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27 August 2007 @ 04:38 pm
"The Strongest Link" (1/1)  
Title: “The Strongest Link” (1/1)
Author: Kristen999
Character(s): Rodney and John -Friendship
Genre(s): Stargate Atlantis: H/C -Drama
Rating: T
Words: 9,500
Summary: On the run with a sick Sheppard, Rodney tries to keep them both alive after being imprisoned.

Written for a fic exchange with kriadydragon who wanted a protective Rodney and wounded and/or sick John.

I want to thank vicxntric for the fast, wonderful beta!




Running through the forest is a sad, sorry routine by now. Thick foliage tries to snare their feet, low hanging limbs attempt to behead them. Rodney can hear the buzzing of insect wings by his ears while the thick humidity has each of them gasping for breath. Sheppard's arm sticks to Rodney's sweaty neck as he tugs on the colonel's belt loop to keep him from listing forward.

All this tripping and bumbling wrecks havoc on his knees, the law of gravity pulling Sheppard's dead weight down.

"Just a little while longer....I....I don't think anyone's behind us," Rodney huffs.

"Can't.....can't...." Sheppard wheezes.

Rodney clutches the colonel's wristband since the rest of his arm is slick with sweat. "Stop it! If I can haul you around this godforsaken jungle...then you can lean on me for the ride."

Sheppard responds to that threat by tripping and falling flat on his face, bringing him down as well.

Rodney wants to just lay there, forgetting about the hike, the possible pursuers and the likelihood that this is where they're going to die. He wipes his brow using a dank shirtsleeve and begins manhandling the pilot back up by yanking him under his armpits.

"No napping," he grouches.

There's a fallen tree just a few feet away, it's not much, but it'll provide cover. Rodney drapes the colonel's arm back over his shoulders, wraps the other one around his waist and drags the pilot towards the shade.

Both exhausted men drop to the ground, Rodney props Sheppard along the thick part of the trunk and closes his eyes. Thirty seconds go by, long enough to re-energize, he tells himself.

"Okay....I..um...think everyone scattered. We can relax for a few then begin looking for the 'gate."

"We have no idea where we're at."

"No time for negativity, colonel. I can figure out how to---"

"Get our coordinates out of thin air?"

Sheppard's pale, sweating buckets and the only thing keeping him up is the support behind his back. Yet, he's the voice of gloom and doom while Rodney's the one grasping at impossible odds.

"When it gets dark maybe we can use the stars and some of that survival military training of yours."

The colonel leans his head back contemplating the sun's place in the sky. "Remember that really bright star....the one that looked like it was closer?"

"Yeah," Rodney swallows past a large lump.

"Follow that one in a few hours.....maybe..seven...ten clicks...should get you close enough."

"We will....as soon as---"

"Just leave me.....I'm..."

Sheppard grimaces as another spasm wracks his body and he tries to steel his expression. Rodney grabs his wrist, careful of the crude bandages around the mangled hands. "I'm not leaving you. Stop talking like that."

The colonel shakes his head, his voice stronger. "The only way either of us survives is if I don't slow you down. You're a man of facts, McKay. Just face them."

"Facts, Colonel?" Rodney's cheeks burn red. "Maybe you've lost your ability to make reasonable assessments."

"It's the--"

".....Dumbest idea. Let's rest while we can, then--"

"I can't--"

"Enough! There is no can not in your vocabulary. We both escaped and we're both getting home."

"I'm just being reasonable," Sheppard says in a low voice, pain doubling the lines in his face.

"Now I know you've lost it. Last I checked you don't have a blow torch on you or did you forget the fact that we're chained together?" Rodney asks, jerking the length of metal bracelets linking their ankles.

--------------------------


The indoctrination was short and to the point. Obey the guards, work the mines and keep your mouth shut because talking out of line was not tolerated. Rodney's jaw was sore from the first fist to the face, his upper lip throbbed from the second. Sheppard got the butt end of a rifle to the gut for his protests and then both of them were corralled with the other newbies to the front.

The Kalphaerainians or the "Cat People" gaped at their hairless bodies and whispered about the strangers who caused the forbidden technology to come to life. They stood in front of the warden guy, a squat overweight man whose mangy beard blended in with the dark hair on his head. Part of his pointy left ear was missing and he was smoking what looked like an earth cigar.

"You work hard, you get water and food. If you don't," he paused dramatically, his lip curling. "We don't deal with slow prisoners."

Sheppard's mouth twitched, wanting to respond, but he kept quiet to avoid any further punishment. The warden gave them both a crooked smile before turning to face Rodney. "Your pal looks like his back won't break for some time but you..." The fat-bellied bastard stabbed a finger at Rodney's middle. "Guess the guards will have fun wagerin' how long you'll last."

Rodney wanted to blurt out that brilliant scientists didn't do manual labor, but the colonel elbowed him before he managed a word.

The warden snapped his fingers and one of the guards came over, dragging a heavy chain and locking one end to each of their ankles. Chat time was over as a gun toting guard lead them towards a gathering of other prisoners in front of a mine shaft.

"Hey, slow down!" Rodney hissed as the colonel's longer strides pulled at his leg.

Apparently talking was allowed now, since he wasn't treated to another pop to the face, but his words earned a glare from the colonel.

"Stop attracting attention," Sheppard growled in a low voice.

Rodney nearly tripped when instinct drove him to pace, the metal chain yanking him back like a leash.

"McKay!" The colonel said between gritted teeth.

The cat people stared in earnest, the murmuring among them grew louder as it became more apparent they were the outcasts of the camp.

"You um..got a plan?" Rodney asked in a hushed voice.

The colonel feigned massaging his ankle, Rodney joined him in a crouch as Sheppard tested out the strength of the shackles. "I've counted forty prisoners, each paired up like us. There's a dozen guards with rifles and hand guns. Only three are on perimeter duty, the rest are watching all of us."

Rodney's eyes widened. "Oh....wow, didn't notice. So that means..?"

They both rose to their feet to keep suspicion to a minimum, which was a challenge since they were not exactly blending in with the crowd.

"It means give me time to study patterns and I'll get back to you."

"What? That's your plan!?"

A giant bell sounded and the prisoners began walking towards the entrance of the mine, the guards using the barrels of their weapons in some of their backs to shove them along.

"It's evening, since when do people work at night?"

"Gets hot during the day, McKay.....maybe they're nocturnal," Sheppard suggested as they neared the work detail.

It was awkward to walk. They keep stepping out of sync, jerking each other back and forth,clanking the metal albatross in the process.

"Left foot, then right."

"Sorry if I'm not used to marching," Rodney grumbled.

Sheppard tensed up when a few of the other prisoners lined up behind them, the formation slowed down as each person was handed a tool.

