Title: Hallucination or Reality
Disclaimers: These characters do not belong to me.
"Can we just go back? This place is hot and no doubt I'm getting skin cancer from the sun's villainous rays!"
John chuckled. "Rodney, don't be so over dramatic. Besides, you were the one who insisted on coming here because of the energy readings the MALP was picking up!"
"Yes and I covered myself generously with sun screen, but I've run out and who knows how much I've been sweating off me."
John saw Teyla smirk and Ronon roll his eyes as they continued on towards the Stargate. There wasn't much going on around here anyway. Besides he was hot and tired too and all John really wanted to do was take a cold shower and relax.
As Rodney kept complaining loudly to Teyla and Ronon, John thought he saw something in the corner of his eye. Looking back up at the others, he realized he must have been seeing things because there's no way Ronon would have missed it.
"I'm just saying, I think we should all consider supplying each pack with extra sun screen. What do you think, Sheppard?" Rodney asked, turning around. "Sheppard?"
Teyla and Ronon both heard the change in Rodney's voice and stopped. "Rodney?" Teyla asked. "Where is John?"
"That's what I've been trying to figure out! He was just here a few minutes ago!"
Ronon headed back towards the direction they came from. He saw some trampled bushes and several footprints and went to check it out. "He was taken through here," he said.
"Oh my God, he's dead! Someone's killed him, I just know it!"
"Rodney calm down. I am certain he is all right," Teyla replied.
Her once hopeful comment lost any meaning when they found his weapon and back on the ground sitting in a small pool of bright red blood.
"What did I tell you guys?"
"Quiet!" Ronon exclaimed.
Rodney merely glared at the Satedan. He was worried about his best friend possibly being dead and Ronon wanted him to shut up. He was about to say something but Teyla placed a hand on his shoulder to quiet him.
"What?" he finally burst in anger.
"We heard something," she replied in a whisper. Rodney followed behind Ronon and Teyla towards the noise they heard. 'They' as in the two in front of him because he certainly hadn't heard anything.
As Rodney came around the bend he nearly slammed into Ronon. "Watch it, will ya! And what are you two looking at?"
He peered around Ronon and just wanted to scream. Whatever or whoever had grabbed John and beaten him harshly. His face was covered in blood and his shoulder looked dislocated.
Ronon immediately went to John's side and knelt next to him. "Um, maybe you shouldn't move him," Rodney squeaked.
"Rodney is right, Ronon," Teyla replied. "He and I will return to the Stargate and bring help."
Ronon didn't appear to like that, but he grunted. They were right about not moving John. "Then hurry. Who knows if whatever attacked him will come back."
A few moments later, John began to stir. "Sheppard!" Ronon said.
"Damn," John muttered in response. Then, as if remembering what had occurred, shot up. He groaned in pain as his cracked ribs protested.
"Take it easy!"
"He's here, Ronon! We've got to make a run for the 'Gate." John stood up, looking around. "Where are Teyla and Rodney? God, he's captured them hasn't he? He's going to kill them!"
"Who?" Ronon asked in confusion.
Ronon took his friend by the arms and forced John to look at him. "Listen to me, Sheppard. Kolya is dead! You killed him yourself."
"I know. I mean, I thought I did, but he was here. He's the one who attacked me. We need to make sure Teyla and Rodney are all right!"
"Ronon I know what I saw!" John exclaimed, pushing away from him. John had to close his eyes as a wave of dizziness and nausea washed over him. He barely felt Ronon grab his arm and lower him to the ground.
"Watch out for him..." John said as he lost consciousness.
Ronon decided he wasn't waiting for Carson and his team. He knew John needed medical attention fast and the fact that the man had been able to get up and move around on his own proved there was nothing wrong with his back or neck.
Carson had just stepped through the event horizon when Ronon came into view carrying John. "What in the bloody hell are you doing, Son?"
"Sheppard regained consciousness for a few minutes. He stood up and was running around convinced that Kolya attacked him."
"Kolya?" Teyla asked.
"That's what he said."
"But that's impossible!" Rodney replied. "Kolya's dead. Sheppard killed him, we were there."
Ronon nodded. "I know all that, McKay, but that's what he told me."
Carson had Ronon lay John down on a stretcher as they continued to converse. "Whoever attacked him certainly did a number on him," the doctor said as he lifted John's shirt. "Let's get him back to Atlantis! We can sort this out later."
Elizabeth met Atlantis' flagship team at the 'Gate. "So what exactly happened?"
