Rodney woke up with a start and gasped through tightly clenched teeth. His hand automatically moved to his side and lay there trying to relieve the pain that had been nagging him for the better part of 2 days.
As he lay there panting harshly, he moved his clenched fist to the warm hand that was resting on his thigh, he had every intention of grabbing it and holding on for dear life if the pain persisted but before he managed to unclench his fingers the pain eased leaving a constant ache in its wake.
Sighing with relief his hand changed direction and rubbed at his tired eyes while he lay there and tossed the idea of waking Carson around in his mind. He knew his partner had worked to the point of near exhaustion thanks to Major Lorne's team crashing a jumper out on the mainland and thought back to when Carson finally managed to get home, it had taken his last ounce of energy the good doctor had to strip and crawl into bed next to Rodney, passing out before his head even hit the pillow.
He glanced across at his lover and smiled at the sight that met him. Carson was sleeping on his back, one leg cocked and resting on top of the duvet which was now only covering his left leg and his modesty, his right arm resting on his pillow and his chest rising and falling in a hypnotic rhythm.
Rodney decided to let him sleep and slowly got up to sit on the side of the bed, wincing as the movement caused another sharp pain to radiate through his abdomen but the pain was gone as quick as it came and he let out the breath he didn't realise he had been holding. He looked back at his sleeping lover, making sure he hadn't disturbed him and let his eyes drift towards the bathroom. Sighing quietly, he stood up and made his way to the bathroom, stopping briefly to look at the clock that was now bathed in soft moonlight from the open window.
He couldn't help but smile at his memories and it still felt strange to him that someone as calm and centred as Carson could make him feel so utterly loved and safe. They had both hidden their relationship from their friends, not knowing how they would react to two of their colleagues and very male friends being together. It had taken the better part of six months before they felt ready enough to let the cat out of the bag and once they had, they discovered nothing but love and support from the people that had become their closest and dearest friends, of course there were a few hitches with the homophobic members of the expedition, but John had made it more than clear that those kind of opinions didn't have a place on Atlantis and if people didn"t like it then they should transfer back to earth, needless to say, the city found itself 20 people lighter over the weeks that followed.
Exactly one week after telling everyone about their relationship, Carson and Rodney moved in together and found the transition relatively easy, Rodney had even travelled all the way to bonny Scotland with Carson to finally meet his family and had been pleasantly surprised to find himself welcomed with such warmth and love, that the first night he spent in his fiancés childhood home had left him feeling so overwhelmed with happy emotions that he had wrapped his arm around his lovers waist and cried onto Carson's shoulder.
The clock always served as a reminder to him, it bought back memories of the time they became accepted as a couple by both their friends and Carson's family and sat proudly on the wall of their apartment. Rodney had enjoyed his trip to Scotland and the clock was one that they had both found on a trip they had taken to Edinburgh.
Rodney waited for Carson to appear out of the small old world sweet shop he had gone into five minutes earlier, he had used the excuse that his mum loved the mint humbugs and he wanted to surprise her, secretly, Rodney knew his lover had gone in to stock up on the red liquorice he adored and smiled as he watched the shop owners hand snake through the glass jars in the window to grab the tall one filled with the long red sticks.
He tore his eyes away and looked around him, for some reason he found himself drawn to a small shop and when he saw the clock sitting in the window, he knew why. Carson crept up behind him and wrapped his arms around his waist his chin resting on Rodney's shoulder.
"You ready to go love, I've booked us into a quaint wee restaurant for lunch and were gonna be late at this rate".
He remembered smiling at the soft Scottish accent and the warm breath blowing gently at the side of his neck. His heart had practically melted at his lover's voice.
"Damn, one day that voice is going to leave me looking like a puddle of jello on the floor"he thought as he nodded and slowly turned into a strong embrace. He gently kissed Carson and the two of them headed off to enjoy their meal.
