N/A - a reviewer asked about why O'Brien died after only two shots. I found conflicting information on the internet. Some said the first shot will stay with the victim, even hours later. Others said it depended on the person. I went with the first.

N/A2 - This is the end of another story and this chapter is a bit longer. There was no natural break so... I hope you enjoyed it! Many, many thanks to honus47, once again, for finding my mistakes. Any left are my own.


Chapter 8


An hour earlier.


"Are you sure you still have him?" Ronon asked.

"Yes, for the tenth time, I still have him." McKay responded without looking up from his tablet. His tone wasn't as snarky as it normally would've been. He knew Ronon was not only worried about Dave, but how John would react if they allowed anything to happen to his brother. They all were. The Secret Service had provided a town car and Dave had left with Stevens, sitting in the back of the car as if the agent were his driver. He, Jenkins, Carson, Ronon and Teyla had followed in Jenkins's car, a typical non-descript sedan used by law enforcement everywhere. They'd waited a few minutes in case someone was watching the hospital and then caught up but kept back, never allowing the town car out of sight even though Rodney had his location on said tablet the whole time. Major Davis had remained in the room, which was now acting as their de facto command center. When they got to Chiffron's building, Jenkins had parked down the street where they could still see what was going on, but far enough away to avoid being noticed. They'd watched Peter get out of the car and open the door for Dave, who walked into the building leaving his 'driver' behind. None of them, including Stevens, had been happy about it. The man's uneasiness had been obvious in his voice when he'd checked in over comms.

It seemed like they'd been sitting there for hours, but in reality, it was only about twenty minutes, when the beacon indicated Dave was on the move. "He's moving." Rodney exclaimed. The rest watched the front entrance with trepidation.

Jenkins tensed. "That was too quick for a business meeting that will reportedly net them both millions. I think they've taken the bait."

"I dislike calling Dave bait." Teyla said quietly.

"I'm sorry, Teyla. I didn't mean Dave, I meant the situation. Dave is very brave to do this. I think John will be proud of him."

"I think Sheppard will be pissed at us, and at him." Ronon retorted.

Rodney snorted. "Of course, he will be. The only one ever allowed to risk their life, is him."

"Rodney." Carson rebuked, tilting his head towards Teyla who was staring single mindedly at the door Dave should be coming out of.

"It's not like she hasn't told him the same thing!"

Barry put his two cents in. "John's a soldier and, I like to think I've gotten to know him well enough to know, he may be unhappy about this, but he'll understand why his brother took this chance."

Rodney only snorted without lifting his head from watching the blip move across his screen. There was silence for a few minutes and then the scientist frowned. "According to his transmitters, he's already left the building and is moving away!"

"Damn it, they've taken him out a back way. Make sure you don't lose him!" Jenkins said as he started the car. Pulling out, he drove up the street until he was even with Stevens's car. Over the radio, he filled his agent in on what was going on and asked him to follow. When they passed him, the other car quietly pulled out and slipped in behind them.

They drove for fifteen minutes, Rodney calling out directions as he watched the transmitters. When one of them blinked out, Rodney thanked whatever gods might be listening, that they'd put in both. "We've lost one of the transmitters." He informed the group.

"So, they know about them and removed it. Probably did the same with John. That explains why the Daedalus couldn't find him on their first sweep." Carson said.


Carson just sighed. He knew his friend was worried and hyped up with adrenalin. Rodney could be trying at the best of times and this wasn't one of those times. Still, underneath it all, he'd become a good and decent man over the years. One he was proud to call friend, in both of his lives. He knew the others felt the same.

"They've stopped moving." Rodney said. Jenkins and Stevens both slowed their cars, not wanting to spook whoever had Dave. The area they were in was nonresidential, filled with warehouses, most of which were empty as far as they could see. They'd stick out like a sore thumb in this area, so they had to be careful.

"Where did they stop?" Barry asked.

"Just around the next corner, on Brattle Street. That's the best I can give you. This doesn't have the pinpoint range the sensors on the Daedalus has." Rodney responded.

"Understood. We go on foot from here on." Barry parked the car and Stevens tucked in behind him. They all got out, checking their weapons, including Rodney. Carson just shook his head at the sight of the scientist with his tablet in one hand and his gun in the other. The group approached the corner and Ronon took point, peering around the edge of the building. He watched two men pull Dave out of the back and take him inside as a woman opened the driver's side and stepped out. She looked up and down the street and Ronon pulled back.