"They smell like rotten plasque."

"They look like newborns."

"I doubt the pudgy one will last the night."

"I have dibs on his clothes."

Sheppard hung back a step, every muscle poised to react to any sign of trouble.

"I don't want 'em slowin' the work load, we'll get punished for that."

The “queue” snaked closer to the mouth of the shaft, pitch blackness swallowed up each worker as they descended into the depths.

One of the guards snarled at them with stained and chipped incisors. "Always keep your pick on you at all times. You lose it....we take it out of your hide."

Rodney felt the sweat gather at his hair line, the cave was cooler, so that wasn't what was making him perspire. It took a few seconds for his eyesight to acclimate to the change in lighting. As they stumbled inside, one of the voices from earlier whispered in both their ears.

"The best off-worlders are dead ones."

Rodney felt Sheppard grip his elbow and steer them toward the opposite part of the mine where they mimicked the other workers and began chipping away at the stonewall in front of them. The roof above was low, making the colonel stoop over to avoid hitting his head, the air around them was filled with dust, stinging their eyes and scratching their lungs.

There were lanterns hung overhead, providing very little illumination and none of the forced laborers were given any type of flashlight to use, helping to control where they worked. Rodney swung at the slate, the wood vibrating between his palms. Sparks flew from the impact but none of the rock crumbled.

Sheppard swung with more vigor, cracking the stone and gave him an encouraging look. Rodney gripped his tool harder, aware of the many eyes on them. He took out all of his fear on the wall, hoping they wouldn't be killed by their fellow slaves.

----------------

Rodney longs for the cooler air of nighttime, but the Kalphaerainians don't do well in the heat, choosing daybreak to sleep. It's the only way they'll stay ahead, but the risks are deadlier with the high temperature and their meager supplies. Sheppard' s getting weaker by the minute, the blazing sun zapping what little energy he has left. The colonel wasn't feeling the whole staying vertical thing and lays on his side, his hands curled in front of him.

Rodney moves closer in a desire to inspect the wounds under the strips of cloth he used for bandages.

"Please, don't." Sheppard's voice cracks.

Tending to the ill is hard enough, but knowing that there's little he can do for his friend is pure hell. "I need to take a look," he says in a gentle voice.

The colonel allows him to peel away the cotton fabric and examine tiny cuts on shredded flesh. The wounds still bleed a little from being re-opened during movement and the red tinged skin is oozing a milky liquid from an infection.

"I need to rinse them out some more," Rodney explains with sympathy.

"Don't waste the water."

Rodney tries not to roll his eyes. "We've got enough."

It's a lie, he only has half a canteen, but rationing it will make him appreciate the bottled stuff back on Atlantis. He unscrews the cap, studious about the amount, and pours some of liquid over each of the colonel's hands, trying to get rid any grit or dirt that could have gotten inside. Sheppard hisses and groans, his hands shaking from the stinging contact.

"I'm sorry, but I need to try to keep it as clean as possible," Rodney apologizes.

The damage's been done already, no doubt about it, but that doesn't mean that he's going to stand by and let the wounds fester and worsen by the hour. Knowing he's causing additional pain, Rodney's hands are not that steady but he finishes and sets the canteen down.

"I'm going to run out of shirt soon," he jokes, trying to find a section that's not too filthy and finally tearing off a strip.

As he wraps the cloth around the tender areas, Rodney's struck at how at trusting the colonel is about this allowing him to bind the wounds even if it's going to cause agony. Rodney wishes he could just give the man morphine and make it all go away, but that's a pipe dream and all the pilot has to depend on is him.

He sits back on his haunches, picking up the canteen to sip at the tepid water, easing his dry throat, then holds he out to the colonel. "Here, you need some of this."

Sheppard doesn't budge, causing Rodney to inch closer. "Open up," he instructs, his words lacking their normal snap.

"Don't want any...only makes things worse."

"Don't make me treat you like a baby, you need to keep hydrated."

He can see the man gear up for an argument and he heads it off at the pass. "Basic rules of survival, colonel. Even I know them, so drink up or I'm going to dribble it on your lips which will waste half of it."

He can play dirty pool if need be.

Sheppard gives him a glare and tries to prop himself up but instead of letting him waste such energy, Rodney braces the pilot's neck and pushes the canteen up to his lips so he can drink.

After a few moments he pulls it away while the pilot slumps back down. "Thank you."

It'll get dark soon, they need to keep moving.

He doesn't know how he can make Sheppard get up and trudge through the jungle when moving only exacerbrates the problem, adds to the mounting pain and increases circulation of the impurities.

Rodney thinks of Knuckles and his merry gang and knows that a way home is in one direction and death the other.

There's only once choice.

-----------------

Every inch of his body ached, his arms were so fatigued it was difficult to lift them and every step pulled on strained muscles. Rodney's shoulders cramped so badly it made his spine hurt, but he stepped forward after one full night of breaking rock apart so someone with a cart could haul it all away.

Sheppard was hurting from the physical exertion too, but he concealed it well, never letting anyone around them notice his gingerly movements. The colonel picked up on some of his slack, digging more ore to make up for the volume Rodney couldn't produce. It bugged the hell out of him, but the pilot muttered something about putting scientists on better exercise regiments when they got back.

Sheppard never complained about the extra work.

"Who knows what crap we're breathing in, we're probably getting black lung in there," he complained.

"All I know is the stuff's hard to break....very hard. Probably building materials for some of those structures in town."

The line moved at a snail's pace for water, each pair given a bowl to drink from. Both men were grimy, sore and thirsty.

When they approached the table, the guard handing out the wooden bowl glowered at them.
"You better be glad that your load is tallied as a unit, or you'd be out of luck," the Kalphaerainian grumbled handing them brown-tinged liquid.

Rodney's mouth salivated, but he stared at the gunky wetness with trepidation over the healthiness of it. As he followed Sheppard towards a spot that was away from the other prisoners the chain bonding them together grew heavier with each step.

Two other prisoners walked passed them and one of them jammed his shoulder into Rodney's side causing him to spill his cup.

"Hey!" he shouted as both cat people blocked their path.

Sheppard handed him his bowl of water. "Hold this without spilling it."

The first prisoner had a head of thick orange hair that was very mane-like, but his face and cheeks were covered by lighter peach fuzz. Each Kalphaerainian sported whiskers and feline-eyes, but the rest of their bodies were muscular and very humanoid. They had no tails and the cat person on the right didn't even sport any claws. His hands were large, though, like they had been broken before and healed improperly.

Lion Guy was stocky and shorter than both 'Lantians, but that didn't stop him from getting in the colonel's face. "We don't like you."

Sheppard grinned. "But you haven't even gotten to know us."

