Title: Adopting Rodney
Rating: G to PG
Summary: "We're adopting Rodney," John said. What happens after Rodney suffers a brain injury. Set a few months after First Strike
Characters: Sheppard, Weir, McKay
Spoilers: First Strike, Sunday
Disclaimer: The characters and Stargate Atlantis don't belong to me and I'm not making anything from this.
Feedback: Yes please
"John, what was that?" Elizabeth grabbed onto John's arm as she sat up in bed.
"What was what?" He asked; his face half buried in his pillow.
"I heard a crash," she smacked him on the arm.
"Oww," he rubbed the offended area.
"Some military commander you are. Aren't you supposed to wake up alert at any noise?"
"Not after the day I've had," he grumbled. The sound of glass breaking could be heard outside their bedroom door. "Would that be the sound?"
"Close enough," she said.
John pushed himself up out of bed and walked to their closet. Opening the door he reached in.
"John, we agreed that you wouldn't take out your gun during the night if we heard a noise in our quarters. After the last time…" she didn't say anymore.
"Yeah, you're right," he removed his hand from the safe and closed the closet door. "Just stay in here."
Walking into the living room, he saw a light on in the kitchen. Entering the kitchen he frowned. "Rodney, is everything all right?"
Rodney's head jerked up from where he was kneeling on the floor trying to clean up broken glass. "I was trying to get some," he stopped and squeezed his eyes shut.
"Water?" John supplied walking over and grabbing a broom and dust pan on the way. "Step out of the way. I don't want you getting glass in your feet."
"Sorry," Rodney stood up and stepped back.
"It's okay," John said. "How did it happen?"
"Missed the counter."
John finished sweeping up the glass. "That happens," he said resisting the urge to tell Rodney to come get him or Elizabeth next time he wanted a drink of water in the middle of the night. Rodney needed to be able to do some things for himself.
"John?" He heard his name from the bedroom.
"Everything's fine, Elizabeth," he called back. "No intruders."
Elizabeth appeared in the kitchen a minute later. "What happened?"
"Rodney just dropped a glass," John said.
"You didn't hurt yourself?" Elizabeth came up to Rodney taking both of his hands in hers giving them a thorough exam.
"No, I didn't hurt myself," Rodney jerked his hands away balling them up at his sides. "I'm going back to…bed," he turned and walked to his room.
If it had been a swinging door, John and Elizabeth could imagine the slam that would have shaken the walls from Rodney's door.
"I'm guessing that was a sample of your day?" Elizabeth asked her husband.
"A very small sample," John sighed.
The couple returned to bed. John curled around behind Elizabeth resting a hand on her stomach.
"Are we doing the right thing?" John asked.
Elizabeth squeezed his hand. "How'd we manage to switch views in the last sixteen months?"
Sixteen months earlier
John, Ronon and Teyla came running into the infirmary waiting area stopping in front of a pacing Elizabeth. "What happened?" John asked guiding her to a chair.
"He had a seizure," Elizabeth told them
"Why? What happened?" John asked again.
"The doctor thinks it has to do with what happened on that planet you were on a couple of days ago," Elizabeth explained. It was their fourth time through the gate since the Assuran attack led them to flying the city to another planet when it happened.
When they arrived on the planet for their fourth mission they found themselves in a large empty room. There were a couple of doors. They entered through one of them. It was as if an invisible force shoved Rodney off his feet and onto his back. John had to grab Rodney's flak vest and drag an unconscious Rodney from the room with the others leading the way. When they returned Rodney had come to a short time later. Tests showed no ill effects on Rodney. "How has he seemed the last couple of days?"
Rodney's team shared glances. John looked back at her and shrugged. "He seemed like his usual annoying self."
"He seemed to forget the names of very simple tools in the lab today," Radek spoke from his seat. Rodney had collapsed into a seizure while arguing with Radek in the lab. Elizabeth had entered minutes before Rodney's collapse to see what the problem was.
"That doesn't sound very unusual," John commented. "You know he snaps his finger rapidly pointing at something demanding someone hand it to him."
"Blue Jell-O," Ronon's sudden outburst had several pairs of eyes looking at him. "Yesterday he was asking for it, but for a minute I thought he forgot what to call it."
Dr. Keller entered the room and was converged upon. She held up her hands to silence them all. "Rodney needs to be operated on. An area of his brain is bleeding. We need to stop the bleeding."
"Then he will be all right?" Teyla asked.
Dr. Keller sighed rubbing her face. "I'm not sure. The damage has already been done. It's unclear if it will be permanent at this point and what the effects will be."
"You mean brain damage?" John asked.
"Yes," the doctor gave them an apologetic look. "It will be several hours. Dr. Zagoran will be doing the procedure. I'll be scrubbing in."
The room fell silent as everyone found a place to sit. John sat down next to Elizabeth wrapping an arm around the back of her chair. She rested her head on his shoulder.
Ronon, Teyla and Radek were seated to John's right. It wasn't long however, before Ronon was up and pacing. A few minutes after that Ronon mumbled something about going to the gym and left the room.
"Ronon doesn't do well with not being able to do anything," Elizabeth said exchanging a glance with Teyla who nodded.
