Title: the taste of the sky
Fandom: "Stargate: Atlantis"
Disclaimer: not my characters; just for fun.
Warnings: spoilers for season two
Point of view: third
The first time John ever went on a plane he knew he'd come home. He didn't feel like that again until he set foot on Atlantis. He wanted to find a corner and curl up, soak in the city's presence, wrap her around him like a handmade quilt.
Even flying the puddlejumper to a possible battle felt comforting-part of Atlantis traveling the stars with him.
Atlantis was like his mother, pulling him into a full-body embrace, picking him up in her arms.
Atlantis welcomed him. Lit up for him and filled him with warmth. Like no place ever had except the sky.
Rodney never belonged-too young for his true peers and too smart for his age-mates, he had nowhere and no one.
He had felt a connection with the piano, but it apparently wasn't for him, so he turned to science. It never fit like music, but nobody could deny he had a gift for it.
He sailed through school, often smarter than his teachers, and he learned to push people away since no one would accept him. He had no friends, no one who understood him-no one who wanted to understand him. He taught himself to be fine with it; he didn't need anyone, after all.
Sometimes, though, he still missed the piano.
Teyla does not have any point of reference for the Atlantians. They are a resourceful, clever people-and arrogant. They have technology she has never seen, and some of them treat her like a child, incapable of understanding. But Dr. Zelenka is patient and shows her how to work the machine-box called computer, and Major Sheppard teaches her to shoot a gun.
Teyla has always been a quick study and she knows the Atlantians have come to lead the way to the future. They are not the Ancestors-instead, they are the Ancestors' heirs, Major Sheppard especially. Teyla is a leader, yet she would still follow Major Sheppard into the belly of a Wraith hiveship. Major Sheppard reminds Teyla of her father, the kind of man who never asked for power but commanded it with ease.
Teyla is not Atlantian. But no longer is she fully Athosian, either. Atlantis is not home, but anywhere Major Sheppard is, she will stay.
Ronon was civilized once. He's tried to forget those days.
Atlantis is no Sateda, not home in the least. The people, most of them, are soft. They wouldn't survive a one-on-one encounter with a Wraith. Some, though, are soldiers-not quite up to Satedan standards, but close.
He misses his mother, his brothers, and Melena. He hates the Wraith and Kell, and himself for surviving that final attack.
But after that, he chose to live. He kept running and fighting, killing any Wraith he could.
And now he stands still, on Atlantis, City of the Ancestors. They have taken him in, offered him a place to sleep in safety. They are not home. Atlantis is not Sateda. But he can see how, one day, the Atlantians-Sheppard, above all-might become his family. They won't replace what Kell and the Wraith stole, nothing could ever do that. But they might ease the loss, might help him to live again.
He'll give Atlantis a try.
Title: thou art the best of me
Fandom: "Stargate: Atlantis"
Disclaimer: not my characters; title from Donne.
Warnings: spoilers for "The Shrine"
Pairings: one-sided John/Rodney
Point of view: third
Out of everyone he could have screamed for-Carson, his best friend; Keller, the doctor he thought he loved; his mother, or Jeannie-he begged for John. Stripped bare of all his defenses, he only wanted John, only calmed in John's presence, with John's touch.
Rodney doesn't really remember, but John cannot forget. Rodney had been terrified, broken down into someone only barely recognizable, and John wanted to keep him safe, secret him away from the world.
And now Rodney is back, the prickly genius, the only person John's ever-To his almost shame, John realizes that he cares more for Rodney than he did his dad or Dave, or even Nancy. And he doesn't know what to do.
He remembers-can't forget-Rodney screaming his name in terror and despair, like he was a god with the power to make everything better. That much faith-never in his life has he experienced something like it.
And now, Rodney is healed. Back to his old self, with the scantiest memories of those horrible weeks. He can't recall how frustrated he got, the slow inexorable slip away of his mind, until finally... finally, only John remained.
To know that after he lost everything else, Rodney still knew John...
John had refused to say goodbye. Even knowing nothing could be done, he wouldn't let go. Rodney doesn't remember that, either.
He's back to his old self, hilarious and impatient, demanding the impossible of everyone, but above all himself.
John still wants to protect him, to keep him safe. By silent agreement, he and Ronon and Teyla shadow him. Watch over him. Make sure, as best they can, that he'll be okay for a little while. Not much else they can do.
"Oh, John," Teyla says softly, pulling him down for the forehead touch. "You should tell him."
Rodney's scream echoes in John's mind. The way he cried. Begged for John. Only ever calmed in John's presence, with John's touch.
(Rodney hasn't watched the tapes. Not long after he returned, there was a glitch in the system and they were all destroyed. Keller raged, but no one suspected John.)
"I can't," John replies.
Teyla's smile is gentle. "Do you not think he deserves to know?"
John looks away.
Teyla and Ronon and Rodney-closer than Dad and Dave and Nancy ever were. (Maybe even than Mom was, but John can't be sure.)
Rodney. Stripped of everything, he still remembered John. That must mean something.
Ronon merely runs beside John, keeping silent. At the end, as they separate to go shower, he says, "Good to have McKay back."
As he turns away, Ronon grabs his shoulder. "Sheppard," he says. "John. If you care about someone, you shouldn't waste time."
John stares at him. Ronon's hand drops. He shrugs and adds, "You never know when time'll run out."
(Rodney yells, "John! Get John! I want John!" in his memory.)
John flinches and Ronon turns, goes back down the hall the way they'd come.
Watching him go, John hears Rodney whimper his name, terrified.
But Rodney is healed. Back to normal. Courting Keller in his awkward, clueless way.
("I love you," he said on the destroyed tape. "I love you." He thought he was dying, that his mind would soon be completely gone, and he told Keller, "I love you.")
John doesn't say anything. Not to Rodney, not to Teyla or Ronon. There's no reason to change the status quo, to risk losing Rodney.
(In his mind, Rodney screams, "John!")