"Colonel," Rodney growled.

The prisoner with the overly-large hands cracked his knuckles methodically. "Kurnal. Is that your rank, off-worlder?"

"It's Lieutenant Colonel, if we're being official about things," Sheppard replied cockily.

The prisoner stood out from the rest of his furry pals, his hair was buzz cut, making his ears look far too big for his head. He popped the other joints of his hand, the snapping echoing in the air. "We want half your water."

Sheppard cocked an eyebrow. "Sorry, can't do that, but considering you knocked over my friend's cup. I think you owe us some."

Lion Guy and Knuckles both snickered and Rodney knew where this was heading. Sheppard stood in nonchalance while both cat people's posture signaled a fight. The guards seemed like they could care less and the other prisoners did the school yard thing, forming a loose circle around the four of them.

Rodney knew how to fire a gun, but hand to hand was not his forte and he risked a glance at the pilot, hoping to glean some secret signal. Sheppard was totally focused on the trouble makers, his body poised to react at any given movement.

They didn't have to wait long.

It seemed Rodney wasn't seen as a threat as both Kalphaerainians tried to rush the colonel at once. Sheppard was fully prepared and punched Knuckles on the bridge of his nose just as he jabbed the Lion Guy square in the jaw with his left elbow.

Knuckles swung wildly at the colonel, who ducked, landing two swift blows to the cat guy's belly, followed by some open-palm chop right in the eyes.

Lion Guy shook off the blow to his mouth and tried to slug the colonel. Rodney wasn't going to just stand around, but before he could react, Sheppard grabbed Lion Guy's fist, twisted it back and socked the prisoner upside the head, knocking him down.

Rodney wondered in shock if Sheppard had brained the guy to death just as Knuckles grabbed Sheppard by the shoulder. The pilot did some defensive move, twisting the cat-man's arm around, immobilizing him in an arm lock and kneed him right in the groin.

Knuckles and Lion Guy were down for the count to the bewildered crowd of onlookers. Rodney gaped openly before the colonel grabbed his bicep and urged him towards a clearing.

The rest of the prisoners parted like the red sea.

"Sit down," Sheppard ordered him.

"What the hell was that about, Colonel?"

"Water?" Sheppard responded, his hand doing the 'gimme' gesture.

The colonel took a swig and handed it back. "First rule in prisons. Beat the snot outta of the bullies or become every else's whipping boy."

Rodney didn't even complain about the bitter taste, still amazed by solider Sheppard. It was easy to forget that behind the laid-back attitude was a trained military officer.

"You watch too much OZ."

Sheppard quirked an eyebrow, wiping at the sweat along his brow. "We got company."

One of the prisoners came over to stand in front of them. There was something different about this Kalphaerainian, for one he wasn't chained to a partner, and his hair was better trimmed, the gray tufts groomed to one side, a patch covered his right eye.

"You're the ones who were arrested for activating the forbidden tech."

Sheppard looked at Rodney. "Yeah, by accident I assure you."

"Your friends won't be able to locate your whereabouts, you know."

"Why's that?" Rodney asked.

The cat-person shrugged. "It's the ore we cultivate, something about its properties interferes with all machines. Even your ships."

Rodney tried not to show the panic he felt. "Interesting."

"Who are you?" Sheppard asked, getting to the point.

"I'm Mallick."

"Why don't you have a chain buddy?" The colonel inquired.

"I fix things that break. They keep me around for that. I'm not much use in the mines."
Mallick noticed one of the guards off in the distance. "I must not linger with you two for very long."

"You know I'm really good at fi--"

A whack to his shoulder cut off the rest of Rodney's reply as he rubbed at the spot. "Ouch, I'm sore you know."

Mallick stroked the fur of his chin. "If you two live long enough we might be able to help each other."

Before Rodney could ask how, the prisoner wandered away.

"This city has a big standing army, it'll be tough for our guys to grab us."

"We already know our transmitters don't work, but...I mean...we're not that far from the 'gate are we?" Rodney asked hesitantly.

Shepard patted his arm. "We'll find a way......we just need more time."

-------------------


They have to go, but not without eating first. There's a patch of leaves growing near them with yellow pods with white speckles. Rodney thinks this is the same encased fruit Sheppard used to help supplement their poorly supplied meals. He reaches for the nearest stem, stretching his body as far it will go before the chain won't go any further. His ankle pops when he pushes beyond his means, fingers brushing over the possible nourishment. God he wants to scream, the food just our of his reach, but Sheppard is an anchor, dragging him back to the ground.

He tries one more time, lunging until he rips away the plant and inspects it. The fruit appears the same as the stuff they ate earlier and he paws at it, stripping away the outer casing and makes a stack of little morsels.

"You ready for lunch?" he asks.

Sheppard answers by trying to curl up into a ball, his injured hands holding his abdomen.

"Hey, hey....um...just ride it out."

Rodney rubs the colonel's upper arm, avoiding the man's sensitive flank. "The spasm will ease, just like the other times."

He can feel the pilot's clammy skin despite the sweltering heat and waits for the pain to stop, offering a squeeze to the shoulder, or a simple touch here and there to give his friend the warmth of human contact.

It seems like forever before the attack diminishes and the colonel relaxes. Rodney finishes nibbling on some of the freshly picked snack. Sheppard doesn't have the strength to move so he eases him into a sitting position, letting the pilot lean along his side.

He doesn't say a word as he holds the pieces of food up to the the ill man's mouth to eat. Rodney talks about his projects, his sister, keeping up a quiet, senseless one-sided conversation so neither of them have to dwell on the situation.

When Sheppard has had his fill, he carefully lowers the sick man back down to the ground so he can rest.

"I've always got a plan, don't worry. I'm going to get us home," Rodney makes an empty promise, scooting closer and resting his hand on the colonel's shoulder.

---------------------------


It's been three days and they've been threatened on each of them by Knuckle's thug friends. Its been verbal so far and Sheppard has kept them away from any possible conflict. They don't speak to anyone and no one else has given them the time of day. The guards could be little too rough, but nothing drastic.

Rodney's dizzy spells happened often, his concentration drifting away in the claustrophobic tunnel. One time he couldn't figure out what was up or down and almost busted his own foot when his aim went barreling toward his boot. The colonel made him sit to rest once every hour, increasing his efforts at smashing big rocks into littler ones.

Production never slowed down, they harvested the required amount of minerals at the end of every long shift. They whispered of escape plans and tactics, knowing the longer they waited, the harder it would be to accomplish their goal. Rodney lay flat on his back in the barracks on the floor, his muscles frayed, his head aching from too much work and not enough food.

Sheppard sat next to him on the hard floor, the other prisoners slept on beds, but newbies had to earn the right to use a raggedy mattress stuffed with leaves and anything other soft material.

