1.) The thing that Child was watching on Sci-fi that was really gross and involved--hand to God--the stupidest abominable snowman ever, considering a.) there was no snow, and b.) your terror was muted by disgust on how bad his breath was. I actually think he was supposed to be Evil Bigfoot, but Child named him Abominable (in what I think is was dramatic irony), and it stuck. Child herniated self on floor during a death scene. It was deeply moving. On the floor. Rolling. While laughing.
2.) My mother looked at me with red rimmed eyes on Sunday.
Mom: People keep inviting me to guilds! What does that mean? Why can't I stop playing? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME? Also, how do you do x and y?"
Me: ....why do your hands look like claws?
Oh yeah. She's hooked.
3.) Sister is shopping for GirlFetus' baby clothes. It's not terribly interesting to anyone but me. I just can't get over how tiny everything is.
4.) Father quit smoking. He is not threatening to mix cyanide in his water anymore.
5.) Write twenty three thousand words of cracked out FBI Undercover Rentboy porn. I mean--you know. There's this moment where you give up on realism--and my standards were fairly low, so we're talking X-Files level realism here that I walked away from--and you just don't care.
God knows when I'm going to finish; I just got to the part where there's redecorating.
Rodney decides to go to his lab to sulk and maybe even work if he gets bored. Zelenka's looking tense when he comes out for his next fast food delivery: Chinese. Rodney's always associated horrific personal life trauma with cheap Far East cuisine in Styrofoam boxes.
"Rodney," Zelenka says worriedly when Rodney emerges from his lab of personal misery to pounce on MSG and related preservatives, stopping Rodney before he can find inner peace in rice and sesame chicken. Rodney double takes the glitter-spackled pink hair carefully formed into a column on the top of his head and green and white striped skirt. The colors clash. It hurts. "You should go home."
Rodney squints. "Can't you get Simpson to fix your eyeliner? It's--" Rodney gestures vaguely. "And--wait. Where are you going? Did I give any of you time off? Because I'm in the middle of a psychotic break and obviously lied. Go back to work."
Zelenka shrugs, setting glitter to float around him in a toxic cloud. Glancing behind him, Rodney blinks away the feeling of incipient terror when Grodin wanders by in hot pants and stilettos with Simpson chasing after with a tube of lipstick. "Out. It has been boring here. You promised working here, I would find alien ships. Have I? Not so much."
"One, Area 51, and two--I don't even have a two for that one." Rubbing the bridge of his nose, Rodney sighs, reaching for the egg-fried rice. "Fine."
"Perhaps you could use a night out as well," Zelenka says after a moment. Rodney doesn't know what's more utterly humiliating; the idea his staff feels sorry enough for him to ask him out, or being seen in public anywhere near Zelenka's hair. "Come, fun, see sights. You have been morose and unhappy and you steal my coffee. Mondays generally are so. Drinking will help."
"Getting stoned would help, but sadly, I--" Rodney stops short, rewinding. "Wait. It's *Monday*?" Rodney looks at his wrist, but somewhere along the line he forgot what happened to his watch. Grabbing Zelenka, he pushes up the sleeve of his mesh shirt and checks his wrist. "Eleven-thirty. Shit. I didn't--I thought it was Sunday!"
"Then you have lost time." Zelenka studies him with narrowed eyes. "Perhaps--"
"No," Rodney says, feeling the beginnings of a alien-conspiracy-theory-related headache starting. "I was not kidnapped by aliens. I was not anally probed. You have *got to stop asking me that*."
"Any mysterious bruises or marks?" Zelenka asks with a smirk, reaching to trail a finger down Rodney's jaw, lingering on the fading bruise from John's teeth. "I am impressed. You said everyone here was boring and--"
"Your people scare me with your devotion to piercing body parts that should not be pierced, yes. Go away. Wait. Call me a cab and then go away." Turning, Rodney stops and grabs his chicken. "Five minutes, outside, need a ride, got a show to watch."
"You watch television?"
Rodney pushes the lab door open with one shoulder and thinks of John and Kolya with a shudder. "I have a weakness for reality TV."
Ten minutes of bitching gets him a security guard and a fluttery secretary who finally calls up, and Elizabeth Weir herself meets him. Rodney wonders if she lives in her office. "Dr. McKay," she starts tiredly, which is kind of like a no and so Rodney feels justified in letting out some temper.
"I want to watch," he says. "He's my team and I'm supposed to help with this stuff and imagine that, getting to see live footage of their lair might help! Shocking, yes. Give me the directions to the apartment."
