How To Save A Life

by The Watch Stander

AN: Merry Christmas everyone and Happy Holidays! Thank you to all the wonderful people who have patiently waited for this and all of you who left reviews and added this to their lists!

This is the end, but I'm already planning another story so stay tuned.

I may just write the whole thing and post in parts as I edit. Much better than keeping everyone waiting between real life disasters that prevent me from writing.



Elizabeth gently pushed a stand of hair off Rodney's face as he lay unconscious on the infirmary bed before her. She couldn't believe that he had managed to survive all the terrible things that had happened to him in the past few days.

When she had arrived in the jumper bay to meet the returning rescue party, she had been horrified at the sight of Rodney's pale and bruised face as Ronon carefully carried him out of the jumper to the awaiting medical team. Rodney's body had been totally limp in the Satedan's arms and for a moment she had feared that he was dead.

Only now that he was out of surgery and recovering could she let go of the icy cold feeling that had threatened to envelop her. Her friend was alive and that's all that mattered. She took a deep breath as she tiredly wiped her eyes.

John Sheppard had sat here with her for close to four hours, just watching as McKay breathed, wanting to be sure that he was going to make it. She knew the two men were good friends, even though neither would ever admit to it. Like brothers, but very different in personalities and temperament.

Watching John almost nod off in the chair had finally made her tell him to go to bed, for he had been up more than 48 hours and looked about to drop.

"All right, Elizabeth, but let me know if anything happens," he asked her with a tired smile.

"Of course I will. You get some rest and I'll see you in the morning."

John nodded and after gently patting the unconscious man's arm, left for his quarters, totally exhausted, but relieved that their mission had been a success.

One more friend that he wouldn't be losing, but it had been close.

After he left, Carson had come over to check on Rodney. To Elizabeth's eyes, he too looked wiped out, but there was no way he would leave till he was sure Rodney was all right.

McKay seemed to be holding his own, but one never knew, things could turn on a dime and he might crash still. Beckett planned on being nearby If that were to happen.

The scientist had been badly dehydrated as well as bleeding internally when they finally got him into surgery. Broken ribs and infections from his wounds hadn't helped. Add the other usual problems, lack of food and low blood sugar and they had a medical mess on their hands. It was a miracle the man had survived and Carson attributed it to the man's stubborn nature and how nothing defeated the scientist when he put his mind to it.

The doctor was just glad that Colonel Sheppard had arrived when he did, so that they got Rodney home in time. Another hour and he might not have made it. Carson wore a few bandages as well for even he hadn't come out of this unscathed. His arm was wrapped where the skaars had bitten him and he had a plaster on his forehead from the concussion.

"Carson, how are you doing? You look exhausted," Elizabeth asked.

"Aye, but I'll feel a lot better knowing he's going to pull through this," Carson said as he looked down affectionately at Rodney's still form. "Such a stubborn man, but still a good friend."

Elizabeth smiled, "That he is and we'd all miss him terribly. Thank you for saving him... again."

Carson smiled at her, "It was my pleasure. He may not seem like the nicest person, but underneath, he really is a good person."

"I know," she said simply. "Why don't you take a nap and I'll wake you if he needs anything."

Carson seemed to want to refuse, but finally smiled and agreed. "All right. I'll just take the next bed over, that way I'm close if you need me. Kim is on duty, but please wake me if anything happens."

"I will, Carson."

The doctor walked over to the next bed and after getting comfortable was almost instantly asleep.

Elizabeth smiled when she later heard his soft snores and knew she'd done the right thing in insisting the two men go and get some rest. The whole team would be back in the morning to check on Rodney, but that was tomorrow and everything would be so much better now that everyone was home safe.

She reached over and took hold of Rodney's hand, holding it in hers, staring fondly at her friend who still lay unconscious before her.

"What would we ever do without you?" She asked him, but getting no response she leaned back in her chair while still holding his hand. She hoped the day would never come that they would have to find that out.

Soft whispers floated all around him and the cotton in his head seemed safe and warm as he continued to drift. Words sometimes would reach him and he would catch his name mentioned, then the voices would fade again as he allowed himself to drift back into the cotton that continued to cover his mind. There was no pain so he slept on knowing he was safe by the familiar soft sounds and smells around him.

Someone was there with him....holding his hand.

Atlantis... he was home.