Rodney had been gone for three days, and each moment was taking years off of John's life. It'd been a mission that had gone wrong, with Rodney being kidnapped, and the rogue Genii that had taken him planet-hopping to cover their tracks. John took Teyla and Ronon back to Atlantis only long enough to gather the troops and head back out. Everyone joined, but after three days of nothing but dead ends and frustration, John and the senior staff filed back to Atlantis for debriefing and more strategizing.
The sound of the gate connecting was so commonplace that John had started to drown it out. During the last two hours of planning, there had been four teams reporting in, and six more that headed out. One of the Marines had made a comment about Rodney being "Just another one of the scientists. What's the big deal?"
Before John could react, Evan had been on his feet and marched the grunt to his quarters to pack up his things. He would be going back on the next Daedalus supply run.
Yet another gate connection sounded from the gate room as John listened to a lead from Teyla. But Chuck's "There's no IDC," caught his attention.
John was at Chuck's side in an instant. "Where's it coming from? Any idea who it might be?"
Chuck just shook his head. "We don't have this gate in the system," he said.
They watched, guards standing around with their P90s trained on the gate. John walked down to the stairs though nothing came through the gate except a torrent of water like the gate had been submerged into a creek.
Ten seconds passed, then twenty, each moment bringing more unease around the room. John's finger twitched on his gun's trigger. "We need to-"
Something flew through the gate, bounced against the floor twice, and then stopped near one of the Marine's feet. Most ducked, fearing a grenade type weapon, but when the object settled, John saw it was dark on one side, the other red and white. "What the?" He jogged over to pick it up, immediately recognizing the Canadian flag. The patch from Rodney's jacket.
And just like that, the gate connection dropped.
"Get it back!" John ordered, and suddenly there were shouts and orders along with the heavy footfalls. The gate slowly dialed, and finally the event horizon appeared. Barely waiting, John motioned for backup as he tore through the gate. And when he rematerialized on the other side, he was surrounded in a jungle with a torrential downpour soaking through to his skin. "Rodney?"
Marines materialized behind him, their boots and the rain deafening him. But there was a quiet, "John?" that came from somewhere nearby to his left. He marched over, and first saw the body of one Genii soldier, the other one two more feet away. "John?"
Then he saw Rodney, face and body covered in mud, both eyes swollen shut, and one leg at an angle that told John it was broken. But he was alive. John was at his side in an instant and kneeled in the mud while he checked him over. "Evac stretcher, now!" he yelled. "And tell the med team we're incoming."
"I'm sorry, John," Rodney said, exhausted. "I tried to get away, but-"
"Shh," John said. He got close to Rodney. "It's okay."
"My leg's broken," Rodney said. "Pretty sure my arms are, too. Couple of ribs." He smiled, "But you should see the other guys."
"You're okay," John said, not caring about the two dead Genii. "That's all that matters."
"Pretty sure I'm gonna freak out when I'm not in shock and realize what I had to do..."
And John knows precisely what Rodney meant. Not that he cared about the two dead Genii, but Rodney'd never had to fight this much for his freedom.
"Just knew I had to come back home to you," Rodney said. And as flashlights and medical equipment showed up, John could finally see how badly battered Rodney's face was. But beneath the blood and the swelling were the blue eyes that captured John's heart. "Or you'd've never forgiven me."
John leaned forward and rested his head against Rodney's even as the medics showed up. "But you're home now, Rodney. That's all that matters," he said. Then he turned his head slightly and leaned his lips against Rodney's, careful not to hurt him. The ache in his heart grew when he felt Rodney kiss him back as rain pelted them. He tasted blood and dirt and sweet water, but the only thing that mattered was Rodney's warm lips against his own. "You're home now."