Requester: pet_lunatic, for hurt/comfort leading to a happy ending.
Summary: McKay cares for Teyla after an accident in a remote area of the Atlantis mainland.
* * *
"I like this. Bringing technology to a less--er, different culture. The miracle of agriscience. It makes me feel rather like a God." McKay waved his arms and declared in a booming voice, "The miracle of irrigation!"
Teyla, at his side, cast him a wary look. "We already have irrigation, Doctor." She was walking along the muddy bank of a river on the Atlantian mainland, a good 20 kilometers from civilization, and McKay was following her, trying not to step in anything.
"Of course, of course. These sensors will just allow us to monitor the health of the soil, and hopefully, harvest metals from the water. Irrigation 2.0, if you will."
Teyla chuckled. "What I think you really like is the opportunity to help."
"Science is never for for its own sake. It's to make us greater than we are. I like...being greater. And if I don't share my brilliance, how will you know of it?"
"Aha. But you will be harvesting the metals from our soil. Perhaps your motivation is selfish."
"It helps both of us. My people believe this is a principle philosophy in life."
"And do you operate under this philosophy?" Teyla was smirking slightly.
"Well, just the self-interest part." He gave her a sheepish smile. "Until Atlantis."
Teyla nodded. "You must eat the food we grow. Therefore, your personal stake is high."
"True. So I guess then we're left with how cool these sensors are."
Teyla chuckled. "Of course, Doctor McKay."
"Please, call me Rodney."
"All right. You may call me..." She paused, and then furrowed her brow.
"That will suffice."
He laughed, and she joined him. When they reached the first small waterfall where the sensors were to be placed, powered by flooding waters in fertile times and by solar power in drought, Teyla stepped into the pool at the base of the waterfall and began to prepare a wet rock for the sensor's insertion.
With a sigh, McKay followed her, wincing as water seeped into his boots, and then his pants. He held the sensor against the rock. "It must be precisely placed to align with the satellites. Do you have the Atlantian drill?"
"The Atlantian drill?"
"I finally got to name something," McKay said.
Teyla eyed him, and then raised the drill. "I am ready."
"Me too. Begin."
She activated the drill, which began to emit a low hum. McKay pushed the sensor against the rock, which began to glow red, but nothing else happened. "Hm. Maybe this is made of some sort of graphite..."
"There is a crevice," Teyla said, gesturing with a finger while careful to hold the drill steady.
"Yes, maybe we could use that to our advantage... Okay." McKay took a step forward and his foot landed awkwardly on an underwater rock. He slipped, plummeting toward Teyla. "Look out!"
Teyla swung around to brace him, and the drill began to slice the rocks above them. She cried out, falling backward as she lost her balance trying to save McKay and the drill. McKay tumbled over her as she landed in the water. He fell face-down on the opposite bank, with the roar of water around him and the crumbling rock sending dust over his back. "Teyla! Teyla?"
"Doctor McKay." Her response was feeble.
He pushed himself out of the muck and turned around to see only Teyla's head above water, close to a pile of rocks that he realized must be crushing her under the surface. "Shit." McKay lunged toward her, wincing as pain shot through his ankle. Definitely sprained, he supposed, but he could see Teyla was in worse shape. "Don't worry."
"I am not worried."
McKay gritted his teeth and waded to her. The rocks had stopped shifting, but he could see the water tinting red. "There aren't any sharks, are there?"
"Little joke. Where does it hurt?"
"I think a rock has me pinned between the abdomen and thigh. That's--That's where the blood is coming from."
McKay felt sick. A stomach wound was dangerous enough, but with the water and the chance for infection and hypothermia. "Oh, God."
"Rodney," Teyla gasped, saying, "Do not... worry me."
"I'm sorry. Are you having trouble breathing?" He plunged his hands into the water, feeling gingerly around for the rock.
She shook her head. "No... I believe the water has numbed the pain somewhat."
"Okay. I'm going to..." He reached up and tapped his radio. "Atlantis, come in."
"Teyla's injured, we need immediate med-evac transport to these coordinates."
"ETA one hour."
"How is that immediate?"
"That's as fast as we can do, Doctor McKay."
He looked back at Teyla, whose face was growing paler. "I'll be waiting," he chirped into the radio, and then took her hand, which was grasping at him above the water. "Don't worry. I'll get you out of the water and then we'll be fine. It's only an hour."
She gave him a weak smile.
"We can do this." He squeezed her hand. "Basic equation to move that rock. If you don't think it's...holding anything in."
Teyla chuckled. "I think moving the rock and risking bleeding to death is preferable to drowning or freezing."
