Title: That's What Friends Do
Rating: G
Author: MacGateFan
Spoilers: The Return, Part II
Note: Very slight Jack bashing, but I still love him!!

"Sir," he said.

"Sheppard."

John's conversation with Elizabeth after they had saved Atlantis from the Replicators reverberated in his mind. Apparently O'Neill had made some comment about how they should have brought Carter to save the city.

As much as John liked Samantha Carter, he would much rather have Rodney by his side. If someone saw him, they would say he was a loose canon, or that maybe he was defending his friend's honor, but whatever the reason, John Sheppard snapped.

"Where do you get off?"

"Um, excuse me? Did you forget who you're talking to, Colonel?"

John was not going to let O'Neill scare him into not saying his piece. "With all do respect, Sir, I have something I want to say. Elizabeth told me about your comment. That was rude! Rodney just saved your ass from the Replicators, or did you forget?"

"No, I didn't forget, Colonel. I was there while you went half-cocked into the lion's den. You're lucky I didn't fire you!"

"That's another thing I don't get, SIR," John said, "Where does it state that General Jack O'Neill can dial the 'Gate against orders to save the Earth and my team and I couldn't do the same to save Atlantis? Nowhere! So the whole thing about getting me fired is ridiculous!"

O'Neill was silent as he took in everything John said. He would have said something, but Rodney appeared. "The city is officially back under our control," he said. "Oh, and Carson wants to see you."

"What for?" John asked, clearly annoyed.

"Well," Rodney said, "for one thing you tried to escape the Replicators, against your own orders, and they slammed you into a wall."

John looked quietly at his friend for a minute, then back at O'Neill. "Sir, I apologize for acting the way I did. I realize that you weren't serious about it, but when someone says something about a team member and friend, I kind of get a little defensive."

"No, I should apologize. I understand how you feel."

"Then apologize to Rodney," John said, pushing the scientist towards O'Neill. Rodney sputtered, attempting to figure out what was going on. "I'll meet you in the infirmary."

Rodney stared at O'Neill for a few minutes while O'Neill stared back. "I really don't know what you're supposed to apologize for, General," Rodney admitted.

O'Neill cleared his throat. Sheppard did that on purpose. He not only had to apologize to the astrophysicist, but he had to explain why. Oh well, he thought, I deserve this. "McKay, I told Dr. Weir that she should have brought Carter with her. It was out of line and I'd like to apologize for it."

"You didn't think I could come up with a clever enough plan to save the day at the eleventh hour." Rodney said. It wasn't a question. "Apology accepted. I mean, after all, I have a big ego, words like that should just bounce right off of it, right?"

Before O'Neill could say anything, McKay was gone. "I am so ready to go home," he muttered.


"What's going on?" Rodney said in concern as he saw John climbing into a bed complete with scrubs.

"Doc says I have a concussion and he wants me to stay here for observation," John replied. "I think I just need to rest in my quarters."

Elizabeth shook her head as she entered the room. "John, you nearly collapsed on your way here. You're just lucky I happened to be walking by."

"What? I knew it! I knew that Replicator threw you harder than you said!"

"Shut up, Rodney." When he didn't continue, John noticed the look on his friend's face. It was fleeting, but there a moment longer than Rodney probably would have liked. "You okay?"

Rodney nodded, crossing his arms. "Yeah, why wouldn't I be?"

"Elizabeth, could you give us a few minutes?"

"Of course, John."

John took a breath and told Rodney to sit down. "Thank you," Rodney said.

"For what?"

"Defending me. I got the impression that's what you were doing when I interrupted."

John nodded. "Yeah."

"You didn't have to, though. I should be able to handle comments like that," Rodney said, standing up.

"What? Wait, where are you going?"

"I'm going to double check a few things before I take a long nap."

John watched as Rodney headed to the door. Ignoring the pounding in his head, he got up and rushed to his friend's side. "Listen to me!" he exclaimed, taking Rodney's arm. "No one should have to endure comments like that! You're a great man, Rodney, despite what General O'Neill and the rest of SG-1 think!"

"You risked being sent back home for me. Why?"

"Because losing you is not an option! You are a member of my team and one of the first few friends I've had in a long time."

Rodney couldn't believe what he was hearing. True, he knew they were friends, but he never knew he we would have someone sticking up for him. Putting his future on the line for him. And for the first time, he understood why.

"Do you know that I would do the same for you?"

John smiled. "I know, Rodney."