Part 3
Author: MacGateFan
Disclaimers in Part 1

Rodney knocked on the door, quietly entering the room when the occupant told him to come in. Carson looked up from the file he's reading, only to ignore the scientist and continue what he was doing.

"Look, I'm just not good at this sort of thing so..."

"Oh, bloody hell, Rodney, just say it!"

"I'm sorry, Carson!" Rodney exclaimed. "I'm sorry I snapped at you. I'm sorry there's nothing you or any of us can do. I'm sorry that I might lose someone who's fast becoming one of my greatest friends!"

Carson had stood up the moment Rodney began ranting. He could tell the scientist was more than a little frazzled and the fact that he just revealed what was in his heart proved it. "Rodney, I..."

"It's weird. Sheppard is a pain in the ass, but he understands me. Deep down I know he does. I've never felt like that with anyone before."

Carson still didn't know how to respond to all this. From the moment he first met Rodney McKay all he had the pleasure of knowing was the man's arrogance. He never thought he'd see this side of him.

'Probably never will again, I'd wager,' he thought to himself.

He placed a hand on Rodney's shoulder. "I've been looking over the latest scans and I can tell for certain that hematoma is just about gone. I'm still going to have to put him on a respirator. Did you want to join me?"

Rodney wasn't sure he could watch something like that, but he agreed because he knew Sheppard would do the same. "Let's do this."

This first thing Sheppard became aware of was the tube that was firmly shoved down his throat He hated those things like no other, but from experience, he know he had to be calm and not fight it.

Sheppard was also aware of voices whispering to the left of him. He slowly opened his eyes, only to close them again with the light pierced them. "Just a moment, Major," he heard Carson's familiar brogue. "You can open your eyes, Son."

As soon as Sheppard did so, he glanced at the tube questioningly. "You'll need to keep that in a little longer. We were getting a might worried about you," Carson told him as he checked his vitals. "In fact, I thought we were going to have to give your team permanent quarters in here."

"Why didn't you tell us he was awake?" Rodney exclaimed, rushing into the room.

Carson noted the flinch of pain in Sheppard's eyes. "Rodney, don't shout." The physician continued to fuss over him. "Major, on a scale of 1-10, how bad is your headache?"

Sheppard held up a five and Carson seemed to think that was reasonable enough for a very small amount of pain medication. While he was retrieving it, Rodney came into John's view.

"Are you serious about the pain only being a five?" he asked. "Carson will be beyond pissed at you if it's worse than that."

Sheppard just glared at him as Carson returned. He felt the coldness seep into his veins as it took the edge off the pain in his head.

The next morning, Sheppard woke up to find the respirator was gone and Carson heading over to him. "Good to see you awake, lad," he said as he pulled out a penlight."It's good to be awake," he replied, happy his eyes didn't hurt when the light shined into them. He looked around the infirmary for his team. "Where is everyone?"

"I sent them off to get some shut eye. Besides, I was tired of seeing them everytime I came onto my shift. One can only handle Rodney McKay for so long. How you do it is beyond me."

"Hey, that's rude, voodoo master!"

Before Carson could retort, Elizabeth arrived. "How are you feeling?" she asked.

"Much better than before," he replied.

"Good, then there's something we need to discuss."

Carson and Rodney glanced at one another when they noticed Sheppard sink further into the bed, if that was even possible. "Well," Rodney said, "I should go let Teyla and Ford know you're awake and to check back in an hour." To make sure you're still alive, he thought.

"I'll be in my office if you need anything, Major," Carson told him, running off as well.

Elizabeth was about to say something when John spoke up. "I know what you're going to say and I apologize. In fact, I'm going to apologize to Bates too. I tend to get a little impatient and overzealous at times. It's not that I don't trust you..."

"But you don't trust me, Major, or you wouldn't have pulled a stunt like that. You're just lucky it all worked out for the best."

He nodded, afraid of looking up at the woman who risked everything for him to be in Atlantis. When he finally did, he saw a touch of disappointment in her eyes.

"I forgive you, John," she finally said. "Just use better judgement next time and try to learn patience."

Sheppard nodded again as she walked away. He knew that it was going to take some time to earn back the trust he willfully crushed.