The Hive: An AU Tale by K.A.T.
a/n: This is an AU to the S2 episode: The Hive. I've taken some liberties with the episode. This is what happened when Rodney was detoxing from the Wraith enzyme.
A/N2: My original intention was to make this a flash piece, but as you can see it did not work that way unless you count this as 10 flash pieces combined into one. Thank you to Crye4Me for the brainstorming. Shadows-of-Realm this is the piece I've been teasing you about. Don't hesitate to leave a review.
"Nooooooo. Get these off of me," Rodney struggled against the restraints that bound him to the bed. In his relentless movements, he had managed to remove the oxygen mask from his face. "Just let me out for a second. My leg itches. Let me scratch it. I promise not to bite this time." His face was red and damp with exertion from the struggle. The pain was unlike anything he had ever experienced. It was as if someone was taking burning scalpels and slicing into his internal organs. The constant struggling was taking its toll as demonstrated by the hyperventilating and extremely rapid pulse. In the physicist's eyes, a storm raged as he looked over at the person responsible for keeping him tied to the bed. There was contempt and betrayal written on them. "Why?" his head jerked around to escape the damp cloth being applied to his forehead.
"Put it back on," Jennifer tried to put the oxygen mask back on, but Rodney was squirming more than a baby refusing to go into its carriage. "It will help you breathe." The last hours had been a huge challenge for the young doctor. Take Rodney on his worst day and multiply it by a thousand and that was the man in the bed. From experience Jennifer knew the worst was yet to come and she was not going anywhere despite Rodney's many declarations of hatred for her. She knew he was not the same man who was making very different declarations the night before he was taken. "Try and close your eyes for a while. Stop fighting me," she whispered in a soothing tone as she pushed back hair from his sweat soaked forehead.
"What? Why? So can kill me? I know you think you'd all be a lot happier with me dead," Rodney sounded like a man possessed. And he was; by the Wraith enzyme. "Why wait? Just do it now. No need to do it while I'm not looking." his back ached and he cried out in pain. It was enough for anyone near him to feel the pain he was in with the feral cry. After the pitiful cry died down, Rodney had another mini seizure; his fifth since he returned from the planet were Ford had taken his team.
Jennifer lightly held him down as to not cause any more injury to himself that he had already done with his struggling. "Shhh. It's going to be okay," she whispered against Rodney's ear as his body shook, trying to rid itself of the toxins. It was only a small miracle that when the seizure was over, Rodney passed out from sheer exhaustion. His body was giving him the peace it needed desperately. "Finally," she let out a long sigh. Jennifer had sat by his side every second since he was bought in and she was barely keeping her eyes open. "Just rest, my sweet. No matter what you are thinking right now, I love you. Don't forget that," a tender kiss was placed at the corner of his lips, after which she put the oxygen mask back in place. The couple had been careful to keep their six month long relationship a secret and now the secrecy did not matter as long as Rodney's life hung in the balance. The exhausted woman just hoped Rodney would remember that she never left his side during this ordeal and that's all that should matter in the end.
"Dr. Keller," Elizabeth approached Jennifer and put a hand on her shoulder, causing the physician to jump in surprise. The base leader had heard a rumor that one of the new nurses had seen the two smartest people in the city kissing after a post-mission exam a week before, but no one believed the story until now. The only rule in place for civilian relationships was that one could not be a direct supervisor of the other and as long the relationship was not getting in the way of their duties there was no need to say anything about it. "How's Rodney doing?"
"Stable for now." Tears were barely visible in the corner of the weary woman's eyes, which she quickly wiped away with her free hand. The other firmly held one of Rodney's shaking hands.
"Has he said anything about Colonel Sheppard and the others?" Weir knew they needed to find them soon or it might be too late. The sooner Rodney was able to recover, the sooner the search for the rest of his team could begin.
Jennifer shook her head, "Nothing. We probably won't get anything coherent from him for a while." Her stomach dropped as she could see Rodney was still in a lot of pain. "Just hang in a little longer. Carson should be by soon with something to help," she toyed with the loose ends of Rodney's hair. The pain gnawed at her gut that she could do nothing but sit and hold his hand.
"Is there anything you need?" Elizabeth offered. She could not imagine what Rodney was going through, but she was glad the scientist was not alone. Detox required the support of the people closest to you and with the way Jennifer stayed with Rodney in spite of her obvious exhaustion, whatever was going on between the geniuses it looked like the relationship was serious.
"Where is Car...I mean Dr. Beckett?" She normally called the CMO by his first name, but Jennifer was now talking to his boss and she felt a duty to respect the chain of command. The pain reliever administered earlier had worn off and it was time for another dose of the drug cocktail given a couple hours ago. "I feel helpless just sitting here. There is nothing I can do."
"I believe he is in his office," Elizabeth replied. She had left Carson there just before checking on Rodney. "How long have you and Rodney been seeing each other? You don't have to answer if you don't want to." She was not asking as Dr. Weir, but as Elizabeth, concerned for her friend Rodney. She did not know much about Carson's second in command and had only heard good things about the young woman. There was a look of total lost in Jennifer's chocolate eyes and begged for assistance and Elizabeth would do what she could for one of her people.
Jennifer could see through Elizabeth's actions of trying to distract her. "Six months next week and we haven't let our relationship affect our jobs," her voice took defensive edge, feeling that is what Elizabeth was hinting at.
"I know. I was not trying to insinuate anything." Before the rumor last week, Weir had not heard anything about a relationship between the two. She did not even know that the two knew each other outside of Rodney's frequent trips to the infirmary. Therefore, a six month long relationship was a bit of a shock especially since Rodney had a habit of running his mouth. "Everyone needs a distraction from the craziness of this place. Besides being here for him is helping more than you think, even if he is saying otherwise."
"I hope so," Jennifer could not look at the woman in the eye. Her throat tightened when Rodney started to gently seize again. She was not sure how much more of this his body could take. This was the difficult part of being a doctor and knowing exactly what could go wrong. Even with everything Carson gave to stabilize Rodney's vitals, they were still in a danger zone. She could only hope that his stubbornness would pull him through the worst of it.
Elizabeth knew the physician was exhausted and she was not doing herself or Rodney any good by struggling to stay awake. "Why don't you get some rest," she laid and gentle and comforting hand on Jennifer's arm.
Jennifer stubbornly shook her head, "I'm fine. I'll just get some rest here. I want to be here for when Rodney wakes up."
"Very well," Weir sensed the woman's resolve. Had it been someone she loved in the bed, she would do the same. "Just take care of yourself." Elizabeth knew love changed everything and when worried about the well-being of someone you care for deeply, one tended to put his or her well-being second.
"I will," the exhausted woman managed a weak smile. Jennifer tenderly rested her head near Rodney's. Her slender fingers brushed along his hairline. "I think our secret is out. Don't be mad at me for making it obvious that I am crazy in love with you. This would be considered extenuating circumstances. Do you have any idea how worried I was when I heard that they could not find you? I know your team has gotten into trouble plenty of times, but I knew something was different this time. Why did you have to go and take all of that enzyme? That has to be the stupidest thing you have ever done." The longer she talked the more Jennifer's words became incoherent mumbling as her body started to put itself to sleep. "Stupid idiot. Love you. Crazy jerk. Please hold on." Those were the last words she spoke before sleep claimed the doctor as its victim.
It was several hours later that Jennifer was pulled from her restless sleep by the haunting scream of her boyfriend. Several hours must have passed as the oxygen mask had been replaced by a nasal canella and the arm restraints removed. A quick look at the monitors showed that Rodney's vitals had stabilized and he was out of immediate danger.
