[identity profile] neevebrody.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] atlantisbasics

Recipient:  insight2
Title:  
Pas de Deux
Part 1: Entrée, Part 2: Adagio Part 3: Solo Dancer – Rodney, Part 4: Solo Dancer – John, Part 5: Coda
Author:  
neevebrody
Rating:
(PG-13, maybe R for language)
Category:  (Gen – Slash – Hurt/Comfort – Team – First Time)
Spoilers:  (Season 3 – Up to Sunday)
Betas:  [profile] thepouncer  [personal profile] lavvyan  [personal profile] nora_charles
Summary: Of course it wasn't every day that John had to run off to another planet to rescue his best friend - although in Pegasus, it was more likely.

My recipient asked for:  a) McKay is injured and captured on a mission, Team Sheppard works hard to get him back. First-time McKay/Sheppard; b) Sheppard flying a suicide mission. John/Atlantis. Sheppard-centric point of view; and c) Minor character point of view on McKay/Sheppard/Atlantis.

Entrée – The Beginning

 

Amid the buzz of pre-mission rituals, Rodney McKay stood out.  Geared up and ready to go, he waited in the jumper bay.  The vast room echoed the sounds of Major Lorne completing his final inspection of Jumper 2 prior to departure.  Lorne glanced at Rodney as he passed.

 

Rodney checked his watch and made unnecessary sighing noises before throwing Lorne an annoyed look.

 

"Dr. McKay, you're not scheduled to go on this mission."  It was the first time the Major had spoken to him.

 

"Yes, Major, I'm aware of that.  I'm, ah, going along to take energy readings."  McKay sounded very emphatic.  "Dr. Gill made mention of some unusual readings, I believe, in her report from the last mission.  Since you were going back there today, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity—" Lorne cut him off.

 

"But you're on Colonel Sheppard's team.  They aren't scheduled to go out today.  I'll have to check with him first."  Lorne eyed Rodney and reached for his earpiece.

 

"Ah!" Rodney interjected, holding up a finger for emphasis.  "That won't be necessary, Major.  In fact, it was Dr. Weir who approved my participation in this mission."

 

"She did?" Lorne sounded skeptical.  "Well, it wouldn't hurt to make sure Colonel--"

 

"You know, Major," McKay butt in, "this is the first day off Sheppard's had in quite a while.  He was just telling me-" Rodney turned and pointed toward the doorway, "- in fact, about how he was going to work out and then just take it easy.  Are you sure you want to bother him with this?"

 

Lorne contemplated the pros and cons of the situation. He tapped his earpiece.  "This is Major Lorne.  We're just about ready to leave for M7X-427.  McKay says Dr. Weir approved his going along – just checking before I add him to the roster."  Rodney rolled his eyes.

 

"This is Weir.  That's correct Major.  Rodney's going along to take energy readings.  Colonel Sheppard's on a scheduled day off – is there a problem?"

 

"No ma'am, no problem.  Lorne out."  Lorne regarded Rodney wryly.  "All right McKay, you're in – but we're keeping to Dr. Gill's schedule and a Marine will be assigned to you.  I don't want any trouble," Lorne said turning to wrap up his inspection.

 

"Yes, yes, Major," Rodney said.  "I don't understand what all the fuss is about.  It's just a routine science mission after all."

 

***********************

 

The room is large - open all the way to the loft above.  The patina of the hand-hewn cypress walls casts a golden glow all around him.  Lying on an oversized leather sofa, he pulls a cashmere throw across his naked hip.  Opposite him is a huge stone fireplace that follows the cypress to the ceiling.  Warmth from the fire dances over his bare skin.  The flames, reflected in the dark pine floors, change color as they leap and hop up the flue, reducing the fragrant red oak to incandescent embers.  An indistinct figure kneels before the fire, one he can’t identify or place, yet the familiarity teases him.  It’s as if he’s seeing through a Vaseline covered lens – the figure is only outlines, whispers, shadows.  Everything else is distinct, sharp, crisp.  The enigma seems to be just on the tip of his tongue, just at the end of his fingertips.  The figure moves toward him.  It reaches out and rests a hand on his exposed thigh.  The sensation it leaves is warm and arousing.

 

Popping and crackling fill his ears – the sound of the flames roaring up the flue.  No, it's-- words?  Voices?  Echoes?  Whose voice?  Someone calling his name?  Where is it coming from?  It sounds like--

 

John Sheppard’s eyes snapped open, his heart pounded against his chest.  Squinting through one eye, he looked around.  The skateboard in the corner, his golf bag and his desk all reassured him that he was in his own room, in his own bed.  Light filtered into the room at an angle.  It was afternoon.  He let his head fall back against the mattress.

