Episode Seven- Home Again, Part One- Chapter Five

Chapter Five

Kenmore stares up at McKay, facing down the barrel of his gun, as Ronon hisses in pain behind her.

“Who are you,” she asks.

“Death,” Goa’uld McKay answers.

“How clever,” Kenmore frowns. After all this time, that was the line the Goa’uld used. Gees, she’d get more fear out of a lisping ‘Kill da Wabbit’.

“Take off your jacket,” Goa’uld McKay orders.

Kenmore stares down McKay for a moment. Seriously? He wanted a strip tease now just so he could tell her his ‘Queen,’ whichever symbiote in the tanks that ended up being, would find her to be a suitable host. But McKay doesn’t flinch and Kenmore knows she needs to buy the other’s some time, so if she needed to get a little chilly to give them the seconds then fine she’d get a little chilly; but she’d draw the line at her underwear. If they couldn’t get in here by the time it came to that, then she wasn’t going to cover their butts by revealing hers. She methodically unsnaps then unzips her tactical vest, trying to be slow about the process but not too slow, then unzips the jacket underneath, and pulls it off, vest and all. Like she wasn’t instructed to do but had been in this situation especially against this particular sort of opponent enough times to know that the order was coming anyway, she holds the combination of gear out beside her. She sure as hell wasn’t about to hand it to him without him threatening her to do it first, if and when that order came. Some Goa’uld remembered to give it, some didn’t care to.

“Drop it away from you,” Goa’uld McKay ordered.

Okay, it doesn’t care to. Kenmore gives her gear a slight toss and it falls in a pile a few feet away from her. McKay, without missing a beat, moves over to it, puts his foot firmly on it then angles his foot and shoves her rifle, it’s strap slipping loose of the garments, back behind him all the way to the room’s door. It skids there to a stop with a few clanks of the gunmetal hitting the solid stone of the door.

“Take his gun,” McKay continues to order.

Instinctively, Ronon grunts and struggles trying to simultaneously get to his own gun, fallen a few inches away from him when he’d taken the hit, first and prevent Kenmore’s hand from getting there at all. McKay adjusts his aim to Ronon.

“Don’t even bother,” the Goa’uld smirks. It wasn’t an unusual sight on Rodney, in fact it was a pretty laughable regular occurrence, but with his eyes glowing like that, it wasn’t very funny anymore.

Kenmore turns around and faces Ronon. Her eyes never leave him as she leans forward across his legs. Ronon starts to struggle again, but it doesn’t stop Kenmore from continuing to lean over his prostrate legs, reach out, grab onto the barrel of his gun, and toss it ahead in the direction her body is facing. The weapon skids, hitting the distant side wall, and ricocheting in the corner between the side wall and the wall Ronon was stuck against a few times before finally coming to rest a couple of inches away from the base of the side wall again. Totally out of reach… for everybody. McKay’s weapon refocuses on the side of Kenmore’s head. She can sense the weapon back on her. She slides her eyes to the sides of their sockets. She couldn’t see it, but she knows the weapon is trained on her again.

“That was not what I told you to do,” the baritone double-voice informs her, “but it suits me all the same.”

Good, she was so glad; she rolls her eyes. Kenmore sits back on her legs, looks over up at McKay, and waits for further orders. None come. Instead McKay turns back to his computer, laying the pistol next to the crystal slat on top of the carved computer panel lid beside him. Oh come on, he wasn’t going to make it that easy for her, was he?

“I’ve been waiting for you,” he says.

“Where’s the rest of your crew,” she asks. The least she can do right now is get some background.

“They’re dead. The cold vacuum of space does that to people,” Goa’uld McKay announces simply.

“You jettisoned your crew,” she couldn’t believe that. She’d never heard of a Goa’uld dismissing his entire entourage like that before, no matter how rebellious they were being. Usually a Goa’uld just cut the upstart out of his court like a cancerous tumor out of a body and kept the rest of their people around to live in fear of what their God might do to one of them next if they found his displeasure.

“They jettisoned themselves. You would be surprised the ways in which people try to escape the honor of serving their God,” he answered her with a belittling glance.

“I think suicide was their last honor,” Ronon unexpectedly pipes up, gritting through his wounds.

McKay and Kenmore look back at him.

“You should tell your friend to keep quiet, conserve his energy. It may save his life,” the Goa’uld tells her nonchalantly as he goes back to the computer.