She listened intently as they told her. The minute she heard the name 'Kolya', she held up her hand. "And you're sure that's who he said attacked him."
"Positive," Ronon said. "He's convinced it was Kolya."
"And I keep saying that's impossible! Not only did we see him get shot, but Carson even pronounced him dead!"
Teyla nodded. "Rodney is right. Colonel Sheppard was most likely imagining Kolya because of his injuries."
"Probably," Elizabeth agreed. "All the same, I'm going to double security in the Gateroom just to be on the safe side."
"Dr. Weir, please come to the infirmary."
"On my way, Carson," she replied.
Rodney was the first to pounce poor Carson with questions. "Where is he? Is he going to be all right? What happened? Carson, tell me!"
"I will not tell you anything until you settle down, Rodney," Carson said.
Elizabeth could tell that he was exhausted. "Calm down, Rodney, and let Carson speak."
"Sorry," he muttered.
"I have him sedated for the moment because he's in terrible pain. He was hit in the face and all the blood you saw was from his nose. He was also hit, multiple times, in the stomach and chest. There's some heavy bruising, but no internal damage, thank God. The worst injury is the dislocated shoulder."
"When can we see him?" Rodney asked.
"You can go in and see him now," Carson replied, "but there's really no point since he's not awake."
Rodney shrugged, almost blushing. "I just need to, Carson."
"Carson, you should get some rest," Elizabeth said.
"I will soon, I promise."
Carson watched as Rodney walked over to his friend. He took a seat next to the bed and the physician knew he wasn't going to be moving any time soon.
"Rodney, I'll ask that you at least get yourself cleaned up before you sit in my infirmary all day. You're smelling a bit... ripe."
"Yeah, yeah," Rodney replied, dismissing him with a wave of his hand.
John woke up the next morning to feel his left shoulder pulsating with pain. He felt tears stinging in his eyes as he looked around for a nurse. The only person he saw at the moment was Rodney, but the scientist was sound asleep so John didn't want to wake him.
"Colonel," someone said. John looked up to see one of Carson's nurses. "Are you ready for some pain medicine?"
"As much as I hate to admit it, yeah."
As the nurse walked away, Elizabeth arrived in the infirmary. "John."
He looked up at her. "Were they able to catch Kolya?"
"John, Kolya's dead. You know that better than anyone."
"I swear it was him, Elizabeth!" John said adamantly. "I know it was!"
The nurse was returning with the medicine, Carson right behind her. He noticed that his patient was agitated. He was about to say something when Rodney spoke up.
"You're crazy! He was dead on the scene! Ask Carson!"
"Rodney, you're not helping anything. Why don't you move out of the way so I can check his vitals?"
Rodney glared at Carson, but stepped back next to Elizabeth. "John, are you sure you didn't just imagine him?"
"I'm not crazy!" He replied, looking directly at Rodney. "I know who I saw! It was him!"
"Okay, calm down and tell us what happened," Elizabeth said.
John nodded and took a deep breath. "Rodney was complaining about being out of sun screen. As he was muttering I heard a noise behind me and since Teyla and Ronon didn't seem to notice it, I thought I was just hearing things..."
Before John could even shout out for help, a fist slammed into his stomach while a hand covered his mouth and nose. He squirmed wildly as he was pulled through the brush. The hand was removed and John was able to look up in time to see a fist coming towards his face. He immediately dropped to the ground as blood poured from his now broken nose. John opened his eyes in an attempt to figure out what was going on. He noticed that his weapon and radio were missing. Even his TAC vest. When had that been removed, he asked himself. "Sheppard, I'm sorry, did we take you by surprise?" "Kolya!" John gasped out. "What the hell?" The former Genii soldier merely grinned at him. "We can't chat for long, but I wanted to let you know that I'm still around and your days are numbered, Colonel. As are the days of your expedition team." The men with Kolya then began to kick him multiple teams until one landed a blow to his causing him to lose consciousness.
"When I woke up, Ronon was standing over me.." John watched as they glanced at one another. He knew exactly what they were thinking. "I told you, I'm not crazy! It was Kolya, I swear!"
The hand was removed and John was able to look up in time to see a fist coming towards his face. He immediately dropped to the ground as blood poured from his now broken nose.
John opened his eyes in an attempt to figure out what was going on. He noticed that his weapon and radio were missing. Even his TAC vest. When had that been removed, he asked himself.
"Sheppard, I'm sorry, did we take you by surprise?"
"Kolya!" John gasped out. "What the hell?"
