Boys Will Be Boys
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. YET… Not until my plans for galactic domination come to fruition…
Summary: McKay and Sheppard are exploring Atlantis. Nothing could possibly go wrong... could it?
Central Character(s): Rodney and John, with a large dollop of Carson and a side helping of Teyla and Ronon.
Category (ies): Angst, Drama, H/C, some humour.
Placement: Season Two. At some indeterminate point, but possibly in the first quarter or so…
Rating: +12 for potty mouths and mild gore.
Spoilers: A bit for 'The Storm/The Eye' and 'The Defiant One'.
Author's Note: This little piece came into existence because I had a burning desire to write something with the boys and the good doctor – so it's totally self indulgent. I also thought it'd be funny to have Sheppard and McKay in a pretty nasty situation while in the city rather than off-world…
Lt. Col. John Sheppard opened his eyes and looked around blearily. He felt groggy and light-headed, which meant that he'd either been injured or was in the infirmary recovering. Hearing a soft, rhythmic beep coming from beside him, he decided that it was probably the latter of the two options.
He managed to pull himself into a more upright position, wincing as he felt the now familiar prickle of a needle in the back of his hand. He head ached – well, throbbed – and he gingerly lifted his free hand up. Sure enough, his fingers came into contact with the gauze pad just below his left temple. Definitely in the infirmary, then. Hearing movement, he snapped his head around, groaning at the sharp burst of pain. A fuzzy, white-coated figure rushed over to him.
"Just what the hell do you think you're playing at?" came a soft Scottish brogue.
"What's up, doc?"
Carson Beckett pulled a face at the pilot. "You really need to think up a new catchphrase, Colonel. That one's starting to wear a bit thin." He observed his patient critically. "How d'you feel?"
"Uh, can you ask me again later? When the room stops spinning, maybe?"
"That good, eh?" Carson pulled out his ever-present pen-light and flashed it in front of John's eyes, ignoring the Colonel as he feebly attempted to bat it out of the way.
"What happened?" asked John, straining to see around the physician. He couldn't see any of his team-mates, but this wasn't necessarily a good sign.
Beckett pulled his head back gently. "Och, hold still, will you?" he admonished. "You're worse than a wee kiddie!"
Judging from the look on Beckett's face, Sheppard decided that being a co-operative patient was the best course of action if he was going to discover what was going on. He obediently sat still and let the Scotsman complete his prodding and poking.
"Is the room still defying the laws of gravity?" Carson asked, a mischievous smile playing on his face.
"Yeah." John nestled his aching head back against the pillows. "So, doc, are you gonna tell me what's going on or do I have to start shooting things?"
Carson frowned. "Why don't you tell me what you can remember? I'll fill in the blanks after that."
"Okay, Rodney, I get it. We have to go take a look." Sheppard let out a sigh, frowning at the astrophysicist. He often wondered how McKay was able to talk him into these situations. As soon as he opened his mouth to argue with the man, John found himself agreeing. Maybe it was a Canadian version of Obi Wan Kenobi's Jedi mind trick. This is not the bad idea you thought it was…
The last time Rodney McKay had used the phrase 'We have to go take a look', the two of them had almost ended up as the main course for a ten thousand year old Wraith who refused to stay down when shot. God only knew what was in store for them this time.
"Colonel, this could be the biggest discovery since… since… Well, I don't know exactly, but trust me, it's BIG." Rodney gave John a grin. He knew that if he mentioned anything to do with 'weapons' or 'tactical advantages', the pilot would be eating out of his hand. "Just think about it. There could be drones down there – we need drones, don't we? Come to think of it, there could be any number of new weapons. And I know how excited you get about things that explode," he added.
Sheppard ran a hand through his carefully spiked hair. As much as he hated to admit it, the scientist had a point. McKay, during one of his all-night database scrolling sessions, had stumbled across what they now believed to be an armoury. It was in one of the outer, uninhabited sections of the city, but according to the over-excitable caffeine fiend, there was a good chance that it was stocked with some pretty awesome tech.
Of course, that meant that Rodney would probably want to go and find it right now.
"I'll admit that it would be nice to have some kind of tactical advantage over one or all of our many bad guys," he said, "but I can assure you, my interests are purely professional."
McKay let out a derisive snort. "And you say that I suck at lying? Please, you're practically drooling."
"I am not drooling," John shot back. "I'm just showing an interest."
"I'm telling you, it's Pavlovian. Your eyes are lit up like a kid in a candy store with unlimited funds."
The Colonel treated McKay to one of his finest glares. "When are we going?" he asked in mock-sternness – the scientist's excitement and enthusiasm was contagious and in spite of himself, Sheppard found that he was grinning. McKay was right, of course. Only a fool would miss the opportunity to go rummaging around in what was possibly a fairly well stocked weapons cache.
"Oh, well I was thinking…" Rodney found an interesting spot on his workbench to study, neatly avoiding John's gaze, "…now, maybe?"
"Now?" Yeah, like he hadn't seen that one coming. "Why not wait for Teyla and Ronon to get back from the mainland?"
McKay let out an impatient sigh. "Colonel, please. We're both adults. It's not like we need them to come and hold our hands every time we want to look around."
Dammit, the man had a point – but John wasn't going to feed the beast that was McKay's ego by telling him that. "I didn't mean it like that. I know Ronon would kill to get his hands on some new toys."
"True," Rodney conceded, "but you keep moaning about not having a blaster like his. Think about it. If this armoury holds anywhere near what it's supposed to, you'll be the one with the cool gun."
