Groaning, he mashed his pillow over his ears, but this did nothing to drown out the barking and occasional howl he recognized as Cash's. Surely John would shut him up eventually, unless this was a carefully calculated ploy to wake Rodney up, and he didn't think Sheppard would go to the trouble.
Correction: he hoped he wouldn't, because he knew very well if John Sheppard wanted to annoy Rodney McKay, he'd go to ridiculous lengths to do so. Even if he didn't have to.
Ten minutes passed, and still the barking did not abate. Swearing under his breath, Rodney rolled out of bed - empty, Jill must have gotten up hours ago - and dressed in a hurry, not bothering to find matching socks (not that he ever did). Stomping out of the hut into the chilly morning air, he took a moment to be thankful it wasn't blizzarding any more, before heading over to Sheppard's to bang on his door.
There was no answer except for a pathetic yowling and scratching on the other side. The idiot had gone out and left the stupid dog inside, Rodney realized. Sighing, he opened the door, but instead of dashing off in search of his master, Cash sat down in the doorway and whined.
"What is it, boy?" he asked. "Not content with the fact you've just woken me up from a fantastic dream involving Pamela Anderson, Jill, myself and a can of whipped cream?" The dog whined again, and his tail thumped the floor. Something made Rodney look up and around at the empty room, but it seemed just the same to him. Only...empty.
An anxiety he didn't want to name flared up in the pit of his stomach, but he ignored it. Surely, John had just gone out without remembering to take the dog. He'd be back when he realized his mistake. In fact, he was probably out on patrol now, or at the Compound drinking coffee, or checking the Ferris wheel for rust. Surely he'd be back soon. Rodney didn't need to worry. In fact, he could just turn and walk away and leave the dog and the empty room and yell at Sheppard when he got back for being so careless.
So why, ten minutes later, did he find himself trudging towards the Compound?
He checked that woman Alice's place first, but neither she nor Sheppard were there. The Ferris wheel was next. Nothing. Then he went into the Compound proper and checked the Council office. No John Sheppard. Nobody there had seen him today, either. He checked the kitchen; nothing. The rec room; a similar amount of nothing. He even checked the basement and the nothing there wasn't even worth mentioning.
He had to be out patrolling. He had to. And Rodney wasn't going to cover half the island looking for him, especially since he'd feel colossally stupid when he found the careless, stupid, inconsiderate-
A whine, and the pressure of a wet snout nudged at the back of his knees. Cash had followed him the whole way, despite Rodney's repeated shooings; by now he had given up. He looked down at the canine and wondered if the pathetic, lost look in the animal's eyes was mirrored in his own. He hoped not.
He headed to Jill's hut, not knowing what else to do. And if she wasn't there, well...he'd just wait.
So that was why he opened the door and walked in without even knocking, followed closely by Cash, who took up position by the end of the bed and lay down on the floor without so much as a glare from Rodney.
He was worrying over nothing, he knew, but he'd feel better once Jill told him so, too.
Unless he wasn't.