Title: "Snapped" 1/1
Authors: Kamelion and Goo
Rating: teen and adult, I guess. Violence and language
Spoilers: "Runner" season two

Warning:Violence and language.

Kam says: This is sort of an
alternate scene in the "Runner" episode that Goo and I hashed out, I
tossed out an idea, she added a hell of a lot, and I threw in my
three cents.

Summary: Sheppard cracks
Feedback: always welcomed. Bad comments go directly to Goo. You've
been warned.


"Snapped"

Son of a bitch. Son of a fucking. . .that didn't just happen. There was no way Ford willingly ran into that beam, have his life sucked up by that white light. He had escaped the Wraith once, now he ran willingly into their arms, and away from his friends. There was no way he just witnessed that. He was supposed to stop, to look at his commanding officer, to give in and realize. . .god dammit he WAS NOT supposed to run into that beam. . .

The night closed in around Sheppard as he hurried back to where, if he wasn't mistaken, his idiot of a physicist was. His memory pinpointed, he saw glimpses of Rodney, of Ford leveling a gun, of the tension in that trigger finger that he trained, dammit. . .why he hadn't killed McKay outright was beyond him. Or had he? He had heard gunfire, which first guided his senses to the small clearing surrounded by black trees. He swiped away the low hanging branches as he ran.

The sight before him was something to be remembered. At first the orange figure was limp, then started thrashing like a fish on a line. It was absurd, it was humiliating, it was enraging. Stupid son of a. . . "What the HELL are you doing? Sheppard stood there, caught between slack jawed amazement and fury.

Rodney McKay blinked down at him, his square jaw set in a typically unconvincing manner. "I'm evaluating the planetary ecliptic by measuring the pendulum variance, Colonel," he croaked. "What the hell does it LOOK like I'm doing?"

"Waiting to be gutted," growled Sheppard, approaching carefully, his eyes open for more traps.

"Oh, thank you so much for that image. I really needed just one more thing to make my day complete." He wriggled, trying to reach his ankles, and fell back. "Carson has NO idea what's about to hit his sedative supply. He better have enough Valium for a small African country because I plan to take every last tablet he's got."

Sheppard grunted, not sure exactly what he'd say if he opened his mouth, but absolutely certain it would be the kinds of words officer training didn't encourage in this sort of situation. His deep breaths were doing nothing. He grabbed McKay to steady him, and then jumped for the rope above his feet.

"What-what are you doing? You do know I'm on the verge of getting motion sick here."

Sheppard ignored him and clambered up the rope to the tree branch above. He was grinding his teeth so hard his head ached, not sure where the sudden rage was coming from, and not ready to consider a source. Not yet. He just wanted out of this damn jungle, away from the heat and humidity and the goddamn Wraith.

And the now empty place where a friend had been.

"Hey, what are you doing! You're being careful, right? You know what you're doing? Huh? Colonel?" The panicked voice floated up, and Sheppard felt a vindictive anger. He yelled down for Rodney to curl into a ball, not allowing time for panic to set in. There was an odd shuffling sound of leaves, a snap, and McKay's world blurred. And McKay, quite unashamedly, screamed like a girl.

Sheppard landed beside him a second later, uncoiling from a graceful crouch. McKay uncoiled, more or less, from an ungainly heap. "What was that? You trying to kill me? One attempt not enough for you?"

Sheppard stared at him. He wanted to laugh, he really did. He knew damn well that some other time, some other place, he'd have been doubled over with tears running down his face. Laughing. But not this time. This time he reached down, got a good fistful of McKay's orange suit and hauled the man onto his feet. Shook him like a terrier with a rat. "What's this, McKay?"

"My only protection, smartass." He looked down. "Uh, feet?"

Sheppard glared, glanced down and growled. He crouched and slashed the rope in one stroke, then stood again, angling his rage at the man in front of him. "You're the same color as a target. You ARE a target. A big . . " and suddenly he was reaching out, jabbing a finger in McKay's chest,

"Orange"

jab

"out of shape," McKay staggered back from the next jab,

"TARGET!"

