Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters... unfortunately
AN: Sorry about the wait. A friend of mine died last month and I've been having a hard time about it. But things seem to be back on track, I wanted to thank everyone who commented (I'd list you all but it'd take up to much room!). I really appreicated it, they were the final push that got me to finish the chapter. You guys have my deepest thanks!
The story is past the halfway point so hopefully I'll have this finished in a timely manner. I'm debating whether or not to write a sequel... it all depends on how I end this, so I guess time will tell. Read, enjoy, and review.
Beta'd by AKAazosah, any mistakes found are my own. Enjoy.
Rodney ran down the halls as fast as he could, only stopping to avoid the occasional person wandering around. He listened to the headpiece that he'd stolen from the infirmary hoping that no one knew that he was gone yet. By the time he made it to his room he half expected someone to be there waiting for him. As the door opened, Rodney let out a breath he didn't realize he was holding when all he saw was the empty room.
Even before the door closed, Rodney was scrambling to get everything he needed. Grabbing his laptop, a life sign reader, and a power bar, he left, aware of the fact that this would be the first place they'd look for him. He didn't go far from his room, knowing that he didn't have much time to do anything. Sitting in a deserted hallway, he let his hands move from memory over the laptop keyboard to configure his head piece to an all access emergency channel. The fact that he could use all of this equipment should have fazed him, but using the computer only gave him a strange sense of familiarity.
"-naugh, could you please report to my office? I'd like to have a word with you." Said a stern voice over the headpiece, Dr. Weir, Rodney thought briefly.
"I don't see what the big deal is here. It was an accident!" Rodney cringed slightly at the sound of Kavanaugh's voice.
"Now, Doctor," Dr. Weir's voice didn't leave much room for discussion.
"Fine," Kavanaugh huffed before cutting out of the channel.
Rodney let the headpiece fall as he searched the scanner. Luckily, he found one lone reading leaving Kavanaugh's quarters. Rodney saw that the man was heading towards the transporter, when he realized the perfect payback.
Rodney worked as fast as he could as he accessed the transporter schematics and entered his override codes. He only had about two minutes to get this right and somehow he felt like that was more than enough time. He finished with five seconds to spare before Kavanaugh entered the transporter.
That'll teach the pompous prick, he thought bitterly as he opened the power bar. Rodney reset all of his changes, except for two, and set his radio on top of the laptop. When he was finished with the bar, he stood up leaving everything behind except the life-sign detector. He knew that if they weren't looking for him before, they definitely would be now. The only thing he could really do was wait until they found him, but he didn't have to make it easy for them by standing still.
As Rodney wandered the halls, his growing headache made him realize that he should have waited for Carson to give him some aspirin before leaving the infirmary. He was halfway to his quarters to get some of his own, when he thought he heard something behind him. He ducked around the nearest corner and looked at the scanner in his hand; no one was close enough to hear.
He was about to continue on when his head started to throb and his vision seemed to flicker. Rodney pushed forward trying to regain his bearing but it was getting harder to concentrate. Turning the corner, he stopped dead in his tracks when he saw someone standing in front of him. Rodney stumbled and fell down; never taking his eyes off on the girl in front of him. "Jeanie," he whispered. She didn't look at him, just continued to stare ahead of her. She was older looking then the last time he could remember. The one thing that stood out the most, however, was that she was crying.
Rodney stuttered, trying to say anything, when he heard someone walking up behind him. He turned to see Major Lorne walking towards him. Rodney quickly turned back to see that his sister was gone.
"There you are," Lorne stated, as he walked up to the boy sitting on the floor staring down the hall. "You know how many people are looking for you?" he asked. Rodney turned back to look at him and then back towards the hall. Lorne saw the boy's mouth open and close, almost like a fish. "A speechless McKay, wow, wish I had my camera," he added with a smile. Rodney scrambled to his feet; Lorne almost missed how the boy swayed slightly before he was able to settle himself.
"Are you taking me back to the infirmary?" Rodney avoided making direct eye contact as he talked.
"That was the original plan," he stated as he placed a hand the boy's shoulder. When Rodney recoiled slightly, he gave him a reassuring squeeze before leading him towards the nearest transporter. "But a funny thing happened while we were looking for you; it seems that Kavanaugh went missing on his way to Dr. Weir's office. You wouldn't happen to know anything about that would you?" Lorne asked with a smirk.
"Not a thing," he grumbled in response.
Lorne looked down at McKay and could tell the kid was miserable even without the shiner. "You had this place in an uproar, you know that McKay?" He waited until Rodney looked up before continuing, "We were all worried."
"Don't waste your time," he muttered softly.
Lorne laughed softly. "Don't think I can do that, you've saved my ass too many times. Beside Kavanaugh, I think that everyone's been worried. I know that the science team has been working overtime trying to fix this." Lorne waved open the transporter and guided a quiet Rodney in. He continued when they stepped out, "I'm a little embarrassed to say this but you really surprised me McKay. You're a better man then I ever really gave you credit for." That comment got Rodney's attention; however, they had just reached Dr. Weir's office. "She doesn't look to happy. Good luck, McKay." He whispered as he walked off. Rodney's eyes were locked on Lorne as he went back the way they had come. He was so shocked by the man's comment that he didn't realize that Weir had called his name.
