Ready or Not
Disclaimer: The following story is a work of fan fiction, and as such is for fan enjoyment only. All recognizable characters/settings are the property of their respective owners. No copyright infringement is intended, and no profit is made. I'm afraid that despite wishing that I did, I don't own these characters. Not even my muses' voodoo could make them mine (and believe me, they used a LOT of chicken blood and other such occult doodads), nor could my militant blue badgers. DO NOT MESS WITH THE BADGERS. Still, I suppose that having the boys out on loan for a while is better than nothing…
Summary: Episode Tag to 'Hide and Seek'. Just why did Rodney fain… er… pass out manfully?
Central Character(s): Rodney and John, with Elizabeth, Peter (woo!), Teyla and Carson.
Category (ies): Humour, friendship, episode tag… with a teeny tiny dollop of h/c for good measure.
Placement: Season One.
Spoilers: 'Hide and Seek'.
Author's Note: The next part in my 'Aftermath' series. Personally, I thought that 'Hide and Seek' was a brilliant episode! (Sorry, my inner fan girl is in full on squee mode. 'I shot him… in the leg!' BEST LINE EVER!!! I'll try and restrain her…) Anyways, for reasons unknown even to me, the badgers and my ever watchful muses, my brain figured that Sheppard hadn't completely decided on his team at this point… and picked the Scooby Gang after the events of this episode. The opening dialogue and action comes from the end of the episode.
Major John Sheppard stared in a mixture of disbelief and fear as the energy creature disappeared through the Stargate. He couldn't even begin to process what he had just seen – one minute the entire lower level was swamped by the thing and the next it was empty and sunny. As soon as the Gate shut down, he pelted down the stairs towards the unconscious figure of Dr Rodney McKay. His mind was racing almost as fast as his heartbeat – McKay had activated the personal shield and waded into the darkness without so much as a second thought. He dreaded what he might find when he reached the Gate room floor.
John knelt down, reaching for the physicist's wrist to check his pulse, letting out a relieved sigh as he found it – thready and a bit on the fast side, but most definitely there. He glanced up to see Elizabeth Weir, Teyla and Peter Grodin hurrying down to join him.
"McKay?" called Elizabeth as she made it to Rodney's side. Hesitantly, she touched his chest, expecting to encounter the now familiar green ripple of energy… and found nothing. Realising that the device had stopped working, she lifted it off his chest and handed it to Peter.
"The power must have been drained by the entity," the Englishman said, frowning as he turned it over in his hand.
Sheppard reached up and tapped his radio. "Medical team to the Gateroom."
"He's not burnt," Weir stated, holding the back of her hand to Rodney's pale but unmarked cheek. "He's breathing." She leant in closer. "McKay? McKay."
Rodney opened his eyes and looked up blearily. "What happened?" he managed to croak.
"You did it," Elizabeth replied, pride shining out from her features.
"I did?" asked McKay, seeming bewildered and dazed.
"It went through the Gate," she replied, sharing a smile with Grodin.
John looked over to him, his hazel eyes full of mischief. "You must have passed out," he said, deadpan.
"Oh," Rodney muttered. "Well, thanks for not saying the other thing."
Sheppard gave the Canadian a smile as he stood up and turned to Teyla. "That was a Hail Mary!" he stated, gesturing down to McKay, his smile widening.
Teyla smiled back before moving aside to let the med team through. Elizabeth and Peter helped Rodney to sit up.
"Thank you, take your time," McKay groused weakly, scowling slightly at the medics as he sat trembling. "Man down."
Sheppard couldn't help the grin as he heard Rodney bitching – that was more like the McKay he was beginning to know. "Come on, McKay," he called. "Let them do their job."
"Yeah, yeah," the Canadian mumbled, feeling more than a little dizzy. He was only half listening to the conversations around him, choosing instead to wonder why the room had suddenly started spinning. To top everything off, he had a killer headache.
"I gotta say, buddy, that was a pretty dumb thing to do," John scolded lightly. "But you did good."
Rodney wasn't listening. His eyes were closed and his already pale complexion had taken on a deathly pallor. Even more alarming were the rapid, shaking breaths.
