A/N: Hey, well this was just an idea that popped into my head today. Started and finished in one day. Not bad eh! Well I hope you enjoy it.
Warnings: Homophobia, cursing, derogatory names, pre-slash.
Disclaimer: I do not now, nor have I ever owned the rights to Stargate Atlantis, I am only borrowing the characters and will return them in full working order…kinda. I mean really, if you had access to Carson Beckett would YOU let him out of your site? God his voice. Anyway, I don't own it so PLEASE don't sue! Thank-you.
My head swam as I tried to get up off the ground. Before I could make it to my knees another kick forced me to the ground and to my side. I curl up in a foetal position and try my best to protect my vital organs. There are threats and insults said above me but all I can focus on is the pain.
Much as I hurt though I know that there isn't that much damage. Oh there will be bruising for sure, and I just know I'll be in a lot of pain but, there will be no lasting damage; no marks on my face. The same as always.
"How the hell has Sheppard put up with you for so long? I bet he wouldn't if he knew just how disgusting you really were." The three jar heads above me were laughing. They had no proof. No reason to believe I liked anything other than the full breasts of a woman, but still, they hurt me. They ridiculed and did their best to discredit me. Luckily, I did make some friends here, on Atlantis, and even those who did not like me held a grudging respect for someone who had saved their collective asses on so many occasions. These three marines however, went out of their way to make my life hell, and I don't even know why.
When they finally get tired of me I feel one of them spit. I wait for them to leave my lab and I slowly uncurl. I wipe my face, disgusted and try to stand up. It was three am and I was the only one working in the lab at the moment. Hardly surprising since it was the time for sleep. I don't sleep much though. My brain continues to make synaptic connections which I cannot tune out long enough to drop off into sleep.
These three baboons have been messing around with me for the last month. It's only in the last week though that they've taken things to a physical level. The beatings hurt and like I said earlier, they leave burses, but I've convinced Dr. Weir and Colonel Sheppard to allow me to stay on Atlantis for the next two weeks at least as it's been fairly quiet. I figure if there is a real emergency there won't be time for a physical and once we've left I can find some reason to explain the burses to Carson. He'll probably notice that they're older than I'm saying, but once again, like I said, it's been fairly quiet at the moment and I'm taking full advantage of that. There's always work to be done. There's always a diagnostic to be run.
I'm sitting on my stool at my table now. The marines won't come back tonight. I know that I'm safe to make it back to my room. Shutting everything non-essential down, I get up, holding an arm around my chest and I leave my lab, turning the lights off as I go. Thank-God for Carson's gene therapy. I don't know what I'd do without the ATA gene.
I walk slowly to my room, seeing only a few on duty. They don't notice I'm in pain. While I may have the grudging respect of many of the people here, it doesn't mean that they like me or would even care to get to know me. So the fact that I'm walking down the corridors of Atlantis feeling like crap, and having no one notice is nothing new to me.
I take a transporter down to the living quarters and finally I'm in front of my room. I wave my hand down the blue panel and I'm granted access. I make short work of my clothes and soon I'm in the shower. Washing away the pain, and the spit. Who knows what kind of germs I could pick up from that!
When my shower is finished I get into bed wearing only boxers. With an alarm set I go to sleep. The pain finally doing what my active mind cannot, putting my body to rest.
"Hey Carson, have you noticed anything weird about Rodney lately?" I sit down at a table in the mess and look at Dr. Carson Beckett expectantly.
"With Rodney? No, well, not unless you count the fact that he hasn't been into the infirmary in over a week." Rodney's hypochondria spoke for itself.
"Hmm. Well, something's up. He asked Elizabeth for time away from missions to work on Atlantis. She spoke to me and obviously he got the time but, something's not right. He's been avoiding everyone the whole time. I spoke to Zelenka and he says that Rodney's usually the first one in the labs in the morning and the last one out…"
"Well that's hardly unusual for Rodney…" says Carson.
