Bright blue skies, fluffy white clouds, unending pale blue sea. Everywhere you look there's a familiar face. Every other day there's a new mission to complete, another world to explore, new customs to learn. That's the life of an Atlantean explorer.
"John? John, are you even paying attention?" His head snapped up and he gazed around the conference room. Mr. Woolsey, Teyla, Ronon, Dr. Keller, and Rodney were all staring at him.
"Hm? Yes, of course I'm paying attention. We were talking about the same thing we've been talking about since the meeting started. How to prevent the next Wraith attack."
Rodney rolled his eyes and continued with his presentation of how to increase the power to the shield. He was still working on a way to make it a shield and a cloak at the same time, but wasn't having any luck. Neither were Radick or any of the other scientists.
Mr. Woolsey was the first to speak after McKay finished, "So, you really think we can afford that much energy for the shield? Will we lose any other systems while it's operating at that level?"
McKay looked down at his pad and typed a few things in. He looked up with a smirk on his face. "The only thing that'll be difficult to maintain during the times that the shield is at full strength will be the very outer edge of the city. As of now, we don't have anyone living out there, so it shouldn't be a problem." Dr. Keller smiled, "Good work, Rodney. How long can it be kept at that level?"
McKay's smirk vanished. "Um..well..we've estimated that it will burn out the zed-pm in about half the time it would normally take. Bu-but it's only an estimation! I'm confident we can stretch it. A bit." Mr. Woolsey looked down at his assortment of papers and looked through a few files. "Is there any way to expand the power of the zpm?"
Rodney shook his head, "The only way to increase the power levels farther is to get a new zed-pm. We've already been using this one for a while and have taken a lot of power from it. There's no way to put power back into it. We'd need some kind of charger, but no such thing exists for this kind of power supply. It would take months, maybe years, if it's even possible, to come up with a power enhancer."
It was John's turn to jump into the conversation, that way they didn't think he had spaced out again, "Every time you say something will take months or years or maybe never, you usually end up solving whatever it is within a few weeks, a couple months at most. What makes this any different? If it's the danger level, I can change that."
He had a smirk of his own plastered to his face. Rodney rolled his eyes and shook his head.
"It's not a matter of pushing me to my limits for me to figure it out, Colonel, not this time." John nodded his head slowly. "Hm, well, what about Radick? I'd bet he has a few ideas of his own."
Teyla and Ronon could tell John was trying to give Rodney the extra push he needed to figure it out. They exchanged looks and decided it was best to just stay out of it.
Rodney's face went red and he was getting more furious by the second. "What makes you so certain that Radick could figure it out when I couldn't, hm? Do you have so much faith in him that you're going to make him your Chief Scientist? No? I didn't think so! Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go find a way to make a power supply." He marched out of the room, leaving everyone silently watching him go.
"Well, that was successful if I do say so myself. We should have some kind of charger within the month!" John smiled and looked around the room. Ronon had a smile on his face and was nodding his head, giving Sheppard the approval, Dr. Keller was silently upset and walked out after McKay, and Teyla and Woolsey were silent.
"I do not approve of you methods, Colonel. If the IOA knew how you were handling situations, they'd have you replaced in a heartbeat." John sat up a little straighter and locked eyes with Woolsey.
"The IOA isn't here. I'm the only one who can really motivate McKay to get the work done that needs to be done. In order to motivate him, I need to push him. Not only am I his commanding officer, I'm also his friend, so I can assure you that he doesn't take it personally, doesn't think we favor Radick, and isn't going to switch sides to get back at me for pushing him a bit too hard. He's a smart guy, Woolsey. He knows exactly what I'm doing and he goes along with it." He stood up and walked out of the conference room leaving it in silence just as Rodney had done.
He figured later he'd have a little chat with McKay about motivating him, but for the moment he just needed to let out a little steam. He faintly heard Teyla calling his name, but he ignored it and continued down the stairs and towards the outer edge of the city.
When he got outside, he decided the best way to cool off was to go for a jog around the edge. He figured he'd only go a couple of miles, but once he got going his mind spaced out and before he knew it he had run over six miles of the city. He walked for another mile to loosen up his muscles and keep the blood circulating and not clot, and then he went to the mess hall for lunch.
