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20 July 2007 @ 07:59 am
*&^ing harddrive!  
My computer is scarying me.  It keeps shutting down without warning.  So far its re-booted just fine, but just in case I'm going to post a story here so I don't lose it.

This isn't even ready for beta-ing yet, as I haven't re-read it since writing it two days ago.  Read at your own risk!!!  I'm just posting it here so I don't lose it.

John/Rodney; mild spoilers for late SG1 season 10.

He wasn’t sure what woke him – the combination of dry throat, aching thighs, pounding headache and that vague sense that someone was watching him – all if it tied into a loose irritation that had John blinking at the infirmary ceiling many hours before he was due for his next shot of morphine.


There was definitely a shadow standing by the edge of his bed, though, so John turned and asked “Water?” thickly through dry lips.


The shadow cursed softly, bringing a cup of blissfully cool water to John’s mouth.  “Sorry, I’m sorry – I didn’t mean to wake you.”  The voice was a harsh whisper, but after four years and far too many nights like this one, John could only smile.


“’Sokay, Rodney.  How –” god he was dry “ – how are –”


“Fine, everyone’s fine.  Ronon woke up hours ago and Teyla only had a bump on the head anyways.  Carson patched my arm up and …” John watched the frowning twist of Rodney’s mouth as he trailed off, “Everyone’s good.”


John nodded, muscles he hadn’t known were tense relaxing into the warm infirmary sheets.  He thought everyone had gotten out before the tunnel collapsed completely, but it had hard to be sure of his own memory when he’d been fighting a concussion at the time.


Grinning faintly in the dim light, John waited for Rodney to begin harassing him about stupid command decisions, offensive suicide predispositions, or the number of times he’s lost precious brain cells in the Pegasus Galaxy, but the moment trailed away in silence.  Concerned, John tried to peer closer at Rodney’s shadowy profile.


“McKay,” he said warningly, his voice low, “what’s wrong?  Did something happen –?”


“No! No, really,” Rodney took a step back from the cot and held up empty hands, “Sorry, no – everyone’s fine.  Sorry, I just …”


John blinked.  “I’m fine, Rodney.  Really.  A little bump on the head and …” he frowned as Rodney huffed slightly and looked away, even in this faint light John could see him blinking suddenly.


“I am fine, right?”


Rodney looked back to the bed and smiled.  His arm raised as if of its own violation, and for a half-second John thought Rodney was going to – well, do something: pat his head or his hand or something, but Rodney seemed to realize he had moved and guiltily tucked his hand behind his back. 


“You’re fine, too.  Carson even said you can leave in the morning, if you don’t feel dizzy.”


“Okay then,” John relaxed into the sheets, vaguely irritated that Rodney was still standing at least a foot away from his bed.  “So what’s bothering you, then?”


Rodney huffed and moved farther away, John blinked for a moment before he realized his friend was pacing.  Quietly, only a few steps side-to-side in the dim light of the infirmary, but clearly agitated.  “Sorry, I’m – I’m being stupid.  I mean – well it’s a little awkward, really, knowing something is theoretically true and then realizing its practically accomplishable – but its not like this is new, so I shouldn’t be, be reacting like this but …”


Annoyingly, John’s pulse fluttered.  He took a short deep breath and resolutely pushed his instinctive hopeful feelings aside.  It was highly unlikely that after four years and numerous concussions Rodney would chose this night of all nights to confess some feeling of undying attraction to him. 


“How about you try explaining that again, in something resembling English this time?”


Rodney paused mid-step, turning to flash John a smile.  His gaze softened and turned fond, and John momentarily caught his breath.  “Sorry.”  He rolled his eyes – at himself, John thought - and sat gingerly in the infirmary chair beside John’s bed.  Turning to the bed he chewed on his lower lip for a moment, then said: “We exchanged weekly news with Earth this morning.  The SGC sent us their recent mission reports and, there was a transmission from Sam Carter that kind of – uh,” Rodney shook his head, “- shocked me.”


John thought he was doing very well if he could still conceal a thin-lipped grimace of dislike while recovering from a concussion and a slight case of being buried alive.  “Carter?  What – what did she say?”


