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Best drink I ever had!

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Best drink I ever had!
Author: Bane Huntress (Sarah B)

 

Woolsey watched John all but fall through the Stargate, Ronon and Teyla on either side, all but holding him upright.

His chest went cold as he made his way down the stairs, they were early, and it was only a trade mission so he had no idea what could have possibly gone wrong, again.

“Sheppard?” he questioned as he hurried closer.

Sheppard was being held up by his arms, the expression on his supporters faces made him slow his pace. They both looked angry. Ronon was all but growling and Teyla’s lips were pressed into a thin line of annoyance.

Then he heard giggling, and with shock realised it was coming from Sheppard. It wasn’t a pleasant sound.

“What’s going on here?” He looked at Teyla for answers.

Teyla moved her chin in such a way that Woolsey knew she was beyond irritated. “The Renori were having a wedding celebration when we arrived, I asked John not to partake in the local celebratory beverage.”

“But he did anyway.” Ronon growled out as he tightened his hold on Sheppard’s arm.

Teyla also tightened her hold, “He was then taken away by the village shaman, we were asked politely not to interfere.”

Woolsey could see her bristle at the word ‘politely’, so it obviously involved weapons.

Sheppard muttered something unintelligible.

“It is a most powerful substance.” Teyla continued in a clipped manner. “It is only meant for the youth of marriageable age in the tribe.”

Woolsey sighed. “I guess not for aging Lieutenant Colonels?”

“Not at all.” Teyla sighed and seemed to sag a little. “And we can not ascertain what actually happened to him once he left our side, but he seems not to be harmed.”

“I guess it’s a visit to the infirmary anyway” Woolsey said as he looked down at Sheppard. “Do you think the beverage it’s self is harmful?”

“I believe not.” Teyla said. “We returned earlier than expected because Sheppard insisted upon it most adamantly… and we thought it best.”

Woolsey didn’t miss the look Teyla cast at Ronon, it was a mix of annoyance, humour and something he couldn’t decipher, and it made him slightly uneasy. “Okay, well lets get him to the infirmary.”

“Don’t wanna!” Sheppard growled from his slumped position between his team mates.

“Ronon.” She smiled at the large man. “If you would.” She gestured at John.

Ronon smiled back at her. “I thought he wanted to go see McKay.” He said, putting more emphasis on the doctor’s name.

“Ronon!” Teyla snapped, the disbelieve and anger in her voice made even Woolsey take a step back.

But before they could say anything else, Sheppard was on his feet, twisting himself out of his captors hold with ease.

Woolsey took a breath in surprise. The look on Sheppard’s face was intense, then he was running out of the gate room like he had a Wraith on his tail towards the labs.

“What…?” Woolsey was just about to look at Teyla, but she was already running after Sheppard, calling his name.

Then Woolsey heard Teyla over his communicator as he ran after her and Ronon.

‘McKay! Where are you?’ Teyla shouted into her radio.

There was a pause before he answered. ‘In my lab… why?’ he sounded worried.

‘Lock your door!’ Teyla panted.

‘What? Why!’ His voice went up in panic.

‘Just do it!’ Teyla growled. ‘Security to McKay’s lab now! Weapons to stun and if you see Sheppard… stun him!’

Woolsey picked up his pace wondering what the hell was going on.

 

+ + + + +

 

Rodney felt his blood pressure sky rocket at Teyla’s first warning, he fumbled for his crutches, knocking them both to the floor, then hitting one with his cast foot that sent it skittering across the lab well out of reach.

“Why are you stunning Sheppard?!” he demanded as he struggled to reach down for the last remaining crutch. But his shoulder protested viciously making him gasp in pain. “What the hell has he done now?” He bit out in frustration, more at his current situation than something stupid Sheppard was doing.

‘Rodney, you need to secure yourself!’ Teyla sounded pissed. ‘Sheppard is not in his right mind.’

“When is he ever?” Rodney muttered to himself as he hooked the crutch with his good foot and managed to lift it up enough to get a hold of.

‘I’m near McKay’s lab now!’ Rodney heard Lorne over the radio as he heard his boots running down the corridor.

‘Get inside and lock the door.’ Teyla ordered.

“McKay!” Lorne called as he came barrelling into the lab. “Are you okay?”

Rodney rolled his eyes. “Yes, I’m as fine as I can be with a broken leg, dislocated shoulder and burns!” he snapped sarcastically.

Lorne just nodded as he closed the door and Rodney heard it lock.

“Is this really necessary?” He asked over the radio.

“I don’t know.” Lorne answered nervously as he turned his weapon on the door. “I have Doctor McKay secured in his lab.”

‘Good.’ Teyla said relived. ‘Keep him there.’

“It’s not like I can go anywhere!” Rodney snapped. His concern for his own safety as well as John’s was making him jittery, god, he needed more coffee but the pot in his office was empty. And just to make things worse his leg was beginning to throb along with his shoulder.

He jumped when something slammed into the lab door.

“Rodney!” Sheppard shouted through the door. “You in there?”

Rodney frowned, John didn’t sound like he was angry, if anything, he sounded rather jovial.

“Colonel Sheppard is here.” Lorne said into his radio.

‘We are on our way.’ Teyla sounded relived.

“Lorne?” Ok so maybe Sheppard didn’t sound so happy anymore. “Unlock the door Major!”

Rodney shared a look with Lorne. Something wasn’t right and he was damned if he knew what.

“Can’t do that sir.” Lorne answered.

They heard John sigh as the door unlocked it’s self then opened and Lorne was suddenly in front of him, blocking him from John’s sight.

“Move.” John growled out at Lorne menacingly.

Rodney hurriedly moved the crutch under his good shoulder and stood on his good foot. Now he could appreciate Teyla’s warning, John’s quick silver mood was putting Rodney more on edge and he had his ‘I’m Colonel you WILL do my bidding or I’ll shoot you’ voice on.

“I can’t do that si…” Lorne didn’t get to finish as he collapsed to the floor after being stunned.

Rodney looked at Lorne on the floor in horror, then looked back up at John who was grinning at him happily.

“Hey.” John said is a soft growl, it was a tone Rodney had never heard before and it was as unnerving as his ‘power’ voice, if not more so because it was so unfamiliar.

“Hey yourself.” He answered cautiously, He could hear more booted feet coming up the corridor and he tried to take a step back but his ankle screamed in pain and he felt himself toppling backwards.

Then John was there, holding him upright and close to his chest.

Rodney was just about to protest when he found John’s tongue down his throat, and all thought of imminent danger left his mind as it went totally blank as John held him up.

“John?!”

Rodney jumped when he heard Woolsey’s surprised, and probably horrified, exclamation.

Suddenly John was pulling away, one arm still around Rodney’s waist holding him on his feet and close to John’s side. His other arm was outstretched with Ronon’s gun in his hand pointing at Woolsey, while everyone behind him took a step back.

“John…” Rodney watched as Woolsey schooled his face to be more calming. “You need to let Doctor McKay go and come with us to the infirmary.”

“No.” John said decisively.

A chill ran down Rodney’s spine, he didn’t mind John facing down the bad guys with that tone, it made Rodney feel safe, it was a tone that said John would kill everything in his way, with his bare hands if need be. But when it was aimed at his colleagues, never mind friends it made him feel queasy.

“The guns not on stun.” Rodney heard Ronon growl and everyone by the door took a step back.

“Get out.” John grumbled low. There was no need to raise his voice.

Rodney saw what looked like the end of a Wraith stunner behind the many figures blocking the door and he knew this wasn’t going to end pretty.

He also knew there was something wrong with John, something that even had Teyla worried so it couldn’t be good. John needed help and despite the mind blowing kiss, Rodney had to remember John was his friend, and he needed help first. If he even remembers this.

He took a very deep breath then let his crutch slip away from him, till he was supporting his own weight on his good leg, then he grimaced as he looked for Ronon in the crowed. He gave the big Satedan a nod as he shifted his weight to his broken ankle.

Pain shot up his leg through his hip making his gasp in pain as he lost his balance completely.

He was aware of Ronon’s gun slipping from John’s grip as he turned and tried to keep them both upright.

Rodney heard the Wraith stunner fire, then he was consumed by agony before the world went dark.

 

+ + + + +

 

John became aware of someone talking quietly near him. They sounded angry and confused all at the same time.

He tried to make sense of the words but his body felt like he had been on a week bender while his head felt like it was stuffed with wire wool filled with glass shards, so he daren’t move.

He tried to remember where he was, he figured the infirmary because it smelled like it, but he couldn’t fathom why. He had been on some boring off world trading thing with Ronon and Teyla, he remembered their warnings about the local hooch, but he didn’t see how one cup could hurt, and the little old lady who had given it to him seemed so nice. He guessed it was potent because everything after that was a little bit hazy.

Some of the village women had dragged him off to a little clearing, the little old lady had seemed nice enough before she started chanting something and tutting at him disapprovingly. He recalled something about ignoring his heart, and that she said her spirits would see him right if he just drank some thing that smelled a lot like beer, only sweeter.

He could still taste it in his mouth.

He could also remember wanting to get back home, he wanted something there, something he had forgotten or left behind? But that was as far as he got, after that it was just a jumble of feelings, of need and warmth, there had been relief and shear joy at one point, but he didn’t know why, he had obviously found whatever it was that had been so pressing when he got back to Atlantic.

He opened his eyes to the dim light, it confirmed he was in the infirmary and he needed something to drink.

“He’s awake.” Teyla sounded relived as she came around the bed he was in. “How are you feeling John?” she ask softly.

“Ugg.” He answered as the head of the bed was lifted a little. “Like I been run over.” He groused running a hand over his face. “Can I get a drink?”

“Sure.” She handed him a glass of tepid water that he gulped it down with only a slight grimace.

“Apart from run over, what other symptoms do you have?” Carson asked from his other side.

“Hey Doc.” John said handing the glass back. “Head feels like it’s about to explode, thirsty… hungry… what happened?”

He didn’t miss the look the two shot each other.

“What?” he demanded.

“The beverage you drank on Renori has some kind of chemical we can’t identify.” Carson said calmly. “It made you run about the city causing a bit of mischief, we had to stun you to let-“

“You stole Ronon’s gun and stunned Even, then pointed it at Woolsey.” Teyla cut in over Carson. “We were all rather worried, you were not yourself.”

“Oh… everyone’s okay right?”

“Everyone is fine; we do not blame you for your little escapade.” Teyla smiled at him. “I have to go now, why don’t you get some more rest?”

John nodded at her as she left then he turned to Carson. “Could you give me anything for my head?” he asked, he didn’t normally like asking for pain meds, but he liked his head not exploding.

Carson looked grim, “Sorry Lad, I don’t know how it will react to what’s already in your blood stream.”

John sloughed down on the bed feeling a little sorry for himself. “How long have I been out?” he asked.

“About nineteen hours give or take.” Carson said as he checked the monitors at the side of the bed. “Teyla’s right, you get some more rest, I need to keep you in for a few days till this chemical is out of your system.”

“Right.” John replied sullenly as he closed his eyes.

 

+ + + + +

 

John was official bored and very pissed off. Becket was being a stubborn bastard and wasn’t letting him leave the infirmary, something about the chemical in his blood not dissipating, if anything it was becoming stronger. So a gallon or two of blood had been siphoned off to go to Carson’s vampiric experiments.

And John couldn’t say that he was feeling alright, his skin was all but itching to get up and go somewhere, it was like he was being pulled from the inside to somewhere specific, he just didn’t know what that specific thing was or where.

During the day he had nearly everyone on Atlantis paying him a visit, Even Lorne turned up to tease him about shooting him. John had apologised but couldn’t really remember the incident.

Woolsey had seemed a little edgy around him and he was sure he was keeping something back from what he had done.

Ronon had also been by to bitch about him being a sneaky bastard and taking his gun, then had started to say something before Teyla had cut him off and moved the topic onto something else.

The only person who hadn’t been was McKay, and that pissed him off even more and he wasn’t entirely sure why it irked him so much.

He would never really admit it out loud, but McKay was the closest thing he had ever really had as a best friend. Sure he had lots of friends; he had always found that easy. But no one had ever got him as McKay did so easily, McKay just accepted him for who he was, which for John was something big, he could actually be himself around the man without having to wear another mask. He had an inkling that it might just be because McKay was so bad with people that he just didn’t see or care. Which again was a haven for John.

When he had first met the Astrophysicist he hadn’t thought much of him other than loud, obnoxious, arrogant and blindingly intelligent, just another facet to the mission. But all too quickly he learned the hard way never to underestimate Rodney, when someone saves your life a few times, you appreciate it. But with that also came his understanding of how Rodney worked. Under all his bluff and buster was an insecure man filled with contradictions who just wanted to help. Even if he would cover it up with self confidence that was only skin deep.

He couldn’t help a little grin when he thought about the amount of times he had cajoled, ordered and shamelessly guilt tripped McKay into working miracles on short order. He had always apologised with chocolate, a bit of real coffee or letting him steal his pudding.

He move around a little in his bed, trying to get comfortable as he mused over his friend and why he hadn’t been. Thinking maybe it also had something to do with Rodney’s broken ankle and mobility, he just hoped someone had remembered to feed him and drag him out of his lab for a bit, he would question Teyla when he saw her next.

He was just thinking of calling her, it was late and only the duty nurse was about in her office, he was alone in the infirmary so she was probably asleep or catching up on research.

As he tried to find his communicator he became aware of the fact he was being watched. Slowly he turned to see Rodney peeking at him from around the curtain to his right. His stormy blue eyes filled with uncertainty and worry.

John suddenly wanted to do anything to make that look disappear; he made to throw the covers off his legs when Rodney hobbled from behind the curtain.

“Don’t get up!” Rodney whispered casting a look in the way of the office. “Carson say’s you’re still sick.” He moved a little closer on his crutches.

That was when John saw the cast now on Rodney’s forearm and something inside him began a slow burn, he needed to touch Rodney, make sure he was alright in every other way, it was almost a physical pain. Biting back on his emotions he patted the bed by his hip, motioning Rodney closer.

“What happened to your arm?” he asked as calmly as he could manage, then patted the bed again.

Obediently Rodney inched forwards. “Hairline fracture from where I fell.” Rodney looked sheepish. “By all accounts I hit it on the table when Ronon stunned us.”

“Us?” John asked as he made grabbing motions with his hands for the fibreglass cast that now covered Rodney’s left arm.

Rodney leaned his hip against the bed as he held out his arm.

John instantly took the bulky cast in his hands, he felt angry and relived in equal measures and he couldn’t explain why. Without thinking he pulled Rodney closer, moving one hand to his elbow as his other hand stroked, then held, the fingers sticking out the end of the cast.

It felt so good just to touch the other mans warm flesh, something eased inside his chest.

Finally he looked up into confused blue eyes and he couldn’t help the grin that spread across his face.

He knew something wasn’t right, he felt like he was high. The world around him seamed to dull as his focus was captured on the man before him.

“Umm…” Rodney muttered. “You weren’t yourself earlier….” He trailed off.

John couldn’t take his eyes off Rodney’s mouth, he just wanted him closer, needed to feel his warmth, reassure himself of the life thrumming through Rodney. He moved over a little as he tried to pull Rodney onto the bed with him.

Rodney gave a worried look towards the office again as he raised his free hand to his own lips. “Maybe I should go…”

A bolt of burning cold ran through John as he tightened his grip. “No.” he growled out as he surged up, captured the back of Rodney’s neck then brought their mouths sharply together. Rodney gave a grunt of surprise and pain but John wasn’t letting go, he physically couldn’t. He needed this even though in the back of his mind he knew he shouldn’t be doing it, that the consequences could be devastating. But right here, right now, he needed this like he needed air.

As much as Rodney had tried to pull away he suddenly melted, letting John take what he wanted as he licked Rodney’s lips open and delved into the coffee tasting soft warmth.

John heard something clatter to the floor as he pulled Rodney up onto the bed. It was awkward and clumsy but finally Rodney grunted and gasped his way against John’s side without once breaking their kiss.

He felt Rodney flinch when his hands started exploring and John moved his hand down Rodney’s arm, remembering that the other man was still injured from a few days ago when one of the control panels exploded, the panel breaking Rodney’s ankle and dislocating his shoulder, John had been there and had seen the bruising and slight burns. Now he needed to see them and he began tugging on the shirt Rodney was wearing.

With a feat of strength he pulled away from Rodney’s wonderful mouth, John untangled his legs from the sheets. It was made frustrating by the fact he found he had to keep a hand on the other man at all times. It also seemed like Rodney was as much affected. Rodney also fixed his good hand into John’s because he felt like if he let go of John the spell would be broken.

Finally John pulled and pushed Rodney flat on the bed and began tugging at his shirt again as John kneeled with one knee either side of Rodney’s hips.

Rodney tried to stop him with his cast hand. “John?” the worry in his voice made John pause. “Not here…” Rodney bit his lip as he once again looked towards the office.

“I need to see,” John swallowed. He had forgotten that the nurse or anyone could just walk in on them. But he couldn’t let go. “I just need to see.” He clarified again as he tugged the shirt up.

The skin on the right side of Rodney’s chest looked sore and sensitive, there was also a large dressing just below his arm pit covering his right breast, John remembered it covered a wound where a burning crystal had hit him. Slowly he moved the fingers of his free hand over the white dressing.

Rodney winced and gasped, but he made no move to stop John exploring.

John just smiled reassuringly as he moved his hand to the other side to massage Rodney’s left nipple with his palm. He watched as more colour flushed over Rodney’s cheeks and he closed his eyes making very pleasing noises at the back of his throat.

John felt the desire become a burning need inside him, going from his chest and descending into his groin. With a growl of almost animal lust he leaned down to capture those twisted lips as he shoved one knee between Rodney’s legs. Forcing the other man to open up beneath him.

Rodney’s complete submission was proving to be more of a turn on than John ever thought possible, it was a heady experience and he wanted more, he wanted it all.

He pinned their clasped hands into the mattress above Rodney’s head as his other hand roamed down Rodney’s chest, over his soft stomach until John let his fingers slip under the waist band of Rodney’s pants.

He growled into Rodney’s mouth as his fingers grazed through short wiry hair to finally brush up against Rodney’s erection.

He delved deeper into Rodney’s mouth as his fingers encircled the other mans cock.

Rodney made desperate little noises as the fingers of his cast hand fisted into John’s T-shirt.

John tightened his hold a little making Rodney squirm, which only made John’s own erection even harder.

He broke the kiss to let them breathe as he bit and nibbled on Rodney’s wonderful mouth.

“What in gods name!”

John stilled as Rodney stiffened beneath him but not in a good way, and John slowly removed his hand from Rodney’s pants.

“Sheppard!”

John felt anger replace his previous lust as he swung his head round to growl at Becket as he came into John’s space. “Get out!” he growled as he moved to put himself between the Doctor and Rodney, he needed to protect his mate.

That thought made him pause for a moment as he looked back down at McKay.

Rodney was looking up at him in horror before he moved, pushing his face into John’s chest, which only made John burn to protect him more.

“Who the hell have you got there… Oh my god!” Becket was close enough now to see who else was on the bed. “Rodney!” he exclaimed.

John lashed out when Becket took a step too close. “Get back.” John warned as he pulled Rodney up with him as he sat up. He freed his hand from Rodney’s using it instead to keep Rodney’s face against his shoulder.

“Carson, Is he awake?”

John closed his eyes as Doctor Keller came around the curtain. He heard Rodney gasp and reality tried to shatter its way into John’s consciousness.

His days were off as he remembered she was due off vacation soon after visiting her farther. He had meant to be helping Rodney find a new apartment for them both before the panel exploded on them.

He tightened his hold painfully on Rodney as he tried to fight off his sudden hatred of her that was almost consuming him at that moment.

All that kept skimming through his mind was that she was a threat, and all threats needed to be as far away from Rodney as they could be.

“Get away.” He snarled at her, making her take a step back, but she wasn’t smart enough to stay there, instead she tried to smile bravely as she began moving forwards again, hands out stretched as if to calm him.

“It’s ok.” She said softly. “Carson just told me about the chemical in your blood stream and I’ve just come to take a sample and see how you are doing.”

Without thinking John let his instincts take over as he threw a punch at her face.

It only grazed her cheek as Carson just managed to pull her back in time as he hit his communicator and called for security.

John just managed to get off the bed, pulling Rodney with him when four marines appeared, weapons at the ready.

“Rodney?” John heard Keller gasp as Carson began talking to the marines.

“Restrain Sheppard and get him back in bed, make sure he stays there.”

John backed up all but pulling Rodney with him, he needed to run, get Rodney somewhere where he could protect him.

He felt Rodney’s arms tighten around him and John was momentarily distracted as the marines jumped them.

 

+ + + + +

 

Carson sighed as he collapsed in the chair between his two patients.

The last two hours had been an unfathomable nightmare.

When the marines had pulled John and Rodney apart it hadn’t been easy, the two men had clung to each other fiercely, but when their hands had been forced apart both men collapsed screaming as if they were on fire.

Carson hadn’t hesitated in sedating both of them as they writhed in obvious agony, but they hadn’t gone under easy. He still wasn’t happy with the amount of sedative he had had to use.

Even then Rodney was still making little whimpering noises to his left and John was still growling to his right, both filled with enough sedative to take down a Wraith.

The hurried blood test he and Keller had performed now showed that the chemical in John’s blood work had doubled its intensity, and Rodney was also infected now. So they had moved both men into quarantine.

He had then got his staff to test everyone who had had contact with the two men in the last few days. Everyone had come back clean, but Carson wasn’t taking any chances.

He had already got Teyla and Ronon along with Lorne and his men to go back to the planet John had been infected on, to get samples and anymore information they could because right now, Carson was completely baffled and a lot tired.

It had been a long day, then to find his two friends groping and kissing on the bed, had been enough of a shock, but the murderous look in John’s eyes when he had swung for Jennifer had been very unexpected. He was sure if he hadn’t pulled her away in time he would be trying to fix her broken jaw.

He had always expected there was or would be something between the two men. But after Katie and now Jennifer, he figured Rodney just wasn’t into that kind of thing. But he always suspected John of swinging that way, well, as far as Rodney was concerned.

After all, the amount of time John would put in sitting at Rodney’s bedside was unusual for ‘just friends’. It had been a gradual thing, and more noticeable after Carson had come back to Atlantis and found out he was a clone. When he had come to check on Rodney late one night to find John sat there playing his DS, he had chuckled to himself, then ask why John was there so late? John had just rolled his eyes, nodding his head in Rodney’s direction, claiming someone had to be there when he woke up and wanted feeding. Carson had just left him to it.

Then he had watched the video diaries Jennifer had made of when Rodney was infected with a parasite. Apart from wishing he had been there, because he was sure he would have seen the change in Rodney. He had taken a mental note about the way Rodney had called out for John, ignoring Jennifer as she tried to reassure him.

He actually felt sorry for the lass, even more so now.

He had thought they were a bad match from the start if he was honest. He knew Rodney was the kind of man to try and please her, but in the end his core personality would reassert itself and she would just be deceiving herself if she thought he would ever change.

“Here…” Jennifer’s voice broke him from his musing as he looked up to see her holding out a cup of coffee for him.

“Oh, thank you love.” He said gratefully taking the beverage. “I thought I had gotten over missing real coffee.” He said taking a sip.

She chuckled a little weakly. “I think everyone’s stolen a supply from stores and hidden it somewhere.”

Carson gave her a wink, “Are you implying we haven’t?” he asked.

She gave him a watery smile as she looked at Rodney’s prone form, then she reached out and touched the fingers sticking out of his cast hand.

Even though Rodney should be incapable of moving he flinched away from her touch and John’s growling intensified for a moment.

Jennifer held her hand to her chest like she had been burned and Carson watched with unease as a tear fell down her cheek. “Is this what I think it is?”

Carson really didn’t feel like having this conversation this early in the morning. “What do you think it is?” he tried to sound innocent.

She gave him a sharp look. “Teyla said she believed it’s the aphrodisiac Sheppard drank that’s making him act this way…” she cast a look of distaste at John. “And the first thing he did was hunt down Rodney. Everyone’s being tight lipped about what happened when Rodney broke his arm and they got stunned, but I’m not blind.” She took a deep breath before she looked back at Carson. “I saw the way Rodney clung to him... and… and that scream.” She closed her large eyes. “Am I fooling myself Carson?” she whispered.

