Oh, how mean am I?!? I'm so sorry for leaving this for so long. It's unforgivable. Real life went mad (who ever knew they expected you to work at university!?!) and I forgot about it. Terrible of me, I know.
But here, for your patience and restraint in not slaying the author for her unpunctual behaviour, is the final chapter. Hope you enjoy :)
Sleep wasn't a refuge this time. It was a terrible oppressive darkness that held him down and choked him. The only relief was tiny pins of light, which tore the black apart from time to time. He heard snatches of sound, fragments of conversation, and once or twice, there were colours. But he was always frozen, couldn't talk, couldn't move, couldn't think; and eventually everything shifted back to black.
How long it went on like this, he didn't know. Time is a perception of reality passing, and he was somewhat removed from reality. All he could do was wait for it all to end, one way or another. He didn't even know what that meant anymore.
And then at some immeasurable point in time, it ended.
Rodney always woke up in the same way after a mission. Wide-awake, heart racing, and elbows knocking over anything within range. This time his elbow sent two tubs of jello straight off the bedside cabinet into Ronon, who was inexplicably slouched beside him. He also managed to pull the IV needle out of his hand and the loud shriek that followed had Satedon up and running. The IV, really itchy blanket, and Ronon told Rodney he was in the infirmary.
He was just trying to remember why when he realised he was A: sitting up, B: clutching his extremely painful left hand, and C: very very hungry.
"I can move," he said, staring at the bright bubbles of blood on his hand, "I can move?"
"Aye you silly bugger. Now would you lie down so I can put this back in?" said Carson as he came over, Ronon trailing behind devouring both Jello tubs simultaneously, which was just showing off. Carson fussed with the IV stand and started some kind of lecture, which was even more wasted than usual because Rodney wasn't listening.
Instead he was making checks. Feeling in hands? Check! Fingers moving? Check! Feet . . . Rodney shoved off his blanket and swung his legs over the side of the bed and stood up. Legs—
Not quite check; he collapsed in a heap, "ouch!" But half-check because the feeling was back! Ow!
"What are you doing?" Carson demanded as Ronon smirked from a safe distance. "Are you trying to undo all my good work?"
But even slumped in a pile on the floor, Rodney was ecstatic, "my knees are killing me," he rambled as Ronon dumped him back onto the bed. "They hurt Carson!"
"Well if you throw yourself on the floor, what do you expect?" Beckett replied, completely missing the point. "Now keep your voice down, I've got another patient you know."
Oh God. Sheppard. "Is he, I mean, did he—"
"He got woken up by someone shrieking," came a grunt from Rodney's left. "You scream like a girl McKay." Pathetic insults that his kid sister could throw out, check. Very, very slowly, Rodney turned his head.
Curled up on his side under the blanket, hair looking like something Bart Simpson would have disowned, Sheppard looked about as far from Captain Kirk as he ever would. He was positively pouting, and as Rodney stared, the Colonel's IV hand made a deliberate and unmistakable gesture.
And to Carson's amusement, and Sheppard's undisguised annoyance, Rodney laughed.
Two days after that, three and a half after the hike through the jungle-from-hell he was considerably less cheerful. They'd been released to their quarters, under virtual house arrest until Carson decided otherwise, or until they had the ability to disobey. Rodney's legs still had the consistency of the messhall's custard. And, despite the fact his laptop hadn't been confiscated for once, it was impossible to work because his fingers froze up after a few minutes typing. Carson said it would just take time, and sent nurses round every few hours to 'assist' them with meals and such, a frail excuse for making sure they were behaving. It was a sad day in Atlantis when Carson became a cynic.
However it was good to get out of the infirmary. At least he had a decent DVD collection and working laptop here (if not working limbs to go with it). In the infirmary the only entertainment consisted of sleeping, trading barbs with Sheppard, and listening to the weird and wonderful tale of how Ronon and Teyla escaped and saved their asses.
It turned out that Ronon was only got hit by a few needles, and despite having a 'reaction' to the venom (Teyla clarified, he'd fainted,) the effects had worn off within a couple of hours; at least enough for Ronon to regain his usual speed and bad attitude. Apparently he'd been stung, bitten, and infected with a lot of things during his time as a runner, and they'd just stopped affecting him.
Aside of course, from the fainting.