Sheppard gave McKay a rakish grin. "Well, why didn't you say so?" He tapped his earpiece, ignoring the scowl that the scientist gave him. "I'll just let Elizabeth know."
"We're lost, aren't we?"
The boys wandered down a fairly gloomy corridor. They'd been walking for at least an hour already, but the thought of the shiny new toys that they could undoubtedly cause chaos with stilled the complaints. Sheppard had insisted that they went in full gear, complete with P-90s and additional medical supplies. He'd seen his fair share of freakiness in Atlantis and figured that it wouldn't hurt to be a little over-cautious.
McKay, on the other hand, thought that it was complete overkill. It wasn't as if they were going on a raid, or trying to blow up a hive ship. It was just the city. He grinned as a thought struck him – this was a serious case of role reversal, wasn't it? Normally Sheppard was over-confident and reckless, and Rodney was the nagging voice of reason. McKay was the first person to confess to being… well, not spineless, but slightly lacking in the bravery department. Or rather, being in possession of a strong sense of self preservation. However, in the last year and a bit that he'd been Atlantis' Chief Science Officer, he'd found that he was more willing to enter into situations that he would have happily run screaming from before.
He suppressed a laugh at the pilot's feeble attempt to brighten the gloom using only the little light on the P-90. He knew it was a deadly weapon in the right hands - easy to use, even easier to reload and fairly light - but as far as torches went, it was pretty lame. It was the best they had though, since the Canadian had forgotten his mega watt halogen torch in his haste to find some new trinkets to play with.
Despite his previous experiences, McKay had let Sheppard lead the way. He was convinced that the man could get lost in single room.
"Take it easy, Rodney. I have an excellent sense of direction."
McKay growled slightly. "Oh, yes, your now infamous Sheppard short cuts. Need I remind you that the last time we used one of those, we found ourselves in an underground bunker populated by sadistic, neo Nazi wannabes who ended up trying to kill us on several occasions?"
Sheppard turned back to face his team-mate. "Oh come on, McKay! Lighten up! I really don't think that the Genii are gonna be hiding down here."
"Oh, hardee har har, Colonel." Before he could give Sheppard a lecture on the dangers of being a cocky, bravado loving flyboy who had all the directional sense of a dead marmot, the Ancient scanner in his hand started beeping rapidly. "Ooh."
"Ooh?" asked John mockingly. "Way to go with the official scientific terminology there. Is that 'ooh, we're here' or 'ooh, we're screwed'?"
"The first one, I think," Rodney replied, waving his hand in a 'shut-up-for-half-a-second-I'm-concentrating-and-you're-annoying-me' kind of way. He turned to one of the doors to the side of them, pointing towards it. "There's a huge energy signal coming from in there."
"You don't know what huge means?"
"Course I do…"
"Massive, enormous, very big in size or amount …"
John clicked his tongue angrily. "I meant is it huge as in fairly big but unimportant or huge as in armoury full of neat weapons huge?"
"It's not the armoury," McKay replied, stowing the life signs detector back in one of his vest pockets.
"Then why are we stopping?" asked Sheppard. And the man had the gall to moan about his shortcuts!
The Canadian ignored him, already trying to jimmy the door controls. "Just give me a minute. It's a bit stuck…" After a few seconds, there was a small click and the door opened fractionally. McKay grabbed one side and started to tug.
He had always wondered why the Ancients had built such heavy doors. It just wasn't logical – they were supposed to be a hugely advanced race after all, so why couldn't they have used a lighter alloy?
Seeing the scientist struggling, Sheppard walked up and grabbed the door. With their combined strength, they managed to pry it open just far enough to squeeze inside.
The room was dark, and surprisingly, nothing activated when they stepped across the threshold. John turned to McKay. "What's with this?" he asked, indicating the no-show lights.
"I'm not sure," Rodney replied, looking puzzled. "Maybe it's on a power-save cycle or something." He cautiously began to make his way forward, straining to see in the near darkness. "It could have been damaged by the flooding after the storm, or maybe it has something to do with the limited power that the city's had. After all, we've only got one Zed PM to power this place with so it could be a malfunction or…"
There was a thud followed by a muffled curse from near the floor.
"You okay, Rodney?"
"Yeah, just peachy. Thanks for asking," the Canadian snapped.
John swung his P-90 around and saw McKay lying in a tangled heap on the floor. He'd managed to trip over a broken floor tile and was rubbing at his ankle. "Break anything?" John asked, holding out a hand to help the man up.
"Just my pride," McKay said. He struggled to his feet and gingerly tested his weight on his foot. Wincing, he was rewarded with a burst of pain. "I don't think it's broken."
"Good. You gonna be okay to look around?"
"It's just a sprain, Colonel. It's not like I've had my leg amputated."
Sheppard quirked up an eyebrow. McKay not moaning about an injury was a rare thing, and it usually meant that there was an underlying problem. "What's with you?"
Rodney gave him a confused look. "What are you talking about?"
"It's just that you're not ranting or convinced you're going to get Gangrene and lose your leg," Sheppard replied.
"'So what? Are you saying that I can't deal with a little pain?"
"No," said John hurriedly, desperate to stop a forthcoming rant.
Rodney sighed. "Look, Colonel, there could be something important in here and the last thing I want is to be stuck in the infirmary with that Scottish voodoo practitioner."
Sheppard grinned. "I get it! You're overdue on your physical, aren't you?"
"Maybe," came the quiet reply.
