Chapter Nine

finally I know :)

A/N: thanks as always to my beta and to all who have taken the time to review. I hope you enjoy this last chapter and find it a satisfying ending.

There was nothing worse than waiting. John glanced at this watch for the one-hundredth time in the past hour. Surgery couldn't be rushed, but it didn't mean he wasn't willing Carson to walk out of that operating room every second. John needed to hear those three simple words.

He made it.

The sooner, the better. Every second felt like an eternity when someone you loved was on the line.

He rubbed his stiff neck and stood up to stretch his sore, tense muscles.

"Patience Colonel."

John gave Teyla a half-hearted smile before he slumped back into his seat.

Come on McKay, don't quit on me now. John closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the hard, metal wall.

The soft sound of footsteps coming towards him made his heart do a little dance as he looked up at Carson's impossible to read face.

Carson's eyes traveled over each of their anxious faces and finally came to rest on John's. "You can breath now Colonel. He pulled through."

The mood in the room shifted faster than you could blink.

"That's my geek!" John knew he'd be smiling for days. Apparently it was contagious as all of those present were grinning from ear to ear.

"Yes, our geek will be under for at least another few hours, I am ordering you all to eat and shower before I see you set foot in this infirmary again. Is that clear or will I have to unleash Elizabeth ?"

John shook his head. "That won't be necessary. We'll be back though, in one hour and fifty-nine minutes."

Carson rolled his eyes, but they all left before the Doctor could protest.

"Okay, so get moving you two. I'll see you back here in a few."

They both nodded and headed off towards their quarters.

John felt lighter than he had in days. He was still dreading the "talk" they needed to have, since they both sucked at things like that, it was likely to be awkward as hell. Filled with pauses and pointless sarcastic remarks to ease their discomfort.

He couldn't wait.

John was still smiling as he showered, ate, and even managed to rest his eyes for ten minutes before heading back towards the infirmary.

He wasn't surprised to see Teyla and Ronon coming up right behind him.


"It's exactly 1 hour and 59 minutes later." Ronon smirked.


John walked in, trailed by his friends.

"We're back."

"Yes you are." Carson sighed and waved them over. "He's in there."

"He awake?"

"Yes Colonel. He's a little out of it, so go easy on him."

John put on his best "what me" face and nodded. He started towards his Rodney's semi-private bed and stopped. Teyla nearly fell into him, but to her credit she said nothing.

"Sorry guys. Ummm do you mind if I go in alone for a few minutes. I just need to-"

"We understand Colonel. Just let us know when you are done."

"Thanks Teyla."

She smiled and guided Ronon to a couple of chairs.

John took a deep breath. Here goes nothing. Don't screw this up John.

He gently pulled the white curtain back that was surrounding his friend's bed. Rodney's head slowly turned until he could see who had arrived.

McKay surprised him by smiling.

A large chunk of anxiety that John hadn't even known was lingering melted away. "Hey Rodney." John pulled the curtain shut and took a seat in the chair very conveniently placed next to his friends bed.

"How are you feeling?"

"I'm doped up on pain killers so right now pretty damn good. Ask me again in another hour."

John chuckled. "I'll do that."

"So, sadly there's no comfortable way to say this. We need to talk, and I don't think it can wait. Hell, if I blink, we may under attack the next time I open my eyes."

"Yeah, I know what you mean." Rodney shifted a little, but didn't avert his eyes.

"To bad we both suck at this huh?"

"We're men."

John laughed again. "I would miss this you know." He knew McKay would know what he meant.

"Me too. How sad is that?"

"Pretty damn sad."

John coughed, then he took a deep breath and placed his hand on Rodney's shoulder. "What's even sadder is how I've treated you lately." His friend tried to protest, John pressed on. "No, I have been a real ass McKay and you know it. Then when things are finally getting better, I go and turn into an even bigger ass on that planet. Which I have decided to code name Hell by the way."

Rodney gave him a weak smile, but stayed quiet.

"I am so damn sorry Rodney. I don't know how else to say it. I was wrong."

"You aren't the only one who screwed up."

"Yeah and then you apologized. Which was a feat all in itself."

"Look who's talking?"

John opened his mouth to protest, and then he saw the warmth in his friends eyes, and decided to let that one go.

Rodney reached up and squeezed John's arm. "So basically we are both big asses, who suck at maintaining a friendship."

John tightened his grip on Rodney's shoulder. "Yeah I guess so."

"So I guess it's a good thing we found each other then huh?"

John felt tears threatening. He hadn't lost him. "Yeah, I think its is, I mean who the hell else would put up with my shit like you do."

"And who'd put up with mine." John could have sworn Rodney's eyes were brighter than normal today.

His friend blinked a few times and then gave him a very familiar, knowing smile. "You know you're right. You really do suck at this."

"Now look who's talking."

Then they were both laughing like idiots.

"So we're good."

Rodney's face became serious. "We're good."

"Good." John smiled warmly went fix his friends pillow that had shifted during their talk.

"You're not going to hug me now are you?"

John had been considering it, not that he'd ever admit that. "Please. I don't like you that much."

Rodney allowed him to adjust his pillows.

"Ronon and Teyla are chomping at the bit to come in and see you."


"Of course. That's what family's do Rodney, they worry."

His friend swallowed several times. "Yeah. I forget that sometimes."

"That's why I'm here Rodney. To remind you."

"Thanks." Rodney's voice was quiet but full of emotion.

"Anytime." John whispered before calling for the rest of his team.

John couldn't remember the last time he had felt this happy. He was whole they were whole again.

His parents had been right. You usually don't know what you have until it's too late. Thankfully for John Sheppard, he'd been given a second...or was it a third chance.

Rodney caught his distant look and gave him a quick squeeze on his shoulder.

As he met his friends trusting eyes, he realized he didn't care.

the end :))

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