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It was a mess from the moment they reached the planet. They had barely walked a hundred feet from the Stargate when the first shots rang out. Everyone had dived for cover but not before John heard a pain-filled cry from Rodney. He crawled back towards his teammate - and lover - more scared than he had ever been in his life.

"Rodney!"

Rodney had fetched up against a tree, using its thick trunk as cover while Ronon and Teyla fired back at their attackers. John could see blood seeping around Rodney's hands as he pressed them tight against a leg wound.

"Sheppard, cover me!" Ronon yelled, snapping John out of his fear.

John laid down covering fire while Ronon made a dash for the DHD. He could hear the chevrons locking as Ronon slapped each in turn, followed by a whine as the final chevron failed to encode. Ronon tried twice more before admitting defeat, bullets kicking up the dirt close to him as he ran back across the clearing to where they had taken cover in the trees. John swore under his breath as the next check in was 12 hours away, and Rodney needed medical help now but he couldn't do anything while they were under fire.

"We need to get to better cover," he ordered.

Teyla called back. "This way leads to higher ground. I see rock formations. Perhaps there will be a suitable cover there."

After taking a moment to apply a compression bandage John hauled Rodney to his feet, wincing at the cry of pain. He wrapped his arm around Rodney's waist while Rodney put his across John's shoulders. Together they headed towards the rocks, moving as fast as they could on the rough ground, with Teyla scouting ahead and Ronon covering their six. It was hard going and he could hear small cries of pain between gritted teeth, but eventually they reached an overhang that would protect their rear and one side. It was better than nothing so John laid Rodney down.

"You need to extract the bullet," Rodney ordered through gritted teeth as he tugged his field medical kit from his backpack and opened it with bloodied hands.

"Me?"

"John," Rodney stared hard at him. "Please. I trust you."

John nodded, swallowing hard as he handed his P90 over to Rodney while he pulled out a sharp knife, slicing through the BDU pants to expose the wound. He startled when Rodney fired off a short burst towards the trees, echoed by Teyla and Ronon. Rodney reached over and pulled a syringe from the kit, using his teeth to pull off the protection cap before injecting the contents into the area close to the wound.

"Local anesthetic," Rodney stated with a wan smile before handing John a sterile scalpel and forceps.

"Yeah."

John swabbed the area with iodine. His hands shook as he unsealed the scalpel and made a cut to widen the wound, hearing Rodney hiss despite the local anesthetic. It took longer than he liked to probe the wound with the forceps, looking for the bullet but then he felt it, pulling it out and noting with relief that it had not fragmented. Another burst of gun fire proved Rodney was still conscious and John felt immensely proud of him at that moment. Rodney had come a long way from the scared doctor he had first met on the Morpheus I drilling station in the Arctic. He was a brilliant surgeon but now he was also a soldier, protecting John while he worked on the wound. John stapled the wound and put on a field dressing before preparing another shot, this time a broad spectrum antibiotic to help stave off any infection.

Their attackers retreated eventually though John, Teyla, and Ronon stood watch in case they tried a sneak attack while Rodney slept, exhausted from pain. Twelve hours later the Stargate activated, and twenty minutes after that they were loading Rodney into a Puddlejumper and heading back to Atlantis.

Back in Rodney's domain Carson looked at John's handiwork and smiled. "Not bad, Colonel. We'll make a surgeon of you yet."

END