John let out a laugh. "I can't believe you, McKay! You're a grown man! You shouldn't be so scared of a little thing like that!"
"At least I don't run screaming like a girl when I see Carson approaching with a needle," McKay shot back.
"I don't run screaming. Well," John paused for a moment, "I might run, but I never scream."
"That's not what he says."
Sheppard was about to fight back, when suddenly the lights came on. Both men were momentarily dazzled. "Way to go Rodney!" he said, excitedly. '"What did you do?"
"Nothing. I didn't touch anything." The scientist held up his hands to demonstrate his point.
"Then why are we no longer playing murder in the dark?"
"You mean it wasn't you?"
McKay frowned. "Maybe the room was on a power down cycle like I said earlier. Must be a way of conserving energy… Like the lights back on Earth?" he added, seeing Sheppard's blank look. "The ones that only come on if there's movement?"
"I get it, thanks. You don't need to dumb things down that much. I could be in Mensa."
"Yeah, I know. You keep telling me." Rodney looked around the room. It appeared to be some sort of control centre – there were various panels and consoles everywhere – but he had no idea what its purpose was. Not yet, anyway. He hobbled over to the nearest one, grinning when it powered up under his touch.
"Are you sure you should be doing that?" asked Sheppard nervously. "Shouldn't we wait until we know what this place is for?"
McKay turned back to Sheppard with a pained expression. "I won't know what this place is for until I can take at look at some of the schematics. And I can't do that until I turn something on," he said in a voice that he reserved for talking to idiots and Kavanaugh. "I'm not traipsing all the way back to my lab to look at the database when I can access it from here." He looked back at the console. It seemed familiar, almost like the power system in the Gateroom. He pressed a button and let out a triumphant laugh as a nearby screen hummed into life, instantly displaying the Ancient database. After a quick mental nudge, he managed to switch the display to the room's schematics and hummed happily.
He was so absorbed in the information flitting across the screen that he failed to register a second and slightly deeper whine enter the mix.
"Can't talk now. Busy."
"No really, I think you need to look at this."
"In a minute."
"I was thinking now."
"What part of 'busy' didn't you understand?"
The scientist spun around angrily. "WHAT?" he bellowed back at Sheppard.
The pilot was stood just behind him, pointing at a console. It had begun to glow and was humming ominously. "Should that be doing that?"
McKay gulped. "I don't think so," he replied. He limped over to it. "Oh boy."
"Is that good or bad?" Sheppard asked.
"How much do you want to know?"
"Bad as in we're dead or bad as in we'll live but it won't be pretty?"
"Uh, the first one I think."
Sheppard gulped. "Don't you think we should run?"
"That sounds like a hell of a good suggestion to me."
They didn't even have time to make it as far as the door before the room was filled with a blinding flash of light and all hell broke loose.
"What happened after that?" asked Carson.
Sheppard pulled a face at him. "No way, doc. I'm not saying another word till you give me some answers." He motioned to the distinctly empty beds. "Like for a start, where's Rodney?"
Beckett gave him one of his patented 'I'm-the-boss-in-here' glares, complete with raised eyebrow. "Colonel, I happen to have a rather large variety of needles," he said. "And I'm fully trained to use them."
Not even the threat of multiple vitamin shots (most of which would probably be in his ass) could dissuade John. "I'm sure you are," he replied, "but you haven't answered my question." He suddenly felt incredibly worried. "Is he okay?"
Seeming to notice Sheppard's anxiety, Carson gave him a smile. "Och, don't fret so much, lad," he said. "Rodney'll be fine. I released him earlier mostly to save what little sanity I have left. He's resting in his quarters." His smile widened as John sank down in relief. "So, continue with your merry wee tale."
"Don't patronise me," Sheppard replied. "You're spending far too much time with McKay."
That produced a big belly laugh from the physician. "Aye, you may be onto something there, Colonel."
Sheppard looked around for his friend, coughing. Admittedly, it was easier said than done – once again, the room they'd been investigating had been plunged into blackness. "Rodney?" he called out, desperate for a response.
There was a soft groan from nearby.
"Rodney, you okay?"
Sheppard fumbled with his P-90, trying to turn the little torch on and cursed when he heard a soft tinkling sound. Another one busted then… Discarding it, he reached into his vest and retrieved a small pen-light. He clicked it on, swearing under his breath. The doors had shut themselves, and the console that had been humming was lying across the floor in shattered chunks. With a start, he realised that most of it had fallen onto McKay. He scrambled forwards and started to move the debris.
"Ow!" Rodney exclaimed as a sharp piece of twisted metal connected with his leg.
"Sorry!" The debris cleared, John was finally able to roll the scientist onto his back and see his face. McKay looked deathly pale, but apart from his leg, seemed to be okay. "Hey, buddy," he said gently.
The Canadian's bright blue eyes looked up, pain and fear clearly reflected in them. "Sheppard? What happened?" He tried to sit upright, but let out a cry of agony and clutched at his ankle.
"Don't move. I think you've busted it properly this time." John knelt down and examined the injury – McKay's trouser leg seemed to be damp. He ran a hand over the moisture and tried not to panic when he saw the red on his palm. Grimacing, he grabbed a couple of thin pieces of metal from the remnants of the console and tugged out a bandana from his vest. "I need to take off your boot."
McKay gave him an incredulous look. "Are you crazy?"
"Not since the last time I checked."
Rodney groaned. "I'd prefer it if I could keep it on," he said in a quiet voice.
