X-parrot (xparrot) wrote in gateverse_remix,
X-parrot
xparrot
gateverse_remix

Any Port in a Storm (Cold Winds, Hot Air remix)

Title: Any Port in a Storm (the Cold Winds, Hot Air remix)
Author: xparrot
Fandom: SGA
Rating: PG-13 (for language)
Original Story: Safe Harbor by sholio
Summary: (~5,200 words) Gen. Ronon and Rodney in a blizzard.
Notes: Thanks to the fabulous naye for the beta, and gnine for the usual.



Any Port in a Storm (the Cold Winds, Hot Air remix)
X-parrot


"—What? Where? What the hell—why is it so—wait. Rock? What? Why—okay, this is—not good, obviously, it's not good, extremely not good, and—ow, ow, goddamn it, where the hell am I, is anyone—hello! Is anyone—wait? Wait, what was that—I heard—who's there? Is somebody there? I—I'm warning you, I have a—somewhere around here, I should—let me just—I'm warning you, whatever's there, and please let it not be a bear—even if it is a bear, I'm warning you—"

"McKay."

"What! Who—seriously, I am armed and dangerous, as soon as I—ow—find the damn sidearm—"

"You're awake."

"Yes, obviously I'm—Ronon? Is that you? That better be—okay, what's going on, why is it so dark, why is it so goddamn cold, why does it feel like we're in a cave—"

"Just a sec."

"—How come—Ow! Don't shine the flashlight in my eyes, are you trying to blind me? ...Oh my god, I retract my previous question. Why are we actually in a cave?"

"You don't remember?"

"If I remembered, why would I be asking? Where the hell are we? Where are Sheppard and Teyla, why—"

"Thought you'd remember. You were awake before."

"Obviously I wasn't, because I don't—"

"Don't move."

"I'm just trying to get a better look at our cozy—ow, damn—my leg—ow—"

"Told you not to move."

"Thank you, Dr. Dex, it's comforting to know I was apparently unconscious long enough for you to get a medical degree. Ow. What happened to my—why is my leg wrapped up in—is that part of your shirt? What happened to sterile bandages?"

"Didn't have time to get the medkit out of the jumper."

"The—oh. Right. The jumper."

"You remember?"

"Flying out to check those ruins that probably aren't even Ancient anyway, on, what was it. M5R-620."

"Waaqs."

"Whatever—so that's why it's so cold. I hate ice planets, how many times have I told everyone, I hate ice planets—don't say it, I know it's not actually Hoth, it's just the winter season here. But if we're going to come in the winter, then it might as well be an ice planet. And while Sheppard and Teyla get to lounge around the chief's well-insulated house eating bonbons and signing treaties, we have to go out in—oh god, the blizzard."

"You remember."

"I remember I was going to take us up out of the atmosphere and fly over it when it really picked up—and I know I'm no Sheppard when it comes to flying, not being a trained Air Force pilot, but I should've been able to manage a simple change in elevation—"

"You said the controls weren't working. Electro whatever."

"Electromagnetic interference, the magnetosphere of this planet's unusually—it's the same problem we've been having with the radios, but the storm must've exacerbated the—we crashed? I crashed the jumper?"

"Straight into a mountain."

"And that's gratitude for you—at least I got us down in one piece, would you prefer to have been smashed to dust on impact? The inertial dampeners must've failed, if we crashed. And that's how I got hurt? How long ago was that?"

"Couple hours. You were awake after. Walked here yourself. I had to help, though."

"Anterograde amnesia from the concussion, oh, this isn't good—"

"Really?"

"The peanut gallery can save it—wait, what the hell are we doing in a cave? Why aren't we staying in the crashed jumper? Even if it's damaged, I could—why are you shaking your head? Where's the jumper?"

"Blew up."

"Jumpers don't blow up!"

"This one did."

"The jumper exploded."

"Just after we got out."

"And then you found us this nice, freezing cold grotto—"

"I can drag you back outside."

"No, no, I'm good, it's a great grotto, really, um, just like home, minus the moving doors and the stained glass windows and the central heating—what are you listening to?"