"I see them." He reported back softly. "They have Dave and he doesn't appear to be conscious."

Rodney stared at him. "Are you sure he was still alive?" The worry in his voice was obvious.

Barry replied. "He'd be of no use to them if he weren't. He's here to provide leverage to force John to give up whatever they want. A dead brother is not going to give them that. He's alive." Turning to Ronon, he asked. "Which building?"

"The number on it said 465." Was the instant response. Ronon had made a point to make note of it in the few seconds he'd been watching.

"How many?"

"Two men and a woman."

"Most likely Morley. I would guess they have at least four to five more men inside guarding Sheppard and O'Brien." He turned to Rodney. "Dr. McKay, can you pull up the blueprints for the building? Find us a way in besides the front door?" He knew the building would be protected but he was hoping a back door wouldn't be as well guarded. He just prayed they wouldn't have installed security cameras.

Rodney tapped for a few minutes as he hacked into the local records department and located the requested plans. Finally finding them, he handed the tablet over to Jenkins. "Here." He peered nervously at the corner, sure some goons were going to come charging around it any second, firing indiscriminately.

Barry looked over the layout, with Stevens and Ronon peering over his shoulder. He pointed at two places on the blueprint. "Okay, we have several other points of ingress besides the front door. The loading dock is too obvious and will most likely be too well guarded. There's an employee's entrance here on Clover Street and a service one over here on Holyoke. We split into two teams, take out whoever is guarding them and enter. Quietly! The last thing we need to do is let them know we're here. If cornered, they'll take out the hostages without a second thought. Once inside, we'll locate our men and figure out the best way to get them out safely. Watch out for cameras."

He looked up at the grim, determined faces staring at him, handed the tablet back to McKay and nodded. "Ronon, you take Teyla and Rodney. I'll go with Peter. We've worked as teams before so it's the best way to split up. Can any of you pick a lock?"

Ronon nodded, much to the shock of his friends. He shrugged. "What? Sheppard taught me."

Rodney sputtered. "How the hell would he know how to pick a lock?"

"He said something about black oops?"

"Ops, black ops!"


There he went, channeling John again. Rodney really needed to make sure they stopped spending so much time together once they got back to Atlantis. If they got back, his pessimistic side said. Rodney reached into his pocket, pulled out a life signs detector and held it up. He'd hacked their medical records, HIPAA be damned, and knew neither agent had the gene so couldn't use it. Wouldn't have mattered anyway, he only had the one and he was the one who was going to use it.

"What's that?" Peter asked with a frown.

"It's a life signs detector and I can use it to locate any people inside so that we can try to avoid them, but it has a limited range. The transmitters on John and Dave will lead us to them, but not help us keep from getting shot. This gives us an edge."

Barry slapped him on the back. "Good thinking. I've heard about them, but never seen one in person." He turned to Carson. "Dr. Beckett, we'll need you to be our eyes and ears out here. If anyone else shows up, notify us over comms immediately. We most likely won't be able to respond. If you hear one tap, you'll know we received the information. Once we find John, Mark and Dave, we may need your services." Carson nodded, not really happy about being left outside, but understood the need for a lookout. He was also the only one not armed, not that he wasn't sure they'd offer him a gun if he requested it. He'd no sooner had that thought, then Barry leaned over, lifted his pant leg and pulled out his back up piece. He handed it to the doctor, who had to resist taking it between thumb and forefinger. "I assume you know how to use this?" Carson nodded. John had insisted he learn but he'd never been happy around firearms, he'd seen the damage they could do, up close and personal, during his stint in several ERs and then the infirmary on Atlantis.

Barry seemed to know what he was thinking and smiled a little. "That's only for self-defense. We don't expect to come in through the front door, guns a blazing. If anything, try to avoid using it and alerting those inside." Carson sighed in relief, making Barry's smile a little wider and a little more genuine. He patted the doctor on the shoulder and turned back to his makeshift strike force. "Peter and I will take Clover, the rest of you take Holyoke. When you're in position, notify us on the radio with two taps. When you have your door open, three taps. Understood?" At the nods he got in return, he said "Ok, let's do this."