Carson put his cup down as he stood and took her into his arms. “I don’t know lass.” He said honestly. “Let’s just see on getting them better?”

She gave a little dry chuckle. “You’re right, I haven’t slept in almost two days.” She said as she pulled away wiping her eyes. “I’m just being silly.”

Carson just smiled at her. Keeping his opinions behind his teeth.

“Doctor Becket, can you come to the conference room.”

Carson gave Jennifer an apologetic smile. “Can you look after them while I go see what they have found out?”

She nodded but remained silent.

 

+ + + + +

 

Carson looked up as Lorne finally entered the conference room.

“Sorry I took so long.” He said as he sat down next to Carson.

“Ok, now we may begin… Teyla can you tell us what you found out?” Woolsey said, his hands folded neetly in front of himself on the large table.

Teyla didn’t look to happy as she nodded. “The drink that John took was a powerful aphrodisiac, they call it Bronila. I brought you back a sample Doctor Becket.” She said inclining her head towards him.

“Thank.” He acknowledged as she carried on.

“It took some talking but I got to have an audience with the high priestess who took John away, she informed me that she could see a pain in him, that he was incomplete and that she had seen the other part of his soul in the magic drawing that John had shown her earlier. And that her spirits had adamantly insisted on giving him the Bronila.”

“He was playing about with his… digital camera… he bought back from Earth.” Ronon added as he leaned back in his chair. “He was taking pictures of the bonding ceremony.”

“Yes.” Teyla continued. “The priestess said that she had asked the Ancestors to see John on his way to finding his other half and to make him complete. I asked her if she had given John anything else to eat or drink, she just smiled at me and said she could give him nothing but his heart and that they should be left to complete their bonding.”

The room fell silent for a moment before Woolsey cleared his throat. “Do you have anything else to add Major Lorne?”

“Only that Chuck and Ronon just won the pool that’s been going for the past three years.” Evan said with a wry grin in Ronon’s direction.

“About time.” Ronon grinned back.

“Yes well.” Woolsey turned to Carson. “Doctor Becket, I can only leave this in your hands. Please keep me informed of any changes or anything you discover.”

“Okay.” He sighed. “I’ll get right on it.”

“Umm.” Teyla stopped them all from moving from their seats. “The old Priestess said that we should not interfere with the bond… that it could damage them, if separated.”

Carson swallowed as he nodded. “I’ll run tests on the sample then see where we go from there.”

 

+ + + + +

 

Rodney awoke and instantly started shivering; he opened his eyes expecting to see ice surrounding him as he tried to sit up. He felt disorientated as he blinked and the isolation room came into focus, then Carson was leaning over him trying to get him to lie back down.

“Turn up the heating!” Rodney barked angrily as he fought the Doctor off. “It’s freezing in here!”

Carson finally backed off a little. “It’s not cool.” He said placing a hand on Rodney’s forehead.

Rodney batted it away, then pulled the thin sheet up to his chin. “Can I get some more covers!”

“You’re not cold Rodney…” then Carson was shoving a thermometer into his ear. Rodney gritted his teeth as he put up with it. “Your temperatures just fine.” Carson frowned.

Rodney finally felt something other than the cold seep into his chest, it was like being hollow and it was starting to hurt more than the cold that seemed to be making his bones into ice. Absently he rubbed his chest.

He knew something wasn’t right, but he couldn’t put his finger on it.

Then he looked right at Carson who was looking intently back at him. “What the hell happened?” he snapped. “Why am I in here?!”

Carson shifted on his feet uneasily and Rodney could almost hear the cogs working in his brain. “Well.” He began. “It seems you now have the same chemical that Colonel Sheppard has in his system.”

“Wh…” Rodney exclaimed before he remembered something.

He had tried to stay away from the Colonel. The kiss had been enough to make him feel awkward, and it made him question everything they had ever shared that he thought was friendship. But it had made his head ache with it, so finally he had gone to see the man, but Teyla had stopped him, suggesting maybe he should stay away until the Colonel was on his feet. And he had let her lead him away to get something to eat. Then making him go rest after his more resent injury.

Rodney didn’t have the heart to tell her his arm didn’t really hurt, he had been unconscious when he broke it, and when he woke up, it was already in an air cast.

That’s why he had waited till late at night before he crept back to the infirmary, he had had to see John, just to make sure he was alright, or so he told himself.

But when he was looking at John, he couldn’t turn away, and when John had touched him everything had felt so right like nothing had felt at all in his whole life. After that he couldn’t remember anything much at all other than feelings and he could feel his face blush, or try too, but he was so damn cold, he shivered again.

He tried to ask again for more sheets but instead he asked. “Where’s John.” He watched as once again Carson looked shifty. “Carson!” he demanded.

“Sorry.” Carson said as he put something into the IV line that was going into Rodney’s elbow.

Rodney yelped and tried to stop the Doctor but he could feel the sedative already seeping into his system. He didn’t want to sleep, he needed to find John.

As his eyes slipped closed he heard a growl from the divider besides his bed, then he fell asleep.

 

+ + + + +

 

Carson sighed as he sat back in his chair besides Rodney’s bed. It had been almost 24 hours since he had sedated Rodney and still they could find nothing in the sample Teyla had given him, it was just a basic tea type drink from three different plants, and none of them were harmful in any way, none of them even contained the chemical that now both sedated men had.

Rodney was shivering like he actually was cold even though his temperature was fine. Meanwhile John was writhing about as if his skin was irritating him.

He sighed as he looked over at John who still fought against his restraints. They hadn’t dared wake him, knowing from old habits the colonel could be violent, so they didn’t want to risk it.

He tried not to yawn, the whole city was going to sleep around him as it grew late.

So, with a sigh he got up. Against his better judgement, he went with his heart instead of his head.

Slowly he unhooked Rodney from all his life support. He couldn’t keep the other man on it much longer anyway without it affecting the rest of his health.

Then he pushed the flimsy screen separating the two men out of the way, and began removing all John’s medical apparatus too.

He stood wondering if he should remove John’s restraints, then decided against it. He really didn’t want John hurting his friend. He guessed John would just have to wait for Rodney to wake up first. He did release the man’s ankles though.

Then he left the room, locking it behind him as he went up to the observation room, where he could get coffee and a comfy chair to watch the events in the isolation room unfold as they would.

--

Carson glanced at his watch; it was about three am and all that had happened was his friends became a little bit more restless as they slowly came around.

“Hey…” Came a quiet voice behind him, making him jump.

“Ah, Jennifer.” He smiled up at her as she held out a mug of coffee. “Ah thank you lass… but what are you doing up so late?” he asked as she pulled a chair over and sat down besides him.

She looked warn out, her eyes red. “Couldn’t sleep.” She said softly. “I thought you might do this eventually.”

Carson supped his coffee. “It’s all I can think of… I kept the Colonel in restraints though so he can’t hurt Rodney.”

“Good…” she said a little distantly.

Carson felt a little awkward; he couldn’t help but feel sorry for the lass. “Ah, seems Rodney might be waking up.”

 

+ + + + +

 

John woke with a start and cried out. His whole body felt like it was on fire. When he tried to get up he found himself still strapped to the bed.

“John…?” came a weak voice from his right.

“Rodney!” He called as he managed to sit up and look at his friend who was curled on his side on a bed opposite. He was shivering and John wanted nothing more than to go to him. “Rodney!” he called again as storm blue eyes looked at him. Rodney looked confused and a little scared. John tugged at the restraints on his wrists again. “Rodney, are you okay?”

Rodney shivered again, “I’m so cold.” He stuttered out, his teeth chattering.

“Come here.” John urged as he bent down trying to bit the padded leather straps open, even if they were designed against such manipulations, he couldn’t quite reach. “Rodney, I can’t get loose.” He growled out in frustration. The need to touch Rodney was almost as strong as the burning that covered his skin. “Can you come to me?” he asked more softly. “Please Rodney.”

Slowly he watched as Rodney stiffly sat up, then ease himself to the edge of the bed. His cast leg and arm making it awkward.

“That’s it.” John encouraged. “It’s just a little distance, you can make it.”

“So cold.” Rodney sobbed as he put his good foot on the floor and eased himself up onto it.

John smiled. “I know, buddy. But you just have to make it three feet. You think you can do that?” he tried to be encouraging. He just needed to get his hands on his friend and he knew everything would be better.

Rodney nodded as he carefully put his weight on his cast foot and grimaced, then in a quick move Rodney all but flung himself across the space between the beds. With a cry he flung his arms around John’s shoulders to keep himself from falling.

Instantly John gasped in relief as the burning just under his skin eased, as if Rodney was made of ice to cool the burns. Rodney was also gasping out and hugging him tighter around the neck.

“So warm!” Rodney said happily.

John pulled against his restraints again, he needed to touch his friend. “Rodney, untie me.” He almost begged.

Eventually Rodney pulled away a little and began fumbling with his right restraint. When his trembling fingers finally released him, John quickly released his other wrist, then without a thought he turned and pulled Rodney up onto the bed besides him.

He tangled his legs with Rodney’s then wrapped his arms about him, pulling his cool body against his own, the burning eased with ever touch. Finally he put one hand on the back of Rodney’s head pulling the man closed till their cheeks were side by side. Rodney was holding him in return, like he was trying to pull John into his own body.

“So warm.” Rodney said again almost like a sob.

John chuckled knowing how Rodney hated to be cold. “I know buddy.” He answered as he rubbed their stubble covered cheeks together.

Finally he pulled away a little. He really had no idea what was going on, but he had to look into those blue eyes again. Rodney looked about as confused as he felt. Then without thinking he leaned in and brought their lips together.

Rodney’s eyes opened wide, but eventually they closed as John deepened the kiss. He groaned into Rodney mouth, it felt so good, so right, like they had been doing this for years.

Slowly he moved Rodney so he was laying on his back, John over him, pressing him down into the thin mattress as he explored Rodney’s mouth, their tongues battling gently as they tasted each other. John didn’t care that they hadn’t brushed their teeth in day’s, Rodney still tasted wonderful, and if the sounds Rodney was making were anything to go by, he didn’t mind to much either.

Finally John pulled away a little to catch his breath as Rodney did the same as they grinned at each other.

“Feeling warmer now?” he asked.

Rodney blushed a little then nodded. “yeah.” He answered quietly. “What’s going on?”

John blinked. “I don’t know…” he answered truthfully. “I just know Whatever it is, it feel good.”

Rodney blushed a deeper shade of red, “Yeah.” He whispered as he snuggled a little closer. “But…”

John stopped him with a quick kiss, nothing more than a meeting of lips. “You’re tired and sore.” He told his friend, and it was strange, but he could feel it like it was his own fatigue. “Let’s just settle and catch some more sleep?”

Rodney’s forehead crinkled up in concentration, “But what if someone…”

John kissed him again. “Then I’ll tell them to piss off.” He grinned down at his friend as he ran a hand through his hair. “Just sleep, I’ll make sure we aren’t disturbed.”

Rodney gave him a little smile before he closed his eyes.

John moved them about till they were both comfortable.

John felt when Rodney slipped into sleep, it was like half of his own mind had suddenly gone to sleep. It was a little disconcerting, but reassuring all at the same time. He decided not to dwell on it as he slipped into a light doze. The affect of his sedation still pulling at his senses.

 

+ + + + +

 

Carson signed as he watched his two friends cuddle up together on the thin bed. John making it perfectly clear with his body language that he was guarding over the scientist, with the way he was wrapped about Rodney.

Rodney on the other hand seemed quite happy to let John do what he liked.

He knew this was some kind of chemical making them act like this, but if he was honest with himself, he knew it had just been the touch paper his two stubborn friends had needed. He had seen it years ago.

He had known Rodney wasn’t a person who trusted easily, but yet he had made quick alliances with the Colonel.

He also knew that John was a kind of guy who made friends easy, but never really looked for anything deeper. Yet he had seen right though Rodney’s touchy exterior to the soft heart beneath.

They were like chalk and cheese, but they were drawn together like magnets.

Carson glanced over at his companion as she stared down at her knees. His heart went out to her. She was shy and almost timid at times and he was sure she thought she loved Rodney. But he knew she also wanted to change him. And that would never end well, Rodney wasn’t the kind of guy who could change for long, and their relationship would only end in tragedy for both of them.

He reached out and patted her leg. “Sorry lass.”

She looked up at him, her large blue eyes full of unshed tears. “It’s chemically induced.” She whispered.

Carson gave her a knowing smile.

She let one tear fall down her cheek. “Fine…” she said looking back down at the men on the bed below them. “I guess I knew this was coming.”

Carson tuted as he patted her knee. “None of us saw this coming, lass. You shouldn’t be so hard on yourself.” He guessed the little white lie wouldn’t hurt.

Jennifer then burst into tears as she buried her face in her hands.

‘Crap.’ He thought as he patted her back.

 

+ + + + +

 

John woke instantly as he heard the door open and he looked up with a growl.

“It’s just me.” Carson said as he came in, a tray of food in his hands. “I thought you boys could do with something to eat. Especially Rodney.”

John couldn’t help but rise a little over Rodney. He still didn’t trust the doctor not to shove something in him again. but as he watched Carson put the tray down on the side table, he could feel himself being hungry, and it was echoed as he felt Rodney begin to wake up.

“I guess getting a blood sample it out of the question?” Carson smiled as he stepped away a little.

“Not right now, no.” John replied as Rodney opened his eyes, smelling the food.

“I brought some scrambled eggs and buttered toast, and some tea for now.” Carson said with a smile at Rodney.

John bit back a snarl. He didn’t want Carson even looking at Rodney.

“Let me up.” Rodney said, pushing at his chest lightly. “I’m hungry.” He whined a little bit.

“I know.” John rolled his eyes as he moved over Rodney till he was standing between him and the doctor. All the time keeping a wary eye on Carson as he pulled the table closer. Then he turned and helped Rodney sit up.

Instantly Rodney reached out with his good arm and picked up some toast and began eating it with pleasurable noises that John was finding distracting as he kept one hand on the scientist.

“Wow, there is a lot here.” Rodney said happily.

“It’s for both of you.” Carson admonished.

Rodney grunted. “You should eat too John.” He said distractedly, picking up a fork and shovelling some egg into his mouth.

John smiled at Rodney, “I’ll eat whatever you leave.” He said honestly, his own needs didn’t take precedence where Rodney was concerned, which was his normal MO, now it just seemed a little more pressing.

Rodney looked up at him with a frown. “But you’re hungry too…” he said a little confused. “I can feel it.”

John nodded, “But you need it more that me right now… We can get more later.”

“Okay.” Rodney said as he carried on eating.

“What was that?” Carson suddenly asked as he looked between the two of them. “You can feel each others hunger?”

John shrugged, but Rodney answered. “Like an echo.” He said around a mouthful of eggs. As he then held up a fork full for John. “Eat something. It’s annoying enough feeling my own hunger, never mind yours.” He groused.

John took the eggs and swallowed appreciatively. Then he let go of Rodney to pick up some toast and almost collapsed.

He suddenly felt weak as his whole body felt like it was consumed by flame.

Soon as Rodney put his hands on him it all went away.

He gasped as Rodney held onto him tightly. “Don’t do that!” Rodney snapped angrily, sounding distressed.

“I wont… what happened.” He asked as he moved himself up to sit on the edge of the bed, his hands grabbing Rodney like he was a life line as he leaned in and put their foreheads together as he recovered from what had just happened.

“I don’t know.” Rodney whispered out. “I just felt really cold again. Like my insides were freezing.”

John let Rodney push him away a little, till only Rodney’s hands were on his shoulders. Then Rodney took his hand, removing his other hand.

“Ready?” Rodney asked softly looking into his eyes.

John nodded.

Rodney pulled his hand away. Then instantly put it back with a gasp.

John tuned his hand and gripped Rodney’s fingers. “Ok… This isn’t good.”

“No…” Rodney echoed.

“What is it?” Carson asked, edging a little closer till John glared at him.

“We can’t let go of each other.” Rodney said. “I get really cold when I let go.”

“And I feel like I’m burning…” John said softly as he looked at his friend. “You’re the only thing that stops it.”

“Same.” Rodney put his other hand on John’s as he moved closer so more of their body’s were touching.

John could feel Carson inch closer and he turned and actually growled at him. “Just stay back!” he begged. The urge to attack the doctor was way to strong for him to resist, he knew he would punching him if he took another step towards Rodney.

Carson stepped back, his hands up. “Ok, ok, I’m backing up.” He said. “But I really need a blood sample to even try and figure out what’s going on… You’re both acting way out of character.”

John felt like he was acting just fine.

“I feel fine…” Rodney snapped, “Well… apart from this touching thing… that’s a little strange.”

“You need to keep eating.” John said absently as he pulled the table closer again. “And I’m sure whatever we have will ware off soon enough…”

“Maybe.” Carson said under his breath as John urged Rodney to eat. His hunger really was being infectious.

 

+ + + + +

 

John yawned loudly as he rested his head against Rodney’s work table.

The last two week’s had been hard, and still he couldn’t let go of his friends hand, or like right now, their ankles were hooked together as the worked on their own separate laptops.

Well, if he thought about it, being attached to Rodney was the easiest thing he had ever done in his life… what was hard was the world at large.

He couldn’t stand anyone getting close to Rodney, it made his teeth itch. He actually felt sorry for Keller; he couldn’t help but growl and snarl at her if she was even in the same room, even if that room was Command or the Mess. If he could see her, he wanted her gone. He couldn’t help it. He had been a little surprised Rodney didn’t want to talk to her. John had even suggested he send her an email. But Rodney had just shrugged and let the matter drop.

John just found it all weird; he couldn’t even feel any emotion from Rodney when they mentioned Keller. No sorrow, or regret, not even logging or lust. Just nothing.

And that was another thing that was strange, he could feel when Rodney was hungry, or tired, even knew when he needed to go to the bathroom, which he had feared would be awkward, which it was, but only because they had to still be in physical contact.

So, feeling nothing when Keller was about, just seemed odd. Especially when his own emotions towards her were so blatantly hostile.

That brought him back to Carson, he was the only person John eventually allowed near Rodney, and even then he hated it.

But still whatever they had in their blood stream showed no sigh of leaving. So now they were grounded, and John was bored, but he knew they couldn’t go off world till this was all sorted.

“You’re tired.” Rodney said as he leaned against John’s side. “And bored.”

John turned his head then grinned; Rodney had put his head down on the table too, so they were looking at each other. “You know I hate being grounded.” He smiled.

Rodney snorted as he also smiled. “Same.” He answered with a regretful sigh. “But I’m starting to think Carson’s wrong…”

“Wrong, how?” John tried to stop another yawn, but failed.

Rodney looked away for a moment, then John blinked as he felt a stirring of lust coming from his friend.

“Really?” he asked quietly.

Carson had told them not to have sex… It hadn’t stopped them kissing though, John was sure he would go mad if he couldn’t shove his tongue down Rodney’s throat at least twice a day.

“Well… I’ve been thinking…” Rodney started.

“I know.” John grinned. “You’re very loud.”

Rodney gave him a scowl before carrying on. “Well, if this is some sort of aphrodisiac… well… the point of aphrodisiacs is… err… to have sex.”

John couldn’t help the grin that spread over his face. “Yes it is.” He uttered as he leaned forwards and gave Rodney a quick kiss. “I guess I’m not so tired… If you want to go to bed?”

Rodney blushed but he smiled all the same as John once again felt a spike of lust. He guessed Rodney could feeling his own too.

 

+ + + + +

 

Rodney tried to muffle a cry as the fingers John had shoved inside him, hit something that made his world explode in a myriad of sensation and colour.

“Like that?” John sounded amused, as he moved his fingers again; rubbing over the place inside him that made him tense and groan out loud.

Rodney couldn’t form words as he grabbed at the sheets. He wanted the incredible sensation to stop, but then he didn’t. He was caught between pleasure and pain. He was so hard he knew he was a moment away from coming, if only he could get some friction, but John was being a bastard and denying him.

“Not yet.” John growled out. “Lets turn you over.”

Rodney groaned in protest, he didn’t want to move, he just needed to come. He snarled when John removed his fingers and Rodney tried to grab John’s wrist between his legs, but when his hands passed his own erection he grabbed that instead.

“No!” John ordered as he pulled Rodney’s hands away.

Rodney tried to fight him, sobbing for release when John surged up over him, kissing him hard and deep. It was enough to take his mind off his need.

“Ok buddy, lets get you over.” John was panting too and Rodney could feel his hard cock against his hip and he groaned again.

“Come on.” John said in frustration as he began to pull and push Rodney.

With more effort than he thought he could muster, he let John move him onto his knees and elbows. The casts on his ankle and arm still being an awkward weight.

Finally he had his ass in the air as John moved in behind him.

Rodney had never done this kind of thing before. And some part of his brain knew he should be feeling embarrassed or scared. But the rest of him, mostly his cock, drowned out all protests. All he knew was that he needed John’s swollen cock inside him, hitting that place John’s fingers had just found.

“God… I can’t wait!” John growled behind him as Rodney felt hands on his hips.

Rodney’s skin tingled in anticipation, then he cried out as he felt the head of John’s cock enter him. It burned a little, then John cried out and slammed into him till flesh met flesh.

Rodney fisted the sheets beneath him as he took a gasp of air and couldn’t let it out. He felt stretched and so full it was unbelievable. It felt so good, but god it hurt, then it didn’t.

“Please.” He begged. “Please don’t move!” he felt John lean over his back and kiss him, then nip at his skin.

Rodney closed his eyes and tried to process all the sensation. He finally felt John buck a little against him and he bit into the sheets with a groan.

“I need to move.” John was begging, his hold growing painfully tight.

Rodney pulled his hips forwards, then pushed back against John, feeling the cock inside him move a little and it felt so good. He did it again feeling the slickness of the lube as he tried to angle his hips just so, trying to get John to hit that place inside that destroyed his world with exquisite pleasure.

Then John was moving and Rodney cried out as he hit the place that blinded him.

“Just… there… Oh god!” Rodney cried out at all the sensations.

John was thrusting into him relentlessly and all he could do was ride the waves of pleasure as John hit his special place over and over again and he moved with every thrust as John kept burying himself inside his body.

“Rodney…I… I’m gonna….” John growled out as he reached around and took hold of Rodney’s cock, gripping it hard.

Rodney stiffened as he felt himself coming as John pumped his erection. He came into Johns fingers with a cry as John’s hips stuttered against his ass as he pounded Rodney prostate as he also came deep inside.

They stayed like that for a few minutes as they both panted, trying to catch their breath.

Finally John pulled out and Rodney sobbed with the loss and the sensation as he collapsed half onto his front, feeling boneless and completely satisfied.

It was the most mind blowing orgasm he had ever had, even though it was his first time being with a man.

He grinned when John snuggled up against his side, pulling him into his arms, tightly against his chest.

He never guessed John would be a snuggler, but then he never thought he was much of the snugglee type either. But it wasn’t really unexpected. John had been snuggling up to him every night in the double bed they had moved into John’s room when all this had started.

John started nuzzling behind his ear.

“You smell so good right now.” John whispered into his ear.

“I’m sweaty.” Rodney said back, not really bothered. “And sticky.”

John just chuckled and it sent a shiver of pleasure down Rodney’s spine.

Then John all but jumped out the bed towards the bathroom.

Rodney gasped as they lost physical contact. He watched as John turned round to him, his hazel eyes wide.

“Err…” John uttered.

“I don’t feel cold…” actually, he felt fine. “Maybe…?”

John smiled. “You think this is all it took?”

Rodney shrugged as a different kind of cold spread through his chest. It felt like dread. “I don’t know…”

“Ok… let me just…” John said as he thumbed over his shoulder.

Rodney just nodded as John disappeared into the bathroom and Rodney felt his whole body go deathly cold.

Instantly John was back on the bed, his arms holding Rodney tight. “Guess not.” John gasped out as he stroked his hands over Rodney’s back.

