Disclaimer: We just carried on
A/N: Okay, so I got several request for an epilogue or tag. You know, wrap things up. I wanted to add all of this stuff to the story, but couldn't find a place for it and get the ending I wanted. F.Y.I. The ray gun was from chp. 3. I decided it didn't destroy itself. ^-^ Pwease enjoy!
P.S. See! See! Reviews really do make a difference! =D
He stood there in the hall, all alone except for the occasional nurse that came out to check up on him. He'd wave them off, saying he was just thinking about what to say. They seemed to buy it and left him alone. Sometimes it was for at least an hour, but other times they were more persistent and came out only ten minutes after they had left. It wasn't easy, but he managed to quell the venomous words that threatened to be thrown at the nurses. They're just doing Beckett's dirty work, he mused to himself.
The truth was, he was actually thinking about what to say. He honestly didn't know. For almost a week, he had thought his team were the three, happy, children bouncing all around him. In a way, they were. But now, now his teammates were the three adults, sitting just on the other side of that door. Waiting for him to waltz in there and make things normal.
Yet, McKay found himself more afraid of doing that than anything else. He didn't want to meet them, not yet. He couldn't, it was too soon. Or at least, that's what he told himself. After all, you can't get over watching your friends die in a day! Then again, he couldn't really grieve when here they were. Sitting, waiting, probably staring right back at him through that cold infirmary door.
Shaking his head, the man told himself that wasn't the real reason he was afraid to go in there. He was afraid something else might go wrong. Something might take them away from him again. That, that and, god he knew it was foolish to think, but it felt like if he walked through those doors, than it would be like the three children he had taken care of never existed. That they never had a real purpose in their life; that they were just failed copies, thrown out when they didn't work right. He didn't want to think like this, yet here he was!
Sighing, the scientist pushed himself off the wall he had been leaning on. He ran his fingers through his hair, trying to gather up every last shred of courage he had. This was going to be hard. Not hard in that he didn't want to see his team, he really did! It was just… McKay wasn't sure he could actually control his emotions at this point. He was tired, physically and emotionally, and a quick shower and night's rest didn't do him any good.
Looking down at his hands, McKay gave a small laugh when he saw there was still dirt under his short nails. He'd have to scrape that out sometimes. Maybe he could do it now. Looking up hopefully, McKay turned to face down the hall. There was no one here except him. Suddenly, the place felt very lonely, very cold, and very empty. Then there was a slight hiss and a thick brogue destroyed the sense of emptiness. McKay was grateful.
"And what are ye waitin' for lad? They've been askin for ye ever since they woke up. Now I wouldn't keep them waiting if I were you!" McKay turned and couldn't help but smile at Carson as he stood in the door way of the infirmary, both hands planted firmly on his hips, one eyebrow quirked up at the scientist. Then the Scot threw a look over his shoulder, "Especially Ronon. He's getting fidgety."
McKay shook his head slightly, a grin finding its way onto his lips. "Has he eaten yet?"
Beckett seemed to think for a moment, his eyes rolling around searching for the answer. Looking back to Rodney, Beckett held his own grin. "Now that ye mention it, he hasn't, and I don't think I'll let him until ye go say 'hello'." The doctor raised his eyebrows expectantly, as McKay feigned exasperation.
"Guess I better get in there then," McKay asked, a little squeak in his voice as he imagined the rather hungry Satedan munching down on his own arm, patience running out and his stomach demanding meat. After all, they had missed out on six days of eating. That was what, eighteen meals to make up? Considering how much the former runner could consume per sitting, it was probably closer to twenty-five missing meals.
Chuckling at the nonsense of the math, McKay let out a long, sad sigh, his mind accidentally wandering towards the last time he'd walked through those doors. There was another sigh, that matched his own perfectly, then Beckett's hand gently touched McKay's shoulder. Looking up into the bright eyes of his friend, McKay did his best to produce a convincing smile. Carson nodded towards the infirmary, keeping his hand on the man's shoulder.
Taking in a settling breath, the astrophysicist steeled himself and took a step forward. Another step and Beckett let go of his friend as he walked over the threshold of the infirmary.
He stepped into the building, its gray walls almost black from the darkness within. There was little light escaping into the house, white squares wavering on the floor and walls. It wasn't hard to locate the stairway that would lead him up to the roof. Like so many other homes, this one was simple, abandoned, and square. There were no hidden doors or decorations. Just the walls and the stairs.
