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lucifers_toy

[sga] dis/connect

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Sep. 2nd, 2009 | 08:00 pm

Title: Dis/Connect
Rating: G/PG
Pairing: McKay/Sheppard
Word Count: 5000+
Summary: When the doors come together again, closed, he leans his forehead against the Ancient alloys and strokes Atlantis, whispers, “If you let him in, I swear I will leave and never come back, okay? Please? Just let me be, just for tonight.”
AN: I started this last year during exams, and it kind of sat around for a long time until I unearthed it and finished it. And thanks to pictureplaces for reading over. Title shamelessly stolen from the title episode of the same name. All mistakes are my own.



There’s a kid who lives next door, right, and he’s about twelve years old. He has a mess of dark brown hair that hangs in his eyes and Rodney's never seen him without a skateboard tucked under his arm. This kid, Rodney sees him all the time, hanging around outside or loitering in the shops down the street and Rodney's never equated him with anything other than a kid.

Except one day Rodney comes home early and the kid’s sitting on the steps leading up to the lobby, and he’s just curled into himself, hands clasping tightly around his thigh, exerting pressure in a way that Rodney remembers from summers decades ago, because self-inflicted pain is always better than any other kind.

Rodney still carries a small med-kit in his backpack, and he drops to his knees beside the kid and wipes a damp cloth over the shock of blood on his knee, sprays antiseptic and looks carefully for dirt or glass scraped into the wound. He smooths a plaster over the curve of elastic skin and pushes himself to his feet with a creak of bending knees, gathering his scattered belongings back into his backpack.

The kid is looking at him with curious eyes, head tilted at an angle, and Rodney just rolls his eyes and scrubs his hand through his hair.

“Be careful, okay?” He snaps, and the kid suddenly beams up at him, like no one’s taken the time to care before, and even though they’ve seen each other dozens of times, this time Rodney sits down again and holds his hand out. “Doctor Rodney McKay.”

“Tommy. Tommy Fieldson.”

**

One day Rodney looks up from his work, pages of the sky littering his desk, and John’s there. Just standing there in his doorway, hip cocked against the wooden frame, smirking like there’s never been a galaxy and unspoken recriminations between them.

Rodney half-rises, stumbling, his hands spread wide across his paper, dried ink smearing under sweaty palms. “John,” Rodney breathes, lips framing words he hasn’t said in years, and John straightens, takes a step forward, and—

**

The last time Rodney saw Atlantis, he was standing in the depths of Cheyenne, watching a monitor and the dark shapes moving on it. He was running on about three hours of sleep over three days, stimulants and caffeine travelling through his veins in hot flashes. His hands were wracked with fine tremors, enough that he’d given up on drinking, and he kept them curled deep into his pockets. Sweat shone high on his temples and on his clavicle, pooled in the hollow of his spine, and dread unfurled in his belly as Sam wrapped her hot palm around his bicep, a calculated move of support when Rodney staggered half a step forward.

He’d watched the ominous shadows of the hive ships move towards Atlantis at a steady rate, watched tiny millimetre-sized drones fly from his, God, his home and there was nothing he could do from Earth, nothing, except watch and hope and pray until Atlantis’ shadow flickered once, twice, and then shone with the pure energy of a ZedPM aimed through a magnifier, the power of a sun swallowing a plethora of hiveships.

He’d barely waited to watch a lone jumper emerge from the floating debris of the hive ships before he leaned to the side and threw up, acid and coffee burning on the way up, throat already raw from talking and screaming.

**

Tommy is twelve years old and likes baseball, football and anything that has chocolate. Rodney can oblige in two of those things while his mother’s at work, and he and Tommy settle into his couch in front of the TV, popcorn and candy spread out around them.

Tommy’s eyes are wide and he stares at the TV in awe, amazement curving the ‘O’ of his mouth into a perfect circle. Rodney watches in amusement as the kid leans forward, and forward again, watching avidly as a Hail Mary is passed in a game that Rodney's seen so often he can watch each play with his eyes closed.

Instead, he pulls up a stack of papers he has to grade, chewing slowly on a Hershey’s bar with great intent. He doesn’t listen to the cheering, and he certainly doesn’t hear the echo of John's laughter.

