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Title: Queen's Hand to Kitchen Hand
Author: mific
Fandoms: Stargate Atlantis (in Game of Thrones verse)
Pairing: John Sheppard/Rodney McKay
Rating: M (for violence)
Warnings: violence and whump.
Wordcount: ~1430
Summary: The Genii have taken King's Landing, Sheppard has been forced to flee, and now Rodney's exiled for treason. He may not have to worry about life on the Wall though, as his traveling companions seem hell bent on killing him before he even arrives. A hurt/comfort AU fusion for the prompt: "hand".

"Get off me, you bastards!" slurred Rodney through split and bleeding lips, but they went on punching and kicking him and it hurt, gods, it hurt. He curled into a ball to protect his soft underbelly – literally so; he wasn't meant for this harsh Northern life amidst hardened criminals with dead eyes and skin like leather from the icy wind.

Rodney tried not to sob, but by the Seven, how had it come to this? He, who'd been Grand Maester in King's Landing at the court of Elizabeth the Just, kicked to death by louts. Not only Grand Maester – after Sumner's death, when the house of Sheppard came under accusation and John Sheppard was forced to flee for his life, Rodney had briefly been Queen's Hand in his friend's stead.

Then Asuran sorcerers working with the Genii had struck Elizabeth down with blackest necromancy, and all her followers had been murdered or ruined. He was the greatest maester in the seven kingdoms, but he'd been charged with treason and offered death by impalement or exile to the Night's Watch, here at the Wall in the land of Winter. No prizes for guessing which he'd chosen, but seriously, he wasn't going to survive another day of this, let alone a lifetime, locked in a cage with two homicidal morons as they slowly drew nigh to Castle Black.

Someone shouted, and through his pain, Rodney heard the sound of hooves thudding on the clay and stone of the road. Their own horses reared up, the wagon jerking to an abrupt halt. Rodney's tormentors took no notice, continuing to pummel him until there was a cry and he heard one of them scurry back to the far wall of the cage. He slitted an eye open and peered through the swelling. A longsword had been thrust through the bars and into his main assailant, skewering him.

"Oops," someone said, not sounding sorry at all. "Still, no great loss. I'd not trust the safety of the realm to such as that."

Rodney knew that voice. "Sheppard?" he croaked. "Is that…you? John?"

"Get him out of there," ordered Sheppard, voice cold as the wind from the Wall.

The locks were struck off and they lifted Rodney out and laid him in a bed of cloaks. His vision was hazy but he clutched Sheppard's jerkin and pulled him close with a shaking hand. "It is…you…" he gasped, "oh gods…Sheppard…it's you."

"Quiet, now," said Sheppard gently, kneeling beside him. "Don't try to speak…we'll get you to the castle and Maester Beckett will have you right in no time." His face twisted. "I'm sorry, Rodney. News of your trial came to us late; the first raven was shot down by bandits, or the Genii, more like. I'd have met you sooner if I'd known…"

"You've taken the Black?" Rodney's hand twisted in Sheppard's robes and Sheppard covered it with his own.

"Aye. No choice, especially not after Elizabeth…" Sheppard's hand tightened painfully on Rodney's. No great change for Sheppard – he'd always worn black, never the fripperies of the court. He'd always been a soldier, too, and the Night's Watch was an honorable calling. Rodney had just never seen it as his calling, until now.

Sheppard lifted his head and called to his squad. "Hurry with that damned litter!" He turned back. "Don't suppose you can ride?"

"Cracked a rib," said Rodney. He could feel the ends grate when he moved and gods, gods, he was not looking forward to the last miles to the castle. "Bruised…kidneys and…and broke some fingers, I think."

"Seven hells," cursed Sheppard. "A moment." He stalked back to the cage, dragged Rodney's other tormentor out and punched him hard, stunning him. Sheppard grasped the man by his hair and pulled his head up then slit his throat with a long, curved knife before kicking the body down a bank.

Rodney watched, cold curling around his heart. Sheppard had changed. He'd always been fiercely protective and loyal, but he'd stayed within the law, not killed in cold blood. Prisoners were washed clean of all offences when they joined the Night's Watch, even murderers. Rodney was sure they were not meant to be killed like carrion while being taken to enlist. He hoped Sheppard's men were loyal to him first and to the Watch second.

Sheppard crouched down beside him again and drew a scrap of parchment from the folds of his black robes. "This came by raven with secret information and news of your arrival. The two traveling with you were Genii spies sent to infiltrate the Watch and make trouble. Kolya's men."

The tight, cold feeling in Rodney's gut eased. "Then you were…"

"Yeah, ordered to kill them. Their treatment of you added pleasure to necessity." He looked up and added, more stridently, "Where's that damned litter, Lorne? Move it!"

"I am so not looking forward to this part of the journey," whispered Rodney faintly. He tried to swallow, but his mouth was dry as a plank. Sheppard held a canteen to his lips, and let him sip it, then gave him three measured drops from a tincture bottle.

