Disclaimer:- don't own Atlantis, don't have any right to write this, apart from at the indulgence of a fine studio, and a fine set of producers and writers, who I hope won't mind because I only do this in admiration of their work

Missing Scene for Echoes, and, therefore, obviously spoilers for Echoes

One shot complete

Headache

His head was spinning, violet and purple and black, the air pressing down on him, like someone had designed a skull shaped vice and was tightening the screws from all sides. He struggled to clear his vision, struggled to concentrate his thoughts, struggled to deal with the nausea inducing, oppressive blackness that wanted him to succumb.

He looked across at Rodney, prone across the console, looked at the blood that ran from his ear and down his neck, and his stomach did a back flip, feeding the rolling nausea. He swore softly. This was not good, so not good, Blood from the ear meant all hell kind of bad things. He knew that. Rodney needed help, and he needed help now. He had to get them out of here. It was their only hope. If he could. . .

What did he need to do?

Damn!

Why couldn't he focus, what was. . .?

He turned his attention back to the controls but his vision swam, and he frowned at the effort just concentrating on a simple task was taking, controlling the puddle jumper was normally so easy, almost effortless, but now. . .

What was he trying to do?

A cold trickling sensation sprang from the back of his nose, running down rapidly, too rapidly. He wiped his hand across his face, swore again as he recognised the red stain. Blood, like the blood that was leaking from Rodney's ears,

Rodney!

He didn't have much time, had to get them the hell out of. . .and then the puddle jumper broke through the surface of the water, pushed up high into the clear blue sky and bright sunlight, making him blink sharply, his eyes watering at the contrast. It was as if the ship had sensed his renewed urgency, as if it shared his fears. He had to get them back while he still could.

The vice like skull cap continued to press, his head pounded, and he struggled to focus, struggled to alter the course from the vertical ascent to head back to Atlantis, because he needed to get help for Rodney, because Rodney was in a bad way.

Had he managed to say that across the com?

Why couldn't he. . .?

Atlantis, he needed to focus on Atlantis, had to get Rodney back there. Elizabeth had said she would have a med team waiting. Hadn't she? They would help him. If he could just get him back, just focus through the pain, and the nausea and. . . .

His head jerked sharply.

No!

No!

Dammit, just no! He couldn't afford to pass out, not until he got them back. Bile rose in the back of his throat and he closed his eyes again, swallowing hard as he fought it back down. The acrid acid taste lingered in his mouth, and his throat burned. Even with his eyes closed something inside his head was still spinning, the pain pressing, too much, too much. .

No! He forced his eyes open against every screaming instinct, and the jumper bucked and jarred as he turned sharply to avoid running into one of the looming glistening towers.

When had he made it back to Atlantis?

He dismissed the question before it was complete, forcing all of his attention to the control panel in front of him. It felt like he was trying to stop water running off a table with only his hands, his concentration seeping through the gaps, flowing away from him, but he had to. . The ship jerked again as he slid it far too close to another tower and corrected at the last minute. Damn, he had to land before he flew into a wall and killed them both.

He was flying with none of his usual grace and flair, barely making it through the roof hatch, barely managing to drop the jumper onto its landing pad, and then he was out of his seat, checking Rodney's pulse, breathing a sigh of relief when he felt it, a little rapid, but still clear and strong, but the blood was still there, still trickling slowly from both ears. Dammit, Rodney. . .

He was only aware of the med teams arrival when he felt a tap on his shoulder. He hadn't heard them, still didn't hear them now as Beckett spoke to him. Only woolly, fuzzy, buzzes registered, as though cotton wool had been stuffed in his ears. He recognised the gestures though, stepped back to let Beckett work. Watching with concern, and a deepening frustration as he realised that he could not understand anything that was being said.

He also recognised the urgency. This was serious, really serious.

Had he got him here too late?

Could he have flown faster?

"I'm sorry doc," he apologised, not realising that he was shouting. "I should have got us out quicker. I. . ." His knees began to buckle and he fell back against the bulkhead.

Beckett turned just in time to see him, and moved to catch him, shouting out orders that only formed fuzzy static to John's hearing.

"No you should. ." help Rodney, the sentence was going to finish. Help Rodney, not me, Rodney, he's really sick. . bad way, needs. . and then the darkness finally claimed him.

Beckett helped Sheppard in a controlled slide to the deck, noting the rapid breathing, the lines of pain, the blood that seeped from both his nose and ears, and Sheppard had said Rodney was in a bad way? "Bloody Hell," he stated, before calling for a second gurney.