Ta for all the reviews! You guys rock!
WARNING: Here be a LOT of angst. On we go…
Part 2: There is an equal and opposite reaction…
The first thing I became aware of was the sound of hushed voices whispering anxiously. I caught words like 'transfusion', 'blood loss' and 'critical', but they meant nothing to me. My arm felt stiff and sore and a deep cold seemed to have settled within me, battling with the drugs that I could feel in my system.
Cracking open my eyes revealed fuzzy images which soon gave way to the infirmary.
I was in a bed, hooked up to all manner of IVs and monitors, and buried under a pile of blankets. I thought it was strange that I should be feeling so cold, and despite the reassuring weight of my woolly cocoon, I shivered. Tilting my head slightly, I managed to make out two people stood off to the side of my cot.
Carson was facing in my direction, his face haggard and worried. He didn't notice that I was awake (normally he has a kind of internal radar for that) and was staring at the floor, seemingly lost in his own world. I'd seen that look before – when he lost Perna back on Hoff – and knew instantly that it wasn't a good sign. He seemed tired beyond exhaustion, his brogue low as he talked to a second man.
I recognised the unruly hair instantly. Hard not to, really, considering how non-regulation it is. He was asking about donating blood, which puzzled me as the man was even more scared of the Highland voodoo priest's needles than I was. The fact that he was the same blood type as me never even crossed my mind.
I watched them for a while longer, trying to figure out why I was there in the first place. I had a blurry recollection of a generator in a tent and an image of an unconscious Radek took its place – Radek lying in a pool of blood, surrounded by fire and broken machinery…
Suddenly, I remembered what had happened and a cold band of panic surrounded my chest and squeezed tight. There was a rapid beeping sound coming from somewhere nearby and I felt two pairs of hands on my arm and shoulders.
"Easy, buddy," I heard John tell me. "Relax. You're safe now."
"Wha…?" I croaked, my throat raw. I couldn't seem to catch my breath and sucked in rapid gulps of air.
"Breathe, lad," Carson pleaded. "Come on, Rodney. Please."
After what felt like an eternity, I managed to suck in a deep lungful of oxygen, followed by another and another. All the while, I heard Carson and John talking to me – encouraging me, trying to calm me down.
When I thought I could speak again, I managed to ask in a very unsteady voice, "Zelenka and Garcia?"
My two friends exchanged a grim look and my heart sank. They weren't in any of the other beds… "How bad?" I whispered, not really wanting to know the answer.
"Why don't we talk about this later, when you're feeling a bit stronger?" Carson suggested, his tone begging.
I managed to shake my head, annoyed at being molly-coddled. "No," I replied. "Please… I need to know."
Sheppard tightened the grip he had on my arm, his expression unreadable. "Dammit, Rodney, we nearly lost you," he told me in a strangely choked voice. "You need to do what the doc says, okay?"
Confused but undeterred, I turned back to Beckett. "Tell me." I had to be told. I needed to know if I'd done enough to help them.
The Scotsman sighed and looked away for a moment. "They're both in surgery," he admitted quietly. "Radek has severe internal bleeding, a punctured lung and numerous lacerations. Evelyn is in a similar state, but the wound to her stomach is bad."
I'd already guessed that part. I knew that abdominal traumas were dangerous and had a whole host of complications attached to them. Even if they were treated fast, they could still be fatal. I blinked and looked at the IV lines running under the bandages on my left arm, wondering what I'd done to myself.
As if he could read my mind, John spoke. "You slashed your arm, nicked the artery in your wrist and lost a lot of blood. Your jacket managed to stem it to a degree, but… it was touch and go for a while there."
"I… I didn't know," I mumbled. "Honestly, I never realised…"
He sighed and shook his head, cutting me off with a small, tired smile. "Adrenaline, buddy. It can do amazing things to a person."
Like letting me heave machinery around and drag unconscious scientists through a Stargate. Or allowing me to perform CPR on said scientists for almost twenty minutes….
I decided to be direct. "I wanna see them."
"Later," Sheppard said, with a meaningful look. "You need to rest up, get yourself back on your feet."
I looked to Carson, hoping he'd overrule Sheppard, but the damn quack was nodding in agreement. "The Colonel's right, son. Blood loss can be a tricky thing and you're not quite out of the woods yet."
"How much did I lose?" I asked, curious and terrified by what I might hear.