"Sorry, Rodney, no can do. I need to splint it. If I don't get your boot off, I can't do that. Trust me, it'll be less painful in the long run." As he spoke, he gently undid the laces on the physicist's shoe.
"Fine. Just – just be careful."
John gave him a grin. "I'll do my best."
"Well go on then! Get it over and done with before I change my mind!" Rodney snapped.
Sheppard began to ease the boot off slowly, wincing in sympathy as McKay let out a scream of agony. After what seemed like hours, the boot was finally removed and John quickly began to construct the makeshift splint.
The scientist clenched his jaw, breathing raggedly. He tried to will the pain elsewhere, but his foot wasn't having any of it. "You suck at being a nurse."
"Stop distracting me." John was grateful that McKay couldn't see the injury – the man's ankle was a mess. A bone had managed to force its way through the skin and was bleeding profusely. "I want you to get the pressure bandages out of your vest, Rodney."
"Why?" asked McKay. He realised the implications of Sheppard's statement and started to go into panic mode. "Oh God, I'm bleeding, aren't I?"
"Now, McKay!" Sheppard snapped. He needed the Canadian to stay calm and if that meant that his military training took over, so be it.
Rodney shakily reached into one of the pockets in his vest and tugged out the aforementioned bandages. He held them out to the pilot.
"I need you to stay really still," John told him as he took the dressings. "And keep quiet for a minute." He smiled slightly as the scientist nodded mutely. Taking a deep breath to steady himself, Sheppard placed the bandages over the bone and pushed down tight. He was rewarded with another piercing scream from the physicist. Happy that they were secure, he positioned the two strips of metal either side of McKay's foot and wound the cloth around them.
"Does it have to be so tight?" McKay gasped, as Sheppard tugged at the bandana.
"Yes." After checking that the splint was secure, he crawled towards his friend's head. "All done."
"Jesus, that hurt."
John gave Rodney's shoulder a quick squeeze. "Sorry."
McKay closed his eyes for a moment, trying to steady his breathing. He opened them again, glancing around the room. "Something tells me that this is not good," he said.
"What gave you that idea?" Sheppard shot back, grinning. He knew that if he could distract McKay with a verbal sparring match, it'd help the physicist to forget the pain for a while.
"Oh, maybe the fact that we're trapped in here?" Rodney snapped, not in the mood for their usual game. "Or could it be the large pile of rubble that was formerly a control console? No, actually, I think it's got something to do with my ankle feeling like it's about to fall off."
Sheppard laughed. "Your observational skills never cease to amaze me."
Despite everything, McKay found himself laughing too. "Ow! Stop it. Don't make me laugh."
"Do you hurt anywhere else?"
Rodney frowned, concentrating. "My ribs feel a bit sore, so they're probably cracked or something. Other than that, my foot and the pounding headache, I think I'm okay. Well, not okay, obviously, but as well as can be expected in the circumstances…"
Sheppard was used to the physicist's babbling – he'd managed to work out that he needed to listen to roughly one in every three or four words to get the relevant information.
"…So, are you going to tell me what the hell just happened, or am I supposed to guess?" McKay continued. "I have to warn you, I was never very good at Twenty Questions."
John let out a sigh. "Well, from what I can gather, the console that was doing the weird things decided that it'd be more useful if it blew up."
"Weird things?" McKay scoffed. "Nice technical term there, Colonel." He squinted up at the pilot. "Are you okay?" He couldn't see any obvious injuries.
"I think so. Whacked my head, but you took the brunt of the boom."
"You and your boom!" snapped Rodney. "Honestly, this obsession with explosive devices and mass devastation is starting to worry me." He tried to sit up, but found a hand placed on his chest. "Let me get up."
"No way! You need to stay still. You might be bleeding internally – like I said, you took the brunt of the explosion."
Rodney growled slightly. "I need to move so that I can get us out of here. I assume the doors shut?"
John nodded. "Yeah. I tried to open them, but they're not in a very co-operative mood."
The scientist let out a soft moan. "Blast doors," he said. "Stupid, idiotic, over-protective, mother hen fail safes!"
"I take it that's bad then?" Sheppard asked, already knowing the answer.
McKay rolled his eyes. "Yes. That's a yes, it's bad." He closed his eyes, grimacing as the pain in his foot decided to make itself known again. "We're screwed."
Carson stared at Sheppard. "I don't believe this!" The man in front of him might be the Chief Military Officer, but when he and the McKay got together chaos and bloodshed was almost inevitable. They were worse than a pair of teenagers. Could they not even explore the city without inciting Armageddon?
John frowned. "Why don't you get Rodney in here?" he asked. "It'll help jog my memory." In truth, the pilot just wanted to see for himself that McKay was alright. It wasn't that he had no faith in Carson, but some things you just needed to check for yourself.
"I already told you, he's resting. He's not leaving his quarters."
"Who's not leaving?" a voice asked.
Carson wheeled round and saw McKay hovering behind him, leaning heavily on a pair of crutches. "Dammit, son, I thought I told you to get some rest!"
Sheppard sighed inwardly in relief. The scientist's foot was encased in a heavy duty cast, but he looked considerably better than the last time John had seen him…
McKay shrugged. "Been there, done that, got bored." He looked across at John. "Nice to see you back in the land of the living."
"Thanks." The pilot pointed to Carson. "I was telling the doc about… you know. The boom."
Rodney nodded. "Let me guess, he thinks we're both insane?" John nodded. "Well, I can't say that I blame him. I mean, he is a medicinal doctor. Anything more complicated than a band aid and Tylenol and he just glazes over."