"…I know that, it's just something about the whole situation is bothering me. Like I was saying, Zelenka says that Rodney's been acting unusual as well. Apparently he's been keeping to himself in the labs too. Carson you know that that's not like Rodney. He's always looking over his scientists shoulders. He oversees everything in his department! I'm not saying that he's slacking, 'cause he's not. I know he's not, it just seems strange that he's not shouting at everyone. Am I making sense here or am I just seeing things that aren't really there?"
"Ach…I dinnae know lad. You're right though, something's definitely up. I'll tell you what, I'll get Rodney into the infirmary somehow, I'll ask him to look at one of the scanners or something. I'll sound him out. How's that?"
"That would be great Carson, thank-you."
I finish my meal and leave the mess hall feeling slightly better than I did while going in. If there's something wrong with Rodney, Carson is sure to notice. I hope.
"Rodney, could you come into the infirmary some time today? I've some scanners that willna work."
"Sure Carson, I'll be there in about an hour."
"That'll be great thanks." I press a finger to my ear, ending the communication with Dr. Carson Beckett. Once again I'm in my lab. I'm in the middle of some diagnostics so I can spare the time for Carson and his scanners. Though I'd never admit that out loud to anyone.
I focus back to the task at hand and I reach over to grab the report I had finished yesterday. I wanted to make a few changes to the fluctuations which had been noted. There was a considerable decrease after the work I had done on the ZPM this morning. When I look at the report I can't believe what I'm seeing. Quickly I stand up and start looking all over my desk, hoping that what I'm seeing is just a joke and that my report is just fine, but sitting on another part of my work station. It's not.
I look back at the folder I hold in my hand. The pages had been shredded and placed back into the folder. I throw the folder onto the desk in a temper.
"Shit!" I say. Before, the other scientist did not pay much attention to my shuffling. After all, we've all done it at some time or another thinking we've lost important sheets, it's one of the consequences of being so smart. You're usually so caught up in what you're doing, filing is the last thing on your mind. Now however, my cursing has them all turning to look at me. Quickly I realise what must have happened to the report and I get control of my emotions. If those bloody jar heads hear I lost my temper they'll know what set me off. I won't give them the satisfaction of knowing they got to me.
I glare at everyone and some turn back to their work. Others, the new recruits specifically, who just got here on the Daedalus last month take a little more urging.
"Well? What are you waiting for? Show's over. Get back to work!" I tell them and finally they get the message. I shouldn't have lost my temper at all. Normally that's not a problem, it's nearly expected of me, but lately I just can't. I've needed to keep strict control of my emotions lest I let them out all at once and that won't be pretty. I sit back down and minimise all my scans and work. I load my back-up disk of my report and within seconds I'm making the changes to the file I would have just made on paper a few moments ago. It's not a big deal, if anything it'll look better, but it's the principal. This is the kind of thing they've been at this last month. Always doing things that I can easily rectify, but if anything that almost makes it more maddening.
I print my report again and I just have it in it's folder when I realise it's time to go see Carson and his scanners. I put the folder back on the table but then I reconsider. It's a little paranoid but I take the folder with me. Just in case. I can give it into Elizabeth on my way to the infirmary.
"Rodney! There you are. How are ye lad?" Carson approaches me with a cheerful smile. I look at him on guard.
"I'm fine Carson. Now where are those scanners? I do have a lot of work to be getting on with and I'm taking time, I don't have out of my precious schedule to be here with you." I say caustically trying to cover up the fact that I'm moving quiet slowly. I'm quiet stiff today after my early morning 'exercise'.
"I'm sure ye do Rodney. They're in my office. Come on." He says. I follow him and there are three scanners on his desk and I move over to them with my tablet pc and I quickly start recalibrating them. It's an easy procedure for someone with my IQ.
"So Rodney, I hivna seen you around much lately. What you been up to?" I look up for a moment to see Carson looking at me expectantly.