He needed have bothered, Rodney wasn’t even looking at him now, tapping instead along the inside of John’s hospital cot.  “Uh, nothing.  Well, nothing except that she proved the existence of alternate realities – again.”  He looked up then to catch John’s questioning look and explained, “Think Worf in TNG’s Parallels, Colonel.  The theory of individual bubbles of space-time lying adjacent to –”


“I know the theory, Rodney,” John bite back a sarcastic response.  He hated that Rodney still didn’t use his first name after four years facing life-sucking space vampires together.  “What do you mean she proved it?  Theoretically or ..?”


Rodney shook his head, “While trying to create a defensive strategy against the Ori Sam accidentally got herself stuck in an alternate dimension – she was gone for weeks, apparently, but SG1 kept the news to itself; no point in losing face when everyone thought she was only stuck behind an energy shield.  Anyway, she got back a few days ago and sent me this email with her mission report …”


He trailed off.  John wondered how much he really wanted to know what that email said, but Rodney looked so miserable he knew he’d have to ask.  Playing the best friend card with the guy you had a secret crush on while he talked about the woman he was infatuated with was never John’s favourite way to spend an hour he could be sleeping through.


But obviously he was a masochist, so he took a breath and asked, “What did she say?”


Rodney was picking at his sheet now, not meeting his eyes.  “It was … weird.  I was some multi-billion dollar investor agent, or something.  Got out of science years ago and never looked back by all accounts.  Still mean, petty, and bad with people –” his mouth gave a self-mocking twist that yanked on John’s heart, “- but not self-absorbed enough not to help when she needed someone to help get her home.”


“She came to you – well, the other you – for help?”


“Yeah.  Seems we were married, once.”  John blinked and lost focus for a moment.  Rodney – married – to Sam Carter.  God.  It was like his worst nightmare. 


“… sounds like I – well, the other I, you know what I mean – gave her lots when we divorced, but we stayed friends.  The other Sam was killed in the accident that sent Sam – our Sam – there, so he was pretty upset though.”


John nodded, still trying to process a universe where Rodney and Sam had actually married and – oh god.  “Were there any kids?” He asked, afraid of the answer.


“No, god no.” Rodney sounded as shocked as John felt relieved.  He shook his head, “No I doubt it lasted long enough … I mean, we’re both – we’d have been both – busy people and …”  He trailed off again.


John watched his friend for a moment.  So this was weird but, why was Rodney here, telling him this now, instead of cawing to the rooftops come morning?  “So uh … this upsets you?  That you were married to Sam Carter?”


Rodney looked up, meeting John’s eyes with surprise.  “No!  No, well – not really,” he amended, picking at the sheets again.  “I mean, it’s weird, to be sure.  But it – it’s not really me, and that’s the – the thing.  I mean – Sam would never marry me, and so if she did marry me, then it must have been a pretty different me for her to, to want to –”


John winced, he would really rather be sleeping now.  “Well, not that different,” he tried to console lamely, even though he had to agree, “still petty and bad with people.”


Oh god that sounded mean.  But Rodney only smiled, “True.”  They both sat in silence for a moment then, Rodney staring at his hands and John eying the ceiling.  Just when he was going to suggest they both get some sleep, Rodney raised his head and said: “The thing is – ” he took a deep breath “ – the thing is that I don’t see how I could be happy.  I mean, without Atlantis, without – without – everyone …” he glanced at John quickly, then stood again, pacing quickly.


“I was never good on Earth.  I mean –” he ran over his words before John could protest, “I mean that there was always something I was missing on Earth.  Sam knew it, too.  I told her, years ago … how she was an artist, how I could never be like that – and I couldn’t, not there – but, but here …” Rodney looked around the dark infirmary.  He was whispering now, talking more to himself then to John.


“But here I’ve found something, something that I think makes me feel – feel like I wanted to feel on Earth.  And I don’t see how, I don’t understand how I could be happy there, even if I had a million dollars and was married – and divorced, of course, but in some reality I assume we’re still married since the possibilities are infinite …”


Personally John though that even in infinity Sam Carter could only stand Rodney McKay for a specific length of extended time.  “You are, Rodney.  Here, I mean.  An artist.  You are.”


