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10 January 2009 @ 06:14 pm
Actions Speak Loudest of All by Leesa Perrie  
Title: Actions Speak Loudest of All
Author: leesa_perrie
Rating: PG
Characters: McKay, Sheppard, Ronon, Teyla, Beckett and The Mag 7 (from the TV show).
Pairings: None, Gen.
Genre: AU. Crossover. Angst. Action/Adventure. Friendship.
Summary: The man rode into town, on a day of hot, dust-ridden wind, his black clothes smudged grey...

A/N: A crossover with the Magnificent Seven TV show, set in the Old West.
For an overview of Mag 7, go here

I am a SGA writer first and foremost, but have tried to bring in the Mag 7 as much as possible. Thank you to jayne_perry for the betaing, and to NotTasha for the links to some very useful Mag 7 sites. This has no been beta read by someone familiar with the Mag 7 TV shos, so apologies for any errors.

My prompt was: "It's not who we are. It's what we do that defines us."



Actions Speak Loudest of All
by Leesa Perrie


Chapter One – Strangers in Town

The man rode into town, on a day of hot, dust-ridden wind, his black clothes smudged grey, a handkerchief wrapped over half his face and his hat pulled down to protect his eyes. His chestnut horse was solid looking and built for speed, with two white front fetlocks and a white patch down her nose.

Chris watched from the sidewalk, alert for danger. With luck this was just another drifter passing through and causing no trouble, but something about the man's poise suggested danger. He recognised the look of a man used to battles; a gunslinger for certain and a man for hire possibly.

"Trouble?" Vin asked, appearing beside him from out of the dark.

"Maybe."

"Want me to keep an eye on him?"

He didn't answer, watching as the stranger hitched his horse outside the Standish Tavern. Detaching himself from the wall he'd been leaning against, he ambled that way himself, Vin close on his heels.

Entering the saloon, Vin headed over to the table that Buck and JD were occupying, but Chris remained close to the entrance, noting in passing that Ezra was deep in a card game with another stranger, one who had arrived on the stagecoach earlier that day; an odd stick, abrasive and uppity in his ways, wearing clothes that harked of city style, though not as flamboyant as some that passed through Four Corners, or even of their resident gambler.

One would be led to believe by the look of consternation on Ezra's face that the game was not going his way. However, knowing Ezra as he did, he suspected it to be a ploy to lure his opponent into overconfidence and higher stakes. Either way, it was not his concern right now as he watched the stranger remove the handkerchief from his face and order a shot of rye from Inez.

He walked to the bar, ordered a drink for himself and settled down to keep an eye on things.

----------------


John had heard about Four Corners and how it was protected by seven gunslingers, and he wanted no trouble. A few drinks in the local saloon, a good meal, a comfy bed and then on the next day. He was supposed to have met up with Teyla and Ronon over at Beckett's newly acquired farm this afternoon, but he was running late. He knew they'd be worried that something had happened to him, but he couldn't help that. There had been a bank robbery in the last town that he had helped to stop, and he'd had to stay there a few days to give witness at the robbers' trial.

He could travel through the night, but travelling at night in a wind that was worsening was not appealing and could be dangerous. He knew they wouldn't want him to take unnecessary risks with his life. In fact, if he did, he'd never hear the end of it from Beckett.

Aware of being watched by another man dressed in black, Larabee most likely from what he'd heard, he made no sign of his knowing and instead concentrated on his drink. He really didn't want any trouble, and if that meant keeping a low profile and putting up with the local equivalent of the law watching him, he'd do it. It was something he was used to anyway, as many people tended to be suspicious of strangers in their town.

A noise from the card table he'd vaguely noted on his way in drew his attention. He'd recognise that outraged cry anywhere, and sure enough, an annoyed looking Rodney McKay was glaring at the man across the table from him. A man who looked very pleased with himself, and rightly so judging by the pot of money he'd clearly just acquired.

"You cheated!"

"I assure you, good sir, I did not," came the silken reply.

"But, but... you did!"

Sighing, wondering what bad thing he'd done to bring him to this town at this time, he sauntered casually over to the table, fully aware of his shadow following him.

"Are you besmirching my reputation?" the Southern gentleman asked, a hint of menace in his cultured voice.

"What? Of course..."

"McKay," John said, drawing the attention of both gamblers. "Well, now, fancy meeting you around here."

"Huh? Oh, um, you... er..." Rodney stuttered, clearly struggling to remember his name.

"Sheppard. John Sheppard."

"Oh, right, yes..."

"Why don't I buy you a drink, for old time's sake?"

"But... he..."

"McKay," he said again, giving him one of his most intimidating looks. It worked, as he knew it would.

"Um, right, okay."

John tipped his hat at the winning gambler and herded McKay over to the bar, ordering another drink.

"He did cheat," Rodney stated, the outrage back in his voice.

"Maybe he did, maybe he didn't, but do you really want to make anything of it? Duals over honour aren't unknown, you know?"

"What? No!" McKay looked alarmed at the thought, before scowling. "Still isn't right..."

"McKay, my advice; don't gamble, and for your own sake, calm down."

Rodney grabbed his drink angrily, slugging it down in one swallow, which resulted in a lot of spluttering and coughing. John shook his head, wondering why he'd interfered while at the same time knowing the answer. For some unknown reason, Beckett counted this McKay character amongst his friends and if he found out that John had let him get hurt... Yeah, that didn't bear thinking about. That doctor could be mean when he wanted to, and he had no desire to try out any of his 'medicinal purgatives' that were 'so good for your health'. Sure, right, he thought, grimacing at the memory of the last time he'd got himself talked into one of those.

"Where are you heading?" he asked, once the spluttering stopped, already guessing the answer.

"Carson's. The stagecoach doesn't go any closer to his place, being stuck out in the wilds that it is." McKay looked thoroughly grieved at the inconvenience.

"Yeah, a good two hour's ride from here," John said dryly. "I'm heading over there in the morning."

"You are?" McKay brightened at that. "You can tell him I'll be along later, after I sort out my financial situation. Can't hire a horse and cart now, after that cheating cheat of a gambler took my money," he said bitterly.

"Gonna wire your sister?"

"No! She threw me out and told me not to darken her door again!"

"Ah, so you're homeless and Beckett found out?"

"He sent me a letter, fortunately Jeannie had the decency to send it on to the hotel I was staying in. I told him not to contact me via her in future, which is probably why she forwarded it onto me in the first place."

"Let me guess, he invited you to his place? Huh, didn't strike me as the type to inflict pain on himself."

"Oh, thank you. Thank you so much." McKay's eyes flashed with anger, and something else; a deep anguish.

Huh? Maybe McKay was capable of feelings other than pride, anger and arrogance after all. But then, he remembered asking Beckett once why he put up with someone like McKay, to be told that he hadn't spent an evening with the 'lad' when half-snookered on a couple of shots of rye – apparently McKay couldn't hold his drink – and that there was 'a lot more to Rodney McKay than immediately met the eye'. Perhaps there was. Certainly one shot of rye had removed any feelings of intimidation he knew he engendered in the man.

