Okay then - here it is... my first ever Atlantis fanfic. Oh and look - it's a Shep whumper! grin

Hope you enjoy - please review and let me know what you think... more installments will follow!

The first thing John Sheppard was aware of was a ringing in his ears. For a long moment that was all he was aware of as the world came slowly back into focus, consciousness filtering in in stages. His head ached, heavy and dizzy. There was a coppery taste in his mouth. Through the ringing in his ears and the pounding in his head, he became aware that something nearby fizzed and crackled.

Sensation returned slowly to the rest of his body. His limbs felt heavy and numb.

"…pard?…" Static cut through the popping and crackling. "Col… ay?….. Co…. n?"

Everything ached. His head swam and it was so tempting to just give in to the hovering darkness.

Fizzing and popping. "..nel… ard? Ca… ear…. e?""

It was a struggle to open his eyes. For a moment he couldn't make sense of what he was seeing but then the shapes swam into place and comprehension dawned. Ceiling. He was looking at the ceiling. He was on the floor.

"Nggghhh" A voice from nearby. "Oh, my head…"

He knew that voice.

"..Kay?…" his voice came out scratchy and raw and he swallowed convulsively, trying to get some moisture in a mouth that felt parched and dry. He became aware of an acrid smell in the air.

The ceiling above shifted hazily. It occurred to him belatedly that it was dark. Far too dark. Who turned out the lights? Sporadic flickers, blue against the gloom, made the shadows dance across the ceiling.

White noise and static mixed with tinny voices. ".. Shepp… ctor Mck… Plea… pond?"

There was a muffled curse from somewhere behind him and the clattering sound of metal dropping onto metal. He gritted his teeth and tried to move unwieldy limbs to turn towards the sound.

Hot pain washed through him with a suddenness that took his breath away, chasing numbness from his limbs and leaving a fiery ache in it's path. A groan escaped him as he tried to breathe through the pain, spots dancing in front of his eyes as he fought for breath.

"Sheppard?" McKay's voice was thin and hoarse but still managed to convey an air of disgruntled exasperation. John concentrated on holding himself tense and still, biting his lip as pain rippled and flared through him. Scattered thumps and clatterings heralded McKay's approach, accompanied by a smothered coughing and an ongoing litany of complaints.

"Of all the stupid things to do. What is it with you and this hero complex? Huh? Does the military give a free lobotomy to everyone who joins up? Mind you, you'd have to be lobotomised to even want to.. Oh. There you are."

Static fizzed and crackled somewhere near his head. John concentrated on breathing.

"…ppard, Can you… r me?

"What's that? Is that your radio? Is it working?" Rodney was gabbling, poorly-concealed panic raising the pitch of his voice as he stumbled over his words. The sporadic flickering of blue light outlined his silhouette as McKay fumbled his way towards John in the near darkness.

The initial flare of pain seemed to be settling and John gratefully let some of the tension ease from his muscles, tremors shivering through his limbs as they slowly relaxed. He coughed harshly, an acrid taste building in the back of his throat. He could smell smoke.


His view of the ceiling was suddenly blocked as McKay loomed over him.

"Sheppard?" McKay continued his monologue of discontent as he lowered himself unsteadily to the floor beside John. "Dammit! I can't see a thing in here. The explosion must have blown all the power circuits along this corridor."

He was off on a tangent, rambling on about the time it would take him to repair all this damage, as if he didn't have enough to do already, thank you very much, when John's breathless "Explosion?" stopped him dead in his tracks.

John could hear the tightness of fear behind the sharp sarcasm in McKay's voice, "Well I know I banged my head pretty good – thanks to your heroics – but still, blowing up a lab is the kind of thing you tend to remember…"

John let the flow of words wash over him, McKay's ranting familiar enough to be a soothing white noise that he tuned out as he became aware of a delicious, spreading numbness.

Snap. Fizzle. "Doc… ay… ease, com… n"

"Where the hell is your radio? I think I lost mine in the blast – either that or when you shoved me into a wall!"