What he didn't know was that Carson had made arrangements that night for his nephew to go to Edinburgh to buy that clock and had surprised Rodney with it when they had got home. It was the very clock that Rodney now stood watching, revelling in the feeling of love that washed over him.
He realised he had been standing there staring at the clock without really seeing the time and winced as another pain shot through his side. He finally looked at the time and scowled at the reading - 3.05am.
"Damn it, there's no chance of getting anymore sleep tonight".
With that thought, he made his way to the bathroom, relieved himself, washed and brushed his teeth and silently made his way to the bedroom to get dressed into his blue and grey uniform. He stole one more look at Carson and watched as the sleep softened face tightened slightly and then relaxed back into a deep sleep.
"I love you so much Carson Beckett"
His whispered sentiment didn't rouse Carson, though his lover moved his head slightly towards Rodney's voice. Rodney smiled half heartedly and made his way out of the apartment, his feet subconsciously walking him towards the lab.
Nearly an hour later, Carson woke up with a start and reached his arm over to lovingly ruffle Rodney's" hair in case he had woken him. He was surprised to find the other side of their bed empty and cold and frowned slightly.
He called in his soft Scottish drawl that had the "R" rolling in a way that he knew his lover loved and the fact that his voice was slightly husky from sleep would drive Rodney wild if he had been there.
"Rodney, you there love?"
His frown deepened when he got no answer he looked at the same clock that had Rodney lost deep in his memories only two hours earlier. He sighed before reaching out to the bedside table to grab his radio and pulled it round his ear. He switched it to their private channel and activated the line.
"Rodney, this is Carson. Where are you?"
The concern in his voice was evident because he knew that whilst Rodney could be found anywhere in the city at random times in the morning, he always had good reason and Carson knew for a fact that there was nothing so pressing in any department that warranted his lover getting up at 5.10am.
His lover's voice was pained and the words were accented with sort gasps that had Carson on his feet and dressed in record time. He was running out of the door when he realised he had no idea where his lover was.
"Rodney, Where are you and what's the matter?", the questions were fired out in rapid succession and he stopped at the end of the corridor breathless as he waited for his lover to tell him where he was..
"My lab" Rodney gasped "God Carson, it really hurts".
He balked at the idea of his one true love sitting in his lab in pain and wondered what the hell had happened to make him sound so weak and vulnerable and picked up the pace to the lab.
"It's ok Rodney I'm on my way love, sit tight". He cut communication to Rodney and tapped his radio again to alert the infirmary and to get a team down to help him with his lover.
"Emergency medical team to Dr McKay's lab, bring a gurney and a med kit". He listened intently at the voice on the other side of the com.
"no, I'm nearly there now.............aye............OK, just make sure the med team is there stat OK, Beckett out"
He wasn't really sure what he was dealing with and his heart thundered in his ears as he ran towards the labs. He had no idea what to expect having patched up as many of the scientists as he had the military, at one point he was convinced they were competing against each other.
He blew out the breath that he was holding when he saw the door to Rodney's lab; he noticed the light flooding out into the dim corridor and skidded to a halt just outside before turning quickly and running through the door. What he saw made his stomach churn with such ferocity he thought he would lose the contents there and then. He clenched his mouth to try to quell the rising nausea and rushed to Rodney who was currently lying on the floor clutching his right side, his face contorted with pain and sheen of sweat covered his pale feverish face.
Carson touched Rodney's forehead with the back of his hand and automatically went in what Rodney lovingly called "Dr Beckett mode".
"Och, you're burning up Rodney, where does it hurt?"
The only answer he got was a low guttural moan as another wave of pain hit. Carson watched as his lover curled further into himself trying to alleviate the excruciating pain he was in.
"Rodney I know it hurts but you have to let me know what the symptoms are in order for me to help you".
"Carson, oh my god help. my stomach, it's killing me *gasp* I feel really sick and hurled into my bin a couple of times....ow ow ow, Carson what the hell are you doing!".