"I'll be at Beckett's tomorrow. I'm sure once he knows you're in town he'll send someone with a spare horse for you."

"Right. Thanks."

"Did you pay for a hotel room before entering this den of iniquity?"

"Um..." At least McKay had the sense to look embarrassed.

"Okay," he drawled. "You know you're an idiot, right?"

"I am not!"

"Yeah, whatever." He sighed deeply, knowing he was going to regret this. "Well, it looks like you'll be sleeping on a bedroll on the floor of my room..."

"But I've got a delicate back, I can't sleep on the floor..."

"You could always sleep in one of the alleys..." The look of horror on McKay's face was almost funny. "It's decided then. So, where can I get a decent meal around here?"

----------------


The stranger, Sheppard, had managed to diffuse a situation with the potential to turn bad, though Chris was fairly sure Ezra wouldn't have allowed it to. Still, the fact that Sheppard had stepped in was in his favour, though it presumably helped that Sheppard knew the man accusing Ezra of cheating.

He'd heard that the O'Neill's place had been bought by a man named Beckett, and judging by the conversation he had overheard, these two were friends of the new owner. Tomorrow, Buck and he would head over to the farm to offer help, in a gesture of neighbourliness.

They could also scope the place for potential trouble while they were there.

----------------


McKay had moaned and complained about sleeping on the floor to such an extent that John had given up the bed in the hopes of getting a good night's sleep. Of course, McKay had then moaned about getting into a bed that had been used – seriously, he'd only lain in it for half an hour at the most – but had soon subsided when John threatened to take the bed back.

Peace and quiet had, mercifully, descended at that point and sleep soon followed.

Waking at first light, a habit he had formed in the army, he rose and made use of the hotel's outhouse before gleefully getting his revenge by waking McKay. He wanted to get an early start, and of course, once he checked out of the room Rodney would also have to leave, so really, he didn't have any choice but to wake him. Judging by the curses sent his way, McKay wasn't buying that as a valid excuse. He shrugged, sending a smirk in his unhappy companion's direction and being rewarded by further curses and a fierce scowl.

He had to admit that baiting McKay was kind of fun.

Breakfast was a quick affair, with him giving into the glum looks of McKay and buying him food as well, on the understanding that McKay paid him back as soon as he was able to. He might be willing to share the room to avoid the wrath of Beckett, but he wasn't about to give his money away to just anyone.

Collecting his horse, he rode up to where he'd left McKay sitting on a bench outside the hotel. He was glad to note that the wind had died down overnight to a gentle breeze.

"Beckett'll send someone to get you, if he doesn't come himself."

"Fine."

"Try to stay out of trouble until then."

"I'm more than capable of looking after myself, thank you very much."

"Yeah, sure you are," he said disbelievingly, turning his horse away only to stop when two riders came up beside him.

"Hear you're heading out to O'Neill's old place?" said one of the riders, a man with a moustache.

"Yeah," he admitted cautiously.

"The place hasn't been lived in for a while, thought you might want a hand fixing it up."

"Well, that's very neighbourly of you, Mr...?"

"Wilmington. Buck Wilmington."

"John Sheppard."

"Chris Larabee," the other man introduced himself, though John had already guessed his name the night before.

"I hear you, along with five others, are the law around here?" he asked casually.

"We do our best," Buck answered with a friendly grin.

"Well, I'm sure Beckett will be happy to have the extra hands." He turned back to McKay. "See ya later."

"He's not coming?" Larabee asked.

"Ah, well, he's without a horse and lacking in funds to fix that, but we'll send a cart to pick him up later."

"Ezra cleaned him out then," Wilmington said, with a shake of his head and a wry smile.

"He cheated," McKay joined in the conversation. "I'm sure of it."

"Maybe, maybe not. Not much we can do without proof," Wilmington replied with a shrug of his shoulders.

"Yeah, yeah, whatever. I know how it goes, you all stick together."

"McKay, don't upset our new friends now," John said chidingly.

"He can borrow my horse, so long as I get him back in good condition."

John hadn't noticed the other man approach, nor had McKay judging by the way he jumped at the voice behind him.

"Oh, that's...no, that's okay... I can wait..." McKay stuttered out. The man's eyes narrowed dangerously.

"You don't want to ride a horse or my horse in particular?"

"No need to get riled up, Nathan. I'm sure McKay meant nothing by it," Larabee said, a dangerous hint to his voice suggesting that it was in McKay's best interests to agree with him.

"What?" McKay, however, just looked confused and John found it amusing to watch him work out what they meant. "No, no, it's nothing to do with..." McKay squawked in surprise, "I have no problem with colour or race! Seriously, no problem at all."

"You ever ridden a horse, McKay?" John interrupted, having never seen him on one before.

"Yes, of course I've ridden before," McKay replied, his voice rising in outrage before looking a little embarrassed. "It's just been some time since I have had need to."

"Buster is steady, you shouldn't have any problem with him," Nathan assured McKay.

"Um..." Rodney looked unsure for a moment before sighing. "Okay, let me get my bags. I paid for the livery owner to keep them safe overnight."

"We'll be waiting," John said, smirking as McKay followed after Nathan.

None of them noticed the cowboy who passed them, heading out to inform his leader that the target had arrived and was heading to the homestead.

----------------


The ride had been... interesting. McKay had nearly fallen off Buster twice along the way when the horse had sensed an opportunity to have some fun at the expense of its rider, and had been complaining bitterly that a genius like him shouldn't have to suffer the indignity of riding such a reprobate of a horse, as well as about how far they were having to ride, how sore he was getting, that he was hot, that the breeze was blowing dust into his eyes, and a myriad others subjects. Chris had never met anyone who could complain as much as this irritating man, and he'd met many a man capable of complaints in his time.

They came over a slight rise and looked down onto the farm below them. It was a decent size, though it had the run down look that came from being unoccupied for over a year. The O'Neills had sold or taken with them the livestock and contents of the house when they had returned back East, but selling the actual farm itself had taken longer than expected, due to unforeseen problems over ownership when some bunko artist had tried to claim the land as his. Eventually his deeds had been proven to be fake and the man was jailed for his attempted fraud.

They were greeted as they rode onto the farm by two men and a woman. He shook his head slightly in amusement as Buck's attention immediately zeroed in on the exotic beauty before them, who from Sheppard's description must be Teyla. Turning his attention to the two men, he presumed that the tall one with long braided hair and tattoos on the neck and left arm was Ronon, and that the other smaller man, with short dark hair and a cheerful smile, was Beckett.

"Ah, John, Rodney, you're here at last," Beckett called to them with a strong Scottish accent. "We were worried about you, John. You were supposed to be here yesterday."

"Yeah, well, got delayed slightly, but I'm here now. Found McKay hanging around Four Corners."

"I was not hanging around," McKay spluttered indignantly.

"Well, you're here now, that's what matters. Who are your friends?"

"This is Chris Larabee and Buck Wilmington, they're part of the law around here."



"What d'you do?" Ronon asked Sheppard, a hint of amusement in his eyes.