The team moved to the opposite corner and disappeared around it, leaving Carson standing alone and feeling very vulnerable. When they got to the door on Clover, Barry and Peter stopped. They hadn't seen any obvious external cameras yet. He nodded to the other team who silently kept going. Ronon reached the door on Holyoke first, flattening himself to the left side, Teyla and Rodney mimicking his moves on the right. Reaching up into his dreads, Ronon pulled out a thin piece of metal. He tapped the radio in his ear twice. When he got the corresponding two taps back, he motioned to McKay, who looked at the LSD and nodded that there was no one on the other side. After getting that confirmation, he leaned down and began to pick the lock. After a couple of seconds, he started to get frustrated. Sheppard had made it look so easy and he'd been able to do it back on Atlantis. But that was in the peace and quiet of his friend's room. Here, he could hear his heart thundering in his ears and it was a distraction. Teyla must have sensed how he was feeling, because he felt her comforting hand on his shoulder. Focusing back on the task at hand, he came close to bellowing out his victory when he heard the telltale snick that indicated the lock was now open. He tapped the comms three times and waited.

Several seconds later, they got the answering three taps. Nodding to his teammates, he held his gun in one hand and gently turned the handle. The door swung open with a creak and they all tensed. McKay watched the LSD and saw no movement. He looked up and nodded. Stepping inside, they closed the door behind them, more carefully this time. Thankfully, it made no more noise. They were in.


Inside the building, Dave began to regain consciousness. When he opened his eyes, it was to see Rebecca bending over him. "Wha…?" He croaked.

"Ah, Dave, good to see you back with us. I worried that I'd put too much of the drug in your drink. We have need of you awake."

"Rebecca? What's going on?" His voice was a bit stronger and he played his part of the confused business partner.

"We have your brother and we need information from him. However, he's being…stubborn. We're hoping you can help us with that." She smiled down at him, but it didn't reach her eyes.

"John? John's in the hospital." He said in pretend confusion.

"Really? When was the last time you saw him?" She asked smugly.

"Just before lunch. When we came back he'd gone for an…MRI. Are you saying he's not there anymore!?"

"He's not, but don't worry, you're about to be reunited." She leaned down a little closer, all good humor gone. "And make no mistake, Dave, he either gives us what we need, or you'll be the one regretting it. If we still can't convince him, then the Sheppard brothers will never be seen again. Do you understand?"

"No! No, I don't understand any of this!" He tried to sit up and realized he was strapped to the bed he was laying on and his heart started to race. Maybe this undercover stuff wasn't so great.

"Your brother has classified information we want and he's refusing to give it to us. We attempted some…coercion…but he's been remarkably unforthcoming. That's where you come in. You either get him to cooperate or you pay the price. I'm not sure how much clearer I can be!"

"Why would you do this? What classified information could John know that will help Chiffron?"

Rebecca's eyes flashed yellow and he recoiled. They'd told him about the Goa'uld and what they did to their human host, but he was still unprepared for it. Her voice took on a different timber as she replied. "I could care less about Chiffron, it's only a means to an end. What I need has nothing to do with the company." She reached out and gently, for her, gripped his throat. To Dave, it felt like a vise and he instantly began to gasp for air. After a few seconds, she let go and smiled again. "That's only a small taste of what's in store for you if your brother continues on his present course."

She stood back up and pointed to one of her associates, her voice back to normal. "You! Take him to Johannsen and remind him that he only has a few hours left to succeed or he'll be replaced…permanently." She turned to the other man who'd accompanied her. "You! Come with me. I need to get back to the office. I'm sure someone will be contacting me when Mr. Sheppard here comes up missing. I need to have an alibi." She looked at Dave again with that eerie smile. "You and I met, discussed a mutually beneficial business partnership for an hour or so and then you left. That was the last time I saw you. I used a secret entrance I had added to the building a few years ago when I had the garage upgraded. No one saw me leave the building nor will they see me come back and I'm sure no one will remember that you didn't."

Swallowing against the pain in his throat, Dave said. "My driver…"

"Oh, not to worry. By the time he comes looking for you, I'll have doctored footage of you leaving out the opposite side of the building. I, of course, will have no idea why you didn't go out the main entrance to where he was waiting and will be suitably concerned for a colleague."

Dave looked at her and narrowed his eyes. "You have no intention of letting us out of here alive, do you? What incentive do either John, or I, have to help you?"

"If he gives us what we want, we can make the memory of this all go away and replace it with a nice one of a comfortable meeting in my office."

"How is that even possible?" He knew from what Davis had told him, that the Trust had access to alien technology and he didn't exactly relish the idea of some of it being used on him.