"Storm's getting worse."

"So that howling's not just ringing in my ears. That's a comfort, anyway. Except that we are totally screwed. If this storm keeps up—the electromagnetic interference will block any signal, not just our radios, but our subcutaneous transmitters, too. So even if they know we're missing by now, and called in the Daedalus, they won't be able to beam us out. And if our jumper went down, any other jumper they send in, the same thing might happen—did I mention we are screwed?"

"Yeah."

"Seriously, screwed, we're in the middle of a blizzard, and even though you've got every Scout badge that was ever invented on any planet, it's a hundred kilometers back to the village. And—you're okay, right? Not doing the macho feel-no-pain thing and hiding a life-threatening injury, please, tell me you're not going to keel over on me in fifteen minutes?"

"Few bruises, that's it."

"Small favors, anyway—but I can't even stand up, let alone hike, and I'm on the heavy side for you to carry me through two-meter-deep snow—"

"Don't have to. Sheppard and Teyla'll find us."

"Yes, yes, leave no man behind, I'm sure they will eventually, but it's not going to do us much good if they chip our frozen corpses out of the ground in a week. A few emergency blankets aren't going to preserve us from hypothermia forever—what are you doing?"

"Found firewood. Fallen tree right outside the cave. Here."

"An MRE—you got out an MRE before the jumper exploded?"

"Six of them."

"And—is that my laptop?"

"You grabbed it leaving the jumper. Wouldn't let it go. So I brought it along."

"That's...we're still screwed, you know. For all we know, alien bears live in this cave and they'll be back any second to eat us. Even if our chances of survival have doubled, double nothing is still—"

"Shut up and eat, McKay."



* * *



"So, um—the fire's burning pretty warmly, and I don't feel especially chilled right now, not like I'm going hypothermic, but—"

"It's not that cold."

"But then, isn't one of the warning signs that you don't feel cold anymore—"

"It's not that cold."

"But are you sure that—"

"I'm sure."

"So. Um. No huddling for warmth required?"

"No."

"Well. If you say so. Good night, then. Or bad night. Whichever."

"'Night."



* * *



"That's daylight, right? It looks a little brighter out there. Dim instead of murky."

"Sun's up. Snow's still falling, though."

"No kidding, did you see the size of that storm front? It might blow for another twenty-four hours or more. And while it's going on, no one's going to be able to come for us."

"We can wait."

"So you keep saying, and okay, we're snug as bugs in a cold, stony, snowy rug—or cave—but there's only four MREs left, and I've only got a couple PowerBars stashed in my pockets—one of these days I'll learn. And your metabolism needs more fuel than usual to keep up your core temperature under these conditions—"

"Worse comes to worse, I'll hunt."

"Does the word 'blizzard' mean anything to you?"

"Something about snow, right?"

"Ha ha. You're killing me. Provided the inclement weather doesn't beat you to it. Forget it, let me—ouch. Damn it, can you shove my laptop closer? I can't reach it."

"Thought you said the battery was low."

"I've only got a couple more hours of power, but I think can triangulate our position from our coordinates before we crashed—so we'll at least know where our potential final resting spot is, and maybe I can better estimate the storm's...hmm, yes, here we go..."



* * *



"Shit! No, not now—come on, just—damn it! Ronon! Are you sure there's not a spare battery in the pack?"

"I looked."

"Check again—it's not like you've got anything else important to do, we've got enough firewood chopped to last us until spring, and your shadow's not going to fight back no matter how many times you wave your sword at it—ack, um, that doesn't mean I'd make a good sparring partner, I didn't mean it, don't kick me—!"

"Just getting the pack, McKay."

"Oh. Yes. Ah, while you're at it, can you check the pack pockets for Tylenol? I'm down to my last four."

"Leg hurts?"

"Did the bloody bandages give it away? My head's not pounding as hard, at least."

"Good."

