WARNING!! MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE CONTENT OF EPISODE 5x01 - SEARCH AND RESCUE!! DO NOT READ IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS IN THE SEASON PREMIERE!
Okay, that's the warnings out of the way. So then. This is my missing scene tag fic to Search and Rescue, possibly the first of many tag fics to this episode cos dayum it was AWESOME and sooooooooo wonderfully whumpy!! How could I NOT fic this episode?! Anyway, as I said - it's a missing scene, you'll very quickly work out where it fits in the episode.
All feedback welcomed.
The bright white light of the transporter beam flashed into existence in the centre of an open floor area in the Daedalus infi
The bright white light of the transporter beam flashed into existence in the centre of the Daedalus infirmary and, just as quickly, winked out again, depositing two ragged, dirty bodies on the floor. Ronon and Colonel Sheppard crumpled as the beam shut off, their bodies sagging from the positions the beam had picked them up in; Jennifer's heart jumped in her chest as she saw that they'd both had their arms pointed straight up, guns at the ready.
Colonel Sheppard gave a strangled groan as he slumped backwards from what looked like a half-sitting, half-leaning position, his upraised arm dropping suddenly to land across his stomach, gun still firmly clasped. Ronon, crouched beside him, staggered awkwardly, briefly off-balance, and threw out a hand, managing to fall sideways and put his body behind the Colonel's, breaking Colonel Sheppard's fall before he hit the floor. The waiting medics were moving forward almost before the beam shut off and as the nurse nearest Ronon reached for him he looked up and growled, "I'm fine. Help him!"
Jennifer could immediately see that Ronon was mobile and didn't seem to be in any particular pain – though it was often hard to be sure with the taciturn Satedan. Colonel Sheppard, however, was another matter; he was limp and pale, breathing in short, pained gasps, his face twisted into a grimace of pain. She hurried to crouch beside him as Ronon bluntly ignored the medics trying to assess his injuries, his attention focused on supporting Colonel Sheppard's weight as he carefully righted himself. The Colonel grunted through gritted teeth as Ronon gently leaned him back to lie flat on the floor.
Jennifer's initial glance took in Colonel Sheppard's filthy, dusty uniform, the blood smeared messily on his face and arms – though the cuts looked superficial – and his general pallor and distress. "Okay, Colonel," she comforted smoothly, "let's get you to a bed and get you checked over." She turned to one of the Daedalus staff hovering nearby and instructed, "Get a gurney, please."
She turned back to Ronon. He'd yet to move from his seat on the floor, his attention still focused on his CO. "What happened?" she asked gently.
He glanced up at her. "Implosion brought the building down," he summed up succinctly. "Sheppard was pinned under the rubble and he got a piece of metal stuck in him." Jennifer could feel her eyes widening as Ronon gestured to the Colonel's right side. Leaning over him, she took a closer look, finding a ragged hole gouged through the Colonel's tac vest and shirt over his lower abdomen; a blood-soaked field dressing was visible underneath the torn fabric. She kept her face carefully neutral; that really didn't look too good. She needed to get him on a bed and get a proper look at his injury.
The requested gurney was rolled over with a clatter and folded down to the floor. Ronon reluctantly moved aside to allow the gurney to fit in beside Colonel Sheppard, though he still shrugged off the hands of the Daedalus medics who tried to guide him to an infirmary bed. He stood obstinately to one side, watching the team gather around the Colonel.
"Colonel Sheppard? How are you doing?"
Jennifer leaned over the Colonel, taking note of the sheen of sweat on his dirt-streaked face. His eyes were heavy-lidded, his breathing rapid and shallow, and his voice was a little shaky as he admitted, "Not feeling too great, Doc…"
"Okay. Well let's see what we can do about that. We're going to lift you onto the gurney, okay?"
He nodded shortly.
The Daedalus team were experienced medics; they followed her lead easily, huddling around Colonel Sheppard and, on her count of three, lifting him quickly but carefully between them and swinging him smoothly across to the waiting gurney. He huffed out a pained breath as they set him down, his chest rising and failing unevenly as he tried to breathe through the pain.