Rodney buried his face into John’s chest. Feeling his body warm and the cold in his chest slowly dissipate.

“Maybe it’s line of sight now?” John suggested as his hold grew a little tighter.

Rodney chuckled, “Maybe Ronon will stop being so freaked out now.”

“We can’t have that.” He felt John grin. “But… Do you think this is something permanent now?”

Rodney shrugged. “You’re the one who drank the Alien sex ju-ju, how should I know.”

He felt John lay a kiss on his temple as he pulled them apart. “Best drink I ever had.” John whispered.

Rodney blinked at him, then felt himself blush as something warm settled into his belly. Then John was taking his face into his hands and kissing him deeply.

 

+ + + + +

 

Carson sighed as he walked back to his two friends as they sat on an infirmary bed, their sides plastered together as they had been for the past two weeks. Only this time he knew they didn’t have to be so quite close.

He had done all kinds of experiments as they waited for the blood tests. Now they could be within line of sight of each other, but the moment they weren’t, then both suffered.

“So how is it Doc?” John asked as he snaked one arm around Rodney’s waist.

“Well.” Carson let out a deep breath. “If anything, the chemical has become more invasive… but saying that, it’s also changed a little.”

“How?” Rodney asked as he leaned against Sheppard a little more.

Carson shrugged. “I’m sorry. At the moment, I have no idea.” He looked at his chart, still finding nothing there.

“So I guess we are still grounded?” John sighed.

“Till I know this chemical isn’t going to have an adverse effects, I can’t let you guys go anywhere.”

“But we are bored.” Rodney whined. “We aren’t infectious, can’t we even do some supply missions?”

Carson shrugged. “Look, lets leave it another few weeks, then I’ll have a word with Woolsey.”

“If that’s the best you can do…” John offered as he stood, pulling Rodney with him. “Come on, lets get something to eat.”

Carson watched as the two men left, still hand in hand. He had warned them not to have sex, but if it meant they could now separate, he guessed it wasn’t all bad.

He just wished people would stop coming to him asking about their relationship. Even though DADT wasn’t an issue, still there was some stirrings in the ranks. Some were just curios, but there was a little hostility with a few others.

He also didn’t want them doing something they might regret.

 

+ + + + +

 

“I’ll get the food!” Rodney said as they walked into the Mess.

John reluctantly let him go. He still didn’t want to let Rodney go anywhere, especially in public without him being within reaching distance, it also didn’t help that Rodney was still limped badly on his cast.

Even though they had spent the night making love till they got up and went to Carson that morning. All the experiments the Doc had performed left him feeling clingy. Though it was nice to have a little separation.

He wandered over to the table where he had seen Teyla and Ronon. “Hey guys.” He grinned at them before sitting down, casting glances at Rodney every now and again.

“Wow… You finally unglued from McKay?” Ronon asked as he looked him up and down. “You must be relieved.” He grinned, making it a shared joke, rather than an insult to Rodney, which would probably mean John shoving his fist down the larger mans throat.

“Has the chemical finally worn off?” Teyla asked with her own smile.

John shrugged as he cast another look over to Rodney. “No, Becket say’s it’s gotten worse. But it’s just a line of sight issue now.”

“Really? What changed?” Teyla asked with a knowing smile.

John gave her a large grin as he tried not to blush or get embarrassed.

Her smile got wider. “I see. Well, I guess it was only a matter of course.” She reached out and put her hand on his. “Are you happy?”

John really couldn’t keep the grin from his face now. “Yes…” he answered honestly.

“Hn… I take it you guys fucked last night then?” Ronon snorted.

John sighed, he was never really sure how Ronon was goanna take all this. “And this morning.” He told his big friend. “You got a problem with that?”

Ronon stopped eating to cast him a sideways look. “Don’t bother me man.” He said. “Whatever turns you on… Just you could have picked someone not so annoying.”

John laughed. “It would help if I didn’t know how much you actually respect him.” He shot back. Ronon just grunted then smiled as he carried on eating.

Teyla was also hiding her grin behind her coffee cup.

John gave her a wink before he looked back over his shoulder and his blood ran cold.

Jennifer had cornered Rodney by the coffee. Then his lovers eyes caught on his own and he could feel Rodney’s panic.

Before John could even think, he was across the room shoving Jennifer away while hiding Rodney behind his back.

“What the…” Jennifer said angrily as she knocked his hand away. “I just need to talk to him!”

“No.” he said bluntly as he reached behind himself and took Rodney’s hand. He started backing them up.

“You can’t do this!” Jennifer shouted, tears in her eyes. “We were engaged!”

John was aware that the whole mess had gone quiet, and no doubt all ears were now turning their way.

“Go to my office.” He whispered at her, trying not to sneer as he did so. She had a point and she deserved some kind of explanation… John just wished they could do it where Rodney didn’t have to be in the same room. “Give us ten minutes to get something to eat…” He watched as she pressed her lips together so hard they became bloodless as she straightened her shoulder, nodded then turned and left with as much dignity as she could muster.

John took a deep breath before he turned around. He knew Rodney was feeling very confused and a little guilty.

“Come on.” John smiled a little, trying to get Rodney to look at him. “Lets eat, ok, I know you need your coffee too.”

Rodney gave him a quick look and a crooked smile. “She just surprised me.” He uttered.

“I know. Come on, you get the tray and I’ll get the coffee, go sit with Ronon and Teyla.” John patted his lovers shoulder as he turned to get them coffee. He was aware of Rodney as he turned to pick up the tray.

He quickly got Rodney some industrial strength coffee and his own, then quickly made his way back to the table where his other friends still sat.

“Here.” He put Rodney’s coffee down as he picked up his own plate of bacon and eggs off the tray. “Eat.” He instructed as he instinctively hooked his ankle around Rodney’s good foot as he sat opposite him.

“Rodney was just saying that you visited Doctor Becket this morning.” Teyla was saying softly.

“Yeah.” John said between mouthfuls of his breakfast. “Like I said, we figured out it’s now a line of sight thing, other than that, nothing’s changed.”

“So we are still grounded?” Ronon asked as he slouched back in his chair next to Rodney.

“Yeah, if you’re bored I can get you both put onto another team?” John offered as he watched Ronon eyeing Rodney’s toast. “And don’t even think about it.” He warned his friend. And for the first time he meant it. It was only a week ago that he felt Rodney get so hungry he was getting dizzy, and he didn’t want to go through it again. Especially now he knew how painful it was for his best friend. He had already apologised in a non verbal way for all the teasing they had given him over the years. One of them was stopping Ronon stealing food from Rodney’s tray.

Ronon gave him a look, but then shrugged. “I could go with that for a bit.”

“I’ll visit my people and spend some time with my son and husband. I think he’s forgotten what I look like.” Teyla smiled.

They talked for a bit more before John knew they couldn’t wait any longer.

“Ok, buddy… lets go.” He said standing up and holding his hand out to Rodney.

“Do we have too?” Rodney grimaced, but he still took John’s hand to get to his feet.

John just smiled as he let Rodney use him as a crutch.

 

+ + + + +

 

Rodney really didn’t want to face Jennifer yet.

He had been kind of happy when John got all Alpha male on him when ever Jennifer was in the same room. It saved him having to think about what he was loosing with her… and he didn’t want to face some very hard truths he had been squashing for a long time.

He tightened his grip on John’s shoulders as they limped their way towards John’s office. He didn’t need to cling on to him so much; his could walk on his cast ankle with just a little limp. But he still liked the physical contact.

“It’s goanna be ok.” John whispered at him as they could see the door of John’s office. It was slightly ajar, so he guessed Jennifer was in there already.

He tried to pull back on John, but stubbornly John kept moving, “I’ll be with you….” Then he did stop and Rodney found himself looking directly into John’s eyes. “I’m not gonna leave you.”

Rodney nodded dumbly, before he whispered back. “For how long?” He clamped his free hand over his mouth. Not believing he had just said what he had been thinking out loud.

John smiled at him. “For as long as you want.”

Rodney felt a moment of dizziness as his blood pressure suddenly sky rocketed as his heart seemed to try and beat out of his chest. “Okay.” He answered as he watched John’s smile widen.

“Ok, lets go.” John said as he began to pull Rodney forwards again.

“Hello Dr Keller.” John greeted as he walked into his office first.

Rodney followed, seeing Jennifer sat in one of John’s visitor’s chairs in front of his desk. Then he looked away and concentrated his gaze on the hand that John now held as he was pulled around to the other side of the desk where they had two chairs, for when ever John had to do work there.

He sat down at the same time John did, their hands still clasped together.

“Dr Beckett told me that you two could separate now.” Jennifer said a little coldly. “I was hoping for a private conversation with my fiancé.”

Rodney glanced up for a moment. John was uncharacteristically leaning forwards with his elbow on the desk, his chin in his hand; he was also leaning in front of Rodney, blocking some of his view of Jennifer. “Well, there really isn’t anywhere you can have a private conversation where I couldn’t over hear anyway. So this is really the best place.”

“Rodney?” Jennifer asked him a little desperately.

Rodney sighed as he looked up. “He’s right.” He uttered, he knew he was being a coward and she deserved better.

He should tell her it was over… But some deeper, selfish, part of him that was afraid to be alone, didn’t want to.

He felt John’s hand tighten on his own.

Rodney closed his eyes for a moment. He really didn’t want to loose John… but what would happen once the chemical finally left them? Would he not feel the same way towards John, but more frightening was what if John didn’t feel the same. He would be alone again, he might not understand most people. But he knew he would loose his best friend if this all went to hell. And with his luck it was a very large possibility.

So with a deep breath he opened his eyes, squeezed John’s hand tightly then looked at the woman across the table that he thought he could give himself too.

“I’m sorry Jennifer… But you’re a very cute, kind, intelligent woman… I would have just made your life miserable in the end.” He said honestly as John sat back in his chair. “I’m selfish and self-centred; I would have neglected you for work...”

“But you were changing; you were willing to change for me.” Jennifer said almost pleadingly. “You were changing for the better…” she started leaning forwards imploringly.

“But that’s not me!” he snapped, getting annoyed with her. “I thought it could be, I thought I could make it work… I can’t.”

“You can, once all this is over and we cure you, you will realize that you still love me.” She said almost pleading.

Rodney shook his head as he cast a sideways glance at John, who looked like he was relaxed as he slouched. He was also watching Rodney intently. “I don’t think there is anything to be cured from…” he uttered out in embarrassment, once again looking at his hand in John’s below the table where she couldn’t see.

He felt sick with his confession, he just knew that he really, REALLY liked John and had since the first time they laughed together over a shared joke. Then he felt something coming from John that made him gasp. He looked back up at John in shocked.

John gave him a half smile, “Right back at ya.” He said with conviction.

Rodney couldn’t help a little chuckle. “You’re a bastard.”

“Your bastard.” John shot back. “Geek.”

“Jarhead.” Rodney sneered back with a grin.

“Nerd.” John sniffed.

“Excuse me.” Jennifer snapped. “So you’re saying I was just second best?”

Rodney felt his tummy turn cold in an instant. “No!” he said looking back at her, realizing her eyes were now red rimmed. “I liked you Jennifer… I meant everything I said.”

“But not enough to try and stay with me…” She sniffed thickly as she sat stiffly in her chair.

Rodney sighed. “Things have changed…”

Suddenly Jennifer slapped her hand down on the desk. “I didn’t want to come back to this stupid city in this scary crappy galaxy!” she shouted as tears began to run down her face. “I was offered a job at the SGC, to continue my research where it’s safe! But I gave it all up for you! I came back because I know how much this dump means to you!”

Rodney gasped at her. “You never said.” Then he got a little angry. “Atlantis is NOT a bump! She’s just a little old!”

“I can see about getting you reposted.” John suddenly said softly. “I’m sure the offer will still be open.”

Jennifer abruptly turned on him. “This is all your fault!” She seethed into his face. “If you hadn’t drank that aphrodisiac I would still be happy!”

Rodney couldn’t help but gasp as she turned and fled the office.

“Crap.” John uttered as he slouched further down into his chair. “I guess it could have gone better.”

“How?” Rodney asked. He actually felt sorry for Jennifer, she was a lovely, kind girl.

John put his arm over his shoulders and pulling him to his side. “I have no idea.” John sighed. “But I’ll see if that position it still open at the SGC, I’ll get Woolsey to sort it out for her.”

“Thanks.” Rodney felt a little more reassured. “But what will happen once we are free of this chemical?”

John shrugged. “We will be free of it…”

“And?” Rodney pressed.

“And what?” John shot back, “If this wasn’t meant to be, it wouldn’t have worked.”

Rodney pulled away, shocked. “What?” he demanded.

John gave him a half smile, “The priestess said something about it not working if it wasn’t meant too.” He shrugged. “At least I think she did, I was kinda drunk at the time.”

“So this is kind of permanent?” Rodney asked softly.

“Guess so.” John said in his ‘couldn’t care less’ tone. “I’m not complaining.”

Rodney moved a little closer into John’s warmth. “Me either.” He admitted as he felt his cheek’s blush.

 

+ + + + +

 

“So, how’s it looking Doc?” John asked as he stood with his hip leaning against the gurney Rodney was sat on.

“Another week for that ankle,” Carson said as he looked at the scans he had just had Rodney sit through. “And another three week’s for the wrist. Your shoulders healed fine, as you can guess.” He grinned up at them both. “As for the other matter. Nothing’s changed.”

“Ah, not so bad then.” John smiled.

“Speak for yourself!” Rodney snapped. “These casts are awkward and heavy.” He whined.

“Dr Beckett, I have those samples from Sargent Jennings you wanted to look at… Oh.” Jennifer suddenly came around the corner and stopped dead when she saw John, she sounded weary when she had spoke, now here eyes narrowed as she turned and walked away.

Carson sighed deeply. “She’s very upset.” He observed.

“Can’t be helped.” John said as he laced his fingers with Rodney’s, he couldn’t help the stab of jealousy towards her still. He liked an easy life, so he just wanted her gone.

“No, I guess not.” Carson rubbed his hand over his face. “She’s accepted the position back at the SGC, she will be going back a week on Thursday.”

“Least that’s something.” Rodney said softly, and John felt a little niggle of regret from his lover.

“Hey…” he said nudging Rodney’s shoulder with his own. “She’s gonna be fine.”

Rodney gave him a half-hearted smile. “So anyway, isn’t it lunch time?”

 

+ + + + +

 

Jennifer watched Rodney following Colonel Sheppard out of the infirmary, yet again they were hand in hand.

She felt nothing but animosity towards the Colonel, he had take away from her the first man who hadn’t tried to get into her pants on first meeting, or didn’t run away with a million excuses when they realized she was brainier than them.

Rodney had been so nice to her, gentle and romantic. She was sure he would stay that way for her.

She just had to get the Colonel away from him, and Rodney would be hers again.

With that thought she went to her quarters. She would have time before the next dial out to earth happened, she just had to be quick.

 

+ + + + +

 

John yawned and stretched, putting his shoulder against Rodney’s, he snuggled down a little for a nap as they waited for Lorne and his men to get back from their away mission. It was just a simple meet and greet, but they had radioed in there might be some trouble.

So now they waited for him to come back, or in another hour John would have to sort out a rescue mission.

“Will they be back soon?” Rodney yawned too as he accepted John’s weight. “It’s late and I want to go to bed.”

John shifted and gave Rodney a long look, hopping his lover would pick up on what he was feeling.

Rodney gave him a sideways glance, his stormy blue eyes darkened a little as he blushed and grinned. “Maybe not so tired.” Rodney uttered as he looked away. “But I still need to lay down.”

“I’ll make sure you’re nice and comfy too.” John promised. “I also traded with Smithy for some of that beer you like.”

“Really?” Rodney perked up a little.

John just gave him a wink as he settled back again.

“Unscheduled Incoming wormhole!” Chuck called as the Stargate came to life. “It’s from Earth…” He said a bit more confused.

“Shield up!” John called as he got to his feet. “I didn’t hear of anyone coming?”

Chuck just gave him a shrug, “That because there wasn’t.”

“This is the SGC, we request you open your shield.” Came Colonel Landry voice from the coms.

“What’s the emergency?” John asked back, a little startled.

There was an ominous pause. “We just have some business your end.” Landry said, “Is Woolsey there?”

“I’m here General.” Woolsey said as he came up alongside John. “What’s the urgency; we are expecting a dial in from one of our own teams.”

“Just let my men through, and they can explain on your side.” Landry said. “There isn’t anything to be concerned about.”

John gave Woolsey a look; Landry wasn’t using code words to say they had a foothold situation.

Woolsey gave John a worried nod. “Open the shield. General Landry, your men have a go ahead to come through.”

They all watched as six marines, all armed to the teeth came through followed by a man in a suit John had never seen before. But Woolsey gasped from his side.

“Mr Tapping? Why are you here?” Woolsey asked as he moved to the top of the stairs.

John guessed he was part of the IOA and he was instantly on edge.

“Please take lieutenant Colonel Sheppard into custody.” Mr Tapping’s told the marines who instantly ran up the stairs to surround John and Rodney. One of them tried to take hold of Rodney and pull him away.

“Doctor McKay, if you would.” The marine said, still tugging on Rodney’s arm.

“Get off me!” Rodney snapped as he clung tighter to John.

“Let go of Doctor McKay!” Woolsey barked. “We have a situation, they can’t be separated!”

The Marine stopped pulling, but didn’t let go of Rodney and John was finding it very hard not to kill the other man, all he could do was grip the man’s arm, making sure he didn’t try and take Rodney from him again. He glared at the marine, satisfied when the other man looked a little on edge.

“What the hell is going on? Why are you arresting Colonel Sheppard?” Woolsey demanded as he came to stand along side John in the circle of guns.

“We have been informed that the Colonel has been compromised. The IOA have deemed it best to conduct their own investigation back on Earth, as to not compromise Atlantis and this expedition any further.” Mr Tapping informed them calmly.

“But Colonel Sheppard hadn’t been off base in months, just when is it alleged that he was compromised?”

John watched Mr Tapping turn cold blue eyes on Woolsey. “The last time he was off world according to our sources… Now if you will excuse me, we need to take Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard back to the SGC, please open the gate.”

“No I can not allow this, Sheppard is my second in command of the military side of this expedition, you can’t just take him, this is account to kidnapping!” Woolsey moved as if to block them.

John could see his own men slowly moving in around the control room, obviously word had got out. He managed to catch Lorne’s eye and gave him a minute shake of his head.

Lorne shook his head back.

John sighed as he tightened his grip on Rodney. So this wasn’t going to be easy on anyone, and so far he was torn as what to do.

Mr Tapping suddenly produced papers and handed them over to Woolsey, who with a mistrustful look, took the papers and began reading.

John’s heart sank as Woolsey looked more and more pensive. Finally he looked up. “I can not let you take Sheppard away without Doctor McKay going with him.” he said determinedly. “They can not be separated without harm coming to both parties… for heaven sake, we haven’t even sent them though the gate yet on Doctor Beckett’s recommendation because we do not know the damage it could do!”

“Isn’t that half the problem?” Mr Tapping said in a hushed tone. “My orders are for Colonel Sheppard to be place under guard at the SGC while he is tested, and that Doctor McKay is to stay here also under guard while he is tested and in the care of Doctor Keller.”

“WHAT!” John stormed. That bitch, he knew she had rigged this to happen somehow and he would have her blood. But first he had to get Rodney away, he could make a run for the jumper bay. He was sure these marines had never set foot on Atlantis before, so loosing them once he got out of the control room wouldn’t be an issue.

He pulled Rodney’s arm out of the marines hold then was ready to run when he watched Rodney’s eyes go wide as he tried to reach past him. then John felt a sharp pain in the back of his neck and everything started to go numb.

The last thing he saw was Rodney pulled away from him as the man screamed his name and his talented hands reaching for him, before everything went black.

 

+ + + + +

 

[A week later]

 

Carson put his hand on his friend’s brow as he lay under heated blankets, but Rodney was still shivering as he lay unconscious on a gurney.

It had been over a week since Rodney and Sheppard were forcibly separated.

He had just gotten to the Gate room when they had dragged an unconscious John through the gate back to earth. Rodney was screaming as he kicked, scratched and flailed as two marines pinned him to the floor.

Soon as the gate shut off, Rodney gave one last scream of grief before the whole gate room descended into an eerie stunned silence.

Rodney hadn’t passed out, but he was catatonic, and had remained so for two days, until tears began to run down his cheek’s, but he wasn’t sobbing. He just sat still and cried tears, never once even trying to wipe them away.

He had been like that till he had started becoming dehydrated, then refused to drink anything until his hypoglycaemia had kicked in, finally Carson could do nothing but put a feeding tube down Rodney’s throat.

“I just got finished with today’s blood work.” Jennifer said as she came into the little private room.

Carson tried not to snarl at her. After he learned that she had conspired to this whole mess, he really couldn’t stand her anymore. And it was totally against his nature, which just irritated him more towards her. “And?” He sighed, not looking at her.

“The chemical has almost disappeared from his system, I would predict two more day’s and he will be clear of its influence.”

Carson resisted the urge to bat her hand away as she caressed Rodney’s pail cheek.

“That remains to be seen.” Carson said as he turned away.

“How do you mean?” she asked, a little snappily.

He turned to glare at her. “I think the fox has gotten among the chickens.” He said stiffly. “And I don’t think it’s going anywhere, no matter what happens.”

She looked at him with a frown before she gave a little chuckle. “You will see,” she sounded over confident. But Carson didn’t miss the hint of mania in her tone and it sent a shiver down his spine.

 

+ + + + +

 

John paced his room (cell) relentlessly, as he had done for days. He wasn’t even sure anymore how long he had been trapped under the mountain. Day’s and night’s meant very little at the SGC. And every time he had been let out, for interrogations, or to have Dr Lam shove more needles’ into him. There had never been any clocks on the walls; no one even had a wrist watch.

The burning that suffused his entire body had slacked a little, but it seemed it would never let up. After the second day he had been here, they had eventually turned on the air con for him. but it barely helped.

All he wanted, all he burned for, was to get back to Rodney. He could still feel the other man, like a constant muted throb in his head.

He had already made three attempts to get to the gate, he had been zatted each time. Now he had a constant armed guard whenever he was let out of his ‘room’.

He was just pacing back to the wall when his door was opened and Dr Lam came in, closing it behind her.

“You’ve already had my blood today!” he snapped turning away from her.

“I’m not here about that.” She said softly. “Look… I was finally allowed to read Doctor Carson’s notes about what happened to you. And all the reports.” She sighed as she sat down in the only chair in the room. “I’ve also read Doctor Keller’s belief that you were compromised and that you then infected Doctor McKay.”

John tried not to growl over Jennifer’s name, but didn’t quite manage it and the young doctor gave him a wince.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that I can find nothing wrong with you other than this chemical. Which under much testing doesn’t affect or infect any other organism… How Doctor McKay contracted it… well… if it is some kind of aphrodisiac, then it’s only keyed to the both of you.”

“So what does that mean?” he growled.

She shrugged. “I’m talking to the General now. I’m requesting to go to Atlantis myself and see if there is anything there, maybe question the people who gave you that drink…”

“I need to go with you!” John demanded. He would do anything to go back to Atlantis, anything to get back to Rodney.

She shook her head. “I can’t arrange that right now.” Doctor Lam said as she stood. “But I just came to inform you that I will be doing everything I can, and as quick as I can, to get you cleared for duty again.” She gave him a wink.

He couldn’t help but give her a half smile. “Thank you.” Was all he could say as she left his room.

 

--

 

What must have been six hours later, John was throwing himself at the door of his room.

He heard the klaxon sound, indicating an outgoing wormhole when he suddenly hit the floor screaming as he felt he was engulf in flame, then he was scorchingly aware of Rodney in his mind. The link they had shared that had almost all but blinked out when he was dragged here. Was now back with force.

He could feel how hungry and thirsty Rodney was, how miserable and grief stricken he was, enough to make his chest so cold it was nothing but pain.

As he made himself bloody trying to get out of his room and to Rodney, all he could think over and over again was that Rodney had to eat, drink, get his strength back, that he would be with him soon, and not to give up hope, keep fighting.

