Rodney sat quietly at his computer, earphones in with no music on, and watched the lab go crazy.
The noise of the klaxons was dulled by the earphones, but not as much as they would have been with a real pair of earplugs. He'd have to remember those next time.
Rodney knew Atlantis took the war games seriously, especially since the scientists seemed to win more often than not. It was something that Rodney could never admit he was proud of, since he staunchly refused to recognize the value of the games (at least compared to the value of his time, especially considering the games could go for more than two days, if someone even remotely crafty (like Parrish) did something even remotely intelligent (like aerosolizing the flowers from M3C-458, which more than half the expedition reacted to by immediately falling asleep)). Still, the real klaxons were a bit much.
It took less than two minutes before the scientists were completely cleared out. Less running around in circles than usual - maybe these war games were actually teaching them a thing or two.
Rodney crossed his arms over his chest and sat back, right into something kind of pointy.
"Hey," he said, turning around to find the culprit. It was, of course, Sheppard, holding a fake Wraith stunner, one of the mock-ups Radek had made especially for the war games. It looked pretty good, Rodney had to admit.
"You're coming with me," Sheppard said, and that was not the way this was supposed to work.
"I don't think so, Colonel. You and I both know I don't participate in the war games."
Sheppard smiled at him, a creepy, evil sort of smile that Rodney was horrified to know he recognized. "Oh no."
"Oh yes," Sheppard said, and poked Rodney in the side with the fake stunner again. "Let's go, Dr. McKay."
"This is how I get you to call me by my honorific? Really? You can't just use it when you introduce me to-"
Sheppard poked him in the side with the stunner again. "Shut up, and get moving."
"Oh, please," Rodney said, leaning back comfortably in his chair. "One scream and I'll have everyone here running for me at top speed - especially since they know I don't do the war games."
Sheppard held up a roll of duct tape. "I took that into account, Dr. McKay." Sheppard tore off a piece with his teeth and put it over Rodney's mouth, which was all kinds of fun and games because Rodney couldn't help gaping and Sheppard had to hold his mouth shut to get the tape on. When Sheppard finally got the makeshift gag to stick, he wrapped Rodney's wrists - the tape over his uniform, which made Rodney relax a little. If Sheppard was really evil, he wouldn't have worried about the sensitive skin on Rodney's arms.
Sheppard tucked Rodney's laptop under his arm, helped Rodney out of the chair by his elbow, and dragged him over to the doorway.
The klaxons suddenly shut off.
"Shit!" Sheppard looked both ways and hustled Rodney out the door and down to he transporter. One push of the button later, they were in a sublevel of Atlantis marked off limits for possible structural damage.
"Colonel," Rodney said, though it came out as no more than a muffled noise. Sheppard sat him down and ripped the tape off in one swift pull. "Ow!"
"If I could trust you, I wouldn't have had to do that," Sheppard said, and Rodney actually blinked at the strangeness of those words. "You know what I mean," Sheppard said with a half shrug and a smile. "If you would just help me with the games... Oh yeah," he said, pulling something out of his pocket. It looked like one of the stickers that was put into books to keep people from stealing them. He pulled the backing off and put it on Rodney's skin, right on top of his transponder.
"Radek help you with that?" Rodney asked.
"Dusty," Sheppard answered. "I made sure she sat this one out."
"So now what?" Rodney asked, looking around. He still wasn't going to buy into the war games, but getting past Sheppard would be a battle in and of itself. "You know I won't help you."
"I think you will," Sheppard said darkly, and sometimes, Rodney really wished he didn't know about this part of Sheppard. It was the part that gave him nightmares.
"Okay, so let's just talk this through to its logical conclusion, shall we?" Rodney'd been tortured once - it was the whole reason they had these war games, and the reason he won't participate - and he's not about to let anyone in Atlantis down again. "I'll struggle, and scream, and try to get loose."
"But you won't," Sheppard answered.
"Okay, fine. But I won't tell you anything."
"Not even if I threaten you."
Rodney stared Sheppard down. This wasn't easy for him, damn it, and he'd spent a long time trying to figure out how to make sure he never broke again. "No."
"Not even if I hurt you."
Sheppard looked him in the eye, pulled out the stunner, and pressed it into Rodney's inner thigh, high up and close to his balls. "If you thought a knife was painful," Sheppard said, "You should try electricity."
Rodney was sweating now, and as much as he wanted to believe Sheppard wouldn't hurt him, there was some small part of him that knew Sheppard could.
"I may not have your pain tolerance, Sheppard," Rodney snarled, "but I think you're a little shy on my ingenuity."
Sheppard's eyes shuttered, but there was a flash of something in, pride maybe, before he pulled back. "Suicide capsule?" he asked.
Sheppard grinned. "I'm impressed."
Rodney sighed heavily. "I won't let it happen again."
The smile slid right off Sheppard's face, and it was funny that for someone as stoic as Sheppard, sometimes you could read him like a book. "I know."
"Okay, so let's just say this scenario is over, and you can untie me and let me get back to work, hm?"