"Watch it, you," said Carson. "Do I have to remind you that you're overdue a physical?"
Rodney paled slightly.
Sheppard grinned. "Why don't you help me out here?" he asked.
"Gladly," McKay replied, carefully sitting on the cot opposite John. "Where did you get to?"
"Uh, after I'd patched your leg up and we'd found that the blast doors had shut."
McKay nodded. "Well, after that…"
"Have you tried your radio?" McKay asked.
"I'm not that stupid, Rodney," John snapped.
"Could've fooled me," the scientist muttered quietly.
Sheppard growled. He was not going to hit McKay. It would have made an even bigger mess and it wasn't really fair to beat up an injured man, was it? He contented himself with pacing back and forth. "Radio's down. Something's interfering with the signal."
McKay groaned. "That would be the blast doors," he said. "Either that, or the boom, as you insist on so colourfully phrasing it." He managed to push himself into a sitting position, ignoring the pilot's protests.
"Dammit, McKay, I told you to stay still!"
"I'm sorry, but I don't want to just lie here hoping that someone will turn up and rescue us! I need to be doing something! It's why I'm on your team, isn't it? I'm the technical guy. The one who opens doors, figures out any machinery and, oh yes, saves your skinny ass when things go wrong!" He paused in his tirade as the room started spinning slightly.
"I'm fine. Just sat up too quick." He closed his eyes, desperately trying to make the queasiness in his stomach go away.
Sheppard stopped trying to wear a hole in the floor and crouched back down, placing a hand on the scientist's shoulder. "You're not fine. You need to lie down."
McKay swatted the hand on his shoulder impatiently. "I do not," he said forcefully. "What I need to do is try and get the doors open." He looked up at Sheppard. "Help me stand up."
"God damn it, help me up or I'll do it on my own!"
John sighed. McKay was as stubborn as they came – once he'd set his mind to something, that was it. It made sense to help him: that way, Sheppard could at least attempt to minimise any further injuries the physicist would undoubtedly aggravate. "Fine, but I don't like it."
"That's just tough. Quit the chit-chat and give me a hand."
The Colonel scooped an arm underneath McKay's shoulders and gently lifted him into a standing position. He heard a sharp hiss and a choked cry of pain from the Canadian, but knew that it was pointless in arguing. Stupid, stubborn, pig-headed…
"I need you to get me over to the door panel." McKay's voice cut through Sheppard's internal grumbling.
As carefully and slowly as he dared, Sheppard began to manoeuvre Rodney across the room. It was not as easy as he had hoped – their only light source was from his small pen-light. So it was almost inevitable that halfway into the short journey, McKay let out a yelp as his broken foot met something hard. "Dammit!" he wailed.
"I told you this idea sucked."
"That's right, blame me!"
"Well, you were the one who stopped here in the first place!"
"You were the one who was in charge of the navigation!"
"Sure, blame me!"
Bickering, the boys eventually made it to the far side of the room. McKay leaned heavily on the wall. "Gotta sit for a minute…" he gasped.
John gently lowered him down, watching with growing concern as the scientist leant against the wall, hugging his sides. He stretched his injured leg out in front of him.
"Sounds like a good idea. I need to check the splint anyway." The pilot knelt down. Dammit… The pressure bandage was almost completely soaked through. "Got anymore bandages?" he asked.
Rodney patted his pockets. "No. You were the one who was supposed to be bringing the extra medical supplies. You've used mine up."
John made a face. He reached into his own vest, but only found one dressing. "I lost my pack in the explosion. I'll apply this and then see if I can find it. There should be some water and pain medication in there." He looked back up at Rodney. "This is gonna hurt."
McKay nodded, teeth clenched. "Do it," he whispered.
Sheppard placed the dressing over the splint and pulled it tight. He heard a strangled sound as the physicist tried to stop himself from screaming out loud. As he finished tying the bandage in place, McKay let out a shaking breath. "You did good, Rodney," Sheppard said, gently patting the man's good leg.
"You too," came the choked reply.
"You rest here for a minute and I'll see if I can find that damn pack." Not waiting for a reply, he scooted back across the room. It took him almost twenty minutes to find the item in question – it was half buried in the rubble that he'd pulled off of McKay. Unzipping it and taking a quick peek, he was relieved to see that most of its contents were still pretty much intact. He trotted back over to McKay.
The scientist was looking decidedly worse for wear. His face was chalk white and small tremors ran through his body. "Rodney?" he called. "Hey buddy, I found it." He dove a hand into the pack and found the dressings. Placing them on the floor, he then pulled out a water canteen and a small blister pack of pills. Popping out a couple, he forced them into McKay's shaking hand. "Here. Take these. They should help take the edge off."
Rodney swallowed the tablets down with a swig of water, leaning his head back against the wall. "Thanks." After a few minutes, his mouth quirked up slightly as the medication started to take effect.
"Okay, I'm gonna redo your dressings," Sheppard told him.
McKay nodded. "Go for it, Flyboy."
John grinned at the sarcastic remark. If Rodney was back to quipping, he must be feeling better. He gently peeled the blood-soaked bandages away, removing the splint. Ripping open the fresh dressings, he secured them over the protruding bone, trying not to let his alarm show. McKay's foot was turning an ugly shade of blue, and had swollen to almost double its normal size. He quickly redid the splint, concerned when the Canadian didn't make a sound. After he was finished, he wiped his bloody hands on his trousers and sat next to McKay. "Hey, Rodney, how're you feeling?"
