Spoilers: Broken Ties (5.03)
Warnings: I think I swore in here somewhere.
Posted at: sga_episodefic
Summary: Broken Ties episode tag. Lorne is the only one left who knows, and Rodney would just as soon keep it that way.
Lorne wrinkled his nose as he helped Rampersad prepare the unconscious bastard for transport back to Atlantis. Sheppard and McKay had retreated to give them room. McKay had his hand over his mouth as he glared down at Tyre, and Lorne had to admit he wouldn't want to be in Tyre's shoes when he woke up. McKay could be scary.
They rolled Tyre onto his side to fit the stretcher under his back, sending up another invisible cloud of odour. Rampersad choked a little, and Lorne felt his whole face twist as the smell penetrated to his tongue this time. Stale, rancid sweat, old vomit, wet not-wool and urine, all laced through with this bitter sickly taint that was hauntingly familiar and absolutely fucking disgusting. He pushed Tyre onto the stretcher and leaned away, coughing until his throat burned with trying to get that damned stench out of his mouth.
"Here." Something clanked against his tac vest, and he took the offered canteen gratefully without even looking up. A long swallow, swish, and spit later he tilted his head back, holding the canteen up.
"Thanks," he managed to force out, turning to face his benefactor. "God, what is that smell?" His eyes lifted to McKay's face as he rapidly twisted the cap back onto his canteen, and suddenly remembered where he'd smelled it before. Oh. OH.
McKay was looking away, his face tight with things Lorne couldn't name. "Time to head out, Major," he said to the wall. "Let's get home."
Lorne shuffled his feet and lifted a hand to the door, then cursed under his breath and shoved it back in his pockets. What the hell was he doing here? Sure, McKay was tolerable enough, and yeah he'd come a long way in the last three years, but seriously, what was he thinking?
Well, actually, he knew the answer to that one. He was thinking about McKay. About the tight, closed expression on the Doc's face as they shifted Tyre, as they bitched about the smell. The smell that McKay knew all too goddamned well, and that was probably still haunting his dreams. Especially after having watched Tyre and then Ronon go through a familiar hell the last few days.
He couldn't get it out of his head.
Lorne gritted his teeth, and rang the chime.
A quick push with closed eyes and Atlantis confirmed that McKay was inside. He bit his lip, undecided, then rang again. Nothing.
Ok. One more time, and he'd give it up.
He'd just turned on his heel to walk away when the door swished open behind him.
"I am not sharing my bath with...." McKay broke off midrant, eyes widening in surprise at seeing Lorne. "Uh. Well. Actually. Not with you either." He lifted his chin and tried to look dignified, but mostly just succeeded at looking wet. And bubbly. McKay yanked his blue bathrobe tighter around his waist and crossed his arms. A small white blob of bubbles teetered unsteadily on the top of his head, another stuck haphazardly to the side of his neck, half-obscuring his ear.
Lorne smiled involuntarily, scratched his head to cover his amusement. "Uh, hey Doc. Sorry to interrupt your bath."
"You interrupted some very important work, actually." McKay actually let go of his bathrobe to gesture vigorously, barely grabbing the loose edge before it revealed more than the good doctor likely had in mind. "The bath helps me ... helps me focus." Some expression flickered across his face too fast for Lorne to catch.
"Yeah. About that." He hesitated, then decided to go for broke and shouldered his way gently into McKay's room. "I was, uh." The Doc's eyes were going wider and wider, on the verge of panicking, and Lorne finished kind of desperately, "I was wondering if you were ok."
McKay frowned. "What?"
"Look, Doc. I know this thing with Ronon... I just wanted to check and make sure you're all right." Lorne shuffled his feet uncomfortably. "So... you ok?"
"What? Me?" McKay blinked at him rapidly. "Why wouldn't I be?"
Lorne felt his mouth twist a little, heard himself go for sarcasm, barely managed to gentle it at the last second. "Cause enzyme withdrawal almost killed you?" Damn, McKay was exasperating sometimes.
"Oh," McKay said in a small voice. "With Elizabeth and Carson gone... no one said ... I guess I thought everyone who still remembered that was already gone."
And then, he'd say something like that and all the irritation would drain away. "Yeah." He really didn't know what else to say.
"I kind of ... well. Liked it that way, actually." He attempted a smile, but it came out as more of a grimace. "With no one knowing."
Lorne nodded. "Ok. Ok, well, I can have a very selective memory. If you ever needed me to remember, I could probably make the effort." He reached out and caught the little pile of bubbles on McKay's shoulder right before they slid off. The bubbles felt cool and light in his hand. He wiped them off against his hip and turned to leave.
"Major." McKay stopped him before he could reach the door. "Um. Thank you. For asking." He huffed a little self-deprecating laugh. "I'm ok." He considered an instant, then amended grudgingly, "mostly."
Lorne grinned at him, taking in the soaking wet bathrobe and cheerful bubbles hanging on here and there. "Yeah, Doc, you are."
The door opened behind him and he stepped through with a jaunty salute, bubbles still clinging to his fingers, evaporating like memories.