"You're just jealous and that is why you are hiding it from me. Just give it to me," Rodney screeched. By this time, most of infirmary staff had grown accustomed to the yelling.
"Jealous of what, Rodney? If I had any of the enzyme I would give it to you," Carson tried to calm the agitated man. He would rather have weaned Rodney off the enzyme instead of making him go cold turkey.
"There is plenty on Ford's planet. Just sent a team to get some. You are enjoying see me suffer."
"Do you know the address to the planet?"
"No," Rodney looked confused and upset that his idea was shot down. "Just use caller ID on the gate. You can get the address that way."
"Rodney, the gate can't do that." Carson shook his head. "See what your carrying on has done," he pointed to a groggy Jennifer who was rubbing the sleep out of her eye. "The lass has not left your side since you've been here and look at how you've been treating her."
Rodney's dazed and confused eyes darted between Jennifer and Carson. There was only a split second flash of gratefulness before the contempt took over. "You both are out to get me. You want me out of the picture so you can have her all to yourself. Some friend you are, Carson. I'll let you know something...you can have her. I'm done with her." For the first time in his life Rodney realized he might have gone too far even in his altered state. He didn't mean it, but it was too late to take back the hurtful words. The regret lasted a brief moment until his warped mind regained control and twisted his thoughts away from reality.
"Rodney?" Jennifer's mouth hung open, as she could not respond to the declaration. Deep in her mind she knew he was not thinking clearly, but that did not mean the words did not hurt.
"Come on," Rodney tired to sit up but his body protested. "This is payback for what that crazy woman made me do when she was in my head. You were planning this since then. You enjoy watching me suffer."
"I am not enjoying this." Jennifer bit her lip. She knew yelling at him was not going to help the situation. "I know it's not your fault what happened when Cadman thought she was helping you. I'm not looking for payback for anything. I just want to help you."
"Just want to help?" he mimicked Jennifer's voice almost flawlessly. "If you really want to help tell Dr. Doolittle-Nothing to stop playing games and take the enzyme out from where he is hiding under his kilt."
"Aye! How many times do I need to tell you that we have none of the enzyme here? Nobody is hiding anything from you. You are a lucky man, Rodney. You have someone not leaving you while you hurl every possible insult at her," Carson chided as a friend not as the doctor treating him.
A wave of intense pain caused Rodney to scream as if he was having surgery without anaesthesia. "She only sticks around because of the amazing sex. She just can't get enough of me. Just keeps coming back for more. You can learn a thing or two from me."
"Do you want me to move him to a more private area?" Carson had never seen someone blush as much as Jennifer was at the moment.
"So you can kill me and have no witnesses? Just put me out of my misery. You have no idea the agony I am in over here. If you get rid of me, no one will miss me. You'll be praised for getting rid of the annoying know it all. Just do it, please," Rodney's voice was filled with such despair that everyone around him could almost feel the pain he was in and there was no other option but to put him out of his suffering.
"I'll miss you," Jennifer hoped that fact would sink in. She was not going to give up on Rodney even with his loud protests. "You're stuck with me, McKay and all this whining is not going to change that." Once Rodney recovered, it was going to be time for a very serious talk.
"I don't want you. I hate you. I mean really really hate you. Get out of here. It disgusts me to look at you. You are of no use to me. Stop that. Don't touch me," Rodney jerked his head away from where Jennifer was trying to wipe the sweat from his forehead. "I want to be alone," the detoxing man wailed. He could not understand why they would not leave him alone. "Doesn't your voodoo oath say something like: Thou shall not torture thy patients or something like that?" He was being more abrasive than ever and if these people were not going help then they needed to go away. Yet, they still stood their looking at him like he was some pity charity case. "What will it take for you two to go away? Do I need to whip it out and pee on both of you? I regret ever knowing the two of you. Get out of my face forever." Rodney then proceeded to repeat his last phrase in as many languages as he could.