"Too much," John growled as he let go of my arm and sank into the chair next to my bed. There was an angry undertone to his voice, like he was annoyed beyond words with me for some reason.
Maybe because I almost died since I didn't know I was injured and slowly bleeding out…
"Almost two pints," Carson clarified. "You've already had one transfusion and you'll need another before you leave."
I nodded, trying hard to be agreeable with Beckett's demands in the hope that it would let me get out of there faster. He patted my shoulder and tipped his head to the Colonel before walking away – no doubt to check on the progress of his surgical teams.
I looked back over at Sheppard. I hadn't noticed before, but he wasn't wearing his jacket and in the crook of one elbow was a band aid. His earlier talk about blood donation suddenly made sense. I opened my mouth to say something, my eyes wide, but he held up a hand to silence me.
"It's okay, Rodney. You needed it and I had some going spare."
I didn't know what to say so I just swallowed hard and trembled.
"Listen, Elizabeth wants to know what happened," he told me. "I've told her that you're not gonna talk to her until you're ready, okay?"
"Thanks," I whispered, feeling a sense of gratitude I didn't deserve. I felt my eyes shutting of their own accord and fought to keep them open, but John leant forward, resting a hand on my shoulder.
"Go to sleep," he muttered. "I'll be here when you wake up."
And I believed that with every last atom in my body.
I look at my watch and realise that we've run over the allotted time for the session by nearly half an hour. I get to my feet and move towards the door, muttering a feeble excuse about being overdue for my pain meds.
Kate asks me about the next appointment and I merely shrug. Chances are that I won't be here that long anyway, so I'm not going to even bother to set one up. Ignoring her look of confusion, I leave the room and head for the nearest transporter, desperate to get back to my quarters.
My head is reeling, filled with images that I want to forget but can't. Suddenly, everything seems too close, too small and I change direction. I need space, air – somewhere to hide while I freak out.
As I step out onto the pier, my knees turn to jelly and I sink to the floor. The pain licks its way up my arm, but it's dulled somehow, muted by the horrors behind my eyes rather than the cocktail of painkillers that Carson has me on. I curl up into a ball and close my eyes against the memories that are assaulting me, trying to push them away, bury them… make them stop.
It's no good.
They come on stronger and the only choice I have is to let them run their course…
I didn't know how long I'd slept for, but when I woke up again, Sheppard was still in the chair next to me just like he'd promised. Part of me hoped that he hadn't been there too long – those damned things could be murder on a man's back.
"Hey there, Rip Van Winkle," he greeted.
"Hey," I replied with a mouth that felt full of cotton wool. John must have noticed me trying to swallow because a cup of water appeared in front of me.
"Small sips," he cautioned, "or Beckett will have my head mounted on the wall in his office."
The water felt blissful going down my dry and abused throat and I couldn't help the tiny hum of contentment. My thirst sated, I relaxed back into the pillows. "I need to talk to Elizabeth," I said softly.
John gave me the 'eyebrow'. Normally, I couldn't fight that particular look, but I refused to give in to him this time. There were things she had to know and I wanted to be the one to tell her. It was part of my job as a department head, after all.
Seeing that his usual interrogation technique had failed, Sheppard swore under his breath and leant forward, his forearms resting on his legs. He thought about my request for a long time, staring at his clenched hands intently – a sign that he was trying to assess the damage control for the situation.
"Are you sure?" he finally asked, lifting his head, hazel eyes burrowing into mine.
I nodded slowly. "Yeah, Sheppard, I'm sure."
"Let me go and talk to Beckett…" He stood up to leave, but I managed to snag his belt and he turned back to me, looking confused. "McKay?"
"I need to talk to her now, Colonel," I said. "Carson won't agree to release me yet, so get her in here."
"You don't have to do this," John replied, almost pleading with me. "Major Lorne already gave her his report and…"
"Dammit, John!" I snapped weakly. "I want to talk to Elizabeth!"
Maybe it was because I looked so wretched, or maybe it was because I'd actually used Sheppard's first name, but he didn't argue with me. Instead, he clenched his jaw and gave me a sharp nod.
"Okay, Rodney," he said. "Okay." And with that, he left the infirmary to fetch our leader.
I didn't have to wait long: he was back in ten minutes with Elizabeth in tow. And believe me when I say that those ten minutes were the most harrowing of my life so far. I'd been trying to work out exactly what I was going to say, but everything was jumbled up. There were a dozen ways I could tell her the facts, but she deserved to hear it straight.