It all coalesced into a silent scream as his strength began to leave him as he kept throwing himself at the unforgiving and unyielding steal door.

He paused when he felt Rodney tentatively reaching out for him.

“Fight!” John screamed aloud and through their bond.

Then their bond was cruelly cut off and John found himself on the floor again, in more agony than his mind or body could comprehend, and once again he passed out.

 

+ + + + +

 

Carson was just pushing more meal down Rodney’s feeding tube when he could hear the Stargate come to life.

He was distracted for a moment when Rodney suddenly sat up in bed.

Carson dropped the large syringe as Rodney began thrashing, trying to get the covers off his legs and get up.

“No, Rodney, lad, you have to stay put, you’re to weak to get up!” Carson said trying to force Rodney back onto the gurney.

“John…. JOHN!” Rodney screamed, then with a bought of strength Carson found himself falling onto the other gurney as Rodney ran out the infirmary and toward the control room.

Carson ran after him. He got to the control room to see Lorne and Woolsey tackling Rodney to the floor as he kept trying to reach for the incoming wormhole.

“All my people are through!” Carson could see Doctor Lam and two of her assistants watching the fight going on practically at their feet.

“Close the gate!” Woolsey cried and the Stargate blinked closed in an instant and Rodney’s cries died away.

Carson ran over as Woolsey and Lorne were getting Rodney onto his feet. As he looked into his friends face he expected more tears, not the burning anger in Rodney’s expressive blue eyes as he shock off his helpers.

“Open the gate to Earth!” Rodney growled as he turned to the gate staff. “Do it NOW!”

“I can’t allow that McKay.” Woolsey said calmly. “They wouldn’t let you through the iris anyway.”

Carson heard the suppressed anger in Woolsey’s voice.

Rodney glared at Woolsey for a moment, before he turned and stomped out of the control room.

Carson watched him leave before Doctor Lam stepped up to his side.

“Colonel Sheppard’s not been much better.” She said softly to him.

“This is the first life we’ve seen out of him in a week.” Carson replied as he turned to her and held out his hand. “Welcome to Atlantis.” He smiled at her.

“Thank you.” She smiled back shaking his hand. “Was that a feeding tube?”

He nodded. “Like I said, he’s been catatonic for a week. When the gate opened he came straight here.”

“And about to throw himself into an incoming wormhole.” Lorne said worriedly. “We only just caught him in time.”

“And thankfully you did.” Woolsey patted him on the shoulder. “Maybe you should put some of your men on a twenty four hour watch, make it subtle.”

Lorne nodded grimly. “I’ll get right on it sir. But may I advice we call Teyla and Ronon back.”

Woolsey nodded, “I’ll get right on it Major.”

Lorne nodded then walked away the way Rodney had gone.

Carson shared a grim look with Woolsey before turning back to Dr Lam and her team. “Ok, lets get you settled in, then see what we can do.”

 

+ + + + +

 

Lorne watched Dr McKay from the corridor outside the doctor’s lab. And he couldn’t help but sigh.

McKay looked like crap, there were dark circles under his eyes in a face that was pail and drawn. Half the time, Lorne had to remember McKay hadn’t been tortured, beaten and starved, but it was hard.

He watched as Smithy looked into the lab, a worried crease on his brow. They finally locked eyes and Smithy gave him a grim nod.

When this had all started, Lorne had been as shocked as his men. To think some alien hooch could make their commanding officer jump the head of science, the very male HOS, was enough to put everyone a little on edge.

But as it had sunk in, he guessed it was only surprising that it had been so public.

At first he had had to smack a few men who protested loudly in their homophobic way, but he had realised it was only the new men, all the men from the original mission were quietly supportive. He had even found out there was a pool going, not for ‘if’ but ‘when’ the two 2IC’s would get together. By all account, Chuck and Ronon had been the winner.

Lorne was just peeved he hadn’t been brought in on the deal.

What had stopped all the unease in the ranks was when the SGC had taken Sheppard from them, by force.

Sheppard was one of their own, risking his life from every single one of them. That regard was also spread a little to McKay. Even if the man had been annoying and rude at times. The men still respected him when he kept their collective asses out of the fire. Or fixed their hot water when asked.

When he had asked for volunteers to watch McKay, all the men who had been in the Gate room, when McKay tried to jump through it, instantly stepped forward. Eventually nearly everyone had offered to help. So Lorne had quickly set up an around the clock surveillance.

“Do you know what he’s doing?” Smithy asked softly, taking another look into the lab.

Lorne shrugged. “I don’t even want to think about it.” He offered back.

He watched Smithy look up and down the corridor then lean towards him conspiratorially.

“The others are still talking about a raid.” Smithy said looking a little uncomfortable.

Lorne sighed again, he thought he had quashed those strings of rebellion, but he couldn’t help but agree with them. Then he came to a conclusion he wasn’t happy with, but it might save any rash decisions. “Look.” He said as softly as Smithy. “Get everyone to stay on high alert.”

Smithy looked hopeful as he smiled a little then nodded.

“If… and I mean IF, Doctor McKay makes a move, who’s ever with him, or near enough… Go with him and protect him.”

Smithy nodded again. “Do you think he will?”

Lorne gave a little snort of amusement. “I’m guessing that’s what he’s doing right now.” He said thumbing towards the Doctor. “I’ll let Teyla and Ronon know. We will get the Colonel back… We just have to wait.”

Smithy grinned as Roberts came to take his shift, then he wandered away giving a wink to Roberts as he left.

Roberts gave him a wide grin before turning to Lorne. “Something I should know sir?” she asked.

Lorne nodded and told her what he had just told Smithy.

 

+ + + + +

 

Rodney felt sick. For a moment he paused as he realised he was hungry.

“Here.”

Rodney jumped as Ronon suddenly threw down a tray with food on it, in front of him.

“Eat.”

Rodney had an urge to push the tray from the table in anger. He didn’t have time to eat. But then he remembered the feeling’s he had got from John when the wormhole to earth had opened. That he should fight, keep strong.

So with a grunt, he sat back down and with his good arm began to shove the tuna-mayo sandwich into his mouth, chewing unhappily. With every mouthful that hit his stomach he wanted to throw it back up again.

It had been three day’s since he had felt John and still, he couldn’t shake the crushing grief that made him just want to sit down in a corner and let the world go away till he was no more.

The biting cold, he couldn’t shake, made his mind sluggish and it was a constant distraction, when all he wanted to do was finish what he was doing and go to John.

He knew his plan was stupid, that the probability of it working was 8% at best. But they had locked him out of the Gate room and all it’s controls. He knew he could hack it all in a heart beat, but he had tried and failed, unable to concentrate. The sense of failure at the time had made him want to give up, to give in to the constant pain, to throw himself off the nearest balcony, to make it all stop.

The only thing stopping him giving up, apart from his constant guards, was that he knew John was still alive.

He chocked down another bite of food as the crushing weight of his grief hit once again, making him feel like he was being squashed and hollow all at the same time.

“Keep eating.” Ronon grumbled from his seat at the end of the table.

Rodney shoved the whole tray the Neanderthals way. “You eat it.” He snapped out angrily, bored of the other man’s constant presence.

“I brought it for you.” Ronon said coolly.

Rodney slammed his cast hand down on the metal table hard enough to make him whimper. He suddenly felt his eyes sting with tears at the hopelessness of it all.

Ronon was suddenly at his side, one of his big arms wrapped around Rodney’s face, the other hand rubbing up and down his back.

At first Rodney tried to violently push the big man away, but Ronon’s grip just got tighter. Then Rodney felt a sob crawl it’s way up his throat, he wanted to scream till he was horse, but instead it came out in a bitter growl and his fingers dug into the flesh of Ronon’s arm across his face.

Rodney kept growling till his already exhausted state made him feel fragile and tired. The whole time, Ronon’s solid presence keeping him slightly grounded.

He was just about to let Ronon know he was over the worse and let go, when he felt the big man tense.

“Get out.” Ronon growled low at someone.

“Sorry.” Rodney heard Keller say in her most sympathetic way. “I can’t do that.”

He felt Ronon sigh, then his grip grew more series and restraining.

Then there was a familiar sting in Rodney’s arm and he felt the whole world start to grey out.

He would have been angry at being sedated if it wasn’t a blessed relief.

 

+ + + + +

 

Ronon lifted McKay onto the gurney Carson and Keller had waiting. He couldn’t help but be concerned at how much weight the other man had lost in so short a time.

“You sure this is a good idea?” he asked the Doctors’ as he kept a hand on Rodney’s shoulder. He still couldn’t help but be protective over his friend, especially since Sheppard wasn’t here to do it himself. He was especially wary whenever Keller was near.

Carson pulled an unhappy face. “No, but I don’t want a repeat of last time.”

Ronon nodded as they began moving towards the infirmary quickly.

Once there Carson reached up to his ear, tapping his communicator. “He’s here, open the gate now.” He said.

They heard the Stargate open, the moment it engaged, Rodney began to fight.

Ronon sighed, as he once again pulled the shorter man into his arms, holding him as securely as he could without hurting him more, as the scientist fought despite the sedative.

Teyla and one of the new doctor’s team were going back to the SGC.

Dr Lam had insisted someone John knew, especially from his team, go back to Earth and monitor the colonel’s progress.

He had been distrustful of her at first, but he was growing to like her.

“He needs more sedation!” Keller said suddenly as she prepared another syringe.

“NO!” Rodney gave a high pitched desperate cry, “Please!”

Ronon couldn’t help but growl as Keller got closer, pulling Rodney bodily away from her, almost off the gurney.

Carson got in between them. “We already gave him a large enough dose.” He said softly, pushing her back.

“But…?” she stammered. Her large blue eyes going watery.

Ronon would have had sympathy for her two months ago. Now he just didn’t trust her. Not after what she had done. Any interest he once had in the woman had gone completely.

Finally the two idiots had gotten a clue, even if it was with help. Both he and Teyla had been happy they had gotten together; it would make the sexual tension between them less frustrating for him and Teyla.

Now it had all been complicated by Keller.

He was distracted from his glairing at the small woman by Rodney suddenly going limp in his arms. Carefully he laid Rodney back down on the gurney, letting Carson get near to check his life signs.

“How is he doing?” Dr Lam asked as she came in. “Teyla and Dr Francis got through the gate alright.”

“Same as before.” Carson said softly. “This time though he fought the sedative, but he’s back under now.”

Dr Lam made her way to the other side of the bed and put her hand on Rodney’s shoulder, looking at him with concern. Making Ronon like her more.

“We need to go back to the planet ASAP.” She told Carson, “We can’t keep this up ever time we open the gate.”

“The chemicals almost gone from his system.” Keller said as she put her hand on Rodney ankle and Ronon just wanted to bat it away. “He will get over this.”

Ronon watched Dr Lam and Carson share a look.

“I’m thinking that we should send Dr McKay back to Earth where…” Dr Lam was saying before she was interrupted.

“No!” Keller snapped, “That would be the worse thing to do, once they are near each other the chemical multiplies again!” Her hand tightened possessively on Rodney’s ankle.

Dr Lam frowned at her. “That may be so.” She said patiently. “But it is having a worse effect on their mental state, and eventually it will affect them physically. I showed you my finding of how it’s already affecting Colonel Sheppard’s health, and I’ve found the same with Doctor McKay.”

“Ay, I agree with Doctor Lam.” Carson said softly. “I think we are doing more harm that good keeping them apart.”

“No.” Keller said as she looked between the other two doctors’, she looked half betrayed, half angry as she backed away. “I think you are both wrong.” Then she turned and left.

“She’s a good Doctor.” Carson said eventually to Dr Lam. “She’s just too emotionally involved.”

“Ah.” Dr Lam sighed. “I read the report from when Doctor McKay had that brain bug… I think she was to emotionally involver there too… I would suggest you take her off Doctor McKay’s care immediately.”

Carson looked grim but he nodded. “You’re right, I should have done it sooner… but…”

Dr Lam reached out, putting her hand on his arm. “I understand, it’s a closed knit community here. I’ll tell her she’s to stay away.”

“Thank you, lass.” Carson smiled. Relieved.

She gave him one last smile before going away.

“She’s right.” Ronon said. “If it wasn’t for McKay’s sister, we would have lost him not long ago.”

Carson gave him an unhappy look, “I know… She’s good at her Job, but maybe a little young still to be the HMO.”

Ronon just grunter. He had to agree, especially now.

McKay might have confused him at first, but he had grown to see why Sheppard liked him so much. The guy could be amusing and was so easy to tease.

When he first got here he dismissed McKay as being a coward, till he figured out the Doctor wasn’t trained to be a fighter. Yet, despite his blustering cowardice at first, he always did what needed to be done and showed more bravery that Ronon had seen in some of his men.

As Carson finally went away too, Ronon pulled over a chair, resting his hand on Rodney’s arm.

Now Sheppard wasn’t here, he was making himself Rodney’s protector.

 

+ + + + +

 

Carolyn Lam hadn’t been off world much. So going off world in another galaxy was a little thrilling, even if a little more scary.

The planet the Fenori inhabited was a very pretty place. The village looked a little rustic in a south American tribe kind of way.

“Ah, you have returned Major Lorne!” a pretty dark skinned woman said, as she came towards them smiling.

“Greeting Darana.” Lorne said as he smiled back. Then introduced the whole team to her.

She stopped in front of Lorne, giving them all a smile. “You look worried?” she questioned. “Are you still having trouble with John Sheppard’s and his mates bonding?”

Lorne shrugged non committed. “Kind of… Look, we have a doctor with us who would like to speak to your Shamani leader.”

Darana sighed, looking a little frustrated. “Renakai Shamani will become more annoyed with your people.” She warned as she turned away, indicating for them all to follow.

“I know.” Lorne told her as he walked at her side. “But I wish to sort this out too.”

Fenori smiled at him and Carolyn guessed there was interest there from her as she kept reaching out and touching Lorne’s arm.

--

Fenori had asked them to wait in a small clearing in between the main village and what looked like a fenced in wooden building in it’s own grounds.

“This is kind of like their hospital.” Lorne said as he sat down besides her on one of the logs around the small clearing. “That building is where the Shamani priestess live, but they treat their patients here.” ”Outside?” she asked.

He shrugged at her. he was about to say something else when a little old lady, smothered in colourful robes was led from the fenced in garden.

“This is Renakai Shamani, the Shamini we met before.” Lorne said quietly and quickly. “She’s their main healer.”

Once again, Carolyn stood as introductions were made.

She found herself being scrutinised by the little old lady, she looked like a cute grandmother as she smiled toothlessly at her. “You are a Shamini too.” Renakai stated.

Carolyn nodded as she smiled back. “Yes, I’m a Doctor… I guess that the same thing as a Shamini?”

The little old lady nodded as she moved to sit down. “So… I can tell there is worry in you.” Renakai said as she made herself comfortable. “And the spirits are telling me that the Bonded have been separated by a vast distance…” She looked up at Carolyn, her chocolate eyes now sharp and filled with such wisdom it made Carolyn gasp, feeling like she was an ignorant child.

“They are in such pain my old bones ache with it… Yet you claim to be a healer, but you let them suffer?”

Carolyn sat down at her side. “I’m trying to understand.” She said almost pleading. She would think about how Renakai knew that Sheppard and McKay were apart later. “We don’t have anything like this Bonding where we are from, it’s put something in their blood that we don’t recognise, and it worries us.”

“But we have already given you some of the Bronila.” Renakai frowned.

Carolyn nodded. “But what does it do exactly?” she asked.

Renakai patted her hand. “It helps people to find their true partner.” She smiled. “We make the drink from the Boni tree, then we ask our spirits to bless it, to let those who have a mate find them easier.” She sighed, “It only works on those who need it… for the rest of us, we just have to find our own mates and love in this world.”

“So it only works on a few people?” she asked.

The Shamini nodded. “The spirits were rather insistent that I give their divine intervention to Colonel Sheppard.” She gave a cute little chuckle. “They said he needed a lot of help to finally claim his mate and sooth his heart.”

Carolyn was surprised, she saw Lorne and his men trying in vain to smother smirks and she raised an eyebrow at them before turning back to Renakai. “Can I speak to these spirits?” she asked.

Renakai patted her hand again still looking amused. “They are here now my child, they are always around us, listening and watching.”

“Oh…” she floundered, giving a quick look around the clearing.

“You can’t see them.” Renakai said softly as she patted her own forehead. “They can only speak to the few of us, old enough to not bare children anymore, and who are lucky enough to hear them.”

Carolyn tried not to think her a little insane. She didn’t seem like she was lying though. “So it has no ill effect on those it works on?” she finally asked. “Only, Sheppard and… his mate, had to be in constant physical contact, until finally they just had to be in line of sight of each other.”

Renakai turned to Fenori, “Can you summon your mate, dear?”

Fenori bowed her head, “He’s already on his way Shamini.” She smiled. “He is just letting his mother know to look after the children.”

“How?” Lorne asked suddenly.

“How?” Fenori asked, before she smiled in understanding. “Oh, I can sense what he’s doing, as he can me.” She told him. “It is a great gift.”

“So there is a strong mental link as well as a physical?” Carolyn asked as her mind span back on what had happened to McKay. Suddenly it all made sense. Slowly she asked her last question, “Can this bond be broken?”

Both woman gasped, but Fanori paled considerably. Suddenly a man ran into the clearing and straight to her, taking her in his arms.

“I would… no.” Fenori looked like she had just been hit.

Renakai pattered Carolyn’s hand again. “If a bond is successful and consensual from both mates… Then there is no way it can ever be broken… not without one passing to the next life, but even then the living mate never usually lasts long.”

“How does that work with a culling?” Lorne asked softly.

Renakai sighed deeply. “If one is left behind, then we help them into the next life.” She looked away. “When I was a girl I watched my brother begin to waist away before my eyes, the Shamini at the time gave him an endless sleep flower. I didn’t understand at the time, but it saved both their suffering… It’s not nice, but it’s still a gift, to know that the suffering for at least one will be quick.”

The clearing fell silent for a time as they were all caught up in there own thought. Before Carolyn felt the Shamini’s hand tighten painfully on her arm. When she turned to the little old lady, Renakai’s eyes had turned into a strange shade of blue.

“You must bring the broken pieces together.” Renakai’s voice had changed, it sent a bolt of fear to her heart for a moment, she almost sounded like a Goa’uld. But the voice was multi layered, like a lot of people speaking at the same time. “Keeping them apart will only destroy them, let them find their own path together… And quickly!”

Renkai blinked and her eyes became their normal brown. Then she smiled, “The spirits have spoken.” Then she was getting to her feet stiffly. “I don’t think you need me anymore.” She said as Fanori came forward with her husband to lead the Shamini back to the hut.

“I guess we have our answers.” Lorne said as he signalled his men to move out.

“Yeah.” She answered still feeling a little shaken, but knowing she was going to put this mess right.

 

+ + + + +

 

Teyla blinked at all the gun’s pointing at her and Dr Francis as they stepped through the gate to Earth. She was relived when the men suddenly backed down as a door to her left opened.

“Ah, Hello General Landry, it is good to see you.”

“Likewise.” The General smiled at her. “But I have to ask what you are doing here.”

Teyla shook his hand. “We are here to see Colonel Sheppard. And Doctor Lam sent Doctor Francis back with her notes.”

“A little much for a social call?” the General said looking a little put out, his smile never quite reached his eyes.

She nodded at him politely. “All the same, I would like to see him.”

--

Finally she was being lead down another grey corridor. Surrounded by marines who didn’t seem inclined to talk.

“Here.” One of the tall man said, indicating a door that already had two more marines

“Thank you gentlemen.” She said a little coldly as she knocked on the door. “John?”

She heard a groan from inside, but when she tried to open the door it was locked.

“Let me.” One of the original guard said, using a card to unlock the door, “If you need anything, just knock twice.” He said, giving her a smile.

She nodded her thanks and entered the room. The door closed firmly behind her as she finally saw John curled up on the only bed in the room.

Quickly she went to him.

“John.” She said again, reaching out to him. He felt warm to the touch, but he didn’t respond to her, which worried her even more. John was not one to take physical contact lightly. “John… please?”

Finally her friend moved, slowly turning onto his back like he was in pain. “Teyla?” he ground out.

“Yes, it’s me.” She felt more relived. “How are you feeling?”

In response, he just groaned again and closed his eyes.

Then she had remembered Doctor Becket telling her how Rodney had acted the first time they opened the gate, and how he planned to sedate Rodney before they did it again.

She sighed as she stood. No doubt John had to suffer alone, as she looked at him closer she could see he was badly bruised and they were still forming, there were even small cuts, still scabbing over. She could also see older yellowing bruises.

She went to the door and was about to knock when she saw blood. She knew instantly John must have tried getting out, throwing himself at the door.

She knocked twice as her anger boiled inside her gut.

--

General Landry was a hard man to read, he was also incredibly stubborn.

She had gone looking for Dr Francis before demanding a meeting with the General.

“Even Doctor Lam agrees that he should go back.” Dr Francis said timidly. “Or that Doctor McKay should be brought here.”

“And I can not allow that until we have confirmation, if I went with hunches all the time, I wouldn’t be much of a Commanding officer.” He smiled that non-smile again, making Teyla want to smack him in frustration.

“Then at least let him get medical attention.” She tried not to growl at the General, but it was hard.

“He’s been injured?” For once the General looked truly concerned.

Teyla nodded once. “I fear self inflicted when he tried to get out of his…” she wanted to say cell, but stopped herself. “room.” She finished.

“Doctor Francis, can you see to it immediately?”

“Yes General.” Dr Francis said as he left the room.

“I’m sorry it’s come to this.” The General offered.

Teyla appreciated his honesty as they were alone.

“The Lieutenant’s been giving me enough trouble, so I want him back on Atlantis as soon as possible.” The General, for once, gave her a smile that reached his eyes.

 

+ + + + +

 

It had been almost a week since Carson had sedated him, Six days, three hours and 43 minutes to be precise. And finally he was finished.

He had only slept when Ronon dragged him off to bed, only ate when his hands shock and the hunger pains peeked through the agony in his chest and the biting cold that never ceased.

Doctor Lam and Carson had also dragged him into the infirmary twice a day, to take his blood and monitor his other vital signs. The worried looks they kept casting him and the nonsense they had prattled at him he had ignored. He knew he was dieing, he didn’t need witch doctors to tell him that.

Finally he stood, letting his chair crash to the floor as he made his way to the gate room.

He knew Ronon was following him, and that his ever present guards were also trailing behind.

He could hear them talking on their communicators, the murmurs sounded a little exited, but he didn’t care. He couldn’t be stopped.

Atlantis opened all the door before him, like she approved of his plan and was rolling over to help him. He sent her a mental ‘thank you’ as he went.

Finally he stood before the gate, then hit the enter key on his tablet.

Instantly the gate began dialling Earth.

He could hear the commotion going on behind him on the control deck.

His knee’s buckled underneath him as the wormhole came to life.

Swiftly John filled all his senses. So close yet so bloody far.

Suddenly Ronon was there, pulling him to his feet and driving them both forwards.

“Move!” He heard Ronon shout just before they hit the event horizon.

For a moment Rodney thought he was talking to him, but from the corner of his eye he saw marines running forwards, following them.

Then he was inside the gate.

When he got to the other side. It took him a moment to realise people were shouting. He was just glad his program to disable and retract Earth’s iris had worked and he wasn’t atomised.

Then it began to sink in what was happening.

The SGC marines were shouting at them to stand down. Behind him, the Atlantis marines were shouting to let them through. Over it all he could hear Landry demanding to know what was going on, how had they disabled the shield.

Rodney didn’t care as he started to move towards the exit of the gate room. He was painfully aware of John, and that he had to go to him, because John couldn’t get to him.

“Get out of the way!” Ronon was growling at the Marines that tried to block their way.

“We don’t mean any harm!” Suddenly Lorne was in front of them. “We just came to get Colonel Sheppard.”

“I can’t allow that!” Landry snapped.

“On Medical grounds, you have to General!”

Rodney jumped when Doctor Lam appeared through the gate, Carson hot on her heals. He was also surprised at the amount of marines that had come with him.

