Disclaimer: All characters and references to Stargate Atlantis don't belong to me. Sadly.
Notes: After watching 'Doppelganger', I developed a yearning for more Evil!John. I had this random plot bunny kicking around in my head for months, but seeing Doppelganger kicked it into action. However, the actual story has nothing to do with Doppelganger and is completely separate.
Summary: John turned and stared at Rodney. "Last chance, McKay. Give me the codes. All of them. Or Simpson gets to stroll through space."
"I'm getting tired of this, McKay."
Rodney snorted and let his head drop back against the chair he was tied to. Out of the two of them, he doubted John was the one tired of this.
"Not falling asleep on me, are you?"
Rodney didn't bother to answer. He didn't bother opening his eyes either, which meant that the sudden blow to the face took him by complete surprise.
The punch had been hard enough to knock him sideway and he crashed to the brig's floor, the sides of the chair painfully digging into his arm.
He clenched his teeth, determined not to scream or whimper. He'd done enough of both in the past week.
His face throbbed from the hit and he wished he could lower his burning cheek and jaw to the cold floor beneath him, but the chair kept him slumped just above the ground.
Pain radiated up his arm and he bit his lip to keep quiet.
At least John hadn't knocked him onto his back this time. His fingers had been crushed beneath the chair and John had instructed Sergeant Meyers and Corporal Adams to leave him like that for a few hours.
He didn't know if they were broken, but they were black and blue and horribly swollen. Moving them the slightest bit was enough to make him scream, a fact that John had been pleased to discover the day before when Lorne had forced his damaged hands flat on a table they'd brought in and John had asked him the same damn questions over and over again, grinding the heel of his hand onto Rodney's fingers every time he refused to answer.
He'd screamed himself hoarse, tears streaming down his face and then either passed out or done a good enough impression of it for them to finally leave him alone, tied to the chair in the middle of the empty brig. At some point in the night, Meyers had thrown a bucket of water onto him. He'd managed to lick some drops off the corners of his lips and his chin and had spent most of the night tilting his head in various ways to make more drops slide into his mouth. It kept him entertained and actually made him forget about his throbbing fingers and the fact that he was tired, cold and in pain.
At least he wasn't hungry or really thirsty. They brought him powerbars and water every few hours and forced Keller to hook him up to an IV every other day to keep his body functional.
"Wouldn't want our best brain around here going into a hyperglycemic coma, now would we?" John had asked, twisting his face into an expression of sarcastic sympathy.
Rodney had glared at him, knowing they weren't doing this for his benefit. They wanted to keep most of him as healthy as possible so they could damage other parts of him to try to force him to give them what they wanted. John wasn't dumb. Rodney had always known that, he'd just never known that it would ever be used against him.
"You know, it really doesn't look that comfortable down there, McKay."
Rodney glared at the boots standing inches from his nose and didn't bother to reply.
"I'll ask you one more time, McKay. After that, I have a lot of things to do today so I might not be back." The boots turned and walked away from him as John sauntered across the floor, as casual as if they were discussing whether they had time to watch a movie together that night.
"Which probably means that we'll forget to pick you up and you can spend the night on the floor. I'm no doctor, but that arm of yours might not be in too good shape tomorrow. And you brains need your hands to work, don't you?"
The boots stopped and turned and Rodney watched as they came to a halt before his nose again. He heard a rustle of fabric and John crouched down.
"Tell me how to fix the city, McKay. Tell me the codes to unlock her."
Rodney didn't say anything. After a few seconds of silence, he closed his eyes, leaving no doubt as to what his answer was.
He was shaking like a leaf, pain and cold raking through his body and his arm had already gone blissfully numb, but his other hand throbbed. He knew he would be spending the entire night lying on the floor like this, but he knew it was better than the alternative.
He heard John sigh, sounding frustrated. He heard him get back up and pause. Rodney frowned, not knowing why he was still standing there.
Seconds later, pain exploded in his abdomen and his eyes flew open as the wind was knocked out of him and the chair loudly scraped across the cement floor.
He saw a fast blur as John brought his leg back and had just enough time to squeeze his eyes shut and tighten his throbbing stomach muscles as best as he could before the next kick.