"I've been busy. Atlantis doesn't run itself you know. It needs constant observation and maintenance. It wouldn't be so bad it I wasn't surrounded by idiots like Kavanaugh or those new recruits that were brought in on the Daedalus. You know I honestly think they get dumber every day, it's the only explanation for their complete ineptness!" I say with a flare. I glance in Carson's direction and I notice the smile tugging at his lips. I decide to ignore it in favour of returning to my work.
"Well, that is an annoyance I'm sure…" I look up again in disbelief.
"An annoyance…" I say the word like it was a fowl taste on my tongue, "…it's a damn site worse than an annoyance. It's cruel and unusual!" I say exasperated.
"Well, if that's the case then why did you ask Elizabeth to be excluded from expeditions for the next two weeks?" This time I stop work completely. I tense up but breath for a moment getting myself to relax. I turn my hardened eyes towards Carson and speak very clearly.
"I don't believe that, that is any of your business but, if you must know it is so I can catch up on the backlog of repairs that needs to be done on Atlantis."
"Rodney, you and I both know that Zelenka could make those repairs just as quick as you. You were doing fine before, why the sudden change now?" I almost growl at Carson but I keep control. I turn back to my tablet pc press a few more combinations at look back at Carson.
"Like I said, it's none of your business. The scanners will work now." Without giving Carson a chance to respond I leave the office and the infirmary at a fast pace. I'm back in my lab in less than ten minuets. My body protesting the further abuse.
Back at my desk I start some new work on increasing the ZedPM's power output, but with minimum power used up. A lot of it is just re-routing power conduits and making sure there are no unnecessary systems running. A good example is that there is no point in heating the levels of Atlantis which are flooded. That sort of thing. It's all fairly common sense. I just need to implement the program. I have a long day a head of me.
"Colonel Sheppard could you come to my office please?"
"No problem Doc, is this about what we discussed earlier?"
"Yes, eh, I think we should include Dr. Weir in this, could you ask her along also?"
"No problem. We'll be there soon."
"Very well." My conversation ends with Dr. Beckett and I head to Elisabeth's office. I don't want to brief her on this over the communication system.
"Come in Colonel Sheppard." I step into Dr. Weir's office and stand in front of her desk.
"Dr. Weir…Elizabeth, I was wondering if I might speak to you about something." I see her eyebrow rise at the use of her name.
"Please sit down, John." When she uses my name I know she understands that this is 'unofficial'. I sit down, take a breath and begin.
"Elizabeth, I think there is something wrong with Rodney. I don't know what, and I don't have any proof except for my gut feelings and my gut is telling me that something's not right." I say.
"Do you think he's under alien influence?" She asks me.
"…No, I don't think that is the case. This is something a little more personal I believe."
"Well then why are we having this discussion?"
"I can't explain it but, look if this was something I thought Rodney would just talk to me about, you're right we wouldn't be having this discussion. As it is, I don't think Rodney will talk to me about this. He's been avoiding everyone on the base. I asked Dr. Beckett to see if he noticed anything…off…about Rodney. He just contacted me asking me to go down to his office and to bring you along." I explain.
"Very well, shall we go then?" Elizabeth asks, standing up behind her desk. I nod and we leave for the infirmary together. We're going to get to the bottom of this, one way or another.
"Dr. Beckett." Elizabeth says when we walk in.
"Good you're here. Please go into my office, I'll be along in a moment." Carson says before going over to help a nurse with an IV drip.
When we've settled ourselves in Carson's office he walks in and closes the door.
"Elizabeth, I trust that John has apprised you of the situation?" He asks.
"Yes, but I would like to know what your opinion of the situation is." She says.
"Yea, I agree. What happened when you got Rodney down here?" Carson leans back against his desk and sighs.
"Well…" he begins, "…I asked Rodney down to fix a few of the scanners that have been acting up. I asked him what he's been doing with himself recently since I hivna seen him in a while. He started ranting about incompetent scientist and all o that."
"Well, that sounds like a normal Rodney to me." Elizabeth said.
