Spoilers: No real spoilers in this one. :)

Disclaimer: It's still not mine…if nobody wants Lorne, though, I could take him off your hands. Sheppard too, of course, lol.

A/N: This was written for the January Comment Fic Exchange in the sgahcchallenges community on Live Journal. :) The prompt was: "If possible set in early Season 2 but later is also fine. Either John has to talk down/calm/gain the trust of a spooked/feral/hurt/out of his mind because of drugs/head wound/torture/a hallucinogen/brain scrambled due to an Ancient device/whatever Evan Lorne or Evan has to talk down/calm/gain the trust of a "insert suggestions from above" John. I would love if both men are somehow injured but it isn't a must."

God is amazing, and His mercy is incredible. :)

Fear Itself

Somewhere, in a distant, still-rational corner of Lorne's mind, he couldn't help thinking that this really wasn't the first impression he'd wanted to make on his new commander. But that didn't stop him from raising his P-90, his hands shaking, his knuckles white as he gripped it.

"St-stay b-back!" Lorne shouted.

Colonel Sheppard was careful to keep his own hands far away from his weapon as he raised them in a placating gesture. "Easy, Major," he said, somehow making it sound like having a gun pointed at him wasn't a big deal. "Relax."

"Ee-easier said th-than done, sir," Lorne managed. He grit his teeth, hating the way his voice cracked. But he couldn't help it.

They'd injected him with something…the people who'd captured him and his team. He didn't know what it was, but the symptoms had hit fast. He'd been able to ride them out long enough for rescue to come, and even taken down one of the men who'd interrogated him, but now, his heart was racing, his breath coming in rapid, ragged gasps that made his chest ache.

He was starting to feel light-headed.

Panic attack, that small, rational corner of his mind supplied. You're hyperventilating.

Colonel Sheppard took a step forward.

"I s-said stay b-back!" Lorne yelled.

The sane part of him was terrified that he was going to pull the trigger if Sheppard moved any closer. The rest of him was just terrified. Keeps a cool head under pressure, his superiors had always complimented in their evaluations. But right now, there wasn't anything but pure, unadulterated fear.

And he didn't even know what he was so afraid of.

"It's okay, Major," Sheppard tried again. "Just calm down."

The room was spinning, and he was trembling, body shuddering. Adrenaline was usually a good thing - it quickened your reflexes, sharpened your senses, even gave you a sort of natural high. (He'd always suspected that all Air Force pilots were closet adrenaline junkies.) But this was adrenaline overload. His fight or flight instincts had been honed long ago by training and combat, and they were screaming at him, the mixed messages making him sway on his feet.

"I c-can't, sir."

"Yes, you can, Lorne," Sheppard said firmly.

Lorne blinked at him through the petrified haze, then glanced down at his hands, seeing the white-knuckled grip he still had on the P-90. Sweat was making his palms slick, the metal hot against his clammy skin. Let go, he thought. But his fingers didn't move.

"S-sir, I…" he started, but his throat was closing up, panic choking him.

"Lorne," Sheppard repeated. "Look at me."

He did. His eyes swept the Colonel's face, noticing for the first time the cut on his forehead, the blood running down his temple. He must have taken a hit during the rescue. His gaze was steady though, piercing and intent.

"Do you trust me, Major?" Sheppard asked.

Lorne hesitated, and it wasn't just because of the terror that was still trying to make his heart beat out of his chest.

He'd only been on Atlantis for a couple weeks. He liked the Colonel, but they weren't friends yet…Lorne hadn't been there long enough to say that he even really knew the man. The longest conversation they'd had so far had been about duty rosters.

But Sheppard had still come himself, when he could have sent someone else.

Finally, Lorne nodded.

"Then give me the gun," Sheppard said.

He moved closer, and Lorne's breath hitched, the terror spiking. But when the Colonel reached for the weapon, Lorne's fingers slowly uncurled, and the P-90 was carefully pried from his hands.

The last thing he remembered before his vision grayed around the edges was Colonel Sheppard catching him.

Consciousness came back slowly, and Lorne groaned, missing the nice, peaceful nothingness he'd been drifting in. He felt like a used dishrag, wrung out and drained. A dull, persistent ache had taken up residence in his limbs.

"Good to see you back in the land of the living, Major."

Lorne blinked dumbly, his still-sluggish brain taking a moment to connect the voice with the person it belonged to. His eyes widened a little when he finally realized who was sitting at his bedside.

"Colonel Sheppard?" he asked in surprise.

"Hey, Lorne. How are you feeling?"

"Like a jumper landed on me," Lorne replied honestly.

Sheppard's lips quirked. "I'll bet."

Lorne let his gaze wander around the infirmary, taking stock. He was dressed in scrubs, and hooked up to a bunch of monitoring equipment - the steady beeping in the background told him what at least one of those monitors was. He shifted a little in the bed, not really surprise to feel the tug of an IV in his hand, and looked back at the Colonel. A small patch of gauze was taped above his right eye.

"How long have I been here, sir?" Lorne wondered.

"Almost eight hours. Beckett wanted to keep you out until he was sure the drug had left your system."

"It's gone, right?"

Sheppard nodded. "It's gone," he assured. "The doc says you'll be fine, but he wants to monitor you for a couple days, make sure it didn't put any strain on your heart. Your blood pressure was through the roof."

Lorne drew a deep, relieved breath. He'd never felt terror like that, never felt so out of control before in his life, and he never wanted to again. He grimaced, memories of pointing a gun at his commander suddenly assaulting his mind.

"Colonel," he started, "I'm-"

Realizing what he'd been about say, Sheppard held up a hand, cutting off the apology. "Don't worry about it. You were drugged. Beckett said your adrenaline levels were so high that he's surprised you were coherent at all. But you still didn't shoot me - which I appreciated, by the way. Under the circumstances, I'd call that a win."

Lorne felt a tired grin tugging at his lips, and the last of the tension drained from his muscles.

"Thank you, sir," he said sincerely.

Sheppard smiled. "Anytime, Major. Anytime."


A/N: I hope you enjoyed it! Please let me know what you think!

Take care and God bless!