Summary: Somewhere along the line, she'd lost something important and it was time to get it back.
Pairing: McKay/Sheppard (implied), McKay/Keller
Spoilers and/or Warnings: Vague references to events in S5
Title, Author and URL of original story: Honor Guard by mayachain
"You can't. We're supposed to be getting married right now. They're waiting for us at the church!"
The moment those words leave my mouth I want to take them back. The appalled expression on Rodney's face makes it quite clear that he can't believe that I actually said them. I totally deserve that look, as well as the matching frowns from Ronon and Teyla. White tulle and lace have obviously warped my brain and quite possibly my ethics. Any thought of leaving St. Joseph's Hospital for the wedding, while Colonel Sheppard was still in surgery, would have never even crossed my mind a few months ago. As I realize the full implications, my stomach churns and I'm glad my dad's arm is there to lean on because Rodney's isn't…and won't be in the future.
This is definitely one of those times when being a genius and being able to chart out mentally all the possible actions and potential reactions has its drawbacks. I briefly consider pleading temporary insanity due to stress and the circumstances, but I have to be honest, if only with myself. My current predicament existed long before some crazy man with a vendetta aimed a gun at Rodney and John Sheppard got in the way.
That problem is that I've always wanted what my parents had. They'd loved each other so much that sometimes I'd felt like an intruder in our house. Even now, six years after my mom died, it's clear that my dad's not looking for someone to replace her. I don't think he ever will. With that in mind, I ignored all the niggling little doubts I kept having after Rodney asked me to marry him. I thought I could have the same things as my parents had. I'd been so sure when Dr. Rodney McKay told me he believed in me and he loved me that it would be enough.
Then today happened and that certainty is gone.
When I'd arrived at the church and there was no Rodney, no message from Rodney, just a lot of flashing lights and a police barricade, I couldn't believe I'd lost him somehow in the few hours we'd been apart. We'd finally found out what had happened from some bystanders and hurried to the hospital in the limo. When I saw him standing in the waiting room, the tux I'd picked out for him covered in drying blood, his face white as a sheet, I was sure I was too late.
The relief I saw in his eyes when I walked into the room wasn't because the woman he loved was okay. It was because I was a doctor and that meant there was a chance he could find out what was happening behind the closed doors that the doctors and nurses wouldn't let him or the rest of his team go through. I didn't get any acknowledgement that I might have been worried, there was no hug, no kiss, just a demand that I talk to whoever was in charge and find out what was happening even though I have no privileges in this hospital.
When he heard that, he lost it and started demanding a phone and a private room so he could invoke the almighty power of the SGC and that's when I lost it and blurted out the words that ended it all. I actually rendered Rodney McKay, the genius who had something to say about everything, speechless.
That's when I finally had to admit to myself that I'd never really had him to begin with.
Now there isn't anything more I can say, that I want to say to him after that, so I just nod my head at the three of them just standing there looking at me and I turn to leave and he doesn't say a word to stop me.
"I'll send over some clothes so you can get changed. Come on, Dad. I have someone I need to see."
Thankfully, Dad isn't arguing with me. He just leans down and picks up my train so I can loop it over my arm instead of cleaning the halls with it. One advantage of getting married in my hometown is that I know where pretty much everything is, and that includes the hospital administrator's office. I'd visited Dr. Ned Branson more than once when Mom was admitted for her last few weeks. Not only was he a personal friend of my parents, but he'd been kind and helpful to a young doctor going a little crazy over the fact that she couldn't cure the cancer that was killing her mother.
I'm in luck and he's not on the phone or in a meeting. The expression on his face when his secretary shows Dad and me in almost makes me laugh in spite of the reason I'm visiting him. He's out of his chair in a flash, offering Dad a handshake and me a hug and a kiss on my cheek. He doesn't restrain his curiosity for long after he waves us into the chairs in front of his desk and sits back down in his own.
"George, Jenny? What are you two doing here dressed like that? Should I be offering you 'congratulations,' Jenny?"
"It's a long story, Dr. Ned, or maybe it isn't really." When I think of how I'm going to explain, exhaustion suddenly hits me hard and I'm glad I'm sitting. "A few things have changed since we last spoke to each other. I happen to be the chief of medical staff on a military base. An Air Force colonel was brought here in about an hour ago for emergency surgery, gunshot wound to the upper left thoracic cavity. He's…he's one of mine."
"I see…but that doesn't really explain…." He waves his hand at the ridiculous white froth billowing around me, his face still puzzled. I can't really blame him since I'm baffled myself as to how I managed to get myself so deep inside this mess.
"He was the best man." The catch in my throat surprises me and I'm grateful for the Dad's squeeze to my hand. The 'was' applies to so much about this day and the people involved. He fills in the rest for me.
"It was before the wedding started, Ned. We got to the church after he'd been taken away by the ambulance. Thankfully, no one else was hurt."
There's a wealth of understanding in Dr. Ned's simple, "Oh. So how can I help?" He folds his hands and waits patiently for me to pull myself together, to recall how to act professionally despite my current role of 'Bride, Interrupted.'
"I'm not looking to take over his treatment, although I'll be available for consult if needed. Arrangements will be made to transport him back to the base as soon as he's stabilized but, while he's here, there'll be a few people looking to visit him when it's possible. I'll give you their names." I accept the pad of paper and pen Dr. Ned hands me and start to write while I continue to explain. "In particular, a Dr. Rodney McKay should be allowed full access. He's an astrophysicist, not a physician, but he has the colonel's medical proxy. They've been each other's for years."
'They've been each other's for years.' I suppose that right there says it all. How many times had I seen them together even after we'd gotten engaged; arguing or laughing, worrying about each other, eating meals or watching movies or playing games together? Always together. I always knew where to find Rodney if he wasn't in his lab. They were the center of each other's universe, even if they'd never admit it, and I was jealous even when I believed it was simply friendship.
I'd been foolish enough to hope that things would be different after we were married, and that was wrong in too many ways. Rodney hadn't been the only one making changes and not for the better.
Shoving the pad back across the desk, I reach down inside and find a smile somewhere. "Thanks for your help. I've left you my number in case you need to reach me, and I'll have his emergency medical records faxed over in case the attending needs them."
I stand, a little shaky but my dad's there to help. It feels good to lean on him a little. I'd had to learn to how to take care of myself while I was on Atlantis, and that was a good thing, but it's been a long couple of months putting together a wedding that's not going to happen. We leave Dr. Ned's office and walk down to the limousine together while I mentally compile the list of cancellations and notifications.
No one else is down there waiting for us, but I didn't really expect there would be. It's a bit of a struggle to stuff both me and the damn dress inside without tearing it, but it happens, and then I'm in my daddy's arms and it's finally okay to cry.