Everyone was giving Rodney a wide berth, aware that he was furious. It wasn't even the loud, easy to handle anger, but the quiet, burning fury that was eating Rodney up from the inside and no one was sure how much longer he'd last before he'd fall apart.
Usually, it was down to Sheppard to fix these things, but Sheppard was the cause and he... might never be fixing anything again. That left the rest of them scrambling and unsure. Zelenka and Beckett had both tried and been firmly rebuffed. Ronon had ended up with a black eye for his attempt - which was at once impressive and scary. Even Teyla had failed, leaving her close to tears.
Evan pretty much felt that left him to try. Woolsey wasn't going to and even Keller seemed to have decided to avoid Rodney as much as possible. So as Sheppard's second in command... that left him.
Him and a jumper and the distinct possibility he'd end up with a black eye.
"Alright, why the fuck am I here?"
"You are the foremost expert on Ancient technology Doctor McKay," Lorne reminded.
Usually, Rodney would agree. This time he snorted angrily. "Do I look like a moron? I am not. I haven't recently become one, so stop bullshitting."
"You know Doc, your language has gone right down the pan," Lorne said.
"Point," Lorne said. "Doc... Rodney..."
"I don't recall saying you could call me by my first name."
"Rodney," Lorne repeated. "I get it, Sheppard... and he might never... and you're pissed because you can't do anything..."
Rodney's lunge was so unexpected, Lorne was surprised when he ended up on his back in the rear of the jumper, a face - and lap - full of angry scientist.
"You can hit me if you want, we're not leaving here until you deal," Lorne said.
"I can fly the damn jumper myself Major," Rodney growled.
"Can you do it without these?" Lorne asked, displaying a couple of small crystals in his palm. He wasn't sure of their exact function and Rodney might be able to take of without them, but he'd be willing to bet there'd be trouble somewhere along the way from the missing crystals.
Rodney's eyes hardened and for a minute, Lorne really thought Rodney was going to smack him, or just out and out strangle him.
"I can't fix it, he's stuck in that... and I can't fix it and I don't know... I can't..." and Rodney's voice broke and his face crumbled and tears spilled over his cheeks and he was still half straddling Lorne, so Lorne pulled him close and held him while he cried.
Lorne wasn't sure how long it took, before Rodney calmed, quietening to soft snuffles and tremors. "It's easier if I'm... angry..." Rodney said softly.
"I know," Lorne said. "But you're not helping yourself or anyone else that way."
Rodney looked up at him, expression plaintive, pleading and Lorne swallowed, his hand rising almost unconsciously to wipe the tear tracks on Rodney's face. "You can't be angry forever... You'll find a way to help Sheppard, if anyone can, you can, but right now you're angry and hurting and you're hurting everyone else too."
"What if I never fix it," Rodney asked softly.
"Sheppard has a lot of faith in you and the rest of us, pretty much do as well. We've kind of come to expect you pulling miracles out of your ass, I'm sure this won't be any different, even if it does take a little longer," Lorne said.
"And in the mean time? I can't break down, I can't..."
"You've got friends to help hold you up," Lorne told him.
Rodney nodded and after a few moments quite spoke again. "I'm sort of on top of you."
"I had noticed," Lorne said with a wry grin. "You wanna move?"
"You're kinda comfortable," Rodney said.
"Thanks... I think..."
"You're also stroking my jaw in a pretty intimate way."
"I..." Lorne, really didn't have an answer for that. And if he had, he wouldn't have been able to give it, because Rodney kissed him. "Uh... I'm not sure replacing anger with sex is..."
"If you think that was sex Major..." Rodney muttered. "I'm sorry, you're right, it's..."
Lorne tugged him back into another kiss. "Just this once," he murmured.
And then they'd go back to Atlantis and Rodney would be if not happy, then sarcastic and brilliant and figure out a way to save Sheppard from his not-coffin and things would be normal.