"That's not all lass. I asked him why he'd asked to stay on Atlantis for the next two weeks and he got very defensive. I don't just mean Rodney defensive, I mean seriously closed up, a ten inch wall barrier surrounding defence." I look at Carson worried.
"What happened?" I ask.
"He stormed off before I had a chance to stop the lad. I also noticed that he was holding himself quiet stiffly, before, when he walked in here he was walking quiet slow too. It was almost careful. If I didna know better I'd swear to ya he was injured." I freeze when I here that.
"Injured?" I repeat.
"Colonel, if it were anybody else I'd have them in here for a check up so fast but you know Rodney, he comes in here for a paper cut. Why would he ever hide an injury?"
"Who knows Dr. Beckett but, it's worth looking into. If he's fine well I'd rather be wrong and have him laugh in our faces than not checking at all." Dr. Weir said.
"Aye lass, you're right. I'll call him in right away. Better safe than sorry." I nod at that. Carson touches the communicator in his ear and he's talking to Rodney.
"Rodney, could you please come down to the infirmary…"
"…yes now. It's…"
"Look, just come down, it's important…"
"…thank-you." I listen to the conversation, Rodney's voice clearly carrying.
"He coming down then?" I ask unnecessarily.
"That he is lad, that he is."
"How are we going to approach this?" Elizabeth asks us both.
"Well, I think we should just confront him with it. Ask him if he's hurt. If he admits it we find out what happened. If he lies, we examine him and then we find out what happened."
"Ach, sounds about right." Carson agrees with me.
"But we mustn't push too hard, or else the poor lad will run." Elizabeth and I agree not to push Rodney too much.
"Rodney, could you please come down to the infirmary…" I hear Carson's voice in my ear. Again. However I've never been so glad to here it. Right now I was in a supply room with my tormentors. I had come in looking for some ink when they ambushed me. They must have been watching me. So far they had me pushed up against a wall. They were name calling and already I had been punched in the stomach. It was about to go from bad to worse when Carson interrupted. I knew I would have to act like my normal surly self if I didn't want to give anything away.
"I have to answer this in case it's important. You want to keep your cover right?" I say to the three thugs in front of me. They look at each other and see the sense of my comment. However there grip on me does not lessen. I reach my hand up to answer Carson's call.
"I was just there a few hours ago. What could you possible want now?" I say cutting Carson off as he's talking.
"…yes now. It's…"
"I don't care what it is. I'm busy. Find someone else to fix your scanners for you. Like you said earlier Zelenka is perfectly capable of fixing Atlantis as well as I am."
"Look, just come down, it's important…" he says to me. I know the others can hear what is being said.
"Fine." I say short-tempered.
"…thank-you." I hear in my ear and I switch the communicator off.
"Well, you heard the doc. I've got to go. He's expecting me." I tell them. I don't know why but they let me got no problem. The only thing said is the ring leader confirming that they'll 'get me' next time. I shudder at the implications. Actually this works out perfectly for them, now I'm an even bigger nervous wreck waiting for them to pounce, than I usually am.
Sore, I walk to the infirmary wondering what the hell Carson wanted now, even if it did get me out of trouble.
"Well I'm here, I'm here. What's the big emergency?" I ask sarcastically. I'm walking forward towards Carson, that is until I notice John and Elizabeth standing there also. I stop.
"What's going on?" I ask cautiously.
"Over here please Rodney." Carson says. The others follow until were at a closed off section of the infirmary, a curtain separating it from the rest of the room.
"Well?" I cross my arms over my chest and wait to find out what's going on.
"Rodney, we just want you to know that we're worried about you and we've got your best interests at heart." I look at Elizabeth, I'm worried now.
"What's going on?" I say, talking through my teeth. I'm not happy with the direction of the conversation.
"Rodney lad, I need to know if you're injured." Carson says. For a moment I'm shocked. I'm actually speechless for a second, though it was only for one second.
"What? Are you kidding me? You brought me here for that? Of course I'm not injured. You know that I don't handle pain well or even at all. No, no way would I be injured and not come to the infirmary. Get a grip on reality Carson." John raises his eyebrow at my mini-speech.