"That's my little secret." She looked at her watch and sighed. "I'm so sorry, Dave, but I really must run. Hopefully, I'll see you again." She turned on her heel and left, her appointed bodyguard trailing behind her.

When they exited the building, Carson was watching. When he realized they would be driving past where he was, he worried that he'd be seen and that it would raise an alarm. Thinking quickly, he sat on the ground, leaning up against the building. He dragged his hands through the dirt and smeared it over his face and clothes, pushing aside the little medical voice in his head that screamed about bacteria and infection. He leaned a little to the left and closed his eyes to a slit, letting his mouth drop open, his arms at his side, hands open and now dirty palms up. He hoped they'd see what he wanted them to. A homeless man passed out from too much booze or drugs. When they passed him without even slowing down, he sighed in relief and waited until they were out of sight. Standing back up, he tapped his comms and spoke softly into it. "Morley just left with one of the men." He got the one tap he was waiting for and sagged against the building. This cloak and dagger stuff was not what his good mum had raised him for. Realizing that his friends still had need of him, he straightened up and want back on watch.

Inside, the remaining man unlocked the wheels on the gurney and began to push it towards the door. Johannsen stepped in from another room from where he'd been monitoring the interaction between the boss and Sheppard's brother. He stopped and looked down at Dave, who stared back up at him. There was very little physical resemblance between the two men, he noticed idly.

"Mr. Johannsen, Ms. Morley asked me to remind you that you only have a few hours left and that she'd replace you if you don't get what she wants." The other man said timidly.

"I'm well aware of that, Givens. Now, if you would be so kind as to bring our new guest in to see his brother?"

He turned and led the way, walking through the door first and the Colonel instantly focused on him. Behind him, he could hear Givens set the gurney in place and his footsteps as he moved away. Robert stepped to the side to allow the two men their first sight of each other. Dave's reaction was as expected as he took in his brother's bruised and battered body hanging in the middle of the room. When he asked his brother if he was okay, the Colonel just stared through him and Robert wondered if he would ever break. When the older Sheppard asked who he was, he again refused to give his name and then listened to the man spout nonsense about his brother taking any information with him to the grave. When he looked closely at John, he noticed something in that flat stare that made him smile. Ah, yes, there is was! For his part, John had seen the beginning of bruises around his brother's throat and he was beyond livid, the anger giving a short-lived spark to his eyes, quickly dampened.

Robert smiled at the two of them. "Ah, brotherly love. What a wonderful concept. Shall we see how far this will take us?"

He paused for effect then said. "Givens, you can leave." The other man fled the room without a backwards glance. Some of the others enjoyed Johannsen's talents, but he wasn't one of them.

Robert stepped over to the table and made a show of picking up a syringe and vial, while Dave watched with his heart in his mouth. Dave looked at John, but his brother only had eyes for this madman in front of them. "You know what this does to people, John. You've experienced it twice yourself. How you've managed to withstand it, is beyond me. I wonder?" Here he looked at John with a smile. "Does that ability run in the family? Does your brother have the same high threshold for pain? Or will he be a sobbing mess when I'm done with him. This is your last chance, or I inject your brother."

When John said nothing, he pulled the liquid into the syringe and made a show of pushing the plunger to eject any air bubbles, the extra fluid arcing into the air. He turned towards David Sheppard, placed a hand on his right arm and lined the needle up with one of the veins that were standing out as the man struggled against his bonds. "You'll feel a small prink and then you'll take a short nap. When you wake up, the fun will begin." Behind him, he heard a gasp and then some soft words. He stared down at Dave for a second and then removed the needle. He patted the arm and said. "Well, you may just have gotten a reprieve. Let's see what your soldier brother has to say."

While Snidely's attention had been focused on Dave, John had slowly turned his wrists in the cuffs and stood on tiptoe to grasp the chains above them, ignoring the agony from the broken finger and the tears in his wrists from the metal cutting into them, the drugs still making everything seem ten times more painful. He mumbled a few nonsense words, the first he'd spoken in hours and Snidely had stopped what he was doing. He let himself hang dejectedly in the chains, the tears of pain he'd been holding back, released. He hung with his chin on his chest, but he was watching and gathering what little strength he had left.

Robert smiled in triumph. "What was that Sheppard?"

