John was floating. It was an odd feeling, he didn't quite feel weightless, as he seemed to know which way down was – and yet his body didn't seem to have any inclination to go there. It was a great feeling. He twisted until he could see Atlantis floating away below him, majestic towers reaching up towards him. He smiled, then wondered if he could control the floating. He looked ahead of him and thought "Forward", using the same part of his mind as he would when controlling an ancient device.
The elated feeling soared with him as he was pushed forward by an invisible force.
"Faster" He thought "Faster!!" He felt himself soar through the sky, pushing forward at increasing speeds. He decided to try a loop-the-loop, picturing the flight in his mind before telling his body to do so. The loop set his inner ears spinning, his mind buffeted by conflicting information. At the bottom of the loop, he felt the Gs pulling him downwards, sending the thrill he loved rampaging through his body. Returning upright, he shook his head to clear it of the residual confusion the manoeuvre caused, and when he could see straight again, he was looking out of a cockpit. Looking around, he saw an odd mash of F-302 components and the ancient puddle jumper accessories. He placed his hands on the two control columns and also reached out with his mind. He found the machine answering his commands. Grinning madly, he began to fly around Atlantis, spinning in and out of the towers. His instincts as a fighter pilot lent him a help through the physical controls, and his mind gave him more control on the finer tuning of the fighter/jumper cross. Never before had he had such powerful control over a machine.
He was flying quite happily in a straight line towards the other side of the city, trying to see how fast this thing could go, when he found himself rather meanly buffeted from the side by a large, fluffy, flying object. He felt himself thrown, with this object, sideways, and for an entirely confusing moment the entire world he was in felt like it was shifting. He closed his eyes and waited for something to happen, when, quite abruptly, nothing did. He cracked one eye open, then the other, taking in his surroundings. He was sitting on a large bed, swathed in red cloth. All around him, the walls to the room were hidden by red hangings and gold veil. Candles burnt around the room, casting flickering shadows on the wall. The room had a warm, gentle feel to it. John realised he was still clutching the soft thing that he had been hit by in the F302-Jumper-cross. He looked down at it quizzically.
It was a pillow.
"Ah" He said, recognizing the shift that had happened to him just a few minutes ago. "This is a dream..." He looked around the rest of the room. "Aah..." He said, deeper realization hitting him as he grinned and placed the pillow behind his head. He watched as the shadows in the room solidified, and women walked towards him from where they had been lurking behind the veils. "This is a dream" He repeated pointlessly, grinning like a little boy. He placed his hands behind his head as the skimpily-clad women began to make their way onto the large bed.
Suddenly, and rather violently, his head began to hurt. The blow came from the side, the same side the pillow had come from, and knocked him sideways. He yelped loudly and fell, throwing his hands up to stop him falling. Finding himself entangled in sheets he had been sitting on, he was sure, he had no way of stopping himself. He flailed around madly for a few moments only to find his movements shifting him more – and knocking him off the bed he had been so intently attempting to stay on. Feeling the floor connect with him – rather painfully – he tried once again to rid himself of the offending material. Once he had finally managed it, he found himself staring blankly around a completely different room. It wasn't the beautiful room with the even more beautiful residents, but it wasn't his room either. He looked around in dizzy confusion when his eyes came to rest on the bed next to him, where a mildly amused Rodney was lying watching him.
He remembered now – he was in the infirmary. He rubbed the side of his head – where he felt a bump forming – and looked around for the offending hard object that had ripped him so harshly from his lovely dream. His eyes fell on a palm pilot that Zelenka had left on one of his visits. It sat innocently a few feet from him. John drew his gaze back up to Rodney, who was smiling just as innocently from his own bed. John glared at him. Rodney only shrugged, a glimmer of his old smirk crossing his face.
"Snoring" he said as way of explanation. John growled and dragged himself to his feet, rubbing his head again.
"You did not need to throw a palm pilot at me, Rodney." He grinned, brandishing the small machine, annoyed.
"Pillow didn't work" Rodney explained, shrugging again. Remembering the flying pillow in his dream, John searched his own bed, taking in the extra pillow. He grinned to himself. "Was trying to sleep" Rodney added grumpily, and John only grinned cheekily, picking up and handing back the pillow. Rodney took it and paced it back under his head, and John immediately saw the man melt into the pillows. He watched the man rest for a moment, then attempted to rearrange the messed bedding that was now strewn on the floor. That done, he climbed happily into bed, falling asleep desperately thinking of red rooms, and hoping to be transported back there...
John sat up, his shirt clinging to him in a cold sweat. He panted for a few moments, trying to destroy the rather horrifying after images of the wraith emerging from the shadows of the room, and the withered husks of his friends bodies scattered around him. He rubbed his chest, convincing himself that there weren't any wraith attached to it.