When the game is over, Tommy snaps back into real-time again, his eyes focused on Rodney now as the older man moves around the kitchen, throwing away wrappers and tidying with the focused intent that lends him a certain charisma. Rodney's not ignoring Tommy so much as giving himself time to think, and time for the energy rush of sugar and caffeine to dispel in Tommy’s gangly body.

Tommy appraises Rodney with the childlike frankness that Rodney never grew out of. “Are you married?”

Snorting, Rodney shakes his head, raising his left hand to show no ring. “Yeah, no. One time, almost, but- but no. Shouldn’t you be at school?”

Tommy rolls his eyes, slumping along the back of the couch with adolescent flexibility, blowing his hair out of his eyes with one frustrated huff. “Summer break, Doc,” He drawls, and continues, “and Mom’s at work, so.”

Rodney casts his mind back to summers spent out of the house, avoiding his parents and Jeannie, stuck in the dark recesses of the library until even he longed to see even one other person. “Are you smart?”

“What?”

“Are you a smart kid?” Rodney repeats impatiently, and shifts his weight.

“Um. Yeah? My Mom says I am.”

“Right, then.” Rodney says decisively. “You can come up when you get bored. As long as you promise not to touch anything but the TV and you don’t break anything, we’re good. The second you do, deal’s off. Understood?”

Tommy nods. “Done.”

**

—stops, just in front of Rodney, so close that he can see how John's shirt lifts and flutters with each exhalation. That he can see the fine layer of stubble coating John's chin, a reminder of late night stubble burn and early morning kisses.

“John,” Rodney chokes again, and reaches out with trembling, grabby hands to hold John, to press his palms against the curve of his ribs and the hollow of his back. Then he’s gathering John in so close, so close, and clinging. He barely notices John reaching up to hold him just as hard, just puts his face against John's shoulder and breathes so slowly.

**

Once, when Rodney was a child—five, maybe six?—he was taken on a family holiday to the beach. He’d despised it, of course, hated the sun and salt and sand that clung uncomfortably to pink, damp skin. His parents had been angry at his ungratefulness, his lack of appreciation, and eventually they had simply given up, given in, and sent Rodney back into the house with a thick book.

Rodney smiled and curled into a seat by the window, gentle warmth soaking into his bones and curling into the dark places. He read quietly, humming distractedly, learning of inertia and gravity and mass, losing himself in the rhythm of science, of formulae and order; calm in the midst of chaos.

A tiny movement in the corner of his eye drew his attention and he set aside his book carefully, one small finger marking his page, trapped between two heavy covers. Behind the transparent white curtains, a fly crept slowly across the window, seeking an exit from the glass sheet. Rodney watched with disgusted interest, crooked lips curled with a grimace. Then, with short, chubby fingers, he reached out and crushed the fly, feeling miniscule flesh and membrane crush under the strength of his thumb.

He jerked away, stunned, and stared at the messy smear of black and red suturing the curtain to the window. Jerking up, away, guilt lodged heavily in his stomach, Rodney abandoned his book and tiny patch of warmth, crawling into the dark recesses of his bed.

**

John takes a step back and curls his fingers gently around Rodney's cheeks, cupping his face so tenderly that Rodney's dry eyes burn. His eyes are impossibly soft, the brown warm and affectionate —loving, even, something Rodney had thought he’d lost— and Rodney gasps in a desperate breath, shaking in John's hold.

“Been a while, huh, buddy?” John rasps, the familiar blend of wry and sarcastic smoothing into something like sadness, something like relief, and Rodney's overcome with a wave of grief so potent that his knees buckle and he grabs at John's shoulders to keep himself standing.

“I’m sorry,” he says, like it’s all that he can say, like there are no other words. Then again and again, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

John makes a crooning noise under his breath, gathering Rodney into his arms again and rocking him back and forth. “Hey, Rodney, no. It’s okay, buddy, I promise.”

**

On MX9-PYT, they’ve barely stepped through the Gate when they’re ambushed, surrounded entirely by a ring of men, spears and guns aimed at them in equal amounts.

“Well, shit,” John says articulately, and Rodney swallows and moves closer, the brush of his hand along John's a burning point of contact.

They’re forced into an underground prison, not hidden, just on a sublevel. Below, it’s filthy, dirt and mud caking the walls. Rodney makes a sound of disgust, abruptly cut off as he’s pushed roughly into a cell. The same thing happens to John, and Rodney frowns when he realises that the Naidians are smart enough to separate them.