Moving through to the second floor, McKay recalled what he had learned about the people who had delved underground to escape the Wraith. They use to be farmers, using the land above. Then, sometime after a culling, some self-proclaimed genius decided to take the whole community underground where it would be safe. In fact, where the city now stands use to be an intricate cavern, branches of caves stretching for miles. They took advantage of this and enlisted the help of their allies, the Ancients.
Shaking his head, McKay moved to cover the last floor and recalled reading what the few survivors of the last culling had written. Apparently, putting your whole population in one place wasn't such a good idea. Especially when you had an opening large enough for several puddle-jumpers to come through. Because that meant that darts could come through as well. Sure enough, almost five generations later, the Wraith came back. They easily disabled and opened the jumper door and culled almost the entire population.
A handful of people escaped, managing to find the Ancient facility and lucky enough that one of them possessed the gene. Then they wandered above when the Wraith had left. In a matter of hours, an entire people were gone and they were left alone. McKay didn't know what happened to those survivors, but he was sure they would've headed for the gate, searching for refuge.
Using the shovel as a lever, McKay pried open the hatch at the top of the stairway. He quickly pressed himself against the wall as the damn thing came flying and clattered down the steps. The noise died away as the hatch finally settled at the bottom. Only giving the rooms around him one last glance, McKay clambered up the last few steps.
Dropping the shovel to the side, the man wiped another sleeve over his head. This time it came back stained with dirt and sweat. McKay let out an annoyed sigh. Then he moved towards the middle of the roof, stopping only to drag the shovel behind him. He didn't really want to take time to sight see from the roof, although he knew he'd get a pretty good view of the city. He just wanted to get home.
"Hey!" he called, looking towards the opening where the sun shone down on the patch of grass around the main building. There was a shimmer within the light, McKay knew the jumper saw him, he also knew both marines were probably debating on whether or not to de-cloak. Shaking his head for the umpteenth time, McKay cupped his mouth with one hand and let the shovel fall as he placed the other on his hip.
"I know you're there! And yes! You are in sooo, much trouble. Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to get home." McKay waited impatiently for a few short moments, the argument undoubtedly still going on within the Ancient ship. Finally, the two seemed to come to their senses and the vessel rippled into existence.
McKay raised an eyebrow at the sheepish looking Lorne and Ramierez sitting in the two front seats. Lorne had the audacity to give a small wave before turning the jumper around and backing up to the building. McKay rolled his eyes and once again swung the shovel over his shoulder as he neared the edge of the roof. The hatch was lowered and McKay stepped up into the back of the jumper. He tossed the shovel on one bench as the hatch closed behind him.
Lorne stayed facing forward, only giving the peeved scientist a small glance over his shoulder, but trying to focus on flying instead of the sharp eyes in his back. Ramierez was brave enough to turn around and face the physicist as he stood there with his arms tightly crossed over his chest. "Hey doc," the Hispanic gave a short wave. At McKay's glare, the marine hunched his shoulders and slowly turned to mimic Lorne.
Rolling his eyes again, McKay took a seat on the bench across from where the shovel lay. For a few moments he stared at the implement, focusing mostly on the dirt that still clung to the blade persistently. McKay wished to just get home and wash the shovel, wash himself free of the dirt that still clung to his sweat soaked clothes. To scrub until his skin was completely free of anything that remotely came from this planet.
"You okay doc?" it was Lorne's voice that snapped McKay from his thoughts. He looked up to the major, now turned in his seat a little, then past the man to the city still sitting outside their window.
"Just take us home Major," McKay sighed, leaning back in the bench and whispering, "just get me home."
He stopped, just a few feet from the infirmary door. What the hell was he doing? McKay stood there, a deer in the headlights, his mind frozen, his body equally unmoving. He couldn't think, couldn't breath, couldn't control his heart which suddenly seemed to be the only thing moving at the moment. One thought raced through his head, one little thought that had completely stalled the smartest man in two galaxies. They're alive.
McKay honestly didn't know what to do, what to say, what to think as his blue eyes stilled on the sight of his three teammates. All of them were piled onto Sheppard's bed, Teyla to the colonel's right, Ronon to the man's left. Teyla sat comfortable at the head of the bed, her legs folded neatly under her. McKay felt the weight on his chest lift a little at seeing the woman smile as Sheppard spoke.