He fumbled over his words, but Rodney rewarded him with another brilliant smile.  It faded as he stared at him though.  “But you – ” he crossed back to his chair again and sat down, still staring at John, “I don’t know what you’re doing.  There.  You are – you aren’t here either, and Mitchell is a broken wreck there, and I don’t know if you died or, or got kicked out, or are still doing runs at McMurdo.  And Teyla and Ronon – Teyla could be dead and Ronon’s still running and, and I just want to do something, you know?  I – I want to duplicate the original conditions and break into that universe and fix things.  I could do it –” John watched as Rodney’s eyes glazed over and knew he was running calculations behind them, “- I could do it, but what would it accomplish?” He made a frustrated noise.  “There are an infinite number of universes and none of them – none of them are exactly like this one and I – I like this one –”


“Rodney, Rodney,” John tried to wave a hand to calm him.  It hurt, so he gave in and patted his friend’s hand where it was gripping the bed rails tightly, knuckles white with all the problems he couldn’t fix.


“I know,” he said soothingly, trying to catch his gaze, “it’s something I’ve thought of too, okay?  After – after things went to shit and I got hit with that black mark, or whenever we lost people here, or lost Ford …” it was John’s turn to sigh, “I wanted to ask you to find a way, to bring them back, or do it over again.  But I know that even if it could be done, it shouldn’t be done – not on purpose.  We can’t bend the universe like that.  It’s – it’s got to stay the way we made it.”


We’ve got to let the possibilities go, he thought, because every time I wanted to kiss you, every time I wanted to drag you into a closet for a quick fuck, to make you realize how good it could be, how good I could be for you …I know that somewhere I made the other decision, somewhere you didn’t punch me, or hate me, or leave the team.  And that’s comforting, most nights.  It really is.


Rodney was staring at John’s hands.  He took a deep breath.  “I think I know you’re right, even if I don’t want you to be.”  He looked up at John then, peering into his eyes again, “But – you’re alright, right?  I mean, wherever you are in that universe, whatever you’re doing – you would be alright?”


John gave a tired smile, “Where I – the other I – am, I don’t know what I’m missing so yeah, I’m alright.”  He shrugged, “And who knows?  The other you knows about alternate universes now, about the possibilities out there, and maybe who knows what he’ll decide to do now?  The universe doesn’t stop ‘cause Carter left it – we could still find” (each other, he wanted to say, you could still fine me, somewhere) “Atlantis.  After all ‘nothing’s impossible Mario’,”


Rodney laughed softly and joined, “Improbably, unlikely, but never impossible.”


John grinned as Rodney shook his head and, smiling, stood up.  “Have I ever told you I hate it when you’re right?”


“One of these days I’m going to make you sign to it before I frame it and stick it on my wall.” 


“Yeah right, beside your ridiculous Johnny Cash poster, I’m assuming.”


“Hey, don’t diss the Man in Black.”


Rodney rolled his eyes, but he was grinning now too.  He patted John’s hand where it was still resting on the rail, oblivious to the shiver that ran up his arm as he did.  “Okay, thank you for the midnight theoretical metaphysics discussion, Colonel.  I’ll leave you to your beauty sleep now.  You’ll need it after getting crushed by a half-dozen Ronon-shaped rocks.”


John decided to go with the cheeky leer, “Got all the beauty I need.”  Rodney’s answering chuckle left him feeling warm and comforted as he nestled back under the sheets.  There really were an infinite number of possibilities, and nothing – in this future or any other – was impossible. 

(Deleted comment)
Raiiningraiining on July 23rd, 2007 12:36 pm (UTC)
As always, thank you for the editing comments! This story definately needs it :) I should probably referance that Mario comment, though eh? //gets on it
the chicken is your superiorlavvyan on July 20th, 2007 04:23 pm (UTC)
Awww. Incredibly sweet, but also a little heartbreaking. I want to fix things for this John just like Rodney wanted to fix things in the other universe. I won't cry for a sequel though. *is strong like that*

Raiiningraiining on July 23rd, 2007 12:34 pm (UTC)
//pats. I love making people wibble. ;-) Thank you for reviewing!