I owed it to her. And to Steinberg, Kevins and Gerhardt.
As she approached my bed, I saw her face soften and threaten to crumple.
"Rodney," she whispered, grabbing hold of my hand tightly. "John said that you wanted to see me?"
I nodded. "I need to explain what happened at the site," I began, but was cut off when Carson strode in.
His features were downcast, his eyes bloodshot and his entire body seemed to be slumped in utter defeat. The panic that had set in when I had first come to in the infirmary threatened to take hold again, but I pushed it down. Sheppard crossed over and came to a stop on the other side of me, holding onto my shoulder. He unconsciously ended up in his 'defence' pose – the one he normally reserved for facing down bad guys on missions.
This, however, was something that I knew he wouldn't be able to protect me from.
"Rodney," Beckett began, and I already knew what he was going to say. The way his voice shook and his hands balled up into fists gave it away and I steeled myself.
"Who?" I managed to ask. Not both. Please God, not both…
Elizabeth and Sheppard tightened their respective holds on me as the shock gave way to grief. Evelyn Garcia was now the next in a long line of casualties that the Pegasus Galaxy had claimed, another innocent soul wrenched violently out of the world.
Then in its place, I felt an almost overwhelming and somewhat perverse sense of relief that it hadn't been Radek's name, before everything suddenly morphed into guilt. How could I think that? Why was Zelenka more important to me that Garcia?
What gave me the right to place one life above another?
I came back to the present, realising that I hadn't spoken for several long minutes. "Did she suffer?"
Carson shook his head, patting my ankle gently. "No, lad," he replied in a thick voice. "I promise you, she did nae feel a thing."
"Good," I said, feeling hollow. "That's good."
John rubbed my shoulder. "Rodney, I'm so sor…"
"No!" I hissed. "Don't."
I didn't want to hear the apologies. Truthfully, I didn't want to accept it. If I heard them say sorry, I knew that I'd lose it completely. I knew that I'd have to acknowledge that an intelligent young woman had lost her life in an accident that shouldn't have happened in the first place.
"I'll come back later," Elizabeth started to say, but I shook my head.
I realised that if I didn't tell them there and then, I'd never be able to. Taking a deep, trembling breath, I began.
I blink and realise that I'm sitting upright again – not that I remember doing it. Judging by the sunset that's now on display in front of me, I've been out here a while. Not wanting to move, I watch the golds and reds blending into the horizon, just as I have for the last two days.
I've not stepped foot in my lab. I've avoided all the social areas like the plague and survived off of the MREs that I managed to squirrel away in my quarters. On the rare occasions that I have ventured away from my self-imposed isolation, I've waited until late at night when there's hardly anyone around.
It's been frustrating, being cut off from the lab. There's a ton of work that I could be doing, but if I step out of my room, I'll have to answer stupid questions like the ones this afternoon with Kate.
I'd have to face people and at the moment, I can't deal with that.
Sheppard and Elizabeth thought that I was suffering PTSD or having a delayed shock reaction, and that was their main reason for siccing Heightmeyer on me. Oh, they claim that they're worried, but I know why the really did it: they think my judgement's off kilter. I swear to God that if one of them asks me if I'm okay again, I'll do something I'll regret.
How they can think that I'll be okay is beyond me. Everyone in the city seems to have a bizarre notion that I'm the sort of person who can just bounce back after the bad things. That I can shut my feelings off and carry on like normal.
Well, I don't think there'll be any 'bouncing back'. Not this time.
Like I said, the truth is that I just can't face anyone at the moment, especially with Zelenka still a guest in Intensive Care. There are too many stares, too many whispered conversations when people think I'm not listening to them. Yeah, I'm hiding, but what else can I do? I don't want to be the latest topic in the scuttlebutt. After all, if I'm not around everyone, I won't hear anything.
And as for the not so nice rumblings from certain individuals, the less I hear the better. Sheppard stamped down pretty hard on the main camp supporting the 'McKay did it on purpose' theory. From what I can gather, there are now a lot more people on Kitchen and Housekeeping duties than normal, but…
I don't blame them. If I was in their shoes, I'd blame me too but John keeps insisting that it wasn't my fault. Damn idiot…
Speak of the devil…
The man must have misheard my remark because he's sitting down next to me. "Nice view," he says in that conversational tone of his.
