, "You've been in your room working on your project for weeks." She switched pans and set some eggs on it too.

Then it hit him, this was the morning of the six grade science fair he built the working model of the atomic bomb for, and that meant the CIA would be knocking at the door, and boy would his dad be pissed. "Well, it would work if I had a fistful of 235 along with-"

He was cut off by his sister strolling in and rubbing his head, "Hey little bro, mom."

He shrugged her off, "Jeannie! Don't do that!" He was a grown man now after all.

She sat down, "Oh whatever." She jabbed him in his side.

He settled back into his twelve-year old self, though he would still act like this now, "Mom! Did you just see that? She's starting a fight again!"

"What's all the damned racket in here?"

Rodney gulped as he stared at his father at the doorway, not looking particularly pleased. His mother tried to ease the situation as she poured Jeannie orange juice and Rodney apple juice, "Nothing at all. Today is the big science fair."

"What science fair?" He poured a cup of coffee.

"The one your son built the model of the bomb for."

"He built a bomb?" He grabbed him by the shirt, "Rodney McKay, are you insane? Do you know how much trouble you could get us into!"

His mother placed her hand on his dad's arm, "It doesn't actually work, as I said, it is a model."

His dad scoffed and left, leaving Rodney wondering why the hell his mind brought him here, he mumbled under his breath as he started to cut the ham slice, "A working model."

The scene changed and he looked down at a different table, the food gone. He was in a small room, lit by a central light bulb. A man in a black suit was sitting across the table and there was a two-way mirror on his left.

"This information we have concerning you and a few others your age is too strong to be ignored-"

Rodney immediately knew where he was and defended himself, "You cannot be serious, there is no secret organization. I built the model for my science fair, I just wanted to win first place!"

The American fed didn't believe one word the twelve-year old Rodney said. "So you say, but it is built a little too well, son."

---

Radek looked at the screen and mumbled, "Oops."

Kate looked at Carson who looked back at her.

John's eyes widened, "I don't like the sound of that."

Elizabeth crossed her arms, "I don't either. Dr. Zelenka, Grodin?"

"Garin has been downloaded back in the computer, we can tell by the code on this consciousness." Peter pointed to the screen.

Radek pointed to another spot on the screen, "But the program is prompting us for a name for this consciousness."

John scratched his head, "Don't tell me."

"We seem to have copied Rodney. It's not a problem, we'll just delete both and-"

John cut Peter off, "Wait a minute, that's McKay in there technically, right?"

Carson nodded, "Aye, a copy up to this point."

"Let's just keep that copy." John shrugged, "Just in case something went wrong."

"Okay, we'll just delete Garin here then-"

John cut Peter off again, "Are you sure that's the right one?"

Radek immediately replied a little annoyed, "Yes, Major. Now, can we do our jobs?"

He was about to give a not so pleasant reply when Elizabeth lightly touched his arm and stopped him, she then asked Carson, "Any change?"

Carson squeezed behind the console where Radek and Peter were standing to get to the monitoring equipment, "The stats seem to have strengthened a bit, and the sensors are only picking up one set of brainwaves."

Elizabeth let out a sigh of relief, "Progress, small, but progress nonetheless."

"All in all, it does seem to be doing better. But, it is still a waiting game."

Xxx

It was decided that the senior staff needed to have an actual meeting with Dr. Elana Trelio, one that was focused not on locating Rodney, but what the aftermath of this event would be. Elizabeth sat in her usual seat at the U-shaped table with John, Carson, and Kate/Elana around her.

Elana began before anyone else could, "I deeply regret that your people have been put through this ordeal, that Dr. McKay has been… tortured in this way. I know that Kate has invited me to stay, but I do not feel it is my place and wish to leave as soon as I can."

The three were a little stunned that Elana had come right out and said this and Elizabeth responded, "We will do our best to honor your wishes, but you are one of the Ancients. We came here in hopes of finding you and your people."