Ronon sat at the foot of the bed, his large legs haphazardly tossed over the edge and swinging slightly, most likely unconsciously. The Satedan's whole focus was on the colonel between them, a happy grin spreading over his face. Vaguely, the image of a tired and frightened child flitted into the scientist's mind.
Then there was Sheppard. The man sat with his back to the scientist, unaware of the happy eyes watching over the three of them. His hands waving a little as he spoke to his friends. When the colonel turned his head, McKay smirked when he saw the large smile on his friend's face. For a moment, he saw the seven year old boy with wild black hair and boundless energy. There wasn't much of a difference, and for that McKay was glad.
Then Teyla's eyes momentarily flicked away from Sheppard, her amusement turning into joy and a little bit of concern as her eyes locked onto the hesitating scientist before her. "Rodney!" she exclaimed, sitting a little taller and allowing her joy to spread to her lips in a wide smile. Instantly, Ronon's eyes turned to the man and Sheppard struggled to turn around, his head moving faster than his body.
"Hey pal, wondered when you were gonna stop by," the colonel said, many questions flashing behind his eyes but a pleased grin playing across his face. He had managed to get himself turned around and threw his legs out like Ronon's.
"Well you know," McKay shrugged, finding it suddenly easy to move again. They were all okay, they were all going to be okay. He hadn't failed, not the way he thought he had. "I was busy. Geniuses are in short supply in the Pegasus Galaxy, in case you didn't notice." McKay stopped just out of arm's reach from the crowded infirmary bed, his arms crossed and his face wearing the first real smile it had shown in the past six days.
Ronon snorted and Teyla tried to hide her own grin. Sheppard rolled his eyes and leaned back a little. McKay let the smugness fall from his smile, just happy to be with his team.
"Believe me, it's hard not to when you're constantly pointing it out," the colonel quipped, a wry grin replacing his momentary look of exasperation. McKay offered a huff and a smirk, then the room lapsed into silence. No one was quite sure what to say, what to ask, what could be said or asked. There was so much to discuss and yet so little. McKay shifted his weight a little at the uncomfortable silence. He should've known it was going to get awkward.
Finally, after two long minutes, Sheppard looked up from where he had been fiddling with his fingers, concern in his eyes as he looked at the physicist before him. "So… how you holding up?"
McKay didn't immediately register the question, slowly meeting his friend's hazel eyes. When his mind clicked, he simply shrugged and glanced over each of his teammates' faces. "As well as one can I suppose. I'm just happy you're all okay. You are okay right?" The little knot of worry in his stomach suddenly made itself known again.
Teyla smiled weakly, leaning forward just a tiny bit to get McKay's attention. "Doctor Beckett has reassured us that there is nothing wrong with our bodies. We will be released from the infirmary in a couple of days and may return to full duty within the week."
McKay nodded, not really sure if he would really accept the diagnosis before the week was up. He'd check with Carson later. As if sensing his doubt, Teyla pouted a little, her bottom lip pushed forward a little and her brow furrowed. It was all McKay could do to stifle the chuckle at how much the woman reminded him of the girl.
"So," Ronon broke, feeling that another moment of awkwardness was coming up, "how badly did my clone beat you?"
McKay snapped all his attention to the Satedan. Ronon's face was a mixture of innocent curiosity and pure mischief. McKay huffed up his chest and furrowed his brow in speculation, "What do you mean?" His words were cautious and suspicious at the runner's intent.
Ronon shrugged, "Sheppard was just telling us what Weir told him about our clones. Said you went one on one with mine. Obviously he won."
McKay sputtered indignantly, "What makes you think I didn't let him win?! Huh? He was a seven year old child."
Ronon snorted again, then his grin grew, "One, he was my clone. And two… he was my clone!" McKay stared incredulously at the Satedan, then his face broke into a smile as the laughter of Sheppard and Teyla broke through his initial shock. Soon he too was bending over laughing and Ronon's own joined in. The infirmary suddenly came alive, the four voices thoroughly enjoying themselves as only a team, once lost, found themselves again could.
Yeah I know, last line was kinda corny. Here's everyone who reviewed that I didn't get on the last list: