If Sheppard didn't have bad luck, he would have no luck at all. Atlantis had developed a new defence against the Wraith which could save thousands. Pity it couldn't help John when he got a surprise visit from Kolya's brother, Nessan. Shep whump, some whump for Ronon too, with all the gang, including Carson making an appearance. Sequel to 'Retribution.'

Disclaimer:- I don't own SGA…do you seriously think I would have taken these guys off the screen?

Warnings:- Nothing too nasty to start with, but some torture in later chapters. Also a little bad language.

Many thanks to my Beta, shepsgirl72 for her expert eye, sorting out my errors and also for giving me this title. – You're a star!

COLLABORATIONS

CHAPTER 1

John wrestled with the covers, squinted at the clock, and knew sleep was going to be a stranger tonight.

For days now he'd felt achy and exhausted, but now realised his throat hurt too. However, with a meeting scheduled with Ladon for tomorrow, this was definitely not the time to become ill. Reluctantly dragging himself out of bed, John reached into the bottom drawer of the desk for some Tylenol, grabbed the glass from the night-stand and shuffled, shivering, over to the bathroom.

He let the faucet run until the water felt icy cold before filling the glass. The tablets tasted dry and bitter against his tongue as if sucking all the remaining moisture from his aching throat, so he knocked them back in one gulp. But no sooner had the cool liquid hit the spot, when the wet vessel slid from his grasp, and shattered, as if in slow motion, into a million pieces on the tiled floor…crap. John looked down at the shards of glass surrounding his bare feet and immediately regretted not asking Santa for a pair of slippers. But there was no point in crying over spilt milk, or a broken glass for that matter, so easing himself down he carefully began mission cleanup.

How did these things happen to him? It was ridiculous, a grown man held captive in his own john by broken glass. All he wanted was one simple thing, a freaking glass of water. But no, in the life of John Sheppard even that small act became a life-threatening event! Aware his inner voice was starting to sound way too much like McKay, he realised whatever was wrong must be making him grumpy. So sucking it up, knowing if he wanted to go back to bed sooner rather than later, he'd better get on with clearing up.

In the far corner of the room John spied the trash can. Who the hell put it over there? Oh yeah…I did…Gingerly stretching over, he realised the smallest room really wasn't small enough as he couldn't quite reach. So steadying himself, he made another grab for the rim, but over balanced at the last moment, missed by a mile and fell hands first onto the glass. John flinched as the shards dug into his skin, and on instinct sat back on his ass...OW! Sheppard remained there for a minute contemplating his situation, more concerned about the reaction from his team, than the blood staining the floor or the throbbing pain in his rear. While considering his next move, wondering what else could possibly go wrong, in true Murphy's law tradition, he didn't have long to wait. As he struggled to his feet trying to avoid any further injuries, the famous Sheppard natural agility had obviously left the building, as within minutes he emerged looking like road kill, a trail of blood snaking behind, evidence of the fact he misjudged the short jump back into the bedroom landing full square onto a large chunk of glass with the ball of his foot.

Now what the hell was he going to do? John knew sitting was out and walking impossible, but there was a worrying amount of blood pooling on the floor, so help was needed and soon. Really what he should do was ask Beckett for a house call. Except for the fact there was no way even one member of the base was going to see his sorry ass on display as they wheeled him through the halls in a gurney. Therefore, to keep his dignity intact, John lent sideways against the desk and, taking slow, deep steady breaths, did the very thing Carson told him never to do… removed the glass from his hands piece by piece. As the blood trickled through his fingers, he started to feel light headed, but it was too late to stop now so sucking it up, he grabbed the large piece lodged in his foot and pulled…Arghh!…

Okay, so far…so good. Next on the agenda, find something to stop the bleeding. Discarded on the floor beside the bed lay yesterday's tee shirt; it wasn't that clean, but would have to do. Carefully reaching down to pick it up, he wrapped it tightly around the bloody foot so at least now he could walk…kind of. Doubts about what he was doing crept in as the room swayed, but modesty won over common sense, and once the world stopped spinning, John hobbled over to his tac vest to retrieve a couple of field dressings for his hands. The finished product didn't look pretty, but was all he could manage given the circumstances. Now all he had to do was get to the infirmary before he passed out…piece of cake.

ooooOoooo

Meron looked out into the dimly lit infirmary and wondered, not for the first time, how he had suddenly become so lucky. It was only just a year ago he was scraping by, working for a mere pittance in that dreadful prison with few resources and little help. Now…he was a valued member of the Atlantis medical team, spending his days in a bright, modern infirmary, respected by his colleagues, and learning new skills every day. If it was up to him he would happily live in this beautiful city forever, however, Anaysa missed having her family nearby, and with a temping job offer to train under Kudran's top surgeon, well…it seemed his brief but wonderful spell in Atlantis would soon be coming to an end.