It was a late lunch so not too many people were there, thankfully. Rodney was usually the first one to eat, followed by Keller, Ronon, and Teyla. Woolsey always took his lunch to his room and ate alone. It was a silent tradition of his and was never broken.
John got his lunch and sat in a more secluded area of the mess hall to eat in silence.
Rodney entered the mess hall to get a snack before he returned to his work. He was filling a plate when he happened to notice Sheppard sitting alone at the end of the mess hall facing the wall. What is it about him and being alone?
He got his snack and walked over to the table. "Mind if I sit down?" John looked up and shook his head. "Go ahead. Seat's empty." Rodney nodded his head and sat down across from him.
They ate in silence for a while until they were done eating. Rodney was about to get up when John started to talk. "McKay, I'm sorry about what I said earlier. I was just trying to motivate you to succeed." He was looking down at his empty plate as he talked. He never was much of a talker.
"Yeah, well, you don't have to be so harsh all the time. There are limits, you know." John's head snapped up and his eyes locked with Rodney's. "I'm being harsh? I'm your commanding officer, McKay. I'm supposed to be harsh. I'm supposed to make sure things get done and my people are safe. If that means me being a little harsh, then deal with it." Rodney faintly noticed Teyla and Ronon walking in and watching the conversation from a distance.
He stood up and grabbed his tray. "You're not only my commanding officer, you know. You're also my friend, or supposed to be. What the hell has gotten into you lately? You've been a jerk the past few weeks, more so than usual. We ignored it for a while, but it's only getting worse."
John just stood there staring at McKay, "We? I've been a jerk? Well, I'm sorry for raining on your parade, McKay. Life isn't full of hot chicks, booze, and scientific discoveries happening every day." McKay stood up as well and looked him in the eye.
"Yes, we. Keller, Teyla, Ronon, and I have been worried about you. And don't talk to me about that stuff. You're the one who walks around acting like you don't have a care in the world and you have everything you could possibly hope for. It isn't so easy on us mere mortals, if you haven't noticed."
John was getting furious. Where was all of this coming from? Had he really been a jerk for the past few weeks? "That's where you're wrong, Rodney. You think everything is so easy for me? Well guess again. At least you don't have everyone's safety riding on your shoulders every day. At least you don't walk around with the fear that you'll make that little mistake that gets everyone killed. At least you have something to live for. You have a reason to be happy. You and Keller are happy together. Teyla has Torren, the sweetest little boy a mother could ask for. Ronon has Amanda and I've never seen him happier. What do I have? Hm? What do I have?"
They both just stood there for a minute, staring at each other. John turned and walked away, leaving his tray on the table. He didn't even realize Teyla and Ronon were standing there as he walked by them. He walked out of the mess hall and down the corridor. He finally made it to his room and sat down on his bed. That was the first time in a long time he had opened up and shared his burdens with someone else. He never had the opportunity to talk to anyone anymore. Teyla was always with Torren, Rodney was always with either Keller or Radick, and Ronon was spending a lot of time with Amanda.
It had felt good to share some of his anxiety, but what did it really accomplish? He felt like crap since he got into a fight with someone who's supposed to be one of his best friends, his head and heart were pounding and his hands were shaking. He got up and started to pace his room trying to think of how he had been a jerk lately. It only caused more anxiety when he realized more and more times where he'd been more of jerk than usual. His hands started shaking more and he realized he was becoming too anxious.
His head was starting to spin. This wasn't a good sign. He tried to hurry to the table next to his bed. He fumbled with the drawer and finally found his meds. He hurried as best he could to the makeshift kitchen for water, but didn't make it that far. He collapsed on the floor near his bed, the pill container still grasped in his hand. The last thing he remembered was a sharp pain in the back of his head and then everything went dark.
Rodney felt bad about the argument him and Sheppard had. Teyla and Ronon had walked over to him after John had left and he explained what had happened. They sat down for a while and tried to come up with ways to help their friend out. Step one was for Rodney to go apologize and maybe hang out for a while, talk, maybe watch a movie. When he got to John's room, he rang the bell and waited. There was no response. He rang it three more times with no answer.
He figured John was still upset so he just let him be.
It wasn't until the next morning when he didn't show up for his duty shift, didn't answer any calls, and wasn't at the staff meeting when they started to get worried. After the meeting, Teyla, Ronon, and Rodney headed down to his room to see if everything was okay.