Rodney practically screamed as Carson gently moved his hands away from his stomach and started to palpitate his abdomen.
"Rodney, I'm checking to see where the pain is localised and I can tell ya that I foresee a wee trip to the OR in the not too distant future. You must have been in a bit of pain for a couple of days, why didn't you tell me when it started you bloody fool".
Rodney whimpered and seemed to shrink slightly at Carson's words. Even though they weren't spoken harshly, they made him realise that the pain he had put down to something he had eaten could actually be more serious.
"Thought........it was something.......I'd eaten..........Oh Crap".
Rodney heaved but his stomach was empty and all that was left was dry, painful retching. Carson's brow furrowed further as he rubbed soothing circles on his lovers back.
Carson was starting to panic, Rodney was getting worse and if his original diagnosis was correct then they would have to move quickly. He tapped his radio and glanced towards the open door of the lab.
"Where the hell is that med team, I called for it ten minutes ago. Dr McKay looks like he has got acute appendicitis and I think his appendix may have burst. I need that med team here now".
Rodney started slightly as Carson barked down his comm. He rarely saw his lover as agitated as he was now and that alone made his panic rise even more. He looked up at Carson and saw two blue eyes peering back at him, his lover whispering soothing words whilst raking his fingers through Rodney's hair.
"It's ok love, they'll be here soon"
"Wha........Carson help me please".
Carson reached down and placed his hand against Rodney's cheek, his lover was shivering but Carson knew that was down to the fever, he could feel the head radiating from his lover underneath his hand and frowned deeply.
Rodney turned into the touch slightly; even in his fevered, confused state he needed that closeness. He shivered again as the cold assaulted him and could feel tiny beads of sweat rolling down his forehead.
Carson looked at the pale, sweaty face and felt at a complete loss as Rodney shivered, even though it was pleasantly warm in the lab, it was obvious that the fever had taken hold with a vengeance. He was worried, the shivering seemed to get more violent and his lovers face was becoming flusher with fever.
He placed the back of his hand on Rodney's forehead and put the other back on his lover's cheek.
"Bloody hell Rodney, that's one hell of a fever you've got there. Hang on someone'll be down in a wee moment".
He tapped his radio again as the worry and fear he felt started to take hold. He had no idea what had happened to the med team but knew damn well that some wrists would be slapped for this.
"Infirmary, I've got an acute case of appendicitis with a possible rupture. I need to get him to surgery ASAP, now..........WHERE THE HELL IS THAT MED TEAM?"
"Carson, they're on their way. They should be with you anytime now. I'll prepare the OR for surgery, are you going to be ok to perform it because Dr. Keller is on the mainland and Dr. Abrahams has currently got her hands full with one of the botanists"
He winced and looked up at the ceiling momentarily with a weary look on his face.
"I'll be fine Shel love, I'm more concerned about the lack of the med team right now. Just make sure you're scrubbed and ready. I'll need a team on standby because we need him in there as soon as the prelim is done".
"Ok, I'll get the team ready. See you soon".
The radio went dead and the med team rushed in just as Carson was about to try to soothe Rodney. Carson raised his head and glared at his harassed looking staff.
"You took your bloody time, OK; I need oxygen and an IV line setting up stat. Did you bring any morphine with you?"
He took the IV kit off the first medic and inserted the line into Rodney's hand. Once the oxygen mask was firmly in place he injected morphine into the IV port and watched as it took effect.
"Right, let's get him to the infirmary. Quick as possible please"
Rodney felt himself being lifted onto the gurney and hissed in pain as the movement sent a pain shooting through him.
"Sorry love, but it has to be done. You'll be out of pain soon enough".
He looked down at his fiancé as the gurney started to move and saw the slow nod of head. Carson weaved his fingers through Rodney's and smiled at his lover reassuringly as he watched the drugs slowly start to take effect.
Carson soon had Rodney settled in the infirmary and had the preliminary examination done in ten minutes flat. He looked down at his lover and cupped the feverish face in both hands.
