Summary: Every couple of years, John just dropped unconscious without any apparent explanation. And a few times with the wrong explanation.
Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis
Pairing: John Sheppard/Rodney McKay
Disclaimer: These all belong to a bunch of guys who aren't me.
Original Story: soon again gone by cupidsbow
Notes: Hope you enjoy it.
Rodney snaps his fingers when John does not move at all. He figures he's allowed: it's 2300 hours, he's tired, and John has spent the past week fighting with the Earth bureaucracy and therefore not in their bed. "Come on, General. Bed time."
John reaches out his hand slowly, his eyes almost comically wide with . . . something. Before Rodney can even begin to quantify what, those same eyes roll up and John collapses onto the floor. Miser sniffs at his hair and begins to lick him.
Rodney just blinks. "Well, it's not that messy. "
Sheppard's vitals seemed fine, for the most part. Considering that he'd been hit on three sides with Wraith stunners, of course. He was just taking his sweet time waking up.
Carson sighed and was about to go back to his rounds when the Colonel's eyes opened and darted around the infirmary. He mumbled something incoherent, sluggishly pulling at his arms.
"It's good to see you awake at last, Colonel." Carson smiled and held a glass of water up to his lips, then reached for his left arm. "How are you feeling?"
More indistinct mutters, though he didn't sound quite so dry and scratchy this time. Sheppard's eyes continued to move around quickly, caught for a minute by a nurse pushing a trolley out of the storage room.
"What do you remember?" The man's pulse was racing, far faster than what Carson would have expected for a patient still at rest. Then the arm in his grasp abruptly jerked, before going limp. "Colonel?"
No response. Sheppard appeared to once more be unconscious. Carson shook his head, and reached for his chart. Not a true awakening, then.
Rodney was worried, of course, but he couldn't help but feel just a bit grateful at John's timing when it spared him from hearing just how wrong his golf swing was. He tried not to think this, and didn't leave the infirmary until Carson informed him that there was nothing dangerously wrong, he just collapsed, probably overwork, and would Rodney please leave him alone now? Rodney went to his lab to get some work done, and kept the closed circuit infirmary feed open in one window until John woke up.
He can hear Jeannie yelling at Madison about her latest mess, which Rodney has to admit is quite a spectacular one. He would defend his niece, but even he gets twitchy when so many different types of art material are available to be put into mouths as low to the ground as Patrick's. Four year olds are not meant to east plaster-of-paris, no matter how non-toxic Crayola claims it is.
John can clearly hear her as well, but instead of looking uncomfortable about hearing a family squabble he seems to be grinning even larger. He swigs his beer and turns the grin on Rodney.
"Normal people try to avoid their in-laws," Rodney has to turn away because wow, it never stops being strange to realize that they are all but married now. "But, of course, you actually go behind my back to plot a vacation with my sister, which is even more impressive when you consider the fact that you have to plot through a government agency into another galaxy-- "
Apparently the mention of in-laws still gets to John as well, because when Rodney turns back he is unconscious on the ground.
"Shit, John!" Rodney grabs the other man's wrist to feel a racing pulse. "Jeannie, call for an ambulance!"
Hours later, when the hospital can't find anything wrong and John muzzily confesses he can't remember anything, Madison says that family vacations are always better and more exciting with Uncle John and Uncle Rodney. Rodney agrees, silently thinking that everything is better with John around, but he isn't enough of a sap to say so out loud.
"I'm not saying that it's weird, I'm just saying that it's worth noting, is all." Rodney waved a hand above his head, swatting at a bug.
"We had a term for such people on Sateda: gropey-feely." Ronon said and poked his head into a room, then sneezed. "Clear. Looks like another store room."
"Apparently we've found the Ancient's version of Uncle Bob's Storage." John muttered.
"On Athos, such people were usually suffering the effects of a mild hallucinogen found only in the city ruins. Its use was generally frowned upon, because actions became unpredictable should the Wraith appear." Teyla chimed in. "The euphemism was 'speaking with the Ancestors'."
"See that's what I mean! It's just not normal for anyone, even from another galaxy, to be touching everything all the time, unless they're on something." Rodney kept walking down the hallway. "But of course no one ever mentions it, because --"
"McKay, get over here!" Ronon said sharply. Rodney half-turned, mouth already open to complain, when he saw that Ronon's gun was drawn and pointed at something in the previous room. Teyla and John were nowhere in sight.
"What is it?" One hand flew to his headset, the other to his P-90. "Do we need to call for backup? Or Carson?"
Ronon edged to the side and jerked his head in a 'come over here' gesture as he lowered his gun. "Your call. Not sure what medical would be able to do for him, though."
Rodney looked in the doorway to see John on the floor, body seizuring as arcs of white-blue lightning danced around him. Teyla knelt nearby, hand tentatively outstretched but unable to touch. At irregular intervals, the lightning stretched to the frescoed tiles of the far wall.
"What happened?" Rodney demanded. "How could he manage to do this in an empty store room?
"He merely touched the wall, Rodney. He said it looked familiar." Teyla's voice was strained. "How much longer can this continue without damaging him?"
