Fairly short chapter to just wrap this one up and bring us pretty much up to the end of No Man's Land and leading into Misbegotten. Bit more Shep whumpage here and a touch more McKay angst to go with it.
Am planning to write a tag for Misbegotten as well – in fact I hope to write a whumpy tag for every ep this season, in which case I may well change the title of this fic at some point and make it part of a series.
Please review and let me know what you think of the final chappy.
This was ridiculous. They were on a damaged hive ship full of former Wraith turned into humans by the retrovirus, stranded between galaxies, the Daedalus badly damaged and with no life support and what was John doing? He was sitting around in his boxers in a Wraith bedroom – he guessed you could call it that – having pieces of his F302 pulled out of his leg.
He winced slightly, his leg twitching involuntarily as another piece of metal pulled free.
"Oh, that is just gross."
John looked up irritably. All in all he was feeling less than thrilled about his situation; he was tired, achy and embarrassed and most of all he didn't have time to sit here like this, he was needed out there. He needed to be doing stuff, not sitting on his ass whilst they floated dead in space.
"If it bothers you, McKay, then stop watching," he snapped.
"I think it's called fascination of the horrible," McKay commented absently, his attention fixed on the medic's hands as he gently – or as gently as possible – probed the scattered wounds on John's thigh. "Eeew, is that a piece of circuit board?"
"McKay…" John's low warning drawl was enough to snap the scientist out of his appalled fascination with Sheppard's mangled leg.
"Sorry. Sorry." McKay grimaced and pulled his attention away from the gruesome spectacle.. for all of about 30 seconds.
Sheppard sighed. "How about you go check on how Lorne's doing?" Another source of frustration; the medical team had confiscated John's radio, the marine in charge less than impressed when Sheppard had started checking in with his team, asking for a sit rep, whilst the medical team worked on him. As far as the unsmiling medic was concerned, Sheppard was officially on medical leave as of right now.
"Lorne's fine," McKay said dismissively, "He's not the one having what looks like half the contents of a laptop pulled out of his leg."
He looked up at Sheppard with an irritated glare that didn't quite mask the glint of concern in his eyes. "How on earth did you not notice this anyway? Didn't it hurt?"
John frowned. He honestly hadn't felt a thing at the time. He remembered the blinding flash of light whiting out the cockpit as the wing had exploded, remembered being tossed to the side by the impact, remembered the sick spinning sensation of the F302 tumbling over and over, dead in space. He guessed the force of the explosion blasting metal shards and shattered electrical components into the cockpit and peppering his thigh with shrapnel had kinda gotten lost in the chaos.
"My mind was kind of on other things at the time, Rodney.."
"I can't believe you got blown up and didn't even think to mention this to anyone! Oh wait, what am I thinking? This is Lt Colonel Stoic I'm talking to here. Don't mind me everyone, it's just a flesh wound!" Rodney's voice dripped scornful sarcasm.
Sheppard did not have the patience right now to deal with McKay's histrionics and was about to interrupt and say so – right up until the scientist threw a Monty Python reference in there and, despite his exhaustion, despite his headache, despite the pain as the medics picked pieces of metal out of his flesh, John couldn't help smiling tiredly. McKay apparently, didn't see the joke. His ranting kicked up a notch.
"What are you smiling about? You think this is funny? You think getting blown up and filled full of shrapnel and nearly dying is amusing?" He glared at the grin on John's face. "What?"
"What are you gonna do, bleed on me?" John quoted inanely.
There were very few times that John had seen Rodney McKay speechless. The scientist merely gaped for a moment, thrown off the course of his diatribe by Sheppard's complete non-sequitur. It took a moment or two before comprehension dawned and his face settled into an expression of pained forbearance.
"Oh yes, very clever, Colonel. How foolish of me to forget that you have the intellectual maturity of a five year old."