A little louder, John replied. "Please…please…just…don't hurt him. This has nothing to do with him. I'll…I'll…give you whatever you need, just don't hurt him. He's all the family I have left." His words sounded broken and Robert savored them. He began to walk closer and John raised his head, the tear tracks sending a thrill through his torturer. When John frowned and looked upwards, he automatically followed his victim's eyes and that's when John struck. Holding onto the chains, he brought his feet up and struck Snidely in the neck, with an upward motion, as hard as he could. He felt the satisfying crunch of the larynx breaking as the man's head snapped forward and watched emotionlessly as he dropped the syringe and grabbed for his throat. John knew he was already dead. The airway would have closed and nothing short of immediate emergency surgery would save his life, something he wasn't going to get. Snidely blinked at him a couple times in shock and then dropped to the ground as his body began to convulse from the lack of oxygen.

There was no sound in the room except his desperate gasps for air until John said in that same flat voice he'd used before. "I told you I would kill you with my bare hands. I guess bare feet is close enough." When the sounds stopped, and the man was still, John looked up to find his brother staring at him.

"Is he…is he dead?"


"Good! I hope he suffered!"

John stared at Dave in astonishment, expecting to hear only revulsion and condemnation in his brother's voice. His actual words stunned him, and he found himself regretting his actions even though he knew he'd had no choice. He tried to make his brother understand. "I'm not proud of it Dave, I just did what I had to. No one should suffer like that." He'd meant what he'd said. He'd had every intention of killing Snidely, just not with the intention of making him suffer. It should have been quick. Torturing the man would have brought him down to his level.

"Do you think I'm blind John?" Dave responded fiercely, taking in the blood and bruises he could see on his brother's face and arms, darkening the tattered scrubs he still wore, the eye swollen shut. "Do you think I don't know that he did that to you? Do you think I'm stupid enough to believe he hasn't done this to others before you? He was a monster and he deserved to die."

John had no response. The two brothers stared at one another until John broke the silence. "I'm sorry Dave, but that doesn't get us out of this. Snidely may be dead but he wasn't here alone. We're still stuck here."

"Snidely? You nicknamed him Snidely?"

"What does that matter? Did you not hear what I just said? No one knows where we are! These people will just send in someone else and it will probably be worse because I just killed one of their best interrogators. You don't know what we're up against!"

"Well, I know Rebecca is a Goa'uld and high up in the Trust."

John's jaw dropped open and he winced from the pain. Snapping it closed, he blinked furiously, wondering where Dave had gotten that little piece of information.

"I also know Ronon, Rodney, Teyla, Carson, Jenkins and Stevens are in the building somewhere. Searching for us using our transmitters." Dave rattled off all the names, pleased that he'd been able to shock his little brother with his knowledge.

John focused on one piece of information. "Our transmitters?! Are you telling me that they knew you were going to be abducted, gave you a transmitter and then let it happen?"

"Actually, it was two transmitters and it was my idea. When Rebecca called out of the blue and insisted that we meet, it raised some suspicions. Paul checked their records and her name came up on the list of suspected Trust members. Carson implanted me with both transmitters and Peter drove me to my meeting, the rest following along behind, tracking us. I must say, your Rodney really impressed me. If he ever decides to leave the Stargate program, I would love to have him join the company." He deliberately used each person's first name, feeling a little bit like he was 'name dropping' but he was enjoying the new-found ability to surprise his brother.

John's mouth opened and closed a couple times as he tried to find words. His brother was naming names and spouting knowledge about top secret things, without hesitation. Dave was grinning at him when the door exploded inwards and Ronon stood there with his gun sweeping the room. The rest piled in behind him, knowing that they'd neutralized everyone else in the building and expecting to rescue their wayward Sheppards with no interference. The scene that greeted them had them nonplussed. The Colonel hanging from chains in the middle of the room, the CEO restrained to a gurney positioned along the wall, both men staring at them, and a dead man in the middle.

From his bed, Dave pretended to yawn and said. "Well, I guess better late than never?" He chanced a look at his brother and the two burst into laughter, although it obviously pained the Colonel.

"Oh my God, they've brainwashed them!" Rodney said, it was the only explanation for such an inappropriate reaction to their rescue.

"We're not brainwashed McKay, just happy to see you guys. If you wouldn't mind untying Dave and maybe, if you have the time, getting me the hell down from here?"

Teyla practically ran to him. "Ronon! Help me with him!"

"Teyla! Are you okay?"

Teyla frowned at him. "I am fine, why would I not be?"