Breath hissed out of the corners of his mouth and tears leaked out of his eyes as the chair skid back a few more inches. His arm was being scraped raw and he could feel some wetness beneath it. He knew there would probably be blood streaked across the floor from where he'd started from.
Without a word, John turned and left the cell, the door hissing shut behind him.
Rodney concentrated on sucking in some painful breaths and blinking back his tears. He quickly took stock of the situation. He was in pain, he might be bleeding internally from those kicks, his face was swelling, his fingers were probably broken and his arm was a mess.
But he hadn't talked.
And when this nightmare was over and he got his John back, he knew John would be proud of him for that.
6 days ago
K'Tesh watched with satisfaction as another one of the Lantean soldiers was forced into the chair and had his head restrained. The man was glaring and fought viciously until his arms and legs were secured.
Then one of his own men initiated the beam and the Lantean went rigid, eyes staring at nothing.
While the Lantean was being hypnotized, one of his scientists stepped up to him, frowning.
"Sir, do you know how many more Lanteans there are?"
"We can only store a certain number of signatures in the device. We can't store all of them."
"What does that mean?"
"It means that if we convert the rest of the Lantean soldiers who are here, we won't be able to control any of the other Lanteans in the city."
K'Tesh smiled. "Don't worry about that. We need enough of the soldiers under our control to take the city. The other citizens are mostly scientists and defenseless, and the few soldiers who did remain can easily be eliminated by the ones who are under our control."
"But sir, if they do manage to do something to the city—"
"Then we will encourage our new militia to convince their former comrades that cooperating is the wisest choice."
At that moment, the beam stopped and the man standing beside the Lantean gave him a nod. K'Tesh stepped up to him and grasped the man's chin and made him look at him.
"State your name."
"Corporal Benny Dayton."
"I am K'Tesh. Repeat my name."
"Good. You will now serve me. Tell me who you will serve."
"I will now serve you."
"I want Atlantis. I want the city. And you will help me get it."
"You want Atlantis. You want the city. And I'll help you get it."
"Very good. What a fast learner you are, Corporal Dayton. Now, you will go and bring me the rest of your militia so they can help you with your task. Do you understand?"
8 days ago
The military had packed up what seemed like half the city, and three quarters of their guardian grunts were about to leave. They'd spent four days doing some survival exercises and bonding over tales of sport team triumphs and bedpost notches while singing loud drinking songs courtesy of the Marine Corps and the Air Force.
John had been so busy making sure they had all the ammo, wraith stunners, bed rolls, tents, MREs and C4 that he nearly forgot to pack his toothbrush.
Rodney had barely stirred when the alarm had rung at 0430 and John had swung himself out of bed, way too cheerful and excited about the prospect of spending four days playing war games in the mud.
He listened to John quietly flushing the toilet and turning on the tap before quietly slipping his uniform on and lacing up his boots and the quiet metal click of checking his M9.
"—oth—ush," Rodney muttered. John paused. "What?"
Rodney groaned and sat up, his eyes barely open. "Toothbrush," he said, forcing his tired lips and tongue to form the word properly.
"Shit." John spun around and hurried into the bathroom to hopefully grab the toothbrush. When he came back out, Rodney squinted through the darkness until he saw John holding it up sheepishly.
Giving a satisfied grunt, Rodney let himself fall back into his pillow. Hearing steps beside the bed, he felt the mattress dipping and suddenly found himself pressed flat by an annoyingly cheerful soldier, who had plastered himself over Rodney.
Rodney groaned. "Gerroff."
He felt the soft brush of John's nose against his neck and a light kiss was pressed into his collarbone.
Rodney sighed. "You're gonna be late, flyboy," he muttered.
He felt his pillow dipping low as John planted his arms of both sides of Rodney's head and gentle fingers ran through his hair.
"Gonna miss me?"
Rodney opened his eyes and stared at John, whose nose was practically brushing his own, he was so close.
John glared and Rodney mock glared back. "You're waking me up two hours after I fell into bed. That's not the way to make me feel anything but relief about you leaving me the hell alone for four days."