Sheppard continued to grin, knowing full well it would bug McKay. Besides, he knew Rodney well enough to know that it was only by sheer, bullish determination to stay mad enough at John to finish his lecture that he hadn't already given in to the urge to grin over the insane geekiness of them quoting Monty Python at a time like this.
"What? You don't like Monty Python?" he teased.
McKay's expression changed immediately to offended indignation. "Well, of course I like Monty Python!"
"Aghhh…" John couldn't hold back a hiss of pain as the medic tried to get a deeply-embedded piece of shrapnel free by virtue of wiggling it from side to side. He was starting to feel that if the man muttered "Sorry, Sir" just one more time, John just might not be responsible for his actions. Sheppard really didn't like sharing his pain with the world, he'd far rather just be left alone to get on with it, but it had been a good 20 minutes or so now of painful pressure and pulling and prodding at his leg and John hadn't been in the best of shape to start with.. and it was beginning to wear him down.
He looked up to find McKay's eyes on him, his lips thinned as he noted the stiffness to Sheppard's posture and the way he couldn't help tensing and grimacing slightly as more and more tiny pieces of metal were pulled from his leg. The levity of mere seconds before was gone.
"Is he going to be okay?" The question was directed at the lead medic who looked up from the piece of shrapnel he was examining. The marine's answer was brusque and Sheppard found himself suddenly nostalgic for Carson – the man's bedside manner sucked.
"The wounds are mostly superficial. We'll start antibiotics to counteract any infection from the presence of foreign bodies. He'll be fine."
"Good. Can I have my radio back now?" Sheppard tried not to make it sound like a request.
"You're not fit for active duty, Colonel…"
"That's as maybe, Sergeant, but, situation being what it is, we don't have a lot of choice right now, do we?" Sheppard had to work hard to keep the frustration out of his voice, keep calm and reasonable. "We're not out of this mess yet and I'm no use to anyone sitting around in here. Ow! Dammit!" He glared at the apologetic medic, biting his lip to keep from saying anything further.
"I think that's the last of it, Sir." The medic swabbed the bloody wounds one last time, looking up at his team leader for an indication of how to proceed.
"We can't be sure without…"
John's patience was in rags, his voice tight as he interrupted. "It'll be fine. You've done as much as you're going to be able to without access to a proper medical facility. Stick a dressing on it and I'll get Carson to check it over once we get back to Atlantis."
He could see the resistance on the medic's face and gave a final, uncompromising push. "If we get back to Atlantis."
The sergeant swallowed, finally catching on to John's way of thinking. Reality check – if they didn't find a way to get this hive ship moving, it wouldn't matter whether John had any shrapnel left in his leg or not. He was dead anyway. They all were. The lead medic nodded to his subordinate and John gritted his teeth as a field bandage was wrapped efficiently, and tightly, around his mangled thigh.
He was mildly surprised to find McKay hovering nearby as he levered himself gingerly to his feet and he accepted the offered shoulder to lean on whilst he carefully pulled his pants back up.
"It was bloody stupid of you not to mention something like this," McKay offered quietly as John fastened his belt.
Sheppard sighed. "I meant what I said, McKay. I had no idea. I just thought my leg hurt along with everything else." He snagged the radio earpiece the medic was holding out to him and was settling it over his ear as McKay's voice rose in disbelief.
"What do you mean, "everything else"? What else hurts?"
"McKay…" He tested his weight, taking a limping step, and was pleased to find the pain less than before. He felt almost steady on his feet. Not great, not by any means, but he'd get by.
McKay was gearing back up to a panic as he trailed along behind John. "Did you lie to the medics? What else is wrong with you? Should you be moving about?"
"I'm fine, McKay.."
"How can you be fine? You just had half a tonne of F302 innards picked out of your leg and you're hobbling around like the walking wounded!"
John grinned, "Yes, Rodney. Key word – walking. Now hush up."
Sheppard was vaguely aware of the stunned, indignant expression on McKay's face as John settled his P90 more comfortably and tapped his radio.
"Lorne? This is Sheppard. What the situation with the prisoners?"