Ronon watched stonily, a couple of medics hovering fruitlessly at his side, as the gurney was raised up and the legs locked into place and the team wheeled Colonel Sheppard over to a waiting bed. Jennifer watched his gaze follow the gurney and thought about the couple of hours the two of them had spent trapped together under a collapsed building, with Colonel Sheppard injured, bleeding and pinned in place by the rubble.
"We'll take good care of him," she promised quietly. Ronon just looked at her for a long moment and then nodded. She cast an appraising eye over the scattering of cuts and scrapes marring his neck and chest and face. "You need to let Dr Anders check you out…"
"I'm fine, " he rumbled shortly.
"I know," she smiled. "But humour me, okay?"
With that, she moved to catch up with the gurney. As it was wheeled into place alongside the bed she heard a creak and looked up to see Ronon reluctantly letting Dr Anders sit him down on the next bed over. She smiled.
They repeated the process of lifting Colonel Sheppard and swinging him across from the gurney to the bed. He was pale and shaken, breathing roughly, his face coated in dust and sticky, drying blood. He still had his handgun clasped in his right hand. He looked up at her and Jennifer saw pain, fatigue and not a little fear in his eyes. He grimaced and she realised laying flat was probably not the most comfortable position for him right now. She gestured to a nurse and between them they raised the back of the bed, getting the Colonel settled into a reclining position, a pillow propped under his head.
Feeling a little uncomfortable, Jennifer reached out to take the gun from his hand. He looked down at it as if he'd almost forgotten it was there and relaxed his grip, letting her take the weapon and place it carefully to one side. The tac vest was a little more problematic; she couldn't really get a proper look at the Colonel's injury with the vest in place but she didn't really want to try and sit him up and have him shrug out of it so the only option was to cut it off. It was pretty much a ruin anyway with the ragged hole torn through it, blood drying stiffly into the fabric.
"I'm going to have to cut your vest off, Colonel," she warned him as a nurse rolled an instrument tray within easy reach.
"Okay." His voice was tight, still a little shaky. Many patients in his situation would relax once they reached the infirmary, the adrenalin of their perilous situation draining rapidly once they felt they were somewhere safe, but he was still tense and uncomfortable, stubbornly holding his head up from the pillow. He lay still as she used scissors to carefully cut up the side of the vest, but his posture was rigid, his fingers curling into the blankets beneath him. His breathing was still rough and uneven, hitching now and then.
As she cut her way delicately through the vest, members of the Daedalus team moved around the bed, checking the Colonel's blood pressure and pulse, setting up an IV and saline drip, using sterile wipes to clean the worst of the blood from his face and get a better look at the cuts and grazes. She glanced up from time to time, noting the results, keeping an eye on the team's progress. Not surprisingly, his blood pressure was low, his pulse faster than she would have liked. She'd been right in her assessment of the facial cuts though – messy but not deep. They'd clean up fine and he wouldn't need stitches. Colonel Sheppard was quiet throughout their ministrations, his attention wandering a little as he looked around the infirmary, his face pulling into a grimace every so often.
She had to have him sit forward just a little for her to pull the remains of the vest out from under him and he gave a muffled grunt at the motion. He was still tense, obviously in pain, though his colour was improving as the saline drip took effect. He held himself still as she lifted his shirt and, as gently as possible, peeled back a corner of the bloody field-dressing taped to his abdomen, pulling it to one side to reveal the injury beneath. The bandage was saturated, soaked through with blood, the skin beneath smeared and crusted with it.
Blood was still welling from the ragged-looking wound as she pulled the dressing aside. The wound was smallish and vaguely circular in shape and it looked quite deep. She frowned a little as she leaned in closer, trying to be as gentle as possible as she carefully palpated the area around the injury, grimacing a little at the Colonel's stifled grunt of pain. This was no cut or slash injury, this was the result of a penetrating trauma. From the location, and the Colonel's symptoms, it would seem he'd been incredibly lucky; there didn't appear to be any damage to the internal organs, though she'd need to get him under a scanner and almost certainly do a surgical exploration to be entirely certain of that. There was however a lot of muscle and tissue damage and he'd lost a lot of blood.
Gently, she peeled the blood-soaked bandage free; it was heavy and wet in her gloved hands. As she straightened up she couldn't help but think that it was miraculous that this was his only serious injury. He'd had a building fall on him. It was really incredible that he'd even survived, that any of them had. That building had been utterly destroyed; she was amazed anyone had come out of that rubble alive.