"That will help."

Possibly it did, but when they lifted Rodney onto the makeshift litter, the pain was so great he passed out, which was a mercy, really. He came to the next day in Beckett's chambers, deep in a nest of furs, warm for the first time in what seemed like months. Sheppard was curled beside him, asleep.

Maester Beckett leaned over, a finger to his lips. "Let the lad be," he whispered. "He's kept vigil all night until I was sure you'd taken no lasting harm and would survive to torment us another day." Rodney tried for an eye-roll – he and Beckett were old friends from student days – but his face was too bruised. Beckett checked his cuts and bandages and propped him up, carefully, on the pillows. He gave Rodney some water and another dose of tincture, then a small bowl of barley broth. It was the best thing Rodney had ever tasted, but eating it exhausted him and his eyes fluttered closed again.

Beckett was elsewhere when he next woke, and Sheppard's eyes were open, reflecting candlelight. Rodney cleared his throat. "So we're men of the Night's Watch, now?"

"Aye," said Sheppard. "That we are. Sworn to preserve the realm from the perils of the North, and to forgo all comfort and female companionship."

"Not all comfort, I devoutly hope," said Rodney, curling the unbruised corner of his mouth into half a smile. "Even if they make me start in the kitchens, at least I'll be warm and well placed to purloin a crust or two. And I doubt either of us will overly regret farewelling breasts and petticoats."

Sheppard smirked, checked the room was still empty of Beckett, then leaned in and kissed Rodney, lips soft and careful on his bruised, swollen face. "The vow's that of celibacy, you know," he murmured, nosing Rodney's ear, "not just swearing off breasts."

"Yes, well," said Rodney sardonically, "and I'm sure no fellow-soldiers ever broke that vow."

Sheppard snorted. "We'll have to be damned careful."

"Yes, yes," said Rodney. "So what else is new? It's not like we haven't had practice sneaking about." He gestured at the cup on the dresser and Sheppard held it for him to drink. "Anyway," Rodney said, his voice strengthening, "I'll not be relegated to the kitchens for long, with my genius, so I expect things will get easier once my true worth is recognized. I may even get some useful research done, now I don't have to waste time on pointless bureaucracy and the incompetents at court."

"If you've any time after weapons practice," Sheppard said, raising a brow.

"Weapons practice? I must learn fighting?" Rodney was aghast. "But I'm a maester," he protested. "I've more links in my chain than any maester in Westeros."

Sheppard shrugged. "Here, you're a soldier first – we all are." Seeing Rodney's crestfallen look he put a hand on his arm. "I'll train you – it'll do you good, you'll see."

Sheppard leaned in and kissed him again, and even though he was trapped in the freezing North with bears and dire-wolves and all manner of icy horrors, even though he was doubtless going to meet his end in bloody dismemberment by wildlings or possibly giants, and even though he was to be forced to scrub pots and wield a sword, Rodney thought that it might just be worth it, if Sheppard was beside him.

- the end -
(also on the AO3 here)

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
melodysparks
Aug. 31st, 2014 04:59 pm (UTC)
Oh l do like that
mific
Sep. 3rd, 2014 06:37 am (UTC)
Thanks - glad you enjoyed!
esteefee
Aug. 31st, 2014 06:59 pm (UTC)
I know nothing about Game of Thrones, but this was an interesting peek, thanks!
mific
Sep. 3rd, 2014 06:38 am (UTC)
It's a pretty brutal world in GoT (but amazing worldbuilding) so I was kind to our boys :)
trillingstar
Sep. 3rd, 2014 06:31 am (UTC)
I really liked this! I know just enough about GoT that I could picture this well, and Rodney's voice came through loud (hah) and clear.
mific
Sep. 3rd, 2014 06:40 am (UTC)
Honestly, they're the little black dresses of fandom - you can fit them in almost anywhere and there they are, being John and Rodney! Delighted you liked it. :)
roo1965
Sep. 3rd, 2014 10:28 pm (UTC)
"they're the little black dresses of fandom " So true. snorfle! Loved this GOT/SGA fusion awesome. Looking forward to the link later to get the whole thing...
mific
Sep. 4th, 2014 12:17 am (UTC)
Oh dear - sorry but this IS the whole thing I'm afraid! It was just a short story written quickly as a Crossovering festival treat. Glad you liked it, anyway!
busaikko
Sep. 6th, 2014 02:13 pm (UTC)
I'm completely clueless about GoT, but I feel like you've done a good job of blending the canons in a way that makes sense (and makes me want to see Sheppard vs the dire wolves... and maybe Rodney training dragons?). Poor Rodney, bound for the kitchens again :(
mific
Sep. 6th, 2014 02:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you! GoT is a bit worrying with the levels of violence and attrition-rate of major characters. I like aspects of it but am worried that the makers are too into the in-your-face-gore and shock-value. But I'm sure John and Rodney will be fine on the Wall! *crosses fingers*
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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