"Eat," the colonel ordered.

"I'm not taking your half."

"You need it more than me.....my blood sugar is fine."

"Oh, now you believe that I have issues with it."

"Just take it, McKay that's an order."

Rodney didn't bother correcting him on that, he wasn't military but he accepted the day old bread and gobbled it up, his stomach rumbling for more.

----------------

It takes a guilt trip to get Sheppard back on his feet again. Rodney reminds him they are stuck together courtesy of the chain and lazing around the jungle floor all day won't get them back towards the 'gate. They don't discuss things like the accuracy of the direction they're taking or how far away their destination is. The trip to the mine after their trial had been a short truck ride, but right now it might as well be on the other side of the world.

Rodney tries not to hurt Sheppard's back since its so sensitive to pain, but he has no other way to encourage friend onward while keeping his arm wrapped around the belt line.

“Just keep walking, you've been doing it since you were two,” Rodney urges.

Sheppard leans heavily on him, doubling over from whenever a spasm rips through his flanks and sometimes it's his belly that demands attention. Each time Rodney holds him up because they can't stop moving--the light from overhead is dying as the suns races across the horizon.

The wind picks up and it feels like heaven on his face, the cool air refreshing. The shift in air currents should have a been a tip to what lay in store. No sooner did the temperature begin to drop, providing relief, then all the moisture from the day comes crashing down in sheets of hard hitting rain.

“You got to be kidding me!” Rodney yells.

Vines, sloshing soil, debris from the treetops all make visibility an issue. This planet does everything to an extreme and the storms rages, soaking their clothes and creating rushing waters at their feet.

“Damn it! We've got to find cover,” Rodney screams.

Sheppard must have radar for such things, because despite the raging gullies and pounding rain he points to something off to the side. “Is...that..a cave?”

Rodney squints through the water cascading over his face. “I think you're right. How did you see that?”

There's no answer and they trek carefully towards the shelter, both of them a pair of drowned rats by the time they get out of the deluge. Rodney eases the colonel down, realizing they're in a long-abandoned mine shaft.

“Great. More scary, dark caverns,” he mutters.

Rodney wrings out his shirt, glad its not too chilly because there's nowhere to dry their clothes. The rain hammers on the roof of their dwelling and he watches little waterfalls pour down by the entrance. He squeezes more water from his battered uniform and sits next to Sheppard who is huddles along the wall.

“How are you feeling?”

“Like...death.”

The colonel can't do anything about his poor hands and hugs himself tightly to keep from shivering in his wet T-shirt and BDUs. Rodney's isn't that cold, but he's also not sick.

He contemplates his next course of action, knowing that there's no going anywhere for a while. A feeling of embarrassment washes over him as he stop-starts his idea before taking a deep breath and fumbling a little before pulling the colonel towards his chest.

“What are...are you doing?”

“Keeping you warm.”

“I don't...cuddle on the...first date.”

“Shut up.”

Sheppard's body is rigid despite the tremors, but as the minutes pass he relaxes, his head lolling on the tip of Rodney's collar bone. Initially the contact makes him break out in goosebumps, but soon the heat mingles and the laws of convection win out. The heavy of patter of the storm grows into a blanket of white noise and both of them fall asleep.

------------------------------


They had cut down their rations because of a backlog. Sheppard and Rodney's goal of ore had been under what was expected along with few more teams, but the only people the rest of the prisoners blamed was them.  His belly rumbled and his hands had callouses on top of callouses.

“Will you please, move further?” Rodney complained.

“Can't move any more than I am, McKay,” Sheppard grumbled.

Pissing in the grass was annoying and Rodney zipped back up, sick and tired of being within spitting distance of the pilot. They had no privacy and even though most of the time he was glad for the company and overall protection, a guy had to have his space. Of course prison life didn't share his views so he bitched and moaned until Sheppard snapped at him a few times, the colonel's own nerves rubbed raw.

Later on in the barracks, they stayed in the corner nearest an exit, enjoying a few moments of freedom before it was time to sleep.

“I'll take first watch.”

“Are you sure?” Rodney asked trying to stifle a yawn.

“Yeah.”

During the first night of their incarceration, it had been decided that one of them would stay awake in shifts since there was a good chance that one of the prisoners would try to kill them. Rodney rested his head on the crook of his arm to sleep the first three hours when the sound of foot steps near by made him open his eyes.

“I'm not here to harm you.”

Sheppard tensed and Rodney sat up next to the pilot as Mallick emerged from the shadows.

“What do you want?” The colonel asked.

“Can you make this work?”

Mallick held onto one of the life sign's detectors.

“How the hell did you get that?” Rodney demanded.

It was hard discerning the cat man's expression between the darkness and soft fur. “As I told you before, I tinker with stuff. When you were captured, some of your things were brought with you as part of the confiscation. As you know, the legal system here isn't very legitimate. Things get lost in storage and the warden wanted to see if I could use it and find its value.”

“Yeah, we can make it work,” Sheppard replied, still keeping a vigilant eye out.

Mallick handed him the device and the detector lit up, but failed to do anything else due to close proximity to the mine.“What does it do?”

“A lot of cool stuff,” Sheppard replied. “Why don't you let us keep it and--”

“Maybe later,” Mallick said, snatching it away.

“That item belongs to us...we're the only ones that can operate it,” Rodney blabbed.

“I thought as much.....and I have an idea of what it can do outside the influence of the ore.”

“I doubt it.”

Mallick glared at Rodney. “Something's going to happen soon.....something that might interest you.”

That got the colonel's full attention. “What?”

Despite all the bad luck of the past few days, the scales tipped in their favor.

“There's an escape planned, a few of the others have been working on it for many cycles.”
Sheppard shifted. “What's it entail and why are you telling us?”

“Because you two are the key to me getting off this planet. You have technology that can lead us back to the ring, right? This device will help with some of the other items.”

“If you give it to us, yes.” Sheppard replied.

“Later....when the time comes,” Mallick whispered before leaving them.

Rodney turned towards the colonel. “Now we're teaming up with the local handyman?”

“Get some sleep. We're going to need to stay even more alert from now on.”

The protests were on the tip of his tongue, but he was battered and bruised and just too beaten to waste the energy. Rodney curled up on his side and tried to sleep in a room filled with criminals, all of whom hated them.


-----------------------------------------


Something tingles at the cusp of his awareness--a sound, an odd sense. Whatever it is, it makes Rodney bolt awake.  Sheppard is still dozing quietly and he notices that both their clothes are relatively dry now. He shakes off his lethargy, wiping at his eyes and noticing in a panic that it's nightfall.

“Oh God,” he mutters, attempting to move without waking the pilot.