"Hi, doc…got a minute?"

Meron turned around, shocked to find John Sheppard, pale faced, bleeding all over the floor.

"Colonel! What happened to you?" The young doctor quickly went over and shouldered the wounded man towards the nearest bed. "Here…let me help you sit down."

Sheppard was struggling to stand…but sitting…not an option. "I'd rather not..."

The young doctor followed his friend's gaze and was shocked to see several piece of glass imbedded into the colonels backside. "Oh...well, let's get you onto your front then, okay? How did you say this happened?"

John cringed, but not just from the pain. "I…um…dropped a glass. Is there any way you could patch me up and let me get back to my quarters? I have a really important meeting tomorrow."

Meron was well used by now to the colonel's attitude to the infirmary, but would have accommodated him if he could. However, he wasn't happy with the vitals taken so far. There was obviously a fair amount of blood loss, and his temperature was elevated, not to mention the glass embedded almost everywhere.

"Sorry, Colonel, but I'm going to need to take some scans. From what I can tell so far, at the very least you'll need stitches and a blood transfusion, but there could be further damage, unseen by the naked eye. Even if there is nothing else, I'm keeping you in overnight and taking you off duty for at least a couple of days."

"Aw…come on, Meron…"

"So…you're the person responsible for trailing blood all over the station…I should have known."

A pair of familiar scuffed leather brogues along with their owner appeared in John's line of sight.

"Oh…hi, Carson…it looks worse than it is you know." John felt uncomfortable under the Scot's scrutiny as Beckett inspected his bloody rear before shaking his head.

"I'll be the judge of that, Colonel Sheppard. Just be grateful Rodney's not here with his camera."

Two hours later, lying in bed, sitting uncomfortably on a rubber ring while waiting to go in for a wee spot of surgery to his foot, John cursed his luck. As Carson approached with his pre-med. "Are you sure you're not overreacting, Carson? It was only a small piece of glass."

Beckett picked up a syringe and pushed it into the IV. "Well if someone hadn't yanked out the rather large piece of glass and walked to the infirmary, surgery might not have been necessary. As it is there is still a shard of glass lodged deep in the muscle which needs to be removed before I can do the repair."

John sighed, seeing yet more down time in his future... "Bottom line, Carson. How long will I be off my feet…sorry…foot."

"At least two weeks. But I would have signed you off duty for a month anyway."

"Wha…" Beckett saw the shocked look on Sheppard's face…maybe the man hadn't known he was ill.

"You have glandular fever, Colonel. Surely you must have felt at least run down for a few days? Anyway, I grant you all of your symptoms; elevated temp of 101c, swollen glands and sore throat could have been mistaken for a cold. But the blood tests confirm it…it's complete rest for you for at least the next few weeks, then light duty after that.

Sheppard was stunned." Honestly, doc…I just thought I'd overdone it sparring with Ronon, and combined with working long hours preparing for the meeting tomorrow I put it down to that. It was only tonight when my throat got sore I guessed I was getting sick."

Carson saw John falling under the effects of the sedative. "I'll let you off then…this time. But if you don't take it easy over the next few weeks, there may be complications, which could set you back for months…and we don't want that do we?" Sheppard shook his head in agreement. "Good… Right the surgery shouldn't take long and I'll stitch the deeper cuts while I'm at it. If everything goes okay, I should be able to release you to your quarters in a couple of days, but you won't be able to use crutches until your hands heal, so it's a wheelchair until then."

"Thanks, Carson. Could you do me a favour…don't tell anyone how I got hurt?"

Beckett smiled. "I won't, lad…but I can't vouch for the detail who cleaned the mess in your quarters." John groaned. "Sorry…but I think there's a good chance it will be all over the base by breakfast. Never mind, Colonel. I'm sure people will enjoy the laugh then soon forget all about it."

"U…ink?" John slurred

Beckett lowered the bed flat before pushing it toward the theatre. "No…not really. Would you?"

"Cr.p."

ooooOoooo

He felt suffocated as the mask clung to his skin…tight…oppressive…he couldn't breathe

"Colonel…John…Calm down!" Beckett firmly held down his arms as Sheppard's bandaged hands clawed at the oxygen mask. Suddenly hazel eyes flew open, staring at him in panic.

"It's okay, John. You're in Atlantis…safe." Carson saw Sheppard's head slump back onto the pillow, his breathing gradually even out, and relief easeing the tense lines on his face.