Rodney turned back, he didn’t care how much they argued, every second just made it more painful. He shook Ronon off and began pushing past the shocked SGC marines. Two tried to stop him but Ronon was there again, glairing them down as Rodney squeezed past.

He seemed to be walking forever, taking the elevator to the right level, down more nondescript corridors.

Finally he could see two worried looking Marines stood by a door. And he could finally hear John’s desperation to get out with his ears and not just in his mind.

“Open the door!” Ronon barked behind him.

One of the marines reached for his gun as the other turned to the door. The marine with the gun hit the floor from Ronon’s gun before Rodney realized what was going on.

Then the door was yanked open and John stood in the door for a moment looking at him.

Rodney’s insides knotted up, he tried to say John’s name but a lump in his throat chocked him.

Then John was running towards him and he found himself enfolded in John’s arms as they both slammed into the wall behind Rodney.

There was an overwhelming rush of relief, suddenly he felt over heated as the ever present cold finally disappeared.

He was dimly aware that they were both falling to the floor, when the world blinked out.

 

+ + + + +

 

Carson yawned as he stretched in his chair besides Ronon and Teyla.

It had been twelve hours, a few impromptus meetings in the infirmary with lots of angry people.

Finally, they got the gate shut down after three hours of being constantly open, and Carolyn Lam had argued about her finding’s with her farther. Everything had settled down and he could finally see to his patients.

Ronon had told him what happened when the two men had met, mostly that they had just started hugging then fallen over.

As he and Carolyn had examined their patients, they came to the realisation that both men had been through more physical stress than they had realised. If they had been separated for a week more, both men would have suffered multiple organ failure, and that isn’t counting in psychological problems.

So now both men were hooked up to all the machines the SGC had to offer. Even in the few hours they had been monitoring their vital signs, they were actually improving. Which was a blessed relief.

Teyla yawned at his side as she stood smoothly. “I’m going to get some coffee.” She announced, “Carson, Ronon, can I get you anything?”

Ronon snorted, shaking his head. “I’m staying here.”

Carson stood, he needed to stretch his legs or he was going to fall asleep. “I’ll come with you lass,” With one last look at his friends, they left for the mess.

 

+ + + + +

 

John woke with a start. For a moment he lay completely still as he stared at the black unfamiliar ceiling above him.

He took stock of himself. His right side ached, he guessed from where he kept slamming himself against his door. With a gasp he realized he wasn’t hot anymore, his skin wasn’t itching with it.

He felt surprisingly fine.

He tried to sit up, he needed to find Rodney!

As he moved, he found his hand clasping someone else’s, he quickly looked to his left, seeing Rodney asleep directly next to him, and he reflexively squeezed his hand.

He could see the machines just beyond Rodney’s sleeping form, and Ronon sat asleep at Rodney’s side.

He quickly guessed they were in the SGC infirmary and that some kind soul had moved their bed’s together. He lifted his hand, then blinked, someone had used white medical tape to wrap their hands together, he couldn’t help the smile when he also saw handcuffs around both their wrists.

He never guessed he would be relieved to be handcuffed to another guy, and a little disappointed that it wasn’t at all kinky.

Despite the hindrance of all the tubes coming from under his own scrubs, he turned onto his side to face Rodney.

The other man was on his back, snoring lightly, a little stream of drool trickling from the corner of his mouth into the stubble that covered his jaw.

John was about to grin, wishing he had a camera, but he frowned instead as he took a closer look in the dim light. Rodney’s cheeks seemed a little hollow and there were black circles smudged around his eyes.

Instinctively he reached out, putting his hand on Rodney’s cheek, turning the other man’s head so he was facing John, so he could get a better look at him. Rodney looked sick and it made John’s guts tighten with worry.

He ran his thumb lightly over the dark smudges under Rodney left eye.

Rodney gave a little grumble as he closed his mouth then storm gray eyes opened to look directly at him. And it was the best thing John had ever seen.

He smiled back as Rodney gave him a stunning smile of his own.

Everything suddenly seemed so much better.

“Hey.” Rodney croaked out as he struggled to also move onto his side.

“Hey.” John replied as he moved his hand from Rodney’s cheek to his shoulder and helped pull him over so they were facing each other.

He felt Rodney try and move his right hand, so he lifted their clasped hands, a little awkward seen as he was laying on it. “Seems we are stuck together.” He grinned.

Rodney looked at their taped and cuffed hands then gave a seductive little chuckle, which always warmed John’s heart, even before he drank the alien hooch.

“We have to try and keep the cuffs.” Rodney grinned.

John razed an eyebrow. “You’re into that?” He felt his heart rate speed up a little, he’d never thought about that kinda kinky stuff, but the thought of cuffing Rodney to a bed was making his guts warm pleasantly.

Rodney glanced at him, then looked away as he cheeks blushed a little. “Dunno… Maybe?... if you are.” He said shyly.

John felt a spike of interest coming from Rodney and he grinned wider. “I guess we can find out together.” He answered huskily as he tried to shuffling a little closer, then winced when the wires connected to his chest pulled at him. “Crap.”

“Stop moving.” Suddenly Ronon was getting to his feet. “Gimmi a sec.” he said as he first moved the machines at Rodney’s side closer to the bed, then he moved around the beds and did the same to John’s. “There, now move.”

John felt a little uncomfortable as Ronon helped push him practically onto Rodney’s bed. “Thanks Chewy.” He joked to hide his embarrassment as he thankfully wrapped his right arm around Rodney’s waist, then pulled the other man closer, wishing their arms weren’t held awkwardly between them.

Ronon patted his shoulder hard, making John wince as he hit bruises, “Get some more sleep… I’ll have to go tell Carson you’re awake.” Then he was gone.

Rodney snuggled closer, shoving his head under John’s chin, his left hand, covered by his cast, lay heavy against John side. But he really couldn’t care less.

Rodney was in his arms and that was all that mattered.

He clutched Rodney a little more as he felt the other man slip into a contented sleep and quickly he followed, the galaxy and it’s fucked up problems could all get lost.

 

+ + + + +

 

“Look… We just want to get back to work.” John said again. “On Atlantis.” He clarified, trying not to sound too sarcastic.

He was sat at the large table in the briefing room at the SGC. Rodney sat at his side tapping away at a tablet he had stolen from Doctor Lee. Whatever he was doing he wasn’t paying attention to what was going on at the table. John was aware of Rodney’s mind buzzing away in the background, and was quiet happy to let John deal with the meeting.

He moved a little, pushing his shoulder more against Rodney.

Since they had been let out of the infirmary, and someone had given them the key to the cuffs. They had gone back to John’s room, but neither of them felt exactly amorous. The mountain pressed down on John and the lack of windows and sky just made John feel trapped. So much so, it leached to Rodney, who hadn’t previously given it much thought, since he was used to their surroundings.

So they had just slept in each others arms.

They could still let go of each other, so long as they stayed in the same room. Which was a little bit of a relief, if only they actually wanted to let go of each other, which they didn’t. John was sure there would be therapy in their future.

“We both agree.” Carson said as he indicated Doctor Lam. “They haven’t been compromised in any security sense, and I’m sure with a little time, it won’t affect their work. They are already on the same team; share the same rank in their fields of expertise.”

“Also, with the Renori woman I talked to.” Doctor Lam added. “And the other couple I saw, they will eventually get back to their normal lives.”

General Landry still looked unsure as he cast both John and Rodney a look. “But you also said there was a mental link that they share.” He looked back at the doctors. “Could this not be exploited by an enemy?”

John snorted, getting him a glare from the General.

“If you’re talking about torture to gain information.” He said waving his free hand dismissively. “Been there, done that.”

“But if you were tortured now, would not Doctor McKay suffer as well?” General Landry’s eyes narrowed.

“Hun.” Rodney suddenly said. “It’s not like watching Sheppard get tortured isn’t something I’ve been through before.” He kept tapping at his tablet as he spoke. “Or watched him go on some suicide run to save the world… And I doubt it will be the last.” He gave John a glare before going back to whatever the hell it was he was doing.

“Are you telling me it wouldn’t be different now?” Landry insisted.

Rodney gave a little derisive laugh. “Yes, obviously, this time he couldn’t order me not to go… well, where suicidal runs were concerned. He can go alone to get himself tortured though.”

“And if he was tortured again? Are you telling me you wouldn’t do anything to get him back?” General Landry asked in the softest voice John had ever heard him use.

John felt a jolt of annoyance from Rodney as he put the tablet down and slowly turned to look at the General. The annoyance dissipated to be replaced with an underlying feeling of grief.

“I’ve seen Sheppard tortured before and it almost killed us all… I’ve seen men kill themselves before my eyes, all to save me, or to save the lives of every one on Atlantis. I’ve seen a lot of death and sacrifice and I constantly work under pressure most people would crumble under… Yet still I kept working against the impossible to pull miracles out my ass, all to get home and a hot bath.” He waved his cast arm between John and himself, his fingers wiggling out the top. “And you think THIS will change anything?... You’re delusional.” He snorted as he went to pick up his tablet again. “I would do the same for him that I would do for any member of my team.”

John was just about to give Rodney a grin when there was clapping from behind them. He turned just in time to see General O’Neill, Doctor Jackson and General Carter followed by Teal’c come through the other door.

O’Neill was the one who was clapping. “What a nice speech!” he said an amused grin on his face.

Everyone suddenly got to their feet in respect, only Rodney stayed where he was and John couldn’t help putting a hand on his friends shoulder.

O’Neill waved them all down impatiently as he took his own seat at the other end of the table. “Sorry we’re late.” He said. “But I already read all the reports on this matter. And to be honest Hank, I’m wondering why you aren’t shipping these annoyances back to another galaxy as soon as possible?”

John sat a little stunned, resting his arm against Rodney.

“I was trying to ascertain the risk.” General Landry said a little annoyed.

O’Neill just snorted.

“I agree with General O’Neill.” Carter suddenly said, giving O’Neill an annoyed look before she turned to John and gave him a smile. “Doctor Travis and Doctor Makoto stumbled on something similar, but they still go through the gate together.”

“But they are just Botanists.” General Landry tried to argue. “They don’t hold positions of authority.”

“We talked with the IOA.” Jackson said. “Err… Ja… O’Neill convinced them that everything was ok, and that they could go back home… To their jobs.”

General Landry looked annoyed. “It would be nice to be kept in the loop.”

“But there are so many loops to jump through.” O’Neill said in that annoying joking way he had. “But I saved you all the hassle. I believe the Daedalus isn’t back till next week, were they will be sent on another supply mission. I think they can find space for five passengers and some personal supplies don’t you?” O’Neill smiled as he looked around the table before settling on John. “Now if you guys will excuse us, I have to have a chat with the General here.”

John gave O’Neill a nod of thanks as he stood, pulling Rodney with him towards the door by his elbow. He just got in the corridor when Carter ran up to them.

“One second guys.” She said as she grinned at him, then looked at Rodney. “I, err, called your sister.” She said as her smile turned a little conniving. “I sent her and her family tickets. They should be here soon.”

“WHAT!” Rodney hollered in shock.

“Well, I thought you might like to see her and tell her the good news.” She beamed mischievously.

Rodney scowled at her. “Oh, I get it… This is payback for all the times you missed the trick!” he said gesturing at himself giving her a smug smirk. “You thought you could get back at me because I’m taken now.”

John tried not to grin as he watched Carter roll her eyes. Even thought he knew Rodney had had the hugest crush on the woman, he just couldn’t get jealous. He mussed, it might be because Rodney’s feeling had never been returned. That, and he didn’t feel anything from Rodney that hinted at he might still be interested in her.

“Sure Rodney, I’m just dieing with jealous, so I thought I would torture you with your family.” She gave John a wink. “So why don’t you take Teyla and Ronon to see the sights? And I’ll try and get over you?”

“You do that.” Rodney said as he began to walk away.

“Thanks Carter.” John managed as he followed Rodney towards the elevator.

“No problem.” She replied, giving them a little wave as she grinned.

 

+ + + + +

 

John slouched more into the uncomfortable seats at the department store they found themselves in, as Teyla and Jeannie continued shopping.

At least there was a football game on the ancient TV on the wall in the corner of the husband waiting room. John slipped a little more in boredom and Rodney muttered a protest as he carried on snoozing.

Only Carson was saved this unique torture because he was still happily stuck in research with Miss Lam.

John smiled as he remembered the weekend that had been more fun, well, than waiting for two women with almost unlimited credit cards to finish shopping. Jeannie had taken Rodney’s and Teyla had John’s.

On Saturday, Jeannie had turned up with Keleb and Madison, at which point they had all got on another plane, first class, and gone to Universal Studios in LA. Madison had wanted to go to Disney world, but Rodney had actually argued sense. There were six adults, of which two wouldn’t get a lot of short people wandering around like mutes in strange costumes, and another two really didn’t want to go. So they had gone on all the rides at Universal and visited all the studio lots. John had had to restrain Ronon when Jaws came rearing up out of a lake. The big guy had growled and tried to lung for the plastic model. Both Madison and Rodney had laughed themselves hoarse.

Even Teyla and Ronon had enjoyed themselves because they had seen most of the movies that the theme park hosted.

That night they had gone to Mann’s Chinese theatre to watch the latest Batman movie, John was just thankful Rodney kept most of his annoyances to himself until they got back to their hotel room. After they had wished good night to everyone, John shut Rodney up mid batman, kill director, rant as he stripped him then threw him on the large bed.

There wasn’t much niceties, and foreplay was mostly forgotten as he reduced Rodney to a moaning mess then took him till they had both collapsed in a satisfied heap.

They had been woken up in a sticky, tangled mess by Jeannie banging on their door Sunday morning.

So they had got up and started the day with breakfast then went out sightseeing around LA till Kaleb and Madison had to catch their plane back home for school and work on Monday.

The rest of them had gone back to the Springs in the morning. Where they booked themselves into another hotel, not wanting to go back to the mountain.

So now here they were, stuck in a huge department store at the back of a mall, waiting for the women to finish shopping.

The tiny TV suddenly let out a loud scream of a crowd as their team won a touchdown and Rodney woke with a snort.

“Welcome back.” John grinned.

“Ugg.” Rodney looked at his watch. “They have been hours!” he groused. “Have they been kidnapped?”

John couldn’t help the chuckle at the hopefulness he felt from his lover. He had to agree, going on a rescue mission would be more exiting than sitting here.

“Right that’s it.” Rodney said as he stood. “I’m going to get my card back, then we are going to the furnisher department!”

“We are?” John said as he stood too, then offered his elbow to Rodney with a grin.

For a moment Rodney looked between his arm and his eyes, then with a little spike of embarrassment Rodney took it.

John was half surprised, but couldn’t help the flood of affection towards the other man, watching as Rodney blushed a little more then tried to pull away, John just grabbed his hand and put it back, giving it a pat, then began to walk into the stores shopping floor.

He guessed he would be more reserved about being so physical, especial in a military town. But he was finding quick that he liked it and didn’t really give a crap about what other people thought.

“There over there.” Ronon said at their back as they wandered through the woman’s section.

John sighed as he realized they were in lingerie, looking at bras. “Crap.”

“JEANNIE!” Rodney hollered and John winced, thankful that the store was practically empty. “Get over here and give me my card!”

Teyla was laughing as Jeannie stomped over. “Could you be anymore loud!” she seethed at her brother as she fished in her purse for Rodney’s credit card. “Here!” she said holding it out. “But you said I could go shopping with it! Unlimited you said.”

Rodney waved his cast hand about. “Yes, yes, but you took too long, anyway, Teyla has John’s card, just use that.” He said as he awkwardly took the card, fiddled with it till John took it and shoved it in his own pocket.

“I can’t do that!” She glanced back at the trolley she and Teyla had almost filled.

When she looked back John gave her a smile and a one shoulder shrug. “It’s fine.” He assured her. After all, it wasn’t like he was poor, far from it, though he had been a little surprised that Rodney actually had more than him.

She finally looked down to where Rodney’s hand still rested on his arm. “Oh… Thanks.” She smiled at him a little shyly, looking a lot like her brother.

“Think nothing of it.” He grinned. “I’m sure Rodney owes me a full month’s pay here and there.”

“Yes, yes… Now carry on spending our hard earned money. We’ll be over in the furnisher department. Or getting our pensions if you take any longer.” Rodney said as he pushed John away.

“I’ll stay here.” Ronon said as they wandered away.

“Your funeral!” Rodney called back without stopping.

--

“So…” John drawled out as they wandered past sofas and coffee tables. “What are we looking for in here?”

“A new bed.” Rodney sing songed. “My bed’s a single orthopaedic mattress and yours is a child sized foam pad, just like that awful double we found… I thought maybe you would like one you can actually get your feet onto?... And if you think we are going to keep that standard ancient doubles, you are sadly mistaken.” He ended with a sniff.

John hadn’t really thought about it. “There was nothing wrong with that bed before.” He said, trying not to sound hurt, he actually liked having Rodney plastered on top of him when they were back on Atlantis. But he guessed he had a point, sleeping in a double bed one Earth had also been nice.

Rodney rolled his eyes. “You so loose your ‘cool and aloof’ status for that Colonel… Ah there we are.”

John grinned as they made their way towards the beds.

He let Rodney do all the talking to the poor clerk, demanding a king sized orthopaedic mattress, the thickest they had and the most expensive, along with a solid wood frame, all of which he wanted to test out.

“We have three in stock of the size you are seeking.” The clerk said as she indicated three thick wooden frames of varying designs. “But we only have one orthopaedic mattress; it’s on the one here.”

Rodney practically threw himself on the bed, then began to wiggle himself into the mattress making contented noises. “Well what are you standing there smirking at?” He snapped, “Try it out!”

John cast the clerk an awkward look. But she just gave him an understanding but professional smile.

“My youngest son’s the same.” She said softly. “Demanding… I’ll just be over by the counter if you need anything more.” Then she walked away giving them a modicum of privacy.

John finally lay on the bed and was surprised how comfortable it was. He had been in Rodney’s before, but now that mattress seemed thin to this one.

“Told you.” Rodney said smugly, rolling onto his side to look at him. “I managed to get more space on the Daedalus. We can get enough stuff to fill an apartment.”

“Oh, really?” John razed an eyebrow as he also turned on his side, propping his head on one fist, looking down at Rodney.

Rodney gave him a shy little grin. “Yup, thought about getting a big sofa, a nice work table… and the biggest flat-screen we can lay our hands on!”

“We are gonna have to get a games console.” He grinned back.

“Just one?” Rodney asked playfully.

John shrugged.

“Well, we are going to have to get all the latest games too… maybe hit a comic book store and book store… I saw a games store on the way in. So we should go there too.”

John leaned down and gave Rodney a quick kiss. “You’re a genius.” He purred.

Rodney blushed as his mouth formed a self-righteous line. “I’ve been telling you that for years.”

“Yes you have.” John laughed as he began to get up.

“Once we have got the furniture, I’ll tell my sister to sort out the bedding.” Rodney said as he once again took John’s arm, “Unless you have any preferences?”

John shrugged, he really didn’t care so long as it kept him warm. “Nope, so long as she doesn’t get anything with flowers on it, I’m good.”

Rodney groaned. “For gods sake, don’t tell her that or it’s all that she’s gonna buy just to spite us.”

“I don’t think she would do that.” John said as he eyed the third wooden bed base. It had convenient wooden slats as a headboard.

“Hn… You think your looks would outweigh her amusement at us both sleeping under a frilly pink floral sheet?”

John guessed he had a point. “I want this one.” He said instead, pointing at the simple pine bed with the slats.

“But… Oh!” Rodney actually looked at the headboard, then he blushed again and John could tell he was thinking dirty kinky things.

 

+ + + + +

 

Jeannie took another guzzle of the expensive wine she had insisted on. She and Teyla were enjoying it very much as the guys stuck to beer.

The meal they had eaten was just as expensive and delicious in the high class restaurant bar they found themselves in.

She was exhausted from all the shopping they had done, but when she had been given no limit and someone else’s credit card, it had been a thrill. Until she got to the check out and almost fainted at the thousends of dollars she and Teyla had spent.

Teyla had stopped her from putting some of it back, and she had apologised to John profusely as he just smiled at her. Until her stupid brother had told her they needed bedding for their new bed, and she could do that in payment.

She smiled across at him now, She had bought them enough to keep them going for years, what she wouldn’t tell them is that she had found the pinkest frilliest and most flowery duvet cover she could find, then hidden it amongst the plain boring guy type ones.

Mer gave her a scowl, meaning he knew something was up, and it would drive him crazy all the way back to Atlantis.

Ronon suddenly laughed at something John said, and both men ended up in gals of laughter.

“What’s so funny?” She asked turning to the men who had obviously drunk too much and were now clutching their bellies.

“They were talking about a… a wedding ceremony.” Teyla was grinning from ear to ear, her cheeks slightly flushed from the wine. “John mentioned that Rodney would be the one wearing the big white dress.”

Ronon and John fell about laughing again, as every time they looked at Mer they broke down once more into giggles. Even Teyla was laughing loudly now.

Jeannie couldn’t help but join in as she watched Mer get more and more annoyed.

Finally John was draping himself around Mer like an animated rag doll, apologising as he carried on chuckling.

Jeannie couldn’t look away as John kept laying light pecks against the side of Mer’s face, trying to get Mer to look at him. Mer was being petulant as he kept trying to look away.

For the first time in three days, apart from hand holding and an occasional arm around waists, she was finally seeing some true affection between the two men.

She didn’t know if it was the wine, or she really wasn’t surprised that the two men had got together. A little surprised maybe at the fact she knew her brother had gone for short, blond haired, pretty woman. So ending up attached to a brown haired, maturing man, was a lot for her mind to take in. But from what Teyla had told her, they didn’t have much of a choice.

She just knew she hadn’t seen Mer so calm and content in a long time. So she guessed it wasn’t altogether a bad thing.

“I’m not gonna wear a dress…” Mer grumbled out eventually as he leaned into John’s arms. He still looked sullen and wouldn’t meet John’s eyes.

John suddenly stilled. And Jeannie could see the slight shock on the Colonel’s face as it slowly turned more affectionate as he finally reached up, putting a hand on Mer’s face, turning it to look at him.

“You know I would keep you in a manner you’re accustomed.” She heard John purr out.

Her chest warmed at the sight as her brother began to look all bashful.

“I’m not signing a pre-nup…” Mer whispered back, “I’ve hacked your bank account.”

John just grinned, in the only way a drunken man could, sloppily. “Is that a yes?”

Mer looked down at his hands, which were fiddling with the cloth napkin furiously, before he answered. “Maybe…” he whispered.

She guessed John took it for a yes, as he pulled Mer’s face to his own and kissed her brother, tongues and all. It was a rather passionate kiss, as John held Mer’s face and her brother melted into it. It was one of those kiss’s where the world melted away and it was just the two of them.

Ronon began cheering as Teyla clapped.

Both men pulled apart, grinning like fools and blushing all at the same time.

“We can go looking for rings tomorrow!” Teyla said a little excitedly. “That is the custom is it not?... This would be an…”

“Engagement.” Jeannie clarified.

“Yes! An engagement, the rings are different for this right?” Teyla enquired as she drank more wine.

“Can’t we talk about this tomorrow… or later.” Mer grumbled.

“Well, I can’t wait to see you bare foot and pregnant!” Jeannie laughed as she guzzled down the last of the wine in her glass. When she looked back at her brother, she had expected a glare, not the sheer desolation in his eyes. “What… Mer?” she questioned as he shot to his feet.

“I need the bathroom…” He replied sharply as he rushed past her.

She looked at John who’s eyes were fixed on Mer’s fleeing back, he also looked like he had been hit with a bat. “Ronon, go after him.” he commanded.

“I will go too… Will this be alright?” Teyla asked, all drunkenness gone as she stood.

John’s mouth was in a concerned line as he nodded. “I’ll come when he needs me.” He answered.

With that, Teyla laid a hand on John’s shoulder, then walked away too.

“What did I say?” Jeannie asked desperately, then she gasped. “Unless you guys have found a way for men to get pregnant!” she whispered out with a breath. Then blinked as John looked down awkwardly. “Seriously?” she asked.

