Spoilers for Aurora and Grace Under Pressure

Back in the Saddle

Rodney entered his quarters and flopped face down onto his bed, welcoming it like a long lost friend. It had been less than two days since Sheppard and Radek had rescued his ass and yet it somehow felt much longer. Still, finding yourself in a puddle jumper hurtling out of control towards the ocean, then sinking to the bottom of aforementioned ocean, all the while watching a colleague sacrifice himself for you; then, having the hottest hallucination this side of the galaxy stick her tongue down your throat while you battled the odds to survive? That would take it out of anyone. Right? But he was so damn tired, and if he was honest with himself he'd been just as tired before the crash.

He let out a loud groan, rolled onto his back and covered his eyes with an arm. Carson had insisted on keeping him far too long in the infirmary 'for observation' and this was the first truly private moment he'd had. His head still hurt, but nothing to the magnitude he'd been suffering. The familiarity of his surroundings calmed him though and he soon drifted off to sleep………..

And then he was back in the jumper. The events of the crash replaying in his head in glorious Technicolor. The sickening angle and speed of their descent. The ocean that rushed up to fill the window. The sound of Griffin's desperate mayday calls and then impact. Then waking, realisation of where they were, the windshield cracking, Griffin closing the door and wishing him luck. Then he was cold and alone, and water was seeping in. No Sam though this time.. Ahhh, no - here she was. He could feel her hand on his shoulder now gently shaking him. Okay, not so gentle now……"Nosso rough," he muttered and swatted absently at the offending appendage.

"Wakey, wakey McKay," said a gruff voice that was definitely not female, and most definitely not Sam's.

Rodney peeled open an eye and groaned as he saw Colonel Sheppard's skinny frame hovering over him. "Go away, I'm sleeping," he mumbled.

"No can do buddy. Rise and shine, it's time to get back out there," Sheppard said far too cheerfully.

"Out where?" Rodney asked obtusely.

Sheppard rolled his eyes. "Vegas, where do you think? Out there," he said jabbing a finger at the door.

"Why?" Rodney said sitting up absently wiping the drool he felt from the side of his mouth.

"Because it's morning, and it's what we do."

"Carson hasn't cleared me for gate travel," he protested weakly.

"Who mentioned anything about going through a gate?"

Rodney put a hand through his bed hair and stared up at the man. "Well where then?" he asked.

"It's a surprise," Sheppard said and pulled him up from the bed before turning and heading for the door. When Rodney didn't immediately follow, John turned back and frowned. "C'mon move it McKay, we're on a schedule."

Rodney remained rooted to the spot but then held his hands up in submission. "Can I at least take care of personal business first?" he snapped.

Sheppard stared at him before realisation dawned. "Sure, I'll just make myself comfortable while you…" he waved a hand at Rodney. "Freshen up."

Rodney shook his head in disbelief before stomping to the bathroom.

He emerged a half hour later clean shaven with just a towel draped around his waist.

"You're still here then," he snipped.

Sheppard looked up from the magazine he'd been reading sporting a huge grin.

"Yep. Found your coffee stash too. You've been holding out on me Rodney," he said with a pout and raised a mug to his mouth. He nodded at another mug, still steaming on the table.

"I can't believe you! Have you no respect for personal space? You went through my drawers!"

"I was bored," Sheppard said and shrugged. "I've had girlfriends actually take less time than you do to get ready."

Rodney picked up the coffee and took a swig feeling the bitter liquid enter his system. Then he tore the magazine from Sheppard and cuffed him across the head with it.

"Get out. Just get out!"

"Okay, but pick up the pace. Seriously, we're on a schedule," Sheppard said before getting up.

Rodney shoved him towards the door and opened it with his mind before ejecting him.

He emerged a few minutes later fully dressed, though his hair was still damp. He ran a hand back through it making it stand up.

"Aww, going for the Sheppard look? I'm touched," John said from the opposite corridor.

Rodney offered his best scowl, but Sheppard merely dragged him off to the mess hall then watched as he ate breakfast. Next he found himself being frogmarched down corridors. It wasn't long before Rodney realised where they were headed.

"Why are we going to the hangar bay?" he asked.