The last thing John remembered was going into surgery. "Wa... ha.p.d?"

"Remember those complications I told you about? Unfortunately you developed an infection caused by the cuts, and because your immune system was badly weakened by the fever, you've been pretty ill with pneumonia."

"Hw…ong?"

"A few days, but the worst is over and you're on the mend, I'm happy to say." Beckett took an ice chip and placed it in his friend's mouth. "I'm sorry, John." Sheppard looked up puzzled. "When we got you back from the Genii village I was so intent in getting your injuries healed, I never addressed the mental aspect of your torture…I should have. How long have you had the nightmares?"

John waved his hand weakly in a motion indicating Carson to remove the mask so he could speak. "A year ago…going back to the prison…setting those guys free…brought it all back." John saw Beckett visibly upset. "Not your fault, Carson. You put me back together…it's just with Nessan still out there…I can't forget."

"How about I take this off and put on the cannula instead?" John gave a ghost of a smile "Look, John. I know how you feel about speaking to psychiatrists, but I treated those prisoners…remember. One of them died with shock…the others were left scarred mentally as well as physically. I can't even begin to imagine what it must have been like for you wearing one of those hellish contraptions. You really need to speak to someone about this. Please, just think about it…okay?"

Sheppard nodded then closed his eyes feigning sleep, but Carson wasn't fooled. He knew Sheppard would never speak to a shrink, but somehow or other he would have to get some help…

ooooOoooo

"Honestly, Meron, are you sure about leaving? Everyone will miss you and I know Torren will miss little Osler terribly."

"Who's leaving?" John yawned, coughed and flinched as he shuffled in bed.

Keller raised the bed slightly and was pleased to see John's smile. "Hi, doc. Good to have you back from vacation. Anyway did I hear you say someone's leaving?"

Nodding to Meron, she said, "Our young friend here is telling me he's thinking of leaving. Maybe you can talk him out of it."

John saw Meron standing next to Keller, looking embarrassed. "Anaysa wants to be nearer her parents, and I've been offered a good position at the hospital…I don't really want to go but…"

"Family comes first, Meron I understand that." John went to extend his hand then put it down as it was covered like an Egyptian mummy. "I'll miss you, Meron…we all will. Can you at least wait until I'm able to give you a ride home?"

Meron smiled. "I would like that very much, Colonel." The young doc was still beaming as he walked into Rodney, who was looking both relieved and pissed.

"You take all the joy out of a funny situation…you know that, Sheppard? Only you could get a glass cut and end up at death's door. I don't know how you do it!"

"I wasn't at death's door, Rodney and I'm feeling better…thank you. How did the meeting go with Ladon? Is he willing to take part in the early warning programme?"

"Yes…and no. Yes, he would very much like to have advance warning of a Wraith attack, what sane man wouldn't. Except he seems to think the satellite, piggy back system we're proposing is some kind of spying device...Paranoid or what?"

John sighed. "You did tell him the satellite will only be activated when triggered by a signal from its nearest neighbour? Did you explain the technology behind it…tell him each satellite is attuned to recognising the unique energy signature given by a Wraith ship?"

"Duh…let's see…Do you think I'm a moron! Of course I told him…I even played nice and made it simple enough so even he could understand."

"You didn't insult him, did you, McKay? The guy's not an idiot…damnI knew I should have been there!"

Rodney saw his friend's pale face go even whiter and started to feel guilty. "Look, John, I didn't dumb it down too much…honestly. But I do think he was thrown because he expected you to be there. How about you just concentrate on getting better, then we'll arrange another meeting once you're back on your feet. By that time you might even be able to sit down without the aid of a whoopee cushion."

"Very funny, McKay. Happy to get that out of your system are you?"

Rodney smiled. "Oh, there's a million of them where that came from. Oh, hold on… there's a message coming through on my radio. I wonder if it's from Ladon, maybe he's seen sense at last. Put it though, Chuck."

John prepared to listen to Rodney's responses, trying to gauge the conversation. Weirdly though, it seemed to be only one way, as McKay didn't utter a word. More worryingly was the way his friend had become spooked, as he saw the colour slowly drain from his face.

"What is it, Rodney…is everything okay?"

"It's nothing…Now, what were we talking about?"

"McKay…I'm not stupid…tell me what's wrong. Are Teyla and Ronon alright? They're not hurt are they?"

"I'm sorry, John. It was from the First Minister on Kudran. He thought you'd want to know, Endas was found dead in his cell…he was murdered."

TBC

Hope you enjoyed the first chapter. Please review, as I really like to know what you think.

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