Jennifer got the hint, knowing if she stuck around an eventual line would be crossed and from which there would be no coming back from. "Okay then. Why don't you come and find me when you are up to it." She gave his leg a gentle pat before making a hasty exit with tears in the corner of her eyes.
Carson shook his head in disappointment. He knew that there was a very good chance that Rodney did not know what he was saying, but on the off chance that Rodney knew what he was saying...no he would not allow it. Not even Rodney could be that cruel to someone he probably cared a great deal for.
It was several days later and the enzyme was cleared from Rodney's bloodstream and the rest of his team had been saved from the Hive Ship. He had returned to his normal self and still retained the memory of everything that happened when he was detoxing. It was for that reason he found himself in the infirmary, searching for the one he hurt the most. It would be a miracle if Jennifer talked to him ever again. The scientist was disappointed that she was nowhere to be found, but he did find John itching to be released. It was clear that the man was going to attempt to use him as an escape accomplice, but Rodney was noticed before he had a chance to escape.
"There you are, McKay. Just the man I was looking for. I need you to get me out of here. Why are you dressed up?" John asked as Rodney was obviously dressed to impress with a pair of kakis and a button down shirt. The few hours he had spent in the infirmary since his rescue was too many for the lieutenant colonel. He was feeling fine and had better things to do besides an overnight stay in the infirmary.
"Um...Sorry don't have the time," Rodney nervously looked around. He did not know if word had travelled to John about him and Jennifer, knowing it would be an endless source of ribbing for hiding a relationship for so long.
"Do you have a date or something? Did you finally ask that botanist that Cadman tried to set you up on a second date?" Sheppard was impressed that his friend was finally making a move despite Rodney not seeming interested the first time around.
"No and you can file this under or something," Rodney motioned to his choice in clothes, glad that John was still clueless. "I hope you feel better and all that other stuff I'm supposed to say as your friend." with each passing word, the physicist's hands moved faster as he got more nervous about talking to his girlfriend if they were still a couple.
"If you say so," John had no idea what was going on with the fidgety man. He heard that Rodney had a difficult time with the detox, but most around the infirmary were tight lipped about the details. "Thanks for everything. If you didn't do what you did we might never have been found." Sheppard knew something was up as he had never seen Rodney this worked up. If he was wound any tighter the scientist might snap.
"You're welcome," the comment was a first for the arrogant man. "Feel better," Rodney stuffed his hands into his pocket and his tension grew when he came in contact with the small box in his pocket. Its original purpose had been a six month anniversary gift, arriving on the Daedalus an hour ago. Now it had to serve as an anniversary slash apology gift. The walk to Jennifer's quarters was a slow and agonizing one. The couple had not seen each other or talked since he threw her out of the infirmary several days ago. "You can do this," Rodney gave himself a small pep talk, making sure no hairs were out of place and there were no wrinkles in his clothes. "It's not like she hasn't seen you at your worst. Before the other day that phrase only meant that Jennifer had seen him first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening. The nervous Canadian raised his hand and rang the door chime.
Jennifer was reading a stereotypical romance novel when she heard the chime of her door. The trashy books were a secret guilty pleasure that only Rodney knew of and he usually scowled when he saw her reading them. The unnatural blonde thought some of his distain came from a fear that he could not measure up to the kind of men in the novels. "Rodney? What are you doing here?" The question was asked on reflex. She was quite glad to see him, but she hid just how glad. Her lips moved to an amused smirk at Rodney's outfit. It made Jennifer uncomfortable that he was dressed up and she was only wearing one of his t-shirts that covered her up just enough.
"Why?" Rodney took it as a sign of rejection. "I can go if you want me too," he did not wait for a response and turned to leave.
"Don't," Jennifer reached out to stop him from moving any further. "Get in here," she pulled Rodney into her room, letting the door slide close behind him. It was a good sign that he was here. Jennifer had been worried that he was just going to leave things as they had been left in the infirmary. She had decided that she was going to leave the first move up to him, thinking that pushing him to make a move would only serve to push him away.
