Blood von SlayersGrl

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Author's note: In case you couldn't tell from the title, there is some mention of the red stuff essential to human life. In graphic detail. So, if the mention of blood makes you queasy, consider yourself warned. And I have no idea where this story came from. I've just been meaning to write a darker fic...

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Blood. McKay wasn't sure he had ever seen so much blood. Ruby rivers of it flowed over the rough earthen floor. There were tiny drops splattered along the walls, each one bearing witness to the life that had existed only moments ago and the violence that had erased it. And standing amongst the bodies was Sheppard, calmly holding his U.S. military issue knife.

He hadn't even seen them coming. The scientist had been examining some markings along the now blood-spattered wall when a small group of locals had snuck up behind him. The sound of a struggle had alerted him to the problem and he had turned around just in time to witness Major Sheppard slam the handle of his knife into the temple of one of the attackers.

Before the man even hit the floor, he had changed targets and was parrying a blow from another man's knife. Sheppard used his left hand to push his opponent's arm to the side to avoid the blade and then slammed his knee into the man's stomach. Briefly, his gaze shifted back to his teammate and his eyes widened in surprise. He quickly pried the enemy's weapon from his hand and threw it just to the right of McKay.

Rodney dove reflexively to the left. He then heard the unmistakable sound of metal impacting flesh and looked up to see the damage the blade had inflicted. It wasn't made to be thrown in such a manner, but it served its purpose. The knife had impaled the villager in the chest. He was only a few feet from where McKay had just been standing, a curved knife clutched in his hand. The man fell to the floor, coughing up blood. McKay had the distinct horror of watching the man spasm on the floor for a few seconds while he choked on his own blood. Then the motion stopped and the man simply stared into nothingness with cold, unseeing eyes.

He quickly moved his gaze back to the small battle unfolding before him. With two of their men incapacitated and one killed, the other attackers decided to be more cautious. The remaining three chose to stay just out of reach of Sheppard's knife, working to form a loose circle around him.

The major shifted the knife to his left hand and drew his 9mm. At the lack of response from the men, he figured they had no idea of the capabilities of this small piece of metal. So he fired a warning shot into the air. The sound echoed through the small cavern creating a deafening boom in its wake. "Just walk away and no one else has to get hurt. We promise we'll leave."

The man to the right snarled in response and lunged forward, arm raised to slash at his target. Without any hesitation, Sheppard fired his weapon. The man was thrown backwards from the impact of the bullet. Too late, he realized it had been a distraction. He saw movement out of the corner of his eye and watched as a blade swung towards his chest. He stepped back to try to avoid the blow. The blade sliced harmlessly across his Kevlar vest. The major quickly shifted his gun to fire off a shot. He watched in fascination as the bullet tore through the other man's shoulder, splaying blood as it passed. He didn't remember his third opponent until he felt the searing pain as a knife punctured his side.

Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion for McKay. He could only watch the events before him. The major had fired off two shots only seconds apart before being impaled by the third assailant. Rodney could hardly believe his eyes. There was no way any of this was happening. He found himself staring at the blade that was now resting inside his team leader. Red liquid was already pooling on the blade and was falling to the floor to mix with the blood that had already been spilled that day. The moment lasted only an instant before it was broken by the man savagely ripping the knife out and shoving his victim to the floor.

The major had not uttered a sound during this most recent display of violence. He fell to his knees and then used the momentum to roll to his side. Another shot rang out in the silence and the last man standing slumped to the ground, his blood painting the wall behind him.

The severity of the events came crashing in on McKay. They had been attacked. Sheppard had protected him. Sheppard was injured. This last thought drove the scientist into action. Rodney rushed over to where he still lay sprawled on the ground. He immediately noticed the small puddle of crimson that was forming under his friend's body. "Major? Are you okay?" he asked before realizing it was a ridiculous question. He'd been stabbed... of course he wasn't okay. He placed his hand over the other man's wound, hoping to slow the blood flow. It didn't seem to be helping since he could still feel the warm sticky fluid oozing between his fingers.