Teyla is next, her head held high in defiant pride, and gets spit on for her efforts. Ronon fights, limbs flying with such precision that it takes five guards to take him down, and Rodney notes this with detached satisfaction, because most of his attention is focused on the man before him.

He’s laying awkwardly across the rough dirt floor, one arm folded beneath him at an unnatural angle. Blood is pooling around him, a red/black puddle that Rodney can smell now, Jesus, and when Rodney takes a hesitating step forward, he can see filth-encrusted gashes opening the man’s belly, the rotten scent of infection reaching Rodney even as he notices the viscous fluid surrounding the wounds.

He drops by the man, pressing two slightly shaking fingers against the man’s pulse. It’s fluttering weakly, and Rodney curses, turns the man to lie properly on his back, moving his arm swiftly. To his horror, the man makes a low, animal whine and his eyes open, revealing two pools of black. It takes him a minute, but he focuses on Rodney and speaks with surprising clarity, groaning, “Please,”

Rodney nods hurriedly, says, “Of course,” without knowing what he’s agreeing to. He looks desperately around for supplies, cursing the Naidians for their theft of his pack, and eventually strips off his leather jacket and then his shirt, pressing the cotton to the man’s stomach, wincing as blood soaks through immediately.

The man moans and blacks out, Rodney swallowing thickly as his eyes roll back, and he takes a quick inventory of the guy’s other injuries, ignoring for the moment John's worried calls.

The man has clearly been stabbed and slashed in his stomach, he has a broken arm, maybe a couple of cracked ribs that are penetrated his lung from the sound of his wet breathing, and at the rate the blood is leaking out of him, Rodney knows that he’s not going to make it, not when there will be two interminable hours before Atlantis is due to check in.

John calls again, “Rodney? Hey, McKay, answer me!”

And Rodney makes a snap decision, grips the man’s head between his two hands, and twists.

After the noise, there’s a brief silence, and then John and Ronon and Teyla are all clamouring, “Rodney? Doctor McKay? Are you well? What the hell happened?”

Rodney takes in a deep breath and sits against a wall. “It’s fine. I just tripped,” he lies, and knows that none of them will call him on it.

**

Tommy ends up spending more time in Rodney's home than his own. One morning Rodney wakes up and he’s already there, sitting in darkness, the wide screen TV casting an eerie light over the kid’s face.

Rodney stumbles out of his bedroom, tugging his ragged bathroom tighter, and rubs his eyes. “Coffee?”

Tommy points to the kitchen without looking, accustomed to Rodney waking up after naps, and Rodney ambles over lazily, pouring himself a cup and watching Tommy.

After a while, Tommy looks up, and he seems curious, not irritated at the watching. “What?”

“Nothing,” Rodney say, but he never was good at lying, and when Tommy gives him a sceptical look, the words come out in a rush, “just, do you even have your own home?”

Stiffening, Tommy turns to look at Rodney fully, small hands clenching and relaxing on his thighs. The remote for the TV is clutched in one sweaty palm. “Want me to leave?”

Scowling, Rodney shoots back, “No. Did I say I did?”

“No,” Tommy admits cautiously.

“Okay then. I told you that you’re welcome to hang out here this summer, as long as you have parental permission.”

Tommy’s mouth twists and he nods. “Yeah, Mom knows where I am. She said its cool.”

Rodney nods slowly. “You want to come shopping with me today? I think I need a X-Box.”

Tommy’s eyes light up with predictable glee, then his face falls with suspicion. “What about work?”

“Screw it. They’re all morons anyway. I’m sick of people.”

**

When they’re finally rescued, it’s all oddly anticlimactic. Lorne comes in with his team, and they release John, then Ronon, then Teyla, and John gets Rodney himself while Lorne looks away pointedly.

Rodney stumbles out of the cell, brushes off John's questions, Teyla's concerns, and instead says, impatiently, “What? Well, what are you waiting for, let’s go.”

In Atlantis, Rodney gets through the post-mission briefing and the infirmary check up without saying much at all. He blusters his way through them, all loud voice and louder hands, but Ronon's watching him carefully and it makes Rodney twitchy, uneasy, and he escapes before they call bullshit.

**

They make it to the couch and settle in, John taking the space Tommy vacated only a few hours ago. Rodney drops his head into his hands, pinching at the bridge of his nose, and John drapes his arm over Rodney's shoulders, pulling him into his side and his warmth.