Rodney stood in complete silence for several minutes as he tried to find the right words to apologize for his actions. Being his first drug-induced psychosis the way to handle it was lost. He could only pace the floor like a caged animal, nervous and on edge. The only thing missing was the snarling which he was close to doing.
She could take only so much of the pacing before it made her dizzy and her nerves became as frazzled as his. Jennifer had to make the next move and stood in front of the keyed up man, "Rodney? Did you come just to wear a hole in my carpet?" Hopefully a little humor could put him at little more at ease.
Rodney was too lost in his own bubble to see or hear Jennifer and he crashed into her. He only noticed she was there when the woman grasped at his shirt for balance. "Oh, sorry." The man's hands went to Jennifer's slender waist to keep her from falling. "Is that my shirt?" His eyes carefully surveyed her, unable to say anything else.
"Yes," Jennifer's brown eyes could not break contact with his blue eyes. They were like a black hole that drew you in and from which there was no escape. "I like wearing your shirts to bed." Rodney's arms were no longer holding her to keep her from falling but to keep her from leaving, but Jennifer had no plans of going anywhere. "How are you feeling?" the physician broke the second silence after several moments of trying to read each other. Jennifer tentatively bought her hands to Rodney's face, hoping he would not pull away. She gently caressed the freshly shaved skin and enjoyed how soft it was. She could feel both their hearts racing out of fear.
"Better," Rodney closed his eyes and tilted his face toward Jennifer's loving hand. He silently cursed at how nice she was being; acting as if nothing happened. The confused man wondered if this was happened when two people really love each other. With past relationships a far less severe tirade sent women running as fast as they could. Here, with him having said some of the meanest things possible this incredible woman was embracing him like it was a normal day. "I'm not good at apologies. If anyone has the right to never want to speak to me again, it's you. I said a lot of nasty things to you. Things that should not even be said to my worst enemy and I said them to someone I love. There is no excuse for that, not even with detoxing from the enzyme. No matter what I said to you, you stayed and held my hand through the worst of it. No one has done that for me before. You have no idea how much that means to me," Rodney poured out his soul like he had never before. This was the first time he truly felt at ease and completely trusted another person. As much as he wished he could forget the last few days, Rodney did not want to let go that Jennifer had been his beacon of hope through it all. "Thank you for putting up with me and I'm sorry for the hurtful things I said and did to you. I don't know why you did it, but I'm glad you did." There were was a slight twitch to Rodney lip, even though he said what he wanted he was still very nervous.
"Well..." Jennifer bit her lip and pretended to think on an answer. "There was truth when you let the whole infirmary know how great the sex was." She shook her head and frowned as it was obviously Rodney did not take well to her joke. "The most important reason being that I love you and I'm not going anywhere." She kissed Rodney's cheek and whispered the last words into his ear, "Ever." Jennifer rested her head on his shoulder. "No one was there for me and I wasn't going to leave you like he left me. You don't leave someone you love when things get tough," she felt Rodney's arms tighten around her. No one on the expedition knew this secret and it made sense that Rodney would be the first Jennifer would share it with.
"Jen?" Rodney looked confused.
"Let's sit," the still nervous woman pulled out of the comforting embrace and gently pulled Rodney toward the couch.
"What is going on?" Concern creased his brow. "Everything okay?" Rodney sat on the couch, his eyes never leaving Jennifer.
"It all started my first year of medical school..."Jennifer began as set sat next to the man she began to pour her heart out to.
As the physician continued speaking, her expression was grave and she drew up her knees to her chest as a chill invaded Jennifer's bones. She told about a time in medical school when a boyfriend had introduced her to this wonderful way to cope with the stress of the difficult riggers of classes. Heroin. It was the perfect distraction to her busy first year schedule.