"Because when you fall off a bike, you get right back in the saddle," Sheppard said.

Rodney stopped walking. "Well that's great, but I didn't fall off a bike. I was a passenger in a space craft that crashed and then tried to drown me!"

"Precisely. Which is why we're now going for a joyride. Show you there's nothing to be nervous about."

"I'm not nervous. I never said I was nervous. Who said I was nervous?"

John stared at him before shaking his head amused. "Well then, there's no problem is there?" he said and grabbed McKay's arm and pulled him towards the bay and into the open hatch of a waiting jumper.

Five minutes later they were airborne and flying in relative silence. Eventually John cast an eye over at McKay.

"Relax there Rodney. It's a walk in the park remember."

"I'm not nervous," he snapped.

"No?" John asked and looked at Rodney's hands that were balled tightly into fists.

Rodney glanced down and forced his hands open, splaying his fingers over his legs and forced a weak smile on his face. "So how long are you gonna fly us round in circles for, or do we have an actual destination?" he asked.

Sheppard grinned and began to hum, 'Round and round and round we go...'

McKay huffed loudly and folded his arms. "Oh that is so mature," he grouched.

Sheppard looked back over at him before returning his stare out of the windscreen. "Y'know, there was a time back there when we thought we might not reach you Rodney," he said seriously.

"Oh really? Cause there was like this whole period where I didn't think you'd reach me!"

"Oh ye of little faith," John said.

Rodney winced at that remembering Sam's words of admonishment on his lack of faith in his colleagues. He closed his eyes and pinched the ridge of his nose with one hand. "She called me on that you know?" he said quietly.

"What? Who is 'she'?" John asked and Rodney realised his error.

"Oh, nobody. Ignore me," he said.

Sheppard raised an eyebrow. "Ookay," he drawled and looked over at Rodney. He sighed and then took his hands off the controls. Rodney looked up as the craft lurched and stared open mouthed at him.

"What the hell are you doing?" he yelled.

"Killing two birds with one stone," John said with a smirk.

"What?" McKay spluttered.

"You're gonna fly this thing – and I'm going to trust you to do it," Sheppard said.

"Can't you just say 'I trust you Rodney?' like normal people?"

"I could – but this is so much more fun!" he said leaning back and folding his arms across his chest.

Rodney lunged for the controls and brought the jumper back level.

"See. It's easy. You're even going in a straight line," John said.

"This is so unnecessary – it wasn't even me who crashed the damn thing," Rodney mumbled.

"No. But you must admit it feels good to be in control again after an experience like that."

Rodney smirked despite his annoyance. "Maybe. Just a little bit," he admitted.

"So you didn't think we'd come for you?" John asked after a moment.

Rodney sighed. "It wasn't that. I didn't think you'd be able to figure out a way to come for me."

"Oh, okay. That makes me feel a whole lot better."

"You know what I mean. Look, I admit I didn't have faith in you guys, I thought that without me a rescue couldn't be made. I was wrong."

"That's okay. I was wrong too," John said.

Rodney looked at John puzzled.

"Back on the Aurora I said I didn't trust you. Well I was wrong. I trusted you with my life then, as I do now and will continue to do so. Just thought you should know that," John said quietly.

Rodney tired to curtail the smile that was threatening to take over his face and felt himself relax into flying the jumper. For the first time in a long time he didn't feel tired. He glanced over at John who was wearing a smirk akin to the one he'd worn when they'd been testing Rodney's personal shield. Back when they still made time to have fun.

"So you wanna go back yet?" John said.

"Maybe we could you know - see how fast this thing can go?" he said.

"Now why would we want to do that?"

"We need a reason?" Rodney said.

Sheppard chuckled and shook his head. "So long as you've got my back when Elizabeth tears a strip off me."

"Why would she do that?"

"For this..." Sheppard said and put the jumper into a 360.

Rodney found himself gripping his seat, inertial dampeners or no inertial dampeners while joining Sheppard in a chorus of, "Yahoooooo!"

Oh yes. Things were good.


There ya go - my first SGA fic. Hope you liked it? Might even do another chapter so Elizabeth can yell at them!