"Oh my God, I work with morons!" Rodney yelled. Across the room, Radek just looked down at his computer screen and sighed. The Canadian was in rare form today, growling and snapping at anyone unfortunate or foolish enough to be noticed by him. Radek smirked at the image this conjured up for him; he imagined Rodney as a terrier, overbearing and hyperactive.
Unfortunately, the smirking was noticed. "You're one of the worst!" Rodney snapped.
Radek didn't take it personally. This was actually tame compared to some of the abuse he'd received. "Who's the bigger moron? The moron, or the one who hires him?"
"Oh, I get it. You're deliberately trying to drive me crazy so you can get my job when I snap. Over my dead body."
"That implies that you're not already crazy," Radek muttered. Then, "Why are you so... unnaturally cheerful this morning?"
Rodney gave him an incredulous look. "Are you kidding?" He waved his hand in the vague direction of two scientists bent over a device. "It's only dumb luck that's kept them from blowing up the city at least three times over. They have no concept of safety protocols or..."
Radek interrupted. "Rodney. Don't you think you're exaggerating just a little bit?"
"Not a chance. I..." Whatever Rodney was going to say was cut short by a bolt of electricity that arced out from the machine and struck him in the arm. He uttered a high pitched scream and doubled over, slowly slinking to the ground and clutching his hand to his chest.
"Kurva!" Radek yelped. He touched his earpiece. "Medical emergency!"
Carson was finishing his rounds when Radek's call came over the radio. "What have you gone and done to yourself this time, Rodney?" he muttered. On hearing that it was a severe electrical burn, Carson sent his 2IC with a medical team to transport Rodney while he prepared the infirmary.
Crash cart first. If the bolt was as large as Radek described, there was a good chance Rodney could go into ventricular tachycardia – code, as the damnable American medical dramas would put it. Just because he hadn't already didn't mean that it couldn't happen.
Next, IV supplies and many, many large bags of saline. They would have to pour fluids into Rodney as fast as humanly possible if the burn was large, both to counteract the fluids he'd lost and to protect his kidneys from shutting down due to muscle damage. (The resulting need for a Foley catheter was a given.) And, of course, they'd need to have plenty of morphine on hand. This time it didn't matter if he got loopy from it.
A ghost of a smile crossed Carson's lips as he remembered the physicist's words: "Oh, my God! That's my ass, isn't it?!"
The team rushed in with Rodney, cutting off any further musing. For the next several hours, they were all busy with monitoring, hydrating, and bandaging. As always, the rest of Sheppard's team and Elizabeth hovered outside the infirmary, waiting intently for any news. This time, he'd be able to tell them that Rodney was lucky. The burn was full-thickness, but it was over a relatively small area. He probably wouldn't need much skin grafting. The only things they had to watch for were infection and muscle contractures.
Once again, it appeared that the Deity protected fools, little children, and physicists named Rodney.
Much later, when the news had been delivered and the team sent off to their respective quarters with a few judiciously applied threats, the physician found himself alone in the quiet infirmary. Rodney was the only seriously ill patient, so he'd be able to focus almost exclusively on him.
Carson made a slight adjustment to the morphine drip and was turning to return to his desk when he heard a low moan from Rodney. "Are you awake, then, lad?"
"Sorry for what? It wasn't your fault you got shocked."
"I'm sorry, Carter. Never meant for anyone... get hurt, much less you," Rodney mumbled.
Ah. Rodney wasn't truly awake. Hopefully the higher dose of medication would kick in soon and send him back to sleep. Carson wondered what had transpired between Colonel Carter and Rodney. He'd have to ask, later.
"I always wanted to be a pianist." Carson hadn't known that. He knew that Rodney could play a little, although he never did so, but hadn't realized that it had ever been more to him than just a hobby.
Carson reassuringly gripped Rodney's uninjured wrist. "Just relax. You're in the present. Everything's fine now."
"...fine clinical player... but no sense of the art." Even delirious, Rodney's voice sounded sad. Carson supposed it explained a lot of things. The perfectionism. The self-doubt underneath the bluster and insults. The almost aggressive need to push people away before they hurt him.
This kind of thinking wasn't conducive to Rodney's recovery. He was going to have a hard enough time with the debriding and the physical therapy. Carson squeezed Rodney's hand one more time and let it go. "Someday, I'd like to hear you play," he whispered.
Rodney's breathing evened out and he settled back to sleep.
Author's note: Snippets of dialogue taken from the 6th season SG-1 episode "Redemption II."
Summary: Rodney's injured by yet another piece of Ancient machinery. Spoilers for Sateda (if anyone hasn't seen it yet...)