"Snidely threatened to take either you or Dave. I worried that it would be you, that they would hurt you to get to me."

She smiled at him, a little tremulously as she took in the state of his face. Touching his cheek gently, she said. "They took the bait and went after Dave instead." The look that crossed his face had her step back a bit.

"Yeah, about that! What possessed you to let my brother put himself in danger like that?!" His anger was directed at everyone in the room, including her.

"I can take care of myself John! And no one let me! I did it of my own free will." Dave sat up and rubbed his wrists that were now free of the restraints, Jenkins now working on the one around his left foot and Stevens the one on his right.

"Like hell you can take of yourself! Maybe in the corporate world you're a bad ass. But this is my world, Dave, and you could have died!"

"But I didn't, did I? I came up with the idea and it worked!"

"Um, if I could interject for a moment?" McKay said.

"What?!" Two voices responded.

"Not that I'm not enjoying your squabbling, but would someone care to explain the dead body in the room?"

"John killed him." Dave said before his brother could reply.

"He killed him. While he was hanging from a chain in the middle of the room." McKay sounded disbelieving.

"He sure did! With his bare feet!" Dave sounded ridiculously proud and everyone stared at him in shock. "What?"

"Oh my God, it does run in the family! It must be genetic." McKay said.

"Hello? Still hanging here!" John said.

Ronon and Teyla snapped out of their fascination with what was going on and moved to his side again. Teyla supported him as Ronon tried to undo the cuffs but they were too strong. Turning back to the dead body, Teyla began to rummage through his pockets, looking for the keys. Standing back up, she turned and said. "He does not have the keys. John, do you know where they are?"

"No, if he doesn't have them and they're not on the table, I have no idea." Ronon's blaster whined as he flicked it on. "Chewy! Be careful with that!"

"You want down, don't you?"

"Yeah, but preferably not as a crispy critter!"

"It's on stun."

"Oh, well, that makes me feel so much better." John really did want down. "Okay, do it. Everyone stand back just in case."

Carson stepped into the room just in time to hear the plan, having been given the all clear by Barry. "Ye'll do no such thing John Sheppard! When the chains let go, ye'll fall to the floor and probably injure yerself even worse. What a daft plan!"

"Well, I can't just hang around here for the rest of my life." He rattled the chains and hissed in pain. "I want out of these damn things." He paused. "Hi Carson." He frowned. "Why are you so dirty?"

"Long story. I…"

"Hang on." McKay said, his hand to his ear.

"Really Rodney?" John asked.

"What? Oh please, that's not what I meant. I just got word from the Daedalus. They're here and wanted to let me know that they've found John's signal and have a location for me." They all looked at each other and laughter broke out once more.

When it died down, Barry stepped forward. "John? Where's Mark?"

Sheppard's face dropped and that told them the answer without words. "I'm so sorry, Barry. He didn't make it."

Stoically, Barry asked. "Where's his body?" They wouldn't leave him behind.

"There…isn't one. They used a zat gun on him."

Barry closed his eyes and shook his head. "That's going to be a tough sell to his parents and his wife. He leaves behind two small children."

John started at him in horror. "No! He…he told me his parents were dead, no siblings! That he'd never married, not even a girlfriend to mourn him!" The two men shared a long look and John hung his head, knowing Mark had said that to spare him pain.

"John…." Barry started.

"It's okay, I get it. I want you to let his family know he was one of the bravest men I ever met. I'd like to attend the service, if I can."

"Of course. John, this is not your fault. It's the job. You know that as well as I do."

"I know." He paused. "Please, get me down." He seemed much more subdued.

Barry nodded. "If we can't find the keys, maybe I can pick the locks." He looked around the room and found a chair. "Ronon, if you and Teyla can hold John up, I'll see what I can do." He moved the chair next to John and stepped up on it. Working as quickly as he could, he picked the locks, not mentioning the blood that stained the cuffs. He got one open and John's arm flopped down, eliciting a whimper from the man. From what he knew about John, that meant agony. He knew from experience that having your arms forced above your head for an extended period was uncomfortable. Being able to finally lower them again was incredibly painful. He turned his attention to the other lock and made quick work of that, now that he knew how they worked.

John slumped down into Ronon's arms when he was no longer chained, and the big man lowered his friend to the floor. Panting due to the pain that was ratcheting up now that the adrenalin rush was dissipating, he pointed to the syringe on the floor. "M..mmmake sure you take that…" He closed his eyes and concentrated on dulling the pain.