“What for,” Ronon challenges.

McKay ignores him.

“Help your friend,” he orders Kenmore without looking back at her.

Kenmore follows the orders she’d been waiting to hear. She returns her attention to Ronon and looks over his wound as much as she can with both of his hands covered in blood and in the way. Kenmore reaches for his hands. He pulls them sharply against him, pressing them into the bullet wound, and forcing more blood out over his tightly held hands. Kenmore stares at him, his hairline is already starting to dot with beads of sweat.

“Don’t do that,” she hisses at him.

“I’m not gonna help you help him,” Ronon condemns her through gritted teeth.

Kenmore leans in, as though she’s trying to look the wound over closer.

“You’re no good to me dead. Just trust me. I’ve got plans,” she whispers to him.

“One of the last plans you had got you crushed underneath a wall.”

“It was half a wall’s worth of scaffolding, not an entire wall.”

“There’s a difference,” he challenged her.

Kenmore sits back up and looks at him.

“You and Sheppard got crushed underneath a whole collapsed building once. My point is we both survived,” she looks him dead in the eye, “Specialist Dex survive.”

Although every part of him wanted to keep fighting her, it did occur to him that to die this way, definitely not the way he had ever imagined he would, was stupid. This wasn’t taking a bunch of Wraith with him, this wasn’t even taking this, this Goa’uld with him. Reluctantly, Ronon slowly lets his hands slide apart. It was only taking himself out and that was a stupid way to die in the Pegasus Galaxy. Kenmore leans in. Three small rivulets of blood are streaming out of the shredded deep hole in his tan-fleshed gut and down the rest of his dirty oatmeal-colored shirt into his lap where it’s starting to puddle… a lot, quickly.

“Oh my God,” she whispers, it had been more to herself than him but he heard it anyway. And he knew enough from Keller’s, Atlantis’ Chief of Medicine, evaluations of her medical abilities back on Shiana’s planet that he should be worried by Kenmore’s analysis of his wound more than he already was of it just feeling its impact on his body himself. It was bad. Really bad.

Her eyes so focused intently on the wound, Kenmore absentmindedly reaches for her vest. Instantly in one smooth motion McKay swoops up his gun, aims for Kenmore’s hand, and fires. Kenmore’s fingertips are a few inches away from the vest when McKay’s shot rips into the floor within those inches. She yanks her hand back less at the shot and more at the feel of sharp shards of shattered alien obsidian flooring pelting her fingertips. She rolls her eyes. In the roll, her eyes light on her vest’s radio. She notices that it’s stuck on receiving. Sheppard’s trio is still listening in. Her eyes finish their roll. At least Kenmore and Ronon aren’t alone in this situation.

“I need the gauze pads from my vest,” she sighs.

McKay puts the gun back down, rips one of his own tactical vest’s pockets open, pulls out the four pre-packaged gauze pads inside, and tosses them at his hostages. They land next to Ronon’s booted feet. McKay goes back to work on his computer tablet as Kenmore reaches back behind her and gets the pads. She sets them down in front of her and rips open the first one. She immediately puts it over Ronon’s wound and presses down as gingerly as she can while still helping him. Ronon groans and shifts. Kenmore looks up at him.

“Move as little as possible,” she tells him gently.

Ronon just stares at her. Surprised. She looks back down at the pad. She can see its center starting to bleed through.

“Hold this,” she tells him.

Kenmore transitions her hand off of the pad as Ronon’s hand takes its place. Kenmore rips open another pad.

“Here.”

She lays the new pad over the old one as Ronon lifts his hand off of it just enough for her to slip the new piece of sterile white cotton in over the other safely. As he does, she notices that the old pad is almost completely soaked through now. She bet if he touched it again, blood would squeeze out of it as if he were wringing a thoroughly soaked cloth in his hands. Damn. The wound is just bleeding too heavily. They aren’t putting enough pressure on it.

Kenmore reaches down and undoes her belt buckle. She pulls her belt from its loops, leans forward, and threads it behind the small of Ronon’s back. For a moment he was startled by the smell of her: peppermint. Clear and crisp and… refreshing. She leans back on her heels again and hooks the belt together in front of him then looks him in the eyes.

“I’m going to tighten the buckle over the wound like a tourniquet, okay? I’m going to try and get it tight enough to stem the bleeding, but not so tight that it causes anymore damage,” her eyes flit down to the wound again then come back up to his, “This is gonna hurt,” she warns him.

