Phantom Pain

Summary: Phantoms Tag – In my personal opinion there can never be too much Rodney h/c. This is a pressie to all that agree with me.

I hope you like it.

Contains spoilers for the episode Phantoms.

Author's note: McKay had said that Leonard knew what he was doing when he blew up the DHD – the gate had no power – so even if they had got a puddle Jumper through they wouldn't be able to dial back to Atlantis.

Thank you to my wonderful beta Annie from saving me from too much embarrassment. Thank you to Sable my partner in crime, and thank you to Anne who managed a read through even though she was swamped with work. Hugs to you all. All remaining stuff ups are mine and add personality, perfection can be so boring.


His team had made it through – despite his best efforts to kill them. He had shot two members of his team! Yeah, John knew that it was the Wraith device that made him do it – well, the Wraith device after the Genii had tampered with it. He hated those guys. McKay was right, incompetent Nazi wannabes.

McKay and Ronon were being good about it. Although, in very different ways. Ronon just shrugged and grinned, and John knew that he had been forgiven.

McKay used the opposite tactic, repeating, "You shot me!" so many times that it became funny. He was trying to keep a lid on his pain though, even before Carson shot him full of happy juice. John appreciated that. He knew Rodney didn't blame him and was trying to make him feel better. At least John hoped that's what he was doing.

John glanced over at Rodney's dressing. He couldn't see any blood, which was good, right?

Carson seemed to have everything under control. He didn't know what had happened with Carson when the Wraith device was on, but the man had been shaken badly. He looked like he was in shock when John found him with Kagen. He had managed to regain his professional demeanor, tending to Kagen, Rodney, Ronon and Teyla, while John went to the gate and retrieved the supplies they needed from Atlantis, but John was keeping an eye on him. It was obvious that Carson was hurting.

After they had eaten some food, Carson had settled the wounded down to get some rest. Carson and John had looked at each other, knowing neither one of them would rest until aboard the Daedalus. They were both too wired after their experience earlier. Carson was sitting on a rock, keeping an eye on his sleeping charges.

John wandered over and sat next to him.

"Hey. Carson. How's it going?"

"Fine, lad. They are all resting comfortably. Kagen is stable. Thank God. Teyla will need surgery on that leg to get the bullet out. I need to get some x-rays, but no reason to she won't be as right as rain once she gets some proper treatment. Rodney's wound was a through and through. The bleeding has stopped. He was a bit shocky, but as you would have gathered, he got over that." Carson smiled tiredly.

John smiled. "Yeah, well, if the complaining was anything to go by."

"Aye. Ronon's injury is no more than a graze. He just needs some rest. He maybe a big man, but the experience took it out of him."

"Yeah. It took it out of all of us, I think. How are you doing?"

"I'll be fine, Colonel, but I don't mind telling you that I'm in no hurry to go through that again." Carson rubbed the back of his neck. "So, what did you think was happening?"

There it was, the question John had been dreading. He wondered how many times he would be asked it? "Thought I was in Afghanistan. Trying to get an injured soldier to safety." Short and to the point – let people draw their own conclusions.

"So, Rodney…?"


"Right. Thank God you didn't kill him."

"I believe we have Teyla to thank for that. She pushed me as I shot. Rodney would be dead otherwise."

Carson turned towards John and put an arm on his shoulder. "You didn't kill Rodney, or Ronon, Colonel. They'll both be fine. Don't go losing sleep over what ifs. They both know it wasn't your fault. In any case, you do realize that you will pay in full for what you have done, don't you?"

John shook his head, a little confused.

"Do you really think Rodney is ever going to let you forget it?" Carson raised his eyebrows inquiringly.

John shrugged, trying to smile. He was beginning to feel very tired. The truth was that they had a lot to thank Teyla for today. She had saved them all. He wondered if her Wraith DNA had made her immune to the effects of the device. He would have to remind her of the usefulness of the gene if she ever brought it up again.