She couldn't help but voice her thoughts as she lifted the bloody bandage free. "I thought we'd lost you there," she admitted, setting the soaked dressing aside. She picked up a sterile cloth and leaned back in to look more closely at the open wound.
"Yeah well, for a second I thought we'd lost me." The Colonel's voice was shaky, a little breathless. He turned his head away, looking around the infirmary with a grimace, as she used one hand to hold his dust-covered shirt clear of the wound while she dabbed carefully at the raw, bleeding flesh. "It's gonna be okay though, right?"
She glanced up, a little surprised. She'd never heard such a note of uncertainty, of fear, in Colonel Sheppard's voice. She wondered again what it must have been like for him, trapped under the rubble of the collapsed building, bleeding out, feeling yourself getting slowly weaker and unable to do anything about it.
"Yeah," she reassured him, feeling his stomach muscles tense under her hand as she gentled cleaned some of the blood away. "You need some serious work," she qualified distractedly as she worked, adding as she straightened, "but you should, you know, live to fight another day and all that." She dropped the bloodied cloth onto the tray and grabbed a fresh one, taking a moment to soak a little antiseptic onto the cloth from a small bottle.
Colonel Sheppard nodded and she saw the tension in his body relax just a tiny bit, a sigh of relief lost in the too-rapid shudder of his breathing, as she turned her attention back to the exposed wound, bending low to look closely at the damage.
"So... what's going on?" he asked, the rapid hitching of his breathing giving lie to the forced casualness of his voice. "I guess… Michael showed up before the Daedalus?"
"Yeah. We had to lower the shields to beam you up here," she explained, using the damp cloth to carefully dab crusted dirt and dried blood from around the wound. The constant dull booming of weaponsfire slamming into the Daedalus' shields underlined her words.
Colonel Sheppard tensed despite her care, his fingers clenching in the blankets, his breathing rough as he gasped, "Sorry 'bout that."
She gave him a brief smile, understanding that talking was helping to distract him from the pain. "Well, I'm sure McKay and Colonel Carter will be able to fix it," she reassured absently.
He froze under her touch. "McKay's alive?" She met his stunned gaze, seeing there a mixture of disbelief and desperate hope, and realised with a pang that he had probably been thinking the exact same thing that she had, that the chances of anyone surviving the building collapse were terrifyingly slim. He hadn't even asked about McKay or anyone else, she realised, had probably just assumed… She could have kicked herself. She should have said something sooner.
"Yeah," she told him, smiling at being able to offer good news. Then she remembered that several of the marines under Colonel Sheppard's command hadn't been so lucky. And he still didn't know that either. She straightened up and set the cloth aside, her smile faltering as she told him regretfully, "Yeah, he and Lorne were the only two to make it out of the rubble."
Colonel Sheppard's reaction was not at all what she expected. He looked distracted, an unexpected urgency in his eyes, and the next thing she knew he was trying to sit up, telling her roughly, "Patch me up. I need to get back out there."
"What?" She reacted instinctively, her hand on his shoulder stopping his attempt to rise as she stammered disbelievingly, "Nonono!" She tried to explain, to make him understand, "Look, you will be fine but you're far from it now." She couldn't believe he would even think of being on active duty in his condition. "You've lost a lot of blood! You need surgery… and a transfusion… I mean, this can't wait."
She turned back to the instrument tray, intending to continue cleaning his injuries, but the Colonel wasn't giving up.
"Look, Doc," he argued breathlessly. "Michael's… here. That means… Teyla's probably on the ship. I'm too close to sit here and do nothing." His desperation was palpable.
She could understand his dilemma, had felt the same sense of frustration herself as they'd floated helplessly in the jumper and watched Michael's cruiser pass by, so close it seemed she could reach out and touch it. But the mere fact that the Colonel couldn't get a sentence out without having to pause for breath was proof enough that he was in no shape to go running off on some desperate rescue attempt.
"You're not going to be sitting around doing nothing," she told him firmly, "you're gonna be laying here in surgery."