"Nothing!" Sheppard replied, all innocence and wounded dignity, which caused Ronon's amusement to turn into a wide grin.

"We came to offer you a hand with fixing this place up," Chris said. "Been abandoned a good while now."

"Thank you. I have to admit I wasn't expecting quite so much work to be done when I got here. Extra hands would be more than welcome, but we have another problem you might be able to help us with. I was about to send Ronon into town to find the seven men I heard about who look after things around here."

"Somethin' happen?" Sheppard asked, dismounting his horse, a worried look on his face.

"Aye, you could say that. Had a visit from a man called Oberoth and his gang. They wanted to talk with Rodney here, but went away when they realised he hadn't arrived yet."

"Oberoth?" squeaked McKay in fear.

"Yeah. Was all civil like. Said he'd be back this afternoon," Ronon said. "Sounded like a threat."

"I believe he will return in force," agreed Teyla.

"I thought he was dead!"

"Rodney, what does he want with you?" Beckett asked.

"To kill me most likely!" McKay replied, looking completely terrified.

"Maybe we should go inside to discuss things," Chris suggested, before turning to Buck. "Go back to town and get the others."

"You sure, Chris? If the gang comes back early you'll be needing all the help you can get."

"And that help is back in town."

"Okay. Don't get yourself killed while I'm gone," he said seriously, waiting only long enough for McKay to dismount so that he could take Buster back with him before heading back to town.

Dismounting, Chris followed the others inside and introductions were made and his presumptions as to who was who confirmed. Nathan would be interested to hear that Beckett was a doctor when he arrived, but for now, they needed to secure this place against attack.

----------------


Oberoth. He'd thought he was dead, killed in a knife fight in Fort Drummond, not alive and free and after him.

Oh hell, hell and damnation.

And Carson... he'd pulled perhaps the only person who seemed to like him into this mess, and damnation, this was really, really not fair.

He should turn around, catch the next stagecoach out of here and maybe, just maybe, Oberoth would leave his... his friend alone. He blinked. Friend? Well, the closest thing he'd had to one for a long, long time, that was.

But who was he kidding? Oberoth would burn this place down and everyone with it out of spite, that was just the way he was. Running wouldn't save them, and wouldn't save him either.

He'd have to stay and fight... or give himself up? No, not that. He knew it would be the noble thing to do, but he couldn't do it. He knew he wasn't brave and the thought of turning himself over to Oberoth, even to save his friends... he just couldn't do it and he hated himself a little for that.

"So, why does this Oberoth want to kill you, McKay? Insulted the wrong person?"

"What?" His attention was pulled back to the room by Sheppard's question.

"Rodney, what's going on?" Carson asked him.

"He used to own a company in Chicago that built steam engines for the railway. One of his engines blew up and derailed the train and a lot of people were hurt or killed, including the son of one of the railway bosses, Mr Patterson, who used to be a friend of my father when he was still alive. He remembered that I knew a lot about science and engineering, and steam engines, and asked me to check out whether the engines were faulty or if there was a design fault; whether it was an accident or if someone was to blame."

"I take it you thought Oberoth was to blame," Larabee stated.

"Yes. The engines were substandard and dangerous. He'd cut corners and used metal that wasn't up to the stresses the steam put on them. I was going to report this, but he sent someone to threaten me, and I..." he trailed off, shifting uncomfortably, not looking anyone in the eye. "I did what he asked. Told Mr Patterson that there was nothing wrong with the engines, that it was just an accident."

"Rodney..." Carson said, shocked.

"I'm sorry, but I... I'm not strong, okay? And I didn't have anyone who'd be willing to protect me. Hardly anyone could stand me and not many people would have mourned if I'd died, let alone have lifted a hand to help me," he said, trying to defend himself even though inside he was sickened at what he'd done.

"So, if you did what he wanted, why's he want you dead?" Ronon asked.

"Because another of his engines blew up and killed the people in the cab. Because I couldn't live with what I'd done and went to the authorities and confessed it all. Because he was sent to Fort Drummond for life, only managing to avoid the death sentence by hiring some fancy lawyer. I was told that he'd died there, I didn't know he was alive, let alone free!"

"McKay..." Sheppard tried to interrupt him, but he couldn't seem to stop.

"As for me, I was sent to a different prison for my part in it. I spent two years thinking about what I'd done, or hadn't done. And I'm sorry, I'm really sorry that I let him intimidate me, and that he came here, threatening all of you. I... I would leave, but he'll still try and kill you all, out of spite. I know how he operates. He sent someone to burn down the family home after my confession. Fortunately a neighbour saw what was happening and the fire was put out quickly. He didn't care that he could have burned the neighbouring houses too, he just wanted revenge. That's what he's like. I..." he looked Carson in the eye, afraid of what he might see there. "I should have told you, but you... you tolerated me, even seemed to like me, a bit. I didn't want to lose that and I'm sorry. Really, really sorry. Tell me what to do and I'll... I'll do it."

"You stay here and let us protect you," Sheppard said.

"Aye." Carson looked stunned by his outburst, but he had no doubt that Carson and the others would judge him and find him severely wanting once the shock wore off.

As soon as this was all over, supposing he survived it that was, he'd head East. He could find work somewhere, he was good with his hands, knew about science and engineering, could make clocks and clockwork toys too. He'd done that in prison. The Governor had discovered his skill and put him to work, mending clocks and watches, and he'd made toys for the Governor's children in return. It was better than being out in the heat digging trenches and the like, and he'd been happy to be segregated from the worst of the prisoners too. He didn't think he'd have survived if not for the Governor Charlesworth's goodwill towards him.

His attention returned to the house again as Larabee started to outline a plan to hold Oberoth and his men off if they arrived before his own people got here. But he paid scant attention, his mind still whirring over his past sins, how they'd managed to catch up with him and how, no doubt, any friendship that he might have had with Carson would be over now.

Maybe it was as well. Friendships never seemed to work out for him. Even his sister couldn't stand him, and she was family and supposed to put up with him.

He turned his attention back to the plans in hand, hoping that Larabee's friends got here first.

----------------


Chapter Two - Waiting for Battle

Chris checked his watch. Almost four hours had passed and fortunately there had been no sign of Oberoth and his gang. During this time, Carson and Teyla had busied themselves boiling bandages and other items in case they were needed, while Ronon, Sheppard and himself had worked out a reasonable strategy for defence. McKay had hovered about until Carson had set him to work fetching and carrying, though even then he seemed more of a hindrance than a help.

The noise of horsemen approaching drew his attention, and he smiled grimly as his fellow lawmen appeared over the rise.

After quick introductions, he explained the plan and sent Vin out to keep a watch from the hillside and warn them when the Oberoth's gang came into sight.

----------------


Buck took his chance during the introductions to approach the lovely Ms Emmagan.

"Perhaps," he said, putting on his most charming smile, "When all this is over, you and I could go for a ride, maybe take a picnic?"

"I am sorry, Mr Wilmington..."

"Please, call me Buck."

"Buck," she said, with a slight incline of the head. "I am sorry, but the work required to fix the farm will not allow for any picnics."

"But surely you won't be working all the time?"

