Short version. This isn't going to be a job I'm passionate about, and I predict that I'll be very bored within the next six months if I don't get a lot more duties than I have now. And it's not front lines of helping people and all of that. But I don't walk away from it hating myself, hating the job, and hating getting up in the morning because I have to go to it, then feel guilty because of that. I mean, I hate getting up in the mornings, that's normal, but that much hate is just unhealthy. It's not going to be a huge challenge, but--but I can *write again*. I mean, the emotional exhaustion is finally beginnig to ease, the feeling of end-of-day *frustration* is gone, and I spent all of yesterday and Thursday absently doing my work while plotting out the end of this story, and that's just so--wow. I feel awake again, and I've been half-asleep for too long.
Oh! And first use of my new icon, courtesey of girlinthetrilby. Who is *so cool*. *loves her*
Speaking of this story. I need a beta. Please? With sugar on top?
For inducement--or to scare away, whichever--snippet. I don't promise that it makes sense. Only that it follows rageprufrock's weird, freaky prompt.
John's kitchen is the epitome of military clean, precise geometrically perfect lines of walls and cabinets and appliances, everything in its place--it's like his feet don't even carry dirt, making Rodney feel like a slob, sloughing sand and sweat and grass around him. John doesn't say anything, just a single ironic look at the no longer pristine floor.
Rodney strips off his uniform jacket, tossing it on a kitchen stool. "Wow. I feel so welcome."
"Could have called." John gets two beers from the fridge, padding barefoot to the table and hooking a stool with a narrow ankle, sitting down with another smile.
"You don't have a *phone*."
John nods agreeably and kicks out the stool across from him, sliding the beer across the table. "There is that."
John watches him the entire time, not unfriendly, but a far cry from best case scenario, and it's funny, that Rodney had been the optimistic one in the end, arguing he could do this, he could talk to him, find him. He hadn't expected the tanned, familiar stranger in cut off shorts and unbuttoned shirt, and that was stupid. The hair is bothering him. This weird need to find some scissors and cut it, try to bring back someone he knows.
"With that winning personality, you must get a lot of visitors," Rodney says snidely, then bites his tongue.
"As a matter of fact, I don't." John pushes the beer across the table. "You can save the speech. No, I'm not coming back. No, I could care less what's happened. Yes, this is all a product of my silent suffering. Yes, wallowing in misery, whatever. You've salved your conscience, Rodney. You really, seriously, don't have to break something trying to be nice." One eyebrow raises, giving Rodney a critical once-over that makes him hideously aware of the creases in his uniform and how sweat and sand have, improbably, lodged in his underwear. John's the only person on earth who can make him this self-conscious. "You look a little tired."
"You think I have a conscience?"
John grins and takes a sip of beer. "Anything can happen in three years."
It's so *awkward*, John's doing it deliberately, and he's never been the kind to do that before. "Sheppard--"
John rolls his eyes. "Look, I'm sure this is a well-meaning gesture on your part, which would, true, be a first, but I'm extrapolating from available evidence. But seriously. You didn't have to come out all this way."
"If you had a *phone*--"
John waves that away, standing up. "Give my regards to everyone."
Oh hell no. Rodney stands up. "You think that--that--" Wow. "You just--oh no. You so aren't pulling this shit. I have *two weeks*. And you're going to--" What? He's too hot to make sense. Rubbing a hand across his forehead, it comes away gritty with sandy sweat "Wait. Wait. I need a shower. Where's your bathroom?"
John's smooth turn is checked, just for a second. "You're kidding."
"You have any idea of how many miles of Pacific coast match the description I got?" Rodney's head hurts thinking about it. "Shower. Dinner. In that order. And don't even *think* about throwing me out. I will--do something."
"I’m *tired*." He's out of practice with dealing with John, and it shows. "You want something better? I can do better. When I'm not *dying of sunstroke*. So if you would--"
John looks at him, a frown creasing his forehead. "You are a little pink." And it's almost a concession, or it's just John, being annoying. Rodney's not sure which. "Come on. I can't send you back in worse condition than I found you." Putting down the bottle, John grins, a little lopsided, pushing his hair from his eyes, and for a second, Rodney wants to smile back. "I have aloe vera somewhere."