Weir hesitates. "Lair? Dr. McKay--"
"If you keep calling me that, I'll start thinking I'm my father and he hit on anything that moved. It would be hideously embarrassing for us both. Directions? And a driver--hey. Ford!"
Ford, just coming out of the elevator, looks sorry he knows how to walk. Rodney leaves Weir, getting Ford in a death grip. "Dr. McKay," Ford says warily, with a desperate look at Weir.
"Please, just Rodney." Pulling him to the door, Rodney waves at Weir. "Nice to see you again, have a good evening and um, maybe go home sometime to water your plants?" Ignoring her bewildered expression, Rodney hustles Ford out the door. "I need to get to where they're doing the surveillance. You drive."
"Am I supposed to do that?" Ford asks, looking back inside as Rodney pulls him along.
"Hey, team," Rodney answers, looking up and down the block. "Drive now, talk later. Hey, want some chicken?"
Teyla and Ronon are not happy to see him, but the geek kids are, fluttering up to surround him in the stench of abject adoration. You take out *one* tiny chain of major banks when you're a kid and suddenly you're a superstar. It's deeply creepy, but mostly because all of them are very unattractive and smell like they haven't bathed since summer.
"Did Weir give her permission?" Teyla asks from the couch. Rodney cranes his head to see the monitor, currently showing an empty hall in what appears to be a fairly expensive hotel. Extracting himself from the groupies, Rodney settles himself beside her, vaguely relieved to see her in comfortable jeans and a t-shirt; he doesn’t need rentboy John on the screen and Teyla in a mini and boots at the same time. Human bodies collapse under a strain like that.
"Yes," Rodney answers suddenly as Ford occupies himself in frantic activity at the refrigerator. Taking out his rice, Rodney smiles at Teyla. "So. Anything?"
"John encountered the target. They are on route to the hotel." Several monitors show various elevators and stairways; as the geeks fiddle with their laptops, another dark monitor flares to life showing a hotel suite with a fantastic view of the city. "I can't even express how terrifying I would find this level of surveillance in other circumstances," Rodney tells them between bites. "Any beer?"
Ford brings him one but seems more comfortable hovering on the other side of the room. Rodney glances at Ronon, who engages in a staring match with Teyla before quietly stomping off to the other room. Ford, after a look at them, follows him, leaving Rodney alone with Teyla. He cant' count the geeks as people; he's really not sure they're sentient. "Bad evening?" Rodney says, gesturing with his chopsticks toward the door.
"It is--difficult," Teyla answers levelly, flipping through a magazine. *Universal Soldier*. She pauses to look in admiration at something with a suggestively long barrel and three separate triggers. "We all worry when John is on assignment."
If John always has personality episodes, Rodney can see why. "Huh."
"Why are you here, Dr. McKay?" she asks, voice so gentle that he probably would have been fooled if her hand wasn't currently stroking a very detailed picture of a machete. Swallowing in a suddenly dry throat, Rodney wonders what response is least likely to get him injured in what will probably be a hideously painful but completely non-life-threatening.
"I wanted to make sure he was okay." Rodney takes a breath and a drink of beer. This entire evening could be improved with the steady application of something in the vodka family. A lot of it. "Look, the other night--"
"It is hard to see him hurt," Teyla says quietly, "and be unable to give him anything but the space he requires. I apologize for my--anger with you."
Rodney puts down his half-empty can. "He was half-right. But I didn't go there to try and fuck him. I just wanted to--" Rodney stops, swallowing. "I don't know."
She nods, hair hiding her face. "John has been--it has not been easy for him. He would not hear of me taking his place, and his established persona is our best chance, but--it is not pleasant for him."
"Did you know about Chaya?"
Teyla's lips tighten. "None of us knew until long after where Sumner had told him to gain his--experience. I have met her." Teyla tilts her head, face going soft and dreamy. "We had a very interesting conversation."
"You scared her into pissing herself, didn't you?"
Teyla blinks at him with John's innocent expression. "I did not check the state of her underwear, but she did remain seated long after I left, yes. This is the first time she has approached him since he was moved to Weir's authority."
Rodney takes another drink of beer. "How many times has he done this?"
Teyla frowns, picking slightly at a rip in the knee of her jeans. "Under Sumner, six times. With us--this time only." The look on her face promises that the next time will be over her dead body. "We will find other ways. This--" she shivers, shaking her head, and Rodney remembers her last two outfits.
