Pairing: Mckay/Sheppard pre-slash
Rating: R, for language
Sequel/Series: Part 9 of the Remedial Leadership series. I'll be done when you're tired of reading 'em.
Author's Note: Somewhere my verbs became vary confused and many thanks to Fenchurch for helping me straighten them out. All remaining odd verbs are my own fault. Special note of thanks to Laura - you'll understand ;-).
"Who the fuck does he think he is?" Rodney McKay muttered bitterly to himself as he watched Colonel Dillon Everett take over his office. The depth of that betrayed feeling stunned him. He hadn't wanted the job, running Atlantis, and was stuck with it when Elizabeth Weir had died. Now... now it was his job and he wanted it back.
In four days, the Daedalus would be here with a ZPM. They had to hold the city for four days and Rodney wasn't sure they could do it. Making up his mind, Rodney left the gate room and went in search of John.
It took a bit of searching, but he found John talking to Kusinagi in her office. It was odd not to see Sergeant Bates here, but Everett had reassigned him to work with the Marines that Everett had brought to Atlantis. They looked startled for a moment, but relaxed when they realized it was Rodney. John looked at Miko and asked, "Can you handle this?"
She bit her lip for a moment in indecision but then nodded. "Yes, I can do this," she replied softly.
"I don't want to know, do I?" Rodney asked them.
"No, you don't," John told him with a reassuring grin. That let Rodney know enough to nod at Kusinagi. "Seems I've been sent back to the labs. Contact me there if you need anything," Rodney informed her.
Then time ran out.
Rodney heard Everett ask, "What is it?" on the radio. Rodney responded, "We may need to give the order to evacuate."
Just then John ran into the gate room, "Rodney, wait."
Rodney looked up and with a sinking heart realized what John was going to do. Rodney stuttered, "You-- You can't."
John said roughly, "I have to, and you know it." There was resolution and... and something else in his eyes. Longing? It was gone in a flash.
Rodney closed his eyes then opened them. He knew he was showing too much. "John ... " They stared at each other for a few moments, then Rodney realized that there was no other way. Deep breath. "Go." Don't go.
John nodded and raced up the stairs. Rodney put a fence around the pain he wanted to feel.... He had a city to save.
Everett demanded on the radio, "What's the status of the damned jumper?"
Rodney was amazed he could calmly reply, "It's on its way."
Zelenka joined him in the gate room and they watched in muted horror as the jumper reached the Wraith ship.
No-o-o-o..... Rodney wanted to wail at the loss. John.....
Rodney headed to his room to collapse. Losing John. Wraith in the city. Arrival of the Daedalus. The race to put the ZedPM in place. The Deadalus destroying the last Wraith ship. Getting John back. Losing Everett. It was too much and he was numb. Rodney was starting to crash from all the stimulants he'd taken and all he knew was that he needed to sleep.
"Dr. McKay! Down!" came a voice. Without thinking, Rodney dropped to the floor. Shots went over his head. When the noise stopped, he cautiously looked around.
"Sorry, sir," someone – Hackett, that cook, Rodney thought blearily – apologized. "Wraith still running around the city." A hand reached for him and helped him up. "You shouldn't be wandering around here yet."
"You okay, doc?" another voice chimed in. The other cook, Matias, peered closely at Rodney. "Oh, shit..." was the last thing Rodney heard.
Rodney blinked his way to awareness. He was in the infirmary. He wanted to sleep...
"Nice, McKay," he heard John drawl. "You save the city single-handedly and then almost get killed by a stray Wraith."
Rodney fought to come back to full consciousness. A hand materialized at the back of his head and a straw was put in his mouth -- he drank gratefully. The warm hand left the back of his neck and he missed it.
"Idiot," Rodney mumbled. He swallowed to clear his throat. "Don't do that again."
"What? Give you a drink?" John replied airily.
Rodney sat up and glared at John who dropped the pretense. "Sorry," John mumbled, abashed.
"And why were cooks still in the city? I thought we evacuated the civilians?" Rodney demanded. "Not that I'm ungrateful or anything." Rodney though for a second. "You and Kusinagi?"
John grinned. "Yeah. Some of her people volunteered to stay behind. They knew we needed all the help we could get. Since they aren't military, I knew Everett wouldn't even look at them, but they were in some strategic parts of the city." John looked down at his hands and said, "You got lucky, you know."
Rodney sighed. He knew too well. "Bates?"
John looked bleak for a moment. "We don't know yet. Haven't found him."
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck the Wraith. Fuck Everett.
"Who else is missing?" Rodney wondered, seeing the look in John's eyes. They'd lost too many...
"Ford." That reply was bitten off.
"Can I get out of here?" Rodney asked. He wasn't hurt, just tired.
"Carson says if you eat something and then promise to sleep soon," John informed him. "You're exhausted and he's got his hands full..." John didn't have to explain and handed Rodney a power bar. "This will get you started and there are MREs in the gate room."
"Thanks," Rodney said around a mouthful. "Hand me some of that water."
Rodney was still dressed, which was a testament to how busy the medical staff was. He swung up off the bed and then grabbed the side to steady himself. "Whoa," he uttered. John was by his side in an instant.
"Take it easy, Rodney," John repeated. "You need more than that in your system. And Carson says no coffee."
"No coffee!" Rodney whined, mostly reflex. He didn't move. John had his hands steadying Rodney and Rodney wanted to memorize the feel of it. He didn't know how he resisted the temptation to pull John to him, but then he realized he was tired of resisting. With a muttered, "Oh, fuck," he pulled John to him and wrapped his arms around the other man.
John's arms wrapping themselves around Rodney and scrabbling to hold tight told Rodney that it was the right thing to do. For both of them. "I wish..," Rodney whispered. "I wish this wasn't the worst time or place for this..."
"I know," John whispered back unsteadily. Rodney felt John take a deep breath. "Come on," John urged. "Food and there's a lot of cleanup to do."
Rodney closed his eyes for a moment. He breathed in the scent of John but this wasn't a time to indulge himself further. "Tell me what's going on," he commanded as he straightened and let go reluctantly.
John briefed Rodney on the condition of the city as they walk to the gate room. If John hovered a bit more than normal, Rodney didn't comment on it. Zelenka looked up as they came in.
"Thank goodness you are alright," Zelenka told Rodney. Rodney was oddly touched.
"Updates?" Rodney asked.
Zelenka launched into an outline of how the shield is holding up against the Wraith darts outside the shield. It couldn't help with the Wraith in the city, but it was a start.
Rodney worked mostly from his office – his office, not Everett's, he couldn't help thinking smugly – for the next couple of days. Because of wandering Wraith they slept in the infirmary as a simpler place to secure. Rodney thought John slept outside the door to make sure no one interrupted his sleep. Or maybe it was Zelenka. Either way, he felt better for the sleep.
They worked together on the next steps. Teyla and Miko joined them in working through the process of taking back the city from the remaining Wraith. Caldwell came down from the Daedalus and joined them – he offered some of his crew to help with the cleanup. Rodney accepted gratefully with a "Don't let them touch anything!" admonition. John laughed softly and Rodney knew that everything would be okay.