Times Like These - Ch. 5
Instead of getting better, John only seemed to be getting worse. The headaches were unrelenting, bad enough that more than once, they’d had him sobbing in Teyla’s arms while she stroked his back and whispered comforting words in his ear, trying to ease his pain. When they’d switched out, Ronon replacing Teyla, he’d tried to distract John with stories of Sateda and when that didn’t work, he’d gathered him up, tucked him against his chest and hummed quietly until he fell into a fitful sleep.
Rodney, however, stays conspicuously absent.
It’s not that he doesn’t want to be there, because he does. Okay, he doesn’t because he hates the infirmary and because John is still Tiny Sheppard, but he does, because… well, because it’s John.
But with each passing day, the headaches grow in intensity and Rodney is terrified that if he doesn’t find a way to fix this now, when he does figure it out (and he will, eventually), it’ll be too late.
Her voice startles him and he jerks so violently that he very nearly sends the coffee he’s hardly touched crashing to the floor. He curses loudly and glances up at Teyla almost contritely even though he knows she’s heard worse.
“How is he?” He asks and if he feels a little guilty for not going down there himself… well. He just can’t. He’s more useful here, continuing to pour over the database, searching for schematics that’ll allow him to rebuild the damn device or something, anything that he can use to fix John.
“He continues to ask for you,” Teyla says as she comes closer, peering over his shoulder at his laptop. She’s one of the only people he doesn’t mind like this, that he doesn’t try to shoo away, instead turning to computer so she can better see his screen. “Have you found anything?”
“Nothing,” he says. “Absolutely nothing, which doesn’t mean anything because the data base is so large and I know there has to be something here, I just--.”
There are a million other things that need his attention. There are simulations he needs to run to check for inconsistencies in the power grid to the newly cleared tower on the far west side of the city and there are still strange, intermittent energy readings from different places within the city that he’s delegated Zelenka to because this… this is all he can focus on.
“He understands though, right?” Rodney asks, almost hesitantly. “Why I’m not there, I mean.”
“I believe so, yes.” She’s quiet for a moment as Rodney taps away. “His headaches are growing worse, Rodney. Each one more painful than the last.” Rodney’s fingers go still. “Ronon and I do not know what to do to comfort him and the medicine Doctor Beckett gives him seems to wear off quickly. I must confess, I do not believe I have ever felt so helpless before.”
Something twists in Rodney’s chest and he nods. “Yeah,” he mutters. “Trust me, I know how you feel.”
Teyla nods and lifts her hand to rest it against Rodney’s shoulder, squeezing gently. “I must get back to relieve Ronon.”
“Teyla,” Rodney calls as the doors slide open and from the corner of his eye, he can see her pause, but he resolutely does not look at her. “Tell him… tell him that I’m going to fix this, okay?”
“He already knows. As do we all.”
It's sometime after midnight when Rodney steps into the infirmary, laptop tucked under one arm, coffee gripped in the other. It’s quiet tonight, empty save for the lone patient all the way down at the end, the one curled up on his, fingers gripping the leather of Ronon’s pants as the giant pets through his hair.
Ronon’s head is tipped back, eyes closed, but as Rodney grows closer, he speaks. “About time you showed up.”
“Yes, well,” Rodney says, trying to ignore the light sheen of sweat on John’s face and the rosy cheeks against otherwise pale skin. “…how is he?”
“Sick,” Ronon answers. “Scared. Says she’s mad at him.”
“The city.” At his side, John shifts fitfully, snuffling his nose against Ronon’s leg as Rodney considers, lips turned down in a frown.
“What do you mean?”
“Dunno,” Ronon says with a shrug, and Rodney knows that the other has never felt it, the way the city thrums beneath them. But he has, courtesy of Carson’s gene therapy and while he always knows it’s there, he always feels it most when he’s with John.
There’s no way the city would ever be angry with him, assuming, you know, sentient were with a thing (and Rodney’s not discounting that, he just doesn’t quite have enough proof yet to know for certain), because John Sheppard is the only one she well and truly lights up for.
“Well,” Rodney says and he gestures behind him like he intends to go. “I should--.”
“You should stay,” Ronon says instead, eyes still closed. “He’d want you to.”
Rodney never could say no where John was concerned but he doesn’t sleep. He can’t, and his eyes burn from the hours, the days he’s spent trying to decipher and decode various parts of the database.
There are so many things he’s been neglecting in the pursuit the knowledge of how to fix John and it’s with that thought that he switches over to the main power system to see how Zelenka’s coming along with the data on the unexpected power surges.
What he finds makes him curse.
He stands quickly, untouched coffee and a quizzical look on Ronon’s face left behind as he hurries to the main control room, bodily moving Amelia out of the way as he sits down, fingers flying over the controls.
He lifts his hand, tapping his comm. “McKay to Weir and Zelenka, come in.”
“Go ahead, Rodney,” Elizabeth says,
voice thick with sleep.
“I need you two to the control room immediately. We might have a problem.”