John nipped his chin and growled at him and Rodney chuckled. Pulling his arms out from under the blankets, he wrapped them around John's waist and pulled him close, relishing the solid, reassuring weight pressing him into the mattress.
It never ceased to amaze him that he had never been able to tolerate sharing a bed with someone before, but he felt comfortable and even happy to wake up with John plastered all over him or to have him drape his lanky self over him while he was trying to sleep.
They stared at each other until Rodney glanced at the numbers blinking on the clock beside the bed.
"You have to go, flyboy."
"God knows what messes the marines will get themselves into if left to fend for themselves."
John snorted and kissed Rodney's forehead and nose.
"Don't blow up our city while I'm gone, okay?"
"As if Sam would let me."
"I'm not saying it would be intentional."
"Hey! I don't make those kinds of mistakes."
"Whatever you say, McKay."
"Aren't you supposed to be in the gateroom already? Go and play Soldier and Wraith or whatever it's called."
"I left Radek feeding instructions and sleeping instructions."
"I really don't think Radek needs help feeding himself and sleeping properly."
"Nope, he really doesn't."
Rodney rolled his eyes. "I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself."
"So am I. Doesn't stop you from nagging."
"Oh, yes, Mister I-Leave-My-Toothbrush-Behind."
"Hey, at least I packed my guns and food."
"The staples of a soldier's life, huh?"
John smiled, but there was a spark of worry in his eyes. "Seriously, don't give him crap if he comes and nags, okay?"
"It's that important to you, huh?"
"Yeah, it is. I can't focus one hundred percent on playing the part of a realistic-yet-more-fashionably-dressed Wraith and remember the verses of Lorne's favourite drinking song if I'm worried about whether you're sleeping and eating."
Rodney sighed. "Fine. I'll take care of myself, if you promise to take care of yourself. No getting into pissing contests with corporals half your age, okay? If they say they can jump across a ten meter wide gorge, you smile and say 'good for you', not 'ten? Pssh, let's see who can do twenty!'"
John snorted. "Okay, okay."
"You'll remember that you're forty-one and you have the body of a forty-one year old. The body of a very hot forty-one year old, but a forty-one year old nonetheless."
"As long as you remember the same. All-nighters didn't faze you in grad school, but you aren't twenty anymore either."
"Fine. Just be safe and come home in one piece."
John chuckled. "We're going out for training at the alpha site, Rodney. We're not going into actual combat."
"Still. Don't take stupid risks and don't take your war games too far, okay? You've got a lot of people who need you to come home and one person who really needs you to come home."
John smiled that shy little smile that he always got when Rodney said things like that. Almost like he couldn't believe that anybody would really say those things to him and mean it.
It was why Rodney made sure he said those things as often as possible and as sincerely as possible. Maybe one day, that shy smile would turn into an arrogant smirk and Rodney secretly looked forward to that day.
John leaned down and kissed his chin before Rodney ducked his head and caught his lips with his own. The kisses were gentle and soft, so unlike the kisses of previous relationships. Things had always fallen apart before they entered that stage where kissing wasn't just a sign of lust and passion but a sign of comfort, familiarity and genuine caring.
John groaned and pressed his forehead to Rodney's. "I wish you'd come."
"I really don't think we'd get much done if we had a tent all to ourselves in the middle of nowhere. Not to mention that Corporal Adams would spend the whole time smirking and giving me eyebrow wiggles. The man's maturity is awe-inspiring."
"That man is a twenty two year old kid, Rodney. And you know he's just doing it because he knows it bugs you and makes you blush."
"The point is that me coming would make it entirely unproductive, not to mention that I went to geek bootcamp a month ago and may I remind you, I didn't only pass with flying colors, but I led half the exercises due to Lorne having a cold and sneezing and wheezing his way through every command. I've done my part, thank you very much."
"Have I mentioned I'm damn proud of you for that?"
"Yes, you did. But feel free to mention it anytime you want. You didn't really believe me when I said that I pay attention to all that military stuff you yell and grouse about, did you?"
John kissed him again to shut him up and Rodney tightened his grip around John's waist.
Finally, they separated, grinning at each other like loons.