Rodney tries to quell the fear nestling in his underbelly, gently leaning Sheppard along the wall before getting up to inspect the area outside their cave. He checks the colonel's pulse, knowing that any other day this type of movement would have roused Sheppard already. It’s too fast, but knowing there's nothing else to be done, he rises on stiff and overtaxed legs.

The sound of feet and the crunching of the forest floor makes Rodney step outside the cave only to come face to face with Knuckles.

“Awwwww, did I disturb your sleep?”

Rodney squeaks in response, automatically checking to see if Sheppard is awake.

“Seems your pal isn't doing too hot, but don't worry. When I'm done with both of ya... you'll wish I killed you quick,” Knuckles says, smiling and revealing his missing incisor.

The fur around the prisoner's mouth is still stained a rust color from a few days ago and he carries one of the picks from the mine, casually twirling it in one of his massive hands.

Rodney stalls for time. “Um...where's...your friend?”

Lion Guy isn't chained to his partner anymore which is odd because the pick wasn't able to break the shackles earlier. Upon closer inspection Rodney notices the large red smear all over the cat-guy's pants and that the link of metal still encircles his ankle.

Knuckles grins, eyes following Rodney's. “He was slowing me down.....so I cut him loose,” he cackles.

Rodney's stomach swirls at the thought of what the asshole has done. “You're a sadist,” he says, holding his hand over his mouth.

Sadetist?”

“Yeah, a sick, whacked-out-his-mind lunatic!”

Knuckles looks at the pick ax then puts it on the ground, popping his fingers again. “I'm going to enjoy doing this nice and slow.”

Rodney backs away as the prisoner coils the length of chain and wraps it around his hand menacingly.

He doesn't know how to fight.  A little voice tells him to use his head.

Knuckles goes caveman, growling as he swings at Rodney's face. Amazed that he is able to duck, Rodney realizes that for a feline creature the Kalphaerainian is incredibly clumsy. The voice in his head reminds him of the defensive classes Sheppard made him take part in, screaming about taking advantage of recklessness.

Rodney trips and falls, avoiding the next swing. By the time he stands up again he can't deflect the burr of a fist that glances off his chin. Pain ricochets through his jaw but fortunately he didn't get the full impact.

The next swing looks like it might have some real power behind it, but Knuckles grunts in surprise and falls to the ground. Rodney's eyes go wide---Sheppard had kicked the guy in the back of the knee cap, sending him tumbling down.

“Oh, thank God!” Rodney says staggering to his feet.

The prisoner isn't down for the count, in fact he's pissed off. Knuckles grabs Sheppard by the shirt collar and punches him in the face with a sickening sound.

“Stop!” Rodney screams.

Knuckles shakes Sheppard by a fistful of T-shirt but the colonel's out like a light. The prisoner turns his head, giving Rodney an evil grin. “I'm going to bash his brains in.”

Knuckles let's go of the shirt and grabs Sheppard's hair to keep his head up for the beating, causing something to snap deep down inside Rodney.

“Pick on someone who isn't unconscious!”

He's a rush of uncoordinated fists. Rodney's on top of the cat person, swinging, cussing, hitting. It's not pretty or controlled, but it does the trick, keeping Knuckles from hurting Sheppard.

The problem with rage is that it's not very well thought out. The Kalphaerainian has experience on his side and he begins to fight back, his chain-fist catching Rodney in the face a few times and causing him to stumble backwards.

Rodney lands on his ass and he sees the pick laying out of reach. He looks from the tool to Sheppard sprawled out on the ground as the cat guy wipes fresh blood from his lips.

“I'm going to make you scream off-worlder.”

Rodney doesn't have time to think and he readies on his heels to leap for the tool just as Knuckles lunges at him.

His charge is cut short by the sound of a P-90 and Knuckle's body jerks from the impact of bullets until he slumps to the ground.

Rodney blinks, patting himself down in search of holes, but finding none. He looks up hoping to see Ronon's or Teyla's face only to be surprised twice in one night.

“Seems I found your hiding place,” Mallick says, his finger still resting on the trigger.

--------------

“I can't believe we got barrel duty today,” Rodney grumbled.

Sheppard wheeled the cart filled with ore beside him, each man having a tough time keeping the things moving along the narrow corridors. Each metal buggy collided with one another as Rodney had a difficult time 'driving' his down the shaft. “I don't know how to steer these things.”

It was trip ten of hauling mineral rocks toward the large railroad-like containers set up on tracks. The idea about stowing away inside one of the cars was tossed around, but there wasn’t enough room and the guards inspected each one carefully. Rolling empty carts to pick up ore was the only time Rodney felt like he wasn't going to keel over. It was a relief to be away from walls and ceilings that always seemed about to crush him.

When they finished loading the rail car, they turned around to find their path blocked by four prisoners. Knuckles and Lion Guy made up one pair, along with two others Rodney mentally dubbed Cat Person A and B.

“Hey guys,” Sheppard smiled, dropping the handles of his cart.

Rodney did the same, nervously looking around for any sign of a guard.

Knuckles and one of his sidekicks carried their pick axes and Rodney gulped nervously over the staggering odds.

“Time to bury the hairless freaks,” Lion Guy said, smiling.

“Hey, if you haven't noticed I have a lot of hair,” Sheppard said, rubbing at a week's worth of growth over his cheeks. “Now McKay, he hasn't reached puberty yet.”

Rodney glared him. “Not helping!”

Sheppard glanced down at the crappy wheel-barrels, giving him a hint, and Rodney realized what the colonel had planned.

“Just kill 'em,” Knuckles ordered.

“Now, McKay!”

They each grabbed the handles of their carts and plowed them into all four prisoners, knocking each cat person to the ground with varying degrees of success. Sheppard backed up his cart and rammed it into one of the downed Kalphaerainians several times. By injuring one, the pilot was able to keep the other somewhat immobile.

Knuckles and Lion Guy recovered and between the two of them tipped over Rodney's barrel and tossed it to the side while the colonel used his cart to run over Cat Person B's leg. Sheppard's cart was next as Knuckles and his pal wrestled it away from the colonel, knocking it down.

They had nowhere to run, but Rodney spotted a long iron-looking rod near one of the rail cars.

“Sheppard!”

The colonel saw what he was pointing at and turned, gunning it towards the weapon. Each of them had to run at the same time to keep from being hung up by the chain.

Knuckles and Lion Guy were on them and Rodney handed over the rod, feeling that the colonel would be more effective at swinging it. He licked his finger where it bled, the rusted beam had cut his it with one of its many sharp and fraying edges.

Sheppard gripped the makeshift weapon like one of his stupid golf clubs, holding in a defensive posture to Knuckle's pick ax.

