John thinks he's seen every expression known to man on Rodney's face at some time or other in the few years they've known each other.
There's that look he gets when he knows he's got the answer, the answer that will save Atlantis; the one he gets when Zelenka trumps him; the one he wears when he loses patience with everyone not getting what he wants them to get as quickly as he thinks they should. The one he wore when Carson died...
This expression is a lot like that one, John realizes. The blurring of his vision makes it hard to see the nuances but he knows there's pain, and anger, and grief. It's the anger that's winning out now though as Rodney bends over him and says, in a voice that brooks no argument, "You will not give up, Sheppard. You've survived being fed on by Wraith, attacked by giant bugs. You've flown missions nobody else could have come back from. You will not die. I won't let you..."
John thinks Rodney's voice breaks a little when he says that but it's hard to hear over the buzzing in his ears.
Rodney is gripping his hand fiercely as if he can keep John with him just by that. It almost feels as if it is the only thing tethering him to life. He thinks perhaps it is because everything else seems to be slipping sideways, away from him, becoming dimmer, fading. The worst of it all is he doesn’t think he cares.
Rodney lifts his other hand, the one that’s stained with John's own blood. He taps at John's cheek, the motion just short of frantic. "Tell me you're listening to me, John."
John nods wearily. He's rarely been able to win an argument against Rodney about anything that really matters. Why begin now? "I'm listening," he says, his voice husky with the remnants of pain. "I'll make it."
"Good, that's good." Rodney sits back on his haunches but keeps John's hand firmly clasped in his. "Make sure you do."
Rodney’s eyes are bright and damp but it’s probably just an illusion caused by his unfocused vision so John just keeps his hand within Rodney’s and holds on.
He’s vaguely aware of rescue coming and of Rodney being beside him as he’s loaded onto a Jumper. Everything fades away after that but he knows Rodney’s there, holding on.