"There is much to do and I intend to pull my weight," she insisted.

"Well, maybe when things are more settled?" he suggested hopefully.

"I fear I may be busy for some time, Mr... Buck," she replied with a serene smile, before walking away, head held high.

"Looks like you're losing your touch," JD chimed in from beside him. "First Inez and now Miss Emmagan."

He scowled as the boy. "On the contrary, this dance has only just begun," he said, a dreamy smile crossing his face as he watched Ms Emmagan talking to Sheppard.

"Sure," JD said disbelievingly, and Buck turned and knocked the boy's hat off. "Hey!"

----------------


Nathan noticed the readied bandages and a pan of water waiting to be heated at a moment's notice with approval, and approached Beckett, who he'd been told was a doctor.

"Dr Beckett."

"Aye. Oh, you're Nathan, Chris mentioned you're the healer around these parts."

"I do what I can," he said depreciatingly.

"And do a good job from what I gather. Where did you learn about medicine, if you don't mind me asking?"

"I was a stretcher bearer in the war, learned what I could from the doctors there."

"Aye, well, let's hope that neither of us are needed today, but if we are, I'll be pleased to have your help."

Nathan smiled. He'd been worried that the Doctor would look down on his skills and was glad that wasn't the case.

"Oh, and although I'll be concentrating on making this place into a home, if you ever need my expertise, feel free to send someone to get me. I know I'm not exactly close to town, but I'm happy to help out if needed," Beckett offered.

"Thank you."

"And if you ever have any questions..."

"I have lots of questions, Dr Beckett..."

"Please, call me Carson."

"Okay," he said with a grin.

Chris interrupted any further conversation by saying that everyone should get into their positions. He headed outside to join up with Josiah by the side of the bunkhouse.

----------------


Buck, who had been partnered with Beckett, was hunkered down behind a cart they had placed a short distance from the house, and was watching his companion in concern. Beckett had a rifle in his hands, but looked as nervous as a jack rabbit.

"You sure you know how to use that?" he asked.

"Aye, I learned whilst in the army. I may have been there to tend the wounded, but I still needed to know how to defend myself." Beckett looked at him and smiled wryly. "Don't worry, John's been making sure I practice whenever he's around."

"This Sheppard seems pretty good. How d'you meet him?"

"He was in the army and got injured. I saved his life and we became friends, keeping in touch as much as was possible in the war. After it was all over, I settled in a town not far from Chicago, and John turned up a few months later, stayed awhile, then went on his way. He's a bit of a wanderer, coming and going as he pleases, but I think this time he might be ready to settle. He's agreed to help me get this place up and running, and is interested in trying his hand at raising some good horses here."

"What about the lovely Teyla?" he asked, smiling at the thought of her. "She's the prettiest little thing I ever did see."

"Och, you'd better be careful there, lad. She's tougher than old leather and can fight like Kilkenny cats. Don't know how John met Ronon or her, he just turned up with them one day about two years back. But he trusted them and that was good enough for me. I know that they both lost their families in the war. Of course, I've no idea how Ronon and Teyla hooked up either, but they're like kin to each other. John too, though he probably doesn't realise it."

"Sounds like you trust Sheppard's judgement something fierce," he said, almost wishing he hadn't started the loquacious physician off, but curiosity getting the better of him.

"Aye, he's usually right about a person. He acts all tough, but inside, there's a good heart." Carson laughed. "He even brought Rodney to me, though I'm not sure he's that enamoured of him. Don't know quite how they met either, but Rodney had a couple of deep cuts on his arm, so they brought him to me. Think he was scared of them otherwise I'm not sure he'd have stayed once I'd stitched and bandaged his wounds. Have to admit, those three can be pretty intimidating when they want to be." He shook his head at that. "Anyway, they stayed round a couple of weeks, and by the time they left I'd convinced Rodney to stay until his arm had healed, after which he went to his sister's in Chicago. I kept in contact and invited him down here when she finally had enough of him and chucked him out. Another waif and stray."

"One with a past."

"We all have pasts, Mr Wilmington."

"Call me Buck."

"Then I insist you call me Carson, or doc if you prefer," the Scot said with a sigh. "After all, I can't seem to break John or Ronon out of the habit of calling me that."

"I will then, doc," he said with a grin. Carson just rolled his eyes. "But I'm not sure this McKay fellah is worth much."

"I think he's paid for his cowardice back then. More than paid for it. He did confess and send Oberoth to jail, and he must have known there was a good chance he'd get locked up too, so there's some good in there, some bravery. I'm a firm believer in giving people second chances. Well, most people."

Buck was about to say more on the subject when he saw Vin coming over the hill.

"Okay, doc, get ready. They won't be far behind Vin."

----------------


Sheppard and Standish were stationed in the house, each taking a window on either side of the door, with Rodney pacing nervously behind them.

"I should have a gun," he complained, looking at Sheppard.

"Ever fired one before?" came the laid back reply.

"Well, a few times. My father used to make me practice, but I haven't really had much use for one since then."

"Yeah, you're not getting a gun," Sheppard replied, exchanging a look with Standish, that made him feel small, and he didn't like that.

"Oh come on, surely having another gun at your back is a good thing?"

"Mr McKay, an untrained gunman at my back is the last thing I require," Standish stated unequivocally. "I have no desire to be accidentally shot."

"What he said," Sheppard said. "When the shooting starts, get behind the table and stay down. Leave the rest to us."

He surveyed the table that had been turned on its side to provide an extra barrier to bullets, knowing that they were right; he'd be more of a hindrance than a help. Truth be told, he'd just feel more secure if he had a weapon to defend himself with if things went drastically wrong, but that didn't stop him feeling annoyed at their dismissal.

"Fine," he snapped, his eyes flashing angrily, thoughts of imminent demise on his mind, and cowardice, and how he'd brought this down on everyone here. He turned his anger onto the gambler. "And don't think I've forgotten that you cheated me out of my money."

"I assure you that I did no such thing."

"You did!"

"You besmirch my reputation unfairly. You, sir, have the most appalling poker face I have ever had the good fortune to play against. I had no reason to play anything other than fair and above board against you."

"But... that's..."

"McKay, I've seen you try to bluff your way out of trouble, remember? You're really bad at it. Or did the cuts to your arm lead you to believe you were succeeding?" Sheppard asked with a shake of his head.

"That's..." he spluttered, but the memory of the attack by Cowen's gang was still fresh in his mind, albeit being a year or more ago. Bluffing them that he didn't have the information they'd wanted had only led to him being badly cut. If Sheppard and his two cohorts hadn't turned up when they did, he would have told the scoundrels what they'd wanted to know, to his eternal shame.

He sighed. Okay, so his bluffing hadn't worked that time, didn't mean he was bad at it. "I still think..."

He didn't get to finish his statement as Tanner rode onto the farm, informing everyone that Oberoth and a gang of ten men were less than five minutes behind him.

----------------


Eleven men rode onto the farm from differing directions, opening fire without any warning. Josiah and Nathan, situated to one side of the bunkhouse behind some barrels, started taking out any who came close within range.