The former Genii soldier merely grinned at him. "We can't chat for long, but I wanted to let you know that I'm still around and your days are numbered, Colonel. As are the days of your expedition team."
The men with Kolya then began to kick him multiple teams until one landed a blow to his causing him to lose consciousness.
Carson noted his blood pressure rising. "Colonel, just calm down. We'll sort this through and while we're doing that, you are going to rest."
"Doc... Very slick."
Elizabeth watched with mild amusement as John realized Carson had slipped him a sedative. She took a deep breath and turned to face the other members of his team. "As much as I hate to admit John could be right, we should send a team to check out the planet."
Teyla nodded. "I agree. We've all thought he was dead before and he appeared on Dagan."
"I'm ready to go!" Ronon said.
Rodney was quiet for a few minutes as he watched his friend sleep. Like Elizabeth, he didn't want his friend to be right, but for John's sake, he hoped he was! "When do we leave?"
John glanced over at Carson as the others left. "How long am I going to be in here this time, Doc?" he asked.
"As long as it takes, Son. If you spent as much time resting after you're injured, then you could get out of here sooner."
He nodded. "Carson."
"My shoulder hurts."
Carson left him for a few minutes, returning with pain medicine which he injected into John's IV. As the medication took effect, John looked up at his friend. "I swear it was him."
"Just rest now, Colonel. Your team will be back soon with all the answers we'll need."
The moment John stepped into Atlantis from the Stargate, he knew something was wrong. And he was right because suddenly he was surrounded by ten Genii soldiers!
"What the hell?"
"Ah, Colonel Sheppard. Welcome back to my city."
"Where is everyone?" John asked in shock.
Kolya grinned. "Follow me."
John's eyes darted back and forth as he looked for any sign of his friends, but he didn't see them or anyone else from the expedition team. "Just for your information, your people have been dropped off on the Athosian homeworld. Of course, there were some who resisted and they've been taken care."
John didn't like that statement one bit. "What do you mean 'taken care of'?" he asked.
"They're dead, of course."
"You son of bitch!" John cried, rushing toward him. He completely forgot about the soldiers surrounding him as was knocked to the floor by a blow to the head.
"Easy, Colonel! I don't want you to be unconscious to witness this."
John was roughly pulled to a standing position as they entered the mess hall. All the tables had been moved to the side and standing in the middle of the room, arms bound behind their backs were Rodney, Teyla, Ronon, Carson, and Elizabeth.
"Kolya!" John seethed.
"You were sadistic in the way you murdered those soldiers coming to Atlantis. Those soldiers were friends of mine and now you will feel the pain as I did!"
Before John could even utter another word, Kolya ordered his men to fire their weapons.
"Nooo!" John cried out.
Carson came rushing to his side, but John seemed to be locked in his nightmare. "Colonel! You're safe now!" he exclaimed. "Bloody hell! Lucy, I need a sedative stat! He's going to injure himself further!"
Lucy rushed over to inject the sedative into John's IV. As she de so, John blinked, looking up at Carson. "You're alive?" he asked, drifting off again.
Carson didn't know what to think of that. He finally looked over at Lucy, who was staring at John in stunned silence. This was the girl's first week in Atlantis.
"Are you all right?" Carson asked.
She nodded. "Sorry, Dr. Beckett. I guess I just wasn't prepared for that."
"Don't worry about," he replied. "It takes some time to get acclimated to a new galaxy as well as Colonel Sheppard's' infirmary visits. Why don't you take a break?"
"Thank you, but I'll be fine. I don't like to leave my patients when they're distressed."
Carson smiled. That was why he hired Lucy. "I'll be in my office then. Let me know when he wakes up."
Elizabeth met Rodney, Teyla, Ronon, and Lorne in the meeting room. "What did you find out?"
"It's just as we suspected," Lorne replied, clearly not happy about it. "Although we did find Genii there, according to them Kolya is dead. They were the ones who attacked Sheppard for revenge."
Ronon growled quietly and Elizabeth could tell that he was angry about not being able to return the favor. Rodney was quiet she asked what was on his mind.
"I have a good mind to never let him leave Atlantis again because whenever he does, he winds up with more enemies!"
They all nodded in agreement.
"What about Ladon?" Teyla asked. "Perhaps he knows something of this. Are there Genii waiting for Colonel Sheppard in every part of the galaxy?"
"That's a good question, Teyla. I'll contact him right now. Oh, and the three of you may want to go down to the infirmary. John's been having nightmares, but he won't talk to anyone."
"We will go now," Teyla replied.