Elana breathed deeply, "I cannot stay any longer, you have to understand that I do not belong here, my time has passed. Perhaps if the situation were different, but if I stay, it means Kate has to share her body with me and that is something that I will not do for the duration of her life. And we don't even know what it could do to her physically, the stress of it."

'Don't be stubborn, listen to Dr. Weir! I'm sure it would be fine.'

John looked at Carson, "Could this really have a negative effect on her?"

"I cannot give a definite answer, Major. It doesn't seem to have affected her to this point. I credit it to the absence of an internal struggle. As long as their relationship stays amiable, it should be fine. However, I would keep monitoring them."

Elizabeth was happy to hear that and continued with Elana, "Why don't you give it some more thought, nothing has to be decided as of this moment."

She nodded and Kate took over, "You have to pardon Elana, she can be a bit obstinate at times."

-Hey! You don't hear me discussing your idiosyncrasies.-

'Yes, but it was necessary.' Kate cracked a smile in her voice, if that's possible.

Elana laughed, -You're lucky I like you.-

John had moved on to discussing Rodney, "Do we know what he has been through the past few days?"

Kate sighed, "Well, we know that Garin kept him conscious throughout all of it, in a world he had created, and he didn't have to. Elana had me in a blackout for the first day, before she discovered what Garin had done, that's when we went to Carson."

The Scot questioned further, "Are you saying he's been able to see us, but couldn't do anything about it?"

Kate nodded, "He will need time recover. I expect his trust in us has been broken."

A wave of guilt passed over the group; they knew they wouldn't be able to fathom the rollercoaster of emotions Rodney had been through.

Xxx xxx

Sgt. Markham flew a Jumper out of the Gate and onto P8X-468, leading a small group, consisting of Smith, another marine, and a young scientist, that was sent to salvage the crashed Jumper. It was highly unlikely it would fly again, but it would serve for spare parts at least. Elana had insisted she come along, wanting to investigate a feeling she had about her old vacation home.

He landed the Jumper where Major Sheppard had landed the previous night, and the group exited the ship. Elana immediately began to climb the hill, focused on where she was going, Markham right on her heels. He called out an order back to his team, and turned his attention back to the woman ahead of him - the two women, well the one, it hurt his head thinking about it so he gave up.

"Doctor, after all these years I doubt there's anything left in there, unless it was buried like those crystals."

They reached the top, "Maybe so, but Garin most likely thought there was something else, and I think I know what it is."

Markham followed her through the ruined rooms, "Care to let me in on the secret?"

"Not especially. It's more of a family item." She walked over to the corner of the room in the back of the house and crouched down to a tile. She smiled at the soldier, "Care to let me borrow your knife?"

He pulled it out of its holster, "I assume you want that tile lifted."

She nodded, and he pried it up, revealing a shallow hole in the floor. Elana immediately pulled out an item, silver in color, about five inches by six inches, and with a viewing screen on the back.

"What is it?"

"Kate calls it a camera, or a photo album. We left it here because we thought that some day we would return to this place, after the war. Turns out, we were correct in a way." She stood up and sauntered down the hill, Markham quickly came up right beside her. He wouldn't let anything happen to an Ancient on his watch.

On the way back, Kate and Elana were talking amongst themselves, as they were looking through the photographs of family events- binding ceremonies, birthdays, the few parties on Atlantis (Ancients did have fun once in awhile), overall the happy times one could still have in war.

'Have you decided yet?'

-You mean if I have changed my mind.-

'If you want to put it that way. It's not as if it would have to be permanent.'

-I suppose.-

'A few days, a week, or a few weeks.'

-Fine, I'll hang around for awhile.-

'Really? Well that was easy; you didn't even put up an argument.'

-To be honest, I am beginning to like it here, and you and the others made a fairly strong argument yourselves. I would like to help with what I can, though technology is not a strong suit of mine.-

Kate smiled as the Jumper flew threw the Gate, loaded with spare parts the team had taken.

The rest of the day passed strangely for central figures of Atlantis, just the previous day it was revealed that an Ancient was in control of Rodney McKay, and now he was lying in a coma after being chased around previously unexplored parts of the city and a nasty crash in a Jumper.

