This is what Rodney hated about getting to know people. At some point or another, anyone he had gotten close to (or had wanted to get to know better), left him, or finally got sick of his abrasive personality. Sam Carter could barely stand him he knew (even if in his head she talked him into keeping himself alive), Carson had been killed by the world's stupidest medical accident, and Elizabeth was mind melding with the Asuran replicators.
The kicker about this was he hadn't even noticed it when he and Ronon had crossed the line from "teammates" to "friends". The 'f' word was one of the most terrifying words in the English dictionary to one surly scientist. After all, Rodney didn't let just anyone beat him senseless with a wooden sword.
"Rodney..." Radek's voice was tight with fear as he used his jacket to staunch the flow of blood pouring from the Satedan's shoulder. "Rodney, don't."
"Don't what?" he had wanted to ask, but instead he just stared at the nine millimeter shaking in front of him. He thought the marine's name could have been West, but he wasn't sure. He had never been good at names, and he certainly wasn't going to lose sleep over forgetting the name of someone that had just shot Ronon.
"He shouldn't have done that," West's voice was high-strung, eyes wild.
Rodney watched as the deep red quickly soaked into the gray material on Zelenka's jacket. That really wasn't good. Someone pounded relentlessly on the malfunctioning door as they shouted useless threats. Probably Sheppard.
"Rodney--" Radek tried again, but the swift shift of the gun in his direction silenced him.
The pounding on the door took up rhythm with Rodney's heart, until all he could hear was the blood rushing through his ears, and all he could see was Ronon's blood splattered against his and West's clothing.
"Just shut up, shut up!" The marine's grip on the gun was tight despite the shaking hand.
The red stain continued to spread, soaking almost the entire jacket at this point.
Never ever look away from your enemy. It shows weakness.
Rodney's gaze snapped back to the shaking gun pointing at both Radek and Ronon.
"Make them shut up!" West was screaming at this point; sweat dripping down the side of his face.
"We just made the hand-off."
Radek seemed to shrink a little, but did not budge from his position over Ronon. The quaking grip on the pistol stilled, and West let out a half-sob, half-giggle.
The shot went wide as Rodney leapt onto the deranged marine's back like a manic chimpanzee. West staggered forward under the weight but his grip had solidified on the pistol. Rodney held on for dear life, trying to scrabble for control of the gun. They twirled around the floor of the Ancient lab as if locked in some kind of deadly dance. Eventually military training and brute strength managed to win over divinely insane acts of bravery, and Rodney was roughly tossed to the floor. He pulled himself up in time to look down the barrel of the gun he had just tried to wrestle away.
A deafening explosion ripped through the door separating them from the rest of Atlantis, drowning out any other sound. West crumpled to the ground in a boneless heap the same time something sharp bit Rodney in the cheek. He ran a hand along the stinging sensation, confused as it came back dotted with fresh blood and bits of what looked to be the lab's floor. His gaze dropped to the floor next to him, where a nine millimeter slug had plowed a small crater into floor right next to him.
And that's when Rodney fainted.
* * * * *
And by faint, he meant passed out.
He awoke to find a messy rat's nest standing at his bedside. He shook away his disorientation and recognized the rat's nest as one Radek Zelenka.
"You are insane."
"What?" Rodney blinked. Bedside manner apparently wasn't one of Radek's strong points either.
"Leaping onto crazed marine like you are Rambo."
The memory of the event slowly came back to him, and Rodney pushed himself into a sitting position, surprised to find that at some point someone had changed him into scrubs. He wasn't sure if he was grateful or outraged, and decided to focus onto something that made him less uncomfortable.
Sadly, that magical subject was proving to be elusive.
Since he couldn't think of anything to distract him from what had transpired he might as well get the whole uncomfortable truth out now. "What exactly happened?"
Radek shifted awkwardly. Apparently he wasn't completely at ease with the subject himself. "West activated one of the devices in the lab."
Crazy soldiers and their stupid ATA genes always activating things without proper analysis. Rodney was going to have to start putting "Do Not Touch" signs on all things Ancient. "What the hell does that to someone?"
Radek shrugged helplessly. Judging by his rumpled state, it hadn't been altogether too long since the unfortunate event in question. "It was almost destroyed in blast. I have a team looking through the database now."
The sad thing was Rodney wasn't sure he really wanted to know what it was or was supposed to do. His opinion of the Ancients had taken a blow ever since coming to the Pegasus Galaxy and encountering all of the death traps they had unwittingly left behind. He remained quiet for a while, before finally approaching the next topic. "West?"