Her steady decline was hidden to all. Then when her father, worried that she didn't come home as promised for Easter, checked in on her; he found his daughter naked, passed out needle in her arm. He checked her to a secluded rehab facility where she could recover for the rest of the semester in peace. No one was none the wiser of how close the young woman came to losing it all, her life included.
Halfway through her stay she got a letter from her boyfriend, breaking up and calling her an uptight bitch who would never amount to anything and would die alone as an crazy old cat lady.
By the time Jennifer finished the story, her face was damp with tears and she was shaking. It had been a very dark period in the young doctor's life that she refused to talk about, but there was something cathartic about sharing it with someone Jennifer could trust implicitly.
Rodney was stunned by the admission and had a severe loathing for a man he never met. "I'm sorry you had to go through that. I would like to find that guy and use Ronon's stunner on him... repeatedly." He lovingly placed a kiss on Jennifer's forehead and dried her tears with his thumb. He did not think it was possible to any closer to someone than right now, but their hearts found new ways to bond with each other.
The comment made Jennifer laugh slightly. The image of Rodney using Ronon's stunner was highly amusing. It was not something she imagined Rodney really doing but the offer made her extremely proud to be in love with him. "You are something else. You know that?" She was very relieved that Rodney was still here after she told him her secret. "You keep on surprising me at every turn. This side of you is Atlantis' best kept secret." The emotionally spent woman nestled her head against Rodney's shoulder, feeling like they could conquer the universe as long as they were together.
"And it's for your eyes only. I don't think the general population is ready to see this side of me yet." It was his way of saying that Jennifer was one of the few people he trusted enough to lower his guard with. "Can you believe it has been six months?" Once everything was put out in the open and there was no sign of rejection it felt like nothing could break their bond.
"An amazing six months. I'm glad you didn't kick me out when I walked in on you filming the message for your sister. I thought for a second that you were going to yell at me like you yelled at Radek when he broke the tray of control crystals. To think if you had kicked me out we wouldn't be here and I wouldn't know how charming you really are," Jennifer moved closer until she was almost sitting in Rodney's lap. Her eyes grew wide when she felt something dig into her leg.
"Charming? Even when I snore loudly?"
"Even then. Plus I know a trick to get you to stop," Jennifer looked at her boyfriend with an amused grin. "Is there something in your pocket or are you happy to see me?"
"Oh yeah. I almost forgot," Rodney squirmed to remove the small box from his pocket. "Something in my pocket. Bet that's the first time that it was asked and something was really in a pocket." He laughed nervously. "I came here expecting that I would have to beg and plead for you to forgive me for acting like a bigger ass than normal. I had bought this as an anniversary gift and then I planned to use it as an apology gift, but now it's back to an anniversary gift. Happy Anniversary. A week early."
This was not something Jennifer had expected. The box was a little too big to be a ring. The thought that it could be a ring flashed for only a second and it bought a small measure of terror. It was not something they had talked about and with that terror there was a bit of disappointment. "Thank you, my Teddy bear!" Jennifer opened the box and let out and audible gasp. "It's beautiful, Rodney," she eyed the white gold pendant of intertwined hearts with a diamond and tanzanite stone on each of the heart. Their birthstones. It was clear that this was a gift that Rodney had put a lot of thought into and not just ordered something at the last minute.
"Tanzanite became one of the birthstones for December in 2002. Just in case you didn't know. Engraved on the side is the date of our first date, the rambling scientist turned the pendant to show the date. "Not too corny, right?" the idea came to Rodney when he was pulling an all-nighter in is lab a couple weeks ago. It was not something he would normally think of, but his sleep deprived brain had one of those moments and it was perfect timing with a Daedalus trip.
"Maybe just a little, but I love it. You are going to have to wait to next week for your gift," Jennifer wrapped her arms tightly around Rodney and kissed him senselessly. Tonight was not a night for passion, but a night to talk until the sun came up. Which is what they did and their souls melded together tighter than ever. Nothing could tear them apart now.