Rodney spotted chunks of rock, scooped up several of them and began hurling them at their attackers. Pelting Knuckles in the face with pieces of ore distracted him enough that Sheppard was able to slam the end of the metal rod right into his jaw.

Blood spurted out of the prisoner's mouth as he dropped his pick ax and cradled it, screaming. Lion Guy swerved away from the next swing, grabbing the other end of the rod and ripping it out of he colonel's hands. Sheppard cried out as the metal shredded his palms and Rodney shoved the pilot out of the way as Lion Guy tried to brain him with the rod.

Before anyone knew what happened, the tunnel filled with guards who manhandled everyone to the ground, kicking Rodney and Sheppard a few times to subdue them both.

“Where were you guys earlier!” Rodney spat as the officials dished out more punishment to the rest of the motley crew.

“No dinner meal or water tonight for any of ya!” One of the guards yelled. “You've wasted time and will stay an extra lun to make up for it.”

Rodney crawled over towards Sheppard who's hands were a bloody mess, his flesh filled with shards of metal.

“Damn that looks bad,” he said, trying to keep from throwing up at the sight.

Little streaks of blood ran down Sheppard's wrists. “Freakin' hurts like hell,” he grunted.

The guard who looked like vaguely like Scar from the Lion King loomed over them. “Get up and get back to work!”

“Are you kidding me, his hands are cut to ribbons!” Rodney yelled back.

“McKay,” Sheppard warned.

“He can work or he can die. Choice is yours,” the guard threatened.

“Just give me enough time to clean them up at least.”

Scar reached for his weapon. “Now.”

Rodney glared up. “Isn't all this ore important to you? One less worker means you get off schedule and that means the warden's not going to be very happy with you! Just give me enough time to wrap these up.”

“I'm okay,” Sheppard huffed.

“Shut up!” Rodney turned his attention back to the guard. “Just a few minutes.”

 “Fine, but it's a waste of time,” the guard sneered and walked away. “Clear up the rest of this garbage!” He ordered, pointing at the other prisoners.

“You shouldn't have done that,” Sheppard hissed.

“Yeah, right.”

Rodney didn't even know where to begin, there were too many flakes embedded and they were without tweezers, medicine or bandages. This was very, very bad.

-------------

Mallick eyes the older mine in distaste. “I remember this place, we tapped it out years ago.”

Rodney doesn't take his eyes off of the gun, still reeling from a few seconds ago. “Are you going to put that thing down?”

The Kalphaerainian admires the heavy duty weapon. “This thing could turn the tide in a war, remarkable how much ammo it can shell.”

“Where did you get it?”

“With the rest of your stuff. The warden has greedy “fingers”,and the local law is on his payroll. When you two were taken to court he was eager to get his hands on this stuff---so was I.”

Rodney rubs at his sore chin, the rest of his face aches in various places, as well. “Our friends should find us soon. We're not near the influence of the minerals from the mine.”

Mallick's whiskers curl into a smile. “Your friends are looking for you on the other side of the mountains. They've paid your debt for freedom, but you're lost in the system.”

“Lost!”

Mallick shrugs. “Misplaced.”

“How do you know this?”

“I have my ways, but the warden doesn't like off-worlders, you two would die in the mines and he'd keep all your nifty toys.” Mallick aims the P-90 in Rodney's direction. “Now move so I can get rid of that chain.”

Rodney looks over at the metal set of links. “Um....okay...are you sure you can aim that thing?”

He stretches the chain as much as he can while Mallick takes careful measure. “I'm a good shot.”

“But if you miss..I mean--”

Rodney's protests are cut off by a hail of fire and he slaps his hands over his ears to protect them. After the shooting is done, he opens them to see the metal links obliterated and he quickly checks on Sheppard to make sure a stray bullet didn't catch him.

“You idiot! You could have killed us!” He yells, verifying that the colonel isn't injured.

“Come on, let's go.”

Rodney turns around to see the life signs' detector in the prisoner's hands and jumps up to snatch it away. “I told you this only works if one of us holds it.”

It feels good to be able to walk more than few meters without having his leg unceremoniously jerked back or his ankle abused. Rodney takes a few seconds to enjoy pacing once again without his movement impeded, the leftover chain of metal dragging on the ground. He can use the ancient tech to locate the power source generated by the 'gate, and excitement sweeps through him at the familiar energy signature on the display screen.

Mallick peeks over his shoulder. “Fascinating. You'll have to explain to me how it works as we walk, now come on. We only have a few luns of night.”

“I doubt you'd understand the complexity of this scanner,” Rodney grumbles as he goes over to Sheppard.

“Leave him.”

“I'm not leaving him,” Rodney snaps, crouching next to the colonel.

“He's too sick and will slow us down.”

“Too bad.”

“And I said he's not coming with us,” Mallick's voice has gone low and menacing.

Rodney freezes, turning his head to see the barrel of the automatic rifle aimed at him. “I'm not going without him.”

The cat-guy's fur along his head ruffles in annoyance. “I'm not saying it again.”

“I'll carry him.”

Mallick's one eye dilates into a pinprick. “No need for that if he's dead.”

Rodney feels the blood drain from his face as the prisoner aims his his gun at Sheppard's head. “Don't!”

He doesn't think, he just reacts, putting himself in front of his friend to shield him.

“Get out of the way!”

“No,” Rodney states firmly.

“I'm warning you.”

“And I'm telling you. I'm not budging, so either drop the gun or just shoot me.”

“McKay!” Sheppard's weak voice growls from behind.

“Oh, now you decide to wake up,” Rodney huffs.

“You're not takin' a bullet for me ...so move it.”

“Sorry, not under your command,Colonel.”

Mallick bares his teeth. “I've waited too long for this. I'll wing you and put him out of his misery. He's not going to last much longer by the looks of it.”

Sheppard weakly tries to shove him out of the way but Rodney digs his heels in, easily staying put. “Then shoot me,because I'm not going anywhere.”

--------------------

All he had been able to do was use part of his shirt to cover up Sheppard's hands while the two of them were forced to wheel away carts of ore for an extra hour. It was murder on the colonel since holding onto the handles only agitated his wounds and by the end of their shift he wasn't able to flex them without horrible pain.

Debriding them was impossible, but during their free hour outside, they found the spot where Sheppard had been procuring tiny fruit things from a nearby tree for the past few days. Rodney had done his best to pull out the flakes of metal and debris but a lot of it was deep in the tissue.

The next day it was back to smashing rocks and Sheppard did his solider thing, sucking it up by swinging his pick at the unforgiving wall. Halfway through the night he couldn't even grip the handle,his blood staining the wood. Rodney put all he had into the job and tried to make up for the lack of production.