McKay's heels dug into the thick leaf mold. He almost ended up on his ass, but he managed to wobble back onto a firm footing. This time he was the one jabbing a finger. "Back. OFF!"

Jab

"I can't tell you how much I HATE it when people"

JAB

" do that to me! I have had one of the WORST days,"

JAB

"I can remember since the last time Atlantis nearly sank. I have had to protect myself from toxic sunlight,"

JAB,

"I have had to cope with a petty tyrant of a marine,"

JAB,

"I have been abducted by a friend suffering delusions of superpowers under the influence of Wraith crap,"

JABBB

"I have had to shoot that friend -"

Ja . . . the finger never connected as Sheppard sidestepped. His hand snapped up and caught the clumsy, gloved one. "Shoot?" His voice was low and dangerous.

"Yes, shoot. As in, pointed a weapon and depressed the trigger. As in put in force the deplorable arms training I've been obliged to waste my time taking." His face fell. "God, I did. I-I shot him."

"Did you hit him?"

"Check a dictionary during your spare time, colonel, that's what SHOT means!"

Sheppard paused. That weird need to laugh and scream was stronger than ever, sticking in his chest painfully. He tightened his grip on McKay's hand. "And what happened?"

"What do you think happened? I hit him and he got mad at me. How did you think I ended up in a tree?" Not totally false. Not really.

"Did it ever occur to you that he's sick? OR that he's managed to survive attacking the Wraith directly, and perhaps shooting someone like that isn't the most BRILLIANT idea unless you plan on KILLING HIM?" Sheppard was suddenly up in McKay's face, shouting, and he couldn't remember how he got there. Couldn't remember when he'd stepped up and grabbed the physicist's ridiculous, orange suit and started to shake him, two handed.

McKay might have missed the bit on reloading a gun, but he must have paid a little attention at some point because his hands hit the inside of Sheppard's wrists just right and he didn't back up, he shoved. Sheppard was sitting on his ass in the wet, stinking leaves and for the world, he couldn't recall how he got there either. But he was suddenly up on his feet and McKay was bent, arm twisted, one of Sheppard's hands around his wrist and one on an elbow, immobilizing him. And Sheppard could smell his sweat, see the rapid blinking of his eyes as he hissed, "You wanna go? Is that what you want? Right here, McKay. Right now." And in another of those weird blurs of adrenaline and rage, Sheppard was standing back and McKay was staggering across the clearing, eyes showing white all the way around.

"What? What the hell is this?" McKay got his feet under him and turned, hands up in what had to be one of the lamest defensive postures Sheppard had ever seen.

"You're the one who took on a wraith junky, McKay. Show me."

McKay backed up just a little. Shook his head. His voice squeaked. "You're out of your mind. I knew this sunlight was dangerous but I thought we had more time."

Sheppard lunged, feinted a slap towards his head. "SHOW ME! You nearly got yourself killed out here, McKay. Give me one reason to think it wasn't blind fucking LUCK that kept you alive?"

McKay blinked and ducked, sidled away. "What's wrong with you? Are you hurt? Ford said you'd been -" he didn't get any further. Sheppard knew what was happening. He could feel it. He knew what he was doing and until the day he died, he'd know there had been nothing he could have done to stop himself. Three quick steps put him right up into McKay's space. He could feel the perfection of the contact as he engaged, his thigh pressed to Mckay's, the heel of one hand under his chin and the other arm behind his back, and the physicist was suddenly flat on his back, gasping.

Sheppard dropped onto him, straddling his hips and looming above him, pinning his wrists.

"YOU MOTHERFUCKING IDIOT! JESUS CHRIST HE COULD HAVE KILLED YOU MCKAY!" He was screaming, he was sure he was, couldn't imagine how a scream could be barely louder than a hiss, a whisper, but it was exploding out of his chest and he knew no one could hear them

McKay was white, his eyes wide and face pinched. He twisted his wrists but Sheppard could barely feel it. He was hard, every inch of his body was hard; hard hands, tendons like steel, muscles like teak as he shoved the other man down into the wet ground, shaking with rage that was icy, hotter than a sun. Hard legs, hard arms, hard cock. Hard heart. He didn't know how to let go, didn't think he could anymore. Sheppard dropped the rest of the way, pressing the length of his body to McKay's and he knew he felt like stone, a statue breathing rage. He hissed in McKay's ear, softly now, breath barely stirring the fine, brown hair. "He could have killed you, McKay. Is that what you want? Is that what you're trying to get?"