Okay, let's try a different approach.
"Piss off, Sheppard."
He nudges my shoulder and clucks his tongue at me. "Now that's not very nice, McKay," he drawls, blatantly ignoring my angry growl. "We need to talk."
No, that's the last thing I want to do right now. I've had enough talking. "I said 'piss off'."
"Nope, not gonna."
I jump to my feet and whirl around angrily. "Would you just fuck off already?!"
Sheppard stays calm, which only serves as fuel for my rage. "I'm not going to do that, Rodney," he says in a quiet voice. "Not until you talk to me."
"Why should I? Why won't you all just leave me alone? All I've done is talk and I don't want to anymore!" I demand. He looks up at me impassively and for a moment, I want to smack him in the teeth. "You know what? Forget it. I'll just go somewhere else." I walk over to the doors only to be thwarted when they refuse to open for me. I wave my hand in front of them for several seconds before I realise that the son of a bitch has locked them with that infernal super gene of his.
Which means that they won't open until John tells them to.
"Open the door," I say, my back turned.
"Not gonna happen, buddy."
"OPEN THE FUCKING DOOR!" I slam my hand against the metal, ignoring the vibrations that shoot up my arm.
"I'll open it once you talk to me," John tells me, still sitting on the floor.
I look over my shoulder at him and reply scathingly, "You want me to talk? Okay, try this then. I fucked up and four of my people were killed. They're dead because I didn't do my job properly, Radek's critical and I nearly bled to death. Happy now?"
"No," he snarls, all trace of his earlier coolness gone. "No I'm not damn well happy. Not by a long shot."
"Too bad," I snap back.
Maybe he realises that getting angry won't work, or maybe he really doesn't want to fight. Whatever the reason, he gets to his feet and leans back against the wall, crossing his arms. "We're worried about you, Rodney. No one's seen you, you haven't been in your lab and Heightmeyer told Elizabeth you wouldn't book another appointment with her."
"Tell this to someone who actually cares."
"So help me God, McKay, you are going to listen to me!" John snaps. "You think you're the only one who's lost people? Believe me, I know how you're feeling right now."
I let out a snort at that particular comment. "Obviously not since you've locked me out on a pier," I shoot back as my anger returns with a vengeance. "You're a bastard, John Sheppard. You think you can just waltz out here and give me the same old, tired pep talk and I'll feel better?" I bobble my head mockingly as I mimic him, "It wasn't your fault, McKay. You did everything you could, Rodney." Part of me knows that I'm being unfair but I'm past caring. "Here's a news flash for you, buddy – it isn't going to work this time." I can feel my heart racing as the world suddenly narrows down to just the two of us.
"So tell me what will," he replies doggedly. "Dammit, Rodney, I want to help you."
My body starts to tremble with rage. "Then let me go back to my quarters."
"I… DAMMIT!" I pound the door again, only just noticing that the skin on my knuckle tears when it snags a sharp edge. Knowing that Sheppard won't open the door for anything less than a Wraith invasion, I walk over to the railing and grab hold of it as tightly as I can. It makes my bad arm throb, but I ignore that. "You really want to know how I'm feeling?" I ask, glaring at the ocean.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see John clench his jaw and move closer. "Yeah," he answers quietly.
"Then talk to Kate." I decide to tell him what I've been considering for the last twenty-four hours. "I'm leaving for Earth once the Daedalus gets here and I'm not coming back."
He strides over to me and pulls me away to face him. "Goddamn you, you stubborn bastard!" he cusses. He must realise that his grip's too strong on my injury and lets me go again, running a hand through his spiked hair. He looks away and mumbles, "I thought you were dead."
"When everyone started coming back through the Gate, we heard that there were at least three civilian fatalities. One of the marines said that there had been an explosion in the area you were in and I…" He walks away, turning his back to hide his face. "I thought you were one of the people killed. Then you came through and I sent a prayer up to whichever deity's looking out for you."
I'd had no idea so this revelation gives me one hell of a shock.
"You were walking and talking a little, so I thought you were okay. Maybe a little shocky, but alive." His hands ball up. "But then you went and collapsed in the damn corridor and…"
And he thought that I wasn't going to make it. His words in the infirmary make sense now. "I…"
"You can't leave, McKay," he says, his voice bordering on desperate. "You just can't. I'm not gonna let you."
