Chapter 1

Colonel John Sheppard groaned as he sat up in bed. His head pounded and he was warm, too warm. Oh hell, he couldn't be sick could he? He coughed harshly and groaned again. He was sick, great; Beckett was going to have a field day with him... that is if he found out.

The room spun wildly around him as he got up, so, okay maybe he would just tell him. He admitted to himself that he could use something for the headache as he coughed harshly again, and that was before his stomach lurched, sending him back onto his bed. He closed his eyes and took some deep breaths, trying to make sure that the contents of his stomach kept from making reappearance.

However, after a while the deep breaths nearly sent him into another coughing fit, making him extremely frustrated. Getting up again, this time more slowly, he took a quick shower, threw on some clothes and headed out. He walked slowly down the halls as his head seemed to pound with each step he took, and groaned inwardly, hoping that anyone passing by wouldn't stop to ask questions.

As he entered the infirmary the sound of Carson yelling angrily at someone reached his ears.

"Rodney. For the last time, NO!"

"Oh come on Carson it will only take a moment, all you have to do is..."

It was about then when John's body decided to stumble and he bumped into one of Carson's toys, knocking it loudly to the floor. Rodney, who had been facing away from the door since he had entered, turned to look at the source of the noise and found himself looking at a somewhat pale, and pissed off, John Sheppard.

"Son of a..." John stopped as he realized he was being watched. "What? Do I have something growing out of my nose?" He asked whilst glaring at McKay.

"No it's just that you look..."

"Terrible" Carson said, finishing Rodney sentence before he said something stupid that would undoubtedly piss the Colonel off even more than he already was.

Carson stepped around Rodney and approached Sheppard soothingly. "Not feeling well are we?" He asked his newest patient, though John simply nodded in reply. "Well lets have a look then, go ahead and take a seat, oh and Rodney you can go now." Carson said, gesturing for John to sit and for Rodney to leave. McKay mumbled something under his breath, and left reluctantly.

"I swear that man's going to drive me mad." Carson moaned as he watched Rodney leave and turned to Sheppard who was now sitting on a diagnostic bed, snuffling whilst constantly wiping his nose.

"Ah, I see something's got a hold of ye." John sneezed by way of reply.

"Most likely a cold I think, Major Lorne's got one too." He explained as he grabbed a thermometer and stuck it in Sheppard's mouth.

"Headache?" Again, John only nodded his answer.

"Sore throat?" This time John shook his head.

"No, didn't think so." He took back the thermometer and checked the reading. John's temperature wasn't that bad, and could be worse, which was something for the Colonel.

"Here" Carson handed him some pills, "for the headache." John took them gratefully.

"So, what did McKay want?" John asked as Carson got him some water to take with the pills.

"The fool was trying to get me to touch one of his little devices again, be careful he may just ask you next, and I suggest you take it easy."

John nodded and took the glass of water. Pills taken, John left the infirmary. He stuck close to the wall as the world once again decided to tilt slightly.

"Hey Colonel, wait!" The all too familiar voice of Rodney McKay suddenly sounded down the corridor, and with Sheppard's slow pace the Canadian caught up to him easily, and was now walking beside him.

"No" John stated emphatically, before Rodney could say any more.

"But you don't even know what I was going to say." Rodney argued, looking at Sheppard.

"I don't have to, I already know." John grumbled not stopping or even looking at Rodney. He seriously didn't want to do anything at the moment and sighed irritably when McKay continued to follow him.

"Look it will only take a moment. If you do...I...I promise not to bother you for a week, about anything." John looked at him and realised that he wasn't going to win this one, Rodney had that determined look on his face.

"FINE, but if you go back on your promise..." John glared at Rodney which, unfortunately for John, didn't look like much because of his red nose.

"Great, let's go." Rodney grinned, seemingly unfazed by the glare, and he quickened his pace

John made his presence known in Rodney's lab with a sneeze.

"Bless you Colonel." Radek said politely from his seat at a table, typing away on his laptop.

John grumbled in response as he followed Rodney over to a table covered with small, Ancient devices.

"So, which one do you want me to touch?" John asked, graciously accepting the tissue Rodney handed him. He gazed at the many devices that lay on the table.

Zelenka eyed them warily for a moment and said to Rodney "What are you doing?"

"What does it look like? The Colonel's going to help me with a little something." The Czech eyed the Colonel, and noted the red nose and the man's lethargic movements.

"You no look well Colonel, are you sure it good idea?" John's latest sneeze was, once again, his only form of reply.

"It's just a cold …right?" Rodney asked, cautiously looking at Sheppard who was blowing his nose.