"I know the feeling," John said.
Elizabeth squeezed John's hand.
Several hours later, Dr. Keller entered the waiting room looking pale and exhausted. "We got the bleeding under control. He's stable. We'll know a little more in the next twenty-four hours or so. I recommend that you all get some rest."
"Can we see him?" Elizabeth asked. She, John, Teyla and Radek stood around the doctor.
"You can see him in the morning."
"All right," Elizabeth said squeezing John's hand when she saw him open his mouth to protest.
"I will tell Ronon," Teyla said.
They thanked Dr. Keller, said goodnight to Radek and left the infirmary. "So, my place or yours?" John asked wrapping an arm around Elizabeth's shoulders.
"Yours," she grinned, playing along.
"Hhmm, you like to live dangerously doctor," he leered as they walked to the quarters they had been sharing for a little over a month.
The next morning everyone arrived in the infirmary around the same time. A tired looking Dr. Keller greeted them. "He woke up briefly, but mostly slept through the night. He's just showing signs of waking."
"Do you know if there are any effects yet?" Elizabeth asked.
"Dr. Zagoran will have to assess him when he comes in a few minutes," Dr. Keller explained.
"May we see him?" Teyla asked.
"Of course," the doctor said. "Just be quiet. You can speak to him, but not too much commotion."
John and Elizabeth entered the private room first followed by Ronon and Teyla close behind. Radek had planned to be there, but was held up in the lab.
Rodney had a large bandage covering his skull. A nasal cannula stuck under his nose and an IV stuck to his left hand. His eyes were closed. He was pale.
"Rodney," Elizabeth whispered approaching the bed first.
Rodney's eyes fluttered and blinked several times. He tried to turn his head and grimaced.
"Don't try to move too much," Elizabeth advised. "We're all here."
John walked over next to Elizabeth squeezing her hand. "Hey buddy," he said leaning across Elizabeth to look at his friend.
"Where?" Was all Rodney could get out.
"You are in a private room in the infirmary," Teyla told him coming around the other side of the bed next to his head.
"Another doctor's coming in pretty soon," John said. "We just wanted to see how you're doing."
Rodney blinked still looking confused. Ronon, not much for words, reached out and squeezed Rodney's arm.
The door to the room opened and Dr. Zagoran walked in. "How's our patient today?" The forty-something neurosurgeon asked.
"Waking up," Elizabeth said. "We'll leave you to examine him. Please let us know what news you have as soon as possible."
"Of course, Dr. Weir."
The four friends squeezed one of Rodney's hands or patted his shoulder before leaving the infirmary.
"Getting cut off again isn't making things better."
"Excuse me, Dr. Weir," Dr. Zagoran interrupted John's conversation with Elizabeth as he entered Elizabeth's office. It was later in the day since they had visited Rodney.
"Doctor," Elizabeth stood at the same time John did. "How is Rodney?"
The doctor looked at John and then Elizabeth again. "Might I speak to you in private," the surgeon said to Elizabeth.
"If this is about Rodney, I'm staying," John said.
"It's all right doctor," Elizabeth said. "Col. Sheppard can hear this. He and I both have been given power of consent in the case of Rodney's incapacity."
"Of course," the doctor nodded and sat in an available chair Elizabeth offered. "Rodney suffered a severe migraine today. He was highly sensitive to stimuli such as light and sound during the migraine. Dr. Heightmeyer and I assessed him later. He has some holes in his memory. He was asking for Carson at one point."
John and Elizabeth exchanged pained expressions. "What did you tell him, Doctor?" Elizabeth asked.
"Dr. Cole explained what happened," the doctor said. "Rodney was quite emotional at that point."
"Why weren't we contacted?" John demanded.
"Rodney didn't want to see anyone. Especially his friends. All of this occurred only a short time ago. We were able to ascertain some of the effects of the injury. Some of this may improve as it has been less than twenty-four hours since surgery. His ability to recall the names of certain simple objects is low. His attention wandered and it took several times to get it back to focus. His speech is slow. Sometimes he'll use the wrong words."
"What about his ability to understand math and science?" John asked.
The doctor sighed. "He was given some of his own research that he was known to understand before the accident. There are things he grasps, but many things he cannot and knows he should. He's having emotional highs and lows. There are moments he seems almost like a child and then he's back to being an adult."
"What does this mean doctor?" Elizabeth asked feeling her own voice shake.
"Like I said, things could improve on their own, but it is only likely some things can improve on their own. Rodney's going to have to be retrained in certain areas of taking care of himself. If he continues the same I'm afraid he may need constant supervision."
There was a long silence as the information began to sink in.
"Can we see him?" John asked.
"If he consents," Zagoran said. "I'll see him now and let you know," the doctor stood and left them.
John was leaning his elbows on his legs looking down at the floor. Elizabeth stared down at the top of her desk.
"How are we going to take care of him if he stays this way?" Elizabeth asked.
"I don't know," John said. "But we'll figure out something. We have to."
"You know if it were possible, I'd send him back to Earth," Elizabeth said.
John just nodded still looking at the floor.