Author’s Notes: I blame Sci Fi/ MGM for this story, since I wrote it in reaction to their, well, narrow-minded decision. * cough *
Horror and Hope
A twisted tale of Stargate Atlantis whump and…
Gen, no pairings, PG-13, copyright to author, no copyright infringement meant
Summary: Sheppard just can’t catch a break. Whump, of course.
Sheppard struggled to awareness, his mind seeking out the steady beep-beep that floated along his consciousness like a distant early warning system. He moved, moaning as exquisite pain flared down his torso, its tendrils digging greedily into his belly.
Wait. What the hell? Exquisite? Excruciating was more like it!
John managed to pry open his eyes, only to be greeted by a fuzzy haze in which shadows hovered in the distance.
He very gingerly tried to move, but the pain hovered over his midsection, refusing to go away. His right arm felt leaden and constrained, and his mind fuzzily thought: a cast? Focusing his vision seemed a lost cause, and he couldn’t place why that was. He reached his other hand to his chest, fingertips brushing against bare flesh, and an unwelcome large bandage covering his midsection. A tug pulled at his arm. An IV.
Crap. What the hell had happened?
Noise – soft footsteps – permeated his thoughts as a shadow moved into view.
“Doc?” Damn, his throat felt scorched. He’d either breathed in smoke or been intubated. Neither scenario boded well for him.
“Colonel, glad to see you’ve finally decided to join us,” sounded a familiar Scottish brogue.
“Carson?” But wasn’t he—hadn’t he been– ? “Where’s Keller?”
“You don’t remember?” Carson abruptly caught himself, John could hear it even if he couldn’t see it clearly, as the swipe of the penlight swept across both his eyes. “Alas, the poor lass is in stasis. A terrible accident on SNM 742. She tripped over a tree root and struck her head. Fortunately she sustained just a bump on the head, but an unknown species of spider then bit her and she became gravely ill. We haven’t been able to find an anti-venom, so until that time, she remains in stasis.”
None of that made sense. Carson had died, been cloned by Michael, was back on Earth and Keller had been CMO. Hadn’t she?
Carson finished his poking and prodding. Carson seemed satisfied with the results. John was glad it was over. He felt like death warmed over and each prod had just made him feel worse.
“What happened?” he croaked insistently.
“You and Rodney were testing an Ancient device out on the south pier.” That was Teyla, apparently close by. When he shifted his head, he saw her blurred figure sitting near his bed. That answered the one burning question of where was his team.
A cough emanated from the other side of the bed. “There was an explosion,” offered Carson. “You were badly injured, but you will recover in time.”
John blinked. His vision wasn’t any better and now he knew why. “Eyes?”
There was the slightest of hesitation, a period of space into which volumes of unspoken doom could be inserted. “You struck your head hard, John. There has been some swelling to the brain, but… we relieved it with a burr hole and you’re doing better than the last few times you awoke.”
He’d been awake before? Holes? “You drilled a hole in my head?”
“A tiny one,” insisted Carson.
“They did not shave off much hair,” added Teyla hopefully.
He was almost mortified to think how much had been shaved off. All those years of avoiding a regulation military cut and now… He stopped himself, as his hair was a low priority. “What else?”
Carson again hesitated, but the physician knew darn well that John didn’t like to be coddled, although after the Scot was done running down the horrendous laundry list of burns, abrasions, internal bleeding, broken bones, operations and ‘your heart only stopped once on the table,’ John was wishing he hadn’t asked. This didn’t sound like something he’d recover from quickly, and the thought that Woolsey would ship his sorry ass back to Earth circled his muddled thoughts like a ravenous vulture.
Yet something was off, and maybe it was due to the concussion and skull fracture and slightly swelled gray matter, but he suddenly realized what it was.
“Where’s Rodney?” If he’d been on the pier during the explosion, and wasn’t here yakking up a storm… “Ronon?”
“Ronon is fine,” Teyla answered swiftly, yet the silence that fell afterwards was damning.
“Carson…” John insisted, pushing aside the headache brewing in his skull.
“You absorbed the brunt of the blast and … Rodney was knocked into the ocean.” Carson’s voice reeked of despair and impossible hope. “Lorne and Ronon are still searching for him.”
