At the Last


Fandom: SGA

Pairing: Rodney/John

Rating: 'R' perhaps.

Warnings: Character death. 

Dr. McKay lay on the infirmary bed, breathing in short, wheezy gasps.

"He's not getting enough oxygen," said Beckett. "He's barely conscious now, and probably hallucinating. I'm not sure if you're going to hear anything useful..."

"I'm staying. For as long as it takes." The dark-haired man looked at Beckett, who excused himself and went to attend to other duties.

Rodney was flying. More exactly, he was in a puddle-jumper with John, high over Atlantis. The view forward was beautiful and Rodney never tired of seeing it, even though the curvature of the planet below them made everything look oddly distorted. He turned his attention inside the cockpit, to John, whom he also never tired of seeing. There was something important he had to tell him, and he'd just got out the word "John" when they hit atmosphere, and the noise of the engines grew to a rattling roar, and the banshee winds screaming round the hull drowned him out.

The man in the chair looked up. Rodney had just whispered something. He got up and approached the bed. Rodney's head already looked like a skull. "Dr. McKay. It's me," he said.

Rodney's mouth worked. He was gasping, choking, but then "John," clearly recognisable.

There was something going wrong with the re-entry. An alarm was going off somewhere, making a high-pitched pinging noise that plucked at Rodney's mind, reminding him of something, and frightening him even more than the roaring in his ears, and the buffeting, and the flickering lights, and the pain in his chest. He looked over to John, but John was concentrating on getting them down safely, and had no time to spare for Rodney.

Then there were bangs and the whole ship jerked and rang like a bell and started to come apart, and Rodney knew it was time for final things, and it was curious but what he had to say was not grand, not clever or extraordinary or in any way partaking of genius; not, indeed, anything that John would want to hear. But Rodney's heart was bursting with it, and he must say it while there was still air in his lungs. "John," he screamed, "I ..."

Radek looked down at his boss. He was trying to say something. Radek leaned over and just made out the words "love you" above the noise from the alarm on the ECG, and then Rodney was still. 

* * * 

Later that day, when Colonel Sheppard was back from his mission, he looked in on Radek in the lab.

"I hear you were with him when he..."

Radek nodded.

"Yes. He went about three o'clock this afternoon. His heart finally gave up."

"Did he say anything?"

Radek hesitated. Sheppard's discreet relationship with Elizabeth was nevertheless common knowledge. Though not, apparently, to Rodney.

"No," he said. "Nothing at all."