McKay opened his eyes and tilted his head in John's direction. "Not so good," he admitted. "I can't feel my foot." He winced. "In fact, I can't feel anything below my right knee." He shivered, unable to stop the shaking. "Is it me, or is it cold in here?" he asked.
Sheppard grimaced. The room was boiling, so McKay's coldness had to be the start of shock. Probably from the blood loss, but there wasn't much more John could do for his friend. "It's a bit nippy," he lied, hoping Rodney wouldn't twig. "Wanna have a crack at these doors, then?" He jerked his head in the direction of the panel.
"Sure. Gotta help me up though."
Once again, Sheppard lifted Rodney to his feet – well, foot, to be precise – and supported him as the scientist tugged at the casing on the door controls.
McKay shook his hands. He was feeling sluggish and none of his muscles seemed to want to do what his brain was yelling at them. "Can you help me get this off?"
John grabbed the casing and tugged at it, smiling as it finally dropped to the floor. "Anything else, Answer Man?" he asked.
Rodney frowned at him. "What is it with you and naming things?" he asked. "You're worse than Ford was!" He smiled as John let out a soft chuckle. Turning his attention back to the panel, he shook his head to try and clear his fuzzy vision. The inner workings of the door were the same throughout most of the city – three horizontal crystals. He reached out for the centre crystal, then changed his mind and took out the top one. He slotted it in between the other two, growling as the doors remained unmoving. "Okay," he muttered to himself. "Let's try another combination."
After nearly half an hour of rearranging the crystals, the doors hadn't even shuddered. Disgusted, he flung the crystal in his hand to the floor. "Damn fail safes!" he yelled. "Stupid, bloody, useless, no good, useless…"
"You've said that already," John replied lightly. He had been watching Rodney with a growing concern. This rearranging had taken him nearly twice as long as normal. "Okay, we're gonna take a rest," he said, firmly placing McKay back on the floor. "You need to eat something."
"I'm fine," said McKay unconvincingly.
"McKay, don't even think about starting with me," John warned. "You haven't eaten for nearly six hours now, and even that was just half a power bar and a mug of coffee." He pulled out a power bar and shoved it into the scientist's hands. "Eat," he ordered.
Rodney grudgingly took a bite. "Happy now?" he asked through a mouth of chocolate chip flavoured gunk.
"It's a start," Sheppard replied. He had no idea if a rescue team was on the way, but he doubted it. Being in one of the uninhabited sections meant that it would take longer for Elizabeth and the others to figure out that there was a problem. The fact that no klaxons had sounded after the explosion wasn't a good sign. They needed to get out of here.
"John Sheppard, leave that IV line alone!"
The Colonel looked up at Beckett with a face of pure innocence. "I wasn't doing anything."
Carson 'harrumphed' loudly. "If you don't pack it in, I'll put you in restraints," he warned.
McKay let out a small laugh. "I'd be careful if I were you, Colonel," he said, grinning at John. "If you don't believe him, you should talk to Major Lorne about what happened after his encounter with the Pegasus Galaxy's version of Poison Ivy." He gave Sheppard a pointed look.
Sheppard bit his lip, shuddering slightly. "Okay, already, I'll stop."
Carson gave him a satisfied smile. He had been listening to the boys' tale for a while now, and was becoming increasingly alarmed. He turned to McKay. "And as for you, Rodney, I want you lying on that bed, not dangling your feet over the edge."
"It wasn't a request, lad." He glowered at Rodney. "If you don't do as you're told, I'll have one of my nurses sedate you into next month."
Giving the physician a practiced glare, Rodney swung his legs up onto the bed. "Better?"
"Aye, much, thank you." Carson pinched the bridge of his nose. "So if the doors weren't opening, how the hell did the pair of you manage to get out?"
The boys looked at each other nervously. This was the part of the story that both of them had been dreading.
"Go on, Colonel. Tell Carson."
John glowered at the scientist. "Me? Why should I? You've been doing a great job. I'd hate to interrupt you now."
"Oh no, you don't, Sheppard. It was your idea, so therefore you get to tell him."
"If one of you doesn't tell me in the next thirty seconds…"
"Fine," said McKay. He glanced over at Sheppard, who was looking smug. He took a deep breath, mentally bracing himself for the onslaught that was to come. "Well, the good Colonel over there got fed up of waiting for a rescue party…"
"I'm sorry? You want to do what?" Rodney couldn't believe his ears. "Is this some kind of sick joke, or have you finally lost it?"
John rolled his eyes. "Look, Rodney, right now, it's our best chance. You need to be in the infirmary and I could use a bit of patching up too." He stood up, stretching his aching muscles. "It'll be completely safe, I promise."
McKay grumbled quietly. The Colonel, having been his usual, impatient self, had gotten bored of waiting to be rescued and formulated what was, in Rodney's humble opinion, one of his most dangerous and idiotic schemes to date.
In short, the man wanted to blow a hole in the wall using some of his beloved C4.
The astrophysicist knew that the wall near the doors had been weakened from the initial explosion, and should theoretically be easy enough to break through, but he wasn't ready to let the pilot play demolition man just yet.
"You know, you suck at the whole 'damsel in distress' thing," he said. "You have all the patience of a two year old! If we get out of here, I'm gonna request that Elizabeth seeks professional help for you and your love affair with dynamite."
John grinned. "You mean when, not if," he replied. "C'mon, Rodney, you know I'm right."