"In the extremely relative sense of the word, yes. Come on, you're sure there's not another battery? Whose pack is that, Sheppard's spare? Why didn't you grab mine? I always have an extra battery, and a first-aid kit, and more PowerBars, too—though if it's Sheppard, he at least might have a candy bar. He's usually got some chocolate—look in the right-hand side pocket—"

"Check it yourself."

"Fine, whatever—no battery, why the hell don't I insist that everyone—ah, now here we go, life signs detector, that could be useful."

"Let us know when your bears are coming?"

"Do you know for a fact there aren't bears? But, no—I might be able to plug it into the laptop, the power source would give me a few more hours of juice, not to mention—never mind, you don't care. Damn it, no chocolate, either. Toss me a PowerBar, will you?"

"No."

"We haven't eaten anything since last night, I'm—"

"Not yet."

"Ronon, I'm operating without caffeine here, and if you recall what I said about metabolisms—you might be able to go a week without food, but in this weather I—"

"If you're cold, get closer to the fire."

"Okay, okay. Just because I can't walk over there and get the food myself...don't let the power go to your head or anything..."

"What are you going to do with that?"

"The life-signs detector?"

"Yeah."

"I'm going to do something sciencey. It's what I do, that's why I'm called a scientist."

"What are you going to do?"

"And suddenly I'm Mr. Wizard. Fine—if I input the detector's telemetry on the local temperature and energy fluctuations into the laptop, I might be able to gather enough realtime data on the storm to predict its trajectory. Give me an hour and I'll have a weather report for us. Which will probably be, cloudy, one hundred percent chance of snow, but..."

"Okay."

"Are you listening to a word I'm saying?"

"Um, yeah, sure. Keep talking."

"Uh huh. ...I'm still hungry, you know. But, Ronon?"

"Yeah?"

"I, um...I appreciate the effort."



* * *



"No—oh, really, this is bullshit, you shouldn't need this much time to process—it's not like your core is going to be overheating in this weather—"

"McKay."

"No, seriously, you'd think I was running Windows on you, you stupid overclocked piece of—"

"McKay."

"Yes, what? Oh. Food. Great. Thanks. ...Chili with Beans? There isn't another Chicken Pesto, is there? No? What's that—oh, Enchilada, no thanks...damn it, why the hell isn't this—yes, yes, electromagnetic interference, but that shouldn't be—"

"How's the leg?"

"How do you think? It fucking hurts—I know, we're stuck out here in the wilderness, I'm supposed to be stoic and manly about the pain like you or Sheppard would be—or womanly like Teyla would be—but it hurts, that's how it is. I'm down to the last of the Tylenol, and my ass is getting sore sitting on the rock in this position, but if I move half an inch it hurts that much more, so I'm just going to have to put up with getting a bruise, or maybe a blister, over my entire—"

"Want to look at it, before it gets dark."

"Sure, fine, knock yourself out, I'll be right here, trying to make this computer—ow! Jesus Christ, warning next time, 'look at it' does not mean 'rip the bandage off like you're tearing into a pack of potato chips'—ow—"

"Sorry."

"...How does it look?"

"Hurt."

"Thank you, I can see that medical degree really paid off—ow, do you have to bandage it back so tightly? It can't heal without some circulation—if it heals, rather than turns gangrenous, and—how sharp is your sword, anyway? Though I guess if it can slice Wraith in half, it'd be suited for amputation."

"You're not going to lose your leg, McKay."

"I suppose the advantage of this environment is that infection will progress slower than if we were stranded in, say, a tropical paradise—but at least there I'd be warm and comfortable as I—"

"When's the storm ending?"

"What?"

"Your computer."

"Isn't worth the plastic its circuitboards are printed on—maybe once Earth electronics starts incorporating Ancient crystallographic—"

"So you don't know."

"I didn't say that, I've managed to estimate—examining the current storm system, and extrapolating from what I remember of the jumper's final readouts...minus whatever I forgot thanks to the concussion..."

"How long?"

"Okay, fine, I don't know exactly. Another day at least. Could be longer. Probably will be longer."

"Your computer says that?"

"No, basic statistical analysis. We're never that lucky."