John drew in a breath, realizing how tight his chest felt. That had to be from the pneumothorax he’d had, or the cracked ribs. Still… searching? “How long?”
“Five days,” replied Teyla.
There was no way in hell that Rodney could survive five days, let alone one day or even one hour, out on those turbulent seas.
“John, you need to calm down.” A hand pressed in a comforting gesture on his shoulder, while Teyla grasped one hand. The beeping of the medical monitors gave away the distress he was unable to vocalize and clamped down on him like a steel vise.
“Look what we caught!” Lorne’s voice echoed across the infirmary.
“Rodney!” exclaimed Teyla. “Thank the Ancestors.” Her shadow moved away quickly, toward a trio that was preceded by a strange squelching noise. At least his hearing wasn’t shot.
“I wouldn’t hug him if I were you,” came Ronon’s deep voice.
“Yes, please, no touching. My skin is probably melting off from this gruesome slug goo,” whined Rodney.
“Yeah, well, if that giant sea slug hadn’t sucked you up and taken you down into its lair, you’d be dead,” reminded Lorne.
“Yes, yes, good thing the slug had me stashed away for a midnight snack,” snarked back Rodney. “It took you people long enough to rescue me! Do you know I had to sit there in its lair surrounded by the bones of lord knows what for days? At least there was air to breathe.”
“McKay,” John said, shocked at how weak his voice sounded.
“Ohmygod, he’s awake!” Rodney’s voice echoed gratingly in the infirmary’s confines. “I mean he’s awake, right, Carson? Not that staring blankly into space stuff Ronon told me all about.”
“Still in one piece,” agreed John. “Um, right?”
“Yes, with the exception of multiple pints of blood you lost in the operating theater, you’re more or less in one piece,” agreed the doctor.
“Thank you!” Rodney suddenly hugged Carson, which drew a startled gasp from the man, as it was both uncharacteristic and probably pretty disgusting, if he was covered in goo. Yet a second later, John was trying to back his head through the pillow and mattress as Rodney rushed over to him, leaned down and with lips pursed, toward his own—
And abruptly Rodney was yanked back from view as if a bungee cord had snapped him back.
“What the hell?” uttered John, gasping for breath.
“This is gen, McKay,” Ronon said rather sternly. He released his grip from the back of McKay’s jacket and let him stand straight.
“It is?” replied Rodney, seemingly confused, but he quickly snapped out of it. “Well, excuse me, what with everything you and Lorne were saying on the trip back. Sheesh, am I rather glad it is as my lips are chapped enough as it is from all that salt water and I’ve run out of Chapstick!”
“What the hell is going on?” demanded John.
“It’s nothing,” said Carson, rather ineffectually.
“He will find out sooner or later,” remarked Teyla.
“I’d like my patient to be stronger before all this… before we discuss it.”
“Am I hallucinating?” wondered John out loud. That would make sense. None of this was real. He was captive in a Wraith hive ship and hallucinating all this crap. That would explain why his chief scientist was putting the moves on him and not Keller.
“Yes,” Rodney insisted, his voice a little too squeaky. Lying through his pearly whites.
“What. The. Hell. Is. Going. On.”
Ronon shrugged. “McKay thought it was slash.”
“I’m outta here,” Lorne suddenly remarked. “Getting too crowded.” And the man was gone in a flash.
“Slash would be you and me trapped in an elevator, having hot and torrid—OW!”
John heard the rather loud smack to the side of McKay’s head before he saw that it was Carson who had delivered the blow.
“I will not have you upsetting the colonel!”
“I already am upset,” growled John. Damn, his chest was really bothering him. Stress?
“That hurt!” Rodney rubbed at his head. “You’re supposed to heal patients, not make them! Quack!”
“Coming from someone who blew up five-sixths of a solar system, I’ll ignore that,” shot back Carson.
“One piddling mistake and you’re never going to let me forget that, are you?” Rodney sounded aggrieved.
“Nope,” Ronon said rather happily.
John heard a long-suffering sigh come from Teyla. He squeezed her hand weakly, but caught her attention. “What’s going on?”
