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Title: The rules of Thermodynamics the Pegasus remix. Part 4 The third law
Author scarlettandblue
written for sga_saturday prompt #26 In the wolf's cave (Picture prompt)
Pairing: John and Rodney
Rating: some bad language
Warnings: However it may look, just remember I am all about the happy ending. Extra warning: It looks like Rodney has met with a tragic end



Summary: Walt Whitman wrote: emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou lovest best, Night, sleep, death and the stars.


Disclaimer:: I don’t own them, I only wish I did. I’m doing this for fun not profit so please don’t sue me.
Further disclaimer: This started out as kind of a fun story and I decided a little cliff-hanger would spice it up a bit. I honestly had no idea what had happend to Rodney at the end of the last episode, I was waiting for the next prompt to show me the way, I have to say this gorgeous picture prompt sent me in a whole new direction, still maybe you have to have a little bit of dark so you can really appreciate the light

The first part of this can be found here link to The Rules of Thermodynamics, The Pegasus Remix Part 1 Zeroth


John raced towards the nearest transporter and was actually reaching to open the door when he realised that Zelenka was broadcasting an urgent message on the emergency channel not to use the transporters because the power fluctuations were causing them to malfunction.

He ran past the doors and on to the stairs. He nearly slipped on the floor and that was when he realised that it wasn’t just cold in the corridor, it was freezing. He tried to raise McKay again but there was no response. Pushing his panic down he asked Zelenka, “Can you check the sensors for McKay’s location?”

“No, Colonel.” was the terse reply.

“What the sensors aren’t working either?”

“Sensors are working but no life signs near the ZPM room.”

And just like that the freezing temperature of the corridor seemed to plummet further.

John felt himself actually tremble for a moment. He couldn‘t get his voice to work for a couple of seconds while his mind tried to back away from the obvious, but utterly impossible conclusion, no life signs in the place where Rodney had been working before he had some kind of accident.

“Colonel…. Colonel?….. Sheppard!”

“No! The sensors must be…“ John finally responded to Zelenka’s increasingly worried voice in his ear.

“The control chair, Colonel.” Zelenka cut in, “Forget McKay! Get to the chair and do exactly what I tell you to fix problem. Go now before we lose more people.“

And maybe later, when it wasn’t so raw and painful and absolutely unbearably wrong, maybe then John might be able to forgive the Czech scientist for what he had just said. But right at that moment, even while John was racing down the stairs, even while he was acknowledging how fortunate it was that the control chair room was at the base of the South Tower, even as he was heading away from the place his heart told him he needed to be, John hated the icy and inescapable logic of Zelenka telling him to forget McKay.

He reached the control room level just as Woolsey’s voice came over the com saying, “Colonel Sheppard, what is your status? Some parts of the city are registering temperatures of minus 20. Several people trapped in the transporters are causing Dr Beckett grave concern.”

John rounded the last corner, as he replied, “I’m at the chair.”
He set his mind to link with the Ancient systems. He was so focussed on his task that he didn’t even consciously think for the door to open or for the chair to power up it just flowed from him, his purpose, what he wanted, what he needed the city to do.

Most of the time when John sat in the control chair he interacted on a superficial level with the systems, usually McKay would be there, poking and prodding at the various consoles, asking John questions or telling him what he needed to do, keeping John focussed on him. But this time John just drove his mind deep into the link, the way he had when he had flown the city, maybe even deeper.

He could hear Zelenka on the com now, a tiny annoying voice in his ear, but he was beyond following instructions. John was demanding that the city tell him what was happening, and how to fix it.

Pretty soon, systems were running again, power rerouted through different feeds, the heat-exchange system rebooted and fed through a back up crystal matrix which immediately began to reverse the dangerously low temperatures. But all the while at a deeper level John was also asking the city what it had done to McKay, to Rodney. And he was telling the city that whatever it took, it had to be fixed.

After a while, John could feel the city was returning to normal. He could hear a different tone in the chatter on the emergency channel. Relief that the crisis was over and happiness at having once again survived.

But John was still immersed in the flow of power through the city systems. The lightning spark of circuits firing like synapses, the rush of potential and purpose. The perfection of thought become motion as each piece moved within a graceful arc. Momentum gathering, spreading though the machinery of the city, searching through the data, relentlessly seeking a way to finish the task he set it.

The fifth time John heard someone ask for McKay over the com he realised that he had done all he could, and he really couldn’t stay there any longer. He disconnected from the city, and sat upright as the pale blue light of the control chair faded. He thought about going back to his room, but he figured if he went there it wouldn’t be long before someone found him, and he didn’t think he could face anyone, not even Teyla or Ronon.

