The cave is freezing, but it doesn't help Rodney's fever. John divides his attention between watching the cave entrance and keeping Rodney calm.
“John, it’s unstable here. We have to get out,” Rodney pleads hoarsely.
“No, buddy, we’re fine,” John whispers back. “Solid rock. You need to keep quiet, okay?”
Rodney glances behind them, eyes huge. “I heard something move!” He tries to move past John, just as an energy bolt lances into the cave.
John throws himself against Rodney, shielding him as much as possible, Beretta aimed toward the entrance. “Shhh,” he murmurs, holding Rodney tight against the wall.
Rodney shakes in John’s arms - from fear or the fever, maybe both. He’s burning up, shirt damp with sweat, skin hot under John’s hand. “It’s okay buddy,” John breathes, eyes on the cave entrance. “Stay quiet for me.”
From outside there’s the sound of small rocks falling, dislodged from the narrow path. Someone’s close, for that to be audible in the cave.
John holds his breath. He’s only going to get one shot, and he can’t screw it up. He’d die for Rodney in a heartbeat, but that would leave Rodney defenseless.
Rodney moans, and the Wraith bursts into view.
John’s shot catches the Wraith right between the eyes. The impact carries it backward over the side of the mountain.
Rodney sags into John’s arms before the echo of the bullet even dies. He drops the Beretta and eases the limp body down.
Rodney’s not breathing, and his pulse fades to nothing under John’s fingertips. “Jesus!” he cries, ripping Rodney’s shirt open and slapping the radio in his ear. “Ronon, Teyla, I need help here!” At the same time he tilts Rodney’s head back to open his airway.
Teyla responds instantly. “We are very close, John. What is your status?”
“The Wraith is dead. Rodney’s in cardiac arrest.”
“Hang on,” Ronon grunts. John doesn’t answer; he’s already mouth-to-mouth with Rodney, giving him a lungful of air. A second breath, then thirty chest compressions, hard and fast.
Heart, air, heart, air, no pulse; heart, air, heart, air, no pulse; heart, air...
Teyla and Ronon throw themselves raggedly over the lip of the cave. Ronon takes over breathing for Rodney, John keeps pumping, and Teyla tears the medical pack open for a cardiac syringe.
“Now,” she orders. John and Ronon pull away, and Teyla plunges the needle into Rodney’s chest.
Rodney convulses as the drug hits his heart, chokes and coughs as his breathing reflex re-asserts itself. They roll him quickly onto his side in case of vomiting. He’s still gasping and trembling from the shock. Ronon shrugs out of his long leather coat and drapes it over Rodney.
John bends close, feeling like he might go into shock himself. He strokes Rodney’s face, whispering brokenly. “Rodney. God, Rodney.”
Teyla has a hand on Rodney’s wrist. “His pulse is very fast, but it seems strong,” she says. “John. We are here now. It is going to be all right.”
(Crossposted from eccentricweft.dreamwidth.org)