Without warning, Sheppard's body suddenly went stiff. He quickly grabbed for his gun but it had slid just out of reach of his arm when he fell. McKay took one glance at the weapon and then in the direction of whatever had spooked the major. His eyes widened in surprise at seeing one of the unconscious villagers slowly rising to his feet.

McKay's reaction was instantaneous. He dove for the gun and, with the cold metal gripped firmly in his right hand, he raised his arm and pulled the trigger. Another explosion echoed in his ears, but his target did not fall down. Rodney was dismayed to realize he had missed. Without thought, he shifted his aim and fired again. This time he knew the bullet had hit. It was hard to ignore the crunching sound as the projectile shattered bone before slamming to rest in the hard stone wall. He then turned the unfamiliar weapon towards the last breathing opponent. "Please don't move..." Rodney whispered to himself. Luckily, he was spared from having to make any more tough decisions by the arrival of the other half of their team.

Ford and Teyla took one look at the room and sprung into action. They each split up and examined each body briefly to determine who was still a threat. Then Teyla went to help Sheppard while Ford took over watching the unconscious man.

"McKay, what happened?" he demanded, never once taking his eyes off his captive.

"They... they came out of nowhere... everything happened so fast..." He couldn't say anything else as he was suddenly overcome with nausea. He leaned over and added the contents of his stomach to the mess that already coated the ground.

Ford realized he wasn't going to be getting any concrete answers from the scientist so he turned his attention to his commanding officer. "How is he?" he asked Teyla.

"Not well. His injury is severe. We must return to Atlantis immediately." She was already preparing Sheppard to be moved. She had wrapped his side to put pressure on the wound. Somewhere along the way, he had thankfully passed out.

"McKay, help Teyla," the lieutenant ordered, still watching for any more surprises.

Rodney hurried over to his team members and grabbed one of Sheppard's arms while Teyla grabbed the other. Between to the two of them, they managed to pick him up and started off towards the gate. Ford was right behind them, scanning for threats as they went.

They were never so happy to see the gate. The major's breathing had become labored during their short dash to safety. McKay was worried by the steady flow of red that was spreading across his shirt. He was relieved when they finally stumbled through the wormhole and relinquished their load to the medical staff.

Oblivious to the flurry of activity around him, Rodney stood in the center of the gate room and watched as Sheppard was rushed off to surgery. He didn't hear the calm, feminine voice beside him until she tapped him on the shoulder. Startled, he jerked his head to the side and was embarrassed to realize that Dr. Weir had been asking him a question.

"What?"

She frowned in concern. "I was just asking if you were injured."

McKay frowned before glancing down at himself. He was covered in blood. His shirt, his pants, his hands... His face paled at the realization. "No... it's uh... not mine..."

Dr. Weir wasn't exactly convinced. "I want you to get checked out anyway." She waved a nurse over to make sure he actually went to the infirmary. She then smiled encouragingly. "Let me know how Major Sheppard's doing." Elizabeth had a feeling that Rodney wouldn't be leaving the infirmary until he knew the other man was going to be okay.

Eight grueling hours later, McKay found himself seated next to Sheppard's bed. Dr. Beckett had assured him that while the wound had been severe, the major would recover. He found that hard to believe considering how much blood the man had lost, but he trusted the doctor's opinion.

Rodney glanced down at his hands. Although he had scrubbed them until they were raw, he could still envision the slick blood that had coated them. "How do you do it?" he asked the still unconscious man lying on the bed. "How can you take another man's life and still live with yourself?" He wasn't surprised at the lack of an immediate response. But he had time. He settled back in his seat. Perhaps he'd stumble across the answer while he waited. Besides, it would give him something to think about besides the image of the blood soaked room and the violence behind it that would be forever engraved in his memory.
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