She may as well have not spoken. Unbelievably, he was trying again to sit up and her assessment of his condition was proven right when he was unable to even do that, his face twisting in a grimace of effort and his voice cracking and breaking as he begged, "Alright, lookit, there's gotta be like… there's gotta be a quick fix…"
Just the effort of trying to sit up exhausted him and he slumped back against the pillow as she snapped, "No!" but he hadn't given up, was still arguing, even as he shuddered with the pain of his attempt to sit up.
"I just… I need a few hours!" he insisted.
He was in no fit shape to go anywhere and he had to accept that. "I'm sorry," she told him, regretful but firm. "I can't."
She turned away from him, intending to go and make preparations to get him into surgery, but was brought up short by his hand on her arm. Incredibly, he'd found the strength to sit up enough to reach out and grab her, his blood-stained fingers digging into her wrist almost painfully and turning her back to face him.
His face was tight with a mixture of pain and determination as he sagged back against the raised bed, his hand still gripping her tightly. "I have had the chance to rescue a team mate before, and it slipped through my hands," he told her tersely, his voice firm despite the tremor of pain and exhaustion. "I am not letting that happen again." He was deadly serious, his eyes locked on hers, and she was surprised to find herself wavering.
Colonel Sheppard usually presented such a genial, relaxed demeanour to the world that his sudden intensity was unsettling; she'd never seen such naked emotion in his eyes, heard him talk so openly about his fears and regrets. His determination was palpable and she began to realise that if she refused to patch him up, he'd probably get up and go after Teyla anyway, no matter how much pain he was in, no matter that he was bleeding out, no matter if it ended up getting him killed. Short of sedating or restraining him, there was no way she was going to be able to prevent him from doing this.
It wasn't as though she couldn't sympathise with his need to be out there doing something to save Teyla, and she knew that if she kept him here against his wishes and something went wrong, and they lost Teyla, he would never forgive himself. And maybe she wouldn't forgive herself either.
Her instinct as a doctor was to heal her patients as thoroughly and quickly as possible. Under normal circumstances there was no question that the best course of action for the Colonel was to undertake immediate surgical repair of his injury and she wouldn't even consider waiting to do so. The injury might not be immediately life-threatening, but it was serious enough and would definitely require surgical intervention to resolve it. If nothing was done, there was the very real probability that the Colonel would bleed to death, to say nothing of the high risk of infection.
She reluctantly accepted however that the surgery was not strictly immediately necessary. The Colonel's condition was stable enough and with medical care he was not in immediate danger from his injuries. It went against every instinct she had not to properly treat the injury when she had the means to do so, but she supposed that, had they not had the Daedalus' facilities available, she would have done exactly what the Colonel was proposing; stabilise the injury, patch him up temporarily, and do a proper repair later on. This was field medicine. This was triage. And the constant pounding of the Wraith weapons against the ship's shields was reminder enough that this particular battle was far from over.
She bit her lip, hardly believing that she was even considering this. The Colonel still held her wrist, his expression one of raw desperation mixed with an iron determination. She sighed, giving it one last try. "This is a bad idea, Colonel…"
He took that as the surrender it was, letting go of her arm and sagging a little as some of the desperate tension drained from him. "I just need a few hours," he repeated tiredly.
She shook her head. This was crazy. "I guess I can do a temporary repair," she told him reluctantly. "I'll need to clean the wound properly and put in some sutures to close it up and stop the bleeding. You also still need a blood transfusion to compensate for the blood loss. I can give you antibiotics to prevent infection and some painkillers for…"
"No," he interrupted roughly, shaking his head. "No painkillers."
She gaped. "Colonel, you…"
He raised his head to fix her with a stubborn look. "I need to be able to think straight out there," he insisted. "I can't do that if you dose me up."
"And how effective are you going to be if you're in too much pain to move?" she argued incredulously.
"I can cope with the pain," he insisted obstinately.
She gave him a rueful look. "A moment ago you couldn't even sit up," she pointed out, not unkindly. "If we do this, we do it on my terms, Colonel. I can give you some painkillers that will take the edge off without making you woozy." She crossed her arms. "That's my best offer; take it or leave it."
He glared at her for a long moment before nodding reluctantly. "Okay," he breathed roughly.