"We're behaving like sixteen year olds who have to be separated for a week of summer camp, you know."
John looked slightly concerned, then shrugged. "I won't tell if you won't tell."
"Deal. Wanna pinky swear it?"
John scowled at him and pushed himself off the bed. Rodney laughed. "Go have fun, soldier boy."
"Oh, I will. And I won't miss you at all."
"I promise to cry on Radek's shoulder twice an hour and sigh and wonder loudly if you're missing me as much as I miss you."
"And I swear I'll go to girls poker night and lament the fact that I'm all alone and you're so far, far away."
"I hate you."
"I'll carry one of your socks around and smell it every hour and tell everybody I'm scared of forgetting what you smell like."
John was already half way out the door and just stopped to throw him another glare. "You just enjoy having the bed to yourself because you'll be sleeping on it all alone for the next month, McKay."
Rodney laughed. "As if you'd stay away from me that long. I dare you to try. In fact, I double dare you."
"Oh, so are you."
Rodney saw a blur and suddenly, he had a Lieutenant Colonel sprawled across him again.
"Lorne is going to refuse to do your paperwork for you if you leave him to organize everybody in the gateroom."
John made a dismissive noise. "I'm bringing his favourite beer along."
Looking at the clock behind his head, Rodney saw that technically, John had five minutes to still get to the gateroom – which meant that they had two whole minutes before he had to be out the door.
Wrapping his arms around the solid weight lying on him, he buried his nose in John's hair while he buried his face into Rodney's neck.
Well, if John ran, he really only needed a minute and a half to make it to the gateroom.
Which meant they still had three minutes and twenty one seconds.
3 days ago
K'Tesh patiently waited until the device stopped and the beam being emitted was switched off.
He walked up to the man sitting in the chair, staring up at the conference room ceiling with wide, blank eyes.
"Your lack of progress is disappointing, Colonel. Why have you made such little progress?"
"McKay is being difficult."
"I'm aware of that, but you reassured me that getting that code out of him would be an easy matter."
The Colonel didn't respond, only stared blankly up at the ceiling. He hadn't asked the man a question so not getting a response wasn't unusual.
K'Tesh pressed his lips together, still irritated. "You will try harder, Colonel, won't you?"
"Do whatever you have to do to get that code. We need him to stay alive, but we don't need the majority of those other people. Use that to your advantage."
"Good. I expect better progress from now on."
2 days ago
John was leaning against the railings looking over the gateroom as Meyers and Ronon dragged Rodney up behind him.
"He's here, sir," Meyers said as Ronon forced Rodney to stop, his gun pressed into the small of his back.
John half turned and gave them a nod. "Good. Bring him up here."
Ronon dug the weapon deeper into his back and Rodney walked up beside John, wondering why the hell they had brought him out here.
"What do you want?" he asked wearily. He was exhausted. He'd been locked up in the large storage room with most of his other scientists for the past two days. Everything had been moved out of the room except for two long metal bars with small half circles of metal sticking out of them. Rodney, Radek, Lisa Simpson, Miko and most of his staff and the medical staff were forced into the room, told to sit down and their hands were handcuffed to the bars.
And that was how they stayed for two days. They were fed powerbars every few hours and given water. Whenever one of them had to go to the bathroom, they would tell Radner or whoever was on guard duty and they would be unclipped from the bar and taken to the corner to take care of business in a bucket.
The embarrassment of the task soon vanished after people realized how uncomfortable it was to sit with full bladders and bowels.
Besides, the soldiers didn't humiliate them or hurt them in any way. It was obvious that they had been told to keep them alive, but controlled. Every person in that room could have gotten out of the room and made their lives a lot more difficult than they already had. So keeping them literally chained to the floor was done more out of practicality and caution than cruelty.
Which was why he was damn confused that John had ordered him to be brought to the gateroom.
He'd been taken into the conference room quite a few times already, John, Lorne, Teyla, Ronon, K'Tesh and the rest of his merry band of mind controlling thugs waiting for him. They'd asked him over and over again how to get control of the city back and what he had done to the city. They wanted to know why John couldn't control the chair. They wanted to know how to get everything running again. They wanted to know why the ZPM was dark and refused to be plugged in, even if it was still half charged and there didn't seem to be anything wrong with it.