JD and Ronon were on the other side of the bunkhouse, also behind barrels, while Chris and Teyla, who had insisted on being involved in the fight, were situated across from the cart that Buck and Carson were behind, using a overturned dresser as cover. Vin, meanwhile, had situated himself on the roof of the homestead.

Three men rode towards the cart, shooting. Vin took out one of them just as Buck popped up and shot another, the third being dispatched by a shot from inside the house, courtesy of Sheppard.

Four more men fell within minutes, with no injuries to the defenders, but unfortunately two men had managed to sneak around to the door of the house while the others were busy with three other attackers holed up behind a large tree.

----------------


A stray shot came through the window, and Ezra fell to the ground cursing. Rodney got up from the table he was hiding behind and scuttled over to him.

"Are you alright?"

Ezra stared at the wound on his upper left arm, before snapping back to the present.

"Just a little nick," he said, getting back to his feet and heading for the window. "May I suggest you return to the table's cover, Mr McKay?"

"Oh, right..."

He turned to do so just as the door was kicked in and two men entered, one shooting at Ezra, who rolled out of the way. As he rolled, he aimed his gun and got off several shots, taking down the man who had shot at him. Unfortunately for Sheppard, the second man was able to aim at him before he could bring his gun up to bear, and Rodney was horrified to see the man pull the trigger. Not knowing what came over him, he sprang forward, pushing Sheppard out of the way but feeling an impact on his left side. Oh hell, he'd been shot!

He was vaguely aware of Ezra killing the second man and pushing the door back into place, when a shout came from outside.

"Oberoth is running."

The gunfire stopped and he felt John squirm out from beneath him, locate the bullet hole in his side and place pressure onto the wound. Pain engulfed him, forcing a scream out of him that he was sure was very unmanly, but he found he really didn't care. He'd been shot and if he wanted to scream than he was damned well going to.

"Easy there, easy. It's going to be okay," John said encouragingly, before berating him in a soft voice. "That was a damned fool thing you did, McKay. But it's going to be fine."

Fire was eating him alive. His breaths came fast and hard, panting against the pain in his side. This was bad, bad, bad; like the arm those thieves had cut, only worse because he was dying and, oh no, oh no, what had he done, why had he... it was Sheppard's job to protect him, not the other way round... And it hurt, damn, how it hurt.... Darkness flared at the edges of his vision, and he went with it, letting the pain fade to nothing as consciousness fled.

----------------


Carson and Nathan ran for the house on hearing Ezra's call that McKay was hit, and badly. Teyla was close behind them, heading straight for the stove and collecting the bandages and equipment they had sterilised earlier, while Ronon appeared at her side to start the large pan of water atop the stove boiling.

"Och, Rodney, what have you done to yourself," Carson chided as John helped him to cut away clothing.

"He pushed me out of the way, doc."

"You need my help?" Nathan asked.

Carson took the time to check if there were other people injured in the vicinity. Spotting Ezra's bloodstained jacket sleeve, he nodded toward him. "Check on Mr Standish there while I see what the extent of the injury is. I might need your help in a few moments if I have to open him up to get the bullet."

Nathan nodded his assent and went over to Ezra, who was staring mournfully at the hole in his navy jacket.

"Ruined," Ezra muttered with a sigh, before turning green eyes to Nathan. "I do believe I am in need of your services, Mr Jackson."

"Then let me take a look at it," Nathan said, helping his injured friend to remove his jacket, silk vest and shirt so that he could take a proper look at the injury.

Teyla arrived with water, cloths and needle and thread and Nathan thanked her, getting down to the business of cleaning and stitching the wound.

"Bullet's still in him," he heard Carson mutter behind him. "Going to have to get it out. Teyla, love, can you get the laudanum for me? Last thing I need is Rodney waking up in the middle of surgery."

Further preparations continued and then, just as Nathan finished bandaging Ezra's arm, Carson called him over to help with the surgery on McKay.

----------------


Chris had sent Vin and JD on a patrol of the area in case Oberoth returned. He doubted he would anytime soon, but it paid to never take your enemy for granted.

The surgery had gone as well as could be expected and McKay was sleeping the sleep of the drugged. Night was falling and Carson wandered out to join him on the porch, looking weary and aged beyond his years, closely followed by Sheppard.

"No sign of that murdering mudsill returning I hope," Carson said bitterly.

"Nope," Chris replied.

"Good."

"A man like Oberoth though," he added. "He won't give up so easily."

"He'll be back," Sheppard agreed. "He'll wait until you seven have gone back to town, as you'll have to at some stage."

"We'll stay another day, then we'll take turns keeping an eye out here, two or three at a time," he said. "Best we can do."

"Maybe we should move into town for a while? He might be less likely to try if there's more people about," Sheppard suggested. "I know it's still temporary and that we'll have to come back here eventually, but it might buy us the time to find and deal with Oberoth."

"Is McKay fit to travel?" Chris asked Beckett, noting that Josiah had joined them, though he was hanging back in the shadows.

"No, he is not! Not for a couple of days at least, and even then I wouldn't advise it. The man's got a bloody great big hole in him, he's not up to rattling about in the back of a cart!"

"I think we'll have to risk it," Sheppard said.

"Right, and while we're gone the swine burns this place down in spite," Carson muttered angrily.

"Buildings can be rebuilt," Josiah's voice made Beckett jump. "People aren't so easy to replace."

"Ach, that's true." Carson sighed in defeat. "Fine, we'll head into town as soon as I feel McKay can manage the journey, and not before."

----------------


Hot pain hit him as consciousness returned. It felt like he'd been skewered on his left side, though the fire seemed a little dulled compared to earlier. Only a little though, it still hurt bad.

He groaned, opening his eyes and finding himself in one of the two bedrooms the homestead boasted, on a soft feather bed. Groaning again, he tried to move but soon stopped as the pain strengthened. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Moving was out, clearly.

A face appeared above him, a glass of water in hand. One of the seven men from the town.

"Carson said you should drink. You lost a lot of blood."

He paled, both at the mention of blood and at the thought of sitting up, shaking his head.

"I'll help you," the man said, moving to sit to one side of him and starting to sit him up.

"Ow, ow, ow, stop, please stop, that hurts," he whimpered, but his feeble cries were ignored and he was soon sitting, well, resting against the man's broad chest. The glass was placed to his lips, and gratefully, he drank, only now realising how thirsty he was.

Another glass appeared from a table beside them and he drank that one too, before he was gently eased back onto the bed.

"Thanks," he whispered, trying to remember the man's name.

"You want me to get Carson?"

"Yes. Hurts."

The man left the room, returning a short while later with Beckett.

"You're awake then, Rodney. You had me worried, lad," Carson said, eyes crinkled in concern.

"Hurts, Carson."

"Aye, I'm sure it does." Carson took something from the table. "Drink this, it'll help with the pain."

The process of sitting up was repeated, this time with two sets of hands helping him. The liquid tasted foul, but he drank it nonetheless, hoping it would take away the searing pain, or at least dull it further.