Radek grimaced. "Colonel Sheppard shot him when they stormed the lab."
Rodney nodded silently, eyes straying to the separate ICU section of the infirmary. Seeming to read his mind, which Rodney found more than a little disconcerting, Radek continued. "Ronon is out of surgery. Keller says he will be fine."
Some of the tightness in his chest loosened at that, but not all of it. He wanted to say something snappy and witty, if only to wipe that worried chipmunk look off of Radek's face. Nothing came to him, which was almost as bad as the Czech starting to read his mind. Instead Rodney pulled himself to his feet, padding across the infirmary in his bare feet. He dimly registered the fact that Radek was following him.
He found them quite easily, as there was only one occupied bed in ICU. Sheppard gave him a quick, tight nod as he approached. He frowned as he noted Teyla was missing.
"Snack run," Sheppard said, studying Rodney a little too closely for the scientist's comfort.
He managed to sum up an annoyed glower. "What are you looking at?"
"You fainted." Which, somehow, Rodney could tell wasn't at all what Sheppard was really thinking. He decided not to think too much on that either. His head hurt enough as it was.
"Passed out," he corrected, annoyance a little less forced.
"I will go check on progress on team identifying the device," Radek stuttered behind him, and Rodney watched him practically flee from the infirmary. The coward.
A sick feeling settled in the pit of his stomach and when he turned back, Sheppard was looking at him again in that same, unnerving manner.
"Will you stop that!"
Thankfully, that was the moment that Ronon chose to wake up. "Mind keeping it down, McKay?"
For the second time that day, Rodney was grateful to Ronon in more ways than words could express. A quick glance at Sheppard let him know that whatever he wanted to say would wait for later. Rodney decided that he would need to find many many things to repair in the meantime.
"Hey, buddy." Sheppard shot Rodney a quick look, letting him know that the conversation he had tried to start would happen at some point. "How you feeling?"
Ronon grunted, which was his manly way of groaning in pain. "Like I almost lost the other shoulder."
"Two for two, I always say."
"When do you say that?" Rodney volleyed back with his own look to Sheppard, clearly signifying that he would be entirely too busy fixing various problems around Atlantis for any silly talks.
"The other day," Ronon rumbled from the bed. "I heard him."
"Yeah, of course you'd take his side," Rodney grumped as he crossed his arms, purposefully staring at the wall instead of looking at either of his teammates.
The first sign that something had gone wrong was that the door to the lab was shut, and someone from the other side was trying unsuccessfully to open it. Rodney turned to tell his marine escort of this and encountered the second sign that something was not right, which was the fact that said escort had drawn his pistol and was aiming it in Rodney's face.
"He likes me better," Sheppard crowed.
"Of course he does," Rodney snarked back, carefully looking just PAST the pilot's shoulder. "You both like to shoot and blow up anything in sight."
West had begun babbling about voices, which for some reason he was convinced Rodney was responsible for.
"Good times, good times," Sheppard's grin was forced, and his sharp gaze had never left Rodney.
"I'm surrounded by pyromaniacs." Rodney moved so that he was out of the colonel's line of sight, unfortunately this placed him directly in Ronon's.
"Where's Teyla?" Ronon interrupted their carefully worded conversation about nothing.
"Snack run," Sheppard replied without hesitation.
Ronon nodded his approval. "They were making pie today."
"I'll make sure she gets some," John said, reaching for his radio.
And for the third time that day, Ronon proved himself to be Rodney's very bestest friend ever. "She can't carry enough herself."
"We're going to need a lot." Ronon gave Sheppard a look that clearly said "Do you not know me at all?"
"He's a growing boy," Rodney chimed in.
Sheppard frowned, glancing between his two teammates suspiciously, before shrugging his shoulders lightly. "Why don't I make sure she gets enough then?"
"That'd be great."
"I'll be back before you know it."
Sheppard shot Rodney a final look as he left ICU.
He wasn't even aware Ronon had picked up that something was wrong until his frame was suddenly blocking Rodney's view of the gun, and there was blood splattered across his jacket and face.
"Thanks." He wanted to say more, something ingeniously insightful about unspoken bonds, things that went deeper than words. However his social ineptitude stole the words before he could even begin to form them.
Ronon understood though, and just gave him a tired smile in return. "Anytime, McKay. Anytime."