Rodney just stared at the far wall, ignoring them all and refusing to answer. They wouldn't kill him, he knew that. He was the only one in the city who could fully reverse the damage he'd done, and he knew John knew that. Sam could maybe figure out what he had done, and so could Radek, but without the codes, it would take them both quite a while. Besides, they knew Sam would be much harder to force into cooperation than him. But he was giving it his best shot.
John didn't know which ones of the scientists had the pieces of the code but he knew that Rodney knew the whole thing. He probably thought it would be more efficient to focus on breaking Rodney than his whole staff.
He stared past John and focused on the gateroom, not wanting to look into that familiar face and see nothing but cold blankness.
"You know what I want, McKay. You know what K'Tesh wants."
"You only want what K'Tesh wants because he's controlling you."
"I didn't ask you a question, McKay. We've gone over this a dozen times. You only answer when you're asked a question. Clear?"
"Go to hell."
John sighed. "It's a damn shame you're being so stubborn, McKay. We told you we didn't want any fuss or complications, just a nice, easy hand-over. K'Tesh is willing to let you all relocate to the alpha site, McKay. He's willing to let you take whatever supplies you want with you. I don't see why you're being so difficult."
"Then you're a lot dumber than I ever gave you credit for."
John's gaze darkened slightly and he straightened up. "The point is that you obviously still think you hold all the cards around here. You think that keeping your mouth shut won't have any consequences. I'm here to show you just how wrong you are."
At some signal, the side door in the gateroom was opened and Radner and Teyla came in, dragging a hysterical Lisa Simpson between them.
She was gagged but her loud sobbing and muffled screams could still be heard. Tears streamed down her face and she twisted and fought Teyla and Radner's grips. Her hands were cuffed behind her but she struggled so hard that Radner nearly lost his grip on her and Teyla finally pinned her to the ground on her back, her arms being crushed behind her.
Rodney saw Teyla leaning down and say something to her but Lisa glared up at her and yelled some muffled words back at her. Looking disappointed, Teyla placed a boot on Lisa's throat and Radner pulled his gun out and kept it trained on her.
Rodney's breath had caught in his throat the moment he had recognized Lisa. "What are you doing with her? You talk to me, not the others! That was our agreement. She doesn't know all the codes, Sheppard! None of them do except for me and Sam. We've gone over this a hundred times."
John nodded. "I'm not deaf, McKay. I know Simpson doesn't have all the information we need. But you do."
"The let her go back to the storage room with the others."
"Oh, no, Dr. McKay. You see, I told you that we'd get that information out of you one way or another. We both know that physical torture is the less productive option, so we're going to leave that off the table for now. But there are other ways of breaking somebody."
Turning away from Rodney, John nodded at Chuck Campbell. "Dial a gate."
Nodding, the Lieutenant started dialing. Rodney watched the bright blue lights flicker around the rim of the stargate. He watched the symbols which were being dialed, and it took him a while to put them together and to remember what planet it led to.
Or rather, what planet it didn't lead to.
It was a space gate address.
Sick fear coursed through him. "No! John, no! You can't do this!"
John watched as the backwash exploded out of the gate and settled into a smooth, rippling sheen of liquid. Then he nodded down at Teyla and Radner.
Teyla reached down and hauled Lisa's shaking form to her feet. Radner grabbed one side of her and they struggled towards the gate, Lisa twisting and fighting their grasp.
They paused and looked up at John, waiting for his signal.
John turned and stared at Rodney. "Last chance, McKay. Give me the codes. All of them. Or Simpson gets to stroll through space."
Rodney's frightened gaze darted between John's blank eyes and Lisa's terrified eyes. He stared down at her, feeling utterly helpless.
He knew he couldn't. He knew that. If he gave John those codes, he and the other scientists would be tossed out on some random planet and K'Tesh would fly the city off somewhere. There was no way they would get their city, or most of their soldiers back.
Rodney stared into Lisa's eyes, willing her to understand.
They'd all been prepared for this scenario to play out.