"Dr McKay?" called one of the medics – Johnson, John remembered – "can you hear me?"
"Rodney?" asked Elizabeth. "Rodney, what's wrong?"
Without any kind of warning, Rodney went limp and he fell back against Johnson.
There was a flurry of activity and the med team, aided and abetted by Grodin and John, soon had the physicist loaded onto the gurney. Sheppard ran after them as they whisked Rodney off to the infirmary. "I'll keep you posted," he called back to the others.
"Doc? Is he gonna be okay?"
Carson Beckett looked at Sheppard and smiled. "Aye, Major, Rodney will be fine. His blood sugar crashed, but I'd been expecting it to and he suffered a bump on his noggin when he fainted. Tis concussion more than anything else."
John frowned as a thought struck him. "You know I pushed him off a balcony earlier, right?"
Carson chuckled. "I'd heard as much: you certainly gave Dr Weir a fright. Don't worry, you didn't hurt him, Major," he added as he saw the panicked look in the young officer's face. "That wee shield of his did its job. He did nae even have a bruise."
Sheppard let out a sigh of relief. "Thank Christ for that," he muttered. "McKay would never let me hear the end of it otherwise." He observed the sleeping man. "So what's the deal with him and food?" he asked.
"He's hypoglycaemic," Beckett explained. As he saw the confusion on the pilot's face, he added, "Basically, it's a malfunction of the pancreas, which is where insulin is produced."
"Is it the same as Diabetes?" asked Sheppard, his expression troubled. He couldn't help but feel guilty about his teasing of the scientist earlier – he had no idea that Rodney was being serious about the whole 'manly hunger' thing.
"No, son, it's almost the opposite," the Scotsman explained patiently. "Rodney's body creates too much insulin. Every cell in our body depends on glucose or sugar for energy to perform their tasks. When your blood sugar levels are low, your cells don't have enough fuel to complete these tasks – which is why Rodney collapsed. If he does nae eat regularly, his blood sugar drops and he becomes hypoglycaemic."
"Whoa," John replied, making a mental note to try and apologise for the taunting. "I thought he was joking. Is it dangerous?"
"It can be," Carson told him, not even bothering to sugar-coat his words. "If Rodney were to go too long without food, he could slip into a coma."
John's eyes wandered over to the now sleeping scientist as he absorbed the information. "He saved the city," he murmured. "Just put the shield on and walked into the middle of that damn thing."
Carson chuckled. "There's a lot more to Rodney McKay than meets the eye," he said. "He may not show it, but I do know he respects you and that's quite an achievement seeing as how he's not too fond the military."
"The feeling's mutual, doc, especially after what I've just seen." Sheppard paused for a moment, biting his lip. "Does this blood sugar thing need regular medication?"
"No," Beckett said, shaking his head. "There is nae a magic pill to make it go away." He reached across to the bedside table and grabbed the power bar that Aiden Ford had left as a get well soon present. "If he feels an attack coming on, he needs to eat something," he continued, waggling the chocolate chip flavoured bar of gunk around. "Then after ten or so minutes, he should start to recover. The lad normally has food to hand so hopefully it shouldn't be a problem."
They watched as Rodney sighed softly and shifted in his cot. "Would it hinder someone? Say if that someone was on an off-world team?"
Again, the Scotsman shook his head. "No, Major, not as long as it's monitored properly. Are you thinking of asking Rodney to be on your team then?"
John looked surprised. "How…?"
Carson laughed. "The rumour mill's been talking about it for the last few days, son," he replied. "News travels fast."
"Guess so. Well? Is McKay medically fit enough to be on a Gate team?"
"Aye, I'd say so. He's a bit out of condition, and has a list of allergies a mile wide, but that's nothing a regular training routine would nae solve." The physician stuck his hands into his lab coat pockets. "It'd do the lad good."
Sheppard grinned. "Problem solved then."
Beckett laughed. "Peter owes me a tenner," he declared. "We had a wee bet, you see."
"Oh, really?" John growled, but the effect was lost when he started laughing.