John shrugged one shoulder. “It’s still under testing… but even if it works… Well… We have both been exposed to too much radiation.” He looked a little embarrassed as he shifted about in his chair.

“What?” she put her hands over her mouth in realization. “How… when did you find out?” she squeaked.

“Routine testing.” He answered as his eyes went over her shoulder. She turned to see her brother going outside with Teyla and Ronon. “After I had to fly us too close to a sun, we had to be treated for radiation poisoning… Carson did some more tests and eventually gave us the bad news.”

“So… So your both.” She hated to say it. “Sterile?”

He gave her a grim look. “Doctor Keller.” He ground out her name. “Was trying to work on something to reverse it… As far as I know Carson was sure it wouldn’t work.” He said looking back over her shoulder. “We haven’t talked about it… He mentioned wanted kids before… I guess when you are told there is no chance, ever… It hit him harder than he wanted to admit. I got us both very drunk the night we found out.” He made another face like he had just tasted something unpleasant. “Of course, Doctor Keller was also upset about it.”

Jeannie couldn’t say she was too impressed with the way Jennifer had handled the whole brain bug thing, but she had saved Mer’s life… eventually.

“How did Jennifer take… err… You two getting together?” she asked softly. The last thing she heard, Mer and her were still together. Though Mer had stopped mentioning her so much in his emails just after Atlantis went back to the Pegasus galaxy.

She watched as John practically snarled. “She told the SGC we were compromised, it’s why we are here…” then he was smiling. “Rodney came and rescued me.”

She huffed as she smiled too; trust her brother to do something that was probably stupid. “So I guess this isn’t so much of a holiday?”

John shook his head. “Nope, we are just waiting for the Daedalus to get here, so we can go home.”

Jeannie nodded, she would have to grill Mer later about what actually happened, especially with Jennifer. She felt sorry for the other woman, slightly.

“Ugg… I gotta go.” John suddenly said as he got up.

Jeannie turned to see Teyla coming towards them. “Rodney is asking you to go outside.” She said softly as she took her original seat. “He says there is a comic book store across the street.”

John quickly pulled out his wallet and handed Teyla his credit card. “Get more drinks.” He said as he then rushed outside.

Jeannie watched as the two men greeted each other. John draped one arm around Mer’s shoulders as her brother waved his hands across the street excitedly.

“Is he alright?” She asked Teyla as she turned around.

“John is with him.” Teyla said enigmatically.

Jeannie fidgeted with her empty glass. Guessing that was enough of an answer. “So… Are you and Ronon ok with.” She waved her hand over her shoulder. “Them, being together I mean.”

Teyla sighed a little frustration as she reached for their third bottle of wine. “To be honest. They should have gotten together, and without the help of the Renori, long ago… but what can I say…” she smiled as she filled their glasses. “They can both be rather… stubborn.”

Jeannie grinned as she raised her glass. “There is an understatement!” she said, clinking her glass to Teyla’s

 

+ + + + +

 

John glanced over to Ronon, who was fingering all the fake Sci-Fi weapons, covering one wall in the comic book store.

Rodney, meanwhile, was humming to himself as he looked through the rack they stood before.

John could feel Rodney was still upset by what his sister had said, but it was quickly dissipating as he kept finding new books.

John leaned into Rodney’s personal space. “You doing ok buddy?” he asked softly. It was late and the late night store was practically empty.

Rodney gave him a little grunt as he picked up another book. “Yup, yup… Look, they did some more since we left… I thought they had finished this series.” He said happily.

“That’s great.” John said half heartedly, feeling how surprised and delighted his lover truly was at the find. “But still…”

Rodney sighed as he stood straight, his hands going to his sides. “Look… I dealt with that a long time ago… with you, if I remember.” Rodney finally turned to look at him. “She just caught me off guard... It’s not something we will have to worry about. No matter what Carson thinks.”

John put his arm around Rodney waist, then gave him a smile as he purposefully changed the subject. “So…” he drawled huskily. “You okay with looking for rings tomorrow?” he couldn’t help feeling a little angst about it, it wasn’t like he hadn’t done it before, but back then it felt like a chore. Now? Maybe not so much.

Rodney rolled his eyes. “Like we have a choice? My sister will have us up at the crack of dawn.”

John chuckled, “She doesn’t seem at all bothered by this change in your circumstances.”

Rodney snorted. “That’s because she likes you.”

“Really?” John asked, letting his ego bask shamelessly in the compliment.

Rodney stuttered as he gave John an annoyed look. “Like that slouchy, couldn’t care less, coolness you have cultivated with your messy hair and stubble isn’t a chick magnet! And like you don’t know what effect it has on people!”

John gave a smirk as he looked away, trying for innocence. “Really? What affect would that be?”

He could feel Rodney’s amusement, just before he got poked in the belly, hard. “Ouch!” he complained.

“And don’t think you can use your ‘Kirk’ effect to its fullest anymore!” Rodney snarked.

“You’re jealous?” John asked.

Rodney gave him another scowl before his blue eyes opened wide in startlement. “No…” he whispered out. “err… I can’t be.”

“Thanks…” John was a little annoyed at that before he actually got what Rodney meant… They couldn’t even think of someone else without the other knowing instantly, but even in the short time this bond had been going on, he didn’t want anyone else other than Rodney, couldn’t even think of it now.

“See…” Rodney said.

“How… When did you figure that one out?” John asked a little taken aback.

Rodney just pointed at his head and smiled. Then spoke when he realised John was thinking of hitting him. “Well, that and I saw a cute blond outside on our way over here, she was totally my type… and I didn’t even give her a second look, even though she smiled at me!... and well, you being born cool, wont understand that a woman smiling at you is a huge thing, especially a good looking one!”

John just frowned at Rodney. “She smiled at you?” he asked, not remembering passing anyone.

“Ah, who’s jealous now?” Rodney chuckled as he leaned against John’s side as he carried on looking through the racks.

John just let Rodney drag him about the store till Jeannie and Teyla came to drag them back to the hotel.

 

+ + + + +

 

Jeannie looked into another case of Jewellery. “These ones look nice.” She said, pointing at two gold bands with diamond in each.

She felt her brother looking over her shoulder. “No.” he yawned.

She had banged on their door earlier. John had answered the door in nothing but a towel and she couldn’t help but look him up and down, if she wasn’t happily married, she would slap her brother more for getting such a great catch. But alas, she liked guys who actually talked.

She had woken Teyla and Ronon, but they both looked terrible, so she left them, nursing their hangovers.

So she had dragged the idiots to at least three different jewellery stores. Before finding themselves in an expensive little family run place.

She also knew, that if she didn’t force them, they would never get around to even getting engagement rings.

“Are you guys even looking?” she snapped as she turned on them.

John was looking at watches and her brother just stood next to her looking bored as he peered into another case.

“We could have come when we were slightly more awake.” Rodney muttered.

“Also we already chose.” John added. “This one looks cool.” He pointed at a watch, then he reached for Rodney and pulled him over. “Look that one, looks like it’s got all the works.”

“It should do at that price.” Rodney answered. “Also looks like its all show and no substance. It’s probably not even waterproof… Now that one.” He pointed to something else.

“Did you just SAY you already picked your rings?” Jeannie asked, feeling a little peeved.

“Yes.” John stood and gave her a charming smile. “Rodney, can you?”

Rodney pointed into the case next to the watches. “That one.”

She peered in to see a simple white gold band that had been inlayed with a square cut light blue sapphire. Even as she looked at it, it shimmered and she got a stab of recognition, it looked like the Stargate puddle. “Well you could have said!”

“We did, but you weren’t listening.” Rodney snorted.

“Ok.” John said turning his attention from the watches. “Lets get this over with, call the guys, then go get something to eat.”

“We ate earlier.” She frowned, they had grabbed a McMuffin not, she looked at her watch, three house ago.

“Yeah, it’s been that long.” John said lightly as he waved over the clerk who had been staring at them since they came in and they had sent her away. “And someone stood at my side needs to eat again.”

Jeannie grinned and poked Rodney in the belly, that seemed thinner than the last time she did it. “He always need to eat.” She joked; earning herself a scowl that she returned.

“Well, if I couldn’t now feel it…” John tailed off with a meaningful look. “Hello.” He said to the clerk who instantly blushed and smiled back.

The woman was very thorough as she measured their fingers, also managing to get the right size of Rodney’s left ring finger even though it was made awkward by his cast.

Eventually she laid out a black velvet cloth and placed two of the rings onto it.

“These should be perfect.” She beamed at them. “You are lucky with the sizing, I only have the one in the case and two more, the sapphire colour is pretty rare. I had some round cut one’s that an older gentleman bought for his partner, a lovely younger man. I suspect they work up at the mountain.”

Jeannie watched as John gave Rodney a razed eye brow before he picked one of the rings up, then with a sappy grin he held Rodney’s cast with the other, then pushed the ring onto his ring finger.

“How’s that?” John asked softly.

Rodney blushed as he nodded, he picked up the other ring and did the same to John, pushing the ring onto his finger.

She stepped back for a moment, giving the Clerk a smile as the two men looked into each others eyes.

It was all very romantic, or as romantic as standing in a store could be.

She saw John start to lean into her brother and she cleared her throat loudly.

John blinked and grinned before turning back to the clerk. “We’ll take them.” He said. “Can we also get two silver chains to go with them?”

“Of course, I’ll just get them for you to look at.” The Clerk said hurriedly as she walked away.

“Chains?” Jeannie asked.

“We wont be able to ware them off… all the time.” John told her as the clerk came back.

“These are the ones most popular with those working on the base.” The clerk said as she laid out a few long necklaces. “I guess you won’t want the ring boxes?” she beamed at them.

 

+ + + + +

 

Rodney was ready to slap his sister if she didn’t shut up about the bill from the jewellers, especially since she had insisted on getting them, and was equally surprised that John had agreed.

They had also bought Madison a little silver necklace with a little silver medallion that had a Pegasus on it, then given it to Jeannie to keep safe for Christmas, so she would get it even if they couldn’t get the time off to come Earth side. John had seen it first, and mentioned Rodney should get it for her, Rodney had scoffed, saying it could be from the pair of them. He hadn’t understood the strange emotions coming from John, so he had just held his hand tightly.

He looked at his ring again, peeking out from his cast and felt a little warm squirm in his belly. Who would have thought he would become a romantic fool.

He felt John squeeze his hand and he fought the urge to giggle like a school girl. Really, it was ridicules; he just couldn’t find the energy to get annoyed with himself.

“Teyla said they would be at that café on the corner.” John said as he hung up his cell phone.

“We should hurry before Ronon eats everything!” Rodney worried. He was getting hungry, so much so his hypoglycaemia was making it painful, and he knew now John could feel it. So he guessed the power bars, if they went off world ever again, would be more forthcoming. Which made him hum happily.

“You really do have a one track mind.” John laughed at him.

Rodney gasped as he stared at the other man; trust John to get mind reading while he was at it.

John rolled his eyes. “I’ve known you too long NOT to be able to know what you’re thinking Rodney.” He drawled out.

Rodney couldn’t help but give John a weary look. “Oh yeah? So what was I thinking?”

“I’m guessing it was power bar related?” John grinned.

“Cheat.” Rodney muttered. Then he gasped as he felt a rush of lust coming from John. “Oh my god!” he squeaked. “And you’re accusing ME of having a one track mind!”

John looked away shrugging one shoulder. “I’m a guy McKay.” He drawled out. “I have needs.”

“And I thought we saw to them last night!” Rodney bit back, then gasped. “Stop that!” he squeaked again.

“Yes. Stop that when your sister in law is right besides you.” Jeannie growled as she slapped John on the arm.

Rodney gave her a grin that she returned. He felt the hint of pain from John, and knew Jeannie had given John her special ‘Beat the brother’ slap, and he knew how that stung.

They stopped talking as they moved to let two guys by.

“Fucking fags” one of the men said as they passed.

Rodney bristled, but chose to ignore them. It wasn’t like he hadn’t heard it before, but as John’s hand squeezed his own; he guessed John had never heard it in this context.

“Hey, Honey!” the man called back, “Wanna stop being a faghag and hang out with some real men?!”

“Just ignore them.” Rodney hissed, but it was too late as his sister turned.

“I beg your pardon!” she stomped up to them.

Rodney gave a quick look around the street, even though it was lunch time; the short cut they were taking wasn’t busy, in fact the whole street was eerily empty.

He tried to take his hand from John’s, but Rodney felt something change in John, he got a little harder, colder even as he turned. And Rodney realised he was dealing with the Lieutenant Colonel, John had been put away for the moment.

It sent an unpleasant shiver down Rodney’s spine, but at the same time he felt secure. The Colonel could face down Wraith and kill the bad guys without a thought. And would protect his people no matter what.

Rodney was always secure in the knowledge that he was on the top of the Colonel’s list to be protected, which in turn made Rodney feel braver.

“You heard me honey.” The man said with a cocksure smile as he looked Jeannie up and down appreciatively. He looked about in his mid twenties, just like his companion. “You’re too good looking to be hanging out with their kind.”

“And just what kind is that?” she asked as she folded her arms over her chest, glairing them down.

The man who was speaking grinned. “Someone who can show you a good time.”

Rodney saw the other man finally look up and actually look at John. His eyes widened as he took a step back. Then reached out to try and pull his friend away.

“We didn’t mean any harm. Fred… lets go.” He urged his friend.

Fred. Shook his friend off, “What’s up man? It’s just some fags and a pretty cougar.”

“Cougar!” Jeannie cried in indignation. “I’ll have you know I’m happily married, and if I wasn’t I wouldn’t look twice at some jarheads who doesn’t know what manners are!”

Fred growled, obviously not liking the insult.

Rodney followed John as he stepped up to Jeannie side. Rodney stayed just behind the Colonel’s shoulder, in his usual place.

“Can I help you gentlemen?” John drawled out, a sharp sarcastic edge colouring his tone.

Rodney knew he was giving the two young men a slight smile.

The one who hadn’t really said anything suddenly snapped to attention. Fred wasn’t so smart.

“We were just going home. Sir.” The attention guy said crisply as he looked over John’s shoulder like a good little soldier. “We are on leave. It’s been a long night and we are a bit drunk Sir.”

John nodded. “Understandable… Rank and name?” he asked without raising his voice.

“Corporal Matties, Sir, David Matties.”

“What the hell are you doing?” Fred turned on his friend angrily. “They don’t allow homos in the army! Stop being such a little fag yourself.”

“Who’s your friend, corporal?” John asked as he stared at Fred.

“Corporal Fredric Anderson, sir.” Matties snapped out.

“What the hell!” Fred growled at Matties who still stood to attention, ignoring his friend.

“Would you like to inform your friend who I am, Corporal Matties?” John purred out.

“Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard.”

Rodney suppressed a smirk as he watched Fred suddenly realize who he was talking too, and the idiot suddenly snapped to attention. “Sir!”

“Good… Now I think you owe this lady an apology.”

Fred bowed towards Jeannie. “I’m sorry for causing you any distress ma’am.”

“Not good enough!” Jeannie spat, “Can’t you strip him of his rank or something?” she asked John. “What would have happened if you weren’t a Colonel! What if you guys were just normal people?!”

Rodney watched as Fred paled considerable.

“You have a point…” John looked Fred up and down. “I’m sure there is some course available for you while you’re posted on some icecap or something.” John was still using his ‘calm’ voice, but Rodney could feel the dangerous steel behind it.

“Siberia is nice this time of year.” Rodney offered.

“Siberia it is then. I’m sure General O’Neill will approve.”

“Sir…” Fred was sweating now as his eyes widened.

John suddenly stepped into the taller young mans face. “You have a problem with that Corporal?” he growled menacingly.

“No sir.” Fred said weakly.

“Good… Now next time you want to shout crap at people on the street, sullying your uniform, you just think about who you might be yelling your filth at. In fact, don’t think about it, just don’t do it, ever again. Do I make myself clear?.”

“Yes, Sir, Sorry sir.” Fred snapped out smartly. “I’ve been drinking all night, and I wasn’t thinking properly.”

“Then maybe you shouldn’t drink so much, Corporal.” John said quietly.

“No sir.” Fred uttered as he swallowed loudly.

“Now… I suggest you go home and get some sleep, then both of you report back to base, your leave has just been cancelled.”

“Sir… I was due to visit my parents tomorrow.” Corporal Matties said awkwardly.

“Fine, report back after you see them… Dismissed!” John barked out.

Both Corporal’s snapped off a salute, then turned and hurried away.

John let out a sigh as they watched them disappear around the corner.

“I believe there is a week long sensitivity training on offer?” Rodney grinned. “Apparently, if you don’t cry you have to do it again.”

“Really?” John asked as he seemed to calm down.

“Well, Lorne told me about it.”

“I’ll ask about it when I contact the base.” John grinned.

Rodney felt John come back and the Colonel once again slip into the background.

“You should have smacked him about a bit.” Jeannie groused.

“Too much paperwork.” John smirked. “Especially when I can be so much more creative in my punishment.”

Rodney couldn’t help but laugh, feeling John’s own amusement.

“Come on, lets get food.” John said as he started to pulled Rodney forwards.

 

+ + + + +

 

Once again they found themselves in a bar. John was itching to play some pool, he was just waiting till a table became available. He was keeping his eye on one where two guys looked like they would be done soon.

He was also still a little shell shocked by his call to the SGC. Somehow he had gotten through to O’Neill and the General had gone all cold and scary on him when he told them about the homophonic prick they had met earlier.

Apparently now ALL personnel were going to go through the Sensitivity training Rodney had mentioned. And that Corporal Fredric Anderson was going to spend some time in Siberia and once he was done there, he was going to be posted under a Colonel Dawson, who apparently REALLY didn’t like anyone who sullied the uniform, in or out of it, and would chew the Corporal up good and proper.

John had eventually felt sorry for the guy, well, only a little.

When he had felt Rodney get upset at what the guys had shouted out, only his hand in Rodney’s had grounded him enough not to knock the bastards’ teeth down his throat. And he very much wanted too.

He finally sat forwards as the two guys left the pool table. Rodney groaned at him, seeing as he had been slouched against his side, half asleep. He rubbed Rodney’s thigh in apology.

“Ok… Ronon, lets go play some pool!” he said getting up. “Teyla, why don’t you come too?”

“I’ve never played pool.” Ronon said, but he seemed game enough.

“Is it hard?” Teyla asked, looking interested.

“Depends.” John replied before he turned back to Rodney, he leaned in close so he could whisper in his ear before Jeannie glared at him some more. “Why don’t you talk to your sister for a while?”

Rodney sighed, “Fine.” He said grumpily.

John put a quick kiss on Rodney’s forehead then went to claim his table.

 

+ + + + +

 

At first Jeannie had been annoyed she wasn’t invited to play pool, then she guessed what John was up too. She would have to thank him later. After she thrashed his ass at pool.

Mer was sipping his beer as she went to sit besides him.

“Soo…” she said slowly, then smiled in remembrance. “Are you happy?”

Mer looked at her sideways, before he gave her a smile of his own. “Yup.”

“Are you sure?” she asked watching as her brother rolled his eyes.

“I said yes, didn’t I?”

“It’s just seems a bit sudden.” She tried to explain. “Last thing I knew you were getting engaged to Jennifer, then I come down here, and it’s like you and John have been together for years.”

“We have been together for years.” Mer scoffed at her being obtuse.

She hit him on the arm hard. Satisfied when Mer gave a yelp, what worried her was the way she saw, out of the corner of her eye, John suddenly turn to look at them, his eyes hard as he looked ready to charge at her, then he gave a shake of his chin and went back to his game.

It was unnerving, just like with the boys earlier. She had never really seen John when he got all authoritive and commanding. He played his cool exterior rather well, she guessed it was to make people underestimate him so he could scare the knickers off them later. She figured she would have to tell him that it actually worked.

“But not as a couple.” She hissed, getting back on topic. “I was half joking about the rings the other night when Teyla mentioned it, but you actually got some.” She looked down to see the sapphire reflecting the bar’s dim lights.

“We already told you about the drink that John took.” Mer said sullenly as his hands started fiddling with his ring. “And how it affected me too.”

She sat back. Crossing her arms. “You’re trying to tell me you believe in all that mumbo jumbo?” she said sceptically.

Mer glanced up at her, then at John and back down to his fingers. “It’s complicated.” He finally said.

“So uncomplicate it for me!”

Mer gave a deep sigh. “I don’t know… it just happened… One moment I thought I had it all sorted. I was… kinda, happy with Jennifer… Then this happened and, well, it just seems right.” He shrugged. “It’s like we’ve been together for years, we just weren’t doing it right… And now we are.” He fidgeted a little. “I never had a best friend before. Never had anyone who put up with me for long.” He gave her a look that begged she understood. Without thinking she put her hand on his, letting him carry on. “So anyway… I actually like his company. I mean before this happened. And he seems to like mine.” He smiled as he looked over at John, who was taking a shot. “I think he liked me more then I realized for a long time…”

She smiled at that as she remembered seeing all the video diaries Mer made when he was loosing his mind to the brain bug. Now she had a little more insight, them getting together made a bit more sense. Even though Mer had told Keller he loved her, as Mer lost more of his mind, it was John he had called out to in distress as he got worse, and was the last person he really remembered.

Then there was the way Mer talked about John in his emails, always complaining about him, not in a very malicious way. But then Mer didn’t really talk about anyone else by actually name when he did email her.

“I think maybe he wasn’t the only one.” She smiled.

“What?... No…” he denied.

She just gave him an enduring smile, not wanting to get into an argument.

Then he looked a little unsure. “Do you think so?”

She shrugged, “Maybe a little bit.” She held her thumb and finger about an inch apart before her face.

“Hun.” He said as if he had just figured something out. “Well Doctor Lam did say there was meant to be an element of mutual attraction or the chemical wouldn’t have worked on me.”

She patted his hand before picking up her drink again, but paused as she was about to take a sip, “So if it’s just a chemical… then why do you and John seem to have this mental thing going on?” she said, pointing at her head. “It’s like you both know what the other is thinking.”

Mer smiled. “Yeah. But I can’t read his thoughts or anything. I might be a genius, but the last thing I need is ANOTHER voice in my head.” He waved his hands in the air. “I can just feel his emotions, I guess. It’s strange.”

Jeannie had to chuckle at that. “That must be hell for you then.” She smirked.

“Oh, ha ha.” He glared at her, then his eyes widened a little as he looked past her.

She looked over to the actually bar to see a huge fluffy ginger cat stalking across the counter. The people actually sat at the bar quickly grabbed their drinks till it had passed. They looked more scared than disgusted by it. Then green eyes looked over to their booth.

It took the huge animal only a few leaps to end up on their table.

“Ah… Hello kitty.” She said going to pat it when it glared at her and hissed. She quickly moved her hand away then saw Mer reaching out to the monster.

“Who’s a cute thing then.” He gushed as he began scratching it under its chin.

“Mer…” she hissed in worry. The thing was vicious, but as she watched the big ginger monster seemed to melt under Mer’s dextrous fingers as it started purring very loudly.

“Come here.” Mer said as he picked it up and plonked it on his lap as he ran his hands all over the cat, sinking his fingers into it’s long fir and scratching. “What’s your name then.” He spoke to the cat. “Ah, you’re a tummy whore!” he said in delight as the thing rubbed up against Mer’s chest, lifting it’s back leg over his wrist so Mer’s fingers were sinking into fluffy belly fir.

She tried to pat it again, but the thing just hissed at her again.

“Oh my god!” Someone exclaimed by their table and Jeannie looked up to see the barmaid looking at the cat in shock. “He normally hates everyone.” She said in explanation, “He normally only lets the owner near him… He must like you.” She smiled.

“What’s his name?” Mer asked, not taking his attention off the cat.

“He’s got many names.” The barmaid chuckled. “But Melissa calls him Henry. I can take him back up stairs if he’s bothering you?”

“No no.” Mer said hurriedly. “He’s fine.”

“Ok then… can I get you anything else while I’m here?”

Jeannie quickly ordered another round of drinks for them all. Then looked back at her brother.

It was strange to see him so relaxed as he gave the cat his full attention, he seemed softer somehow, like for once, he wasn’t thinking or anything as he kept a dopy smile on his face. For a moment, he looked like the boy she had sometimes seen growing up, before their parents started fighting. He looked totally at peace.

