It was a strange kind of deja-vu. Rodney sat alone at the mouth of the cave, listening to the darts whine outside. Every breath he drew was a struggle.
Had it only been a few days ago he’d said to John, “Hello? Finite air supply? You want me to risk suffocating us all?”
Well, now he was in that position. Trapped in a small cave with darts outside, and ordered to make a wall so solid no beams could enter.
Not to mention that it had used up most of their air.
The only sounds in the cave were the rasping rattles of his team’s struggles to breathe. Teyla was sitting against the wall, eyes closed – looking serene even as she rasped. Ronon was seated beside her, his chest blowing like a bellows.
John glared at Rodney, who looked back at him. “Your….fault,” he rasped out.
“What?” Rodney asked, startled. “Look…. You’re a tele…kinetic. Just move a few…of the stones…and let the…air in!”
“Liar,” John snarled at him. “Your…fault.”
Rodney’s eyes widened. “No…”
“Freak!” John spat at him. “Murderer!”
The eyes that had widened with horror now narrowed with resolve. “You’re not John!”
Rodney jerked awake, fighting to draw breath. The lights came up and he reached for the radio beside his bed.
“Sheppard,” came the immediate – if sleepy – response.
“John…” Rodney panted. “….cave….crystal…. no air… you-you-you just sat there and…. And….”
“Rodney, where are--- oh.” He drew a deep breath, “Okay, go wash your face. I’ll be right there.” He cut the channel.
Rodney obeyed, feeling his panic easing and his breathing start to smooth out. As he washed his face, he found himself frowning.
How did John know where he was? It was like someone had told him mid-sentence.
John didn’t even bother to knock. He walked right in and just appeared in the bathroom doorway. Rodney looked at him and couldn’t stop the chuckle.
John always looked a little rumpled, but this time it was multiplied by about a thousand. His hair stuck out more than usual, going in at least ten different directions. He stood there barefoot, in wrinkled black pajama bottoms and a navy blue t-shirt with Einstein sticking his tongue out that proclaimed: “E=MC2 – YOU Figure It Out!”
Rodney shook his head. “I still say Jeannie sent you that shirt on purpose.”
“I’m not complaining,” John said, moving aside to let Rodney out. “You okay now?”
“Yeah – feel a bit silly now that you’re actually here.”
“Well, don’t. Nightmares aren’t logical or pleasant. Besides,” he grinned. “That’s what friends are for.”
Rodney moved back to the bed. “Holding each other’s hands?”
“Keeping the nightmares away,” John said, sitting on the edge of the bed. When Rodney lay down, he telekinetically drew the covers over his friend, eliciting a boyish giggle from the tired astrophysicist.
“That is so cool,” he yawned, his eyelids drooping.
“Crap, Rodney,” John teased softly, using Rodney’s words as Rodney had just used his. “What are you, twelve?”
Another tired chuckle, and Rodney’s fingers brushed the black wristband. They fell away as sleep claimed him, leaving three trails of crystals down the band and the back of John’s hand.
This time, no nightmares disturbed his rest.
Nor was he surprised to see John still in his room when he woke up, using Rodney’s laptop to work on his own dreaded reports.
The telekinetic was on guard. And it made Rodney feel very safe.
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