The infirmary had become a permanent stop on everyone's rounds, the door revolving so to speak, it actually slid open and closed repeatedly. One hour John would be there, the next Teyla, or Elizabeth, Aiden also made a stop, as did Kate/Elana who were there as much as John and Elizabeth.

Radek and Peter wheeled Garin's console down to the main lab for study, being extremely careful to let everyone know not to touch the panel, at all, or risk having a copy of Dr. McKay in their heads. Everyone stayed clear of it after they heard that comment. Peter and Radek also made their own visits to the chief scientist, talking about the discoveries being made about the submarines, how they were designed, and what systems they had. Work never stopped, even if one of the senior staff was laid up.

Xxx xxx xxx

He became suddenly aware that he was lying in a bed, he could feel the blanket over him, up to the center of his chest, and the pillows piled under his head and back, elevating him. He could feel a loose pair of scrub pants, the right side cut short. There were murmurings in the background and he struggled to listen, but they were too far away. Light shined through his closed eyelids.

He felt like he had fallen off a cliff and slammed against the rocks below, let alone tossed around a Jumper. With his first waking breath, he could feel that he had an oxygen tube in his nose and curling around his ear. He hated those things, always so annoying, and he thought about removing it, but didn't want to move.

There was the scuffling of feet and he heard someone sit in a chair on his right side. He could tell by the footsteps it was a certain Major and the voice confirmed it, "Come on Rodney, wake up. Admit it, you're just sleeping now. If you want some time off this badly I'm sure Dr. Weir would gladly give you-"

He stopped at the sight of Rodney's hand moving and him mumbling, "'Mup."

John stood and called over to the other side of the infirmary, "Doc! Get over here, he's awake!" He turned back to McKay, "Hey, you going to stay with us this time or flutter your eyelids and go back to sleep again?"

Rodney scrunched his face and slowly opened his eyes to the blurry sight of the infirmary ceiling, "Debating it. Bright."

"Oh yea, right." The lights dimmed as John instructed.

"Thanks." His eyes quickly adjusted to the room and he peered down at his bandaged body, he was noticeably shirtless as his chest was wrapped, and the IV in his hand.

"Don't mention it."

Carson appeared at his left side and began immediately with the pen light check of the pupils doctors always seem to do, "How you feeling lad?"

Rodney glared at him wondering if that question was really necessary, "Crap." He smacked his lips and added, "Mouth feels like there's a sweater in it."

"I'll get you some ice chips in a moment. You've been here in a coma for two days, and you've been pretty much sleeping for another three. It's Wednesday evening."

Rodney snipped, in a cranky mood due to the soreness throughout his body, "Fantastic."

Carson promptly headed to the other side of the infirmary for the ice, and Rodney continued quietly to the Major, "How'd I get here?"

"Kate and Elana suggested we go to M8X-468 and we found you in that crashed Jumper. Weren't wearing your seat belt huh?" John cracked a grin.

"Garin wasn't exactly-" He squinted remembering the Ancient, "Where -?"

"He's gone. Zelenka and Grodin got him out and then deleted him in the computer."

Rodney brought his good arm to his face and rubbed, "Good, good, took you all long enough though. Seriously, was he that good of an actor?"

John smiled sheepishly, "He was actually over doing it a little."

Carson returned with a cup that Rodney gratefully took and greedily started chewing on the pieces of ice, taking a bit of pleasure in how they cracked in his teeth. He finally took a good look at John, seeing his eye and teasing him, "How's that black eye doing, Major?"

John reacted by touching it, "Fine, almost healed now."

Carson asked, "What's the last event you remember?"

Rodney thought a moment, and avoided what happened during the coma, not so sure what really happened and what did not, "Waking up in the Jumper."

John asked, "So, you did those bandages?"

Rodney nodded and Carson added, "Believe it or not, that little you did most likely stopped enough of the bleeding that you survived to be found." He took the blanket off of Rodney's leg so he could change the bandage, "Do you want the bad news or the worse news first lad?"