They'd all discussed it in long, tense meetings in the conference room. Then John had come down to the labs and talked to those who seemed uneasy about the prospect of obeying 'sacrifice the few to save the many'. Lisa had been one of those, and John had spent over an hour sitting with her and some others, patiently explaining why it was necessary and the consequences of not following through.
Rodney was certain Lisa had never in her worst nightmares imagined that John would be the one forcing them into such a situation, but it had happened, and now they had to deal with it.
Even if their military leader wasn't himself, they would still obey the orders he had drilled into their heads.
Lisa gradually calmed down and her eyes lost some of that hysterical fear.
"I'm sorry," Rodney mouthed down to her.
She nodded, some fear but mostly resignation filling her eyes.
John's eyes twitched when he saw the exchange and he suddenly grabbed Rodney and pressed him against the railing, one hand tangled in his hair and forcing him to stare at Lisa.
"You gonna let her die, McKay? You know it'll be your fault. She's gonna suffocate and die a horrible, painful death all by herself in the darkness of space, and you could have prevented that. All you have to do is tell me those codes."
Rodney didn't say anything. He clenched his jaw and felt tears leaking out of his eyes. He numbly shook his head.
John's grip painfully tightened in his hair and he pressed his body into Rodney's, making the railing dig into his stomach.
"You're going to spend the rest of your life hearing her screams, her pleas for mercy, her fear when we push her through into nothing. Think you can live like that, McKay? Think you can live hearing those screams in your head every night? Huh?"
Rodney squeezed his eyes shut for a moment, but then wrenched them open. He wasn't going to be a coward and look away. Lisa was about to die following the orders John had drilled into their heads and the least Rodney could do was look her in the face.
Swallowing hard, he stared at Lisa, hoping that she could somehow feel the million things he wanted to say to her.
"I'm sorry." "We're proud of you, Lisa. All of us. John would be too if he weren't crazy right now." "We'll miss you." "I'll write up your work for you and make sure it's published when the program's declassified." "We won't ever forget you. I promise."
Then he turned his head the tiny bit he could manage with John's tight grip in his hair.
"Go to hell."
John growled. "Do it," he snarled down to Teyla and Radner.
Rodney watched as they pulled Lisa closer to the shimmering wormhole. Her back was straight and she wasn't fighting them anymore. They were Lanteans and they knew what had to be done, even if it was the last thing they would do. The least they could do was face it bravely when that time came.
"Last chance, McKay."
He licked his dry lips. "Fuck you."
He forced his eyes to stay open and he felt a twinge of pride course through him as Teyla stepped back and gave Lisa a strong push.
Without a sound, Lisa fell through the wormhole.
As soon as she disappeared from view, Rodney felt the lump clenching in his throat, but he refused to give in.
He would not cry, he would not collapse, and he certainly wouldn't talk now.
Lisa had given her life for his silence, and he'd be damned if he let it be in vain.
He felt John releasing his hair and getting off him.
"Put him into the brig and tie him to a chair. From now on, every day that he doesn't talk, we throw another one through."
4 days ago
They hadn't seen it coming. John and the others had been gone for the scheduled four days, checking in twice a day sounding happy but tired.
Then they'd dialed back in and come tromping back through the gate, covered in mud and sweat and dragging more dirt and muck in with them than the gateroom saw in a year.
Everybody knew how chaotic things got in the gateroom whenever a large group was arriving or leaving, so anybody not needed there was asked politely but firmly to stay away.
It was why none of them saw John striding into Sam's office, smiling and chattering about being a bit on the dirty side – before pulling out a stunner and stunning her. None of them saw him ordering Meyers and Ronon to put her into a stasis pod.
It was why none of them saw the returning soldiers moving down corridors, looking for their colleagues who had stayed behind. None of them saw them greeting each other with grins and slaps on the back. None of them saw the newly returned soldier pulling out a stunner and shooting them two seconds later.
The first hint that something was wrong was noticed by Radek, who frowned and asked Rodney why one of the stasis pods was being activated.
"What? Stasis pod? Nobody's running any tests on the pods."
"I know that, Rodney. This is why I ask why it being turned on."