John headed for the one place in Atlantis where it always felt like everything made sense. Once he was in his favourite jumper he opened the jumper bay doors remotely and steered the small craft below them.

He clicked his communicator to the military channel and informed Lorne that he had command of the city, then he switched to the command channel and told Woolsey that the power fluctuations had been corrected and the city was returning to normal, and that John had relinquished his command, and Lorne was now in charge. He informed Woolsey he would be taking a jumper out for a while.

John didn’t give Woolsey the chance to order him to stay in the city, and he didn’t give anyone else the chance say anything although he heard several voices all talking at once. He just took the communicator out of his ear and slipped it into the pocket of his shirt. Then he told the jumper to go up at maximum speed and closed his eyes for a moment.

A few seconds later when he opened his eyes they had achieved orbit but John told the jumper to continue away from the planet. He set the auto pilot to avoid collisions and then he sat back, staring out at the star field as he flew into it.

It was like he was hanging in space. There was no discernable movement and the stars never seemed to get any closer. The only way he knew he was moving was because the jumper was forever at the edge of his mind, with the soft flicker of information, as it fed the basic data of their flight to him. Velocity, distance from Atlantis, distance to nearest Stargate, minute corrections in course to avoid space debris.

After a while John realised he had been staring for some time at one particular quadrant of stars.

He remembered the first time Rodney had drawn his attention to it, on their mostly silent flight back from the planet where they had found the downed Wraith supply ship, their first year on Atlantis. McKay had been quiet for most of the flight.

John had understood how the deaths of Abrams and Gaul were weighing heavily on Rodney. And he understood that part of it was the anger McKay was obviously feeling at what Gaul had done. You didn’t have to be long in his company to understand that a facet of McKay’s personality, part of his genius really was that he never gave up. Oh he might bitch and moan and complain and argue but he never ever gave up. So the manner of Gaul’s death seemed to disturb Rodney and he had gone uncharacteristically silent.

John hadn’t known how to break the silence, but half way back to Atlantis McKay had started talking a nebula Abrams had been studying. They were passing the point where it was most visible and Rodney showed John where to look for it.

When Rodney began to describe what they were looking it affected John in a way he hadn’t expected. It was easy to forget who and what McKay really was sometimes. What with the desperate search for a weapon or a discovery to give them an edge over the Wraith, with the last minute solutions to whatever impending doom was threatening their existence that week, not to mention the ever increasing work-load of repairing, salvaging or working around the damage that years of submersion and a lack of power had done to their city. And the relentless first contact missions to find new allies and new sources of food or that ever elusive fully charged ZPM, McKay had to play so many roles.

The head of the science department who had to try and instil a sense of self-preservation in his people to keep them alive, without stifling their scientific curiosity. The engineer who knew how to fix the stuff no one else even understood. The chief researcher who was trying to understand the secrets of the ancients, the developer who managed to splice ancient and earth tech together to discover amazing new applications, because if they were ever able to contact earth again the only way they’d get to stay on Atlantis was if there were obvious benefits to earth. And now he was also the member of a team who was expected to be proficient in shooting and running for his life and putting his life on the line to protect his team-mates. No one ever seemed to remember that Rodney was an Astrophysicist.

John remembered the moment so clearly. Rodney’s face was pale as he looked out into the darkness of space, but there was a light in his countenance as he explained the mechanics of the nebula, the physics and chemistry of what he was showing John, and he had paused glancing almost shyly at John and had said it was also incredibly beautiful.

John had glanced back out at the pale blue luminescence of the star, then he had looked back and Rodney’s face had been illuminated by that eerie light and John had said “Yeah” but he hadn’t been thinking about molecular clouds or interstellar dust, he had been thinking that the blue glow of that star exactly matched the colour of Rodney McKay’s eyes.

Of course the moment he had thought it, John had backed away from the thought , and from the implication of feelings that had prompted the thought, probably faster that the light from that far distant nebula was travelling.

And if he could be honest with himself now he would have to admit he had been backing away ever since.

And here he was, kind of full circle from that moment and John realised he was once again running away.

John had been feeling so many things recently. He had felt like age was creeping up on him. And he had felt like the things he wanted, weren’t really the things he wanted, but were only the things he allowed himself to want. And he had slowly become angry about that.

Several times he had begun admit what he really wanted, but each time he had allowed something stupid, some misunderstanding or indecision to turn him away.

John closed his eyes but the blue glow was still emblazoned across the darkness of his unseeing mind. He recognised it would always be there now. John had never dared to admit what he wanted, but he finally understood it didn’t make the pain any less when he had to face the possibility of loss.

The jumper changed course, John admitted he couldn’t run away and the alternative was to return. He had to believe in something so he decided to believe in Atlantis. He had asked the city to make it right, he just had to have hope that she could.

TBC