"Rodney, please daena lie to us. We can clearly see that you are hurt. I daena know where but something's not right. Now I daena know why you feel the need to hide this from us but we're here to help. Trust us." Carson blathers on. Meanwhile I try to think of a way out of this. There's no way I can let them find out the truth. I'm smart enough to know that if I did just come out and tell them what was going on they'd deal with it but, I don't want them to deal with it. I can handle this. I managed with the bullies throughout childhood, I can manage now.
"Carson, I'm fine. Stop your fussing. There's nothing wrong with me."
"Rodney, I'm sorry about this. I really am, but I'm ordering you to allow Dr. Beckett to give you a full medical." John says to my shock and horror.
"What! You can't do that! I'm a civilian. Unless I'm off world I don't have to take orders from you." I say rather pompously, even for my standards. Anything to get them to back off I suppose.
"Rodney, come on. Think man. If there was nothing wrong with you why would you be fighting this? You're hiding something and we all know it. Look what ever happens it will stay between the three of us."
"What ever happened to doctor/patient confidentiality?" I say.
"So you admit that there's something you want kept between you and the doc?" John asks me. Crap. I walked into that one.
"NO! I merely wondered why you and Dr. Weir would be privy to my medical information."
"Well, normally we wouldn't be but, since you are fighting us on this, I'm afraid we have to be briefed on the situation for base security."
"Oh my Goa'uld! Would you listen to yourself. I'm not a threat to base security…"
"Then you'll let Dr. Beckett examine you?" Elizabeth cut over me. I sigh, and roll my eyes. I'm not going to win this one.
"Very well, as it seems as thought I have no choice in the matter." I'll think of something to explain the bruises.
"Well? A little privacy please. Surly it's not THAT foreign a concept." Boy am I harsh today. Well they deserve it, backing me into a corner like this. It's downright rude, that's what it is.
"Alright Rodney, Off with the shirt if you please." Carson said when Elizabeth and John were a bit away. I sigh and run my hand over my face.
"Do we have to do this?" I ask defeated.
"I'm sorry lad, but you're obviously hurt, I can't just let you go on like this. Now off wi the shirt." I nod and slowly take of my shirt. It's quiet hard to move my arms above shoulder height. I hear Carson gasp when he gets his first look at my bruises, my shirt still on my head. Eventually I get it completely off.
"Rodney what happened to ye man?" He asks me.
"I fell." It's the works excuse I've ever given. It's a load of croak and we both know it, thankfully Carson decides not to call me on it right now. Instead he just gives me a look that speaks volumes.
Soon he has his hands all over me, checking my ribs and collar bone for any fractures. He checks my blood pressure and my breathing, forcing me to cough and breath in deeply alternately. He checks my blood sugar levels and sends blood samples down to the labs to be tested.
"Well, it daesna feel like anything's broken or fractured still, I'd like to get you x-rayed to be sure." I just sit there in a huff.
"Last part. I need you to drop your pants."
"WHAT!!" No way. Not a hope in hell. "Carson why would I do a think like that?"
"Look Rodney I've to do a FULL exam. You understand what that entails right?" I bluster slightly at the camouflaged insult.
"Of course I understand exactly what a full exam is comprised of. I'm not dense…"
"I never implied you were." I continue on as though I hadn't heard Carson.
"…I just didn't think you'd really be going along with this. I thought it was just a threat to get me to agree to this whole farce."
"Rodney, it's hardly farce when you're sporting bruises like the ones you've got right now and quiet frankly I daena know if I trust you right now while it's concerning your own physical health."
"Are you quiet finished?" I snap.
"For now. Now, pants off!" I jump slightly at the order, not used to hearing such tones from Carson. I stand up, trying my hardest not to wince at the pain. I push down my trousers and wait patiently, kinda, for Carson to finish.
Okay you look alright. I just need to do one final thing." I groan knowing what he's going to do.
