Length: 480 words
Summary: For the McSheplets Challenge #22: Written Word -- John has left Rodney an email
Rodney distractedly opened the email from John but froze when words turned into sentences... into meaning....
If you're reading this, then something has happened to me. I'm either dead or missing, either way I'm probably not coming back. Whatever has happened, I hope it hasn't taken you also.
I know it's not much, I just needed to say how important your friendship was to me.
Take good care of Atlantis.
Rodney re-read the message several times in growing horror. He shook himself and hurried out of the room and into the center atrium. He looked into the adjoining rooms frantically -- no one was there. He went out into the yard and ran to the main house, slamming through doors and searching room after empty room. He burst into the porch overlooking the ocean at the far end of the building where he finally found what he was searching for.
"You! ..... You! ...... I.......," Rodney panted, wildly pointing. "Left....." Strong arms gathered him in.
"Shhh...." Warm voice in his ear, soothed. "Breathe...."
Rodney fell into the embrace and scrabbled his hands to draw John closer to him -- alive! Alive! Rodney drew in a shuddering breath and hung on.
"What's wrong?" John asked softly.
"You.... email..... left us.... left me....." Rodney babbled. "Gone." He hung on to John tightly.
"Shh..." John whispered and didn't let go.
Rodney didn't know how long they stood there like that until the worst of the combined panic/anger attack dissipated. All Rodney knew was that John's voice murmured continuously in his ear and the embrace never wavered.
"Sorry," he whispered.
"What happened?" John asked.
Rodney drew in a deep breath. "There was an email.... from you...." Rodney swallowed. "A last message." Panic and anger fought in his heart and in seeing John alive, anger won. "You idiot! What made you do such a thing?" he demanded.
Rodney knew John figured out what he was babbling about when the arms around him tightened briefly. "Oh, Rodney," John told him. "I had forgotten that even existed. I'm sorry." The arms held firmly. "It must have been part of the information you... liberated.... from Atlantis when we came here."
"What..." Rodney asked.
"I think if you look at the date, that goes back to the first year we were in Atlantis," John replied. "It was before I got up the courage to... ummm.... well, before we.... you know...." Rodney thought back to that first, fumbling declaration -- so long ago now -- where John had given up on words and had shown him how he felt.
Rodney drew back enough to look at John.... one hand reached up to touch John's face, John leaned into the hand as Rodney brought their lips together. The kiss reaffirmed...... Never leaving you behind....