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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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thinking deep thoughts. and by deep, I mean, John
children of dune - leto 1
Oh my GOD what is with these eight o'clock mornings on a *weekend*? This is insane amounts of unnatural. Dear God.

Yesterday, got the fortress floors and flooring and I feel like this crazy rabbit lady in a serious way, what with the fact that I carried around my camera for the nice Home Depot man to see what I was talking about when I said I needed flooring and speaking in *measurements* and saying clever things like, "Where do I go for all things wood?" and the nice Home Depot man realized that yes, I was serious, I wanted to buy *wood things*.

*sighs* So yeah. The fortress will have easy-to-clean floors after today.

In other news--oh, whatever, there *is* no other news.

So while reading comments on A Touch of Your Hand, I noted how many people were genuinely hit by that line about John selling himself for a ZPM.

The problem with me here is that it took me a *while* to let it sink in that a sex-for-ZPM trade--as opposed to sex-for-survival or sex-for-alien-sex-pollen--would have completely different connotations. I mean, my problem. This is part of the reason this is one of those stories I always wanted to write and just couldn't--I mean, I'm a *fangirl*. I write porn for any old reason aliens can supply, so why would this particular circumstance make me uncomfortable? I wrote alien sex pollen for God's sake. And drunk sex. And no one reacted weirdly after. They were just fine. It feels vaguely hypocritical to take it to that place.

Which argues either I've been in fandom way too long or I really need to get out more. So I sketched this out. It's not a story--I'm just not a good enough writer to get across what it should be.

Because at first, it would seem ridiculously easy and simple--they want to have sex with John and hope to get pregnant? It wouldn't see like *anything*. John would be amused and Elizabeth would be relieved and Rodney would be like, FINALLY YOUR WEIRD THING FOR ALIENS IS USEFUL and Ronon and Teyla would kind of shrug.

And they're getting ready to go to the planet, and John's weirdly quiet, because it's sinking in--he's having sex for a ZPM. Maybe fathering a kid he'll never see. And Rodney is picking up something is *wrong* but not what. And he's uneasy, because something in him is feeling weird about this and he's not sure *why*. So they all go to the planet and led to this beautiful house where the Leader or whoever is waiting and John's beginning to be genuinely freaked out because this is hitting him--he's selling his *body*, sex, for a ZPM, and Rodney's picking up his jitters and Teyla and Ronon are like, we can *stop*, but John of course won't.

So he's led off to do his thing and Rodney's finally getting what's bothering him--that of all they've ever done, they've never actually *whored out someone* before, sold someone like this before, and he was raised on Earth and no matter how long they've been in this galaxy, this is something that they just don't do. That sex shouldn't be like this.

And Rodney stops himself all night from just breaking in and calling it off and taking John home, because this is freaking him out, too. Teyla and Ronon don't quite understand and he sends them off to patrol or something, so they'll stop being so confused in his general direction, and in the morning, John comes out.

And it's not like they *beat* him; he's a valuable trade commodity and Rodney feels himself start to shiver when he realizes how he just thought of his team leader. But John's bruised in all these places behind his eyes and Rodney can't think of anything to say, just reaches to touch his shoulder and John--flinches from him. Just for a second, completely involuntary, looks *surprised* when he does it.

And they stand there for a while, then Ronon and Teyla come back and *know* something is off, but Rodney stops them before they can ask any questions, just sends them down to get the ZPM and they all go to the gate. And when they come back through, Elizabeth's *excited* and Rodney shoves Zelenka toward Ronon holding the ZPM and tells him to install it, which is *weird*, and Zelenka kind of stares at him in shock. And John's just like always but something's so wrong that Elizabeth's starting to look worried and Rodney's not sure John's even in the room except in body, so he makes some stupid excuse and thinks maybe he's handling this badly, too, because he's shaking and he's not sure why.

So he follows John to his quarters and he realizes John doesn't know he's *there* and it scares him when John just *strips* right there, still locked up inside himself, and Rodney wonders if he was like this all night, while Rodney paced away the night waiting for him. And then John goes to shower and Rodney picks up his clothes and throws them out of teh room with this idea of incinerating them later or something. And when John comes out, Rodney finally says his name and John snaps back in the room and he knows John's horrified that he's there, but someone's got to be, and he can't think of anyone else to call; Teyla and Ronon wouldn't get it, and Elizabeth's their leader and John would never want her to see this, and so he just starts *talking*, no idea what he's saying or offering but eventually, John's dressed and they're in the jumper and flying the skies of the planet.

