Fic: After, Or Maybe Between (Not Dead Challenge)
Word Count: ~ 500
Summary: She didn't see them until she nearly stumbled over them; literally.
Notes: For 2of7 to the prompt of "John/Rodney, headache". Set some time between Trio and Midway, methinks.
When all was over and the last intruder either locked up or dead – she didn't know which, and truthfully she didn't care – Sam finally allowed herself to breathe. Her plan had been crazy, even more so since she didn't know Atlantis, not the way Rodney did. But with him out of commission and Zelenka less than calm, she'd had no other choice. And it had worked. Thank God, or she'd have killed them all.
Sometimes she wished she had stayed on Earth.
Sergeant Campbell told her that clean-up was "proceeding by the book, ma'am," and she felt suddenly drained. Adrenaline had kept her going for longer than it should, but now the high was fading. She was tired. So she left the control room to a skeleton staff with the order to call her if anything came up, and went to find her bed.
She didn't see them until she nearly stumbled over them; literally. They were in a rarely used corridor just off the main routes; Sam was only taking it because her solution to the invasion had broken the transporters. She stopped short when she rounded the corner, holding back the gasp because while this was technically a public space the scene before her still looked private.
Rodney was sitting up against the wall, still wearing the white, short-sleeved hospital scrubs he'd been dressed in when she had hovered next to his infirmary bed before all this had started. He was pale, dark circles under his closed eyes, the soles of his bare feet black with dirt. Sam hadn't known he was awake, let alone out of the infirmary. Belatedly, she wondered what had been going on down there.
And yet, what truly surprised her was John Sheppard. The colonel was lying on his side, full combat gear a stark contrast to Rodney's flimsy scrubs, his head pillowed on Rodney's thigh. Blood matted his hair; a huge dark bruise was starting to form around his ear. He looked like someone had slammed his head against a wall. The headache had to be killing him, judging from the pinched expression on his face. His eyes, too, were closed.
They shouldn't be here, but neither man made any move to get up. Rodney's hand was resting on John's upper arm, white sleeve against black shirt. Then the other came up from his thigh and started carding through John's hair; slow, gentle touches that somehow managed to avoid the blood although Rodney still wasn't looking. John made a soft noise that sounded almost – almost – like pain, and started to relax. For no reason at all, Sam's heart ached.
For a moment, she thought that she should make them go to the infirmary, or at least radio someone to get them. She looked again at Rodney, who looked strangely at peace here in the middle of the corridor; and at John, whose expression was slowly losing that pinched look. She looked, and didn't smile, and turned away.
And took the long way home.