"I'll let that take affect, then I'll need to check your wounds and change your bandages." Carson turned to the man who'd fetched him. "Josiah, would you mind staying with him? I need to get some things together and ask Nathan if he'd help me."

"Be happy to."

"Thank you." He turned back to Rodney. "You just try and relax now."

The pain was starting to recede to a dull roar, though he felt like his thoughts were mired down in molasses. Then the memory of the fight returned and he turned panicked eyes to the man, Josiah.

"What happened? Did you get Oberoth and his men?" he asked anxiously.

"We got his men, but Oberoth skedaddled," Josiah told him.

"Which means he'll be back," McKay said glumly. "Did anyone get hurt? Well, other than me and the bad guys."

"Ezra has a furrow from a bullet, otherwise, no. I believe Sheppard will be along later to thank you for saving his life."

"Yeah, well, I don't know what came over me... I mean, a man like me, I'm not brave or strong. Smart, sure, but... but not brave."

"It seems to me that it's not who we are that defines us, but what we do. Someone who puts himself between a bullet and another person can't be much of a coward, if one at all, nor can he be much of a bad person."

"I... suppose so. I don't really know what happened, I just reacted, didn't think it through."

"A Cherokee wise man once told me that only in times of great strife will you find your true self."

"And my true self is willing to take a bullet for someone else?" he said in disbelief. "I don't think so. It must have been an aberration. I'm not... I'm not like that, not really. I'm not a... a hero or anything."

"Sometimes you have to look beyond what you think you are to find what you truly are," Josiah said solemnly. "And sometimes it takes time to believe what you find to be true."

He was about to argue more, but Carson and another man, who he recognised as the one who'd lent him his horse earlier that day, entered the room and then he had other thoughts on his mind; such as how much the prodding and poking and changing of bandages hurt, whatever they had used to dull the pain be damned.

----------------


Chapter Three: Final Confrontation

Carson reluctantly agreed to move Rodney to Four Corners two days after the battle, and the cart was carefully padded for the journey. John, who had agreed to drive the cart, was under strict instructions to go slow and to try and avoid the worst of the bumps and potholes along the trail.

Settling himself in the back of the cart with a very disgruntled patient, Carson tried to ignore Rodney's bitter complaints about every jolt of the cart. After nearly an hour of non-stop complaints and moaning though, he'd had enough.

"Ach, I know this isn't pleasant for you, but do you have to make it miserable for everyone else too?" he asked, letting his frustration show.

"Yes," Rodney replied brusquely.

"Well quit it with your bellyaching and tell me what happened between Jeannie and you instead."

"Bellyaching?" Rodney somehow managed to look both wounded and outraged at the same time, no mean feat.

"Aye, bellyaching. Now are you going to tell me or do I need to write and tell her what a stubborn idiot you're being and hope she'll enlighten me?"

"She threw me out, Carson, that's what! Told me she didn't want to see me again. What kind of sister says things like that to her brother?" Rodney grimaced in pain as the cart bounced slightly.

"What did you do?" Carson asked with a sigh, sure there was more to the story then just that.

"I didn't..." Rodney trailed off at his less-than-believing stare. "She got herself pregnant to some journalist hack. Said she was going to marry him! I told her she could so a lot better than that. I even offered to pay for her to go to a convent, have the baby all nice and quiet like and put it up for adoption. No one need ever know, certainly the hack didn't, and she could get on with her life, but she said no! Said she wanted the kid and wanted to marry him!"

"So she chucked you out?"

"Yes, yes, exactly! I was trying to help her, but she wouldn't have it. She's too stubborn for her own good, just like our mother was. She didn't need to throw her life away by marrying some... some low-earning newspaper lackey! She could have married an engineer, an inventor, even a college professor, but no, she has to throw it all away on this no good, son of a.... Ow, ow, ow, ow!" Rodney gasped as the cart hit a particularly bad pothole.

"Breathe through it. That's it," he said encouragingly, before returning to the previous topic. "You can't run her life for her, lad. You wouldn't want her telling you what to do, now would you? Why do you think she'd appreciate it?"

"Because I'm her brother!"

"Yes, and she's managed fine without you before, hasn't she? You clearly weren't around when you were in jail, nor when you were wherever it was John found you."

"That's... I..."

"Let her live her own life, Rodney, and later, when she's had time to calm down, maybe you can put things right between you. So long as you don't try and dictate her life for her, that is."

"I..." Rodney looked away, face flushing. "I'm a terrible brother, aren't I? No better than Dad, with all the plans he had for her."

"No, you're not a bad brother, just a little... short-sighted at times."

"Right," McKay said disbelievingly, wincing in pain yet again. "How much longer before this torture is over?" he grumbled.

"A few hours yet I'm afraid. We can't go any faster."

"I hate this."

"Aye, I know. I'm not so keen on it myself," he said with another sigh. "Why don't you tell me about that design you mentioned in your last letter? Something about a steam-powered cart or something."

As he had hoped the subject distracted Rodney from the worst of his complaints, though he still managed to moan and grumble every few minutes. Carson tried to follow Rodney's description of how his newfangled machine would work, but was soon lost. Shaking his head, he mumbled a few 'ayes' and 'hmms' and thought to himself that Rodney wouldn't be the only one happy when they finally reached town.

----------------


Buck rode up beside Teyla, tipping his hat and smiling in a friendly manner.

"Nice day, Miss Teyla."

"Yes, Buck, it is. If not for the circumstances I would most enjoy the lack of wind or rain." Her eyes darted briefly to the cart carrying the injured McKay.

"I'm sure he will be fine," he said encouragingly. "Perhaps tonight, once everyone is settled, you and I could partake of a little dinner together?"

"I believe I will be eating with my friends tonight," Teyla said politely.

"Well now, perhaps tomorrow night?" he suggested instead, hopefully.

"Mr Wilmington... Buck... I have no need of a suitor. Perhaps you should concentrate your attention elsewhere?" she suggested firmly, before riding ahead to join up with Ronon.

"I don't think she wants to dance, Buck," JD said from behind him, a huge grin on his face.

"Hobble your lip," he said, annoyed at his friend's obvious enjoyment at his misfortune. "She's just making the dance more interesting, is all," he insisted, and ignoring JD's disbelieving look, he started to plan his next move.

Ahead, Ronon turned to Teyla. "Need any help in deterring Wilmington?"

"No, I believe I am fully capable of handling him myself."

"Thought you'd say that," he said with a grin.

----------------


It took most of the day to reach the town, and once there Rodney was carefully carried up to Nathan's clinic above the livery. It was decided that two people would be with him at all times, with one of those people being either Nathan or Carson, in case Rodney suffered complications. Ronon, Teyla and John took rooms in the hotel, while Nathan said that Carson could bed down in his room when not with Rodney.

It was late afternoon and John was on watch, with Carson keeping him company. Rodney had fallen asleep not long after arriving as the journey had exhausted him, but showed signs of waking now, about three hours later. Carson had fallen asleep in the chair he was occupying only moments ago, and he decided not to wake him. McKay wasn't the only one who'd been tuckered out by the journey here.

"McKay," he leaned forward, looking into still groggy eyes. "How you feeling?"