"Elizabeth, we've got a situation." Ronon said into his earpiece.
He didn't really pass out after the time jump, because he was already dead. Although he did get better.
"John Sheppard, I am aware that you are not overly fond of vaginas, but in this instance I feel it is in your best interest to overcome this irrational fear and deliver this baby! John!" He does not move at all. Teyla grumbles and begins the slow process of heaving herself up. "How is it that you are capable of great destruction yet cannot bring yourself to deliver one small child?"
She makes no attempt to avoid kicking him in the side as she clambers to her feet and forces herself forward. She manages to slam her hand gracelessly down on the red button for the distress beacon that Zelenka had installed two years previous, silently thanking Rodney for nagging him into submission. She collapses into a seat as another contraction hits, all the while mentally urging her offspring to be patient for just a short while longer.
"Your manly stoicism leaves something to be desired," she informs John's unconscious body as she waits for someone to arrive from the city. He twitches.
"Jumping in time! Help me, Rodney!" John yelped, then pulled Rodney into a hug. Rodney wrenched his body backwards, and put his hands on John's shoulders.
"Time jumping?" Rodney had seen better practical jokes. Hell, he'd done better. Although he tended to stick to the classics, especially those that would mess with bodily functions, especially when the Marines were the victims.
"Yours be can't." The incoherent mumble was the most convincing part of the whole unfunny business, at least until John collapsed backwards and twitched slightly.
"Um, what?" Rodney stared, then fumbled for John's wrist. He decided it was just the late hour and two glasses of toxic home-brew they had shared earlier, and let John sleep it off.
The light had calmed down as the day wore on, though it never fully disappeared. At the moment, it was toned down enough that the blue tint was visible, and instead of rapidly jumping and spinning, it swirled around John's body like bad special effects in a sci-fi movie. Every couple of minutes, a random arc would leap out to one tile or another, crackle and sizzle for a few seconds, then vanish. John's body was no longer violently seizuring, but still continuously twitching. Rodney thought he could smell burnt hair.
Rodney and the few scientists he had brought in with him were wearing rubber suits that had so far not been overly put to the test in resisting whatever the light was. Unless they attempted to touch John directly, the lightning mostly snapped around them without touching. Miko had been caught once on the hand, and while the rubber had smelled horrible and turned black in that spot, it had held.
But Rodney tried very hard not to think on it, or what it was doing to John's brain at that very moment. It had been over six hours since it had happened -- and Rodney had more than vented himself during that time, yelling how hard is it to remember 'don't touch anything'? every half hour or so -- and they finally were getting somewhere. Maybe.
"So since this controls-- then logically, it follows . . . but that wouldn't cause this, unless . . . and so-- uhuhuh, you tricky bastard!" Rodney caught the loose crystal before it hit the ground. "Radek, give me -- "
"Already have it." Zelenka thrust a soldering iron and several inches of wire into his hand. "So it was just loose?"
"Loose and very well hidden." Rodney clarified, already working to repair it. "It would have helped if I didn't have these giant rubber mittens getting in my way at every turn."
He worked in silence for a few moments, as Radek crouched beside him and tried to hold wires out of his way.
"And as long as that's the only problem, that should do it." Rodney felt the click as the loose crystal hit home. He paused before turning around, afraid of what he might see.
"Colonel?" Radek's hopeful question had him spinning around quickly.
"What? Did it work?" The lightning was still there, but definitely dimmer. John's eyes were closed and at first Rodney thought it had not helped, until he noticed the other man was no longer twitching.
"Carson, get the stretcher in here, I think we got it!" He hollered out into the hallway. He leaned a bit closer to John as the lights dimmed visibly. "Just stay alive, John. You won't want to touch random pieces of Ancient material ever again after I get through with you."
Ronon edges into the room even though Elizabeth is in his ear telling him to stay clear. He can see the woman-monster on the ground, blood a strange purplish hue. He's sorry she had to die: Dr Keller had been hopeful of finding a cure up until this morning, when she broke out of quarantine and killed four Marines. After the point that her mind had changed enough to eat other humans, the doctor was doubtful they would ever be able to bring the woman back.
He can see Rodney and John huddled together at the far wall, Rodney's gun a few feet away from them. Rodney's voice is just barely audible, pleading for John to not leave, and Ronon takes a few steps back into the hallway to give them some privacy.
Because of this, he cannot later state exactly what caused John to drop unconscious, though he can confirm that John was not contaminated by the dead creature's claws. He sees the look in Rodney's eyes, and thinks that if John were to mutate into that creature, Atlantis would lose both men.
Rodney wakes when he feels the weight in his lap suddenly disappear, years of sleeping in labs having trained him to rescue the equipment first. But this time his laptop isn't on the ground, it's on the hospital cot. Holding on to it, and squinting at the screen, is John.
He wants to say a million things about being worried and not sleeping and 'don't ever touch anything that looks the slightest bit Ancient, ever, again,' but all he can do is stare for a few seconds and be glad that John is alive.
And then John reaches around the laptop to touch his face and kiss him, and glad doesn't quite seem to cover it.