Then a hysterical Doctor Biro burst into the labs, telling them that Corporal Adams and Corporal Dayton had come into the infirmary and promptly stunned Dr. Keller and the rest of her staff and dragged them off somewhere.
She had been on break and was just coming back to the infirmary when she saw her colleagues being brought out and had turned and run for it.
Rodney's hand had automatically gone up to his earpiece to call John and alert him, when Radek slapped his hands away.
"No, Rodney! We not knowing how many soldiers affected! Maybe it all the soldiers who were at training. That means the Colonel as well."
Rodney stared at Radek for a moment, before it clicked. Damn it, Radek was right.
Quickly, Rodney jumped into action, turning to face his chattering staff, all of whom were staring at each other, eyes wide with fear.
"Okay, everybody! Quit staring around like the bogey-man is waiting under a lab bench. We don't know what's going on, but it's safe to say that some of the people who just came back have been compromised. We have no idea how many of them have been affected, so we're working off the assumption that they all have been. We're initiating a Code Orange."
His staff stared at him for a long moment until he scowled. "Are you all deaf? Let's go, let's go, let's go! We have no idea how long it'll take them to get down here. You, you and you, grab the stunners from the drawers and take up your defensive positions. You and you, get to the ZPM. Radek, initiate the program."
Once they had all gotten started, everything flowed as nicely and quickly as it should. They had practiced this a million times, John standing in the control room with his stop watch and carefully timing them, making faces when they were two seconds slower than last week.
They all scattered, knowing their primary and back-up roles. Rodney started madly typing on his laptop, opening the program that would allow him to render the city inert except for the most basic functions such as scanners, life support, structural integrity and door mechanisms.
Radek yelled progress reports every few seconds, telling him where everybody was and how close they were to unplugging the ZPM.
Radek's voice suddenly broke off. "They were just stunned, Rodney! Five lifesigns transported into the section."
"Did they get the ZPM out?"
"Damn it! Who's on back-up for ZPM removal?"
Without having to be told, the next team raced out of the room, clutching stunners in their hands.
While they waited, Rodney finished configuring the program. As soon as the ZPM was out, the naquadah generators would take over supplying power to the few systems he had left running. Every other function of the city would become inaccessible without the codes which Rodney would create in a few moments. The city couldn't be flown, internal scanners would be down, any part of the city not currently powered up would remain dark and useless, and none of the consoles in the gateroom would be functional except for the DHD. Most importantly, the chair and the ZPM would refuse to cooperate.
He quickly created the sets of necessary codes and yelled for random people to come and memorize pieces of it.
Radek glanced over at him. "Rodney, are you sure you don't want me to know the whole – "
"Shut up and concentrate on helping them get that ZPM out. Did you switch radio frequencies?"
"Yes, Rodney. We decided on channel 73 before they left."
"You never answered my question."
"That's because it was a stupid question. I'm science head so it's my responsibility. Hopefully they'll leave you alone so you can fix the city once this is over."
Radek gave Rodney a long look and then nodded. He knew that he and Sam could fix the snarl Rodney had tangled Atlantis' systems into, even if they didn't have the whole code.
"Dr. McKay, I'm detecting life signs rapidly approaching the labs."
"Damn it! Radek!"
"They are going, Rodney! They are already there – yes! They took down the guards in the ZPM chamber."
Rodney pulled his own stunner out of his desk and pointed it at the door with one hand while his other kept madly typing.
3 days later
He heard the steps striding into the brig and heard the quiet murmur of Meyers exchanging some quiet words with John.
He couldn't move even if he wanted to so he kept his head leaning against the back of the chair, staring up at the ceiling.
He heard the hiss of the brig doors opening and John walking in.
"You look terrible, McKay."
Rodney didn't bother to reply.
"I sure hope Dr. Espesito enjoyed her space walk this morning. Another one to add to your conscience, huh?" John sighed. "Is it really worth it, McKay? You know I have nothing against your little geeks. I'm rather fond of some of them actually. But they're going to keep dying if you don't cooperate."
The ceiling looked interesting from this angle. At first glance it just looked grey but sometimes, a flicker of blue danced across it, reflected from the forcefield shimmering near the top of the cell, dust particles bouncing off it.
