Characters: Rodney McKay, John Sheppard, Ronon Dex, Teyla Emmagen.
Summary: Just how much of a hypochondriac is Rodney really?
Word count: 918
Rodney knew most people thought he was a hypochondriac and he had to admit to himself, in his more secure moments, there was probably some truth in that. He'd always been the butt of jokes throughout his school life for having more brain than brawn and he'd gotten used to being the last one picked for soccer games and then having the jocks cozy up to him around exam time. He hadn't let it bother him. He just grew a prickly persona around his slightly bruised heart and got on with things, focusing on the future, knowing his was bright. The problem was, right now, laying here on the hard ground of some godforsaken planet in the Pegasus Galaxy, light years away from hospitals or doctors, he wasn't sure he was even going to have a future.
He'd complained about the cold from hell he'd been suffering ever since they'd left Atlantis and stepped through the gate onto this planet. He'd bitched and moaned about how he was so stuffed up he couldn't smell a thing and his taste buds were so tainted by the inhaler Carson had given him that everything he ate or drank had a slight flavor of eucalyptus. He felt somewhat like a koala with the flu.
It was the sight of the feast laid out to welcome them that had brought an end to his complaints. There were platters piled high with meat and vegetables, freshly cooked fish, something that looked like a combination of rice and couscous, fresh fruit, which Rodney avoided just in case, and a delectable selection of cakes and pies. "Feed a cold, starve a fever," his mom had always said and Rodney, perpetually hungry due to his potentially dangerous hypoglycemic condition, set about tasting everything, except the fruit, with relish, anything to get the taste of gum leaves out of his mouth and fill his empty belly. A well deserved reward because after all it had been a good hour's walk from the 'gate to the village and somewhere in the galaxy it was now well after lunchtime, Rodney decided as he ploughed through the food. It only took a minute before he realized what a huge mistake he'd made.
He cast an anguished look over at Sheppard. "Is there citrus in this?" he asked, pointing at the plate set before him, his fork falling to the ground from suddenly nerveless fingers. Panic was already setting his heart to a galloping rhythm that he could feel against the clammy skin of his throat.
Sheppard shrugged then his eyes widened in sudden understanding. "Oh crap!" he said.
Rodney fell sideways off his seat, madly patting at his pockets, looking for his elusive rescue remedy. He knew it was there somewhere but the steadily encroaching obstruction to his breathing seemed to be stealing whatever coherent thought he had left and he flopped onto his back, gasping.
Sheppard was at his side in an instant. "Where's the pen?" he yelled, his hands taking over for Rodney's on a frantic search through the pockets of his pants and vest. "Here!" He finally pulled the pen free and plunged it into Rodney's thigh.
It took a minute or two before Rodney could feel the difference but now here he was, Teyla's hand warm against his shoulder, sending an unspoken message of comfort and support.
"You need the Benadryl too?" Sheppard asked and Rodney nodded shakily, seeing his own relief mirrored in Sheppard's eyes.
Ronon supported Rodney's back against his knee while Sheppard got the pills into his mouth then held the canteen for him so he could swallow them.
Teyla gave Rodney's shoulder a final pat then stood and went to make their excuses to the villagers.
When Ronon helped him up a few minutes later, keeping an arm around his shoulders for support, Rodney's legs were shaking and his heart was racing.
"You all right, McKay?" Ronon asked, worry evident in his voice.
Rodney nodded up him gratefully. "It's just the epi," he said.
"I can carry you if you can't make it," Ronon offered.
Rodney had to admit the thought was tempting but he locked his knees and stood straighter, shoving his trembling hands into his pockets out of sight. "I'll be fine," he said huskily.
Sheppard packed the detritus of Rodney's emergency treatment into a pocket of his vest then called Teyla back to them. "Let's get you home, Rodney" he said. "The planet'll be here tomorrow."
Rodney shuddered. "Why don't you bring Radek when you come back? He hasn't been off world for a while. He could use a change of scenery. Besides he hasn't got any allergies."
"We could do that or we could just make Ronon your official food taster from now on," Sheppard suggested, smiling sidelong at him.
"Great, then I really would slip into a hypoglycemic coma and die," Rodney snarked but he couldn't stop the answering smile crossing his own face.
"Hey, you saying I eat too much, McKay?" Ronon growled. He gave Rodney a mock-glare and a pat on the back of the head.
Sheppard put his arm around Rodney's shoulders and turned him back towards the 'gate. "Let's get McSnuffly here home. And from now on we all carry an epipen just in case."
Rodney knew it was only common sense that made Sheppard suggest that but he couldn't help but enjoy the small sensation of warmth that crept around his heart at the words. Maybe there was hope for him yet.