So that was it then. They were doing this. Jennifer pursed her lips. "Okay…" she echoed less than happily.
For obvious reasons, the Daedalus infirmary had its own well-stocked blood bank and, given the nature of Colonel Sheppard's injuries, the medical team had already drawn bloods for cross-matching. Jennifer wrote up her prescription for the antibiotics and painkillers she needed and sent a nurse to fetch them while she pulled up a stool and turned her attention to patching up the Colonel's injuries, starting with the abdominal wound. The priority was obviously to stop the bleeding but the nature of the injury also meant that infection was a real concern. The antibiotics would help but the wound needed to be thoroughly cleaned.
Colonel Sheppard was still holding himself tensely, in obvious pain, as she used the scissors to cut through his shirt over the wound, pushing the edges well back, baring his abdomen and chest. The shirt was pretty much a write-off anyway, ripped and torn and filthy with blood and dust and dirt. The skin underneath was pale, reddish patches already showing where bruising was beginning to develop, and the area around the wound was smeared with drying blood.
She soaked a fresh cloth in a mild antiseptic and began cleaning around the wound, the cloth quickly turning red as she wiped away the dried and sticky blood. She tried to keep her touch as gentle as possible but Colonel Sheppard still flinched now and again, his face pulling into a grimace, and his breathing was still ragged and fast. She was relieved when the nurse returned with two units of blood and the antibiotics and painkillers.
She would have much preferred to give the Colonel IV pain relief, if only for the faster uptake, but she'd made her bargain and she'd stick with it. The oral painkillers wouldn't do half the job that even IM Demerol would but they'd let him keep a clear head. She watched him chase back the pills with a drink of water as the nurse hung the first unit of blood.
It would take a while for the painkillers to take effect and he was still breathing heavily as she finished cleaning the area around the wound.
"I'm going to give you a local anaesthetic while I clean and suture this, Colonel," she advised him, reaching for the prepared syringe. "Just to numb the area, okay?"
He nodded tightly.
She just finished the injections when a deep voice rumbled, "How's he doing?"
She looked up to see Ronon looming over the bed. Colonel Sheppard grimaced tightly and answered a little grumpily, "He's doing fine."
"He will be fine," she corrected pointedly, "when he gets the surgery he needs."
Ronon leaned over to look at the hole in Colonel Sheppard's abdomen. "Hmm. Looks messy," he commented calmly.
"Yeah," the Colonel agreed breathlessly, a hint of a wry grin on his face. "Just a little scrape, huh?"
"No big deal," Ronon grinned easily, leaving Jennifer somewhat bemused. She had a feeling this conversation had a significance she was missing out on.
"McKay's alive," Colonel Sheppard said suddenly.
"Yeah. Lorne too." Ronon's expression was serious now.
"And Michael's here… and he's got Teyla onboard."
"I got an idea," Colonel Sheppard said.
Jennifer tuned out the rest of their conversation as she began work on cleaning the Colonel's wound, letting talk of F302s and jumpers and darts wash over her. She was having enough trouble with her conscience at the idea of letting Colonel Sheppard walk out of the infirmary in this condition; she really didn't need to hear the exact details of whatever crazy stunt he was planning to pull off. Besides, this was fiddly work and needed all her attention.
When she was sure the wound was as clean as she could get it, she started to pack and suture it. "Might feel a bit uncomfortable now and then, Colonel," she warned him in advance.
"Okay." His breathing was calmer now and his colour improved, less tension in his posture. The oral painkillers were taking effect and the local anaesthetic had helped too. The second unit of blood had been hung and his pulse and BP were already improving. She'd still rather have him in surgery, but as patch-ups went, this was a pretty good one.
She tied off the final suture and sat back to admire her handiwork. Not bad if she did say so herself. Colonel Sheppard craned his neck to peer at his abdomen. "We done?" he asked.
"Not quite yet, Colonel," she admonished. "I want you to have a full two units of blood," she gestured at the half-empty bag on the stand, "you need a dressing on this, and we need to clean those up properly too…" She waved her hand to indicate the cuts and grazes on his face.
He grimaced a little but didn't argue the point. She stripped off her bloody gloves and replaced them with a fresh pair before taping a clean dressing over the freshly-sutured wound. She used plenty of tape, on the reluctant assumption that Colonel Sheppard would be doing far more moving about than she would wish.