John was snapped from his train of thought when Carson touched him on the arm again.

"Why don't you get some sleep, Colonel? I'll wake you if you're needed."

"No, I'm fine."

"Colonel." Carson said warningly.

"I'll sleep plenty later, Doc. Right now I'm happier keeping an eye out."

Carson nodded. "Okay, lad. But make sure you rest later. I'll be checking up on you."

"What about you, Carson?" John asked, curious. "What did you think was happening?"

"My worst nightmare. Not being able to save a patient. Ironically, because of the hallucination I nearly killed the patient I was trying to save and did kill another through neglect. I'm afraid Teyla wasn't there to stay my hand. Regrettably."

John wasn't sure what to say. Carson's pain was tangible.

"It wasn't your fault, Carson. You know that, right? You claim that it wasn't my fault that I shot and tried to kill my teammates. If that's true, then your actions weren't your fault either. You can't have it both ways."

"Aye, I know, lad. But it's one thing knowing something in your head, another entirely to feel it in your heart."

John nodded. That was sure the truth.

They sat in companionable silence for a while, lost in their own thoughts.

"Carson." Rodney's voice sounded demanding and loud. "Carson, I need you."

At the same time Teyla moaned, obviously in pain.

Carson looked one way, then the other.

"You go see to Teyla. I'll check on Rodney. I have some fences to mend," said John meaningfully.

Carson nodded in understanding and went over to where Teyla was laying.

John went over and crouched by Rodney.

"What's up, Rodney?"

"You mean apart from a bullet in my body?" Rodney voice was scathing.

"Through and through, McKay. No bullet." John reminded him.

"Okay, yes, then I'm good. Apart from being shot, that is!"

John sighed. So much for Rodney making it easy for him.

"What do you need, Rodney?" John tried to come to the point.

"It hurts."

"Well, the Daedalus will be here soon. Then they'll tend to you properly. Just try to relax."

"Easy for you to say."

"Rodney, we've all had a tough time. Try and chill out. I'm sure the docs on the Daedalus will have you in la la land in no time."

"Why do I have to wait? I'm in pain. The last time I checked we had our very own Doctor, and a supply of drugs."

"How's he doing, Colonel?" Carson called out. "I may be a while."

John looked up to see both Carson and Ronon crowded round Teyla.

John frowned in concern. "He's fine, Carson. Whenever you're ready."

Rodney pulled a face at John. "I'm right here. And I'm not okay. Carson. I'm in pain."

"Shut up, Rodney." John hissed. "Teyla needs the doc right now."

Rodney quietened immediately, looking concerned. He tried to sit up so he could see over to where Teyla was lying but only got up a few inches before gasping in pain and falling back, clutching his side.

Immediately John's irritation with the scientist evaporated and he put a hand on Rodney's shoulder.

"Take it easy, McKay."

John looked at Rodney. His face was scrunched up in pain, his breathing coming in pants, perspiration on his face. The man was in pain.

"Hold on, buddy." John patted Rodney on the arm and went over to Carson.

Carson was taking Teyla's blood pressure.

"How's she doing, Doc?"

Carson spoke without looking up. "She was in quite a bit of pain. I think I was right in suspecting that the bullet tore through the muscle in her thigh. Thank goodness it didn't nick a major artery. I've given her something stronger for the pain. I think she will be out now until the Daedalus gets here. How's Rodney doing?"

"Not so good. I think you need to look at him."

"Be right there, Colonel."

Carson gathered up his medical equipment and followed John over to McKay, with Ronon a few steps behind. All thoughts of sleep had vanished for the moment.

McKay was still hunched over in pain. Sweat was now dripping off his reddened face.

Carson dropped to the ground next to Rodney and put his hand on the stricken man's neck, taking his pulse.

Carson spoke soothingly. "It's okay now, Rodney. Try and take deep slow breaths."