She looked over to where the others were still playing pool. John was stood staring at Mer, he looked a little shocked as he was about to take a shot. She saw Teyla ask John something and he seemed to break whatever spell he was under.

Then she remembered another question she had to ask. “If this thing is a chemical…” she turned back to her brother. “What happens when it wears off?”

Mer looked up at her then, his eyes huge and his mouth in an unhappy line. “Wears off…” he uttered brokenly.

It was like she had just shattered his world.

“Oh…” she gasped. “Maybe that’s not how it works?” she tried to reach out to him, but suddenly John was at Mer’s other side, pulling her brother into his arms.

“What did you say to him?” John’s eyes were hard as he glared at her.

She backed up a little. “I… I just asked what happened if the chemical wears off.” She gasped, painfully aware she was a sheep facing down a wolf, and she didn’t like it.

“Nothing…” John bit out. “Nothing would change, I wont let it.” He said adamantly, then he suddenly turned his attention to Mer. “You hear that buddy…” John’s voice got softer. “I’ll be with you as long as you want me.”

Mer nodded into John’s shoulder. “I… I just hadn’t thought… She has a point, we don’t know…”

John jostled Mer a little. “I said it doesn’t matter.” His voice firm. “I’m not going anywhere, no matter what happens.”

Mer sat up a little to look into John’s face. “You promised me that before.”

John smiled. “And I meant it then too, as well as the last time we had this conversation.”

“You are so uncool.” Mer chuckled, but it sounded a little fragile.

“And you’re still a geek.” John bit back, before he looked down into Mer’s lap. “And who do we have here?”

Mer seemed to brighten a little. “His name’s Henry, isn’t he cute!” Mer gushed as he squidged the drooling mass of fir.

“I’m more a dog person.” John said as he reached out and scratched between the cat’s ears. It gave John a glare, but seemed too content to lash out, as its huge paws kept opening and contracting its claws into Mer’s leg happily.

Mer chuckled, once again getting that calm, happy look on his face.

Jeannie watched as John also seemed to get all soft and squishy around the edges.

“I am SO going to get you a cat if this is the way it makes you feel.” John uttered into the side of Mer’s head as he hugged him a little tighter.

“Really?” Mer asked hopefully, like a little kid who’d just been told he could have a pony, or in Mer’s case a science kit.

John got a little more mushy, if his smile was anything to go by. “Sure.” He drawled out. “There was talk of getting some zoologists and a vet or two.”

“Hnn.” Mer hummed as he carried on petting the cat. “But it wouldn’t be practical. We would have to get litter, and food. Half my science team would be allergic to it…” he sighed.

“Well.” John hugged Mer a little closer. “We can train it to poop in the toilets; food wouldn’t be a problem… As for your science team, you’re telling me they don’t take enough meds at the moment for allergens not be a problem?”

Mer got all happy again, so Jeannie rolled her eyes.

“What is that?” Teyla asked as she and Ronon sat down at the table.

“It’s a cat.” Mer said introducing the thing.

“Ah, you said you had one before coming to… our homeland.” Teyla said tactfully. “But your photos didn’t look like this one.”

“They come in lots of shapes and sizes.” John said, tickling the cats ears. “This one is a nice one though.”

“Keller didn’t like cats…” Mer whispered out and Jeannie watched John tense a little.

“Are they good eating?” Ronon asked and Jeannie saw the gleam of amusement in his eyes, as he tactfully changed the subject.

Mer, predictable exploded. “No they are NOT good eating!”

“Then what good are they?” Ronon carried on as he leaned back with his pint.

“They are good companions.” Mer gushed at the cat. “Arnt you?”

The cat cave a little mew, like it knew what Mer had just said.

“Can I?” Teyla asked as she reached to pat it too.

Jeannie winced, but the cat just seemed to like the attention.

“So soft!” Teyla said as she ran her hands over it’s fir.

They carried on talking and drinking, till Teyla was sat next to Mer, loving the cat, while Jeannie thrashed John at pool with Ronon looking on.

 

+ + + + +

 

The next few days had past quickly until Jeannie had to leave to go home. They had all come to see her off. But as they waited for her flight, Jeannie finally pulled John away, saying she just needed a word.

Mer looked worried, but he let John go, who also looked a little unsure.

“So?” John asked as he started biting his lip.

“So.” She answered as she put her hands on her hips. “I’m only gonna say this once…” she poked him in the chest with one finger. “If you hurt my brother there won’t be anywhere you are safe.”

He actually looked shocked as his eyes glanced over to Mer. “I don’t plan on it.” He said softly before looking back at her. He pulled a face, like he wasn’t sure of what he was about to say was a good thing or not. Then he sighed and lowered his eyes. “Look… Your brother is my best friend… and I’ve liked him a little more than I should for a long time… And ok, so it took some alien hooch to get us together, I still don’t plan on letting him go… ever. I’m not sure I could even if I wanted to.” Then his eyes went wide. “Which I don’t want too!” he added hurriedly.

She looked at him for some time, but he didn’t look away, so she guessed he was telling her the truth… and really, her brother couldn’t have got a better catch.

“Then you should tell him more you’re not going to leave him.” she decided on honesty too. “You know as well as I do about his insecurities, despite all his bluster. So tell him you love him.”

She watched as he got all embarrassed and fidgety before her. Then he looked over to Mer again before his face split into a wide smile. “He knows already.”

She slapped his arm. “Tell him! With words” she insisted, “He’s to socially inapt to actually get it all the time with that mind thing you two have going on!”

“Ouch… fine. I’ll do my best.” He said, rubbing the saw spot.

“Good.” Then she held out her arms. “Now you get to hug your sister in law.”

He looked like she had just asked him to jump off a bridge, so she moved in and hugged him instead. “Welcome to the family.” She said, feeling him finally hug her back.

“Thanks…” he chocked out.

When she pulled away, she chose to ignore the moisture in his eyes. “Good… Now let’s get some coffee before Mer starts whining again!”

 

+ + + + +

 

John wished Rodney’s excitement wouldn’t keep infecting him, he felt enough of his own.

Atlantis was an hour away, and they couldn’t wait to be home.

Three weeks on the Daedalus was enough to drive them both crazy.

John had hoped blowing their minds the night before they boarded the Daedalus, might actually be enough sex to keep them sane for the three long weeks it would take on the space ship to get home.

He had been sadly mistaken.

The close quarters and walls of thin metal meant they couldn’t have sex unless they wanted the whole damn ship to know about it.

Jumping Rodney bones almost became an obsession.

Rodney on the other hand, at least found little jobs to do around the ship to keep him occupied.

They had lasted two weeks of sleeping chastely and keeping their hands off each other as much as possible. Until he felt Rodney get all exited and squirmy in his head, he had gone looking for the scientist, finding him at the bottom of the ship. Rodney had shoved him into what looked like an empty office and locked the door.

They had made love as quietly as they could, half clothed and desperate as they had been, they hadn’t all together been successful.

John had guessed Caldwell figured out what they had done, because that office suddenly became occupied.

It probably didn’t help that they had gone from two sullen bastards, to smiling like fools for two day’s, before the need started creeping back.

The crew had also got used to seeing them together everywhere, and didn’t even look twice when they were hand in hand.

The only time the crew ran away, like rats off a sinking ship, was when they started frustrated arguments, usually about the smallest thing. They would shout and scream till they were in each others space, faces flushed with anger as they panting hard.

It was a good substitute seen as they couldn’t have sex, and they practically ended up the same way, strangely sated and exhausted. It was just more vertical than horizontal, and not as satisfying. John guessed the make up sex, when they could have it. Would probably be a calendar events.

The crew now knew just to get Teyla or Ronon. Apart from the one time Caldwell had been called and he had shouted them down with to much satisfaction. Which only made John hate him for the rest of the day.

“Why can’t this bucket go any faster!” Rodney growled at his side as they sat in the mess with Teyla, Ronon and Carson.

“Thought you made it go faster.” Ronon stated.

“I did… but it’s not going fast enough!”

“We will be home soon Rodney.” Teyla smiled. “To be honest, I want to get home to Torren, it has been to long I’ve been away.”

“Yeah, sorry about that.” John gave her a smile too. “I guess we can have a week off before going back to work.”

Rodney groaned. “You guys can. No doubt there will be a million and one things that have gone wrong and I’ll have to fix! Are we still sure they haven’t blown Atlantis up?”

“Yes Rodney.” John sighed. “You were there with me when Caldwell contacted Woolsey.”

“But it’s been a good hour since then!” Rodney cried.

“I’m sure even Zelenka can’t blow up the city in two hours Rodney.” Carson reassured with a long suffering sigh. “You need to stop worrying before your blood pressure gives you an aneurism.”

“I just wanna get home.” Rodney whined. “Lorne and his men got to go back through the gate a week ago. Being send back like this is cruel and unusual torture!”

“On all of us.” Carson muttered with a grin.

“What’s THAT supposed to mean?” Rodney barked.

Carson chuckled. “I just mean for the Caldwell and his crew too,”

“That didn’t mean WE had to be here.” Rodney grumbled.

“Lorne and the guys got to spend some time with their families after they got chewed out.” John said calmly as he patted Rodney’s now castless arm. “They also had to do some sensitivity training.” He said with a smile.

“Really?” Rodney asked in horror before he started laughing.

“Sure.” John smirked. “They said we could wait for a dial up, but I didn’t think Ronon would like being forced to cry.”

“I don’t cry.” Ronon growled out.

“And I was sure Teyla would have had all the instructors crying… so I guessed a long leisurely cruse would suit everyone more.” He said pushing his chair onto two legs.

“So you’re the one who instigated it?” Carson gasped. “Everyone back at the SGC was annoyed with poor Corporal Anderson!”

John let his smirk widen. “Don’t feel sorry for him….”

“He should learn not to be such a homophobic bastard!” Rodney growled out.

“What?” Carson looked shocked.

John let his chair fall to all fours. “He shouted some crap at us in the street, then insulted Jeannie… he should be thankful he’s just hated. I was going to knock his teeth down his throat.”

“What’s this ‘homophobic’.” Teyla asked softly looking concerned. “I have heard a similar term, but I don’t quite understand.”

John gave Carson a look, watching the doctor sigh. “It’s a term used for people who don’t like same sex couples.” He said in his bedside manner.

“Oh.” She said looking thoughtful. “We have the same kind of people at home; they only like bedding the opposite sex.”

“He doesn’t mean like that.” Ronon intoned. “He means Breeder Purists.”

Suddenly Teyla’s eyes got wide. “Oh… Well there are non among my people.” She said indignantly “So long as they have children one way or another, we don’t mind. A lot of peoples we deal with are the same.”

“Not like that’s ever gonna happen.” Rodney muttered.

Teyla reached out to him. “I’m sorry.” She said with feeling, “but you know how our culture in the Pegasus works.”

“Diversifying the bloodline with people from other worlds.” Carson brightened up a little. “One of my researchers is studying that, it’s quite fascinating.”

John let Carson go on as he reached to hold Rodney’s hand, rubbing his thumb over the place his ring should be, knowing it was at least by Rodney’s heart on his chain, he guessed he would have to get Rodney to Earth more so they could spoil Madison more. It wasn’t the best alternative, but even if they didn’t have the option anymore, he was damn sure he couldn’t let Rodney sleep with anyone else.

“Possessive bastard.” Rodney chuckled low at him.

“I prefer romantic fool.” John shot back with a grin.

“Sheppard’s team to the bridge, Sheppard’s team to the bridge!” came over the intercom system.

John sighed as he got to his feet, pulling Rodney with him. “I guess that’s us.”

“But we aren’t in beaming range?” Rodney said a little wide eyes. “Oh my god… they blew up Atlantis!”

--

“You called?” John said as they all entered the bridge to find Caldwell give them a worried, apologetic look.

“We just got word from Atlantis…” Caldwell began to say.

“What have they done now?!” Rodney butted it.

Caldwell sighed tolerantly. “Nothing Doctor McKay. They just got word from the Genii. Ladon Radim is asking for assistance from you Doctor McKay.”

“Oh? What with?” Rodney asked a little more humbly. “They want to try and kidnap me again?”

“Apparently, they are having trouble with one of their generators, it’s threatening to explode and their own scientists can’t stop it. They are also asking if you could look at their sick people Doctor Becket.”

“I’ll do anything to help.” Carson said instantly.

“Ok, we’ll go.” John said squeezing Rodney’s hand as he felt the other man’s unease.

“Good, they have your gear and a team waiting soon as we beam you down.”

“Told you.” Rodney sighed in resignation. “No time off for me.”

“Us.” John grinned at him.

 

+ + + + +

 

John sat playing with his DS as Rodney worked on a huge generator that was threatening to implode and bring the whole Genii secret underground base down on their heads.

He was thrilled the thing still had a charge as he played classic bomberman.

Rodney had kicked all the Genii scientists out, claiming them all morons, he had kept one young woman though as he showed her what he was doing, claiming she wasn’t as stupid as the old fogies who had only been making the problem worse.

John found it funny, she had been terrified of the full force of McKay, but she was now following him around like a love sick puppy.

He grinned as he saw her batting her eyelashes up at Rodney, who was immune to such things when he was working, and not like it would work now even if he wasn’t.

“Will you stop grinning.” Rodney turned and snarled at him. “It’s distracting.”

“Sorry.” John said as he went back to his game. Glancing up now and again. when he looked up after loosing another board. He found the young woman pushing her breasts up against Rodney’s arm and he couldn’t help the stab of possessiveness. But when Rodney accidentally elbowed her in one boob, hard. John hid his smirks behind his DS, especially when Rodney began to chew her out for getting too close.

Then he sobered a little as he remembered seeing Keller when they beamed down to Atlantis.

He had held Rodney’s hand in a death grip as they beamed down, relived when there was no ill effect from it.

There had been a bunch of greetings, all glad they were back. But Woolsey was giving them a bit more of a briefing as Lorne and his team helped them all into their flak jacket. Then their guns and weapons were being handed out, along with gear Zelenka had gotten together, telling Rodney what he had packed for him.

John had seen Keller stood up by Woolsey’s office. If looks could kill, he would be dead. He gave her a glare of his own before he pulled Woolsey closer. “Why is Keller still here?” he whispered, then watched as Woolsey pulled an unhappy face.

“She’s refused the research post at the SGC.” Woolsey said irritably. “Short of marching her off Atlantis and through the gate myself, my hands are tied… and believe me, I’ve looked through all the regulations.” He shook his head. “Doctor Franks tells me he thinks there is something she’s not telling him. But as a psychiatrist, he can only do so much.”

John patted his shoulder. “I appreciate the effort.” He told him. When he looked back up, Keller was gone.

Then they had gone through the gate, met Ladon, who looked unhappy. Then they had been whisked away too help.

It had been almost eighteen hours and Rodney had been at it non stop.

John had supplied him with food and drink when the urge got too much.

Ronon and Teyla were off helping Carson with the sick, along with Lorne and his team.

He was just wondering who he could radio to come over and play some cards with him when Rodney suddenly stood back from the generator.

“DONE!” he said happily. “It should work better now.” He told the young woman. “Now, just do what I showed you to all the others and it should be ok.”

“Thank you Doctor McKay!” the young woman beamed at him. “I don’t know what we would have done without you!”

“Imploded.” Rodney deadpanned at her with a scowl and John couldn’t help but laugh. “Now, I believe you said there would be a feast in my honour?”

John stood putting his DS away. “Maybe we should go see if Carson needs our help, then go home?”

Rodney gave him a disappointed look. “Fine… I wonder if they found the pizza we brought?... I made Zelenka promise they wouldn’t cook them without us.”

“Sound like a plan.” John grinned as he took Rodney’s hand and went to find Carson.

--

It was another three hours before they were traipsing back to the gate. Accompanied by Ladon and some of his men, who were carrying four of the sickest patients on stretchers, who would need surgery.

John was finding he actually liked Ladon a little bit, the man had been true to his word, and they had suffered no losses when he had taken over. In fact, his people seemed quite happy to have him as a leader. He was more geared to looking after his people first, improving their technology so it wasn’t killing them all, while still having a contingency of scientist, instead of the military, working on keeping them all safe.

He had also cornered McKay and they had talked Tech happily for two hours before Carson said they could all go home.

Rodney was still telling Ladon how he could make the generators safe as the gate came into sight.

Teyla activated the gate and called in her IDC, then informing command that they were bringing sick with them.

John watched them all go through before it was just him and Rodney who was left.

“Thank you again Doctor McKay.” Ladon said as he shook Rodney’s hand emphatically. “One day when you have some time, I would be honoured if you could come back and talk to my science team to help with more improvements.”

John was a little surprised when Rodney didn’t go all superior or stick out his chin.

“I’ll try and make time soon.” Rodney said as he took a step back.

“Just call us again if you need anything.” John said, also shaking Ladon hand. “And we will send your sick back as soon as they are well enough.”

“Thank you again.” Ladon smiled at him. “Goodbye.”

John turned and took Rodney’s hand as they stepped though the gate together.

It wasn’t as nice as beaming had been. There was a moment when they got through the other side when they both felt very uncomfortable. But as he squeezed Rodney’s hand a little tighter, they felt better.

What he wasn’t expecting when they got through and the gate shut down behind them, was the huge crowds that had gathered to greet them. He noted that Becket and the Genii had already been taken from the gate room, and the space they had left was already filling with more people.

“Welcome home!” Woolsey said as he stood before them. Ronon and Teyla were pushed up to their side. “We didn’t have time yesterday. And I believe there is Pizza in the ovens already for a celebration.”

“I can go with a celebration.” John grinned.

As they made their way to the mess, John guessed everyone on Atlantis was there to welcome them home. He was sure he would have bruised shoulders before they got to eat anything, he could feel Rodney was feeling the same as John pulled him along in his wake.

As all four of them shared two pepperoni and a margarita pizza, the crowds had thinned out considerable.

John was felling rather good as he slouched in his chair. There was nothing like being home, with his pseudo family gathered around sharing good food, while everything was right with the world.

Rodney suddenly yawned at his side. It was one of them deep lung filling, jaw cracking, yawns of a truly deeply tired person, that infected everyone in the vicinity.

“I think I’m going to find my bed, then head off early to visit my people.” Teyla stretched then stood. “Good night.” She said before she left.

John waved her off as he yawned again. “I guess we should be getting to bed too, we have apartment hunting tomorrow.”

Rodney nodded sleepily. “I think I found somewhere on the south pier.” He yawned again.

“Well, I’ll see you guys later then.” Ronon said as he stood. “I’ll help you guys move your stuff.”

“Thanks.” John grinned at him as he also stood. “Come on sleepy, lets get you all tucked in.”

Rodney gave him a scowl as he stood, but another yawn made him just take John’s hand as they left the mess together.

“So what’s this place you have your eye on like?” John asked as they stepped out of the transported and started for his room, a little forlorn seeing as it was the last night they would spend there.

“It’s got a large living area with a little kitchenette, a great wall for the TV we got, there is a huge tub in the bathroom, a huge master bedroom as well as two guest rooms, but we can use them for a den or an office each of us or something.” He yawned again and John slipped his left arm around Rodney’s waist.

“Does it have a balcony?” he asked playfully.

Then he heard a pop and felt something hit him in the shoulder from the back, for a moment he thought Rodney had thumped him. But as his arm went nub and fell limply from Rodney’s waist to lay at his side, he looked down at his shoulder closest to Rodney, to see a hole just past the strap of his flak jacket, blood spewing from it.

For a sickening moment he watched as his blood fell over Rodney’s shoulder and arm.

Then his knees gave out from under him as he hit the floor in shock.

 

+ + + + +

 

Rodney frowned, he actually couldn’t remember if the apartment he had seen actually had a balcony or not.

He was just about to say so when he felt a sharp twinge go through his left shoulder. He looked down and his sleepy mind wondered if he had dislocated it again. But there was nothing there. Then John’s arm slipped from his waist and he turned to see what was wrong, and why they had stopped.

He was just in time to see John fall to the floor, his hazel eyes wide with surprise.

“John…” he whispered as he saw blood spewing from John’s shoulder. He didn’t know if it was his own shock or John’s that made him feel dizzy.

He mentally slapped himself as he went to his knees as he hit his communicator. “Medical team to the corridor outside Sheppard’s quarters!” he shouted into the mic as he pushed John onto his back, putting his hands over what looked like a bullet hole, instantly his hands were covered in blood. “Man down!”

“What’s the emergency?” Carson suddenly came over.

“Sheppard’s been shot!” he barked back. “For gods sake HURRY!”

He let the usual emergency chatter wash over him as Carson called for his crash team and the nearest armed personnel to their location.

“We are on our way!” Carson called back. “Are you ok Rodney?”

Rodney growled, because it was better than sobbing. “I can’t stop the bleeding…”

“Crap, just sit tight.”

“Rodney?”

Rodney’s heart missed a beat as he looked up to see Keller stood by the transporter they had just come from, she was placed a chair between the doors.

“What the hell are you doing?” He shrieked. If the doors couldn’t close, then the emergency team would have to run up three flights of stairs.

“I’m saving you.” She said softly as she turned to him.

Rodney went cold when he saw a gun in her hand, equipped with a silencer. It wasn’t standard issue, he wasn’t even sure they had them in the armoury.

“You shot him?” he asked in horror.

“We are a great couple.” She said ignoring him. “This dependency you have on him is just a chemically induced state, it’s messing with your mind. Why can’t you see that?” she asked imploringly. She looked pale but her eyes were wide and a little insane. “Once he’s gone, you will see that we are meant to be together. I love you Rodney.” She smiled at him. “And you love me, I know it… You are just confused. I get it, he’s your best friend… But who sleeps with their best friend when the one they love is right here.” She gestured at herself.

“That doesn’t give you the right to shoot people!” he shot back as his heart hammered in his chest. Something in his mind was going dim and he didn’t like it. “Put the gun down and help me!” he snapped.

He saw her shudder for a moment as she looked confused. Then she glanced down at the gun in her hand and she took a step forwards. “I’ll show you.” She hissed. “I’ll shoot him again, I’ll do it properly this time.” She said coming closer, her gun trained on John’s chest.

Rodney grabbed his own sidearm from his leg as he scrabbled to his feet, he already had the safety off as he took a stance over John, his gun raised and pointing at her chest. John’s blood made the grip slippery, but he knew from years of training that he couldn’t miss at this range.

“Stay back!” he begged. “I will shoot you.”

“No you wont.” She smiled at him, but she did stop moving forwards. “You know deep down, you still love me. We are right for each other. I make you more human.” She gave a little giggle that had nothing to do with humour, or sanity for that matter. “You remember when you saved my life on Earth? It just proved you loved me, you loved me more that night!”

“I save a lot of peoples lives.” He bit back. “You were just one of many.” He said angrily.

He realised he had said the wrong thing as her eyes narrowed. “I’m not just one of many!” she said as she began to come closer. “I’ll prove it to you once Sheppard is out of the way!”

Rodney heard the chatter, and could now hear people running up the stairs at the end of the corridor behind him.

“I said STAY BACK!” he fired a shot off, just past her shoulder. Hoping it would scare her, at least it would make the other hurry.

She stopped, giving him a hurt look of shock, then she smiled again. “I told you, you can’t shoot me!” she said delightedly as she came forward, her gun now aimed through Rodney’s legs so she would hit John in the chest.

“You still love me!” she was singing happily. “I’ll make it easier for you!”

The whole world seemed to slow to a snails pace.

Rodney saw her finger begin to pull the trigger.

But she wasn’t quick enough as he pulled the trigger on his own pistol.

The bang of his own gun seemed to reassert time as he heard a pop come from Keller’s gun.

He watched as a bloom of red suddenly appeared in between her breasts.

She looked down at herself in shock as her gun fell from her fingers. She reached up and felt her own blood, looking at it in fascination before she looked back up at him with such surprised betrayal in her eye, then she was toppling over backwards.

--

Rodney felt his hands begin to shake so badly, his gun slipped from his fingers as he stared at Jennifer, the floor beneath her back was covered in an ever expanding pool of red.