Despite how much he longed for sleep, Rodney took watch most of that morning, noting with worry Sheppard's paling skin and growing weakness. He had stood tall and kept up appearances in front of the other prisoners, but the effort had cost him.

The colonel had been sweating heavily in the mines, making his need for water all more intense. The second night Rodney gave his bowl to Sheppard. “Here, I'm not that thirsty.”

“Bullshit.”

Rodney was too worn down to put up with the pilot's attitude. “You're ill, now take some.”

“Don't want it,” Sheppard said, waving his hand dismissively.

“I know your hands hurt like a hell, but you need to keep your strength up.”

It was hard to stay mad at the pilot who lay on his side, his body trembling from time to time. The tremors were new and Rodney went into worry-mode. “What's wrong?”

“Back hurts,” Sheppard mumbled.

“Well, every part of me freaking hurts,Colonel!”

His outburst went unnoticed until Sheppard clawed at the ground. “Up!”

Rodney hurriedly helped the man to his feet. The pilot swayed unsteadily and stayed hunched over,one arm wrapped around his middle.

“Trees,” Sheppard breathed heavily.

Rodney supported his weight, taking him to their make shift latrine, glad that this was the time that most of the other prisoners sat around and gambled in the barracks. The pilot leaned on him heavily while he did his business. Rodney did his best to find an interesting spot in the sky until he heard the man hiss in pain. He glanced over worriedly and noticed that Sheppard was pissing blood.

“Oh man,” Rodney groaned, helping Sheppard back to their spot on the grass and settling him on his side again.“This is so very bad.”

“It'll pass.”

“Are you kidding me,Colonel? Your back hurts and you've got blood in your urine. What about that doesn't spell kidney problems?”

Sheppard didn't say a word and Rodney knew right then that the colonel
had been hiding something even worse. They'd been drinking and eating the same things and the only difference had been that damn rusty rod. Rodney squeezed his eyes shut in fear, things like metal poisoning and other nastiness circulating through his mind.

He stared at his hands, swollen from blisters and abuse and curled them into fists, ignoring the pain. “Don't worry, we'll figure something out,” he whispered.

--------------


Sheppard's cursing at his back, Mallick's finger tightens around the trigger and Rodney's trying to stare at the cat-man right in the eye.

“I can tell you where the gate is, show it to you on the scanner. You can get the hell out of here and we'll follow behind. That's the deal.”

“I don't trust you.”

“There's not much to it. I point out where we're at and show you the location of the 'gate, if you hurry you'll make it before sunrise.”

Mallick considers, cocking his head.

“I don't know what you did to get put in that hell, but I don't think you're the type to kill a defenseless man.”

The prisoner lowers the rifle. “If you lie to me, I'll make it two.”

Rodney releases a breath. “Thank goodness.”

He pulls out the scanner and explains where to go, indicating marks on the display.

Mallick nods his head. “I understand and I'm also taking this as payment
for sparing you.”

Rodney resists arguing, knowing that would be pushing their luck. “What about the guards? I'm sure there are people out there surrounding any escape routes after the break out.”

“I have my ways and lots of things to bribe with,” Mallick responds. “If you come with me, you'd be safe.”

“No, thanks.”

“Suit yourself, off-worlder.”

Rodney doesn't dare turn his back when the Kalphaerainian begins walking away. Then Mallick pauses and looks over his shoulder. “I may have something that'll help you, since I doubt there's any way you two will live otherwise.” The prisoner pats down his pockets and pulls out one of their radios, handing it over. “Won't do me any good anyway.”

Rodney's can't hide his astonishment. “Thank you.” He takes the device and returns to Sheppard who glowers at him. “We're going home.” He rests his hand on the colonel's leg, clicking on the com. “This is McKay, can anyone read me?”

----------------------------------


The explosions woke him and it dawned on Rodney that he had fallen asleep during his watch. He looked around and realized that most of the other prisoners were gone and the outside of the barracks was filled with weapon fire.

“I think we're outta the loop,” Sheppard said groggily.

They both got their feet, scouting out the area before poking their heads out the doors. There were cat-people clustered in groups, beating on guards with tools from the mine, over powering the outnumbered personnel.

“What should we do?” Rodney asked.

“Get the hell out of here,” Sheppard replied.

Rodney draped the colonel's arm around his shoulder. “Great strategy.”

He dragged the other man out of the barracks, letting the colonel direct him where to go. “Shouldn't we follow the other prisoners?”

“I think the 'gate is east of here. We want to avoid people who have pick axes and want to see us dead.”

“Riiight.”

They saw a few Kalphaerainians trying to hack away at their chains to no avail and a few of the prisoners spotted the lurching duo, pointing fingers.

“This isn't good,” Rodney wheezed, already tired from helping Sheppard move.

“Head for the tree line, it's almost dawn...they don't like the daylight.”

“Yeah, well I'm not built for this.”

Rodney spotted Knuckles and Lion Guy shooting a guard in the head and the two shouted at them as they headed into the jungle.

“Run, off-worlders! You're next!”

------------------------------


Black and blue bruising spreads from one side of Rodney’s mouth and across his left cheekbone. There are more ugly colors around his side courtesy of a few well-placed boots and his hands are slathered with ointments and layers of white bandages. The popped blisters and deep sores resulting from too many hours of wielding a pick ax will heal in time. He drags an IV around to a chair and plops himself next to the colonel's bedside.

It felt good to sleep non-stop. One of the nurses said he'd been out for twenty-six hours thanks to painkillers and veins filled with sedatives. His body is one large walking ache, but it’s a nice dull hum, thanks to good drugs.

Sheppard's kidneys are being assisted by a dialysis machine, easing his overtaxed system and riding his blood of poison. Rodney winces at the heavy set of bruises on the left side of the colonel's face from Knuckle's evil blow. There are tubes, wires, EKG pads--the whole works are surrounding the colonel and his heavily bandaged hands are resting along his stomach.

It had been close.

Rodney doesn't recall drifting off until he hears a throat being cleared and looks up to see Sheppard looking at him.

“Guess we made it.”

“Yes, we did.”

The colonel studies the the white blobs that are his hands, eyebrows furrowing. “This looks like it might hurt for a while.”

Rodney laughs. “Not while you're on the happy juice.”

Sheppard eyes all of his attachments. “I have a few more machines around me this time.”

“Carson says the closest thing he can describe it as is a type of lead poisoning. All those metal flakes entered your blood stream and attacked your renal system.”

“Great.”

“You're lucky,” Rodney said, accusingly.

The colonel's face is wan, his voice scratchy. “I know.”

“You should regain full use of your hands in a few weeks. The wounds were bad, but there's no nerve damage.” Rodney notices Sheppard's eyes are drooping decides they can talk later. “Go back to sleep.”

