Rodney watched it happen in slow motion.
John Sheppard turned to take his leave from the alien emissaries after coming to what seemed like an amiable trade agreement for both parties. But then one of the guards raised his gun, his sights set squarely on John's back.
"Sheppard! GET DOWN!"
Rodney took a couple of quick steps and lunged in front of John, the guard squeezing the trigger with a look of pure delight on his face. There was a flash of green light, an intense burning that centered itself in Rodney's shoulder, and then fire pulsed through the rest of his body like an electrical shock.
The last thing Rodney heard before the world went dark was John shouting his name.
Rodney woke and blearily took in his surroundings. He was still alive after all, and had been brought back to Atlantis's infirmary at some point. Rodney blinked a few more times to clear his vision, and saw that Teyla was seated next to his bed, looking down at a datapad.
Teyla looked up and smiled, a wave of relief flooding her eyes and the tension disappearing from her posture. "Rodney. It is good to hear your voice."
"Is Sheppard -"
Teyla placed a gentle hand on Rodney's arm. He then realized that his other arm, the one that’d been shot, was in a sling held close to his body.
"He is fine. Everyone is fine."
Rodney winced as he pushed himself to a sitting position. "I imagine our trade agreement isn't fine."
Teyla smiled again and shook her head. "No. Thankfully, that was the only casualty. Although the guard who shot you may be suffering from...severe injuries."
As Teyla spoke, Carson walked over to Rodney’s bedside and began fussing over him. "Welcome back to the world of the living, Rodney. That was quite a shock you took. Knocked you out for a fair few hours. Seems to be some sort of electrical charge, so I’ll be needing to keep an eye on your vitals for a while longer."
Teyla stood up and patted Rodney's hand. "I will tell John and Ronon that you have woken up."
Rodney watched her leave, his eyes growing heavy again as Carson poked and prodded and checked Rodney's vital signs.
At least John was all right.
Rodney woke again a few hours later. Apart from some stiffness in his arm, he felt fine, so he began annoying Carson until he let Rodney out of the infirmary. The sun was going down by the time Carson finally acquiesced.
Rodney wandered around listlessly. After sleeping all day, he didn't feel like going to his quarters, and Rodney would never admit it, but his brain still felt too fuzzy to do anything productive in the lab. He ended up outside on a balcony, looking out over the water as the last bits of light faded from the Lantean sky.
"Why did you do that?"
Rodney jolted back to reality, his shoulder aching from the sudden convulsion, and turned to see who had joined him.
It was John.
"What?" Rodney asked, although he was perfectly aware of what John had asked him.
John walked toward him and stood next to Rodney on the balcony. His voice dropped to a whisper. "Why did you do that?" He gestured toward Rodney’s arm in the sling.
"Are you saying you wanted to get zapped by a mysterious laser gun? Let me tell you, it was no picnic."
"Rodney, answer the question."
Rodney looked over at John. The sky was growing darker, but Rodney could still make out all of John's features, from his iridescent eyes to his ridiculous hair. On the surface, John looked calm and collected, but there was a tension in his body that translated to a white-knuckled grip on the balcony rail and a disciplined stillness as he waited for Rodney to say something.
The answer seemed so simple, standing together in the twilight.
What wouldn't Rodney do for John Sheppard?
Rodney half-shrugged with his good shoulder and smiled, wanting to keep the mood light without betraying the emotion constricting his chest.
"You would have done the same for me," he murmured.
Before Rodney could say anything else, John's mouth was on his.
John kissed him with desperation, one hand curled at the nape of Rodney’s neck and the other hand roaming over arm, shoulder, chest to prove that Rodney was here and he was alive.
Rodney pulled John closer and kissed him back, euphoria blooming in his chest, and for more than a few precious seconds, all was right in the Pegasus galaxy.