He felt his heart catch in his throat. Alarm and hope and too many emotions to consider washed over him like a tsunami that left him battered and dazed as he gawked at the latest person to enter the insanity.
“Eliz…” he stuttered in shock.
Elizabeth Weir. The woman – who had suffered irreparable brain damage, who had been saved by nanite technology, then captured by replicators, who was dead – now stood next to his bed, offering a soft stroke to his cheek. “I am so glad to see you’re finally awake. You had me – all of us,” she added, diplomatically waving a had, “very worried.”
“But… you’re… dead,” he blurted.
“Carson, you said the chances of brain damage…” said Elizabeth, worry in her voice.
“He doesn’t know yet.” McKay sounded annoyed.
“He has been unconscious,” pointed out Teyla.
“Yes, well, I’ve been the prisoner of a giant sea slug and the resulting psychological trauma will haunt me for months, if not years, not to mention what that slime has done to my skin. What about ME?” Rodney insisted.
John closed his eyes, trying to will the headache to go away, the pain in his chest to vanish, and mostly, for his team not to be insane, or for him not to have brain damage.
He cracked his eyes open at Elizabeth’s calm voice. Still fuzzy, but he could make out who was who. No, he was drugged, that’s it. Kolya had him. No, wait, Kolya was dead.
“While you were unconscious, well… there’s no nice way to break this news.” Elizabeth uncharacteristically hesitated.
“A bunch of suits with no appreciation for the finer arts, pirated download ratings, or a loyal viewership, cancelled us!” McKay ranted indignantly.
“What the f…?” John trailed off.
“Aye, it’s true,” said Carson. “Believe me, I’ve been there, done that. Blown up just to ‘shake things up.’ Not at all pleasant, I can attest to that. I’m still very leery of barbecues and coolers.”
“Brain damage,” John muttered to himself.
“Oh, get over it,” Rodney squelched over – it was his soggy shoes making that awful sound – and stood next to the bed, dripping salt water and seaweed and slug goo, which sorta stunk. “We’re cancelled. Nada, no more seasons. But, and I swear -someone is putting the words in my mouth - this is not the end.”
“Drugged?” John pondered to himself. The headache went up a notch and his chest tightened a fraction.
“Well, yes, that will happen and has happened quite a bit, come to think of it,” Rodney shrugged, “but anyway, yes, I get all the expository dialogue as I’m so good at it as Conon would take a year and a day to explain it. I’ll give you the dummies version. The show’s dead, but we’re going to live on in fanfic, which is fiction written by fans. And well, they like to write in different genres, such as slash, ship, gen, whump, AU, which is alternate universe, which is sort of what this is because Woolsey never happened, or Carter, which sorta sucks as it was nice being able to oggle her on security cameras in the locker room. No wait, I never said that, and anyway, Elizabeth is still in charge.”
“I’m dead and in hell,” John decided. It was bound to happen sooner or later.
“Would that not be Supernatural fanfic?” Teyla spoke aloud. “Considering how the last season ended, you know, with the good-looking older brother having traded his soul for his young brother’s life?”
“Oh yes, we can do crossovers too,” added Elizabeth, doing her best to insert a positive vibe into the conversation, “so along with the SG-1 team, the universe is well, very open.”
Insane. He was insane. Maybe he should just go along. “Whump?” Wasn’t that the noise a flat tire made when you drove on it??
“It is also known as hurt/comfort, where the character the author likes the most suffers a series of unfortunate accidents, abductions, torture.” Teyla sounded a bit squicked on the last bit, not that he could blame her. “And then his teammates help him through it.”
“Yeah, that’s the comfort part,” said McKay. “Speaking of which, we have to wrap this up…”
John abruptly coughed. A sharp pain tore through his chest and he couldn’t stop a groan of agony from escaping his chapped lips. The metallic taste of blood assailed his taste. This was not good.
“Oh god, he’s leaking blood all over the place,” cried Rodney.
“Sorry, lad.” Carson and a team of nurses who appeared out of nowhere were suddenly moving the bed. “It’s back to surgery for you.”
If everything his friends had said was true, then… oh crap. He was stuck in a whump fic!