“You disappeared on me, Rodney,” he says, and Rodney tenses and relaxes.

“I’m sor-” he starts miserable, defeat dragging the corner of his mouth down, and John shakes his head.

“No recriminations, okay? Not tonight,” He says, and Rodney nods his head gratefully.

**

Rodney sinks into the seat behind his desk in the lab. He breathes, in and out, and just sits. Across the way, Radek looks up and watches him, frowning. Then Rodney covers his face with a large, broad hand and Radek stands, announcing to the lab that, “Maybe is time to have some dinner, yes?”

Rodney's scientists trail out one by one, Kusangi last, and she drifts her hand over his shoulder in comfort. When they are gone, Radek locks the door manually. “Would you like to talk about it?” He asks, voice oddly gentle.

Rodney laughs bitterly and looks up, eyes red but dry. “No. No, I don’t want to fucking talk about it.”

“Rodney-” Radek’s voice is commiserating, understanding, but Rodney sits up straight, his eyes angry now.

“No! Just, it’s enough. I’m done here, in this fucking galaxy that’s done nothing but screw us over and I’m done, okay, I’m done. I’m tired and this bullshit galaxy isn’t worth this. I’m finished here, I don’t want— I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to be me anymore.”

“McKay! What happened?” Radek snaps, shock sharpening his voice, accent roughening into a coarse jumble of vowels and consonants.

“You know, before I came here, I’d never killed anyone. I’d never even hit anyone, and you know what I just did? I had to kill a guy because he wasn’t going to live, okay, and I’m. I just. I can’t.”

A kind of lethargic shock seeps through Radek’s body, stunned because he’s always seen Rodney as a scientist, an academic who has grown dusty and faded from deskwork, just like the rest of them, and he can’t equate the Rodney sitting in front of him with a Rodney holding a gun, killing a man.

And then he takes a breath and remembers Rodney backing through the Gate, P-90 held up and aimed out, taking careful shots through the Gate as Ronon drags a bloody Sheppard through and he remembers hearing the thump of a body hitting the ground as Teyla shouted desperately at Chuck to “shut the gate, close the iris now!

Rodney lets out a wheezing, breathy snicker and says, “Yeah. Yeah, I know. God.” and just…breaks. Shatters. His large, capable shoulders curl in upon themselves, his hands come up again to hide his face, and Radek listens to the sounds of near-silent crying in bewildered agony.

**

One day Rodney comes home in an awful mood. He’s had a shitty day at the U, it’s raining heavily and his so-called ‘water resistant’ shoes are becoming more and more damp with each step.

He shoves his wet hair out of his face, combing it back, and scowls, stomping up the stairs. He stops to check his mail, an automatic habit he can’t buck even though his bills are paid online, and there’s actually something there.

It’s a package. Simple brown paper and twine, rectangular and hard, and Rodney turns it in his hands with a scientist’s curious eye, hands spanning the length of it easily. He shrugs and trods wetly up the stairs, turning the key in the lock and leaning heavily on the door to swing it open. Once he’s in he throws his laptop bag onto a sidetable, slumping pathetically into an over-stuffed armchair, pulling his feet from his shoes with an ugly squelch.

He stands, again, and pulls a beer from the fridge, swallowing half the bottle in one go, and he drags his hand over his mouth in a distinctly male manner. Then, and only then, does he open the package, tearing the paper apart with capable hands, and he stops when he sees the contents, freezes.

Rodney takes in a deep, shuddering breath and sets the tape reverently onto the counter, tracing the faded label.

“Hail Mary,” he reads aloud, and presses the balls of his hands into wet eyes.

**

John catches up with him at 0127 hours when Rodney finally leaves the safety of his lab. He’s standing by the door to his room, leaning casually against Atlantis’ wall, a soft blue light outlining him and Rodney makes a disgusted noise and stops, well out of John's reach.

Crossing his arms across his broad chest, Rodney raises his chin in a defiant gesture. “Yes?”

Using one foot, John kicks himself off the wall, taking two steps forward to look at Rodney with a weird intensity, like he’s done something unexpected or completely amazing. He watches Rodney for a minute then nods, apparently having come to a decision about something. “What happened back there, Rodney?”