“Rodney!” he heard Carson behind him, then. “Oh my god! Rodney move!”

Rodney felt himself being shoved aside where he stumbled against the wall. Someone had a hand on his shoulder to steady him, but he didn’t know who it was.

“Crap… Someone see to Keller!” Carson barked as he fell to his knees at John’s side.

“Don’t bother.” Rodney whisper. “She’s dead…”

He watched as two marines approached Keller’s body as she stared, unseeing, at the ceiling.

“I think she’s out of your care Doctor.” One of the marines said softly as the other found the chair in the transporters. “Someone blocked the doors.” He called, removing the chair.

“His artery is severed; we need to get him in surgery asap!” Carson was calling to his team.

Rodney closed his eyes tight, trying to cut out the world.

“Hey doc!” He heard Lorne say to close to his ear. “I think McKay’s been shot too?”

Rodney shivered, he wanted to say he was fine. But the words just wouldn’t come, John needed them more right now.

“Where?” Carson asked.

“In his leg.” Lorne said. “Too much blood to be the Colonel’s.”

“Doctor Biro, can you?” Carson said. Rodney felt the woman approach.

Then Rodney’s heard his name being called weakly and he responded instantly, shoving Lorne and Biro away he fell to his knees by John and took his hand in his own.

Hazel eyes opened a crack to look up at him. “I’m fine.” Rodney told him, “I’m right here.” He managed to force a smile. Then he felt John pulling away from him, it wasn’t a physical action, but something in his mind and Rodney snapped out of his delirium as he realised what was happening.

John was loosing the fight!

Without thought Rodney tried to pull him back, giving the other man all his strength. It was something more genuine than any silly notions of hope or prayer. It was almost like a physical current going from himself to John, like John was the broken conduit and Rodney was the naquada generator. He felt a ripple of amusement from John at the thought. “Leaky pipe.” He said.

“What?” Carson blinked up at him.

Rodney just ignored him as he carried on holding John’s hand. Positive now that if he let go John would slip away.

 

+ + + + +

 

Carson was bone deep exhausted. The rest of his, more awake, team were now pushing John’s bed and Rodney, in a wheelchair, into a private room.

“How are they?” Teyla suddenly asked as he came out of the surgical suite.

He looked up to also see Ronon, Lorne, Zelenca and Woolsey. All looking at him with concern.

“The surgery was a success.” He told them all, much to everyone’s relief. “John’s artery was only nicked by the bullet, so I fixed it and patched him up. He lost a lot of blood.” Which was an understatement, Carson had no idea how he actually pulled this miracle off. But he guessed they didn’t need to know that. “So please thank everyone who gave blood, they saved his life.” He directed at Woolsey and Lorne.

“How is Rodney?” Ronon asked.

Carson sighed as he wiped his hands over his face. “Doctor Biro tells me it was a through and through, so she patched him up. So he should be fine… We just have to hope neither of them get an infection. But for the moment, both men are doing fine.”

“When can we see them?” Teyla asked, as she reached out to him, patting his arm.

He gave her a smile. “I need John to come out of his anaesthetic first, so in a few hours…”

“You should get some rest.” Teyla said softly.

“Ay, as should everyone.” He smiled. “But first, can anyone tell me what the bloody hell happened?”

Woolsey signed now as he took his glasses off and cleaned them nervously. “It would seem from the security footage, that Doctor Keller ambushed them in the corridor, She shot John, then, as far as we can tell, tried to prevent the rescue teams from getting there sooner as she tried to shoot him again. Rodney fired a warning shot, then had to… to take her down in defence.”

“Ah…” Carson sighed “I should have seen this coming… But...”

“Don’t worry about it.” Woolsey suddenly said, “You were gone for a month, I had Doctor Franks looking after her, and even he didn’t see this eventuality.”

“It is all very tragic.” Teyla said softly. “We should all get some sleep and sort this out tomorrow.”

“Yes.” Carson agreed, “I’ll see how they are tomorrow and contact you once they are awake.”

They all wished him goodnight and left. And Carson turned to the private room.

As he entered he saw Nurse Anders trying to clean Rodney up, but he was batting her away weakly.

“I’ll see to him.” he said coming closer.

She looked at up at him with her huge green eyes. “But you’re exhausted!” she exclaimed.

“I know. But I can do this.”

“I’ll just be outside if you need me.” She said as she left.

Carson finally looked at his friend slumped in the wheelchair, his hand still tightly clasping John’s. Some kind soul had quickly modified two of the padded restraint cuffs and put them on the two men during the surgery.

But Rodney looked like hell, he was still covered in blood that was now mostly dry.

“Let’s get you cleaned up.” He said softly as he looked into Rodney’s dull blue eyes. “You will feel better for it.” There was no response, which was slightly worrying and he couldn’t help but reach out and feel for a pulse at Rodney neck, and sighed in relief.

Then he reached for scissors and began cutting Rodney’s flak jacket and t-shirt from him, then cleaned John’s blood from his arm and chest. As he cleaned the blood from Rodney’s left shoulder he couldn’t help but frown. There was a slightly red bruise in about the same place John’s wound was. He pulled Rodney forwards to see one also on his back.

“Oh, lad… what have you two gotten yourselves into?” he asked out loud. Before he moved onto removing what remained of Rodney’s trousers and boxers. Biro had cleaned most of the blood from Rodney’s skin before she applied the dressing. With a little more difficulty he managed to get some scrubs over Rodney’s legs and modesty. The whole time, Rodney just sat comatose.

Then he tried to see if there was any life in his friend. “Rodney… can you hear me?” he asked. “I think you will be more comfortable on this bed here.” He said gesturing to the second gurney in the room. “Think you can help me out here, I can’t lift you.” Then he saw Rodney blink very slowly.

“Hello.” He beamed at his friend.

Rodney’s eyes moved to him slowly. “Jo..hn.” he uttered out, like he had been drugged.

Carson knelt down at his friend’s side. “He’s fine Rodney.”

Rodney gave a little nod. “Hard… to think…” he frowned.

Carson suddenly had a brain wave. “I think it’s because we had to anesthetise John… Maybe it’s having an affect on you?”

Rodney nodded. “Feels… feels like… comin’ out of I’…” he grimaced as he slurred a little.

“Think you can get up and onto the bed?” Carson asked as he smiled at his friend.

With a lot of pushing and heaving Carson did manage to get Rodney onto the other gurney, even hampered by the men’s clasped hands and IV lines. Then he pushed the gurneys together and covered Rodney in a sheet, tucking him in a little. “Get some sleep.” He patted Rodney’s shoulder, “And I’ll be back in the morning.”

Rodney was already asleep, and Carson hoped he would stay that way for a while.

 

+ + + + +

 

John woke slowly from a very strange dream.

Rodney had been stood at his side, and when John looked at him, he seemed a little taller, larger than life, a stubborn look on his face, his chin slightly raised, and a sense of protectiveness washed over John which made him smile. But when he looked away he could feel a sorrow that went bone deep, and Rodney felt smaller somehow. But when he looked back, Rodney was taller again.

He quickly looked to his side to see Rodney sound asleep in the gurney to his right; once again someone had cuffed them together, but with restraint cuffs this time.

What struck him as wrong though, was the frown on Rodney’s brow.

“Ah, good morning.” Carson said as he came into the room they were in. “How are you feeling?” he asked softly, as not to wake Rodney.

John took stock of himself. “Umm… ok… little light headed maybe?” he offered. Knowing ‘I’m fine’ never washed with the Doctor. Then being a bit more concerted as he felt his left arm was strapped to his chest in a sling.

Carson tutted as he put up some more IV bags then raised the head of the bed. “To be expected, you lost a lot of blood last night. It might also be the pain meds I have you on.”

John tried to move a little and felt his shoulder sting painfully. “What the hell happened?” then he remembered looking down at himself, seeing the blood. He had been shot by some coward in the back! “Who the hell shot me!” he couldn’t help but shout.

Carson instantly made shushing noises as he looked over at Rodney. “Not so loud.”

John was aware that Rodney was in to deep a sleep to be disturbed by them right now. But he lowered his voice anyway, “So who shot me? What the hell happened? Is Rodney okay?” he turned his attention to his lover, but all he could sense, apart from his sleeping mind, was a panging ache in his leg.

Carson pulled up a chair as he put a hand on John’s leg. “There is no easy way to tell you this… But Doctor Keller shot you.”

John’s hackles rose as a wave of anger made him a little dizzy. “Where is she!” he demanded, “I’m gonna throw her through the damn wormhole myself!” something passed over Carson’s face he didn’t like. “Did she hurt Rodney?” he gasped as he turned wanting to pull the sheet off Rodney himself, then growled in frustration as both his hand’s were immobile at the moment.

“Let me finish.” Carson said, patting his leg. “She shot you, then she tried to finish you off… I’m afraid she was quite insane at the time…”

“I don’t care about her mental health! Where is she!” he seethed.

Carson met his eyes then. “She’s in the morgue.” He said flatly.

John blinked at the doctor. Not quite understanding.

“When she tried to shoot you again… Rodney shot her in the chest. She died instantly.”

John slumped back onto the bed as his body relaxed in shock. He hated her being anywhere near Rodney, but he didn’t want her dead. Just gone.

“She also managed to shoot Rodney in the leg. Don’t worry!” he said as John went to move again. “It was a clean shot, you can look at him all you want later, let him sleep.” He sighed again. “I would prefer he sleep a little longer… I imagine the physiological affect of this will be quiet high for him.”

John squeezed Rodney’s fingers tightly. “He’s stronger than anyone realizes.” He said softly, feeling a wash of affection go out to the other man.

“He just shot and killed his ex-fiancé… for you… I’ve already booked him in to see Doctor Franks.”

“Fine.” John said, knowing he wouldn’t let Rodney go through that alone.

Carson patted his leg again as he got up. “I’ll have to send the rest of your team in, feel up to it?”

John nodded. “Do I have a choice?”

Carson gave him a smile. “Not really, and I don’t fancy getting stunned if I say no. I’ll be back later with something for you to eat.”

So for the next half hour or so, John was visited by Teyla and Ronon, both had hugged him tight, which was a little surprising from Ronon, but the big man had also reached out to Rodney and ran his large hand over his head, in a strange sign of warmth.

Then Lorne had nipped in to see him, he promised he would keep everything ticking over till he got back on his feet.

Finally Woolsey had come to see him.

“How are you feeling?” Woolsey asked.

“I’m fine.” He told him, feeling a little awkward.

“I just came to inform you that we are sending Doctor Keller’s body back to Earth with a full report as to what happened… There shouldn’t be any reprisals for Doctor McKay. He was acting in self defence while protecting you.”

John nodded. “That’s good… err… I’m guessing there is security footage?”

Woolsey nodded grimly. “I can get someone to show it to you…”

“Thanks.” He wasn’t sure he wanted to see it. But he knew he had too. “If I could see it before McKay woke up, that would be good.”

Woolsey nodded, “I’ll get right on it.” Then he was gone. About five minutes later Chuck came in with Carson.

Chuck gave him a grim smile as he put a laptop down on the table, “Just click enter and it should start playing.” Chuck said, “Good to have you back Colonel.” He said before leaving.

“Thanks.” John answered absently as he pulled the table closer.

“You sure about this?” Carson asked, looking worried as he put a tray of food on the table besides the laptop.

“No.” he answered. “Can you?” he asked, and Carson hit enter then sat down on the foot of the bed.

When the video finished John wanted to run his hand over his face. Instead all he could do was lean his head back and look at the ceiling.

It was plain to see the insanity in Keller’s eyes as she tried to convince Rodney he still loved her.

“Do you think she had a point?” he whispered out, feeling sick and even a little sorry for her.

“About Rodney loving her again if you died?” Carson asked softly.

John nodded as he swallowed hard, not looking down. He felt Carson’s hand on his ankle.

“No lad.” He answered. “From what Doctor Lam found out, and from what I saw yesterday… I think if she had succeeded in shooting you again. I would be mourning the loss of you both.”

John looked down at him then.

Carson gave him a sad smile. “We should have lost you last night… You lost too much blood your body had gone into shock. But by some miracle you hung in there… I’m guessing Rodney had some part in it. I’m starting to think your bond might have something more than just emotions behind it, that there is also a physical element to it.”

John looked over to Rodney as he still slept. “I think you might have a point.” He offered, then his stomach growled angrily.

Carson got up then. “Want me to help you eat?” he asked, closing the laptop and moving it to another table.

John thought about it, but he really didn’t fancy Carson spoon feeding him. “Just release the cuffs and I should be good.”

Carson did so and John pulled Rodney’s hand closer, shoving it under the scrub’s he was wearing till Rodney’s hand rested on his belly, he needed the skin to skin contact.

“Can you get some more food for Rodney?” he asked as he stuck his spoon into the cooled porridge.

--

It was another hour before John felt Rodney beginning to surface.

John let all his concerns melt into the background as he moved to look into his lover’s eyes as they opened slowly.

“Morning.” He said softly, smiling as Rodney smiled back at him.

“Hunn… What time is it?” Rodney asked, even though John could feel how sleep foggy his mind was.

“Duno, buddy… maybe about eleven?” he offered. “Think you can move a little closer?”

With a few failed attempts, Rodney managed to move enough so his head was resting on John’s belly, his arm flopped over John’s legs, the other trapped beneath him.

“Good enough.” He said as he stroked his hand through Rodney’s hair. After the realisation of everything that had happened the other night, it was like a balm to have Rodney so close. He just wanted to hold him and not let go till he felt more settled.

He felt Rodney start to slip into sleep again, and was quiet happy to let him do so. When suddenly Rodney tensed.

“Oh god…” Rodney breathed out. “Oh god…”

“It’s ok.” John tried to reassure him as he felt a wash of horror pouring from his friend.

When Rodney tried to pull away, John just tightened his hold and pulled till Rodney collapsed against his side; pushing his face into John’s shoulder and holding on for dear life as the flood of emotion finally broke free.

John held on as Rodney shock and trembled against him, laying kisses against the side of Rodney’s head, wishing his other arm was free.

The grief and terror at what he had done slammed into John with ever sob. It was overwhelming, like flood gates being opened and he had to stand and take its force. But he knew he couldn’t buckle.

Slowly he pushed his own emotion at Rodney. He let Rodney know how proud he was at him, how thankful he was that Rodney had been there, finally he just let his love go through their bond.

It seemed to take forever till Rodney was lying limply in his arm. His exhaustion plain to feel.

“Hey.” John said. “We’ll get through this…” he felt Rodney nod against him.

“I… I…” Rodney stammered out, muted by John’s shoulder.

“I know.” John said back, not needing words to know what Rodney was going to say. “I’ve already seen everything… Thanks for saving me by the way.”

“Welcome.” Rodney said nasally.

John pushed at Rodney’s face till they were looking at each other. John looked for a long time into Rodney’s eyes before he smiled and kissed the side of Rodney’s down turned mouth.

“We’re gonna be fine.” He smiled, going in for another kiss.

Rodney didn’t feel quite so reassured, so John just kept kissing him till he felt Rodney kiss him back.

 

+ + + + +

 

“But I’m not the one who needs the chair!” John snapped at Carson.

Five day’s later he and Rodney were finally being released from the infirmary. They only took so long seen as Rodney got a bit of an infection which elevated both their temperatures.

“Just shut up and sit down Colonel!” Carson was probably over annoyed with them both, seeing as to pass the time, he and Rodney had either sat snapping at each other, or double teamed on Carson and his staff, much to their own amusement, but not that of the general atmosphere.

Grudgingly John sat down and let Carson wheel them away. Ronon had come to push Rodney who had sat down more then willingly.

“Where the hell are we going?” Rodney asked as they were being pushed down a corridor on the south pier.

“You’ll see,” Ronon said.

“This is it!” Carson said as he pushed John right up to a door.

“Oh!” Rodney said and John could feel his recognition.

Carson ran his hand over the door devise and the door opened immediately.

“SURPRISE!” came a chorus from inside.

John could see Teyla with her husband and Torren, along with Woolsey and a whole host of their other friends.

“What the…” he breathed as Carson pushed him inside. He saw the sofa they had bough back on Earth in front of the huge flat screen where Zelenka stood with Miko. Obviously they had sorted out the wiring.

As he took a better look around, he caught glimpses of other things they had brought from Earth about the apartment.

“Welcome home.” Teyla said as she came up to him. “We took the liberty of moving all your thing’s then unpacking all your new things.” She beamed at them.

“We also found your stash of beer.” Ronon said as he went to hand over a bottle of beer, till Carson snatched it from John’s hand.

“None of that for you two, not with the antibiotics you’re both on.”

John pulled a face at Carson as he stood. But he did feel better as he felt Rodney’s hand slip into his own.

“This isn’t the place I looked at.” Rodney was saying to Teyla.

“No.” she answered, “this one has and extra bedroom and a balcony… I thought you would like it more.”

“Yes… It’s larger too.” Rodney said happily.

--

They were both plonked on the sinfully comfortable sofa with Torren and Teyla as everyone else found cushions and they all sat watching the latest films while popcorn was handed out along with the beer.

After every film, more people drifted away, until only Ronon and Carson were left.

John listened as Rodney bitch about the film and it was lulling him to sleeps. Some moron had put Ironman 2 on, he guessed just to wind Rodney up. But slowly it seemed that the world was once again righting it’s self around them.

“Ok Rodney, I think your need to get some sleep before you get over excited.” Carson was saying in amusement as he stood.

John felt Rodney get slightly miffed, but he also knew how tired his lover was, so he stretched and moved forwards on the sofa.

“He’s right, I’m totally beat.” John said getting up. “Ronon, can you carry him?”

Ronon just grunter as he stood, then man handled Rodney up and into his arms like a child.

Rodney felt embarrassed, but clung to the big guy.

They all walked to the master bedroom, and when John opened the door he paused.

Their new bed had all been set up, but what made him pause was what was on the bed.

It was covered in a pink flowery comforter, with pillows to match.

“I told you NOT to say anything!” Rodney squeaked as Ronon began laughing.

“I didn’t.” he said back.

“Oh my…” Carson also began chuckling. “I think it’s very fetching.” He said as he rolled Rodney’s wheelchair close to the far side of the bed. Then pulled the comforted down to reveal a bright pink under sheet.

“We are so going to have to figure a way to get back at her!” Rodney seethed.

“I’m sure we can think of something.” John grinned back.

--

John sighed as he let the mattress support his weight. The sheets might have been embarrassingly ugly, but they were soft and felt good against his bare skin.

He guessed he was getting old, when thoughts about a comfy mattress and nice sheets and could be quite content with them, instead of just thinking of them as a means to sex.

Rodney chuckled at him as he snuggled closer. “Stop thinking, I’m tired.”

“Say’s the genius.” John uttered back as he tightened his hold on the other man.

They stayed silent for a while, just enjoying the peace.

“I have to see Franks tomorrow.” Rodney whispered.

“We.” John clarified.

“Thanks.”

They were silent for a bit longer before John could feel Rodney thinking.

“Tell me.” He demanded.

“Well.” Rodney said as he squirmed a little, then glanced up at him through his long eyelashes. “I was wondering how long you were gonna take before you started playing with the guy.”

John gave him a grin. “Soon as I think you’ve had enough.”

Rodney settled down again. “Two sessions then.”

John made a non committed noise. “Shut up and sleep…”

He eventually felt Rodney drift off into a soft comforting haze.

John felt the city wind down around them, and everything was right with the world.

With that, he followed his lover into sleep.

 

The End

 

 

+ + + + +

 

Epilogue

 

[Nine Months later]

 

Rodney was bleary eyed as he thumped his hand on the coffee percolator. Nine months and the stupid thing was packing in. He almost sobbed when the stupid thing started working again.

He looked at the clock on the wall. Almost 10am, way to early to be up and about.

He yawned again, then heard his com come to life, as the annoyance of his life came over.

‘Rodney, you actually out of bed?’

John sounded and felt waaaay too exited and chipper this early in the morning, especially when the Colonel had kept him up most of the night. Granted, he had sent Rodney to heaven and back. But that was no excuse to be all awake and happy, and projecting it strongly over their bond.

“Yes… but I haven’t had my coffee yet!” he snapped.

John was laughing at him; Rodney could feel it, so he sent back his grumpiness, but it just made John send a sneaky form of a mental kiss.

Rodney pulled the pot out of the percolator sharply, pouring the pathetic amount coffee that had dropped through into the jug into his mug, then slammed the pot back to catch the rest of the drips.

He began sipping the scalding nectar instantly, wincing but feeling better for it.

He felt John getting closer, which was always a relief.

They could at least wander around the city separately now, but it still felt better when they were together.

He heard the door open, and the feeling of calm came over him as John came in. Rodney turned to greet him, then paused at he looked at John’s belly. “What the hell?!” he said pointing at the bulge under John’s T-shirt, that he was kind of holding in both hands.

John was grinning from ear to ear and Rodney felt John was being sneaky about something.

“I have something to tell you.” If it was possible, John’s grin got wider. “I’m pregnant!”

Rodney looked at the bulge again, then almost jumped back as something moved. “Not funny!” he seethed, as suddenly seines from Alien started shooting through his head and he backed up against the kitchenette counter.

“You are such a freak!” John laughed as he came closer, “Put your hand on it.” John insisted, “Be gentle though.”

Rodney sighed as he hesitated, then reached out a hand and put it flat against the black material, he couldn’t feel anything but John’s warmth.

“Little lower.” John whispered as his eyes were fixed on Rodney’s hand.

Slowly Rodney lowered the flat on his hand till he hit something very warm, whatever it was suddenly moved, squirming against his hand.

Rodney jumped back with a gasp or horror. He was just about to start screaming when he heard something that made him pause.

It was a little muffled mew.

Rodney looked up at John as his heart started beating that little bit faster.

John winked at him.

Instantly Rodney took hold of the collar of John’s t-shirt and pulled it out as he almost head butted John to look down inside.

Rodney could see two sleepy balls of fluff, then two sets of eyes looked up at him and he couldn’t help the little happy sound that squeaked up from his tummy and out his throat. Then he started to put his arm down the neck of John’s t-shirt.

John backed away. “Hey, hey, careful.” He admonished.

Rodney moaned in protest as he held his hands beneath John’s, then slowly John pulled his hands away, the t-shirt slipping and dropping the two balls of fluff into Rodney’s hands.

Rodney couldn’t take his eyes off them as John helped him hold the things up.

The Kittens looked up at him and both mewed at him.

Rodney felt his breath coming in exited gasps as his chest tightened at the two little lives in his hands.

One was a fluffy brown tabby that looked like its eyes were going to be green; the other was fluffy ginger, its eyes already orange.

He moved his thumbs so he would rub them against their tiny little heads, both mewed and rubbed against him in turn.

“Oh God…” John suddenly said. “If you don’t calm down, I’m going to have to jump you right here and now!”

Rodney glanced up at his lover and smiled, then he leaned forwards and kissed John. “Thank you.” He said, before turning his attention back to the kittens. Then on impulse he leaned down and kissed them both on their little furry heads.

Then he started fretting. “We need a litter box! And food, what are they used to? Dry or soft food, we don’t want to upset their little bellies! What sex are they?” he picked the little tabby up and tried looking between its legs.

John laughed at him. “They are both males. Dr Ambles said it was easier to neuter males once they are ready.”

“How did you get them?” he asked, letting John hold the ginger, as he laid the tabby against his chest to pat, felling all giggly as the little thing seemed quite happy being hugged.

John shrugged one shoulder, “I asked Carter if she could find them for me, and get all the stuff they needed.”

Rodney looked at him, not believing him totally.

“I originally asked Jackson, but he said he wouldn’t have the first clue.” John said as he patted the little ginger kitten. “We have a permanent request for cat food on the supply runs, but enough was sent through the gate till it gets here. Carter also sent a crate through, she promise me we have everything we need for now.”

Rodney cooed at the kitten against his chest. “What are we going to call them?” he asked, knowing John’s love of naming things.

“Humm.” John said as he moved closer. “Why don’t we see what they are like, then name them?”

Rodney was already thinking about a whole host of names. Tesla, came to mind as he cuddled the little tabby, and he guessed John’s would be called Ginger before it actually got a proper name.

 

The End