"Like I've been shot and then bounced around in a cart, how do you think I feel?"

"Charming you're not," he said, rolling his eyes at the peeved response. "Nothing new there."

"Oh, mock me, why don't you, I only saved your life," Rodney said grumpily.

"Yes, you did, and thank you," he said sincerely, continuing before McKay could reply, not liking the smug look forming on the injured man's face. "But if you do anything like that again I'll hogtie you to the nearest hitching post!"

"What?" Rodney said in surprise, before narrowing his eyes. "Oh yes, that's a great way to say thanks!"

"McKay, you're not supposed to jump in front of bullets..."

"And you are?"

"I'm trained to fight, you're not."

"Right, I'm a lily-livered coward."

"No, you're an annoying..."

"Ach, shut your traps, both of you," Carson interrupted them, having been awoken by their disagreement. "John, I know you hate the idea of someone getting hurt or killed for you, but you're just going to have to deal with it because that's what Rodney here did, and although I'm not glad that he got hurt, I am glad that you didn't wind up dead. And Rodney, you're not a lily-livered anything or else you wouldn't have done what you did. Now, stop your yammering or else I'll sic Teyla onto you both."


"You wouldn't sic her onto an injured man," Rodney stated confidently, but the look in Carson's eyes made him less sure.

"I'm going for a walk," John said, getting up angrily. "I'll ask Ronon to take over."

"John," Carson called to him as he opened the door. "Just... don't go far. There's no knowing what that Oberoth fellah will be up to next, but I've no doubt he'll be wanting revenge."

"Don't worry about me, doc, I'm not going far."

He stalked over to the saloon and asked Ronon to check on Beckett and McKay, before taking a walk. He hadn't expected to get so angry with McKay, and Beckett's words had hit him hard. Memories of his comrade in arms, Holland, came back to him; Holland, who had died in his arms after being shot by a bullet that was meant for him. A good man, a good friend, who'd sacrificed his life to save him. It wasn't right, and now it had been repeated, only McKay wasn't dead. But he could have been, and could still be if infection took hold. He'd seen plenty of men die from wounds like that.

He needed some time to think, alone.

----------------


Early evening came and Nathan and JD took the watch on McKay.

"You think Oberoth will come?" JD asked him.

"I think after tracking Rodney all the way here he won't give up so soon," Nathan replied honestly to the young man's question.

"Yeah. Guess we've met more than our fair share of that sort."

That was very true, but he'd also met good people since coming to this town all that time ago, not least the gang of men, friends, that he was now part of. He was about to say something along those lines when he noticed JD was fidgeting uneasily.

"You okay?" he asked.

"Yeah, I just...." JD looked embarrassed. "You think you'd be okay for a few minutes? I need to, you know, visit the outhouse."

"We'll be fine," Nathan said with a grin, shaking his head as JD shot out of the room.

A few minutes passed, broken only by a few soft snores from his patient, when he heard floorboards creaking outside and assumed JD was returning from his 'errand'. However, when the footsteps paused outside the door, he tensed. JD would have knocked and come in, not waited. He was just rising when the door was kicked in and the man they had been discussing moments before came in, gun already aiming at him.

Moving swiftly, he ducked to one side, the gun discharging and the bullet missing him by inches. Not wanting to use his own gun in such a confined space, fearing that a stray bullet could hit McKay, he grabbed one of his knives and threw it at Oberoth, hitting him in his gun arm. Oberoth hissed in pain and Nathan took the momentary distraction as an opportunity to rush forward, punching his opponent in the face, causing Oberoth to lose his grip on his gun and it flew off to one side. He was too busy trading punches to worry about where it had landed, though.

He was trying to find an opportunity to grab his other two knives when a particularly strong punch sent him careening to the floor beside Rodney's bed.

----------------


Rodney awoke at the sound of a gunshot.

"What the..." he trailed off, spotting Nathan rush at, oh no, Oberoth and start to trade punches. He wanted to move, to help, but it hurt too much. Frustrated, he jumped as something landed on his chest with a thump, jarring his injury and making him hiss in pain. Checking to see what had hit him, he blinked in surprise to see a gun lying there. Looking back to the fight he saw Nathan fall to the floor next to him and Oberoth remove a knife from his arm – one of Nathan's knives? – aiming it at the fallen man even as Nathan came up with another knife in his hand.

Oberoth ducked to one side as Nathan flung the second knife at him, hurling the one in his own one hand at the same time. Fortunately, Nathan had spotted the movement and got out of the way.

Rodney didn't like the look of this, and blearily eyed the gun, reaching out a hand to grasp it. Damn, but this was going to hurt something fierce. Even so, he aimed it at Oberoth, who was moving towards Nathan with fists up, even as Nathan reached for his final knife.

The shot went wild, missing Oberoth completely and embedding itself into the wall. The pain from the recoil was worse than he'd expected, making him cry out and feel light-headed, but he couldn't pass out, not now.

Oberoth turned to him in surprise and rage as Nathan closed the distance between them, but before Nathan could hit his opponent a gunshot rang out, hitting Oberoth in the back. With a look of astonishment on his face, he staggered a few steps before falling to the floor. A moment of stunned silence passed, and then Sheppard walked into the room, followed by a breathless JD, who had obviously heard Oberoth's first shot and rushed back as fast as he could.

Sheppard kneeled to check for a pulse. A shake of his head told them what they needed to know. "Dead," he said, getting up. "You okay?" he asked Nathan.

"Just a few bruises, I'll be fine. Thanks."

"I'm sorry, Nathan," JD started, looking guilt-ridden. "If I hadn't have needed..."

"It's okay. Could have happened to anyone," Nathan told him, as he approached Rodney.

"But if I'd been here..."

"He probably would have waited," Sheppard said. "Was most likely watching this place, waiting for an opportunity. Like Nathan said, it could have been anyone."

"I need to check your wound, make sure you didn't start it bleeding again," Nathan stated, sitting on the bed next to Rodney.

"Yeah, okay. Hurts," he muttered weakly.

"Guess we're even now," Sheppard said with a small smile. "Though you've got Nathan to thank too."

"Yeah. Thanks. Both of you. I was useless. Missed."

"Not useless," Sheppard contradicted him. "You distracted him, at least, though it looks like I'm going to have to teach you how to shoot straight."

Before he could find a suitable comeback, Carson and Chris entered the room.

"Everything's under control," Sheppard said to them. "Oberoth won't be bothering anyone any more." Gesturing to the dead man on the floor. "Maybe someone should see to getting that removed."

"On it," JD said, glad to be doing something, and left to find the undertaker.

"Need any help?" Carson asked Nathan, who was cleaning Rodney's wound.

"Wound is clean, no bleeding," Nathan said, to Rodney's relief. "Might need a hand putting a new bandage on."

"Aye, I'll help. I know I won't be getting back to sleep after that rude awakening."

Slowly, things settled down. Oberoth's body was removed and everyone left except for Carson and Nathan. The pain receded to a dull roar again, and Rodney felt sleep creeping up on him.