Once the after images were cleared enough for him to really return to the present, he rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. He glanced over at the clock; two AM, only an hour after McKay had so unpleasantly stolen him from his good dream. He sighed, lying back down again, hoping to get back to sleep. The moment he closed his eyes, though, he saw the wraith hovering over him, feeding hand outstretched. John's heart jumped and he opened his eyes again quickly, dispelling the image. He groaned, sitting up and swinging his legs over the edge of the bed. He looked down at himself – his trackies and plain white top were sticking to him unpleasantly, reminding him of his nightmare. He needed to get the image out of his head, to jog the whole nightmare out of his mind. Jog.
Yeah, a jog would be a good idea.
He got up and stretched silently, making sure not to wake the slumbering Rodney. John smiled down at the man, sighing, worry and pride and hope and fear all mixing together in some mad-ass cocktail. He hoped that they guy would be alright, with all of his heart. But no one really knew what would happen to him.
He walked out of the infirmary, jogging once he had got out of earshot of the infirmary. He mapped out his run in his head, already planning the detour he would have to take to avoid any of the living quarters, wary of waking anyone in the ungodly hours of the morning. Settling into the pace of the slow jog, he let his mind wander. He thought back to the last week, sitting tiredly by Rodney's bed for hours on end, Carson bickering with him to go back to his own quarters for the night. About half way through the week, he had gone on a mission, just a day trip to a friendly trading partner. Teyla had talked a lot, Ronon had glared a lot, and John had half heartedly flirted with a few of the women once or twice. It was routine, comfortably simple and easy. And John could barely go ten minutes without thinking about whether Rodney might have woken up without him there, what if Carson wasn't enough, what if Rodney panicked and hurt himself, or began thinking that he was back in that place? He had been twitchy and quiet, John had known it, but he hadn't been able to tear his mind from the scientist. In the end, he had entirely missed the ambush at the gate, endangering his team. They had barely made it back in time, a few flying arrows joining the on the gate room floor. It had been close, and it had been his fault.
He had not been sent on any more missions yet.
Grimacing at the thought, he pushed himself slightly faster, already well into his run. His body suddenly became painfully aware of the time, and the lack of exercise he had given it in the last week. Sighing, he decided to cut off the last mile of his normal route and head to his room for a shower. Arriving, he waved his hand over the door, waiting as it dutifully slid open in front of him. He stepped happily into the room, not bothering to change the lights, knowing his way around the room even when it was pitch black. He meandered to the bathroom, stripping as he went, dropping the clothes lazily in the odd chute thing that they had taken about a year to realise was some sort of washing machine contraption. He then stumbled into the shower lethargically.
Ten minutes later he was feeling cleaned and refreshed, his hair sticking up at mad angles. He pulled on the first things he could find and then fell into bed. He was asleep the moment his head hit the pillows.
There were no bad dreams this time.
No. The bad dreams started when he woke up.
"Colonel!!" The burst of static invaded angrily into John's dreamless sleep, jerking back into reality quite violently. He sat up with a yelp of surprise, looking around the room for who had woken him up. Seeing no-one, he blinked, confusedly for a few moments, then thoughts began to limp sluggishly around his head again.
"Oh, Chuck" He assumed, and was proved correct by the technicians voice in his room's PA system.
"Sir, you're needed in the infirmary – Dr. McKay is missing."
"What?!" John was already up and moving, grabbing his uniform trousers – the closest thing he could find, and stuffing one leg into them as Chuck replied to his pointless response.
", sir, He's-"
"Yes, Ok, thanks Chuck, tell them I will be two minutes." Hopping around so he can jam the other leg into his trousers, he looked up at the clock. Six AM – less of an ungodly hour this time, which was a small mercy; if he needed to wake some marines up to help him search, it wouldn't be too bad. The obscure trousers finally on, he waved his hand over the door, waiting for the door to open. Grabbing his radio as he ran out, he made his way to the nearest transporter. Only two steps out of his door, he ran in and grabbed his boots, attempting to pull them on as he moved. Finally coming to a moment of rest in the transporter, he realised he had managed it in less than a minute. Rubbing his hand through his hair and blowing out through his mouth. A brief flash of light, and he was running again.
"Sheppard!" He skidded to a halt and turned around, seeing Ronon jogging up to meet him. The ex-runner was fully clothed, and seemed to be sweating. The two men walked together on mutual accent towards the infirmary.
"You were already up?"
"Couldn't sleep" Ronon said, shrugging "Was too early for our normal run time, so I went out on my own. Heard about McKay on the radio before they contacted you. I think Teyla was awake two, she's on her way."
"Sound like were all sleeping peachy, doesn't it?" John sighed as they turned into the infirmary "Doc" He said to the small scot who was pacing in the room, in way of greeting.
"Oh, colonel, thank god" The man said. It didn't take a lot to see the rings under his eyes that were probably only paralleled by John's equally spectacular collection.
"What do we know?" he asked, glancing worriedly at the bed in the corner.
"We don't know how long he's been missing. Jennifer came in to check on him seven minutes ago to find him gone. Before that" Carson sighed deeply "He was last seen an hour ago." John closed his eyes, worried about his friend, worried of the damage he could have done to himself.
"He still can't have gone far, right?"
"Not at all" Carson shook his head "In his current state I'm honestly surprised he got out of the infirmary without a lot of help." John grimaced, not happy with the news – it meant that his friend had pushed himself, possibly hurting himself further.
"Come on" He said to Ronon. "We can look around the nearby area on our own – we don't want to scare him, by sending people he doesn't know go after him. If we don't find him in the next...twenty minutes" He glanced at the doctor, silently asking if that would be too long. Carson nodded his head but grimaced, telling him that twenty minutes was not too long, but it was pushing it. "We can call in some help. We'll find him" He said to Carson, then turned to leave. Carson caught his arm.
"We have to be careful with him, both mentally and physically"
"You don't need to say it, Doc, I was gonna already."
Carson nodded once, searching John's face, then let his arm go. John returned the nod then jogged out of the infirmary, leaving the small doctor as he began to mentally map the surrounding area, thinking of the best way to search all of his possible routes.
"John" Teyla's call was breathless and hurried, the woman having obviously been running to get to the infirmary. "I heard about Dr. McKay" She said. John nodded.
"He cant have gone far. I say we split up and look for him – but call me or Carson if you do find him." His two team members nodded solemnly, understanding the need to be gentle with their friend mentally as well as physically – if he had been thinking straight he would not have left the infirmary. "Teyla, head southeast, Ronon southwest. Im heading north. Go onto channel four" He tapped his earpiece "And each time you clear a section, let the others know. We have twenty minutes." His two friends nodded and set off jogging in their allotted directions. John turned in his own, tapping his earpiece, still on channel one.
"Carson?" He said.
"Aye?!" The doctor sounded painfully hopeful, and John winced at feeding the man that hope even for just a few moments.
"We're going to be talking on channel four, if you want to keep tabs." He said, sadly.
"Oh, aye, okay lad, thanks." The scot replied quietly. There was a small burst of static as he moved across to the allotted channel. John followed suit, already jogging.
He glanced at his watch, sighing. Five painful minutes, it had felt like hours.
Hours of absolutely nothing. Already he had had two calls from his teammates and had given two himself, and they were quickly clearing out the floor, they had already searched beyond where Rodney could have gone in his state.
It just didn't make sense.
"Damnit!" John growled as he turned to next corner to see a long stretch of plain and painfully empty corridor. Much as he didn't want to see his friend, lying there, hurt and broken, this was much, much, worse.
"John!" The burst of excited static made him jump "He's still here!" The Scot's heavy brogue took a few moments to sink into John's brain.
"What? He is?"
"In the infirmary?!" John said, annoyed that they had wasted their time when they could have been helping their friend.
"In the infirmary, yeah. He was hiding in the corner. He's a bit wedged, I need some help here"
"Wedged in the corner?" John said incredulously, already jogging back.
"Alright then. I'm already on my way."
"As am I" Teyla interjected.
"Yeah" Ronon added, eloquent as ever.
"Ok, thank you." The scot said before falling silent again, more than likely talking to Rodney. John met up with Ronon on the way, their routes back to the infirmary converging a minute away from their destination. Teyla came from the opposite direction as they saw the doors. None of the team mates needed to say anything as they slowed down to enter the room calmly.
"There ye are Lad" Carson was leant on Rodney's bed, the one they had moved to make life easier for their friend. The doctor heard them come in and looked over his shoulder. He looked pained and guilty.
"Ah, John, good" He said, clambering back off the bed. He indicated with his head to the corner. John climbed tentatively over so he could see his friend.
His friend was curled up in a miserable heap, wedged in the corner. John took in Rodney's hand on his ribs and the carefully placed leg with a mixture of relief and worry – obviously they had been troubling him, but he had been lucid enough to know to be careful with them. It also meant that he hopefully hadn't hurt them too much. John sighed in relief, seeing his friend safe at least. He rested his head on his hand and sighed, smiling amusedly. His heart swelled when Rodney returned the act with a glimmer of his old smile.
"Hey Rodney" John said quietly.
"John" Was all Rodney had the strength to say, his voice tired and quiet. John's breathing hitched, scared for his friend, but he forced the reassuring smile back onto his features.
