Prompt: Lost In The Woods

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis

Category/Rated: Gen, G

Year/Length: 2008/ ~679 words

Disclaimer: Not mine, no profit, only having fun.

Prompt: Lost in the woods, someone has to climb a tree and someone has to hallucinate (if you want to be accurate to my thing, it ought to be the same person).

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John shouts, "Rodney, you have to come down!" while pacing around the base of the huge tree. He's still not sure how Rodney managed to climb the damn thing. There are no branches at all until far above John's head, and the bark is too smooth for John to get anything even remotely resembling a handhold.

That's not changing the fact that Rodney is clinging to a huge branch almost thirty feet up, his face pressed up against the bark. The rain is beating down harder, and John is sure that the sky is going to start throwing lightning around at any moment. He needs to get Rodney down before that happens, and he's starting to worry that he's not going to be able to.

"Rodney! I need you to talk to me here, buddy, please," the last word breaks in his throat, and John shakes himself hard. He's just tired. Exhaustion is weighing him down, the hours he's spent chasing Rodney through the woods through the rain are wearing him thin.

Rodney still isn't answering him, and John slaps a hand against the side of the tree, wondering what the hell he's supposed to do. Teyla and Ronon are god alone knows where. There's no way up this fucking tree. Rodney's out of his mind on whatever the natives gave him. And the storm is just getting worse.

This is so not good. This is so far from okay that there aren't even words for it. John presses both hands to the trunk, pushing as hard as he can for no real reason. He tips his face up towards Rodney and tries again, "Please come out of the tree, Rodney."

"I can't," Rodney's voice is small, John can barely hear him over the rain. But at least he's answering. That's something. John swallows hard in relief, laughing hoarsely in the back of his throat and slapping the tree trunk.

"Yes you can. It's fine. I need you to come down now, okay?"

"I can't, there are–don't you see them? They're everywhere and they're going to–they're going to eat me. I can't–I have to stay up here." Rodney readjusts his grip on the branch, and fuck, he's going to fall, John just knows he's going to fall. This is so not good.

John swallows hard, "No one is going to eat you. I swear, okay? I'm right here and I'm not going to let anyone hurt you. But you have to come down out of the tree."

For a long time Rodney doesn't say a word, and then he looks towards John, his expression all twisted up with emotion when he says, "You promise?" John nods before he thinks about it, because there isn't a damn thing he wouldn't promise to get Rodney safe back on the ground, where John can take care of him.

Rodney hesitates for another long moment, and then shouts, "Okay!" and starts moving back towards the tree trunk. John has to bite back the sudden desire to yell for Rodney not to come down the tree, because what if he slips, what if he falls, they're miles from help and there's no way in fuck that John can carry Rodney.

But Rodney is moving slowly and steadily, like climbing gigantic trees is something he does every day. John's heart is in his throat, pounding hard as Rodney shimmies down the trunk, grabs the last branch and then lets himself drop.

John curses breathless, rushing forward to where Rodney is sprawled out on his back. John goes to his knees, reaching out to take Rodney's pulse, and Rodney jerks up, grabbing John and clinging on. Rodney's eyes are huge, and he's babbling, "They're everywhere–they're everywhere, John, John, you're not going to let them get me, John, right?"

John swallows hard, pulling Rodney closer and letting Rodney bury his face against John's shoulder. The rain beats down hard around them and John holds on tight, his voice coming out ragged when he says, "Nothing is going to get you, buddy, not as long as I'm here."

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