"How about you let me take one more crack at the doors?"
"You've tried so many times, I've lost count."
McKay gave Sheppard a pleading look. "Please, just let me have ten minutes? If I can't get them to play ball after that, then you can go ahead with Operation We're Going To Get Blown Up Again."
"Fine. Ten minutes, that's it." He started to help McKay up, but stopped as the Canadian gave a small moan and went limp. "Dammit!" He lowered the man back down. "Rodney, can you hear me?"
McKay was breathing shallowly, his eyes open but unfocused. "Don't feel so good," he mumbled.
"You don't look it either." He grabbed the canteen and forced some water down McKay's throat. "That's it. We're getting out of here right now." He wandered over to the pile of debris, returning with a pile of larger pieces.
"What're you doin'?" Rodney asked weakly. Why couldn't he see properly?
"I'm getting us out of here, what does it look like?"
"Looks to me like you're too busy playing forts," McKay shot back. Beside him, the pilot was constructing what looked like a miniature wall.
"It's called a blast shield, Rodney," came the reply from somewhere behind the mess.
"Oh God, you're gonna blow us up," the Canadian moaned. "Once was enough for me thanks!"
Ten minutes later, the blast shield was in place and secure. John crouched back down beside the scientist. "Here's the plan. I'm gonna set up the charge as far away from us as possible, using as little C4 as I can. When I say, I want you to cover your head."
Rodney nodded. "For the record, this idea sucks."
"Objection noted," replied Sheppard with a small grin. "Don't move. I'll be back in a minute." He crawled out from behind his impromptu shield and moved along the wall. He'd gone about twenty feet when he found the corner. Damn, it was going to be close. Still, at this point, it was the only viable option they had and he for one would rather die trying.
Well, that wasn't strictly true. He'd rather not die.
He did a quick calculation in his head, working out how much C4 to use. Double checking the figures, he attached the dynamite to the wall and set the charges. Satisfied that everything was in place, he ran back to Rodney.
"Okay, cover your head." He pulled out the detonator.
McKay did as he was told, tugging his head down into his arms. "I'm a dead man," he whispered to himself.
"Fire in the hole!"
John pressed the button.
"YOU DID WHAT?!" yelled Beckett. He was furious. How could the man have been so stupid? "YOU COULD'VE BOTH BEEN KILLED!"
"That's what I was trying to tell him," McKay said indignantly. "But John 'Trigger Happy' Sheppard over there wouldn't listen to me!"
"Hey!" snapped John. "I got us out, didn't I?" He gave the two doctors a glower. "Besides, I knew what I was doing. I could've been in Mensa."
"I was just saying…"
"Stop interrupting me!"
As the dust settled, John heard a cough come from beside him. "McKay?"
"I'm still here." The scientist raised his head, waving a hand in front of him weakly to try and disperse some of the muck in the air.
"Stay put while I check things out." Sheppard carefully slipped out from their safe zone and gingerly made his way across to the blast site.
"Did it work?" McKay called. He heard a whoop of laughter. "I'll take that as a 'yes', then…"
A few seconds later, Sheppard's head appeared in front of him. "C'mon, Rodney. Let's get out of this dump." He dragged McKay to his feet and led him towards the newly formed exit.
As they approached, Rodney saw a neat hole in the wall. "Nice one," he muttered.
"I have my uses."
Getting through the hole proved to be slightly more taxing than either man realised – Sheppard had to prop McKay against the side while he climbed through. He then reached back into the room and manoeuvred the Canadian through.
Moving away from the hole, they sank down against the wall. McKay drew in a shuddering breath. "N-now what?" he asked.
"Well, there's a door over there. Think you can spring us?"
"Give me a minute." Rodney leant back.
"Hey, you don't get to sleep yet!" Sheppard snapped, gently shaking the man's shoulder. "Come on, McKay, stay with me."
"Okay! Stop shaking me already! You're making me dizzy." McKay put a hand to his head and grimaced. "Get me over to the door controls."
Standing, they moved across the room. "Hey, Rodney, I think I know where we are…"
"What? How could you possibly know that?" the physicist snapped. He looked up at Sheppard, who was stood still as a statue. "And why have we stopped moving?"
"I don't believe it."
"We're in the God damn armoury!"
That was impossible. There was no way, they could have… McKay looked around. "You've got to be kidding me…" he mumbled.
The boys stood staring at the rows and rows of shelves. It looked similar to the store rooms they'd found ages ago, but with one small exception. There were two drones perched neatly on one of the shelves.
"Oh dear God…" Hang on, two drones? McKay let out a groan. "This is so typical. We finally get to where we want to be and it's practically empty!"
"You promised me a new gun!"
"Well, I'm sorry I disappointed you, but this isn't my fault!"
"You were the one who found out about the damn place! It'll be full, you said. There'll be some cool new toys to play with, you said." Sheppard raised a finger threateningly. "TWO DRONES! JUST TWO!"
"Oh, shut up and get us over to the door, will you?"
They staggered forward in deathly silence. McKay prised off the cover and set to work trying to Gerry-rig the crystals. On the third attempt, the doors swished open and he let out a triumphant laugh.
Even John, who had been sulking, couldn't hide his relief. "Good job, Rodney."
They stumbled out of the useless room and found themselves back in the corridor.
"Let me get this straight." Carson crossed his arms. "You finally found the armoury and the bloody place was empty?"
The boys nodded in unison.
"I see." The physician pursed his lips as he thought.