"Yeah McKay …but I still feel like shit." John answered, though he muttered the last part.

"Good now, here this is the one." He picked up a small object that reminded John of a tear-drop. "I can't get it to work, that's why I asked Carson but..." He mumbled something barely audible under his breath about angry doctors, soft sciences and pointy needles.

"So, what does it do exactly?" John asked, noticing that the object itself was actually transparent.

"Well, we're not quite sure; exactly... We think its some sort of light device, nothing particularly harmful." John stopped and looked at him for a moment. Boy, did he want to believe him, really he did …but how many times had some gadget been seemingly harmless, and then blown up in their faces? He sighed to himself.

"Something wrong?" Rodney enquired as he began to look just the slightest bit worried, after all, the Colonel was sick, maybe he shouldn't have convinced him to come.

"No" John shook his head, slamming down on his pessimistic thoughts, and took the device from McKay.

John woke to pain, as his head hurt terribly. What happened? He wondered. Where am I? He willed his eyes open and was greeted by a dimly lit room. Definitely not the infirmary, he thought.

He tried to sit up, but his protesting ribs unsympathetically sent him back down again. Head spinning and gasping from the sudden pain, John closed his eyes and waited for the room to stop spinning violently around him. Once the floor was level, and the pain bearable, he again opened his eyes and looked around as best he could, though he couldn't see much.

Images of him grabbing a device from Rodney went through his mind's eye, which meant that he must be in McKay's lab. He gently flexed the fingers of the hand he had been holding the device in, and even more pain shot up his arm. He gritted his teeth and hissed in pain.

He vaguely remembered the object glowing immensely, and then the burning sensation that had caused him to drop the contrivance with a yelp. The now, light, throb in his ribs told him that something must have struck him hard and he remembered the pressure he had felt as he was thrown backwards, right after he had dropped the object. Damn it McKay, you had better keep your promise after we get out of this mess. John thought, angrily. This caused him to suddenly remember that the scientist had been right next to him when it had exploded, and John became frantic with worry. Was he alright?

"Rodney?" He managed to croak.

Rodney groaned hell everything hurt. Yet, his left shoulder and right leg hurt more so than any where else. Though, his head didn't feel that much better. Damn that device. He thought miserably, instantly remembering the incident. Rodney's eyes flew open as he remembered the Colonel. Where was he? Was he okay?

He tried to sit up and realized that his left arm wasn't exactly in a state to cooperate with his mind's demands, and pain shot through his body again. He gasped and sat there for a moment using his good arm to prop himself up. As the pain subsided a little Rodney dared to look at his shoulder coming to the conclusion that it was dislocated. He looked away feeling a little sick to his stomach. Great, just great, all this over what was supposedly a harmless light object. Harmless my ass. He thought, irritated that these things always happened to him, and not someone else for a change.

"Rodney?" The sound of someone calling his name pulled Rodney away from his negative thoughts.

"John?" He called out in reply.

"Yeah, it's me. You okay? Nothing life threatening, I hope?"

Of course, John's less worried about himself and more worried me, Dr. Rodney McKay, specialist in ancient technology. Rodney's inner voice griped.

"Well, I've dislocated my shoulder, my head hurts like hell, and something's wrong with my knee. But, other than that, I'm not dead, and hopefully am not on the verge of dying." Rodney ranted, bending his knee slightly and wincing in pain.

"Great same goes for me, although it's my ribs and head that hurt the most." John suddenly started to cough harshly, reminding Rodney that the Colonel also had a cold on top of his injuries.

"You okay Sheppard?" No response. "John?" Rodney tried desperately to get to his feet as he heard the distinct sounds of gasping for breath.


John sighed with relief as he heard Rodney's voice. He wondered how the scientist was doing as he could hear the pain etched in his words.

"Yeah it's me." He replied. "You okay? Nothing life threatening I hope?" John asked worriedly.

"Well, I've dislocated my shoulder, my head hurts like hell, and something's wrong with my knee. But, other than that, I'm not dead, and hopefully am not on the verge of dying." John smiled at his words despite the thought of Rodney with a dislocated shoulder concerning him a little, though he decided not to mention it.

"Great, same goes for me, although it's my ribs and head that hurt the most." He replied, just before he suddenly felt the need to cough. But as he did, pain blazed through his body from his ribs, making him feel dizzy. He coughed up something that he knew was not supposed to be anywhere near his lungs ...and then he remembered his cold. Damn it.

Soon the pain became unbearable and he found himself unable to breathe properly. He could hear Rodney frantically calling his name, but he couldn't respond ...air he needed air. Dark dots began to form in front of his eyes and he lost his battle with unconsciousness.