 

The dream again.  The same dream that began almost six months ago, and recurred regularly.  The dream that revealed more and more each time, except for the figure he could never recognize.  The dream gave him the same sensation each time he woke – a feeling he couldn’t shake off right away.  Floating.  Drug-like.  Sated.  Like afterglow from sex.  And, no matter whether it came in the middle of the night, the early morning, or after a nap, the same dream always left him with an erection.  Not that waking with an erection was really so unusual for him, but it was unusual to know that it was because of a dream.

 

John blinked.  He turned his head back and forth to catch the sound, then it dawned on him.  His earpiece clamored next to him on the bed.  Scrambling to sit up and fit his earpiece in place when his head felt like wet cement was a tough go, but he managed it. 

 

“Yeah, Sheppard here.” he croaked.

 

An announcement over the city's internal speakers interrupted the response – Colonel John Sheppard, please report to the Control Room immediately.

 

“John, it’s Elizabeth, I need you in the main conference room right away.”

 

The speakers blared again.  John’s feet hit the floor.

 

“What’s going on, are we being attacked?” he asked Elizabeth over the radio.

 

“John, it’s Rodney,” Elizabeth said.  John scrubbed his hand over his face.  He was dimly aware that he hadn’t shaved that morning and wondered whether he had time.

 

“Yeah -- and?” John asked as he hopped across the room trying to pull on a boot and fasten his thigh holster at the same time.

 

“Just meet me in the conference room, Weir out.”  The radio went silent.

 

Sheppard stood stock still – one boot was still in his hand and his thigh holster dangled from one strap.  He quickly pulled himself together and sprinted to the nearest transporter.

 

 

*******************

 

 

Dr. Weir was seated at her usual place when John swept through the conference room doors.  John had always hated the conference table.  He gave the Ancients no points for aesthetic design.  Where was the function?  Now, if during a heated argument or a tough round of negotiations, you could actually fire mortars at each other, or even lob rotten fruit through the gun-like turret extensions; that would be functional furniture.

 

John looked around, Major Lorne was seated to Dr. Weir's left – looking at his hands.  Teyla and Ronon sat next to Lorne.  McKay wasn't there in his usual spot – that seemed wrong somehow. 

 

Elizabeth?”  John’s eyebrows knit over the bridge of his nose and he licked his lips before continuing, “Where’s McKay?”

 

Elizabeth didn't answer him right away.  As she cast her eyes down, a sudden flash of adrenaline stung John’s belly.

 

“John, Rodney is -- missing,” Elizabeth said dryly, looking up.  She clasped her hands together on the table top.  The words were short, sharp and to the point.

 

John cocked his head and narrowed his eyes, “What do you mean – missing?

 

“Can’t you locate him on the city’s internal sensors?  I mean how do you--" John turned sharply to Lorne, who, he suddenly realized, was supposed to be offworld.  John had a bad feeling. 

 

"Major.  You already back from uhhh-?" John waved his hand back and forth trying to recall the planet designation.

 

"Sir, I came back to—"

 

Catching on, John interrupted him.  "Your team was the only one scheduled to go offworld today, and McKay was not supposed to be part of that mission.  Don't tell me you took him along?"  Lorne winced. 

 

“John, please sit down,” Elizabeth said in her best diplomatic voice.  "I approved the addition of Rodney to Major Lorne's mission."

 

“What?" John asked.  He couldn't have heard correctly. 

 

"I take full responsibility, but a situation has occurred and if you'd let Major Lorne explain—"

 

John took up a position behind one of the chairs, but he refused to sit.

 

"By all means, Major," John said, "please explain."

 

Lorne's heavy sigh filled the room.  “Sir, as you know, this was a routine science mission.  Drs. Brannon and Gill to M7X-427, to gather botanicals.  You might remember, Dr. Gill's initial report said she detected faint energy traces.  They were going back today to gather plants for research and Dr. McKay said he was going along to check out the readings.”

 

"But he wasn't scheduled to be a part of that mission," John said, certain. "That was not approved by me."

 

Lorne looked down at the table top.

 

"John, Rodney discussed the situation with me," Elizabeth said.  "He said he needed to take energy readings and since Major Lorne was going back to the planet, I didn't see a problem."

 

John wanted to pinch the bridge of his nose to relieve the headache that was forming above his eyes.  "And you didn't think to check with me?"

 

Elizabeth opened her mouth to speak, then closed it.  After a moment, she began again. 

 

"I believe I'm capable of making an executive decision, Colonel Sheppard.  You had a scheduled day off, and Rodney is the head of the science department after all.  And," she added, "he said you had approved it."

 

John's face was implacable.  "Please continue, Major."   

 

“Well, we got to the planet, everything went well, then we're all set to leave and Dr. McKay says he’s got to check one more thing.  I sent Corporal Lohman with him. They weren't supposed to go far.”

