Title: How There Was A Giant Conspiracy To Kidnap Rodney And Possibly Even Torture Him, or, The Chase (Part Four of Four)
Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis
Summary: AU. Framed aeronautical engineer John Sheppard has escaped from prison to prove his innocence. Which was fine. Right up until the point he took Rodney McKay hostage and found himself speeding down the freeway with half a police department (and two helicopters) following him.
John Sheppard and Rodney McKay sat side by side in the speeding car. Behind them, a couple of dozen police cars and two helicopters. In front of them, about an hour’s drive away, the Mexican border. John was a fugitive from justice, bent on clearing his name. Rodney, his helpless hostage. It was tense. Stressful. Mostly, they were just a bit dazed.
“I can’t believe we didn’t crash,” said Rodney.
“I thought we were dead.”
“I might be in shock. I feel sort of shocky.”
“I… I don’t think I could do that again. I don’t think my heart could take it. Feel my heart!”
John felt his heart.
“Mmm.” He leant over and kissed Rodney. Rodney kissed him back enthusiastically, until he caught the rush of the road out of the corner of his eye, and broke off.
“WATCH THE ROAD!”
Jeannie Miller stared at Woolsey, John Sheppard’s attorney, as he finished his explanation of how John had ended up in prison.
“So,” she said eventually, “you do know that if anyone was stealing military technology, it was Kavanagh, right?”
Woolsey looked at her reproachfully. “Of course, Mrs Miller,” he said. “Unfortunately, Kavanagh’s managed to make some friends in high places, and the evidence was fairly overwhelming.”
“Wow,” said Jeannie. “Bummer.”
They sat in contemplation of the case, then Chuck poked his head round the door. “They’re going to try flanking the car, and shooting Sheppard!”
Jeannie rushed into the main office where Captain Caldwell was conferring on the radio.
“Are you crazy?!” she demanded. “They’ll die! I mean, Meredith as well!”
Caldwell patted her on the arm. “It’ll be fine, Mrs Miller. We’re going to flank your brother’s car with two vehicles, and guide it to a rest once Sheppard is out of the picture.”
Woolsey looked stern. “Captain, I absolutely must protest…”
Caldwell waved a hand, and walked off. Jeannie’s chin was set with determination.
“We need a phone.”
The phone rang, and Rodney inspected the caller ID.
“I don’t recognise it,” he said, and John shrugged.
“Does it really matter?”
“Well, I don’t suppose so.” He answered it. “McKay.”
“Mer, it’s me.” Rodney ignored John’s mouthed “Mer?” and scowled in the direction of the phone.
“Jeannie. Hmph. What fascinating insight into today’s events do you want to share now? A little Freudian tidbit you couldn’t wait to…”
“Oh my God, shut up! They’re going to try and shoot John.”
Rodney gaped. “What? Are they DERANGED? Are they trying to kill me too? Also, John is INNOCENT! What kind of monkey brain have they got running that place?”
“The kind of monkey brain who thinks they can pull it off without killing you at the same time. I dunno – cars pulling up on both sides or something. Which I guess might work.”
John nodded. “Yeah. Should do. Horse power on the standard cop car is going to be a lot more than this one. I mean, it’s risky, but…”
“Yeah, yeah, Meredith being the greatest mind of his generation, blah blah blah. Maybe I should tell ‘em he used to wet the bed, and they’ll let you take him to Mexico.”
“Oh, yes, hysterically funny, thank you!” said Rodney, not sounding particularly amused. “Let’s just chat away, shall we, whilst a roomful of IDIOTS come up with a plan to SHOOT JOHN TO DEATH!”
“Yeah, about that…” said John, glancing into the rearview mirror. “You might want to hang on, Rodney. I think they’re going for it.”
Rodney twisted round in his seat. Sure enough, two cars edged ahead of the others, and separated one going for their right, the other their left. Through the windshield of the car on the right, a cop was preparing a rifle. He looked frantically to the left. The tip of the rifle was already poking out of the window. He blanched, then his jaw hardened.
“You!” he barked, pointing (a little unnecessarily) at John. “Drive faster! Jeannie, go away!” He picked up his cellphone, and stabbed at a well-worn pattern of numbers, looking more enraged than at any time so far in the proceedings. “This is ridiculous. I have been kidnapped and terrified, and shot at, and terrified, and… and… this is enough! I have absolutely had enough!” The class was answered, and he flicked it to speakerphone.
“Cadman. I need you to find a number for a creep called Kavanagh.”
There was a moment’s silence on the other end. “Is this the Stockholm syndrome thing?” asked Cadman cautiously. “Cuz Jeannie said you were having inappropriate feelings for the guy who kidnapped you. Though, I saw his picture on CNN and he is hot, so…”
Rodney’s expression was outraged. “Cadman! I do not employ you to offer meaningless advice on situations about which you have no understanding!”
“Yeah, well, technically you don’t employ me at all. The university does.”
“That is BESIDE THE POINT!”
“Whatever. So, who’s this guy? The number you want?”
“Yeah, I’m not deaf, Rodney, I just need more information. Like, I dunno, a whole name or something. Y’know? A clue?”
“This is an EMERGENCY, Cadman! An emergency! Can your tiny mind even process that concept?!”
“His name’s Peter Kavanagh,” supplied John, before Rodney could have a stroke. “He works in the engineering department of Hutton Aerospace.”