Ronon rang the bell twice with no answer. Rodney opened the door panel and switched around the crystals to make the door open. When the door opened, they saw John laying on the floor unconscious. They ran over to him and Teyla knelt down next to his shoulders and felt for a pulse. "He has a pulse! But it's not very strong. We need to get Dr. Keller here now." Ronon walked around him as Rodney radioed a medical emergency. He bent down and picked up the pill bottle John had been holding. The pills didn't look familiar and he handed them to Teyla. "Think he was trying to OD?"
Teyla frowned, but shook her head, "That's not like John. He wouldn't end his life, no matter how bad it was. I believe that." She took his hand and waited for Keller and her team to arrive. As soon as they did, Teyla handed the medicine bottle to Keller. "Ronon found this in his hand."
She inspected the label and her eyes widened. "These are seizure pills. How long has he been unconscious?" Teyla looked at her with equally wide eyes, "We don't know. We got here about ten minutes ago and found him like this." Rodney spoke up, "Last night I came here to apologize. I rang the bell maybe four times, but he didn't answer. I just figured he was still upset and didn't want to talk to anyone. I shouldn't have just walked away.." Keller's medical team lifted John onto the gurney and started wheeling him out of the room. Keller put her hand on Rodney's arm, "Don't be too hard on yourself. Just be glad you came when you did and found him." He nodded but didn't meet her eye.
She rushed after her med team and left Teyla, Rodney, and Ronon standing in John's room to worry about their friend.
It was nearly two hours later when Keller finally came out and told them that John was going to be okay. "I can't say much, given doctor-patient confidentiality, but what I can say is that John has a medical condition that he's had since he was a child. It's not very serious or anything to really worry about, but if I were you, I would ask him about it. It can't come from me, but I think you should be aware of it for his own safety. What had happened was I believe he got overly anxious or worked up and before he realized it, it was too late. He tried to make it to his medication in time, but wasn't able to take them before he collapsed. He hit his head on the floor when he fell and he passed out. We slipped him into a medically induced coma for now until the swelling in his brain subsides to a much safer level. With any luck, there will be little to no brain damage or trauma and he will be back to normal and on his feet in no time."
Teyla sighed in relief, "When can we see him?" Keller looked at Teyla and smiled. "You can go in now if you want, but I'll be keeping an eye one you three to make sure you're eating and sleeping properly. Of course, I don't think that'll be a problem considering you all have other things you do."
Ronon looked up at her, "What do you mean by that?" "Well, you're with Amanda a lot, Rodney is with Radick, and Teyla is with Torren. Now I'm not saying it's a bad thing you all spend your time like that, but when was the last time anyone really made time just for the Colonel?" Everyone was silent as she turned and walked back into the infirmary.
They just sat in the waiting room for a few moments in silence. Teyla was the one to speak up first, "You know she's right. We've all been too preoccupied with our own lives and loved ones to really think about how John must be doing. Besides his brother, his loved ones are us and we've been absent from his life. We need to change that. All of us." She looked from Ronon to Rodney and received nods from both of them. She stood up and walked into the infirmary, sat down in the chair next to John's bed and held his hand. A moment later Ronon sat down on the end of the bed and Rodney pulled up a chair on the other side of the bed. It was time they were there for their friend.
After a couple of hours, Teyla left to check on Torren and grab them all some supper from the mess hall. Ronon took that opportunity to set up a bunk next to John's bed. There was no way they were leaving him alone for a while.
Over the next few days, the three friends alternated who would stay with John and painfully waited while Dr. Keller slowly withdrew him from the medically induced coma. After about four days in the coma, he was finally out of the woods and expected to wake up at any moment.
Dr. Keller pulled Rodney aside after Ronon had left to get some sleep and Teyla had gone to check on Torren. "I'm really proud of you for sticking by the Colonel's side this whole time, even after that fight you two got into." Rodney smiled faintly and nodded, looking at Sheppard. "I just hope that I'm here when he wakes up. I don't want him waking up alone and I want to apologize as soon as I can. It's my fault that I was too busy for him. It's my fault this all happened." He looked back at Keller, "I'm going to make this right. No matter what I have to do." She smiled and kissed him briefly on the lips.
"I know you will, and that's why I love you. I'm going to go get some sleep. Do you need anything before I go?" He shook his head and smiled. "Go get some sleep. I'll be right here when you get back. And if he wakes up, I'll let you know."
