McKay shivered in the bracing wind coming off the lake. He pulled his thin jacket closed at the neck as he surveyed the sandy crescent of shoreline which gleamed silver in the moonlight, in sharp contrast to the night-darkened water and the stand of tall trees silhouetted against the night sky.
He'd spent the better part of his afternoon blundering through those very woods. Wandering aimlessly, at first he was fearful that the Wraith might come looking for him and start the hunt early, but once the cool semi-darkness of the forest settled over him like an oppressive blanket, he began to wonder if the alien might only be one of any number of creatures on the planet that would find him a toothsome treat. Until Rodney managed to talk himself down, his overactive imagination heard a predator of some kind in every rustling leaf, snapping twig, and overhead branch that shifted in the wind.
Stressed and exhausted, and hopelessly lost, McKay had finally stumbled out of the dense underbrush and onto the sand-strewn shore of a large lake.
For probably the first time in his life, Rodney was grateful for all those horrific camping trips he'd been dragged on as a kid. Somewhere between the mind-numbing boredom of staring at nature for hours on end, and the enforced family time they all endured with gritted teeth, counting the hours before they could break camp and drive back to civilization, Rodney had actually soaked up a surprising amount of woodscraft. By sundown, he had driftwood gathered, and a fire laid and lit. A row of little fish he'd tickled out of the shallow water by hand were skewered on sticks and propped at an angle in the sand by the small, smoky blaze so they could cook without burning.
As Rodney made himself comfortable by his campfire, munching on dinner between sips of fresh water from the rinsed and re-filled canteen, he did his best to piece together the fragmented memories that rose sluggishly to the surface of his still-dazed mind. As if recalling a dream upon awakening, even as it fades, he tried to catch hold of fleeting images that retreated as he reached for them. After an hour of frustration, all McKay could clearly remember was the sensation of fear and the memory of gasping for breath as he ran for his life. That seemed to be the last thing he experienced before waking up on the ground with a Wraith standing over him.
But what else? How did he get there?
It seemed apparent that the fear and running must have had to do with trying to escape a culling. Obviously he hadn't been successful on that front.
There had to be more to it – of course – but try as he might, Rodney couldn't remember anything else.
He could conjecture, though. It was only logical that if he had been somewhere susceptible to a Wraith attack, that he'd most likely been on a mission gone awry. If that was the case, then it followed that Sheppard, Teyla, and Ronon had probably been with him at some point.
Where were his teammates, and what had happened to them?
McKay's thoughts stuttered to a stop and concern creased his brow. He certainly hoped the rest of the team had fared better than he had. Rodney laid aside the fish he'd been eating, his appetite suddenly gone.
Restless all of a sudden, McKay clambered to his feet, raining sand all over the remainder of his abandoned meal. Not that it mattered – not with the possibility that the people he'd come to care about – some of the few that actually seemed to care back, might be gone. Heartsore and suddenly very sad, he stuffed his hands in his pockets and wandered to the water's edge, following it down the beach until, looking back, his campfire was nothing more than a tiny, shimmering light in the distance.
How was he supposed to do this alone?
Summary: Trapped on a remote planet with a hungry Wraith, what will Dr. Rodney McKay do to survive?
A/N: Story has been tagged with rape/non-con warning due to Ian's attempted mind rape in Chapter 20, just in case it might twig anyone.