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Author's Chapter Notes: Sorry about the ridiculously long delay. I have a rather back case of writer’s block. Unfortunately this chapter is very short, and I don’t normally do short, but at least it is something to be going on with. I will endeavour to get the next chapter up soon, and should lead to the confrontation Sheppard has long been waiting for.

Chapter 15
Sheppard pulled his collar tighter around his neck, as a slight shiver travelled the length of his back. Not that it helped much. In fact, if anything, it made the situation worse. His collar was already saturated from the globules of water trickling from his hair. He sighed, irritated by his own show of weakness. His was finding his wound to be a constant source of irritation, but not only that, it also seemed to be making him more susceptible to the cold. Well I’ll just have to suck it up and bear it, he thought grimly.

Anyhow, something more pressing was giving him bigger cause for concern. With the rain falling at a relentless and brutal rate, and the wind ferocious in its determination to uproot weakened trees, his concern was that some, if not all, of the clues would be lost to them. It would make an already difficult task near impossible.

It seemed at least one of his team held similar thoughts. However, whereas Sheppard was content to keep his misgivings to himself, for the time being at least, McKay didn’t adopt the same train of thought.

“This…. This is just pure stupidity. We can’t continue in this… this” He flailed his arms. “It’s ludicrous.

We’ll never get as much as a sniff of Kolya’s trail now. Oh, and did I mention the likelihood of pneumonia?” McKay perfected a loud sneeze as if to prove a point.

The glare, Sheppard directed at his friend, stung with irritation, but nevertheless he turned to Ronon, his voice surprisingly calm “What do you think, can you still do it.”

“Don’t see why not,” Ronon replied without hesitation.

I agree with Ronon… Teyla said.

Aware McKay was about to interject, Sheppard took a firm grasp of his arm. “Have the courtesy to let her finish McKay.” His words earned him a scowl from McKay, but it also instigated the desired effect.

Giving a brief smile, Teyla continued. “Although we are exposed to the worst of the weather, we will not be for much longer. I believe, as does Ronon, Kolya is heading for the area where the trees grow more closely together, in the belief it will offer him greater protection.

“And it benefits to us by not only awarding more shelter,” Sheppard replied immediately understanding what she was getting at. “There’s also a much higher chance of any evidence which, potentially, could lead us to Kolya, being safeguarded. “

Turning to McKay, with a barely concealed smirk on his face, Sheppard gripped the Astrophysicist by the shoulder. “So… decision time McKay? Are you coming with us, or would you rather take your chances here. On your own. “

Shrugging of Sheppard’s hand and spitting daggers McKay grumbled. “Don’t make out as if I have a choice. Without me there to restrain you, from making nonsensical decisions, I dread to think what kind of trouble you would find yourself in.”

“Well… now that’s settled, maybe we can proceed as originally planned, though I hate to think of the precious time we’ve already squandered” Sheppard retorted.

A comfortable silence fell over the group as they patiently followed Ronon’s lead. The only sound heard, was the wind howling in their ears, and the crunching of broken twigs beneath their feet. Thankfully the rain seemed to be easing somewhat making visibility much clearer, and with the wind drowning out most of McKay’s persistent grumbling, Sheppard felt himself relax. Just ever so slightly.

Chapter End Notes: Coming soon, If Sheppard is finally granted his confrontation with Kolya, will he learn Kolya's secret

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