Rodney practically growled, "Just tell me." He was trying to keep his words to a minimum, talking wasn't the easiest thing to do when one first wakes up from a coma.

"Alright. I had to repair a torn tendon here in your leg." He took the old bandage off, revealing a severely bruised calf and stitches. "So you'll have to have some aid in walking for awhile." He began wrapping it with fresh, new linen.

Rodney lifted his left arm and Carson responded, "Fractured ulna." He pointed to his chest, "Two broken ribs." He pointed to his side, "Gash that needed stapling."

Rodney's expression fell with each response and John prodded Carson, "Tell him the good news."

Carson looked at the Major confusedly, "Good news?" John nodded and Carson realized, "Oh, right. Dr. Elana Trelio is quite a sweet woman actually; she and Kate have become friends these past few days. She's agreed to stay for awhile, help us out."

"We might not have found you if it wasn't for her."

Rodney snarked, "Oh is that right?" He refused to believe it; his own experience with Garin had soured him.

John tried to turn him to their opinions, "She told us about a Submarine Bay."

Rodney cracked another piece of ice, "What Sub Bay?"

John repeated, "The one Elana told us about."

Rodney wriggled into a more comfortable position, but also aggravated his side wound and his ribs, he hissed, "Oh, that hurts, oh god does that hurt!"

Carson immediately held him in place, "Don't move too much."

"You don't have to tell me that twice!" He squinted his eyes shut.

John asked Carson quietly, "Can't you give him something?"

But of course Rodney heard, "Yes! Please!"

"Aye, I'll be right back. But after that, you're getting some rest lad." Carson started walking away.

Rodney called after him, "I've been in a coma, how much more rest do I need!" Carson didn't answer as he stepped into another room, and Rodney started coughing, yelling had strained his throat.

"So… have you really been watching us for the past few days, when Garin was… here?"

"Masquerading as me?" He coughed again and brought the cup to his mouth, drinking the little water the ice had melted into, "Yes."

John noticed the glare on Rodney's face, it wasn't hard to miss. "That must have been-"

"Horrible? Terrifying? Frightening? Dreadful? Horrendous? Yes, it was."

The Major paused a moment before speaking again, "I'm sorry. I should have stopped it before it got to this point."

"I watched someone live my life for four days, talk with the people I know, he completely tore apart my mind, and he fucking enjoyed it! And to top it off, no one noticed until it was too late to stop him from doing the same to Kate and escaping Atlantis!" He started coughing more violently, an itch crept at the back of his throat. The coughing continued to send pain throughout his torso, irritating the broken ribs and tugging at the staples in his side.

John helped him with the ice cup, "Well, we sort of noticed…"

"What do you mean?"

"I had Zelenka and Grodin working down in 13B since the day Beckett and Heightmeyer released you, Garin, back to work."

"You did?"

"Teyla and Ford noticed something was up, the way Garin was sparring. Zelenka and Grodin saw a change in the lab, he was acting extremely arrogant, more than you would. And Dr. Weir suspected when she ran into Garin after breakfast, when he had that fight with Elana, the day all this happened."

That made Rodney forgive them a little, at least they hadn't been completely oblivious of the situation, "And he still got out of the city?"

John shrugged, "He was an Ancient."

Carson chose this moment to show up, syringe in hand, "This should make you feel better." He pushed the meds into Rodney's IV.

"That's the good stuff, right?"

"Yes, Rodney."

"Because, genius in pain here."

"Yes, Rodney. Now, you should be falling asleep fairly soon."

"You didn't!" Rodney was taken aback.

"I did. Doctor's orders." Carson kept his medical-poker face on.

John was keeping a grin back himself, "You're clever doc, snuck a sedative into that syringe too, didn't you? That's what took you so long."

"Aye. I need him to bloody sleep."

"I'm still awake here!"

Carson couldn't keep a straight face any longer and the corners of his lips rose into a sly grin, "Not for long lad."