"Oh," he says, feeling stupid. "You do this too."
"Sometimes. Not as John does, but--" she shrugs, hands smoothing her knees. "John and I have worked together on two cases before this," and that would be a surveillance video to see, "but this is the first time I have acted as his contact and handler."
Rodney finishes the can. Teyla would be a good choice; if she's done this, she'd know better than anyone what she was watching, judge John by more than what he'd say or admit. Rodney tries not to stare at the monitors too hard, willing John to appear. "I met him before, you know. When he was--"
"He told me," Teyla answers calmly. He could swear she's trying not to smile. "It was apparently quite--enlightening."
God, he's blushing. "Right. It was--I mean, he didn't tell me--I didn't know--"
Teyla turns calm, sober eyes on him. "Eight hours."
Rodney glances at the monitors, then has a horrible thought. "God. Was it--"
"No. Though I admit, when John first told me, I went to see as well." Now she is smiling. "It was good for him to be Michael and have it be pleasant. I do not think he expected that."
Rodney stares at the coffee table. "I wouldn't have gotten him high if I'd known he was--"
"He is careful," Teyla says before he can finish. "He went to Carson the next day. John did not enjoy his--experiences before."
Right. Of course. John's a very good former-junkie. He reports to his doctor. It's--God. "I have no idea why I'm here," Rodney says helplessly.
"Because you wish to see the difference," Teyla says softly. Rodney jerks around to look at Teyla, but she's staring at the monitors. "You wish to know which one is real. And you wish to know what happened that night in the club."
Rodney opens his mouth to answer, but just then, the monitor set to the lobby shows John walking in, wrapped in a black wool coat, blond hair almost too bright as he leans against the desk while another man in dark brown pauses at the front desk, speaking to the woman on duty. John leans back, staring up at the ceiling in boredom, and Rodney can see Chaya's swaying body in the loose ease, the way he stretches, all fluid promise and unsubtle invitation.
The clothes beneath the open front of the coat are perfectly respectable; a tailored suit, pinstriped tie, but the body doesn't match the clothes. He looks like someone playing dress-up, and from the looks of those who pass him, they feel it too, with expressions that Rodney feels a deeply primitive need to remove from their faces with the application of a fist. He contents himself with memorizing their faces and deciding how thoroughly he'll destroy their credit scores later.
John doesn't seem to notice, but Rodney doesn’t think for a second he's not perfectly aware of it and hating every second. Rodney thinks of Chaya in the club, mocking and clever and cruel. Training. There's a lot of ways she could have done it to create that kind of reaction, and all of them make Rodney flinch. "You know," Rodney says as the brown-coated guy and John approach the elevator, one hand possessively resting on the small of John's back, "I could destroy Sumner's life if someone would run get my laptop."
Teyla pauses, and Rodney glances over to see her looking thoughtful. He also notices that she doesn't say no. "When this is over," Teyla says slowly, drawing her fingers over the cover of the magazine in a way that tells Rodney she wishes it were Sumner's flesh, "John and I will go to Jamaica. He will enjoy it there, with much sun, many boats to drive at dangerous speeds, and many beaches to surf." Her gaze softens. "Maybe he will wish to fly again."
Rodney feels something tighten in his chest. "He was a pilot, wasn't he?"
She nods. "Yes."
Rodney leans back into the couch, looking at the remains of his sesame chicken. He can't quite look at her. "Are you two--" he stops, so surprised he actually asked that he forgets what he was going to say.
"No." There's a smile in Teyla's voice. "John and I are long past that." Her eyes fix on the monitor showing the elevator, where the man in the coat--Kolya, Rodney reminds himself--pushes John against the side, one hand holding John's face while he kisses him roughly. John loops an arm around his neck and kisses back, melting against Kolya in a way that's thoroughly nauseating.
"You know," Rodney says, staring at a spot right above John's head, "I can see why you're not eating."
"I am a professional," Teyla says, but her mouth is tight. "I have seen John do far more." Rodney studies her face, assesses himself, and gets up, going to the refrigerator. There's beer and wine and hard liquor, but Rodney goes for the beer, because this isn't just a night in nauseating television; Teyla's watching because if anything goes wrong, she has to get John out.
Taking out six beers, Rodney goes back, setting them on the table before thrusting one into her hand. She looks at him gratefully. "Thank you."
Rodney opens his and takes a long drink as John emerges into the hall. "I think we'll need it."