And he *keeps talking* so John doesn't have to, and eventually, John makes him take a flying lesson, lets John teach him all this amazingly complex piloting crap that Rodney's usually terrible at but he sits there and just does it, because he gets John needs this. And after a while, they achieve orbit and Rodney's practicing with the menus of the jumper and he realizes that John fell asleep, and he doesn't know why he's relieved, but it feels like maybe John will be okay. Or better than he was.

So eventually, they go back to Atlantis and he wakes John up and John doesn't flinch when he touches him, and they go to the briefing where John's just like always, and they talk about the ZPM and new functions but Rodney rushes Zelenka through it and he sees Elizabeth reach out ot John as he leaves and John smoothly avoids her hand and waits until he and Elizabeth are alone and says that they will never, ever do that again, not even an option. And Elizabeth's not sure why, and Rodney makes it about how he's Canadian and they just don't do this, and he really doesn't know what crappy excuses he's giving, as long as it deflects from John but she finally agrees and he feels like he can breathe again, and he goes back to his quarters and John's there and they watch terrible sci-fi channel movies that Rodney's never admitted to anyone else he brought along and John falls asleep again with his head on Rodney's shoulder. They never talk about what happened, or that John might have a child he'll never see on another world.

And later, much later, there is desert porn, and Rodney wakes up realizing that it has to mean something, because he knows he's the only person John's touched, wanted to touch, since that day.

If I wrote it, it would be like that.

It's not hypocritical, because all of those things you listed are between people John knew and it might've had issues following, but he'd be there to handle it - or, you know, not handle it - whatever happened. It'd be something he knew and could touch and deal with, and that one tiny little line in your fic meant he didn't know. He'd been reduced to the level of a thing on a scale not even Rodney's "just touch this" could ever get him to.

And jesus, yes, that might be a sketch but it's no less powerful.

He'd been reduced to the level of a thing on a scale not even Rodney's "just touch this" could ever get him to.

Exactly! Not just sex, but being reduced to a commodity, a trade item. Some part of him would be killed by that once it sank in.

Yay cleanable floors!

*taps finger on desk and thinks*

You know what, apart from that last sentence I am not sure that we need the extra story. Suprisingly enough the desert porn actually kinda got all that across, or at least all that Rodney and John were feeling. It also very nearly got across the more mercenary attitudes of everyone else in their conversation about wives and 'other offers'... and with some tweaking to amke it less vague it probably could too. The only thing this really adds for me is that last line, which in some way just magnifies the whole thing, and makes the desert porn that much more resonant. Or the position they are in being fawned over.

Although I do like the image of Rodney convincing Elizabeth to never go there again, using the Canadian stereotype he so very much isn't. Interesting thoughts.

Yeah, I could not figure out a way to make the fact that not just they had sex, but John was reaching for it himself, wanting it, was a fairly big deal, or that Rodney only did it when he knew John wanted him to.

I love the idea of Rodney *arguing*, bringing up everything he can think of so Elizabeth *won't* do this again and also won't just call a meeting and take a vote or something, or figure out that John was hit by it. I'm almost sure he used the words 'human trafficking' at least once to make her twitch, so she'd see what they were doing.

You should so write this...exactly like that!!!

But, in a way, you really already almost did (b/c everything but the amazing aftermath is in that other story...the seeming OKness and the sudden realization of whoring John out and Rodney's discomnfort and Rodney being there for John...)

I love the aftermath, esp the flying lesson and letting john be in charge and take control and be proficient and useful for more than his potential to father a gene carrier...and I love the cheesy sf movie, b/c that's very Rodney and the bruised behind the eyes John needs the levity and distraction and cameraderie that this affords, needs touching that is clearly not sexual in this context and...yes@!!!

my heart breaks for them both in this story, b/c John would do it all over again when given the choice and Rodney would have to watch...b/c they need the ZPM and...yes...

GOd yes. He *would* do it. He'd do it becuase this is the guy who would pour gasoline on himself and light a match for Atlantis.

*pets them both*

I like the sketch, but ow, it hurts.

