Rating: PG for swears
Summary: For the Atlantis Urban Legend Challenge.... The legend: Brain-damaged LSD user believes himself to be glass of orange juice. Click on the linky thing for the full story.
Notes: If you find any typo things would you tell me?
"Rodney!" John pleaded. "Stay with me." Please....
Rodney struggled for breath and John hoped help would get here soon. He fumbled in Rodney's pack for another Epi-pen and hoped like hell he wouldn't have to use it. He had already used one yet Rodney hadn't reacted as well as he should have. Another minute and John would be forced to use the second pen and he knew that wouldn't be a good thing.
Running footsteps announced the arrival of others. He looked up and wondered where Keller had learned to run like that. "I've given him one E-pen about.." John looked at his watch, "three minutes ago. It looked like it started to work but then the secondary reaction started to kick in. Another minute and I would have had to give a second shot." As he spoke, Keller moved in to look at Rodney and John was eased away from the fallen scientist. Without quite knowing how it happened, John found himself standing outside the circle surrounding Rodney.
As they worked, John felt his own breath catch. Not fair.... He thought back through the last couple of hours and nothing came to mind. He had no idea why Rodney should be having such a severe allergic reaction. Neither hadn't eaten in the last hour and they had just gotten back from P9S-347. They were on their way to the infirmary for routine exams when Rodney had collapsed.
He focused to hear Keller saying, "Get him to the infirmary, we'll stabilize him there." The medical staff with her were moving Rodney to a gurney that had been brought along and starting to move him away.
"Doc..." John started.
"You come, too," she told John. "I don't know what caused this yet and don't want you to collapse also." As John stood gaping at her, she exclaimed, "Now. Move, Colonel!"
The tone galvanized John into action. He hadn't given any thought to himself since his worry for Rodney overtook everything. She chivvy'ed him along, trailing after the team that had rushed Rodney to the infirmary. As he moved to follow Rodney, she took his arm and said, "I don't think so. I need to examine you, too." She pointed to another room. "In there."
John wanted to fight her but realized the sooner he was cleared, the sooner he could be with Rodney. He moved to the room Keller had pointed to and started to undress. He dropped his tac vest in a corner and started to remove his clothing. He stripped to shorts and t-shirt and sat on the bed to wait.
It probably wasn't as long as he thought it was, but it was longer than he had the patience for when one of the nurses showed up. "How's McKay?" he demanded.
"Dr. Keller is with Dr. McKay," she told John. "The epinephrine is working and they're dealing with that now. But that's all I know."
John relaxed slightly as she went through an extended post-mission routine. The visit seemed benign until Rodney had collapsed and until then there hadn't been any reason for anything more than a cursory examination. Now John had to endure the full something-went-wrong examination.
The nursing staff kept John reasonably informed of Rodney's status - "doing okay" to "sleeping" to "still sleeping" -- during his own exam which never seemed to end. At one point John was convinced they were doing the same tests for a third time but he hadn't been paying attention due to his worry for Rodney so he couldn't ask about it. Finally, Keller came in.
She sat in a chair and looked at John and sighed.
"What?" he asked.
"Tell me about your mission," Keller directed.
"Nothing happened," John protested. Really, nothing happened. For once, it was true. No Ancient devices, no alien priestess, no Harvest festival, no weird ritua..... Fuck. He hung his head. "There was a drink to celebrate trading partnerships.... about a shot glass worth and tasted like water. We all drank it."
"I'll send Teyla for a sample," Keller told him.
"I can go," John protested, starting to get up from the bed.
"No, you can't. You're the reason Dr. McKay had the attack," Keller stopped him.
John froze and looked at her. "What?"
Keller sighed again. "Your tests came back with an enzyme that I've never seen in a person before, but essentially you have a citrus enzyme in your system. You touched Dr. McKay and he reacted to it."
John sat down hard. He caused Rodney's attack? "What? How?" he stuttered.
Keller rolled her eyes, "Like I know?" She pointed to John and said, "So, until I do know something, you stay here."
John had to ask. "Can I see Rodney?" he asked nervously. "Just to make sure he's okay?"
"He's fine," Keller retorted. "He's sleeping so you can't talk to him and frankly I don't know what kind of exposure it would take to cause another reaction and I don't want to chance it." At John's pale face, she relented. "A quick peek from the hall shouldn't kill him and then you'll stay here?"
"Yes," John promised her. Nothing to hurt Rodney. He changed into the scrubs that were brought to him and stood in the doorway of the room Rodney was in. Rodney looked like he had been through hell and John felt even guiltier than he had before. He slowly walked back to the bed he had been assigned on the other end of the infirmary.
John lay awake staring at the ceiling for a long time. He couldn't even think about life without Rodney and had to hope that Teyla and Ronon could get a sample of that drink as well as an explanation. Rodney, I'm so sorry.....
The next morning Teyla and Ronon came by. "We did not find any information about the gilboa. All they could tell us was that it was a drink of honesty between partners. But we were given a sample to bring back and Dr. Keller is examining it."
"Didn't think anything of it," Ronon put in. "Didn't taste like anything special." He shrugged.
"Thanks," John answered. "How's Rodney?"
"Complaining about not bring allowed to leave the infirmary," Teyla told John.
"About normal, far as I can see," Ronon put in. "Eating like there's no tomorrow."
John grinned, "That's Rodney." He sobered. "Thanks. If we know anything...."
"You will keep us informed," Teyla finished for him.
After they left, John mulled over what Teyla had told him. Honesty between partners..... He was so screwed. When they had been given the drink, John had clinked his against Rodney's and he thought the momentary flare of something maybe-Ancient had been his imagination. Fuck. Not his imagination.
He really hoped Keller could find an answer before too long. He endured the tests that Keller had the nurses take without complaining. Not like he had much of a choice.
Late in the day, Rodney appeared in the door of his room. John shrunk back on reflex and relaxed infinitesimally when Rodney didn't try to enter the room. "Keller says I'm allergic to you," Rodney stated.
"Guess so," John replied.
"Well, that sucks," Rodney offered. "I.... " Rodney stuttered to a stop.
"Me too," John answered softly.
They looked at each other in silence.
"I... I better go back.... to my bed...." Rodney told him. "I'm not supposed to be up."
"Rodney.... when we drank that stuff..... did you feel anything?" John had to ask. "I mean... not the drink itself... when we toasted, I think that maybe there was something.... I can't describe it except as Ancient-y."
"Ancient-y?" Rodney scoffed. "Is that even a word?"
"Rodney..... you know what I mean," John rolled his eyes.
John was relieved when Rodney stopped to play back the scene in his head and the "huh" told him that maybe Rodney understood what he was talking about. Rodney snapped his fingers and pointed at John, "Not the drink, the glasses!"
"The glasses turned me into a glass of orange juice?" John asked.
"Idiot," Rodney huffed. "At least it didn't kill me. Be grateful for that."
Always... John thought to himself. "Tell Keller to send Teyla and Ronon back for those glasses?" John directed.
"Yes. Yes. Yes," Rodney answered, distracted. John hoped that now that Rodney was thinking through the scene on the planet that he wasn't thinking through the rest of the ceremony.......
Rodney stared at John who knew this was one moment he had to stand his ground. He didn't break eye contact but it was hard to do with the sound of his heart beating fast in his head.
"Honesty..... between partners....." Rodney murmured slowly. "John?" It was a plea as much as a question.
John laughed. "Yes, Rodney." He was rewarded with a huge smile from the scientist.
"Oh, great," Rodney complained. "If I come any closer to you, you'll kill me." He huffed. "This is so not fair."
"I suspect that's your incentive to fix this," John smiled.
"Just you wait...." Rodney threatened.
"I've been waiting," John admitted softly. For a long time.....
"Why didn't you say anything?" Rodney demanded.
John sighed. "I.... I didn't want to lose your friendship if you weren't....." He shrugged. "You were too important to me to scare you off."
"Ha! Like I scare easily!" Rodney replied. As John snickered, Rodney asked, "Hello? Genius scientist here."
"Yeah. I know," John smiled. "Now go and fix me."
Rodney leered, "I'm going to fix you so...." John groaned at the thought...... "I'm going now," Rodney announced.
It took Rodney and Zelenka three long days to figure out it was the combination of the gilboa and the Ancient glasses. Another toast with Rodney "to good health" as John wore gloves, scrubs and a mask to not trigger another allergic reaction in Rodney. Now that he was looking for it, he felt that same flare of something Ancient-y and nodded to Rodney. He lowered the mask to take the drink, put it right back on and stepped back across the room.
"I don't feel different," John complained.
"Since I didn't react to you right away on the planet, Zelenka and I think there's a time delay," Rodney admitted.
"How long should it take?"
Rodney shrugged, "Based on what happened originally, about 12 to 24 hours."
John rolled his eyes. "And how will we know it worked? I'm not going to risk your life by testing it."
Keller stepped in, "We should see the results in your blood tests and I'm not letting you out of here until you're clear." She pointed to the bed John had spent most of the last week in. "Another day or so isn't going to kill you, Colonel. Go!"
Knowing the sooner the blood test was clear the sooner he could get out of the infirmary, John gave a small salute, "Yes, ma'am." He grinned at Rodney, "Just you wait...."
Rodney blushed, "Like I have nothing else to do around here but wait for you." He turned to Keller. "When you think he's ready call me so we can have him touch me," Rodney directed. "I'd rather collapse in the infirmary than have to be hauled here from halfway across the city."
About what felt like a million blood tests later, it was the next day before Keller would allow Rodney back into the infirmary. She made him sit down on a bed and had a nurse on standby with epinephrine. She brought John into the room and he carefully walked over to where Rodney was sitting.
"Come on," Rodney demanded. "I don't have all day for this."
"Rodney, if this didn't work," John cautioned.
"Just do it," Rodney replied. "Come here," he added softly.
John walked across the room and while he wanted to do more, he briefly touched Rodney's hand. When nothing immediately happened, he put his hand on top of Rodney's. The touch of soft skin was so alluring..... he had to remind himself they were in public. "Now what?" he asked Keller.
"Sit next to him and we'll see if anything happens as a result of prolonged exposure," Keller directed. "Want to make sure."
John sat next to Rodney and bumped his shoulder, "Hey."
Rodney rolled his eyes, "What are you? Fifteen?" But John could see that he was pleased.
They sat and talked about what had been going on in the city. John had mostly kept up with things, not really being sick but he kept Rodney talking to keep his mind off of what he really wanted to be doing.
A couple hours later, Keller came in and told them, "I guess you're both good to go." She said to John, "Keep an extra epi-pen with you for the next couple of weeks, just to make sure."
"I always carry one," John admitted.
"You do?" Rodney asked.
"Sure. Can't lose the genius scientist to some stupid lemon, can I?" John retorted with a smile.
"Get out of here," Keller shooed them out.
"Ummm... got any plans for the rest of the afternoon?" John asked casually.
"What did you have in mind?" Rodney smiled. John would do anything for that smile...
"Well, I thought I'd like to conduct a more extensive test to make sure there are no side effects," John grinned.
Rodney tapped his communicator. "Radek? This testing thing is going to take the rest of the day and is exhausting. I'll be back in the lab in the morning." He turned to John. "Ready?"