Carson was just settling John into bed when the team arrived in the infirmary. Rodney was the first to comment, of course.
"Sheppard we can't leave you alone for an hour without you getting all bent out of shape." Carson and John glared at him. "What?" he asked.
John sighed and turned his head. "You can tell him, Carson. I'm tired."
The physician nodded in sympathy. "Now, the three of you will come with me. Dr. Weir should be down in a few minutes and I can tell you what's been going on."
Teyla looked over at John in concern. "Is he all right?"
"Aye," Carson replied. "Physically he'll be fine."
Before he could continue, Elizabeth joined them. "As far as Ladon knows, Kolya's dead," she told them. "He's had people on various worlds keeping watch, but there's been no sign of him."
"Damn," Ronon muttered.
"How's John doing, Carson?" Elizabeth asked.
"Colonel Sheppard has not slept well since you left. He won't tell me what he's been dreaming about either. My guess is that it has something to do with the ghost who seems to be lingering in his mind."
"Why is this happening, Dr. Beckett?" Teyla wanted to know.
"Most likely from the stress of the mission to Lucius' planet and the fact that we were all in danger. That culminating from his experience of being fed upon by that Wraith."
"In other words," Rodney said, "to Sheppard, Kolya's like a bad penny."
Carson nodded, looking at everyone around him. "He's going to need each of you to help him through this. Try to get him to open up about what he's experiencing."
"Dr. Beckett," Teyla said, "what happened before we arrived?"
Carson sighed. "Another dream. I'm not sure what occurred in it, but that coupled with the pain meds he's been on┘"
"Can we see him now?" Rodney asked.
"Aye," he replied. "But behave or I'll have you thrown out of my infirmary."
When Major Lorne entered Elizabeth's office, she knew from the expression on his face that he didn't have good news. "Major?"
"Ma'am, we saw someone from a distance on M2X445. At first we thought it was our imagination but I sent Lieutenant Matthews for a closer look." He took a deep breath. "Kolya is alive."
Elizabeth's heart jumped into her throat. "Damn! Major, I want a memo sent out to all personnel immediately. I'll have Chuck recall all teams currently off world. Perhaps you'd like to debrief Colonel Sheppard? He's going to ask you questions regarding Kolya that I can't answer since I wasn't there."
"Yes, Ma'am," Lorne said with a nod. He was not looking forward to that conversation one bit!
Rodney entered the infirmary and found John just sitting up in bed, lost in thought. "Um... Sheppard?"
John blinked. "Hey Rodney."
Rodney could sense something was wrong. Oh, maybe it was because we're all accusing him of going crazy, he screamed at himself.
"Look, I'm sorry for acting the way I have. I guess I just don't want to believe the fact that Kolya may be back and he'll most likely come after you again."
John looked up at his friend. "You haven't heard?"
"Check your email or talk to Major Lorne or Elizabeth," John replied. "It's true. Kolya is still alive."
Rodney still did not want to believe him, but the look of seriousness on his friend's face made him decided to search out Lorne or Elizabeth. "I'll be back later," he muttered.
John remained in the same position for a long time. He thought back to their first encounter with the Genii. They had seem like such simple people, but then he and Rodney had stumbled upon their secret underground chamber and all hell broke loose.
Before Kolya and his strike team arrived on Atlantis, John never thought of himself as a killer but ever since he hit the button to raise the shield, it was on his mind constantly. That's why he couldn't kill Kolya when they found the ZPM on Dagan.
Although it seemed that things had changed when Kolya appeared on Lucius' new planet. John felt he had no choice. That he had kill the man before he, himself was killed. Before the people on that planet and definitely before his friends!
John was still lost in thought when Rodney returned. "I'm sorry," he gasped out.
"Rodney, it's okay. I'm not mad at any of you. I'm more frustrated than anything. I've pissed this guy off so bad that no matter what I do he finds a way to survive. I don't know what to do anymore."
Rodney didn't know how to respond to that. He knew how tortured his friend felt ever since the day Kolya and his men took over Atlantis. He felt responsible for all those lives that were lost.
"I guess we're just going to have to be more alert," he replied. "We're all going to have to be a little more aggressive when it comes to destroying this man."
"He's right." John looked up at Ronon. He could almost see an expression that said, 'I can't believe I'm agreeing with McKay'. "I know you'd rather avoid killing people, I read your previous reports about Kolya, but this man is not going to rest until you and this expedition are destroyed."
John sighed. "Kill or be killed, huh?"
He hated those options.