"Well, to each her poison." He found the edge of the rock and gripped it, wincing as the jagged edges cut into his hands. "I'm going to try and pull it off you, because I am a man of steel, and... Do you think you can squirm away?"
"Yes, I think I must."
"I think you must, too. One... two... three." He pulled on the rock, crying out as it sliced his fingers, but bracing his legs, including his bad ankle, against the bottom of the pool, he was able to shift it a few inches before his grip gave out and he tumbled backward into the water. When he surfaced again he saw Teyla a few feet away, floating freely, blood trails and her robes floating around her and making her look like a mermaid. He shook his head to clear the image, and then sloshed to her. "Teyla?"
She only moaned.
"Crap. That was supposed to fix everything. One grand gesture. That's how it always works."
Her eyes were closed, but she smiled.
He looped his hands under her arms and dragged her toward the bank. Once at the imprint in the mud where his body had fallen earlier, he scrambled onto the shore, and gently pulled her up, hefting her an inch at a time and gathering her in his arms. Even sopping wet, with muscles more toned than his own, she felt light. Perhaps it was the inhuman strength of the nurturer he felt, as he cradled her. "It'll be fine, Teyla. The boys will come, patch you up. Right?"
For a moment she didn't answer, and his heart began to beat faster with panic, but she shifted, resting her cheek on his shoulder. "I'm glad you are here, Rodney."
"You are loyal. More loyal than I believe you know. You would not leave me, or pace, or try to solve this. You're waiting... Sometimes a waiter is the best asset of all."
McKay nodded, rubbing his chin against her hair. He could feel her shivering in his arms, and he didn't want to look at the blood. She took his hand, guiding it to where he should apply pressure against his abdomen, and he did, closing his eyes. "It's the most proper course of action, that's all. Enlightened self-interest."
"How so?" She said, and coughed weakly against his shoulder.
"I don't want to lose you."
For an hour, he kept her warm and staunched the bleeding. For an hour, she clung to him, skin to skin. He could hear her heart beating. The sun began to dry them, but Teyla still shivered. When the puddle jumper arrived, she passed out from the pain, falling out of McKay's arms, but he clung to her hand until Carson shooed him out of the medical facilities.
Hours later he was allowed to return, limping, hurting from a round of antibiotics meant to stave off Atlantian microbiology. Teyla was awake, propped up in a bed, and smiling at him. "I must thank you for saving my life, Rodney."
"No, you must accept my apology for... for almost killing you." He looked down at his feet. His boots were new, and shiny. Her bare feet stuck out from the blankets. She could have been crushed. He was the man, he was supposed to protect her--
"I forgive you. But blame had never crossed my mind."
He looked up, and found her still smiling. He smiled back.
Teyla straightened. "You know, you are a good man, Rodney. I don't think I noticed it over your... loudness."
He chuckled. "And you are a good woman, Teyla. I don't think I saw that through your eye-rolling."
She rolled her eyes again, but chuckled with him, before rolling to place her feet on the floor. "I am ready to be released, and I would like to go back to the mainland. My people were concerned. Would you escort me?"
"I will take that as a yes."
"Good." He decided not to explain why 'Macho, Macho Man' was running through his mind.
* * *
She led him back along the river, walking slowly as he limped along. He reached a ledge above the waterfall, and sat wearily on a rock, kicking his sore foot out in front of him. Teyla settled at his side.
"Why did you bring me back here?"
"I wanted to replace your bad memory of this place with a good one. It is.. a principle philosophy of my people."
McKay nodded. "Getting right back on that horse."
She frowned at him.
"Yes," he said, looking out at the fertile hills and forests below them. "Commencing positive thinking."
"There is more to the memory that I wish to build."
"Oh?" He turned away from the landscape and looked at her. The fading sun was reflected in her eyes, and he found himself losing his breath. Surely, a trick of the light. She couldn't be leaning toward him like that...
"With your consent," she said.
Teyla kissed him. He closed his eyes as his lips parted against her mouth. He wanted to tell her things; How he'd noticed her beauty the first day they met, how her dark, alien features only accentuated the natural kindness and strength that made her such an appealing woman, someone he'd always wanted on earth, but he hadn't been the right kind of man on earth, and her influence on him was making him into the man who would follow her into the darkest depths of the galaxies, but he didn't know where to start, so he tried to concentrate the kiss until she withdrew, still smiling.
"I..." He shook his head, trying to clear the daze, and started again. "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship," McKay said. He knew he was blushing, and since men never blush, he turned back to the sunset.
Teyla leaned against his arm, and merely said, "Yes."