The scenario I imagined just from the line in the story was that they got this offer, one night for the ZPM, and it sounded like no big deal, since it wasn't like they hadn't had sex on alien planets before, etc. I could even see Ronon and Teyla and Elizabeth being the ones to have the reservations about it, with Ronon and Teyla not trusting the people, thinking it's a weird way to make the offer, and Elizabeth just thinking it's a slippery slope at best and no good will come of it. Then once John's there alone, things get freaky in some unspecified way and not what he expected at all, and afterward he wouldn't say anything but they all knew it was a big big mistake, even though they got the ZPM, and it's just another example of how they can't trust other cultures until they get to know them really well.

Huh. Now I want to read *this* story. I mean, a *lot*.

First thing: very heartbreaking sketch. It feels bad wanting more, even if this is already very satisfying.

I don't think it's hypocritical for you to feel bad about this, because this is (almost like?) flesh trade, and that's just wrong. (How is this measuring up to putting him to stud?) Funny thing is, I cannot see Elizabeth not opposing the idea, unless if the situation is highly desperate. John, on the other hand, would be pushing for it himself if it meant having more resources, but he will only realize the wrongness of it after going through the whole process. Hm.

I agree about Elizabeth. If she was in the UN, she would have heard a lot about modern slavery and prostitution, and know just how bad this could get, that the people who are making the offer might not be thinking of him as a person at all.

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I like the sketch. A lot. I can really see it happening that way, and OW.

Most of this does come across in the story, yes. Which is terrific btw, I don't think I commented on it when I read it last night, as I was only nominally awake at the time.

It is not even a story but a just talking about a story and I want to crawl thru my screen and cuddle John and wow....it would be amazing.

ANd yeah, I think it would be like that. At first, no biggie until the implications would set in and John would realize how his identity would shift. Wow.

*nod* Exactly. It would only set it when it became real, that he'd made *himself* a commodity, and that would totally freak him out.

I never thought I'd say this, but I'm almost squicked. It was heartbreaking & it just plain kicked me in the gut, you know? Bio-warfare, okay. Torture of the enemy, okay. Torture of your own, sure. Sex because of anything, fine. But this was a crack over the head & made me want to stop whumpping John & that's not supposed to happen b/c I love to whump the ones I love.

Having this through Rodney's POV worked, even if it was uncomfortable. I think it was b/c Rodney isn't the type to gloss over or sugar coat anything, he might not be the best at interpersonal crap, but he sees & he gets everything & he'll analize it all even if it makes him feel like shit.

I guess what I'm trying to get at is I liked this for the value of it, even if I guilt over content.

Meming this & reccing b/c it is a breath of fresh air & it needs to be read by as many as possible.


Now I noticed that line/paragraph as I read it, but I was then so totally hypnotized by the desert rhythms that it faded from my mine. When I reread the story in a couple weeks or months, *then* I'd come back and want to pester you about it, about John and Rodney and what really happens and what it means and-- But you've nicely helped me skip that step. And I feel all apologetic to John that I forgot he'd been traumatized.

Now this not-story here ... first, my opinion is that you're an amazing writer and so could do this if you put your mind to it. But this, here, is more than adequate and if you don't want to write the story, then you shouldn't. (Besides, it would take time away from your bunnies, and from Teacher's Pet, and from Crimes Against Humanity. Not that I'm pushing, or even hinting, or anything like that. ::innocent look::)

I so believe that Rodney would be tuned into John enough to notice he was off. And that Ronon and Teyla just wouldn't get it. (Though I can also see a version of Ronon or Teyla that would be horrified from the first mention - I like having a spectrum of possibilities.) And I can see Elizabeth, who would be properly indignant if this was suggested to a female expedition member, having a momentary lapse - especially if John's initial reaction was amusement - and not seeing it for what it is.

And I think that the writing issue is that in the other instances, you were pairing John with someone he knows and might have an (unspoken, probably) attraction to. Or at least fondness. And it wasn't just him being affected, it was him and the person he was paired with. But in this case, it was him and some total stranger who was probably all thrilled and possibily even worshipful and even "let me pleasure you" and at some point, his uneasiness would spill over into "no, stop touching me, it's enough" that he would *not* say out loud but think in this panicked way because - you can fight/kill Wraith or Genii or other baddies who attack you and your home and "family", but not some little girl who wants a baby and is innocently happy with the whole situation. So he'd be trapped by his own agreement and the agreement of the Atlantis expedition and his inability to fight back and it would just be *armflail* awful.

Whereas alien sex pollen or aliens made them do it, that's all good fun and shared comraderie humiliation. That possibly leads to love and kisses and shared quarters and repeal of DADT and eventually either MPREG or adoption. The happy ending.

