Books and Covers
Characters: Aiden Ford, Rodney McKay, John Sheppard, Teyla Emmagen.
Word count: 813
Summary: Ford sees McKay through different eyes.
Aiden Ford wasn’t happy, not by a long shot. Here he was, part of Sheppard’s new A-team, and what was he doing? Out searching for Wraith to kill and people to save? Nope, slogging through a soggy rainforest looking for an energy reading that might or might not turn out to be a ZPM. Worse still, he was babysitting a scientist. Even worse, the scientist was Dr. Rodney McKay, genius astrophysicist and complete and utter pain in the ass.
Ever since Sheppard had headed off with Teyla to talk trade with the local head honchos and Ford had been left to help McKay find the hoped for ZPM, McKay had done nothing but bitch… About the heat, the terrain, the fact that every ZPM they went in search of involved walking major distances… Finally Ford did his best to tune him out. He slogged ahead, waiting with anticipation for the magic moment when McKay would yell, “I’ve found it!”
It happened sooner than he’d expected and he turned with a relieved smile on his face in time to hear McKay shout, “Don’t move!”
Too late, Ford stepped forward, the ground giving way beneath him. He yelled as he fell then was brought up short by a hand around his wrist, holding him fast. Looking up, he saw the perimeter of the hole he’d fallen into and McKay’s pale face silhouetted against the blue of the sky above. “Don’t let go,” Ford said tensely. “We have no idea how deep this is.”
“You think I don’t know that?” McKay snapped, his own teeth biting down hard on his lip. He paled as Ford tried to grab for a handful of grass at the side of the hole. “Don’t move! If you move, I’ll probably drop you.”
“If I can get a handhold on something here I might be able to pull myself up,” Ford said, his free hand searching out a more secure place to gain leverage.
“Look, I’m pretty sure I dislocated my shoulder when I grabbed you,” McKay replied, “so any movement you make is causing me unspeakable agony. If you just hang there, maybe I can get to my radio with my other hand and call for help.”
Ford shook his head and reached out again. “It’ll take them too long to get here,” he argued. “You’ve probably just torn a muscle. Just hang tough till I can get some leverage here and-“
McKay yelped as Ford moved. “If you do that again there’s a very good chance I’ll pass out from the pain. Will you please just stop moving till I see if I can get Sheppard on the radio?” He dropped his head to the grass at the edge of the hole and Ford watched anxiously as he took several deep breaths and scrabbled for his earwig with his free hand. He tapped it then panted out as Sheppard’s voice answered, “This is McKay. Ford fell. I’m hanging onto him but we need help. I don’t think I can hold him much longer.”
Ford heard Sheppard’s tinny exclamation of surprise and then McKay answering, “No, I don’t know exactly where we are. Use the life signs detector. If there’s a spot that only shows two, it’s probably us.” He tapped the earpiece again then looked down at Ford, sweat beading on his pale face. “So,“ he said, “how’s it hanging, Lieutenant?”
Ford snorted out a grin at that then shot a concerned look at McKay as he groaned. “Look, if you can’t hold me, just try to at least give me some warning. That way I might be able to grab for a handhold or something.”
McKay swallowed hard then dropped his head forward again. “I’m not letting you go. Sheppard will be here soon. We didn’t get that far from the village.” He took several shallow breaths. “Only hurts when I breathe,” he added.
“Look, just quit talking for a while, all right?” Ford managed to get one foot planted more or less solidly against the side of the hole, giving, he hoped, McKay a little relief from his full weight.
It seemed like hours before Ford finally heard Sheppard’s and Teyla’s voices. A second hand joined McKay’s on his wrist and he heard Sheppard telling McKay to let go. Minutes later, Ford was on solid ground. He slumped to the ground next to McKay, who was on his back, eyes closed, jaw clenched against the obvious pain. “You all right, McKay?” Ford asked.
McKay opened his eyes and looked over at him. “I’m in complete and utter agony,” he grunted.
Ford shook his head and smiled then reached over and patted Mckay’s uninjured shoulder. “Thanks, Doc.” He dropped back to rest on the ground. His grandmother had a saying. ‘Never judge a book by its cover.’ Ford decided that maybe he’d finally learned what that really meant.