"Why?" McKay asked as he stooped and picked it up. "What's in it?"

"Pain…." Sheppard whispered back

Dave said worriedly. "They threatened to inject me with it to make him talk. Snidely said they'd already given John two doses."

Carson moved in immediately and began to check his most frequent patient. He tutted now and again but didn't say anything at first. When he finished, he stood up and looked around the room. "Well, bruises, contusions and several broken ribs, but he's had worse."

"He is happy to hear that." John said a bit more strongly, his pain back under his iron control. He looked around. "Can we get out of here now?"

"Aye, back to the hospital for you. We'll have to do bloodwork to see about that drug they gave you.""

"Aw, Carson…."

"John Sheppard, you are hurt, and you will listen to your doctor." Teyla said.

"Yes ma'am." Was said quietly. He stared at her and could see the relief in her eyes. "I'm sorry this happened. I didn't mean to worry you."

She knelt beside him, placing a hand on his chest right over his heart. He covered it with his own and she turned her hand to grip his. "It was not your fault. I…we…are all just glad that we were able to find you in time. Although, it appears Major Davis was half right."

"What do you mean?"

"He said you would most likely rescue yourself. You stopped the man who was hurting you. You just needed us to get you the rest of the way out."

"I'll always need you…" He looked at his team. "…all of you."

Teyla raised an eyebrow. "I wonder what else that drug did to you?" Such a statement was un-John like. Leaning down, she whispered in his ear. "I love you John Sheppard. I would have been very upset if things had turned out differently."

He smiled up at her and whispered back. "I love you too."


Three months later, John stood on the deck of the Daedalus. He was mostly recovered, just some twinges here and there, now and again. He'd had a setback shortly after arriving back at the hospital as an infection had set in. His temp had spiked to 106 and he'd had seizures. Once they were sure there would be no interactions with drug he'd been given, the docs had loaded him up with antibiotics and he'd made a slow recovery. Unfortunately, he'd missed Mark's funeral. Once he was released, he'd made it a point of honor to visit the family.

He'd been back on light duty after two months and was about to be released to full duty the next day. He'd been given another medal by the President and this time his brother and his team were there, including Ronon and Teyla, along with Barry Jenkins and Peter Stevens, this time standing with him, not as the President's security detail. That had been left to others that day. They'd all gone out to eat after and had enjoyed themselves greatly, Ronon and McKay getting a bit tipsy on beer, Carson on his favorite scotch. It was agreed that the renditions of Danny Boy heard that night, would never be spoken about again.

The next day he, Ronon, Teyla, Rodney and Carson had gone back to Atlantis. Dave had asked if he could visit them there some day and John was working on that, figuring O'Neill would be his best bet, although the man had been stubborn so far. Now he was back in the Milky Way and about to fulfill a promise that had had to be put on hold while he recovered. Smiling, he turned to Barry and asked. "You ready to go for a spin in space?"

"Oh, hell yeah!" The agent smiled back at him. "I can't wait! How fast does it go?"

"You are sooo going to love this!"

The two left the bridge, still talking a mile a minute about speed as they headed for the 302 bay, leaving behind a bemused Colonel Caldwell who had, surprisingly, been pleased to help the man fulfill that promise. Once the President had okayed it, of course. He shook his head, having been fully apprised of what had happened on Earth. Rebecca Morley had been detained and the symbiote removed and terminated. She claimed that she'd been a victim. However, they had plenty of evidence that she'd willing been implanted. She was currently in a cell in Area 51, under close watch. Chiffron had started to take a nosedive after it was announced that she'd 'left to pursue other interests' and Sheppard Industries had stepped in, under the aegis of the President. The company had turned around almost immediately, now doing better than they ever had. They'd cleared her board of other Trust operatives, some of whom were dead before they had a chance to get to them, although a few others were occupying cells next to her. They'd gotten enough information to uncover not one, but two, moles in the Secret Service, neither one aware of the other. He shook his head.

In just three days on Earth, Sheppard got made full bird, took a bullet meant for the President, got kidnapped by the Trust, was beaten for information and then rescued. Things like that only happened to the younger man. He looked out the front observation window as a 302 flew by, doing corkscrews. He'd asked for their radios to be played on the bridge and now regretted it.

"Yeehaw!" Reverberated through the bridge and he turned to ask Marks to shut it off. Seeing the smiles on the entire bridge crew, he decided to let it go.