Ronon nods, ironically he stares at her bizarrely like a tamed beast fascinated by the voice of its soothe-sayer. Kenmore slides the buckle all the way down the belt strap to the middle of the new pad in one smooth motion. Then she pulls it tighter. Some blood seeps into the new pad, pinking it, as Ronon tenses and shifts sharply, wincing and groaning in pain. Kenmore snaps the buckle shut, locking it off there. She takes the rest of the length of strap, threads it up underneath and between the tightened and clamped off stretch of belt and Ronon’s taut stomach. Then pulls it down through the slight loop made by the rest of strap below. Knotting the excess strap next to the buckle. She tugs on the tip making sure it’s tight. Ronon winces again and wriggles at the continuing sudden jolts of pain from the lieutenant’s handiwork.

Kenmore reaches up and cups Ronon’s cheek in her hand, rubbing his wet skin softly with her thumb. He freezes and looks into her eyes; there’s some of the gold and icy light from all around reflected in them. He’s never noticed how potently they could bore into a man.

“It’s stemmed the flow, okay,” she tells him.

Ronon nods again, at least he approved of her what his friends called ‘bedside manner’. Bedside… his eyes dart away from her to McKay, to the bottom of the computer console he’s working at, to this room’s walls, it’s door, the floor; just anywhere but her. Kenmore looks over his face. His hairline is wet, the beads are gone, and his whole face is moist with sweat. Not too much yet. But still…  She calls back to McKay over her shoulder.

“I need a rag. He’s sweating.”

McKay just laughs at her. Kenmore frustratedly glances back at him then returns her attention back to Ronon. For a moment she analyzes his features. His Cro-Magnon brow line brimming with the threat of sweat, his upper lip underneath his coarse mustache doing the same. The short curls and furls of his hair between his dreadlocks finally matted down to his forehead and scalp, soaked. Dark crescents were starting to appear beneath his eyes. Then she slides her forearm and hands over his face, wiping the sweat off of him and then wiping her limbs off on the stomach of her black t-shirt. Despite himself, he takes a sniff then quickly disguises it in a series of other sniffs and grunts that make it sound like he was trying to steady himself from the pain and discomfort of his wound rather than covering up an out of control mistake. Deep in his nostrils he notices her peppermint scent’s mixed on his skin with the salt from his sweat. Suddenly a low hum starts to come from the wall his gun is against. From the wall next to them. Kenmore and Ronon look over at it. Then she looks back at McKay. He’s grinning at the wall.

“What did you do,” she accuses.

“Keep him alive,” Goa’uld McKay orders.

“What do you need us for,” she barks. Clearly at the end of her own line.

“Bait,” he answers.

McKay grabs his gun, sticks it back in its holster, and unplugs the tablet from the center computer console. He walks over to the doors. They easily slide open at his presence. And he walks out of the room. Kenmore waits, tennineeight, and waits, sevensixfive, just to make sure his departure isn’t a trick, fourthreetwoone. Then an additional four-count, just in case. She wasn’t stupid, how many times had Stargate team personnel been caught with their pants down when they’d thought they were in the clear only for the damn snakehead to come back. One, still no McKay. She dives for Ronon’s gun. And her hand slams into a sky blue shimmering forceshield with streaks of searing white electricity arcing through it before the rest of her body can get there.

“Ow, damn it.”

She yanks her hand back, shaking and flexing it and wincing. She looks around, waiting. McKay doesn’t come back. Kenmore turns around, looks at the main computer just sitting there, and makes a play for it too. Closer than the wall this time, her hand again slams into a sizzling pale blue forceshield. She yanks it back, flexing it over and over again. She looks over at the door and where her gun is. Gingerly this time, she slowly reaches out to it. Nothing. She leans forward. Nothing. She stretches out as far as she can towards it. Still nothing. McKay has left the door free. She pulls back to Ronon.

“Lay down,” she orders him.

“What?”

“Lay down. You can’t stand up and walk, you’ll hurt yourself even further, but I can drag you around everywhere with me without too much damamge so lay down.”

“Go get your gun,” he orders her.

“No,” she snaps.

“What?”

“No,” she repeats like it was an obvious answer.

Ronon, already in agony, fights the urge to go get the gun himself and shoot her.

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