"Maybe you ought to carry on," said McKay with an embarrassed grimace. "It gets a bit fuzzy for me after that."
John nodded. "We finally thought we were over the worst of it," he replied, pulling a face. "Guess it wasn't our lucky day…"
"Did you hear that?"
"Wha'?" McKay lifted his head groggily, staring at the blur in beside him. For the last ten minutes or so, he had found it increasingly difficult to concentrate.
"That. That creaking." John pointed in a vague direction. "Sounds like metal…"
An unearthly sounding groan rippled through the corridor. Rodney managed to shake off the mental fog that was clouding his head as the gravity of their situation hit him with a sickening thump. "Oh no," he whimpered. "Gotta move."
"John… Gotta get out of here…" The Canadian dug his fingers into John's shoulder urgently. "Now."
"Oh crap." Realisation suddenly dawned on Sheppard and he picked up their pace. "Can't we ever catch a break?" he growled.
"Since when are we that lucky?"
McKay had a damn good point. John risked a glance upwards and regretted it. The bulkheads supporting the section of corridor they were currently in were beginning to creak ominously. As he stared at them, they started to bend. "Less talk, more speed," he hissed.
Then they felt the tremor run through the floor.
"After that, I don't really remember much," John said quietly.
"Well, you managed to weaken the surrounding structure with your little escape attempt," Carson told him. "After that and the initial blast, it appears that the corridor gave up the ghost and decided to try and come crashing down on both your thick skulls." He gave them a reproachful glare. "Quite how you managed to avoid getting caught up in the cave-in I don't know, but you were incredibly lucky."
John sat still, thinking. He'd heard a shriek of metal and felt something knock Rodney from his grip before the blackness had decided to make its reappearance. He'd then been aware of voices talking urgently, but hadn't known what they'd been saying. Now, he realised that it must have been the rescue team. He was dimly aware of Rodney speaking again, and dragged himself back to the present. "Sorry?" he asked.
"I said, I know why the console exploded," McKay repeated in an exasperated voice.
"You were supposed to be resting!" Carson snapped. "Investigating explosions is not what I'd call rest."
"Hey, for me, working is resting," the physicist shot back.
"McKay, stop baiting the doc and tell me what you found," Sheppard cut in.
"Well, the room was an auxiliary power-control room – like a back up for the Zed PM outlet room. I suspect it worked on the same principle as auxiliary control."
"You mean in case the original got damaged or destroyed?" the Air Force man asked.
"Precisely. I was right about it being on a power-down cycle." A small grin lit up the physicist's face and he carried on excitedly, "It's actually fascinating how the Ancients were able to implement such radical…"
"McKay!" John snapped.
"Oh, right, explosions. Well, turns out I was right about the flood damage. The system got belted by the storm and as a result literally became a ticking bomb." He shuddered. "If we hadn't found the room when we did, it would have exploded anyways. And it probably would have been far more severe."
"How do you figure that?" asked Carson.
"I'd activated part of the system to access the Ancient database," McKay explained, "so a percentage of the power had been diverted. It wasn't a lot, but enough to reduce the force of the explosion."
"So almost being blown to smithereens was a good thing?!" asked Sheppard.
"I admit, it isn't an experience I'd like to repeat," Rodney shot back. "But we saved a lot of lives. If that room had gone critical any later, it could've sunk the city."
"You've got to be kidding."
McKay shook his head. "Afraid not, Colonel." He grimaced. "The shock waves alone would have destroyed three quarters of Atlantis." He sighed as he saw the confused look his two friends were giving him and made a mental note to request compulsory lessons in basic physics. "The room's power cycle was damaged during the storm," he repeated. "That meant that instead of conserving power, it was beginning to build up in dangerously high amounts. If we hadn't stumbled across it, the power would have reached a critical level and gone… well, boom."
"Boom," agreed John.
Before Carson could lecture the two of them about their innate and downright freakish ability to turn routine excursions into life or death struggles, Teyla and Ronon entered the infirmary.
"We just heard what happened," said the Satedan.
"Are you both alright?" asked Teyla, concern etched across her face.
"They're both bloody fools," muttered Carson. Seeing their confused expressions, he grinned. "They'll be fine. Out of commission for a good while, but still in one piece. Although God only knows how." He put his hands in the pockets of his lab coats. "I'll let you stay for a while, but then these two will need their rest."
"Hey! You released me!" Rodney whined.
"Well, having heard your little story, I'm re-admitting you." He chuckled as the scientist shot a particularly colourful curse at him. "Do you kiss Katie Brown with that mouth?"
McKay turned an interesting shade of red.
Carson laughed again and wandered into his office.
Sheppard smiled. "So, how was the mainland?" he asked as his team-mates dragged their chairs in between the two cots.
"It was most successful," said Teyla. "The new crops are dong extremely well."
"Nowhere near as interesting as your little trip," Ronon added. "Still, serves you right for deciding to play one-up with me."
"Can't blame a guy for trying."
Ronon grinned. "Tell you what – I'll let you use my gun on the target range when you get sprung from here."
"Cool." Sheppard grinned back. "Packs a hell of a boom, that blaster."
Rodney threw a paper cup at him. "Honestly! You and your Goddamn boom!"
See? No harm, no foul… maybe. Apologies about any dodgy science, but it's sci-fi, right? Poor John – maybe he'll finally get a cool gun one of these days. Anyways, I just wanna point out that I am not a medic, nor will I ever be. All of my doctoral knowledge comes from Wikipedia, so any mistakes are entirely my fault.