So I'll rec.
History of Maps by rageprufrock, Rodney, John/Rodney, sequel to Cartography by Touch. Which isn't up at her new site yet, but I'll be honestly surprised if anyone in SGA reading this hasn't read it yet.
It's even softer than the first, and more abrasive, because it's Rodney and he's merciless with himself, and it's lovely, and it hurts because it's about John, and Rodney's been with him on this journey just as alone and only able to watch. It's different and the same as the first--the same easy pace, the same uncomplicated life being lived, except everything is complicated now. I really--I just really love this story.
I sometimes blame Cartography by Touch for a lot of my newer--not quite squicks, more deep discomforts in SGA. I teeter between wanting to just dismiss all the amtdi's and non-cons from my reading completely and a weird curiosity if I'll react as badly to those as I did to the ones I read right after Cartography. Usually, I've found I can draw a line between wish-fulfillment fantasy fic and the real kind--but I'm barred from ever being able to stand John as a concubine, a sex slave, because I always flash back to this one and twitch. I remember a year ago composing long, inflammatory email to a few innocent authors who posted fic fairly close to this one and forcibly deleting them after. I try to avoid punishing other people for my neuroses. At least, not ones that aren't either blood related or trapped in chat with me. Or seriously pissed me off.
A lot of both stories hit me harder than I expected, because in a fandom where we have a tag for aliens made them do it, I expected a certain amount of desensitization and it surprised me--it surprised me with how hard it hit me and how long the echo of it lasted and continues to last. It surprised me and I wandered through fandom in a daze for a bit, hating half of what I'd ever written, like Cartography was the subtext beneath every word--this is the result of what I'd written, that this was the morning after, this is what they'd face, and I'd write it honestly, but I hadn't been honest. I'm mostly over that, because I'm not that masochistic, but I still read warily and avoid when I have to.
Both stories are the aftermath--the actual rape, how long it lasted, how it got to that point in the mission--is bits to puzzle together in jigsaw, never quite getting the full picture and never really wanting to. John's story is shy and indirect and set in metaphor when he can manage, his interviews with Kate the only light we see glaring down on what happened. I have strange, sick, latent Lit I desires to deconstruct John's interest in the marine biologists having to do with water and drowing in it and being finally, finally clean, but honestly, so much of the story is water--the flash flood of destruction and the marks left after on the walls at high-water point--that I wonder if that's even accurate. There's this entire train of thought of John and his relationship with water, but I'm drinking Godiva on a stomach that only possesses half a cinnabon, so really, no one wants to see what I'd come up with in this. John's hurt, even with his necessary distance, his tiny space--Pru called it claustrophobic, which is a word so apt I'm kind of half in tears of gratitude I didn't have to describe it--wandering through Atlantis in a body that he feels belongs to a stranger. In a city he loves and now has no context for. When someone defined him by the value of his ass without the person in the body considered or given thought. There's something there that knee-jerks pure sick horror from me.
Rodney's story is differently painful, especially after the quiet catharsis of the ending of the first; Rodney's recognition of what John is going through, changed by, is helplessly angry, and from the first story, his anger was directed at others, at himself, at anything and anyone who stood still for him. This one is more internal, the exploration of after where there aren't any signposts or destinations, only moving forward and moving on, and I think there's nothing that could hurt him more than that. For the man who fixes everything, there's nothing here that can ever be fixed, and he settles into that, realizing that his journey, like John's, doesn't have an ending, only a single line. He marks off signposts that don't exist, knowing each one only means a continuation, not an ending. He'll walk this with John for the rest of his life. And more than all of this, he wants to.
I really loved this one.