“You were there,” Rodney says with a derisive snort. “You saw. We got captured by those shit-heads, we were in that fucking hole for a couple of hours, then Lorne got us out. Same old.”

John looks at him with a horribly gentle smile. “Hey, buddy, it’s okay. No one expects you to-”

“To what?” Rodney interrupts, voice loud and angry and reverberating through the silent hall. He jiggles the laptop under his arm in a nervous motion, leaning into John's space. “To deal with things like you and Ronon and Teyla? Well, they shouldn’t. I’m not you. I’m not some cool as shit soldier who doesn’t even blink at eviscerating people, I feel guilty when we try to commit genocide, I don’t like killing people and hey, I shouldn’t have to. I’m a goddamn scientist. I’ve spent most of my life in academia, sitting behind a computer monitor in a nice, safe lab, and you know what? Before I met you, I’d never once been in danger. So if I’m not dealing how you want me to, buddy, if you have to condescendingly placate me, then that is your problem, okay? You chose me for your team and you can just fucking deal with it.”

He pushes past John, shoulders coming a hairs breadth from knocking the Colonel away, and storms into his room on a wave of self-righteousness. When the doors come together again, closed, he leans his forehead against the Ancient alloys and strokes Atlantis, whispers, “If you let him in, I swear I will leave and never come back, okay? Please? Just let me be, just for tonight.”

**

John kisses Rodney, lips catching softly, gently, before coming back to press firmly. Rodney moans, a little, grasping at John's shoulders, pulling him closer, and yes, yes, please.

**

Sam takes one look at Rodney, at the jittery way he bounces on the balls of his feet, and nods, lips thinned into a line. “Come on. Let’s get something to drink.”

The car ride is silent, Rodney leaning back in the seat with his eyes closed, the reflection of light casting moving shadows over too-sharp features. He thinks of the still-packed suitcase in his bedroom, a sterile apartment. He thinks of a life from five years ago, a horrible stillness that weighed every limb until he walked through a wall of water. He thinks of the look on John's face as he walked through the Gate for the last time.

Then he heaves in a shuddering breath, exhales, and ignores Sam’s concerned glance. He thinks of nothing at all.

**

Rodney doesn’t say goodbye. Not really. Later, he’s not sure if he can ever forgive himself for that, but right now, he can’t deal with it. Can’t deal with recriminations and questions, interrogating eyes and possessive hands. He can’t stand to look at Radek with bruised eyes, thin shoulders slumped under the weight of his new position. To think of Teyla, and Ronon, bitter memories of others leaving, and him just another betrayal. And god, John, most of all Rodney can’t say goodbye to him, not after what happened, not after what he did.

**

He’s never been a patient man. He’s always been about now and here and urgency. He learns about stillness now.

He looks at Tommy, still so young and untouched. He doesn’t know what Tommy’s home life is like, or whether he’s happy. He knows that the kid is lonely. He recognises that in him, at least, and he hopes that what meagre companionship he can offer is enough.

He counts himself lucky that Tommy’s mother isn’t concerned about the strange, elder man Tommy’s suddenly spending all his time with, but feels sad that she isn’t. He remembers what its like to have too-busy parents, an absence in the house that makes the quiet unbearable, and he remembers the fidgety neediness of youth. He remembers concentration being tenuous, and he remembers the draw of the exciting. For him, the normalities of youth were experienced quickly and then discarded, but Tommy is going through these issues without skipping any steps.

He looks at Tommy’s jeans, worn and muddied, holes in the knee and on the upper thigh.

He doesn’t think about Torren, and instead takes Tommy to the local mall.

**

John stays around for a few days. He doesn’t talk about Atlantis. He comes to University with Rodney, sits in his office and mocks his wall of diplomas. He cooks and cleans and laughs and Rodney is sometimes struck by how much he loves him, a brutal one-two punch to his chest.

In the mornings, Rodney twists to look at John, his neck angled awkwardly but uncaring because having John in his bed feels, irrationally, like simultaneously new and like old memories. He feels his ribcage expand with affection and tries to ignore the sullen edge of tension stealing through him, wondering when, exactly, John's going home.

**

When Rodney hands in his resignation, he looks away from Wolsey, taking the cowardly way out. He admits it easily to himself, avoiding the man’s eyes and reading disappointment and shock in the stiff lines of the older man’s body. But Wolsey, before anything else, is a company man; he smiles politely, if with frustration, and offers the usual platitudes and recommendations, asking if there’s any chance that Rodney would consider changing his mind.