Anyway, their radio conversation had been cut off due to Ronon's reaction, not imminent death. That came a few minutes later when two of the plants appeared. And Ronon was still 'indisposed' (Rodney had at least six remarks to make here, but Ronon looked like he really wanted to kill someone and Sheppard was trying so hard not to laugh, he might not have stopped him.)
Unable to destroy the flowers-of-doom, Teyla decided to make a run for it and had dropped her radio in the process of helping (half-carrying) Ronon, whose radio had been lost at some earlier point. (Ronon went through about four radios a month. He said they were too small; Rodney knew he just wanted more room for his knife collection.) Even after Ronon recovered, it had taken them several hours to reach the gate and another forty minutes to assemble three search teams in Jumpers, as well as medical staff. The massive size of the jungle meant it took a further three hours to find them, 'too bloody long' Carson had added as he fussed with Sheppard's IV stand. Then he'd ordered Ronon to follow him to his office, now. Minutes later they heard a rant so loud and ferocious even Rodney was impressed.
"Ronon . . . forgot to mention his encounter with the plants upon our return," Teyla explained, wincing as the Scot launched into a particularly virulent part of his triad. Rodney nodded, silently vowed never to let Carson catch him in a lie, and tried to remember some of the more impressive phrases for future use.
Anyway, after the heroic rescue, fire-throwers, grenade launchers, hand-to-leaf knife fights (Rodney was sure Ronon was making that part up), Lorne's team had found a 'sample' of the plant that wasn't too incinerated, and Carson had been able to fix an antidote in time. Barely.
No one said the last part, but Rodney had noticed the way Teyla hovered just a little too close, and he'd watched as Carson had left the infirmary to get some sleep in the middle of the day. It had been close this time, very very close.
His door chimed and he ignored it. One of Carson's minions had already bought dinner, and he couldn't be bothered with his staff today. He was off sick, they could go bother Radek for once. However the caller didn't give up; the chime went three times before a muffled voice came through the door, "wake up Rodney!"
Sheppard? But how—? "Come in!" he shouted, willing the door open. Ronon and Teyla immediately entered, dragging Sheppard between them, "what are you—?"
"Got bored," Sheppard answered as Ronon dumped him on the bed next to Rodney. "Nice to see you too McKay."
Rodney frowned, "does Carson know you're here?"
"What, our jailer? Of course not!"
"Well I just got a check up with dinner, so I've got a few hours before Carson sends someone else round. Ronon and Teyla weren't busy," Teyla raised her eyebrows and Sheppard hurried on, "so I figured we could watch a movie or something. Teyla and Ronon haven't seen half of your great science fiction collection yet."
The sarcasm was just for show; Rodney had it as a fact that Sheppard had seen Stars Wars at least five times. He'd been there. "And which one do you have in mind?"
In response, Sheppard twisted and reached under Rodney's bed, pulling out his DVD collection. He snagged one and without showing, handed it to the infinitely more mobile Teyla. "A classic of course. And perhaps a cautionary tale relating to recent events."
Rodney groaned, "oh no, you haven't!"
He had. As Rodney's laptop loaded the disc, the title came up on screen, Day of the Triffids.
Sheppard grinned, "A classic. Budge up McKay." The rest of the team took their seats on the bed.
"So are these things real?" Ronon asked, looking at the cover.
"What? Of course n—" Rodney paused, and exchanged a look with Sheppard. "Well, probably not."
Teyla frowned, "I would like to avoid any further encounters with predatory plant-life, it is…disturbing."
"Yeah, can't shoot it," the Colonel agreed, "next time let's just fight the Wraith again. At least they'll make conversation with their dinner."
Teyla shook her head in her 'earthlings are so weird but I must tolerate them' manner, Ronon snorted and shoved Sheppard a little too hard, nearly knocking him off the bed. As the movie started and calm was restored, Rodney wondered if he could bring up Ronon's fainting fit without further injury. Carson might be a little pissed if he showed up before house arrest was over at least.
It'd be worth it.
If you enjoyed this fic and would like to see more, or if you have ten seconds to spare and want to help attention-starved writers, please leave a review? Thank you :D
Mini disclaimer- In the same way I don't own SGA, I don't own Day of the Tiffids either. But it's a fabulous book and you should all read it. All done!