"Rodney, listen to me love"
He waited for the glazed blue eyes to open and nodded in satisfaction before continuing.
"You have acute appendicitis and your appendix has ruptured. You've developed peritonitis so we need to get you to surgery as soon as possible to remove that little bugger before you can get better".
He waited for Rodney to nod his understanding and took the brake off the hospital bed before starting to push it towards the OR with the help of one of the nurses.
The surgery took the better part of 2 and half hours and left Carson feeling totally exhausted. The infection was worse than what Carson had initially thought, which served to make the operation longer than anticipated.
His face was drawn as he watched Rodney being wheeled out of the OR before pulling off his mask and hat and throwing them in the bio waste bin near the door.
He rubbed his hands tiredly over his eyes and realised how much they were shaking, it had been too close, Rodney was still in danger but if they had left if any longer then he would have been dead before he got to the OR. He shook his head and made his way to the staff showers, Carson knew Rodney wouldn't wake up from the anaesthesia for a while and decided to take the opportunity to try to wash some of the tension away.
It only took 20 minutes to shower and change into new scrubs before he made his way through to the recovery room where Rodney was being taken care of by one of the best nurses he had on his team. Carson moved behind her and placed his hand lightly on her shoulder.
"Thanks Shel, I know you've had a long shift because of that bloody Athosian flu taking half your nursing team down. I appreciate your help". Shel smiled and patted Carson's arm affectionately
"Anytime; I think he is starting to come round and I've hooked him up to the antibiotics you ordered. He's had some more morphine so he should be relatively pain free for the time being".
"Ok love, go home and rest, the day shift'll be here in 10 minutes and I think 20 hours of work is more than enough".
He saw her open her mouth as if to argue and chuckled gently.
"GO! That's an order and I don't wanna see ya until you've had a decent meal and at least 8 hours of sleep. You've got the day off love so go home and rest".
He kissed her on her cheek and patted her back as she gave him a weary smile.
"Ok, who am I to argue with the boss, I'll see you later, take good care of him, he might be arrogant and egotistical but he kinda grows on a gal".
Carson laughed and waved as she walked through the door to get the much needed sleep she needed before turning to the hard chair at the side of the bed. He sat down and felt his eyes drooping as sleep threatened to claim him once again. Carson heard a small groan coming from his lover and jumped up to see Rodney's eyes slowly opening.
"Hey, come on love, time to wake up".
Rodney's glassy eyes slowly moved to look up at Carson, he was struggling to focus and had the doped up unfixed gaze of.....hell of a post op patient coming round from anaesthesia.
"There you go love, it's good to see those baby blues"
Carson smiled gently and bent down to kiss Rodney's forehead before pulling away to run a finger down Rodney's heated cheek.
"Don't you ever do that again Dr McKay; you scared me half to death".
Rodney's sleepy reply had Carson grinning like the Cheshire cat and he found himself stroking the hair back off Rodney's brow before frowning deeply at the heat that still radiated off his lover.
Rodney was soon moved out of recovery into the main infirmary and by the next morning his temperature has started to drop. He was still weak and extremely sore but slept pretty much all day missing the steady stream of visitors that occupied the spaces around the bed.
"He gonna be ok doc?"
Carson jumped as the deep voice of Lieutenant Colonel John Shepperd broke through his thoughts; he glanced up and saw John, Teyla and Ronan standing at the foot of Rodney's bed looking at him with deep concern.
They had all been sent off world in the morning and didn't find out Rodney was ill until the gate whooshed and the event horizon shimmered before them. Elizabeth had shouted down from the balcony to tell them not to wait. It wasn't until they got home that they were briefed on Rodney's condition.
"Och aye. He's going to be fine now. His fevers coming down nicely though he'll be sore for a couple a week's yet".
