Okay fixed this part up a little bit since the keebler cookie/milk/possible tornado incident. Right now, riding the bike of doom. As a result the ending may still be a little rough...but smooth dirt road rough, not like before which was more like pitted, rain washed away road rough. Just nod in understanding and work with me. Thanks all for the reviews. You guys are wicked nice.
McKay hobbled into the commissary with the finesse of a penguin on land.
Beckett watched the astrophysicist mangle his way between tables and chairs. McKay muttered, and cursed those 'in his way' as he limped, hopped and banged his way across the room.
From beside Carson, Sheppard cringed and sucked in a sharp breath with each minor collision Rodney initiated. "He's a menace."
The Colonel continued to watch McKay amazed and yet somehow not surprised that Rodney was up moving around. For all his bluster, complaints and indignation, McKay was tough. Sheppard amended his thoughts. Rodney was tough on the inside, tougher than most. He pushed himself harder than he pushed his staff. But on the outside, McKay was no better than an ill tempered over tired four year old with a cold.
Carson held his tongue until McKay dropped his one crutch against their table, which immediately slid to the side and clattered to the floor. McKay ignored it and all the stares focused on him. He collapsed in a controlled fall to the vacant plastic chair.
He glared daggers, across the table, at Sheppard and Beckett.
"Rodney, didn't they teach you how to properly use that crutch?" Carson asked with a hint of tired concern. He did not want to think that his staff were not meeting patients' needs.
"I know how to properly use it," Rodney snapped. "I'm a genius remember."
Beckett nodded in understanding. His staff probably tried their best. Rodney was strong, stronger than he ever gave himself credit for. And Rodney was a genius as he liked to remind everyone.
"You look it," Sheppard stated. "And that word down near your calf is misspelled."
"Shut-up," McKay hissed, "I'm going to find out who's doing it. I bet you it's Zelenka…That little sneaky Czech. Thinks he'll get away with this, does he?"
"It is not the little funny haired one with the nervous energy," Ronon stated.
"How do you know?"
"I know, Little Man." Ronon smiled like hyena circling a wounded lion. It unnerved McKay.
"Rodney, lad, if you are going to write things on your cast you should really make sure of the spelling."
"And math," Sheppard supplied.
"Aye, that, too." Beckett shook his head despondently.
Rodney settled heavily into his seat. "So ahh, Carson, um Elizabeth, um…"
"Aye, Rodney, she told me about the Wraith and Lieutenant Phillips and his team."
McKay shot a worried glance toward the Colonel.
"It's not all right, Rodney," Carson supplied tiredly. "It just seems I'm on a different Most Wanted List."
"Or the same one," Ronon offered.
"Welcome to the team."
Carson quirked a small humorless smile. "Not exactly the type of price I wanted to pay."
"It's not under your control," Sheppard stated.
"The Wraith are evil, Dr. Beckett. They are nothing more than monsters," Teyla clarified. "Whether you are on their list or not, whether Lt. Phillips team was distracting them or not; The Wraith are still Wraith and they will hunt humans and feed on them." The Athosian stared pointedly at Doctor Beckett. "Whether you are the one they seek or not, they will hunt for you---for all of us." She swung her piercing gaze around to encompass the occupants of the room and then stared pointedly back at the CMO. "They will run us down like animals, trap us and preserve us until it is time to feed. It is what they do. It matters not to them if you are on a list. Your purpose is to feed them. You die so they may live."
"It is just the manner in which you will die," Ronon finished with a humorless smirk.
A heavy, dread laden silence hung like a pall over the table.
"Well, that was enlightening," Sheppard broke the brittle silence with forced cheer, "Someone pass the salt." The colonel looked over at the pale visage of the CMO.
There was very little Sheppard could do to ease Carson's burden. The Colonel regarded Beckett for a moment.
The hair was slowly growing back, the staples were scheduled to be removed by the end of the week and he still walked with a painful, shuffling limp. Biro had been right, it was just deep muscle bruising and painfully pinched nerves. The ataxia from the head wound was gradually dissipating. The punishing headaches were slowly lessening with each passing day. It was with less and less frequency that they found him sleeping in his darkened and cooled office or living quarters with a damp cloth around his neck or over his eyes. Carson's infirmary staff protected and watched over their boss like a pride of lions.
The physical wounds were healing. It was the unseen ones, the crush of responsibility that dug internally that would need more time.
The Colonel shared a helpless shrug with McKay. Like himself and Rodney, Carson would just have to get used to the idea that he had the attention of the Wraith.
McKay nudged the base of the salt shaker with the tips of his fingers towards Sheppard. It teetered and scratched its way across the glazed surface.
Rodney didn't mind being on a few lists, especially if they were the kind of lists in little black books that belonged to long legged blondes. He saw no drawbacks to that at all. He wouldn't mind that kind of attention.
Rodney never made any favorable 'chick lists,' back on Earth, probably not even Carter's. McKay released a tragic sigh. Samantha Carter didn't know what she was missing. Her loss.
However, here in the Pegasus Galaxy he was on a few lists. The Genii wanted his brains. No big surprise there, who didn't? The Wraith wanted him---for any number of reasons---probably his brains and his life being the top two---in that order. His life force alone could probably feed a few Wraith.
It was all very flattering in a sick demented way to have a female Wraith target you. However, being desired by a long, red hair, facial slit, green tinged skinned female with a propensity for sucking life from humans, just wasn't what he was looking for in his women.
"McKay pass the damn salt, will you?" Sheppard stretched across the table, dragging his sleeve through Beckett's spaghetti sauce.
"Ach, you bugger." Carson battered the Colonel's arm out of his dinner. Sheppard's hand knocked into Teyla's glass which she righted with effortless grace.
Telya's tolerant, diplomatic smile creased her smooth features. "Dr. McKay is injured you should show more patience, Colonel." The Athosian's soft chastisement was not lost on the others.
"Yeah, injured man here," McKay reaffirmed. "Be careful. I'm lucky to have survived."
Beckett stared at his sleeve creased dinner and pinched the bridge of his nose. He listened to the others banter back and forth about different injuries they had survived. Ronon was winning in his understated way. McKay didn't recognize a losing battle. If Carson kept his eyes closed, he could almost imagine the one upmanship that would spark between his cousins back home. Hopefully Sheppard and the others would avoid the table clearing grappling match that normally accompanied such contests.
McKay regaled them with the horrific tale of his split lip while saving the known universe. Teyla appeared properly concerned. Sheppard looked puzzled and Ronon---Beckett feared---was waiting for the part where an emergency amputation just at the neck would have been necessary to save Rodney's life.
Beckett opened his eyes and watched the growing debate. He ignored the Colonel who tried to pawn off his day old dinner roll instead of give it back to the kitchen staff. The staff didn't embrace returns and certainly didn't like to throw away food. Caron noted Ronon was holding a fork, that was progress. Beckett couldn't understand why Teyla even ate with them. Probably keeping her diplomatic skills honed.
They were close enough to family.
Rodney continued to speak, dazzling his friends with his tales of enormous mental feats while risking life and limb while being completely under appreciated.
McKay watched the others around him as he spoke. Ronon listened and ate, holding his empty fork in one hand while eating with the other hand. Sheppard was trying to quietly appease Beckett with a stale dinner roll. Teyla looked cautiously interested in what Rodney, himself was saying.
Earth and Canada had a lot of things that the Pegasus Galaxy and Atlantis didn't but somehow what they had paled in comparison to their new home.
Nothing was ever easy in the Pegasus Galaxy. However, what they attained seemed worth the struggle.