Carson felt the back of Rodney's neck then rummaged through his bag and extracted a digital thermometer which he inserted into Rodney's ear. He looked at the thermometer readout, then took out a blood pressure cuff that he placed round Rodney's arm before pumping it up and taking a reading. John and Ronon exchanged a concerned look as they picked up on Carson's serious demeanor as the doctor cut off the dressing exposing the wound before ripping open Rodney's top to allow him better access.

Rodney groaned, squirming on the ground as Carson examined the wound. He appeared to be slightly out of it. What the hell had changed?

Carson paused in what he was doing and pulled out a pre measured syringe and injected the contents into Rodney's arm, before taking out a vial and loading up another syringe and injecting that too. He then started to examine the wound again. The whole area around the injury looked red and swollen and was oozing some sort of liquid.

John saw Ronon moving backwards out of the corner of his eye. John looked at him questioningly.

"Just going to check on Teyla," Ronon said as he backed away looking somewhat uncomfortable.

John nodded, deciding to cut the guy a break. "Good idea."

He turned back to see Carson pressing around the wound.

"Ah!" Rodney yelled out as he shifted, as if trying to get away from the pain.

"Sorry, lad." Carson said, his voice gentle. "I'm done."

Rodney stilled, his eyes glazed.

"Hey. Stay with me, lad." Carson tapped Rodney's cheek. "Rodney. Come on, Rodney."

Rodney moaned. His eyes rolled back, and his eyes drifted shut.

"Damn." Carson sounded upset. He started pulling out bandages and dressing the wound.

"Carson?" John was worried.

"He is suffering from a massive infection. It's come out of nowhere."

Carson finished, then stripped off his disposable gloves, sighing. He rummaged round in his bag again and pulled out some large sample collection bags, handing them to John.

"Colonel, I want you to go back to that Wraith contraption and get me as many samples of that organic matter that you can – preferably in the area that Rodney was working, and Colonel?" Carson grabbed a pair of disposable gloves out of his bag, "wear these."

John looked at Carson for a moment then nodded, grabbed the gloves and went in the direction of the cave.

John entered the cave and approached the Wraith device. It was hard to look at the place without thinking about McKay. Hell, his Tablet PC was still attached to the mechanism, and his pack and vest were on the floor. The first thing John did was unplug the tablet. McKay was going to want that back. Strange that he hadn't mentioned it already. He'd obviously been in too much shock to think of anything like that. John stuffed the tablet into the pack then unsheathed his knife. Where should he cut? He looked for the most fleshy and slimiest cords; they looked the most organic to him. John grimaced as he cut away at the conduits, stuffing pieces of them into the sample bags. Just before he finished he scraped up some of the slime with the side of the knife and squished that into a different bag for good measure. John wiped the knife on his pants before slotting it back into his utility belt. That was going to need a good clean.

He picked up the padd, vest and pack, and exited the cave, putting Rodney's things down next to Carson.

Ronon was sitting on a nearby rock looking grim.

Rodney was still unconscious. He was pale and looked wet with sweat. John could see his chest moving as he breathed, it looked too fast. Carson was taking his blood pressure again.

"How is he?"

Carson kept his hand on Rodney's wrist. "I'm sorry to say not good. I've never seen an infection take hold this fast."

"Another unwanted experience courtesy of the Pegasus Galaxy?"

"Unwanted is right. The wound looked fine a couple of hours ago. Now he is suffering from septic shock."

"That's bad, right?"

"It's bad. He needs proper medical facilities. There is only so much I can do for him out here. Any idea when we can expect the Daedalus?"

"Not for a while yet. Atlantis should be calling before that. Can they help?"

"Some. But he is going to need full life support if the antibiotics don't knock this infection on the head within a very short while."

"How long?"

"At the rate this is going? I don't know. It could be minutes."

John felt himself go cold. He may have killed Rodney after all.



Yes, I know, it's a bit mean to leave it there. The rest will be posted tomorrow.