The numbness was cool, inviting. It seemed to spread upwards from the cold metal of the floor beneath him.

McKay was fumbling around in the gloom, muttering constantly to himself. "Oh this is ridiculous!" he snapped angrily. "I need to be able to see!"

John was tired. So tired and it would be so easy to just close his eyes and let sleep take him. If only Rodney would just shut up and let him sleep. "Tac vest.." he mumbled drowsily. Maybe if Rodney got what he wanted he would stop complaining.

"What? What about your vest!" McKay's voice was a panicked squeak. "Of course! You have a flashlight in there? Where?"

Sheppard grunted as McKay began to fumble blindly with the vest, frantically searching pockets as he went. His hasty search jarred John out of his comfortable half-doze and he hissed sharply as a hand prodded him somewhere tender.

"What the hell is…. Oh my god." There was a sick fear in McKay's voice now and the jolt of pain had chased back the numbness enough for that fear to make John's stomach lurch. Before he could form the words to ask what was wrong, sudden light exploded across his retinas and he screwed his eyes shut with a groan.

The light flickered and bobbed wildly for a moment, dancing redly across the insides of his eyelids. With his eyes shut the sound of his own rasping breathing was loud in his ears and he almost didn't hear Rodney's whispered, "Oh god."

He cracked his eyes open as the light began to bob and weave again, squinting against the brightness to see Rodney sweeping the flashlight this way and that across the corridor floor. He slowly turned his head to watch, surprised to find the floor covered in scattered debris, McKay kneeling in the midst of it, scrabbling with his free hand through the rubble.

McKay looked pale and wan in the bright wash of light, his eyes huge and dark in a washed-out face, his brow furrowed in concentration as he scoured the debris for the missing radio. John was starting to drift, the numbness creeping slowly back into his limbs, spreading outwards from the cold metal floor, when Rodney let out a triumphant shout.

"This is Dr McKay, can anyone hear me?" Static crackled and hissed. John drifted.

"Dammit!" The curse was oddly muffled and he started back into wakefulness to see McKay holding the earpiece in both hands, the flashlight held firmly in his mouth and his face twisted in despair as he fiddled with the crackling radio.

McKay's hands seemed to shine in the dancing beam of light and John realised distantly that they were the wrong colour…. they looked red, red and glistening against the stark whiteness of Rodney's face.

There was a burst of static and a high-pitched screech that made John cringe. "..dney, can you hear me?"

The flashlight fell from Rodney's mouth, hitting the floor with a clatter as he fumbled to hook the earpiece around his ear. "Elizabeth!"

The torch rolled for a moment on the floor of the corridor, casting dancing shadows up and down the walls. "Rodney! Yes, can you hear me?"

"Oh thank god." John watched Rodney sag with relief, the nervous tension draining from his face.

"What happened Rodney?" Elisabeth's voice was purposefully calm. "We've lost all power to the section of the city near your lab and we've been unable to raise Colonel Sheppard on the radio. Is he with you?"

John's eyes were half-closed now and he was only vaguely aware of McKay's gaze on him, his mouth twisted in fear as he stumbled over his reply.

"Umm, there was an explosion. Uh, an explosion in the lab. He pushed me out of the way - why would he go and do something so stupid?.." McKay's voice was rising in panic, his words rushing out in a barely coherent flood.

"Rodney!" Dr Weir's voice snapped him out of his panic. "You need to calm down.."

McKay's voice broke as he snapped into the radio.

"No, Elizabeth, I don't need to calm down, I need HELP! You need to get Beckett and a team down here, right now! The Colonel's injured.."

John let the voices fade into white noise as his eyes drifted closed. There was no pain now, only sweet, cool numbness. He was drifting in a cool, calm sea.

McKay's voice was faint now but he was vaguely aware of words floating after him as he slipped into darkness.

"Elizabeth? You need to hurry…"