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Hailing Frequencies Closed

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David always kept a radio on while he worked in the lab or out in one of the greenhouses. In part because it's protocol in case there was an emergency or an evacuation, but not really because he didn't even bother having a radio except on off-world missions until his relationship with John had started. Now he kept a radio charged at all times and left it tuned to the command frequency even though he technically shouldn't even be listening there. He turned it up on the nights that he didn't get to spend with John so that it would wake him as soon as someone spoke; he'd become a much lighter sleeper since he'd come to Atlantis.

It was a curse, in a way. David always knew as soon as John came through the 'gate and was hurt or bleeding or unconscious. He always heard as when they were going to have to cancel their plans for the night when there was some kind of calamity. He was among the first to know when there was an imminent Wraith attack pending or the possible threats of infiltration that only rarely panned out. And he heard when Dr. McKay came on the channel babbling about how they were all so very doomed and about to die. The first few times that had scared David and left him wondering if he should grab the other botanists and try to evacuate somewhere, until he learned that Dr. McKay panicking was about a once every week event, sometimes with encore presentations on the particularly bad days. And, since Atlantis hadn't blown up yet and there had only been a few moderate disasters, David had learned to just wait until he heard John click on the radio asking what McKay needed and how much time they had. When it was a real emergency, John would lose his easy drawl by the second sentence, and when it was really bad he could hear the sounds of John's boots hitting the floor as he ran across Atlantis.

But it wasn't the sudden awareness of how precarious their situation was that really troubled David, nor how many times he was woken at three in the morning by Dr. Weir calling John because a 'gate tech has reported a disturbance or they'd picked up something on the long range sensors. Most of the time, those problems sorted themselves out easily enough. But on days like today, all he wanted to do was leave the Ibicaus macrocarpa that he was carefully planting in the greenhouse now that it was big enough to be out of it's pot and run up to the conference room and take John away from all of the people who were trying to kill him and hide him away in his rooms until they were left alone.

This couldn't happen for several reasons, the first one that came to his mind being that he was knee deep in mud and needed to shower and change his uniform before he even went back to his own room. But the fact was that no one knew about their relationship, or at least they hadn't told anyone but David strongly suspected that McKay had figured it out and maybe Major Lorne as well, and David suddenly dragging John away in the middle of the day would look very suspicious. And, no one was actually trying to kill John, at least not with guns and knives and however else John managed to get hurt off-world. But when John came in and out of the IOA meetings he always sounded wounded, like the time he'd had stitches along his back and kept his body stiff and still and spoke through gritted teeth; and he still expected everyone to just act like it wasn't screamingly obvious that he was in pain. And the thing that still got David was that with the exception of McKay, pretty much everyone had.

Whenever David had asked about things he'd heard on the command frequency, John had brushed it aside; either it was 'nothing' or John would say that he really shouldn't be listening in anyway, and eventually David had stopped bringing it up. Instead he'd accept the discreet radio calls that let him know their plans were postponed, or brush his fingertips over John's bruises after a mission and not ask how he'd gotten them when John was supposed to have been on Atlantis all day, and he didn't use his radio to call for John and tell him to get away from whatever was hurting him so much. Instead, he sat with the radio in his lap and ignored the soil that was pooling around his ankles; one dirt-smudged hand clamped over his mouth to keep himself from pressing the button and bringing John racing to him.