The damage to his face was easily dealt with. He had a nasty abrasion to his right cheek which had bled quite a bit and a couple of other small cuts. She cleaned them up carefully, the Colonel holding still as she worked, and dabbed a little antiseptic cream onto the worst of the cuts and scrapes.
He also had a large abrasion on his right arm and while he was still being transfused she took the time to clean that up too. When she had done all she could do, she pulled off her gloves and stood up, stretching out the kinks in her back. She'd done her best; he still needed surgery but she'd given him the few hours that he wanted. She just hoped it would be enough, and that he didn't give her reason to regret her decision.
"Okay, you're done," she announced, not entirely enthusiastically. The second unit was almost done transfusing.
Colonel Sheppard was already sitting up and she was pleased to see that he was already stronger; he moved carefully, wincing a little, but he was able to slowly sit up and swing his legs over the side of the bed. And, more importantly, the stitches held. "Thanks, doc," he murmured.
"Well, I still think this is a bad idea," she warned, "but it should see you through for a few hours."
He nodded, peering down at the thick white dressing above the waistband of his pants. "Hey, buddy," he looked up at Ronon, "can you see if you can find me a shirt?"
"Sure," Ronon pushed off from where he had been leaning against the neighbouring bed and loped off, probably to intimidate some poor supply officer.
Colonel Sheppard was still moving very gingerly as he shrugged carefully out of his ruined shirt. The local anaesthetic she'd used would numb the pain from his injury for a while yet but she imagined he would be feeling pretty sore in general just from the bruising she could see developing on his torso. Still, once again she was struck by how lucky he was to have even survived having a building fall on him.
His face was still streaked with dust and a little blood and she gave a rueful smile as she reached for a sterile wipe.
"Here," she offered it to him. "You might wanna, you know…" She gestured at her face.
With a quirk of his lips he accepted the proferred cloth and quickly scrubbed it across his face, wiping away the remaining evidence of his lucky escape. If it weren't for the dressing hiding the nasty hole in his abdomen, he would look pretty much unscathed, she marvelled.
As he cleaned his face, she stepped forward to disconnect his IVs, the second bag of blood now empty. He sat still as she carefully removed the two lines and pressed an absorbent pad over the puncture sites. As soon as she was done taping the pad into place, he was scooting impatiently to the edge of the bed and, with a grimace, slipping gingerly to his feet. He was holding himself carefully, a little stiffly, as he straightened up, but he was vastly improved from the man who had been unable to even sit up not so long ago.
Jennifer looked around in time to see a bundled-up black t-shirt fly through the air, aimed at Colonel Sheppard's head. He caught it easily, snatching it out of the air with one hand and a smirk.
Ronon grinned and held out a second handful of black fabric. "Found you a shirt too."
The Colonel was moving more easily by the minute, shrugging easily into the t-shirt and pulling it down to cover the bandages. He slipped his arms into the shirt and made short work of the buttons. She watched the way he moved carefully; he was favouring his right side a little but it didn't seem to be causing him any pain. That was due to the local anaesthetic, she knew, and that wouldn't last much longer. Hopefully the oral painkillers would be sufficient to dull the pain enough to keep him moving. She shook her head. This was really not a good idea.
Ronon was hovering, waiting impatiently, and Colonel Sheppard finished buttoning his shirt and turned to follow his friend, flashing her a brief smile and a heartfelt, "Thanks, doc."
"Just… be careful, okay?" She couldn't keep the worry from her voice.
"Sure thing, doc."
"I mean it!" She gave him a stern look, trying to impress upon him the serious nature of his injuries. "You're not going to be anywhere near your full strength, Colonel. You need surgery and this is little more than a very short term band-aid. If you overdo it you could pull the stitches and start bleeding again."
He nodded and the serious look he gave her told her more than any words that he understood the risks perfectly well, and considered it worth it. This was no haphazard, blindly optimistic decision; this was a conscious choice. He'd do whatever it took to get Teyla back.
She gave him a reluctant smile and he turned to go, his right left hand moving instinctively to hover protectively in front of his injury.
"Come on," he told Ronon. "We gotta go talk to Colonel Carter."