Feeling Carson's finger probing me slightly I lay my head on my arms as I lean against the bed. I hate the humiliation of it all. It's even worse when I feel him hit my prostate. I bite back a moan and curse my body for betraying me.
"Alright all done." I sigh in relief and pull my underwear and trousers back up in one felled swoop. Thankfully Carson is very professional about my response and doesn't mention it.
"I'll be back in a moment, daena go anywhere." Then he's gone. I pull my shirt back on and sit on the bed. Any and all responses due to Carson's misdirection's are now back under control, as though it never happened. I'm grateful. This day just gets worse and worse.
When we leave Rodney and Carson behind the curtain Elizabeth go into Carson's office to wait and close the door.
"Well, I guess we know now. There's defiantly something wrong." I say, stating the obvious.
"The question is, what do we do now?" Elizabeth looks at me and I'm at a loss. I really don't know. We sit in silence for a while, the minutes ticking by slowly.
"How do you think it happened?" I ask.
"I couldn't even phantom a guess. I mean, we don't actually know what's wrong with him yet. This is all just conjuncture."
"Well yes, but still something happened, and I'd like to know what. I mean think about it. What ever it is, it had to have happened on the base and fairly recently. That means we could be looking at a foothold situation." I say.
"You really think that's what we're dealing with?" I feel like screaming. Instead I shrug.
"I don't know. Could be. Might not be. Maybe he fell and he's just to embarrassed to admit it?" There's a question implied in my tone.
"I think the foothold situation is more believable." Elizabeth says and we both share a small smile over the comment. Then Carson walks in.
"So? How is he?" I ask impatiently.
"Well you were right. Rodney's gone and got himself in a right state."
"Will he be okay?" Elizabeth asks.
"Aye lass, that he will. His torso's covered in bruises but I daena think there's anything broken. I'm going to send him for an x-ray to be sure but I think a right bruising is the worst of his injury's. Well apart from his pride anyway."
"So he's good?" I ask again just to confirm.
"Aye, he's good."
"Good." I say.
"Yes, well we still need to find out what happened to him…" Elizabeth says. "…did he say anything to you while you were examining him?"
"Nae, he didna say a word. Just some story about falling." I look over at Elizabeth with humour in my eyes for a brief moment and we share another joke.
"You don't believe him Dr. Beckett?" Elizabeth asks.
"Nae, I don't. There's more to this alright. Now it's just getting the story outta him." We all understand and we leave Carson's office to go talk to Rodney again. Whoopee.
"Oh you brought re-enforcements I see." Rodney says as we walk over to him.
"Rodney stop acting like a git and accept our help!" Carson says. I'm somewhat surprised when Rodney doesn't reply to that.
"Rodney, please tell us what happened to you." Elizabeth asks Rodney.
"I fell." Came the soft reply. We were wearing him down. It was obvious. Time to add my two cents.
"Rodney, we're just worried. You haven't been acting like yourself. If someone's hurting you…"
"NO ONE is doing anything to me!" He interrupts. Got him.
"…you can tell us. No worries. You can trust us. We won't let anyone hurt you anymore."
"…We won't let anyone hurt you anymore." John is looking directly at me. I know he's got me. I won't go down without one final fight though.
"No one is hurting me! I'm fine. Okay? I'm perfectly fine…" I stand up from the bed I'm sitting on. "…there is nothing wrong with me past a few bruises I got from a stupid, embarrassing fall. That's it. Don't read more into something that's not even there!" I say, my arms flaying around about the place.
John grabs my shoulders and I wince slightly.
"It's okay. No one's going to hurt you anymore." And that's it. That's all it took. I broke. A sob burst from my lips and I try to get out of John's hold to raise my hands up to my face, to hide the full extent of my shame. My outburst. I feel like I can't breath. Like in that one sob I've released an explosion of emotions, and I can't force them back in. I'm still struggling in Johns grasp.
"Let me go! Let me go! Let me GO!" I shout. I'm trying to get control, but I can't so now all I want to do is find a little hole I can go and die in, or at least hide in until my ego's recovered from such a bashing. Let me tell you something, that could take a long time. A VERY long time.