“Don't you have a bed somewhere?”

“Yes.”

“Aren’t you going to use it? I'd think after days on the floor you wouldn't leave it.”

“Once again, you're wrong about that.”

Silence falls except for the beeping of the monitors.

“I was awake for most of the time,” Sheppard says, dragging on his oxygen.

“It would have been nice if you could have pitched in.”

“Was...kind of...unable to.”

“Well, you got the gold star during the week, I earned it on the weekend.”

“Rodney--”

“I'm tired, Colonel.” There's a long exhale, then a mumbling and Rodney smiles, patting Sheppard's shoulder before getting comfortable for the night. “So are you.”


 
 
 
kriadydragon: Shep 2kriadydragon on August 27th, 2007 09:47 pm (UTC)
Woot! Awesome! *Hugs* Whump and comfort and whump! So satisfying. That was great.

And I have your story worked out in my head so it's just a matter of writing it. Hopefully I'll have it posted some time this week.
kristen999kristen999 on August 31st, 2007 09:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you glad you enjoyed it....the prison idea just popped in my head and I wanted to have a strong!John in tere as well as having to be cared for.

DrunkRedneckgeekKnittercourtberger on August 27th, 2007 09:55 pm (UTC)
Excellent work! I enjoyed this very much! :)

Court
kristen999: antisocialkristen999 on August 31st, 2007 09:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you, glad you enjoyed it.
sealiejimandblair on August 27th, 2007 09:58 pm (UTC)
this was a nice action and adventure and some fun dialogue

Now McKay, he hasn't reached puberty yet.”

Rodney glared him. “Not helping!”
kristen999: b&w stickkristen999 on August 31st, 2007 09:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks and we always have to have a little comdey from our guys.
(Anonymous) on August 27th, 2007 11:17 pm (UTC)
I love hurt/comfort, enjoyed this story very much.

Jules
kristen999kristen999 on August 31st, 2007 09:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks Jules!
wraithfodderwraithfodder on August 28th, 2007 12:37 am (UTC)
Oh, after reading your other work, I know I'm going to love. Printing it to drag off to comfy bed to read :)
kristen999: barkristen999 on August 31st, 2007 09:45 pm (UTC)
Hope you enjoyed it.
(no subject) - wraithfodder on August 31st, 2007 10:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Starrylizard: T - Super swankstarrylizard on August 28th, 2007 02:47 am (UTC)
Aww, poor guys! Well done.
kristen999: b&wkristen999 on August 31st, 2007 09:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks
Acolyte of the Holy Triumvirate: workeverybetty on August 28th, 2007 04:29 am (UTC)
Wow. When you said a "little one-shot" you didn't really get the "little" part, did ya? :)

And Rodney McKay saves the day. Not bad for "the pudgy one"! And hmmm...did you write that Sheppard was "hairy"?? Hmmmmm? ;)

Nice job, Kristen. Wait 'til they get a load of the next one!
kristen999: rodneyandshepkristen999 on August 31st, 2007 09:47 pm (UTC)
You know me..the words 'little' mean nothing!

I wanted Rodney to save the day but still show John as strong and capable.

Thanks hon!
titan5: Auroratitan5 on August 28th, 2007 04:29 am (UTC)
You two just keep exchanging fics so the rest of us can read them. LOVED Rodney refusing to leave John behind or let Mallick shoot him. Loved John protecting Rodney from the bullies at first and making sure they broke up enough rock. They make such a wonderful team.
kristen999: rodneyandshepkristen999 on August 31st, 2007 09:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you, even though this was mainly a comfort fic I wanted to show how both of them were able to protect the other. I will always love Rodney's quote about saving each others lives....sigh

decembrist: olive and dwaynea_decembrist on August 28th, 2007 10:22 am (UTC)
I had a big 'Aw, RODNEEEY!' moment while reading this. I love those moments. Especially if they involve an incapacitated colonel. Fantastic! :D
kristen999: CGkristen999 on August 31st, 2007 09:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I like those moments too! Yep, I prefer a strong and capable Shep then he can be incapacitated :-P
wynterblue: Who Me?wynterblue on August 28th, 2007 10:55 am (UTC)
Awwwww. I so love Rodney in this. The pudgy kid always picked on by the bullies now has to defend his defender, but he's still going to whine about it. Just a little. And I loved the Oz comment and the no cuddling on the first date thing. What a nice way to start the day.
kristen999: morphinekristen999 on August 31st, 2007 09:52 pm (UTC)
Again i love your choice of words! Rodney defending his defender sums it up great!!

Hehe yeah the OZ comment was a must :-P And the keep warm part was tricker to write than I thought without it straying OCC.

Glad you liked it! Thanks
Julie: HC: help mejackfan2 on August 28th, 2007 01:02 pm (UTC)
Adored every moment! The cat-like people-things were very cool and that John got to kick some cat-like people-things ass... lol... truely loved that bit. John should be allowed to do more ass-kicking; it allows him to be strong, and I like a strong John Sheppard, although summarily whumped in the end is the payoff.

Great freindshipping between John and Rodney too! I simply love your work!
kristen999: rising2kristen999 on August 31st, 2007 09:54 pm (UTC)
Thnak you! I'm a big fan of John being strong and able to kick ass ---its a fine line to show both his able to lead side and that part that needs help too.

Thats why I'm normally a fan of longer fics, allows to show both in detail.

linzi5linzi5 on August 28th, 2007 02:09 pm (UTC)
Wonderful! I really enjoyed this. Boy, you whumped Sheppy good and proper! My heart just thudded and my tummy flip-flopped. I love Rodney here; so caring and determined to get Shep home safely. I feel all happy and squishy now. Thanks for sharing! :)
kristen999kristen999 on August 31st, 2007 10:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you!! I love to read protective Rodney caring for Shep but there isn't a lot out there that I think is done while staying true to the characters and I'm glad this seemed to work.
Sholiosholio on August 28th, 2007 02:27 pm (UTC)
Awwww -- I enjoyed that so much! Loved the guys taking turns protecting each other -- John giving Rodney his food and defending him from bullies, Rodney refusing to leave him behind and stepping between John and the P90. Sweet!
kristen999: rodneyandshepkristen999 on August 31st, 2007 10:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you!! I wanted to show that both guys were willing and able to help the other whne needed.

Glad you liked it.
wildcat88: McKay and Sheppardwildcat88 on August 28th, 2007 06:37 pm (UTC)
Woo hoo! That was some good whumping. I liked how the prison labor story was interspersed throughout the escape story.
kristen999: tetriskristen999 on August 31st, 2007 10:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Yeah I wanted to chop up the narative a bit.
(Deleted comment)
kristen999kristen999 on August 31st, 2007 10:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you