38 Minutes Without You (would be an eternity)

~ Written for the sga_flashfic 38 minutes challenge.

Rodney has forgotten something and -- because he can't remember, hence the phrase "forgotten something" -- he doesn't know what it is.

Sometimes when he forgets stuff he still has a clue and can think around the missing piece in his thoughts until he figures out what it is. This time he can barely find the shape of his thoughts and it worries him because it's almost like it isn't his brain right now at all.

Rodney wants to yell at someone, but he can't. He doesn't have anything to say and besides he's pretty sure that yelling will only make people stop what they're doing and look at him and ask him what the hell. He'll have to explain that he doesn't have a clue why he's yelling, or what he's forgotten, and that will lead him down to the infirmary where Carson will say soothing things about lying down.

He'll make it sound good, and reasonable, and before he'll know it Rodney will be on a bed in the infirmary and his eyes will close and everyone will fucking die.

Rodney stares at the control panel in front of him and tries to focus. He can't because -- he can't remember that, either. All he knows right now is that he has to make this work. This thing in front of him which has lights and circuits and beepy things and someone is saying his name.

"I don't have time!" he snaps, and he hasn't a clue what was said. He does glance over long enough to discover John Sheppard and Radek Zelenka looking at him. "What?" he snaps again, because they're not going away. How can he make this work with them standing there trying to have a conversation with him?

"Come on," John says, and Rodney yanks his arm out of reach when John tries to grab it. Only for some reason his arm likes John better and lets John grab it instead of moving out of the way like Rodney wanted.

John pulls and Rodney finds himself falling forward -- or backward, depending -- he's half-turned around so part of him is going one way and part is going the other, only both of him are going toward John and Zelenka and he wonders if he shouldn't start calling Radek 'Radek' in his head, like he calls the Major 'John'.

He's shaking, or maybe the room is vibrating and it's just another tidal wave or maybe the Darts have gotten here already. "I have to finish this," he says, keeping his voice calm and simple because they're acting like four year olds who don't understand what "dead" means.

John and Radek-in-his-head look at each other then back at him and there's this thing he's forgotten, and it's just possible that it has something to do with this. With *them*.

"Rodney?" John is saying, and now he sounds like he's talking to a four year old. Maybe he was talking to Radek?

"What?" Rodney finally asks, because John is still looking at him like he's waiting for a response.

"Do you want to come with me?"

Rodney frowns. "I don't have time," he repeats and he knows he's said this before. God, how many times has he had to explain that he has to keep working if he's going to save them? The Wraith won't stop and things like naps and food and breathing can just fucking well wait.

Radek's got his other arm now and his arms apparently both like other people better than they like him. He's being pulled and he falls off the stool and stumbles to his feet -- but only because John and Radek are holding him up. The room isn't spinning, but there is a decided tilt to it. It must be the stimulants Carson has given them, only Radek had them to and he looks like he isn't having any trouble standing.

Rodney narrows his eyes. "Why aren't you helping me?" he demands. Radek is supposed to be...doing something. Helping. Working, beside him.

God, what the fuck are they doing?

"Rodney?" John asks and again his voice is all calm and soothing and don't spook the crazy man.

"Yes?" Rodney wonders if he's ever going to ask his question. He doesn't have time for any of this. He tries to turn around and they won't let his arms go so he can't get anywhere. "Let me work!" he begs, orders, and he hates the way his voice breaks.

Why don't they understand? The Wraith will *be here*. And everyone will *die*, and he doesn't need sleep more than he needs for everyone to not die.

"We know," Radek says and he's got the crazy man tone, as well.

Rodney gives him a sharp look. Tries, but his eyes aren't really focusing so well at the moment. He fakes it and hopes his irritation and desperation -- but not his terror -- get across.

John's pulling on his arm and Rodney stumbles forward one step. Away from what he's working on and Rodney tries to pull back.

"NO!" He yanks back, harder. "No, you can't.. don't you people GET IT?" he shouts, and he's finally yelling the way he wants to yell, because the Wraith are coming and they're killing everyone and people are fucking disappearing and dying and John's gone to drop a bomb on them and isn't ever coming....

Rodney blinks and looks at John again.

John's frowning a little, but otherwise he seems to be standing there like an actual person. Rodney lifts his arm up -- which John doesn't quite let go of -- and pokes him. His finger meets with resistance, right where John's shoulder would be.

"Rodney?" John asks again. How many times? It seems like dozens. Like he keeps looking up and finding John standing there saying his name and dragging him away from his work, and people die because they didn't get the bombs working in time and John flies away and--

Doesn't die, because he's saying Rodney's name like only a not-dead-person would do.

"John?" slips out, and he knows something's wrong because it should be 'Major' or 'Sheppard' or 'dickwad.'

"Are you awake now?" John asks very gently and suddenly Rodney remembers.

"Oh, god." He looks around and he's in the room where they finished building the bombs. Where he and Radek worked for he still doesn't know how long. Hours, days, a lifetime or five. And the room is empty because the bombs are gone and John dropped his off and got away. Destroyed the Hive ship and--

"Oh, god." Rodney closes his eyes.

And someone had to take the second one out and Carson was the only one left after the Wraith came.

"Oh." Rodney suddenly needs Radek and John to hold him up, because he's awake now and he remembers what he forgot. Remembers falling asleep in bed, with his back to the empty right hand side.