"You better." She smiled again and walked out of the room, leaving Rodney alone with Sheppard. He sat down on the chair and must have dozed off after a while. The next thing he knows, Teyla was shaking him awake and telling him to go get some sleep.
He shook his head. "No, I want to be here when he wakes up, so I'm not leaving. I'll just take a little power nap on the bunk." He got up and walked over to the bunk and collapsed down onto it. The last thing he remembered was hearing Teyla talking softly to John as she did every time she was alone with him.
A few hours later, Rodney woke up to find Teyla asleep. He stood up, walked over to her, picked her up, and placed her down on the bunk. He pulled the blanket up over her to keep her warm and walked back to the chair next to John's bed. Ronon walked in with food and handed some to McKay.
"Still hasn't woken up, I see." Rodney shook his head as he scarfed down the food. He was so hungry, he could eat an entire cow.
"I fell asleep and when I woke up, Teyla had fallen asleep so I just put her on the bed. I've only been up for about five minutes. As far as I know, he's been the same since I fell asleep." Ronon nodded his head and dug into his food as well.
They sat there for three hours just talking about random things and waiting for everyone to wake up.
Teyla woke up and checked on John's status. He was still asleep, so she figured she would go see how Torren was doing. "If he wakes up while I'm gone, let me know." They both nodded and watched as she walked out of the room.
She checked on Torren and saw that he had fallen asleep. She figured it'd be okay if she took a shower before returning to the infirmary.
Ronon decided to go have supper with Amanda since John was still out cold. "Hey, I'll be back. Goin' for supper with Amanda." Rodney didn't even look up from his pad as he walked out of the room.
About ten minutes later, McKay heard a rustling sound and looked up. John was beginning to stir. He set his pad down on the chair next to his and scooted closer. He waited and watched as John slowly opened his eyes and looked around. They finally settled on Rodney and started to focus.
"Rodney?" McKay scooted closer to the bed and nodded. "How are..um..you feeling?" John looked just as uncomfortable as Rodney felt, but he nodded his head. "A little shaky, but I'm fine. What happened?"
Rodney looked down and then back up at Sheppard. "Jennifer wouldn't tell us exactly what happened. She said she couldn't due to doctor-patient confidentiality. What she did say was that you have a medical condition and that you passed out and hit your head. Your brain swelled and they had to put you into a medically induced coma until the swelling went down. They just brought you out of it a few hours ago."
John slowly nodded his head, deep in thought. "So, she didn't tell you?" Rodney shook his head and kept eye-contact with Sheppard. "Colonel, I-I have something to say.." He paused and looked away from Sheppard.
John started shifting uncomfortably on the bed, "Well, then go ahead and spit it out."
McKay shifted in his seat a little and finally spoke, "It's about the other night. I'm sorry about that fight. I went to your room to apologize, but you didn't answer. I figured you just didn't want to talk to anyone. It wasn't until the next morning that I got worried. I should have opened the door anyway. You might not have had to be put in a coma if I had gotten to you sooner...I...John, I'm sorry." He was twirling his thumbs nervously and avoiding the colonel's eyes.
Sheppard sat there for a minute taking in everything he had said. "Rodney, don't apologize. I started that argument and you were right. I've been an ass lately. And..." He took a deep breath before he continued, "I should probably tell you why I hit my head. Well, you see...ever since I was a kid, ever since...my mom died, I've had seizures when I get overly anxious. I take meds for it, but I couldn't...I haven't taken them in...I haven't been taking them. Someone should probably know just in case I have another one..don't tell anyone. Please." Rodney looked up. It was unlike the Colonel to beg for something.
"I won't. I promise." Sheppard nodded his head and looked away. "Thanks."
"And Sheppard, as soon as you get out of here, we're going camping." John's head snapped around and his eyes locked with Rodney's. "You? Camping? What's the occasion and where can I get a camera?"
"Oh ha ha, very funny. It's just..we haven't hung out in a while. I figured we should. Ronon and Beckett are coming too. Well, that is if Beckett gets back in time."
John looked down and smiled. He was already looking forward to their guys camping adventure. He was finally going to be with his friends again. He really had missed them while they were busy with other things. It was time to catch up.
Summary: When McKay and Sheppard get into a fight, will that be the end of their friendship? Or will it become even stronger? Read and review! Thanks!