Curiosity got the better of Carson. "So who else?"
"Well, I've already asked Ford," John told him. "He's a good kid, reliable soldier. It'd be a good chance for him."
"That it would," Beckett agreed.
"And Teyla is a must have. She's the one with all the contacts."
"So Rodney makes four?"
John nodded. "As soon as he wakes up and says 'yes'."
Two days later, Sheppard found McKay in his lab, fiddling with some Ancient device or other. He rapped softly on the door.
"Yes?" called Rodney, not looking up. "Unless the city's about to explode or we're being invaded, I'm busy. If you don't have coffee, go away."
John snorted a laugh. "Nice answering machine, McKay."
The physicist looked up and gave the pilot a small grin. "Major Sheppard," he replied. "What can brings you into geek territory? Have you broken the Jumpers already?"
"No," Sheppard replied, walking into the lab and leaning against Rodney's workbench. "I, uh, I just wanted to thank you. You know, for getting rid of that thing and all. And…" he trailed off and scuffed the toe of his boot nervously. "… and I'm sorry about earlier. With the whole fainting thing. I didn't know your condition was as serious as that."
McKay stared at him for a moment as if trying to work out whether or not the American was being serious, then smiled crookedly. "It's understandable," he replied. "Besides, most doctors don't even accept that it's a genuine illness."
John let out a breath and stuck his hands in his pockets, relieved that he hadn't seriously pissed the scientist off. "Beckett explained it to me. Anyways, that wasn't all I wanted to talk to you about. You see, I've got a proposition for you."
"And what might that be?" snapped McKay impatiently. "Contrary to popular belief, Atlantis can't fix it's own problems meaning that some of us have work to do."
"How'd you like to be on my team?"
Rodney opened and closed his mouth a couple of times in shock, before narrowing his eyes and glowering at Sheppard. "Very funny, Major," he said. "I save your ass and everyone else's from that energy creature and you repay me with a wind up? Mature."
"No, McKay," John said, looking confused. "I'm serious. I want you on my team."
McKay dropped the device he'd been playing with onto the table and swallowed hard. "Me?" he squeaked. "You want me? To go out in the field? With you? Seriously?"
"Yep. I already asked Teyla and Ford and they agreed. In fact, they both said that you were the only scientist that they'd be happy with." He paused for a moment before adding, "I only want the best and the brightest backing me up out there, Rodney, and that's you."
"Uh… I… I don't know what to say…"
"That's pretty easy. Yes is always a good start."
"You know I'm not trained in hand-to-hand, don't you?"
"Can you fire a gun?"
"Yes." Rodney paused as a thought struck him. "I can box a little."
"That's a good enough start for me. I can teach you a bit of basic self-defence if you want. Besides, you don't have to be the Canadian version of Jet Li, and I don't expect you to be a soldier. That's what the rest of us are there for."
Rodney broke into a grin. "Well, then, Major, I agree."
Sheppard matched his new team-mate's grin with a dazzling one of his own. "My work here is done," he said.
"Actually, I've got a couple of devices that need testing. Wanna have a look?"
Elizabeth looked down from the balcony of the control room to observe the newly formed SGA-1 and smiled. They were heading off-world to check up on the Wraith planet where John had pulled off his rescue mission, and Markham and Stackhouse were tagging along to get some flight practice in.
"Are you all set, Major?" she called.
John looked up and gave her a salute. "Ready and waiting. Fancy takeout for dinner? Indian maybe? Or Chinese?"
"God, what I wouldn't give for a pizza," Ford moaned.
"Stop talking about food!" Rodney growled. "You're making me hungry!"
"You're always hungry, doc," Aiden replied with a cheeky grin.
"Pack it in, you two," John scolded. "Come on." He led the group out to the jumper bay.
A few minutes later, Jumper One descended from the roof and the event horizon exploded into life. Seconds later, the ship disappeared into the shimmering blue puddle.
Elizabeth let out a breath she hadn't realised she was holding. "Be safe," she whispered.
Yeah, I happen to know an awful lot about hypoglycaemia – I actually suffer from it, so you could say that I've got first hand experience. ;)