And finally, McKay caught his breath and hissed back, "Get OFF of me!"

Sheppard breathed in the scent of sweat, of fear and exertion and heat. He couldn't stop, dammit, he couldn't. He sunk his teeth into the soft skin, the big muscles of the neck.

McKay gasped, jerked. Sheppard bit down harder. "LET GO! JOHN!"

Sheppard did what he could. He let his jaw open a little, he tried. But he twisted the wrists he held and suddenly McKay was arching beneath him, trying to keep his wrists from breaking, moaning. And Sheppard moaned too, thrusting his hips and hating himself. His eyes burned and stung with shame and he couldn't have stopped this, either. Or that's what he told himself as he ground harder and moaned again, releasing tender skin but twisting fragile bones.

"Oh god, please," McKay's voice was a thin, desperate hiss. "Let go of me."

Sheppard shoved hard, every inch of his body shoved. "Shut up."

"You're breaking my wrists."

"Shut UP McKay."

" . . you're hurting me." So softly that Sheppard wasn't sure he'd heard it. But those were the words that made sense, the ones that reached him. He shuddered and he was suddenly still, hollow.

If a man could live without blood he'd have thought his had bled out. His anger drained, he went limp, hands loose around McKay's wrists, body limp and heavy on his. He was still and slack and ashamed as he'd never been before in his life. He burrowed his face into McKay's shoulder, trying to ignore the instinctive flinch when his face met skin. McKay made a small, soft noise of distress. "Let me up. Please."

Sheppard screwed his eyes tight shut and finally moved, forcing his arms tight around the man and holding on for all he was worth. And found thin, brittle words somewhere inside him. "He could have killed you, McKay. He's gone and he could have killed you." Sheppard wanted to dig his fingers into the shoulders he held, wanted to FEEL the way McKay's body moved as he breathed, feel the blood in his veins pumping. Wanted to feel something alive. Wanted to feel something other than scared and ashamed.

And alone.

Mckay was trembling. "pleasepleaseplease get off of me. Don't hurt me again."

Sheppard's breath caught tightly. God, what. . ."I won't." He breathed the words against the side of his neck. "I won't. I'm sorry."

"You won't hurt me?"

"I'm sorry." It was all he could say.

There was a long silence. Sheppard lay there and felt McKay move. Felt him breathe, felt the dull thump of his heart. And finally felt two hands tentatively rest on his back. Make a small, hesitant circle of comfort.

Sheppard tried to take a breath, tried to lever himself up. And gasped. That's what he told himself, though even to him it sounded more like a sob. McKay's hands stroked him more firmly. "Shhhh."

"He's gone." Sheppard heard the way his own voice cracked and hated it. "God, he's gone, Rodney. He's just gone."

"I know. I know. We'll get him back." The words sounded automatic.

"No." Sheppard shook his head, digging his face into the warm, safe place between neck and shoulder. "He nearly killed you. The wraith took him but he's gone, Rodney. I don't think he's there to get back."

"You don't believe that."

Sheppard was still. And finally found the courage lift himself up, off of McKay. He didn't meet the man's eyes, levering off of him to sit with his arms across his knees, head down.

McKay was up in a flash, faster than Sheppard would have thought he could, with a sense of desperation that stabbed him in the heart. He was across the clearing in an instant, but Sheppard felt his eyes on him, knew he was staring while trying to compose himself. But Sheppard only looked up from the corner of his eyes, not wanting to look at him full on.

And finally smiled a thin, humorless smile. "Yeah. I do believe that, McKay."

McKay was standing there, balanced on the balls of his feet. Sheppard found the courage to look at him, and watched, amazed, as McKay finally got what they'd worked so hard to teach him. He finally stood like he could fight. Or run. But he didn't do either. He took a few steps forward and slowly crouched down until Sheppard had to look at him full on, face to face, eight feet away. McKay licked his lips, nervous and visibly scared. "We'll get him back." The word sounded uncertain, and Sheppard knew it had nothing to do with faith.

No use, anyway. He didn't think he'd ever be able to hold his head up again. He let out a small, bitter laugh. "He's gone, McKay. Hell, maybe so am I."

The blue eyes blinked once, twice. McKay's lips suddenly thinned, jaw going firm again and this time it looked real. Scared and brave and real. And he stood up, walked over to stand directly in front of Sheppard and hold out a hand. "You're not gone, John. And neither is he. Trust a physicist. Some things just can't be destroyed." He gave a small nod. "You know I'm right. I'm always right."

It was a lame attempt at humor. Or was it? Sheppard looked up and couldn't turn away. The ashes of rage slowly cooled and the bitterness slowly eased. And the hand was still there, open, shaking but ready for closure. John Sheppard finally blinked hard against a very different sting in his eyes and reached out to take the hand held out to him. "Well. I guess. I mean, until I find someone smarter in the Pegasus Galaxy at least."

McKay grunted and staggered back without a single bit of grace but he did pull Sheppard up onto his feet. Let go and tugged his collar up to cover the raw, angry mark on the side of his neck, and snorted with a shadow of his arrogant self. "Good luck."

Sheppard stared at the man, shook his head and let a slow, amazed bit of hope put a small smile on his face. "Maybe we've got a little of that after all, McKay. Maybe we do."

The walk back was silent. McKay couldn't help but to keep his distance, darting small glances to the man that now kept himself hidden, rather that bleeding his emotions like an open wound. His body ached more than ever, tension like tight bands circling him. He was more than conscious of the tendon in his neck. He could still feel Sheppard's weight on him, still see those eyes so full of pain, still smell his own fear. If he thought he knew John Sheppard, he was wrong. And yet never before did he so fully understood the man.

That didn't mean he had to walk beside him. Not right now.

Sheppard was studying his own steps, making sure one foot led the other. He looked up only when they had reached the puddlejumper, and even then he pushed past bodies, not seeing them, and sat at the controls as the rest of the crew filed slowly in, some supported by others. Nothing was said as they flew out, nothing was said as they arrived in Atlantis. Nothing much was said to Weir, except when she asked about Rodney's neck. He fingered the mark gingerly, avoiding Sheppard's glance. Hell, he wasn't even sure the man looked at him. "Apparently Lt. Ford has a stronger grip than I gave him credit for."

"Rodney, unless he grew teeth on his hands, I doubt it."

The muscles around Rodney's mouth twitched in apprehension. "Yeah, well. . ." he looked down, presenting a case of really not wanting to talk about a traumatic event, and Weir accepted it. "Go see Dr. Beckett," she ordered. And she noticed that Rodney nodded, rather subdued, and never looked at Sheppard. And Sheppard never looked at Rodney.

And that wasn't right.

In fact, it wasn't until nearly a full day later that they were even in close proximity. Sheppard found himself in McKay's lab in the dead of night, knowing that McKay would be there. The quick, startled glance didn't surprise him, but the lack of fear did. Maybe he had time to get over the shock. Maybe Sheppard should apologize again. Instead he sat. "What'cha working on?"

McKay set down his tool patiently. "Is there something you wanted, colonel? Some small thing I can do for you that will get you out of my lab so I can concentrate?"

Sheppard fudged about, unable to pinpoint a reason as to why he was there. He surveyed the scattered object and bits on the table, mentally cataloging them and sorting them and basically keeping his mind distracted, until he had to meet McKay's eyes.

There was a softness there. There was anger, and pain, sure, but underneath there was something else, or did he just really want something else to be there?

"You're right, I should go." He stood quickly, too quickly, and was surprised to hear McKay counter his motion with a single word.

"Don't."

There was nothing in his past history with McKay that could prepare him for such a simple, honest request. Sheppard slowly sat, and looked to where McKay was pointing.

"Hand me that, will ya?"

Sheppard did, and McKay continued to work in silence. And soon Sheppard was leaning on the table top, watching him. Neither spoke, but neither had to. Sheppard simply continued to pass along the tools that McKay requested.