* * *



"McKay."

"What?"

"It's dark."

"What, are you trying to tell me it's past my bedtime? There's a fire, even if the laptop screen wasn't backlit, which it is—"

"Computer'll be here tomorrow."

"Yes, and so will we, but I don't know about you, I'd rather not be, if there's any other way out of this. If there's a lull in the storm, we might be able to get a radio signal out—if the Daedalus has arrived, it probably isn't able to pick up our transmitters through the ionized rock of this cave. But if we could radio them, they might be able to locate coordinates where they could punch through the storm's interference, maybe send down a couple 302s, they might not be as vulnerable as the jumpers—"

"Really."

"Okay, it's a long shot, and the Daedalus probably isn't even here yet, but if we can get a signal out—I've got a couple ideas I haven't tried yet. You go to sleep and I'll, you know, keep watch."

"For what? Wind? Snow?"

"I don't know, bears, avalanche, whatever—I just need to keep at this a bit longer."

"Sleep's better. Uses up less energy."

"It doesn't matter how much energy I use up, if we get ourselves rescued—"

"But if we don't for a while, it matters. Go to sleep."

"Just a little longer."

"McKay."

"It's not us I'm worried about—okay, you can stop looking at me like that, it's definitely us. But it's not only us—in case you haven't forgotten, the other half of our team is still on this planet, searching for us—unless they went back to Atlantis to get another jumper. Sheppard's crazy like that, even if we went down, he'd think he could do it, because, you know, it's Sheppard. Even though it's not like it's going to do us any good if he gets another jumper blown up—"

"Teyla will stop him."

"Teyla will try to stop him, but since she can't take away the keys to the jumper—"

"She'll stop him."

"Hello, have you met our fearless team leader? The bastard hybrid of Evil Knievel and a particularly obstinate lemming?"

"Have you met Teyla?"

"Point. But—"

"They're going to be okay. Same as us. We wait this out, until they find us."

"That's the plan."

"Yeah."

"It's not exactly a heroic plan. You know—not going down without a fight, man versus nature, Jack London-style. Conquering the wilderness like we take down hive ships, battle our way out with brains and brawn, guns blazing."

"Sometimes you need a gun. Sometimes you just need to wait."

"You learn that in Satedan boot camp?"

"No, learned that running from the Wraith."

"...Oh. Guess it works sometimes, then. Since you're still here and all."

"Yeah. Now go to sleep."



* * *



"No, oh, come on...well. That's it. The detector's energy cell won't let me drain anymore from the reserve, and if I—forget it. I'll teach you science later. For now, that's it. Nothing more I can do."

"I found some pebbles."

"Okay, now if I were MacGyver, that would be a feasible solution to powering up the laptop, but since we are not starring in an '80s TV show and I am not getting a mullet, how is an assortment of small jagged rocks possibly going to do us any good?"

"Sheppard taught me checkers. Eight by eight grid, right?"

"What, there's no Satedan pebble game?"

"There's En-cren. But we don't have a bibilbrik."

"Which is...?"

"Besides, you probably couldn't hit its eyes before it bit you anyway."

"...Checkers it is, then."



* * *



"McKay. Wake up. Food."

"What's left? More chili, beef stew...forget it. I can go a little longer."

"Which one do you want?"

"I said, forget it. You can have both of them. I'm not hungry anyway. —What are you doing? Ronon, is there any particular reason your hand's on my forehead?"

"You're warm."

"No, I can assure you, I haven't been warm for at least two days—wait, you mean, feverish? Oh god, I've been feeling sick for the last—I don't know, a while now—and my leg's hurting but it's not like that's anything new, I just thought—it's infected after all, isn't it?"

"Maybe."

"And we don't have any antibiotics, don't even have any goddamn Tylenol left, and I—ow—"

"Don't move."

"Thank you for the expert medical advice. Ow. What are you—I'm not that cold, you don't have to tuck all the blankets—"

"Which one do you want?"

"I told you, I'm not hungry—fine, fine, stop glaring. The beef stew. But if I throw it up, it's your fault for wasting it."