“Cool, that’ll do to start with. See, Rodney, why can’t you be more like the guy who kidnapped you?” She hung up before Rodney could begin to express his infinite loathing for her, which suggested to John that she’d experienced similar conversations before.
“She seems nice,” he said mildly.
“She’s an evil witch,” said Rodney. “I’d kill her and completely destroy the evidence, but I doubt the department would give me another TA and I hate marking.”
“Well, that’s… nice.”
“Shut up and drive faster before they shoot you and we both die.”
Rodney stared at the scribbled phone number on the post-it note, then picked up the cellphone. His eyes narrowed as he punched in Kavanagh’s direct line.
“Yeah,” said the man at the other end.
“Is that you, Kavanagh?” Rodney demanded. John swore he could hear the man gulp.
“Who is this?”
“Oh, you know damned well who this is, you conniving, thieving little snake in the grass!”
“OK, listen, McKay, you don’t have any…”
“Shut up! I didn’t call you to listen to your whining excuses! I didn’t give a flying fuck when I actually had some mild, passing interest in what masqueraded for your academic career, and I certainly don’t now! So be quiet, while I tell you what’s going to happen now.” He paused for a moment then, apparently satisfied with the silence, carried on. “I have just contacted my people— ” he ignored John’s sceptically raised eyebrow “--in the Air Force about that technology you stole and then tried to merge into John Sheppard’s designs, simultaneously – and, to be honest, though it completely goes against the grain, I have to give you kudos for this – getting the recognition for the design and avoiding any of the fall-out for the stolen military elements. If you think you’re going to get away with this, I suggest you think about it a little longer. Because they’re already coming for you. Say goodbye, Kavanagh.” He hung up before Kavanagh could take his advice literally.
John stared at him in something approaching admiration. “So, that Sam chick you were talking to…”
Rodney flapped a dismissive hand. “She’s Air Force. She can sort it out. I’m fairly essential to the protection OF THE ENTIRE WORLD. Did I mention that?”
“It may have come up,” said John, and leant across to kiss him.
Rodney disentangled himself, looking flushed and happy. “Also, I’m pretty much a dead cert for the next Physics Nobel. Especially once I completely demolish Lewenstein’s ‘theory’.” He used air quotes with gay abandon and John might – though he wasn’t willing to admit to anything – have fallen a tiny bit in love at that moment. “A-a-and,” said Rodney, apparently not finished, “they’re going to come and get us, just in case the police get over-excited at one look of your pointy ears and looming hair, and shoot you just for the fun of it. Oh God! There!” He covered his eyes as a big black chopper appeared on the horizon, and John skidded to a halt, hoping against hope that they weren’t about to get ploughed into by two dozen police cars whose breaks weren’t up to code.
The helicopter landed and, for a moment, all was still. The freeway stretched, silent and grey, between chopper and Honda and police cars. John could hear himself breathe, and he reached out to pull down Rodney’s hands.
“So, we’re still alive,” he said.
Rodney looked out, cautious. “We are?” He glanced around, nodded, and opened the car door, jumping out.
“Wait!” shouted John, mind filled with images of cocky, trigger-happy cops shooting the hostage, but nothing happened. He glanced back. They were all there, all right, guns peeping over the makeshift barrier of cars. But something else was obviously happening, because one by one they were getting back in and driving away. He rested his head on his hands on the wheel for a moment, and breathed, deep and true. Right now, he didn’t care what happened, just that it was over and they were alive.
He looked up as he felt his door open, to see Rodney crouched down by his side.
“Hey,” said Rodney gently, rubbing one hand along the long line of John’s thigh. “Hey, it’s fine. I promise. It’s going to be fine now.” John nodded, and gave in and laid his hand over Rodney’s own.
“Thanks,” he said, and Rodney nodded. Then stood as footsteps approached, and a tall man with silvery hair approached.
He sneered at Rodney. “McKay.”
Rodney sneered right back. “General O’Neill.”
This duty done, General O’Neill leant against the open car door, and nodded at its occupant. “John Sheppard?”
“That’s right, sir,” he replied, climbing out of the car.
“Yeah. Carter told me about the situation. I looked up your file. I get to do things like that. Being a general, and all.”
“I hear it’s one of the perks,” said John, and O’Neill nodded again.
John’s expression was closed, and Rodney’s gaze darted between the two of them.
O’Neill nodded some more. “Yeah. Sorry ‘bout that.”
“Mmm,” said John.
Rodney rolled his eyes. “Oh God, I hate the military.” He glared at John. “You were totally some sort of hotshot flyboy, weren’t you?”
John shrugged, and smirked. Rodney glared a bit more. O’Neill jerked his thumb towards the helicopter.
“You wanna fly her? I won’t tell anyone if you don’t.”
A smile crept over Sheppard’s face. “Haven’t done that in a while.”
They headed for the chopper. Rodney watched as they went, then John paused, and turned, and looked back at him.
“Well? Aren’t you coming?”
Rodney jogged to catch up, then poked John in the chest. “I want to make it very clear that I don’t at all enjoy flying,” he said.
John slung an arm around his shoulder, and leaned in close to whisper in his ear. “Might wanna get used to it,” he said, and they shared a grin.
A year down the line and a galaxy away, there existed a city that seemed alive and spaceships called puddlejumpers, and John flew them and Rodney did get used it.