He felt his chin being grabbed and his face was wrenched down until he was staring right at John.
"You're being damn stubborn, McKay. Maybe it's because you're uncomfortable. Let's make you more comfortable."
Before Rodney could blink, he felt his arms being uncuffed and they hung limply by his sides.
John stared at him, that mock-concern in his eyes. "Better? I hope so. I wouldn't want to damage you too badly. Especially that mouth of yours."
Rodney felt one of John's hands on his chin and his thumb gently stroked his lips, gliding over the deep cut in the bottom one. Rodney waited for him to press it harder – to possibly break the skin again – but he didn't.
He just gave him a soft smile. "Damn, I miss that mouth of yours, McKay. You know what I thought when I first saw you? I thought, damn, that mouth is made for sucking cock. And what do you know? I was right. You love it, don't you? Sucking cock? My cock? You on your knees, begging for me to push in more, choking you. Yeah, I know. You know what I discovered in high school? Geeks are great lays. They suck at everything else, but they're great in bed. So eager, so happy to feel wanted and pretty. All I have to do is give a little smile and they're putty in my hand." John chuckled, a low, ugly sound.
"You were one of the easiest I ever had, McKay. Invite you over for movies and pizza, laugh at your lame jokes and nod my head and fake enthusiasm to the crap that comes flowing out of your mouth constantly. You practically spread your legs the second I looked at you. You liked it, didn't you? Feeling wanted? Thinking I really do give a damn?"
Rodney clenched his teeth together. It wasn't true. John was just trying to find a new way to break him.
Rodney was just terrified that it would work. Keeping his mouth shut was solely dependent on him knowing that it was what John would want him to do.
But if Rodney stopped caring about what John wanted, it would all be over.
"And you really do try, don't you? Making me a surfboard for my birthday. So eager to give me something I want, so happy to see me smile. You'll do anything to think I really care, won't you?"
John gave him that mocking smirk before letting out a disgusted snort. "You're pathetic, McKay. You know nobody will ever want you except for your brain, ass and mouth. Most times I don't really know why I kept bothering. All that damn smiling and pretending you're funny and not an annoyance. But then I just say 'I wanna fuck you, McKay' or 'Suck me, McKay'. And you do. Every time."
Rodney tried to swallow the lump in his throat. "You're full of shit, Sheppard."
John gave a low laugh. "You think so?"
John suddenly tangled his hands in Rodney's shirt and hauled him off the chair and put him on his feet. John stood behind him, pressing him to his body to keep him upright.
Rodney tried to ignore the familiar body pressing into him and stared through the bars.
One of John's arms was wrapped around his waist and the other trailed up his chest to his chin and lightly stroked the week old stubble covering it.
"You think I don't know how to play you, McKay? You think this dumb grunt just fumbles his way through the day, don't you?"
He felt John's lips right by his ear and felt his head being tilted, exposing his neck to John. Those lips he knew so well pressed a soft kiss to his neck.
"You remember what I said to you that first night? Huh? You didn't wanna spread them and I was getting damn impatient. I was going to move onto Zelenka or Espesito if you wouldn't start putting out, but I'd heard the stories about Russia. You rode those Siberian bitches hard, didn't you? So I thought a little extra effort would make it worthwhile."
Another kiss. "You remember what I said? 'Trust me, McKay.' And I blinked at you with that wide eyed look that all you geeks swoon over. And you practically fell flat on your face trying to get your pants off."
John's hand came up and stroked along his lips before covering his mouth.
"Nothing to say, huh? Well, I'll leave you to your reminiscing, then. Let you start seeing things from a different perspective."
Twisting his arms, John shoved Rodney away from. Having either been sitting, kneeling or carried everywhere for days had left his leg muscles incapable of supporting himself.
Rodney hit the floor hard and remained where he was. He heard John walking out of the cell and the door hissed shut behind him.
He remained on his side, glad he had fallen facing away from Meyers. He curled up in a little ball and let himself take a few shaky breaths.
He brought his hands up to his mouth as if to stifle sobs that would start at any moment….
….and gently spat out the tiny ear piece bud John had shoved into his mouth.