"We're going to get ya out of there in two ticks, okay, just let the Doc and me move this thing, alright?" He asked, worried that they could hurt Rodney by moving the object so close to him. Rodney however, nodded and pulled his limbs away from the bed as best he could. John relaxed slightly – Rodney was definitely still thinking slightly strait. "Alright then." John flashed the reassuring smile at his friend then climbed back off the bed, glancing around the small group. He nodded to the end of the bed which had been swung around to make the offending triangle of space that his friend had sought comfort in. His team and Carson moved into position, bracing themselves against the bulk of the bed. John had never really understood why the ancients had made the beds out of solid blocks of whatever the city was made out of, rather than making skeleton frames like the beds on earth. It would make this whole thing a lot easier. Carson was positioned to the end of the bed that he could see Rodney from, so John could only watch his face as the bed moved the slow, laborious inches toward freeing their stricken friend. John froze when flashes of fear and worry spread over Carson's face and the doctor lunged out of his line of sight.
"No, Rodney don't try to..." John stepped around to see Rodney spread out towards the gap, curling into a ball, pain creasing his face. "-Move, you silly man" The doctor wasn't really talking to Rodney anymore, already checking him over. John's chest constricted, realizing Rodney had made a desperate attempt towards the gap, trying to get out of the small enclosed space. John wondered silently how much his claustrophobia must have been panicking him as he had hidden in the small confines of the space he had wedged himself into. He leant down next to his friend as the man let out a pained moan. John flinched and sought out Carson's eyes, hoping to glean some knowledge about his friend. Carson looked stern and business like, but nodded slightly. Rodney was going to be alright, but now was not the time to be relaxing.
"Colonel" The doctor said "If you could get that shoulder." He indicated the shoulder closest to the wall, and john immediately readied himself by that shoulder. "Ronon, I want you stop that leg touching the floor as we get him up." Ronon nodded and moved towards Rodney's leg, ready to help his friend. "Teyla if you could get the bed straight, please" Carson nodded at the bed – they had not cleared enough space for the two men to hold Rodney's shoulders to help him up. Teyla dutifully pushed it the last few inches while John and - once enough space was created- Carson positioned themselves on either side of their friend, and then simultaneously lifted the weak mans shoulders so they could help him up. Rodney blinked around.
"Oh" He commented, quietly, causing the whole team to pause as the man blinked at Teyla and then Ronon confusedly. "When did you get here?" Teyla and Ronon both smiled at him reassuringly.
"We are here to help you, Dr- Rodney" Teyla said, stumbling over the first name. They had learnt early on that Rodney recognised his taken name more than any of his others. Rodney didn't seem to hear her, however, his eyes drifting shut as he relaxed into John and Carson's embrace. Carson looked pained for a moment, but then spoke gently into their friend's ear.
"Rodney." He said, then raised his voice when the man didn't respond. "Rodney?!" Carson repeated, and shook their friend lightly. The movement seemed to wake the man slightly, and he began to stir as Carson continued to talk "Come on lad, we could use your help with this." Rodney shook his head slightly as if to clear it, looking around surprised and dizzy for a few moments.
"Oh, uh, yes..." He mumbled, and the doctor gave him a few moments to get his thoughts together, then nodded at Ronon. The ex-runner returned the nod and took Rodney's broken leg in hands that had no right to be so gentle. John and Carson waited until his leg was carefully lifted off the floor and then, glancing at each other to synchronise, they pulled Rodney forward, shifting his weight over the leg left on the floor. Rodney faltered slightly, swaying, but they were there to hold him up. They paused again, allowing Rodney time to get accustomed to the change.
"Okay then lad" Carson encouraged "If you could just help us to get you up..." The sentence tapered off as he and John pulled upwards on Rodney's shoulders, and Rodney worked to help them. After a bit of a struggle with balance and weight, they had Rodney upright and still. Once again pausing for a moment, Rodney's head fell sideways, lolling towards John's shoulder. The group slowly moved Rodney the step towards the bed and then allowed him to sit in it. Rodney, obviously exhausted by all this movement, practically fell onto the pillows – and only Ronon's swift reactions stopped him falling too hard. Teyla held his legs as he was lowered down, placing them up onto the bed, moving the blankets out of the way first. By the time she hands them to Carson and he pulls them up to Rodney's chin, the scientist is almost fast asleep. No one sees John gently brushing the hair out of his friend's eyes as they all turn to leave them in peace again.
John sat down heavily by the bed, watching the seeping face of the man there.
"Come on McKay" He muttered "You've got to get better..."
Wow, that's it for today! I know, I haven't updated in ages... *grovels* so sorry!! I have my A-level modules in like, a week, and although I haven't actually done much revision *really should do that...*, I have still had a lot of school work to do... so I'm so sorry!!
Hope you liked it!! Reveiwsels are your friend! *puppy dog eyes*
(Also, a *wave* to Traveller. =])