"Won't be wasted. You can always get it down again."

"That's...one of the more disgusting things I've ever heard. And while I'm trying to eat. Thank you."

"Not so disgusting when it keeps you alive."

"Thanks, I'd rather starve."

"No, you wouldn't."

"...No, I wouldn't. Ronon, these are our last MREs, aren't they."

"Yeah."

"So what are we going to do tomorrow? Because last I listened, the blizzard hasn't let up yet, and if it doesn't..."

"Leave it to me."

"Don't have much choice, do I."

"No."



* * *



"King me."

"Huh?"

"McKay. King me."

"Oh, yeah. Sorry, here. Have another pebble. And I'll..."

"McKay."

"I would give up a Nobel for some morphine right about now. Well, not a Nobel, but the Heineman Prize, at least—there's no more Tylenol, you're sure—wait, what are you doing? That's my laptop. There's no drugs secreted in my laptop, Ronon—"

"Need a pan to boil water."

"My laptop's not a pan—oh my god, what are you doing, put it down! You can't—"

"It's out of power anyway, you said."

"But it's still—all the data on the harddrive, not to mention the circuitry—wait, no! Not the fire! You've already ripped the damn thing apart, now you've got the case, give the rest of it back—the harddrive could still be restored, and the circuitry—actually, the wireless card, I hadn't thought of that, if I boosted the transmitter's signal with the life sign detector's reserve power, and the radios—hmm, maybe..."

"...McKay."

"Yes, what? What's this, a stick of wood wrapped in leather, why thank you, it's just what I wanted, that and a soldering—"

"Put it in your mouth and bite down."

"Wait, what—"

"The water's boiling. I'm going to take the bandages off, need to clean the wound."

"I don't know if this is—"

"Bite on it hard. And it's okay to scream. Helps, sometimes."

"Wait, I really, really would rather—Ronon, this—not exactly a hospital—I can't, I'm not, this kind of stuff, I'm not, I just, I'm not you, I'm not, I—oh god, please, I—that's—ahh—"

"...Okay. It's okay, McKay.

"...McKay?

"...Rodney?"

"O...ow."

"You did good, McKay."



* * *



"...Ugh. Ow. Son of a... Ronon?"

"Yeah?"

"Ah...what time is it?"

"Later."

"How much later?"

"A while."

"How's my leg? Other than hurt, because yes, I can feel that."

"Not too good."

"Uh-huh."

"You're sick."

"Thank you. A lifetime of hypochondria pays off in dividends."

"Go back to sleep."

"And it'll all be better in the morning? Except that we'll still have no medicine and no more food and the snow's still coming down and how is sleep going to help in the slightest—"

"Will help me sleep, if you shut up."

"Oh, yes, because making sure one gets one's eight hours is the most important thing when you're stranded in a blizzard, and wouldn't you know, tonight's probably when the three bears come home and find us in their beds—"

"Bears are going to be the least of your problems, McKay."

"...Shutting up."



* * *



"Hey, Ronon?"

"Mrgh."

"It looks like it's getting lighter—slightly less dark, anyway. Sun's coming up."

"Uh-huh."

"...So, I've been thinking. You know, as I lay here feverish and semi-conscious. There's a good chance the Daedalus has gotten here by now. They'll be looking for us—scanning this area, we couldn't have been blown too far off course, so they'd know approximately where we went down. Between the cave and the storm there must be too much interference to lock onto our transmitters and beam us up, but if you got to high enough ground, they could get you. There was that mountain range a few kilometers back, before we crashed—it probably would be high enough. Even in this snow, you could make it today, I bet.

"So...now's the time, I guess. This is when I'm supposed to tell you to leave me and go get help, because obviously my leg's not magically going to get better on its own, and—ow! What the hell? You don't hit the injured man!"

"No."

"No, you won't go, or no, my timing's off? Because I probably should've told you yesterday, or before—"

"No."