Rodney held a finger out, "One of these days Carson, you are going to pay for this."

"I have three words for you, Complete Medical Examination."

"You wouldn't!" Rodney could feel himself feeling a woozy.

"But I would. I will be here when you wake up in a few hours."

John waved, "Pleasant dreams Rodney."

Rodney mumbled something incoherent and drifted to sleep.

Carson and John looked at each other and the Scot asked, "Are we going to tell him there's still a copy of his consciousness in that contraption?"

"We'll tell him the next time he wakes up, then Zelenka will delete it, and this whole thing will be done with."

Carson had finally let himself sigh with relief that Rodney had broken from the coma, and he keyed his radio, "Elizabeth?"

Xxx

The next time Rodney McKay woke up, he found himself with an audience. Elizabeth was sitting on a bed, as were John, Radek, and Peter. He looked around and yawned loudly, unknowingly grabbing their attention.

Elizabeth walked over and squeezed his hand quickly, "Rodney, glad to see you back."

"Yes, well, so am I. I would be happier if this body wasn't torn to pieces."

He saw Radek and Peter and immediately started asking questions about the panel and the computer Garin designed, "Hey, so you two figured how Garin did this?"

The three scientists started getting into an extremely in depth and detailed discussion about how the panel actually worked, leaving John and Elizabeth getting a few words in here and there and looking at each other and pretending they knew exactly what was going on. They knew what the computer did and everything, just this amount was not necessary for them.

Then Peter got to one part, "We did have a slight problem when we extracted Garin."

Radek quickly added, "Very slight, hardly worth mentioning."

"Yet you mentioned it, spill."

"We copied you." Peter prepared himself for what was coming.

"You WHAT? As if this all wasn't enough," He rubbed his face.

"It is quite easy to delete, nothing to fret over."

"Okay, Radek, but I want that deleted, my head's been messed with enough this past week."

Elizabeth jumped back into the conversation, "Dr. Heightmeyer will be coming down. I know you should talk."

John added, "Her and Elana."

Rodney took a slow breath as to not aggravate his chest, "Great…" He didn't know how he felt about it, apparently Elana Trelio was still a nice Ancient, nothing like what her husband had turned into, but it was still all very odd. He had tried so hard to stop Garin, and failed, only to find out it didn't really matter, Elana was staying and Kate was letting her. He sighed as his little audience started filling out.

True to Elizabeth's word, Kate Heightmeyer walked in a moment after the group had left and walked right over to him. "Hi Rodney." Kate was the only person who could even come close to understanding what Rodney had been through the past week, and she still couldn't imagine what it had done to him. She knew she was lucky that Elana was humane.

"Hi…"

"Elana is in here too, but I'll be doing the talking."

"Then talk." He actually wasn't trying to be rude, he was just incredibly uncomfortable, and fully aware he couldn't just run away. He couldn't even limp away.

"Well, I was wondering if there was any time that you couldn't see what was happening, what Garin was doing."

"There was one night." He didn't want to think about it.

Kate calmly asked, "The night after Garin had downloaded Elana into me?"

"Yea."

"Would you like to know what happened, between them? Elana has shared all memories beginning with the time of the attack on Anfalas, up to the time we first talked." Rodney just stared at her blankly, not really wanting to answer, so Kate went on, "They slept together."

Rodney covered his face, not wanting her to see his reaction, which was a mix of disgrace, embarrassment, and fear; and hatred and disgust for Garin. If he wasn't gone already, he would give that man a clobbering. He imagined what he would do, it consisted of a lot of punches to the face, stomach, private regions… and then put him on a deserted planet in a locked room with an overloading naquadah generator, and the mother dragon from M3R-436 in case he managed to stabilize the generator… and find the father dragon and throw him in there too.

She saw his reaction and slightly smiled, "The key word being slept."

He looked up at her, "What?"

"They only slept that night. Elana was not comfortable going any further than kissing."

He sighed with relief, "Oh thank god!... I mean, its not that you're not, or that… if they did that would mean that technically we, and then -"

She cut off his semi-coherent rant, "I know exactly how you feel."