"Shh…Rodney. It's okay. I've got you. It's just you and me now. Carson and Elizabeth left. It's just the two of us. Let it out. It's okay now. You can let it all out. I'm here. Just us now." John's words wash over me and finally I collapse into his chest. He's the only thing holding me up now. I feel him manoeuvre us back onto the bed and sit down, and he's hugging me. I'm wrapped in his arms and he's hugging me. Telling me all these things. That I'm safe now. That no one will hurt me. That it's just the two of us. I cry and cry. I cry more than I have in years. In fact I can't remember the last time I've cried this much. It certainly is draining.
Eventually I start to come back to myself. I feel worn out. Weary. Mortified. I start to pull back.
"I'm…I'm sorry. I don't know w-what came over me. I-It w-won't happen again." I'm disgusted to find myself stuttering, something I haven't done since childhood. Hardly surprising since I just acted beyond childish.
"Hush Rodney." I stop, confused. Surely John is disgusted at my display.
"It's okay. We all need to let go at some point. You'll be okay. Don't apologise for your emotions. They are what makes you, well…you."
"Deep." I say as I sigh and lean back into the comforting embrace of John's arms. Taking comfort for once in another's arms.
"Thank-you." I say finally when I feel in a little more control than I did before. I move out of John's arms and he looks at me. Checking me over I guess.
"Any time. Rodney, you have a lot of friends here on the base that you can lean on. Use them. That's what we're here for." I nod. Still not quiet believing in the amount John is counting. Still, I know now that at this exact moment in time I have three people who care enough about me to find out was wrong. That's the first time ever anyone's ever bothered to find out what was wrong. I wipe my face and nod to John letting him know it's okay for the other's to step in again. I'm grateful for their discretion.
When they come back in I can't meet their eyes.
"I'm sorry for…"
"Rodney." John stops me. I sigh.
"…right well. I'm just sorry. And don't expect me to say it again. I don't apologise often so take it at its value." I say hoping to build my walls again, even if only slightly. I feel to exposed at the moment after my break…God, that's what it was, a breakdown. I just broke down in John Sheppard's arms. I flush.
"Rodney are you alright lad?" Carson asks.
"I'm fi…" John's looking at me again. Damn.
"I'll be okay." I look back at John, silently saying, 'is that okay', in the snarkiest imaginary voice I can muster up.
"Okay. Well then lad, are ye willing to tell us what happened to ye?" Carson asked me. I swallow.
"I wanted to deal with it myself. I thought I could handle it. I figured no one else needed to know." I tell the others.
"No one else needed to know what Rodney?" Elizabeth asks me. I take a deep breath.
"I've been…crap this is embarrassing…"
"There's nothing embarrassing about it Rodney. What ever has been going on has obviously effected ye, ye have no reason to be embarrassed by it." Carson says.
"I've been getting some…hassle from some people on the base."
"People? There's more than one?" John asks me.
"Yea, three of them."
"…and this has been going on for how long now?" John continues.
"…about a month now." I tell them. I close my eyes. I feel bone weary, but know I have to continue now or I never will at all.
"At first it was small stuff, hiding my things, name calling that sort of stuff."
"Then it progressed." Carson says. It's a statement.
"Yes. The started threatening me. Hiding prank toys around my work station. A rubber knife, a play mouse trap…" I stop for a second.
"Go on." Carson encourages.
"…The names got worse, the treats too. You know the report I gave you earlier?" I ask Elizabeth. She nods.
"When I checked it this morning, it had been shredded and placed back into its folder on my lab table. I had to re-print in to give it to you. That was there style. Do thing that I could easily fix. Just making it harder for me to get things done on time."
"What about your bruises?" John asks me.
"That only started about a week ago." I say quietly.
"They cornered me in my lab early one morning. Two of them held me while the ring leader smacked me about. They always made sure to hurt me enough that it hurt but never left any lasting damage, and they never touched my face." I tell the three people in front of me.