"Rodney," she repeated a little an exasperated.
"What!" He snapped back, as he turned, forgetting who he was talking to. He turned to see Dr. Weir sitting behind her desk and a slightly amused Sheppard sitting in one of her chairs.
"Excuse me?" She bristled. Sheppard faked a cough to hide his amusement. "I don't think I like that tone you're using and considering how much trouble you're in at the moment, I don't think it's appropriate either." A memory of Rodney's mother sadly looking down on him forced its way to his mind. The pair watched the boy close his eyes tight for a brief moment before he made his way to the other unoccupied chair.
"Fine, I'm sorry," he finally responded. Sheppard noticed that he looked worn out; too worn out for only being gone for thirty minutes. "What can I do for you?" He asked, which would have sounded sincere if it weren't drowning in sarcasm.
Weir paused for a moment. "Rodney, I know that no one can truly begin to understand how difficult this must be for you. That being said, things haven't been easy for the rest of us either." Elizabeth decided to ignore the eye roll. "With you… out of commission and half the science team working on this problem… we were struggling enough as it was before this whole situation. You aren't making things any easier with this recent stunt."
"I don't know what you're talking about," Rodney responded calmly.
"Kavanaugh," was her only response. Rodney looked away and out towards the gate. He doubted that he would be able to actually activate the gate and make it through, but it was nice to dream.
"What about him?" He didn't even try to hide the distain in his voice.
Sheppard could tell that Weir was at the end of her rope, considering the recent pressures with the NID and the ever present threat of the wraith. "Rodney," he interjected. "I think we all know that you had a hand in the sudden… disappearance of Dr. Kavanaugh." Rodney slumped slightly in the chair under the Colonel's gaze. "So why don't we just cut to the part where you say you're sorry and tell us what you did."
Rodney finally looked up to see that Sheppard didn't look amused anymore. His head was still pounding and it didn't look like Elizabeth was going to let him leave until he told them. "Can I see your computer?" He asked her with a great sigh as he shifted the chair closer to the desk. Elizabeth detached her computer from the stand and placed it in front Rodney. He quickly pulled up a schematic of the city. "He's here." Rodney pointed to the southern most tip of Atlantis, as he knelt on the chair to work at a better angle.
"How did he get there? That part of the city isn't powered," Weir asked in a stern voice. "Shouldn't we be able to see him on the scanners or contact him through his radio?"
"Not if I masked his life sign from the scanners and programmed the computers to not recognize his radio broadcast." Rodney said all this as he typed on the computer, undoing all of his previous work; but in twice the time it should have took. If he looked up, he would have seen a shocked and slightly furious Weir. "I temporarily routed power to the section, in particular the transporter, and changed some of the transporter code. No matter what destination he chose, he would have been sent there."
"Remind me never to get on your bad side." Sheppard said softly, which earned him a glare from Weir. She was not pleased. When he looked back at Rodney, he noticed that his eyes were squinted and his body language was tense
"That was very reckless of you, Rodney. Frankly, I'm shocked. He could be seriously hu-"
"It's fixed," he interrupted. "You can tell him that the transporter is working again." Rodney slid off the chair and looked squarely that Dr. Weir. "I'm not saying sorry. So if we're done here I'd liked to get back to my room. I'm a little tired and my head hurts a bit." The fact that he stressed the word hurt wasn't lost on either of them. Seeing that no one was stopping him, Rodney walked out the door quickly, before they could change their minds.
"He's certainly sounding more like his old self." Elizabeth commented, "but I'm not sure that makes me entirely happy."
"Carson did say that this could happen, when enough of his memories came back…" Sheppard left the dangers of this unspoken, since they already knew what could happen. Rodney would break, given enough time. The two sat silently for a moment, as if a solution would come to them out of thin air. That was until Sheppard remembered something important. "Shouldn't we contact Kavanaugh now?"
Sheppard made his way back to his room. After they had contacted the missing scientist and made sure he was safe; he had decided that he didn't really need to be party to what he was sure to be an exciting reunion and quickly excused himself. It took him about two seconds upon entering the room to realize that Rodney was there. The drawer where he stashed his power bars was opened; his once made bed was a small mountain of blankets and slight movement, and there was a pile of equipment next to his desk that didn't belong to him.
Kicking off his shoes on the way to his bed, Sheppard listened carefully. He almost thought that he heard sniffling. He sat down gently next to the mass, "you want to talk about it?"
"No," the mass responded firmly.
Always the stubborn one, he thought to himself, but he knew better then to push his friend. "Well I'm going to try to get some work done," Sheppard said as he stood up, patting the blankets softly. "Give me a holler if you need anything." He might have heard a grunt in response, but he wasn't really sure. He made a quick detour on the way to his desk to get something from his bathroom. He placed a glass of water and two Tylenol on his night stand before settling in to finish his long neglected paper work. He was five minutes in, when he heard movement and glanced back to see a hand reach out and take the pills and water.
He saw Rodney shifting to get more comfortable and knew that the boy would be sleeping soon. Sheppard wondered how long Rodney would be able to sleep before a nightmare would wake him. He remembered that Zelenka had said two days until the device was fixed. He prayed that the man was right.