"Okay, honest assessment here. We're stranded, we're out of food, and I'm not going to make it. And you could. You've survived the Wraith, a little snowstorm like this—"

"No."

"Cut that out, stop being a moron, because I know you're not really one. I'm trying to be noble here, do you have any idea how hard—being all self-sacrificing comes naturally to you warrior-types, but I'm not like that. I'm just being logical, that's what being a scientist is about, logic. And surviving is what you're about, and that's what I'm talking about—survival of the fittest, and in a university or a machine, sure, I can hold my own; but out here...

"Now you won't even say anything? Stop shaking your head like that—stop smirking, damn it, this isn't a goddamn joke, I'm not trying to be funny! Stand up, damn it, just—just get out of here! It's me or both of us, so it might as well be just me. Come on. Go!

"...This is all Sheppard's fault, you know. You and me both. I'd never have said anything like this before—before all this; and you wouldn't be alive to be a fucking idiot now if you'd been this stupid before. It's all Sheppard's damn fault. Come on, Ronon, don't be stupid.

"We don't have any more food, you've got to go now, while you're strong enough—you can come back and find me, soon as the storm's blown over, might not be that much longer...I was just, you know, joking, before—you know I'm a pessimist, but just kidding, I'm sure I'll be fine. Don't need a babysitter. Just go, there's plenty of firewood, I'll be fine.

"Okay, whatever, be stupid, see if I care.

"Ronon, come on. Really.

"...I tried. You can't say I'm not—just—go, okay? Now?

"Seriously. Please.

"...Damn it. When we both freeze to death, don't blame me, okay?"

"Okay."



* * *



"You're going?"

"Gonna come back. Told you, need to hunt, find us some food."

"Has it slipped your mind that there's a blizzard outside? White-out conditions, everything under a meter of snow? You'll never find your way back."

"Yeah, I will. Go back to sleep."



* * *



"...Ronon? You back yet? No? ...No."



* * *



"All right, so, the wind's still screaming like teenagers at a boyband concert out there, but he knows what he's doing. Seven years, McKay, it's not like he doesn't have experience. If anyone could kill a big meaty animal with claws and fangs and, I don't know, horns, and bring it back for dinner, it'd be him. So just give him a little longer..."



* * *



"Ronon, you have to come back—if Sheppard and Teyla finally come and find us, find me, and you're gone, if you got lost in the wilderness, trying to get food for us—for me, because you could go a couple more days, easily, but... You could've just left, could've gone for the mountains, gone up and gotten out of here—or is that what you're doing? Did you actually come to your senses and decide to make a break for it after all?

"...You know what the ironic thing is, Ronon? The real irony is, if I actually believed that for a second, I'd feel better. Not good, obviously, but—you could make it, I know you could, and that...it'd mean something, knowing you made it. Except that you're not trying, I know you're not, because of—I don't know. Pride. Honor. One of those warrior things that I've never gotten and never wanted to.

"Except that's bullshit, because I do get it. Because I'm sitting here in this cave hoping you've abandoned me to save yourself. Because you lasted for seven years against the goddamn Wraith, and then if what goes and kills you is... Not that I intended to crash us, that's not my fault, but I was the one who wanted to check out those ruins to begin with, so it's me... I don't know if I could handle that. Even if it's your own damn fault. So you better..."



* * *



"Okay. Okay, it's been—hours, it's been several hours at least. And he's not back. Which means either he hasn't found anything to eat and is still looking, or else he's fallen down a crevasse, or been buried in an avalanche. Or else he's skiing and making snow angels and damn it, damn it, you're not doing any good sitting here talking to yourself. If I was Ronon, or Sheppard, or Teyla—you know what they'd be doing, you've seen it enough times, to hell with the pain, stand up, McKay, get out there and find him—

"—Ow, ow ow shit ow—this—you are such a goddamn—I'm such a—damn it, this isn't my way, this isn't my job. The laptop, there's got to be something—ow—if I can just get a signal through—impossible, who the hell cares if it's impossible, I eat the impossible for breakfast, I am Dr. Rodney fucking McKay, and maybe I'm delirious and dying of gangrenous frostbite, but Ronon's out there, and I can do this..."