"This isn't your choice, Sheppard," I reply. "Far too many of my people have died since we arrived in this galaxy. I can't wait around to see who's gonna be next."
Almost a quarter of my teams have lost personnel. Peterson, Dumais, Hays, Wagner, Johnson, Abrams, Gall, Peter, Lindstrom…
And now I get to add Steinberg, Kevins, Gerhardt and Garcia to the list. It keeps growing and I know that there's nothing I can do to slow it down or make it go away.
It'll never go away.
"If I could bring them back, I would," John says quietly. "You know that."
Oddly enough, I do. Sheppard would go to the ends of the Earth to accomplish that. Just like I'd do whatever it took to give him back Ford, but it isn't as easy as that. "I should've checked all of the generators before they were sent out with the teams," I whisper as I sink down to the floor. I bring my knees up and hug them, trying to make a physical barrier between me and the rest of the world. "I meant to do it, but something else came up and by the time I remembered, it was too late."
Ah, how the lie slips out so easily. I couldn't be bothered to check them because they'd all been working fine for over a year. "I could've prevented this."
"No one, not even you, can predict the future," John replies as he joins me on the floor. "Well, apart from Uri Gellar, but what the hell does he know? The guy bends spoons for a living."
He's trying to hard to bring me out of my misery, but I can only manage a weak smile at the quip. "I just… I don't think I can do this anymore, John," I admit brokenly. "I can't… Oh God." I duck my head down to hide the tears that are threatening. "They shouldn't have died."
Sheppard says nothing, choosing to rub my back gently. The action makes the lump in my throat grow and I only just manage to reign in the howl that's trying to escape.
"It's my fault," I mumble over and over, rocking slightly as the grief finally hits home.
"No," John tells me with a weary sigh. "No, buddy, it's not. It was dumb luck pure and simple."
That does it. I can't keep it in any longer and a sob breaks out. It's followed by another and another, and I only just register that Sheppard's pulled me into a sideways hug. He's holding on to me, wanting to say the right things but unable to find the words to comfort me.
After a while, I realise that his eyes are suspiciously moist too.
About an hour later and we're still sitting out on the pier. My tears have stopped for now, but I don't doubt that there'll be more to come later on, when I'm back in my quarters. Sheppard nudges my arm. "Z was awake earlier," he tells me. "Beckett says that the ventilator can come out soon."
"That's a good sign, right?" I ask, feeling more hopeful than I have for days.
"Yeah, Rodney, it's good."
We sit in friendly silence for a few minutes, listening to the gentle swell of the ocean. Then I say, "I think I'd like to go to the infirmary."
John looks at me sideways. "Wanna go see Radek?"
I shake my head. "No," I reply. "I mean, yes, but not right now."
I motion to the bandages on my arm which have been slowly turning red. "I think I popped my stitches."
He gives a frustrated sigh. "Jesus, Rodney! Why didn't you say sooner?"
Honestly, I don't know, but try for, "I only just realised."
I can see he's not buying that one, but doesn't push the subject any further. Instead, he gets to his feet and hauls me up along with him. We walk over to the door, which springs open obediently.
"One of these days, you're gonna tell me how you do that," I mutter.
John gives me a grin as he snakes his arm across my shoulders. "Well I could but then I'd have to kill you."
"You think you're funny," I reply, rolling my eyes. Inside, I'm grateful for the banter.
"You can't leave, you know," he says after a while. "We won't let you."
I really don't want to have this conversation right now and tell him as much.
"That's tough," he growls. "Elizabeth denied your request and ripped up that touching but idiotic resignation letter you wrote for her."
Looks like they're determined. "Why?" I ask, curious.
John comes to a halt and gives me a long stare. "Because you're our friend, Rodney," he eventually tells me. "You've had a bad time of things recently and we don't want you to go running off. After everything you've done to save Atlantis, you deserve a little help." His voice softens and he hesitantly admits, "And I already lost Ford. I can't lose you as well."
There's something intense in his eyes that makes my throat constrict so to prevent another breakdown, I look away, blinking furiously. When I'm happy that I'm not going to lose it again, I look back at him. "I…"
I don't know what to say. Being needed because of my brains is one thing, but being wanted because I'm a friend is something I have absolutely no experience with.
"It's okay, buddy," Sheppard says. "All you have to do is let us get you the help you need."