"You do?"

"It was a relief when Elana showed me that nothing happened. Though there was some cuddling involved." It was very odd for her having memories that were not her own, of spending the night in his quarters. She shook them off.

Rodney couldn't help but imagine that night, but he scolded himself, "So, that's one issue out of the way."

"Yes. I wanted to apologize; I should have known it was Garin who came to the sessions."

Rodney thought this must be 'Say sorry to McKay day' or something, "Well, yea. I was yelling at you to notice."

"You were?"

He nodded, "Then and when Garin had brought you down to the lab."

"I didn't realize it was him until it was already too late. But, I suppose nothing permanent was done to me."

Rodney pointed to her head, "What about her?"

"Elana? Oh, I had to convince her to stay awhile. She was extremely hesitant at first."

He pouted, "You got the good Ancient. That is not fair."

"I'm sure you wouldn't want to share your body with someone else."

"True. But why do you?"

"We're making it an equal relationship, share knowledge, dreams; it's like having your best friend with you all the time."

Rodney scoffed, "No thanks. I like my solitary moments."

Kate knew when to drop things, and Rodney looked very tired so she thought it best to leave it be for now, "If you ever need to talk about anything else, you know where to find me."

"Yep, see you later." He waved goodbye as she left and laid his head back on the pillow, completely and utterly relaxed, now that events of that week had been cleared up.

Xxx xxx xxx

Rodney was eager to get out of the infirmary a week later, he hadn't spent that much time there personally, and it annoyed him more than anything ever had. The almost persistent boredom due to the face that Carson wouldn't let him work on his laptop, and the looking around the room so much he memorized it.

Ask him how many tiles there were on the ceiling he would spit out '273,' how many of those lighted columns, '12,' how many light slits on each column, '32.' Let's not forget how many time the nurses and doctors walked through every day, on average, '210.'

He wondered what they were doing, walking back and forth like that, it wasn't as if there were that many patients besides him. The odd marine would come in, complaining of a strained wrist from training too much with Teyla and Major Sheppard. Then there was his staff that would stop in with burns and cuts and worried because they were shocked by some device.

They tried to avoid him so as not to get screeched at for doing something wrong, but it never worked. He would ask what happened, they would explain quickly, and he would then send them to Carson. Of course, he had the usual stream of visitors- John, Elizabeth… but people couldn't be there constantly, there was a city to run.

Carson had helped him into a wheelchair as he couldn't walk on his leg very well yet and wheeled him to his room, where he was now, looking out the view from his window. He also had a set of crutches over in the corner.

There was a chime at his door, and Rodney called out, "Who is it?"

"Me."

"I need a little more than that!"

"I have food, real food that the Doc wouldn't let you have."

He smiled, it was the Major, he thought the door open to let him in, "What sort of food?"

John walked in, holding two trays that were laden with everything the mess hall had put out that afternoon, "Well, pretty much the whole lot of it. Nothing citrus." John dragged Rodney's table over to where he was sitting, still in a wheelchair, but in normal clothes- a blue short sleeved shirt and the khaki pants. He set the trays down.

Rodney eyed the tray, John certainly didn't skimp, "You can't possibly believe I'm going to eat all of this."

"Well, what you don't eat, I will." He was busily diving into his own lunch.

"Where do you put it all? Damn, you're skinnier than a toothpick."

"I'm not that skinny, I have a high metabolism."

He had a mouthful of food, "Common excuse."

There had been something bugging John about the whole 'Rodney watching Garin live his life' thing, "So, where exactly were you in your mind for those days? Maui? Canada? Hockey Game? Back at the SGC?"

Rodney explained, "I had four days of a perfect model our Gateroom, but he added couches." He picked up his glass and took a sip.

John narrowed his eyes, "Couches? In the Gateroom? What color?"

Rodney set his glass down, "Orange. Can you believe that? They were Orange!"

FIN


A/N: I hope you enjoyed! Check out the sequel Return of the Orange Couches, thanks!