Whereas here ... child he'll never see, never know. (And I think that even an artificial semination/sperm donor deal in this situation would be very difficult.)

Ummm. Well, at least Rodney could make it better and be all talky to cover John's silences and soothe him in that irritating way of his. And they will never speak of it, thus there will be no unpleasant acknowledgement that Rodney was being sensitive to John's feelings. But maybe there will still be love and kisses and shared quarters and repeal of DADT and eventually either MPREG or adoption. The happy ending.

Yes, I know about the ethical issues but the though of Shepard's babies being fathered on willing women across the universe makes me go all good. Those alien genes AND that hair need to be spread out for the good of the gene pool. He's a single-handed cure for male midle aged baldness. Or - as in the case of David Hewlett/Rodney - not so middle aged baldness.

Ok, I'm totally shallow. I admit it.

Pegasus Sperm Bank

ANother issue is the difference between having sex and donating sperm. Lots of men -not saying John is one of them- seem to have no problem donating sperm and never seeing the child/being involved in rearing. Extreme genralization of course, but it seems to be a much different attitude than the men who had unknowingly had a child after a physical encounter. And John with his abandonment issues would not be a good sperm donor/absentee father in any circumstances, I suspect.

Mvoing on, given the number of stories in which medical treatment is a trade commodity, I'm surprised I haven't seen any/more wherein the Ancient gene and/or new genetic material via eggs/sperm is offered.

Assuming the gene therapy doesn't affect sperm (most techniques wouldn't), then ony naural carriers would be available but that still leaves ... uhm...John and Carson. Are Lorne and Stackhouse natural carriers?

Actually I would think if they did any kind of senior staff meeting regarding this issue, it would end up with Carson offering to do gene therapy, if all that was really wanted was the Ancient gene and/or IVF w/ controlled breeding if they needed a new bloodline to expand the population genetics. Because this is familiar to them and in line with what they've already done with in Allies etc. Since they are becoming so pragmatic anyway.

Which would then lead to angst over leaving the child to the Wraith vs need for ZPM! Vs accidentally having kids who face the same situation! ANd so on and so forth.

If you wrote it, that would be amazing. But just the summary was enough, because you hit on all the points and even managed to get an emotional response out of me without dressing this up ^.^

Though, the entire time I was reading it, I was going "Couldn't they have artificially inseminated her? It's not like John's raw genetic material isn't probably traded as a high commodity in the medical labs and shoved into anyone's body who they feel like giving ATA to, already". But, of course, that wouldn't work for the plot so obviously these natives wouldn't understand the process and only think sex makes babies.

I think my favorite pat is in the second to last paragraph, where Rodney says it can't happen again...because he's Canadian and they just don't do that sort of stuff in Canadia.

Also, I think the entire thing would work well, because if SGA was that sort of show, if it were on HBO or something, you could SEE this happening. They have no problem trading weapons/nano-viruses/whatever for food and Ancient devices, no problem torturing various individuals already, so whoring someone out (especially considering that John has already faced at least one person wanting his Ancient-gened baby) wouldn't be that big of a stretch.

And, wow, that comment was long and probably made no sense...(Also, all your rabbit stuff cracks me up).

Or they could have moral objections to IVF. Some people in our society have issues with non-sexual reproduction of any kind. And actual sex, especially multiple encounters in one night, would give higher percentages as far as that goes. I think.

*grins* I loved your comment. Long is good.

*nods* I can so see that. Actually, I could see this in canon at some unspecified point in the future (although probably they'd roll credits before the desert porn). Because it seems like a place they'd be willing to go, given that their boundaries are getting pretty fluid, and it'd ostensibly be John's choice anyway.

I don't think it's hypocritical. If you're going to make the characters as much like real people as possible, you have to go there sometimes. (Not all the time, obviously, because we likes us some crack and some shrugging and some rationalizations that hey, the situation isn't even in the top ten of weird Pegasus happenings. But once in a while is nice.)

Everyone else has said this, but yes.
It's the reducing John to a commodity that feels so incredibly wrong, and also the possibility of an alien STD. He's having unprotected sex with an alien on a planet that probably doesn't even have penicillin, seriously. Ugh. And come on, Rodney? Is going to think about that.
Though he macks on alien girls in the show, which also squicks me for the plague-bearing possiblities ALONE, aside from the many, many situational problems they've each had.