Suddenly, that doesn't sound like such a bad plan anymore. "Alright," I reply after a while. "You win, Sheppard. I'll go see Heightmeyer again."
"And you'll stay?"
"Yeah, I'll stay."
He gives me such a happy smile that for some bizarre reason, I think he looks like a kid. "Knock it off," I grumble, uncomfortable with the emotions. We start walking down the corridor and if John's holding on to me a bit tighter than normal, I'm not going to call him on it.
True to his word, Radek's ventilator comes out the next morning. He's not really with it, but that's nothing new. I've been by to see him a couple of times, mostly to hide from Carson. The man is utterly terrifying when he's mad and ripping my stitches has sent him into an apoplectic rage.
"Ah, you have annoyed the good doctor again," Zelenka croaks at me when I sit down in the chair next to his bed.
"Oh, shut up," I snap. "And for your information, Sheppard was the one at fault this time."
He gives a weak chuckle that turns into a pained cough.
"Radek? Do you need me to get Carson?"
He stifles the sound and smiles. "No, Rodney. Will not die from a cough. But I would be grateful if you could get me some water?"
Complying with his request, I help him to take some small sips. The coughing is abated and he rests back against the pillow.
Zelenka looks truly shocking. Almost every inch of him is covered in either bandages or bruises and I can't remember a time when he looked as pale as he does now. But despite all this, he gives me a brave smile.
"Alas, priteli, I will not be in lab for a while yet. You will have to cope without me."
I want to tell him to take all the time he wants, but if I do that, he'll think I'm ill or dying. So, I settle on, "You've got two weeks and no more. After that, I expect you at your workstation." But the way my hand grips onto his belies the harsh words and I can tell that he understands how difficult this is for me.
"You are lost without me," he smirks.
"I should have evacuated sooner," he says after a while. "We should have thrown generator as far away as we could and ran for our lives."
That comment shocks me. "What?" I demand.
The Czech observes me with a strange look. "The guilt you are feeling," he clarifies. "It goes both ways."
"No, Rodney. I know what has been happening. I know you are blaming yourself and I am telling you to stop. Was accident."
He must have been taking lessons from Sheppard. I give his hand another squeeze before releasing it and getting to my feet. "Thank you."
"You are welcome. Now go and make sure that idiot Kavanaugh does not destroy lab."
With a wave and a laugh, I leave the ICU and make my way to the corridor, only to find John waiting for me.
"He's doing really well," he observes.
"He is," I agree. "What are you doing here?"
He gives me a hurt look. "What? I can't give your geeks some support?" He tilts his head down the hallway and we set off.
I soon realise that we're not heading for the lab, but all of my questions are answered with "Wait and see."
Eventually, we arrive at the rec room and I tap my foot impatiently as he opens the door. "Will this take long? I've got work to do, you know."
"No, McKay. Just have a little patience."
He ushers me in and points to the far wall.
There are dozens of photos pinned up, each with a little plaque underneath. Moving closer, I realise that it's a memorial – for 'All Those Who Have Fallen'. Scanning the pictures, I see some old faces as well as our most recent losses.
"You okay?" I hear John ask.
I nod and step up to Garcia's photo, running my finger along the edges. She looks happy in it, young and alive…
"This way, we'll never forget them," John tells me as he grasps my upper arm. "And they'll never die," he adds quietly. It's at that moment, I realise that he's left an open space for Ford.
"Yesterday. Teyla and the others helped."
I can't find the words to explain how much this all means to me, but then I realise that I don't have to. John doesn't expect me to give a speech. As we look at the rest of the pictures, I know that things will work out okay in the end. There will be many, many more people to add to this wall, people who won't deserve to be on here for the simple reason that they are too young. But despite that, I know that John will do whatever it takes to keep the numbers down.
We both will.
"Can I…?" I ask, my voice hoarse as I point to the wall.
"You can do whatever you want," John tells me.
I reach into a pocket and pull out a marker pen. In the corner of Steinberg, Kevins, Gerhardt and Garcia's pictures, I add a few words before stepping away. John reads what I've written and nods his approval.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction – Newton's Third Law.
Wow! Done it! Thank you again for all the reviews – they really mean a lot to me and it's inspiring to know that so many of you are enjoying my stories. :) Oh, and I don't know what blood type either of the boys are, but I thought it would be a nice thing to include.