Rodney won’t. It isn’t that he’s stubborn, or sullen, or bitter. He is all those things, but this decision is one he thought over and analysed. It’s not hasty. He sat down with a scientist’s mind and mapped out the benefits and detriments of the job that he loves, and he found a lack. Whether himself or Atlantis, he’ll figure out later.

The SGC doesn’t care too much about his resignation. They haven’t said anything while he was CSO, but he knows they’d prefer someone a little more orthodox, more diplomatic, a scientist who stays within the perimeters of his own box and doesn’t extend limbs and other spastic gestures into the ether.

John doesn’t find out until he’s about to go through the Gate, because Rodney slaps the piece of paper on Wolsey’s desk and gives Chuck his orders, with little time in between.

He’s always hated personal dramas in the workplace.

**

“So, the thing is,” John says slowly, bringing his arms up to cross across his chest, his fingers curled around his elbows. “the thing is, Atlantis is doing fine without you.”

“Oh?” Rodney says, asks, and really, this isn’t exactly how he’d thought this conversation would go.

“Yeah. Radek’s doing good as CSO, although you were right, he’s exactly as much of a bastard as you, and twice as sadistic besides. Simpson is working well on our team. Atlantis is still running smoothly.” John tilts his chair back onto the back two legs, balancing precariously. He’s wearing his aviator sunglasses, even though he’s in Rodney's kitchen, and his BDUs and Rodney knows that he’s got a gun holstered in the small of his back, despite the relative safety of Earth. Old habits die hard, and Rodney himself still carries a mini first-aid kit in his backpack, and MREs too.

“Okay?” Growing sick of himself, of his inability to answer only with questions, Rodney lumbers to his feet and begins to clear the detritus from that day’s breakfast; two empty plates still smeared with melted butter, a frying pan with cracked eggs around the edges and assorted containers of sliced ham, mushrooms and half-peppers. He throws everything haphazardly in the sink and the fridge and then, empty hands waving uselessly in the air, finally picks up his cup of coffee. Back on Earth, he’s learned somewhat to hide his bluster, ever since the first time he heard a car backfire and he ducked.

Watching carefully, John nods. “But, Rodney, the thing is that I- we want you to come back. Come home. It’s time, don’t you think, Rodney?”

Rodney stiffens. “No. I have a life here, now. A job, people who rely on me. I can’t go back, John. Not now.” Not yet, his mind whispers, and Rodney sighs heavily.

“Teaching? You can’t tell me you like that more than your labs. You can’t tell me you don’t miss your labs and your minions and hell, even offworld missions. Don’t feed me that bullshit, McKay, because I’m not biting. I know you better than that.” John's angry, now, and he slams his chair back down, leaning forward. “Get the hell over yourself and come home already.”

“Why?”

**

John's only here for two days before he meets Tommy. It isn’t quite the auspicious meeting that Rodney would’ve liked.

John's up early, habit ingrained in him. He makes himself some coffee, leaves some in the pot for Rodney, and throws on his running shorts and Rodney's oversized MIT t-shirt and heads out the door, throwing his keys and cellphone into his pocket on his way out. He runs his usual five miles, at a marginally slower pace than if Ronon was just in front of him, and concentrates on putting one foot in front of another. He isn’t quite used to running in suburbia, and he isn’t quite sure that he likes it.

On his way back, he picks up donuts for Rodney. The genius is always a grumpy waker, and even though coffee works wonders for easing his crankiness, sugar and chocolate make him that much more amenable. Also, John is partial to the jelly donuts, and he’s on holidays, he can afford to eat crappy junk food.

He walks back into Rodney's apartment in a good mood, adrenaline still running through his veins and sweat drying on his neck. He walks back in, sets his keys in the small bowl by the door, throws the box of donuts onto the kitchen table, and nearly has a heart attack because on Rodney's couch, playing Rodney's X-Box, is a kid.

“Um,” John says cleverly, because diplomacy has never been his gig and somehow he doubts the kid is a threat.

If anything, the kid is more surprised to see him than he is to see the kid. His eyes get very big in his head, and he half rises to his feet, paling. “Rodney!” He yells, and John winces.