"Unfortunately, no," Sheppard answered, leaning down and getting right into Rodney's face. "Because in this scenario, I've been taken over by a Goa'uld, and he knows everything I know, which now includes your suicide capsule." Sheppard smirked, not quite as evil as before, but definitely darker than Rodney liked to think about. "And now you have no escape from the torture."
Rodney swallowed. "I won't cooperate." Sheppard picked up the stunner again.
"But, uh, maybe you could, uh, later," Rodney stuttered, annoyed that the words that were his first line of defense were failing him. "At some later time, teach me a little more about... you know. Dealing with torture?"
Sheppard paused, staring at Rodney for a long time, watching Rodney sweat. Finally he nodded and backed off, his face utterly blank. "Fine."
"Okay, so..." Rodney swallowed again. His mouth was so damn dry all of a sudden. "So, let's just say that... that you kill me. Now will you let me get back to work?"
Sheppard rolled his eyes. "Come on, Rodney, I need you for my scenario to work."
"Well, I've promised myself to never let it happen again, so I don't see how you're going to do it."
In the space of a breath, menacing Sheppard was back, his face so close Rodney's the smell of the coffee on his breath hung between them. "Bug juice."
SGA-3 had been drugged while on M19-433, something the locals had put in their wine to make them more amenable to negotiation. Teldy had called it bug juice, because it reminded her of the koolaid from her girl scout days.
"You can't force me to drink it," Rodney protested.
"Yes I can," Sheppard said, his voice so low that Rodney glanced up at him to make sure he hadn't imagined Sheppard's words.
"You can't force someone to drink something," Rodney said, but one look at Sheppard's face made him squirm. "Can you?"
"Yes, I can," Sheppard said, low and slow, and more than a little mean.
"Make me," Rodney said, determined to force Sheppard's hand. "I won't drink anything, you'll have to make me."
"Rodney," Sheppard whined. "Can't you just take me at my word?"
"No." For one brief second, Rodney thought he could see victory on the horizon.
Sheppard sighed and stood up straight. Rodney's neck cracked as he tipped his head back far enough to follow Sheppard's rise. "Sorry, Colonel. I have to know for sure."
Sheppard nodded and took Rodney's chin in his hand almost gently. It was oddly reassuring. "If you fight me," he said, looking down into Rodney's eyes, "I'll probably dislocate your jaw."
Rodney swallowed again. At least he was going to get some liquid out of this.
"You're going to choke a little - at least some of it will go down the wrong pipe."
Rodney wanted to nod, but Sheppard still had his jaw in one hand so he couldn't do anything but blink his acceptance.
Sheppard took a single-use squeeze tube out of his pocket and pulled the cap off with his teeth. He stepped up to Rodney, his legs bracketing Rodney's thighs, and for one fleeting moment, Rodney thought about tripping him, or bring his hands up and punching Sheppard in the balls. A truly evil Sheppard would have had him tied down, though, arms and legs and torso bound tight enough that it would've been hard to breathe. Sheppard was cutting Rodney some slack, so Rodney returned the favor.
Sheppard pulled Rodney's chin in to rest on Sheppard's belly, and suddenly both his hands were on Rodney's face. One was pinching Rodney's nose shut, and the other grabbed his tongue. He could taste Sheppard's fingers - metal and duct tape, and something tangy, like raspberries - and then Sheppard was pinching Rodney's tongue hard enough for his eyes to water. Sheppard flipped the tube around in his mouth and leaned over Rodney's face, so fast it looked like he was going to headbutt him, and Rodney recoiled automatically, catching himself just before he tried to twist out of Sheppard's grip.
Sheppard bit down on the tube and squirted the liquid into Rodney's mouth - something cherry flavored, just like the bug juice - and Rodney coughed, trying to use the thrust of air to get the liquid out of his mouth. It didn't work, and some went down the wrong pipe, just like Sheppard said it would, and then he was coughing for real, and swallowing, and some of it was dribbling out of the corner of his mouth.
Sheppard let go of him and backed up to the far wall, waiting while Rodney collected himself. It was tough with his wrists still duct taped together, but he wiped his mouth on his sleeve, swallowed several times to clear the taste out of his mouth a little, and took a couple of shaky breaths.
"That wasn't really bug juice, was it?" Rodney asked.
Sheppard shook his head.
"You have some, though, don't you?" There was no reason for Rodney to think that, to even consider that Sheppard would have something as morally questionable as bug juice, but... "John? Do you?"
Great. More nightmares for Rodney.
"Can you please participate now?" Sheppard begged. "Call it coercion or Stockholm syndrome or bug juice or whatever, but I need you to make my plan work."
Rodney gave Sheppard his best glare. "Evil-you may be able to get me to cooperate, but you-you will never be able to."
"Come on," John whined, kicking the floor like the twelve-year-old Rodney knew he was. "I need you if I'm going to take down everybody."
Rodney perked up. "Everybody?"
Sheppard grinned. "Starting with Woolsey."
"Huh." Rodney watched Sheppard fidget - which for him resembled pouting - and realized he may actually be interested playing after all.
"You and me against the rest of Atlantis, Rodney." Sheppard pulled out his knife and tipped his chin at Rodney's duct-taped wrists. "You know you want to."
"All right," Rodney said, offering his wrists to Sheppard. "Let's take them down."