 

"And then?" John asked.

 

“They were maybe thirty feet from me, behind some trees.  The growth there is pretty dense."  Lorne's eyes unfocused, like he was seeing it all again.  "I could hear him muttering, something.  I had to assist Dr. Brannon, because his pack became unbalanced.  Then I realized I hadn't heard anything for a while.  Stockton and I went to look, and found Lohman unconscious.  There was no sign of McKay, but no real signs of a struggle - we couldn't tell if it was an attack.  We fell back to the jumper and I came back to get help.”

 

"You didn't search further?"  John asked, his voice dangerously calm.  His knuckles whitened on the back of the chair in front of him.  He noticed Elizabeth nervously wringing her hands.

 

“Sir, I left two other Marines to search and Stockton in charge.  I thought it was best to get the others back, inform you and request backup.”

 

“Then let’s go,” John said nodding to Teyla and Ronon.  "Gear up.  I'll be there in five.  Lorne, get another team of Marines."

 

Teyla and Ronon left the conference room behind Lorne.  John's hands bit harder into the chair.  Elizabeth regarded John warily as he stood there breathing. 

 

"How's Lohman?" John finally asked.

 

"Carson's evaluating his condition.  No word yet."  Elizabeth glanced over at the control room. 

 

"Right."  John nodded.  He didn't know what else to say.  He thought Elizabeth might apologize, but decided she was right.  She made the best decision she could with the information she had.

 

"You'll find him, John," Elizabeth said.

 

"Sure.  We'll report back as soon as we know more."  He strode through the doors.

 

*****************

 

The walk to the jumper bay seemed to take forever.  On his way, John couldn't stop the conversation from earlier that morning replaying in his head.

 

“Look, didn’t you get my email about Dr. Gill’s report?” Rodney asked as he followed John out of the Mess.

 

“Yes, I saw your email, Rodney, but I only allow myself a certain amount of time every day for that sort of thing and I didn’t want to use it all up on just one.”

 

“Hmm, yes, very amusing.  It’s anomalous energy readings, Colonel, you know, one of the things we’re supposed to be investigating.  It won’t take long I promise – just get in, check out the readings and see if there’s anything to them.”  Rodney looked plaintive.

 

“I read Gill’s report, Rodney.  I just don’t feel it’s worth checking out.  And, by the way, I believe the word she used was nominal, not anomalous.  It’s nothing.  Let it go.”  They were headed toward the gym.

 

“Besides,” John said, “I don’t know about you, but in the past few months, I’ve had to contend with Lucius, try to teach you to meditate yourself into ascension -- which was not a pleasant experience by the way -- try to save two rival villages -- who would have been fine except for us -- from destroying each other, not to mention almost buying the farm in that worn out space shuttle on another mission, I might add, that you insisted on and that was ultimately useless.”

 

“What do you mean?  You were able to save an entire race of people.  Because of you, they were allowed to start their lives over on their own planet instead of being trapped as random energy signatures for eternity.”  John noted Rodney's insincere tone.  He might have been trying to sell John real estate on Taranis.  John wasn't buying it and he gave Rodney a pointed look.

 

“My point exactly,” John said, “not part of our mission - not what we set out to do – and we almost lost Teyla in the process.  Have you forgotten that?  Plus, we've been on a rash of missions in the last two weeks alone."

 

John could see Rodney was crestfallen, but damn it, he really wanted this day off.  "Look, McKay, I’ve finally got a day off.  I’m beat.  I need a little time to recharge.”

 

They arrived at the gym.  Ronon was already inside practicing moves.

 

“Hey, why don’t you come and work out for a while with me and Ronon?”  John's eyebrows inched upward.  “It’d be good for you.”

 

“No, no I’ve got plenty of work to keep me busy, thank you.”  The corners of Rodney’s mouth drooped.  He turned to leave and then looked back, “I just thought--"

 

"No Rodney, that's final.  Later," John said and entered the gym.

 

As if John needed anything else on his mind, guilt began to burrow itself into his gut.   John still didn't think the mission had been important enough to change their regular rotation.  He'd stand by that.  But, why hadn't Elizabeth checked with him?  Rodney was a member of his team, and what concerned his team concerned John – day off or no day off.  And Lorne?  Why hadn't he followed Rodney instead of sending Lohman?  John pinched the bridge of his nose again and tried to convince himself that he wouldn’t have done the same thing.

 

To make matters worse, John suddenly remembered the last mission they'd been on to check out anomalous energy readings – M1B-129 – the Wraith mind control experiment.  His heart beat a little faster.  Was something like that happening again?  Was Rodney in some way responsible for what happened to Lohman? 

*********************

 

 

 ETA:  Sorry to post in 5 separate posts, but LJ kept giving me a message my post was too large. 

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