“Hey, what- who are you?” He tries, but Rodney emerges before the kid can reply, and he spares a moment to thank god that Rodney had insisting on throwing on boxers before going to sleep last night, because he burst through his bedroom door in a panic.

“What? What?” He demands in a panic, voice high and tight. “Tommy? Are you okay? Are you hurt? What happened?” He turns to John, and looks at him. “John? What’s going on?”

“Nothing, just. You have a kid?” John says at the same time as the kid point to him and says, angrily, “He just walked in!”

“Oh.” Rodney sighs in relief, and slumps into the couch next to the kid. “Yeah. John, this is Tommy. Tommy, this is my. My, uh.” He floundered, looking to John for help, and glaring when John just smirked. “This is John. He’s an old colleague.”

“And a friend,” John interjects smoothly, holding out his hand. “Nice to meetcha,”

Tommy raises his chin sceptically. “Yeah? Why’ve I never seen you around?”
hos
Rodney snorts a laugh and swears under his breath. “Remember how I told you I used to work somewhere far away? Sheppard lives there.”

Tommy nods slowly. “Whatever,” he shrugs, and with typical adolescent indifference he throws himself back into his game, leaving Rodney and John to blink at each other.

**

“I can’t just abandon him,” Rodney whispers later, his words coming out pressed against John's skin.

John brings an arm down to wrap across Rodney's shoulders where he’s slumped on his chest. He says, lazily, “Who?”

“Tommy. He’s got a crappy home, you know. I think. Well, I’m pretty sure, but he’s a stupid stoic kid and he won’t just tell me. God forbid that bloody males speak their goddamn mind and let people help them,”

“Rodney, you’re a male.”

“Right, and as one of our gender, I reserve the right to curse out people’s idea of masculinity, especially if they’re twelve. When I was twelve, I was- well, okay, when I was twelve I was taking college-level math and having wet dreams about physics, but he should be happy. He should be out having fun, for fuck’s sake.”

**

In the end, there’s no huge fight over it. There isn’t a big explosion, or desperately loving declarations. There’s not even a bitter ultimatum.

John simply looks at Rodney and extends his hand out, fingers coming just short of clutching at his sleeve. “Come home,” he says, and Rodney sighs, not sad or bitter, and nods. “Yeah.”

And then John takes Rodney into his arms and kisses him softly and sweetly, lips catching with uncharacteristic gentleness, and Rodney sways into him and thinks longingly of blue seas and hallways that sing softly beneath his feet.

He leaves his keys with Tommy, removes anything dangerous or classified from his apartment, buys more books and video games and junk food, and holds Tommy in an awkward hug goodbye, and promises to come back to visit and leaves him the apartment as Tommy’s secret haven.

And then he goes home.

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Comments {23}

Liz

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from: liz666
date: Sep. 2nd, 2009 11:02 am (UTC)
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This was so touching! I love the way you've written Rodney and his relationship with Tommy

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lucifers_toy

(no subject)

from: lucifers_toy
date: Sep. 3rd, 2009 12:56 am (UTC)
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Thank you! I'm really glad you liked it.

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no name #6

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from: rilestar
date: Sep. 2nd, 2009 12:20 pm (UTC)
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Oh, nice work hon! Poor Rodney, the angst over killing the fly really got me, as did the consequent breakdown over the mercy killing. I loved his little John-substitute too, and his disappointment that Tommy's mother didn't seem to consider that she should at least meet this possibly-a-paedophile-but-not who was paying more attention to her son than she was. Very moving story!

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lucifers_toy

(no subject)

from: lucifers_toy
date: Sep. 3rd, 2009 12:57 am (UTC)
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*beams* I'm really glad that you liked it. It means a lot that you did. Thank you so much for reading!

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tzzzz

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from: tzzzz
date: Sep. 2nd, 2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
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I really enjoyed this, especially the quality of the writing. It's funny that with the flood of Jennifer finding Atlantis too hard and leaving fics out there right now, I never considered that Rodney might do the same. You really convinced me. Congrats!

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lucifers_toy

(no subject)

from: lucifers_toy
date: Sep. 3rd, 2009 12:55 am (UTC)
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Oh, good. I'm glad it was vaguely in character. I haven't written SGA in a long while, so I was afraid of that. Thank you!