"Did they do anything else?" Elizabeth asks me.
"No, that's pretty much it." When it's out in the open like this it seems so stupid now. How could I get so emotional over something like this.
"Rodney, the name-calling, the threats, what did they say to you?" I stop for a moment. How much do I say? I look at John, Elizabeth and Carson are both civilians, John's the potential worry. But then, he's been so good to me. Do I want to risk that though? Crap, now what.
"Rodney, talk to us. Don't clam up now." John says to me looking directly in my eyes. I shake my head.
"I…you can't ask…and…I-I well, I can't t-tell." I say looking at the ground. I don't want John's opinion of me changing.
John breaths out harshly. I flinch thinking 'this is it'. Bye, bye friendship. Then I feel John sit beside me again. I look at him surprised.
"Rodney I don't give two flying fucks about don't ask, don't tell. Did they do anything to you? Please tell me you didn't do anything for them?"
"No, I didn't. They seemed completely homophobic. You're really not bothered? You don't mind that I'm…"
"No, I don't, and I doubt Elizabeth or Carson there do either." He says pointing over at them. I offer them both a week smile and a hopeful look I can't smother.
"Of course it doesn't bother me Rodney. It doesn't change who you are." I smile again at Elisabeth before raising my eyes to look at Carson.
"Ach! Of course I'm not ye daft bugger ye!" Carson says and he places a hand on my shoulder.
"Thanks." I say weekly.
"Right, well now that we've got that cleared up, you want to tell us what those guys said to you?" I nod and figure I might as well at this point.
"Well you can imagine the names, you don't need an active imagination to figure out what they called me." I say.
"Tell us anyway." John says.
"…Fag, freak, cocksucker, queer, poof…you get the idea." I say. They all nod.
"…And the threats?" John asks again.
"They'd threaten to tell people about me, to ruin my lab, my work. They've tried to discredit me on more than one occasion. Targeting my staff, trying to turn them against me. Well, making them hate me more than they already do anyway. It hasn't worked so far, most of my staff seems to respect me, at least behind my back anyway." I tell the other.
"Anything else?" John asks.
"What is it?" Carson pipes up.
"Please don't hate me." I look at John. I'm shocked to see surprise cross his face.
"Rodney, I couldn't hate you. Now tell us."
"They'd threaten to tell you. A lot. They'd always say you would throw me off the team if you found out. They said you'd be disgusted with me. Please don't. Please, I don't want your opinion of me to change." There is anger in his eyes.
"Rodney, one of these days you and I are going to sit down and have one very long conversation, but for now can I just say this: You are a certifiable idiot!" I startle at that. It was NOT what I'd been expecting John to say.
"Rodney, you're my friend. I'd do anything for you. You know what? Even if I did have a problem with your preferences, which I don't, I'd still kill those guys for thinking I went in on all that Gay-Bashing crap. People are people. That's all there is to it. Who am I to say wither love is right or not? I'd never kick you off the team for something like this. As it is, you'll be off on medical leave until those bruises are gone. Something I'm sure Dr. Beckett will back me up on." And of course Carson just had to nod.
"I'm not disgusted. Well no I'm lying. I am disgusted, but not at you. I'm disgusted that we have such small minded people on this base. Now I want their names, no holding back and we'll deal with this the right way." I agree and give John the names of the three marines who had been causing me trouble.
Afterward my x-ray, which was fine, Carson said I could go back to my quarters to rest, but only rest. I wasn't allowed to work. That was his condition in allowing me out of the infirmary. Damn doctors. Though I will admit I was grateful for him today. I was grateful for all of them really. I don't know what's happened to the three marines and quiet frankly, as long as they're a long way away from me I don't care. I just want to get back to semi-normality. After all, what's normal in the Pegasus Galaxy?
A/N: Hey, well please review and let me know what you think. It was my first Stargate Atlantis fic so be honest. I'll need to know if I need to make any improvements. Bye.