John nodded and looked closely at the physician, seeing the tiredness that lined his friends face; he looked at Teyla and jerked his head towards Carson, a movement which Teyla seemed to understand and she nodded before placing one of her small hands in between Carson's broad shoulders.
"Dr Beckett, why don't we go down to the mess hall for something to eat, you look exhausted and I'm sure Rodney will be asleep for quite some time".
Carson smiled as Teyla's sweet voice broke through the silence of the quiet infirmary.
"Nay love, I'm gonna sit wi' him a wee while and then I'm going to go and get some sleep, Thanks anyway"
Carson stayed for another two hours before the weariness got too much and he felt as though every bone in his body was aching. He stood up and stretched before kissing Rodney's forehead. A hand gently touched his cheek and he heard a sleepy voice mumbling something that sounded like "love you".
"I love you too love, I'll see ya in the morn".
Rodney's fingers slid down his face and dropped back to the bed, Carson smiled as he picked it up and placed it under the covers before pulling them up to his lover's shoulders. As he turned to leave, he heard his lovers weak, slurred voice and turned back to see what he was saying. He grinned when he realised Rodney was dreaming and bent down low.
"Shh, it's ok love. I'll be back soon enough".
Rodney soon relaxed back into a dreamless sleep which left Carson feeling more than relieved. When he turned to walk back out, he heard Rodney's weak voice ring through the infirmary.
"OK, night night Carson"
The silence of the room was soon punctuated with Rodney's low rumbling snores and Carson left feeling more at ease than he had in a few days.
Carson walked out of the infirmary to the empty quarters knowing that Rodney was OK, but he missed him all the same. He thought about the last few hours and in the short time he took to walk to his quarters, he realised how many people cared about his Dr. Rodney McKay and felt truly blessed that they had friends that came to sit with Rodney even though the scientist slept all the way through.
It took him a while to fall asleep once he was in bed and found himself missing the warmth of the person next him and longed to snuggle up and wrap his chilled body around Rodney.
He grabbed Rodney's pillow and buried his face into it and sighed deeply when he found the scent of his lover strong on the thick cotton material. It wasn't Rodney, but for now it was as close as he was going to get to being near the man he loved. He let the smell wash over him and soon found him drifting off into a much needed sleep.
Rodney was in the infirmary for 4 days and was only then released because he was starting to get snarky with everyone that dared to talk to him. He was getting fed up of eating hospital food and though he enjoyed the visits from his friends (including Radek), he just wanted to go home and sleep in his own bed next to his fiancé.
"Honestly, is that really too much to ask"he thought as he watched Carson shrink slightly at the diatribe that had assaulted him a minute before. The last argument had made up the good Doctor's mind and Carson decided to let him come home to their quarters on the grounds that Rodney rested.
"And yes Rodney, that means bed rest" he explained before helping him into a wheelchair.
"To make sure you bloody well do what I say, I've taken the next week off to play nurse maid and make sure you don't undo any of that work I've done. I especially don't want you to pull any of the stitches seeing as I've lovingly sewed my name onto your abdomen".
Rodney glowered at him dangerously, it wasn't until he saw the glint in his lover's eyes that he smiled.
"Oh for heaven's sake Carson. I'll be good, I promise. honestly, I'll be much more comfortable at home".
Reassured, Carson wheeled Rodney to their quarters and helped him into bed. He finally kissed Rodney on the lips in the way that he had wanted to since the whole saga began and tousled his hair.
"And next time you have a bloody pain like that Meredith Rodney McKay, you'll bloody well let me know ok"
Rodney rolled his eyes, it was an argument the two lover's had been over countless times in the past day or so and it was starting to get old. He sighed loudly and entwined his fingers through Carson's.
"I'm sorry, how many times do I have to say that. I honestly thought it was something I ate disagreeing with me"
With a boyish twinkle in his eye, he pulled Carson down for another deep kiss before pulling away and gazing deeply into Carson's electric blue eyes.
"I'll be good Doctor, I promise"