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nodakgirl

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from: nodakgirl
date: Sep. 2nd, 2009 09:35 pm (UTC)
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Haunting and beautiful. I never would imagine that Rodney would ever leave Atlantis but you convinced me that in this circumstance he might. He's of course not happy. This was very good. Thanks for sharing.

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lucifers_toy

(no subject)

from: lucifers_toy
date: Sep. 3rd, 2009 12:35 am (UTC)
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I'm so glad you liked it. Thanks for reading/

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badwolf36

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from: badwolf36
date: Sep. 2nd, 2009 11:28 pm (UTC)
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Absolutely lovely. The angst was pefectly balanced and the ending worked seamlessly with the story as a whole. Thanks for sharing!

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lucifers_toy

(no subject)

from: lucifers_toy
date: Sep. 3rd, 2009 12:34 am (UTC)
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Thank you so very much!

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yinkawills

WHOAH

from: yinkawills
date: Sep. 3rd, 2009 12:43 am (UTC)
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Amazing.

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lucifers_toy

Re: WHOAH

from: lucifers_toy
date: Sep. 3rd, 2009 12:57 am (UTC)
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Thank you!

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Shelley

(no subject)

from: argosy
date: Sep. 3rd, 2009 01:35 am (UTC)
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Ah, that was lovely. Tommy was wonderful. I really enjoyed this story.

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lucifers_toy

(no subject)

from: lucifers_toy
date: Sep. 3rd, 2009 01:39 am (UTC)
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Thank you, I'm so glad.

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the brain is the life

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from: raphe1
date: Sep. 3rd, 2009 04:45 pm (UTC)
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Breathtaking. You packed so much emotion in this story. Perfect characterizations and I loved Rodney's relationship with Tommy. Umm Sequel? Please?

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lucifers_toy

(no subject)

from: lucifers_toy
date: Sep. 4th, 2009 12:19 am (UTC)
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Thank you so very much. *beams*

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danceswithgary

(no subject)

from: danceswithgary
date: Sep. 4th, 2009 12:42 am (UTC)
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Very nice. :-D

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lucifers_toy

(no subject)

from: lucifers_toy
date: Sep. 4th, 2009 02:07 am (UTC)
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Thank you!

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lazy_8s

(no subject)

from: lazy_8s
date: Sep. 4th, 2009 11:34 am (UTC)
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Gorgeous! I could definitely see how Rodney could reach the point where he would feel that he was losing his identity in Atlantis, becoming something unrecognizeable. However, I love how John gave him the space to work through this crises, before coming to retrieve his scientist. And, how adorable was it that John and Tommy did not like each other!

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lucifers_toy

(no subject)

from: lucifers_toy
date: Sep. 4th, 2009 02:49 pm (UTC)
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Thank you so much! I'm glad you thought it was in character, because I was a tad worried about that. Thanks for reading.

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(no subject)

from: wanted_a_pony
date: Sep. 5th, 2009 03:59 am (UTC)
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Oh, this is lovely. I shall have to go looking for the older stories you mention; this fic is so well-written, & you get into the characters' heads & hearts so well! It's good to read another take on Rodney besides the he'd-never-leave-Atlantis,-he-can-handle-anything fics because, really? Everyone has a breaking point, especially someone so imaginative, so far outside his comfort zone, so far from the life he was working toward as Rodney in Atlantis.

I'd love to read more in this 'verse: about Tommy, about John & Rodney's relationship in Atlantis, about how John realized that Rodney needed the space/time/boredom to face the Pegasus Galaxy again. But I don't want to sound ungrateful; this is wonderful all by itself. It's just so good it leaves one hungry for more. Thanks for writing (even during exams!) & sharing it with us.

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lucifers_toy

(no subject)

from: lucifers_toy
date: Sep. 5th, 2009 04:16 am (UTC)
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What a lovely comment, thank you. I'm so very glad you thought it was in character, because that was a concern of mine. But I've always thought that it's one thing to create weapons when you can be objective in your office, and another entirely to use brute force in the field. And further, that Rodney is merciful and, well, intelligent enough to know when to put someone out of their misery, despite personal cost.

Thank you. I didn't even think of adding more to this story, but I might just, if I can think of anything.

(Is there anything better to do during exams than write fic? Though I maintain that it doubles as English study)

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Devo79

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from: devo79
date: Apr. 25th, 2010 11:59 am (UTC)
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A nice and slow fic. Slow in a very very good way :)

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