"You rest now, Rodney," Carson said gently, patting him carefully on the arm before turning his attention to Nathan. "So, you said you had some medical questions. Maybe we can while away the time with some teaching?"

"That'd be good."

"Do you have to talk about that sort of thing in front of me?" Rodney complained.

"Seeing as you're about to fall asleep I can't see as how it matters," Carson replied with a grin. "Now, what do you want to know?" He turned his attention back to Nathan.

"How can you tell the difference between influenza and pneumonia?" Nathan asked with a broad grin.

Rodney groaned, wishing they'd talk about something less medical, but fortunately sleep claimed him before they got to anything too disgusting.

----------------


The following day, after eventually returning to bed and getting a reasonable amount of sleep, Carson returned to Nathan's clinic to check on Rodney. Vin was there, as Nathan was as exhausted by the night's events as he had been and had also retreated to bed. Although Rodney was no longer in danger from Oberoth, neither of them had wanted him to be alone, so JD had volunteered to stay and Vin had agreed to take over later, which clearly he had.

"How's he doing?" he asked the bounty hunter.

"Been sleeping on and off," came the reply. "Had a nightmare earlier."

"To be expected after everything. I imagine I'll be having some nightmares before too long as well."

A soft groan from the bed attracted his attention, and Rodney blinked open his eyes.

"Rodney, how you feeling?" he asked.

"Awful," came the disgruntled reply. "What else did you expect?"

"I expected you to wake up like a bear with a sore head, and I see I was right."

"Oh, ha, ha."

Vin got up. "You need me?"

"No, I can handle him. Thank you for keeping an eye on him for me."

"No problem," Vin said, before leaving.

"Is Oberoth really dead or was I imaging it?" Rodney asked him, looking a little confused. "I could swear I wasn't, but things keep getting a bit mixed up."

Carson sat down in the chair next to Rodney's bed. "He's dead."

"Good."

"Ronon, Teyla and John are heading back to my place later today. They're going to get started on fixing the fences and doing something about the bullet holes in the house. I'll be staying until I think you're fit to travel."

"I'm sorry, Carson. I never meant for this to happen."

"I know that, you numpty. This wasn't your fault."

"When I'm stronger, I'll move on..."

"Ach, you don't have to do that. You're more than welcome to stay at my place as long as you like."

"But... but I thought.... What I did, when I did what he asked, when I let those people get killed... I'm not proud of that. I know I was a coward. I don't expect you to be okay with it..."

"Rodney." He sighed, not sure how to handle this, and feeling his way forward carefully. "My dear old mum used to say that actions talked a lot louder than words. Yes, your original action back then wasn't good, but you confessed and stopped others from being hurt or killed, put right the wrong. As for what you did recently, saving John's life, that tells me an awful lot about who you really are. You can be an uppity pain in the neck at times, but I know there's a good man inside and that's all that matters to me."

"I... I'm not..."

"You're a better man than you think you are, for all your arrogance and bluster."

"I.... Thanks. I think."

"Good. And I meant what I said; you're welcome to stay as long as you want."

"You might regret that," Rodney said with a slight huff of laughter, followed by a pain-filled grimace after. "Ow."

"Aye, well, you could always move into town if I needed a break. Or buy yourself a piece of land. I'm sure there's plenty of ways for a man with your varied skills to make a living round here."

"You really mean it, don't you?" Rodney said, eyes widened in surprise.

"Yes, I do. You're my friend, whether you like it or not, and I intend to make sure you're okay."

"I don't... I mean, I'm not good at this friendship thing."

"Well then, it's about time you learned."

The End

A/N:

1. Fort Drummond is made up and never existed as far as I know.

2. Information on the Mag 7 horses comes from this site. Rick Worthy, who played Nathan Jackson, rode threes horses during the show. The first was called Buster, the second Weasel, the third's name isn't mentioned. I decided to go with Buster as I didn't like the name Weasel and I don't know of any fanon names for his horse, and it's not mentioned in canon as far as I know.

3. This line: "How can you tell the difference between influenza and pneumonia?" is pinched from the Mag 7 Season 2 episode 'Obsession', and is one of the questions Nathan asks the doctor.

4. Glossary from this site.

Mudsill - low-life, thoroughly disreputable person.
Skedaddle - run like hell.
Hobble your lip - shut up.
Fight like Kilkenny cats – fight like hell (see also wiki)
Hard case – worthless person, bad man
Bunko artist – con man
 
 
 
Nuetronorange: David Hewlettnuetronorange on January 11th, 2009 08:48 pm (UTC)
Lovely story, I've never seen the Magnificent Seven but I certainly got a flavor of it from this fic, I loved how you transplanted SGA characters they seemed to fit in seamlessly and I really loved how Rodney got hurt saving John!! Nice bit of comfort after and Rodney trying to save Nathan while still in his sick bed! Really enjoyed this, thank you.
leesa_perrie: Carson & Rodneyleesa_perrie on January 11th, 2009 08:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I was nervous about this fic as I've never written Mag 7 or a western before, even an AU western! I'm glad that you felt it worked, and that you enjoyed the h/c - and Rodney trying to save Nathan! I can certainly recommend Mag 7 - only 2 seasons, but a fun show with some nice angst and friendship bits - and humour from time to time!
tygermama: Mag7 Chris Worrytygermama on January 12th, 2009 04:33 pm (UTC)
You did a great job with all the characters, the SGA ones were in character even after the change of venue, and your Mag7 ones were spot on to.

(I'm sure Teyla and Inez will become good friends)
leesa_perrie: Teyla Menleesa_perrie on January 12th, 2009 04:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I'm thrilled you thought that both SGA and Mag 7 were in character... I was a little worried about the Mag 7 ones as I've never written them before!

Oh, and I'm sure that Teyla and Inez will become good friends - I almost feel sorry for Buck! Almost!! *bg*

Btw, love the icon! LOL!
wildcat88: Teamwildcat88 on January 13th, 2009 02:49 pm (UTC)
This was fun! I loved the Magnificent Seven, and you did a great job fusing the two together.
leesa_perrie: McKay in Bushleesa_perrie on January 13th, 2009 02:52 pm (UTC)
Thanks! That's really good to hear, I was worried about whether it worked or not!
angwangw on January 15th, 2009 03:04 am (UTC)
A good ole cowboy story. I have never watched Mag 7 but I felt the SGA/Mag 7 characters/worlds blended well together. Poor Rodney and poor Teyla (won't the boys ever leave her alone).

Great read. Cheers.
leesa_perrie: Teyla Menleesa_perrie on January 15th, 2009 12:20 pm (UTC)
Glad you liked it (and I can recommend Mag 7, it's fun and has some good character moments in between the action).

Poor Rodney indeed *wicked evil whumping grin*! As for Teyla, I'm sure she'll put Buck in his place - maybe invite him to learn an Ancient martial art... involving sticks!! *snigger*

Thank you.
ancientcitadel: M7 - The Sevenancientcitadel on January 29th, 2009 05:43 am (UTC)
That was a lot of fun. :)
leesa_perrie: Carson & Rodneyleesa_perrie on January 29th, 2009 03:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks!