“So,” said John, smirking, as he leaned in the open doorway. “Held for psychiatric evaluation, huh?”
Rodney glared at him. He tried to cross his arms, but got hung up by the metal handcuff securing his left wrist to the hospital bed rail, and glared harder. “What the hell took you so long?”
“You’ve only been in the hospital for three hours, McKay.”
“Long enough for them to chain me up!” Rodney protested.
“You were perfectly safe,” John told him. “As soon as the cops saw your ID, they contacted the SGC and Landry had them post a guard outside your room. Even if this had been an attempt on your life, no one could have gotten through.”
“You’ll forgive me if I don’t automatically trust American law enforcement to—” Rodney broke off, frowning. “Wait, even if?”
John wandered closer, resting his arms on the bedrail, just out of reach. “That’s where I’ve been,” he said. “You weren’t answering your phone and the Hammond was having trouble tracking your subcutaneous transponder.”
“Huh,” said Rodney. “Must be the hospital equipment interfering. I should really—”
“Rodney,” interrupted John.
“I know, I know, no working during vacation,” he said, then paused. “Wait, if the SGC knows I’m here, they didn’t call Jeannie, did they?”
“No, they didn’t call your sister,” said John. “And no, nobody was trying to kill you this time.”
“What?” The scientist blinked at him. “But I was drugged! Not that I completely trust these backwater voodoo practioners.”
“You were drugged,” John told him. “When the cops called the SGC, we knew where you’d been. Ronon and I went to the restaurant where you’d had dinner, and talked to your waiter. Turns out, you’d made such a fuss about your citrus allergy and generally annoyed the poor kid about your service, that when you ordered a drink, he brought you the one a guy at the bar had just ordered for his date. But he’d slipped something into it. The guy, not the waiter.”
“That bastard,” Rodney muttered, then he frowned. “Wait, I was roofied? Then what the hell is with this?”
He lifted his left wrist again, rattling the handcuffs until John leaned over and caught his hand.
“Whoa, there, buddy,” he said. “You’re a bit more of a heavyweight than the girl he was trying to drug, so instead of passing out, you just got kinda loopy. According to the cops – who were called immediately, after the bartender detained the guy – you weren’t quite sure you were on Earth, and kept demanding to be taken to Atlantis, when you weren’t calling for Ronon, Teyla or me. It’s no wonder they thought you were nuts.”
“Oh,” Rodney said, softly. John’s thumb was rubbing gently across his skin and he felt grounded for the first time since he’d been brought to the hospital. “I didn’t say anything really classified, did I?”
“Nah,” said John. “You were pretty high, and rambling, so the cops and doctors didn’t pay much attention. But they did run pretty much every drug test they had.”
“And the girl’s okay?” Rodney asked.
John smiled, squeezing his hand. “Yeah, she’s fine.”
“Are you okay?” pressed Rodney.
“Me? I wasn’t drugged.”
Rodney scowled. “Answer the question, Sheppard.”
John took a deep breath. “I thought you’d been kidnapped. Like… like with Wallace. When the call came into the SGC…”
“There weren’t any Wraith involved this time, though,” Rodney pointed out. “Just bad luck and misogyny.”
“You’re never going anywhere without me again,” John said, leaning over the bedrail to press his forehead to Rodney’s. “I don’t care what meetings I’m ordered to go to.”
“That’s dereliction of duty,” said Rodney.
“Don’t care,” muttered John. “In fact, we’re never leaving Atlantis again.”
“Okay, now you’re sounding crazy. Are you sure I was the only one who was drugged?”
John frowned. “I don’t like you being in danger without me, McKay. I thought that’s what these were for.”
His thumb moved from the back of Rodney’s hand to his gold wedding band, which matched the one on John’s finger.
“No,” Rodney said, gently, “it’s so everyone knows to keep their hands off of what’s mine.”
John managed a smile. “Yeah, I am.”
“Good,” his husband said. “Now, let me out of here.”
“What makes you think I have the key?” John asked, all innocence.
John laughed and unlocked the handcuffs. “I told the docs here that all your Atlantis talk was code names for your experiments, and they said you’d be released if you had someone to go home with,” he said. “If you’re feeling up to it.”
“Hell, yes,” said Rodney, rubbing his freed wrist. “Let’s go home.”
“With me?” John asked.
“Idiot,” scoffed Rodney, and pulled him in for a long, slow kiss. “Always with you.”