* * *



"McKay."

"...Ronon? You're back?"

"How you doing."

"Been better. Catch anything? ...Ah. Looks. Um. Tasty."

"You built your signal thing yet?"

"No."

"...Radio working?"

"No."

"Will have this cooked soon."

"Great."

"Eaten things like them before. They're pretty good. Stewing softens the meat."

"Great."

"McKay."

"Um?"

"You said you were going to teach me science later."

"Uh-huh."

"It's later."

"...What, now?"

"What better time?"

"'Science' covers a rather broad spectrum of human endeavor; you do realize that, right?"

"I know."

"So..."

"Something to help defeat the Wraith. That'd be good."

"...One-track-mind, much? But okay. Okay. Wraith. Let's start with...um...hiveship propulsion systems, then. There are three systems, starting with the primary sublight engines, which are powered by solar radiation..."



* * *



"...mmph...the...the physiological response to...uhh...what? What was I saying?"

"You weren't. Been asleep for a while."

"Oh."

"You up for eating any more?"

"Will you hit me if I say no?"

"If I have to."

"Okay, okay. I'll try. ...Ronon?"

"Yeah."

"I'm...sorry."

"How come?"

"That I'm not—that—we're teammates, supposedly, and if we were on Atlantis, or still in the jumper, there'd be something I could do. Injured or sick or not. But—all this—I'm not—look, I wasn't a scout, I never even liked camping as a kid. Which is somewhat ironic in retrospect, but you don't go into astrophysics expecting that someday you'll be stranded on an ice planet in another galaxy. I'm a genius, but that doesn't do any good out here, and out here, you're—I'm not really—"

"It's okay."

"It's not okay. All I can do now is talk, and it's not like my hot air can feed us or keep the fire going or—it's not like I've been able to do a damn thing for either of us. If you hadn't been here I'd be—I'd already be—well, you know; but if I hadn't been here, you'd be rescued by now—except you wouldn't need rescuing, you could've walked out of this storm yourself, and—"

"It's okay, McKay—"

"No, it's not, it's—"

"Yeah, it is."

"But—"

"You like being the expert, right? All those things you know and can do that nobody else can, sometimes you bitch about how you have to do it yourself, but you don't really mind. You like it. Being better than anyone, being the one who can save everyone. You like it."

"Well. Yeah. I do."

"I like it, too."

"You...do?"

"Feels good to have something to do, feels good to protect someone. Feels good to be right, too."

"That's—well, I wouldn't say right—I mean, yes, you know plenty about wilderness survival, but it's not like I was really wrong about anything, because I never pretended to know what I was doing out here...but... Ronon."

"Yeah?"

"It's not that I'm not—it's pretty impressive, that you got us here, and the fire, and hunting, and stew, and all. We're not exactly comfortable, but we're not dead, and that's—very comfortable, actually. Sure, it would've been helpful if you could've grabbed the medkit along with the food and blankets, but priorities, you're the one with the wilderness expertise, I'm just—what I'm saying is, it's not that I wanted you to crash with me, in the sense that I wouldn't wish anyone to be stranded out here, anymore than I'd wish to be stranded here myself. But if I had to crash, it's a good thing that—that is, I'm glad—not glad, but if I had to go down with someone, it was good, for me, that you—"

"You're welcome, McKay."



* * *



"Hey, McKay. Snow's stopped."

"Mmph."

"Okay. Wake you up when they get here."



* * *



"Ronon! Rodney!"

"Dr. McKay! Ronon!"

"—huh—whah—"

"Guys! Rodney! Ronon! Where are you? We got your signals in this area, but there's still too much interference to beam you out, so you'll have to settle for the jumper—Ronon! McKay! You here?"

"Sheppard. In here."

"John, I believe I heard Ronon—"

"Is that—tell me I'm not delirious—"

"Nope. Sheppard and Teyla."

"Thank god."

"Told you they'd find us."

"Yeah. You're right. You did."


fin
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