Four weeks later
"Okay Sheppard, you are doing good," he muttered as he walked the long corridor to his destination, "Breathe slowly." He stopped as a member of personnel walked passed and smiled nervously. He realised that talking to himself was probably making him look like a nut job. He continued on his way, "You're really doing this."
He reached the intended doors and they swished open on his command.
The view in front of him was expansive and the most open place he could think of that morning. The ocean stretched out endlessly with the sky meeting in a crisp line. He breathed in the fresh salty air and approached the balcony without his usual hesitance.
He smiled, "You did it," he said to himself. If he could have patted himself on the back he would have done so, but he was a bit stiff after all of his various, still healing, injuries.
He had a quick look around before climbing up onto the balcony railings, stretching out his hands and letting the wind blow over his face. He was balancing precariously, wobbling about as the breeze washed over him.
Just being free of his panic attacks was making him feel on top of the world.
That was it, the wraith threat had been eliminated, as far as Arden and his strange experimentation was concerned, the long range scanners looked clean and tomorrow he would be back on active duty after certifying himself as being a healthy and productive member of Atlantis personnel.
He let out a little laugh and jokingly started to say, "I'm king of the wo-"
He heard clapping behind him, stumbled off the balcony railing with absolutely no grace and turned around to see Mckay stood there with a big grin on his face.
"I'm sorry what was that? Were you quoting Titanic?"
Sheppard stared down at his feet and looked up with embarrassment, "The moment just called for it," he said.
"So Beckett has certified you well but has he certified you sane."
"Very funny. How did you find me up here?"
"I was following you."
"I figured you might need a friend if you had an…episode."
Sheppard was strangely touched, "Uh thanks." He gestured to the wide open space and continued his unrestricted breathing, "But as you can see I managed just fine."
"Well done Colonel."
"So, you up to anything right now?"
"I'm not going to touch things down in the lab."
"I was going to ask if you wanted some lunch."
okay, I just need to make one quick detour on the
"What are we doing down here?" asked Mckay as they walked down the long ravaged corridor leading to where Sheppard had previously been trapped.
The walls were being held up by make shift, but sturdy, scaffolding and there was still debris on the ground, "Are you sure it's safe in here?"
"The engineers said it was structurally safe," said Sheppard climbing over a piece of concrete and skidding down it and into the room.
"And there's still no communications down here."
"We won't be here long. Quit whining."
"I don't whine. I make intellectual observations which just so happens to sound like whining." He paused briefly before joining Sheppard in the room. "Why are we here Sheppard?" He looked around it feeling a sense of dread spread through him. He had watched the events unfold in this room on a small screen. His eyes moved up to the lack of ceiling and he felt a slight twinge in his leg as he was reminded of his encounter with a stray bullet.
Sheppard wandered over to the hole in the side of the building and looked down and into the sea. He gave a low whistle before saying, "Can you believe I fell from here?" He turned and caught Mckay's stare, "Closure," he mumbled.
"You've been talking to Heightmeyer."
"I've been signing to Addison. Not talking, signing."
"Do I detect a hint of jealousy?"
"No." He paused.
"Look Rodney, you know the way I operate by now. We have a mutual understanding that we don't come to each other with our shit. We just acknowledge it in our own private way and be there for each other in a totally manly way."
Mckay gave a curt nod and looked over to where Sheppard had previously been skewered by a pole. It was no longer there, but the memory was still fresh.
"You know that…." He cleared his throat, "I'm here…." He paused and sucked in a final breath before quickly saying, "For-you-right?"
Sheppard nodded, didn't say anything and then stared out down to the sea again.
"You didn't think we were going to leave you down here, did you?"
"I know you guys tried."
"A for effort hey?" Mckay was growing increasingly uncomfortable and he headed back towards the main entrance, "You ready for some food?"
Sheppard walked into the centre of the room and shoved his hands in his pockets, "I'll be right up. Just give me a minute."
Mckay nodded and trampled back out towards normal, complete, and safe corridors.
As he walked, his earpiece crackled and a burst of static sent a shiver down his spine. He stopped, shook his head because he was being stupid, and then continued forward.
Another burst of static and a fragmented voice came through in pieces.
"Hello?" Mckay said as he slowly climbed a set of stairs. He swallowed against a bout of nausea, his body pumping with adrenaline in response to the frighteningly familiar situation.
Mckay continued a few more paces before stopping and turning to run back to Sheppard. He had just reached the final rung of the stairs when the radio signal unexpectedly cleared up and Zelenka's voice came hurriedly over the air waves.
"What?" asked Mckay with a sense of overwhelming panic.
"You have to get up here now," he said.
"Why? Is it the long range scanners? Have we picked up an-"
"No, they are serving pot roast and if you don't get here soon you'll miss it."
Mckay leant against the wall, "Pot roast," he said the words slowly, emphasising the words.
It's very popular. Rodney?"
"Okay, I'll be right up." He leant his head back and closed his eyes.
A small chuckle escaped him. It developed further and another hysterical laugh came through his parted lips.
"What's wrong with you?" he suddenly heard Sheppard say as he joined him in the hallway.
Mckay looked him up and down, confirmed that he was in one piece, and then said with a smile, "Pot roast." He laughed again.
Sheppard quirked an eyebrow, before butting past him and muttering, "Sometimes Rodney, you worry me."
Thank you everyone who has read and at least left one review.
Painful reminders is a WIP and my new one will be up very soon.