Okay, so it seems, the backup having worked, that I cannot blow off the--er, wips I have lying about. My life is hard.
A. Untitled Cracked FBI Rentboy AU
The door opens without so much as a creak, and Rodney stares blankly at blond John Sheppard in comfortable looking sweatpants and a MIT t-shirt that's three sizes too small, feet bare on white--white!--carpet. He blinks. Twice. "Rodney."
"I'm bored," Rodney says before he can say something stupid like "you're really attractive even when you're not a prostitute" or "I kind of spent last night in the lab wondering if you'd like me more if I killed Kolya for you". "Entertain me."
Pushing by a bemused John, Rodney finds himself in a tastefully bland apartment with high-end furniture and not a scrap of any living personality. It's like the Stepford Wives, but without the wives and so much more creepy. "Nice place," Rodney manages, staring at a white couch and white rug and Jesus God, white gauze curtains. Turning slowly, Rodney takes in polished dark wood and vases that look expensively brittle. "It's very--clean."
John closes the door, looking around like this is a place that anyone with a soul could live and not try to suicide messily at some point. "It's okay." Walking by Rodney, he sits on the couch like it's something that is supposed to be used, picking up a thick, leather bound book from beside him, carefully marked with what appears to be an actual bookmark. Setting it on the spotless coffee table, John goes back toward a kitchen filled with stainless steel appliances and likely matching hand towels. Probably spotless. And white.
Rodney follows him, laptop bag clutched to his chest protectively.
"Can I get you anything?" John asks, opening the refrigerator. If Rodney looks (which he can't make himself do; he's just not that strong), there will be milk, with an unexpired expiration date, and juice in neat bottles; in the darker parts of Rodney's imagination, he can almost see the fresh fruits and vegetables filling the crispers, never to rot because John will cook them for dinner. Rodney bets he eats three helpings a day.
Edging to the counter, Rodney subtly pushes on the lever that opens a spotless trash can and looks sadly at the lack of fast-food containers. "How do you live like this?" Rodney asks, throat tight. John ducks from the refrigerator with a bewildered expression on his face. "Er. Coffee."
The beans are, predictably, in the freezer. Rodney perches awkwardly on a kitchen chair that feels as if no ass before his has ever touched it. John measures the coffee with an actual set of tablespoons that gleam dully in the bright kitchen light, grinding the coffee in a grinder that makes sounds that remind Rodney of that horror movie he saw while tripping and convinced his dog was actually a serial killer, and makes coffee, all on a solid white countertop, and doesn't even so much as spill any grounds.
While the coffee maker does it's thing, John gets out cream and sugar, bringing them to the table with spoons and napkins at the ready. Rodney tries to find some kind of conversational topic that doesn’t start with asking if John is actually a Cylon sent to earth to destroy them all, because he has a bad feeling in that scenario he's Baltar.
"Are you certain?" The voice sounds nervous. "Perhaps the doses should be raised; his tolerance may have been reached again--"
"And if we do that, we have to stop everything and start from scratch," Rodney answers, so casually that John wants to look at him just to see if he's rolling his eyes. "We go much higher, permanent brain damage--"
"That will be inevitable if he is to be kept alive," the voice says sharply. "He is too dangerous to be left whole--"
"And it turns you on more to fuck someone with the intellectual capacity of a three year old, I know."
And if Rodney had been checking his pulse then, John's fairly sure they'd be aware that yes, he's very, very agitated.
The silence stretches out uncomfortably, but for once, John's almost vividly aware of how much, and how real it is. "Rodney--" the voice grates out slowly, and John feels the snap of recognition like a rubber band. That's *Teyla*.
"Lie to yourself all you want; it's not like anyone cares. You can mutilate him to your heart's content when this is over and no one will give a damn, so please spare me the protestations. It's all new to you, isn't it?" Rodney's voice drops. "You watched when they first got him and the others. You were there when they were damaged. You enjoyed it."
ETA: 12/3/2007 - Completed! I Hear and I Forget
C. Teacher's Pet 10 AKA the one that just keeps getting longer.
Rodney's not sure what about this moment in the lab is causing the greater mental dissonance: John Sheppard in sweats now officially three inches too small, or John Sheppard making a convincing argument to restart Janus' research because in his words, "Coolest flight *ever*."
"I don't even know where to start," Rodney says slowly, averting his eyes from tanned ankles and trying to not notice that the top of John's head now reaches Rodney's nose. "One--no. Two, hell no. Three--did you not see the dangers as outlined in Star Trek? Four--we don't even have all his data!"
Four's the actual reason; Rodney's still not come to terms with the fact that not only did the Atlanteans delete it, they also apparently got rid of a lot of the preliminary theory related to it, like some kind of artificial academic hobbling. It's not that Rodney couldn't recreate it, given time and space and a small plantation of Columbian at his fingertips; it's just such a *waste*.
But on one hand--Rodney recreating time travel: Nobel prize, new frontiers to science. John wants to invent it to--God help them all--*see the first man land on the moon*.
John stares at him from wide, twelve-thirteenish-or-so-God-this-is-con
Rodney slow-blinks his utter bewilderment. "Go do something. Solve a millennium problem. Eat a burger. Chase girls."
Not that he needs to. John's last trip to the mainland reminded Rodney vaguely of a Discovery Channel special: one lone antelope (John) and many, many hungry cheetahs (aforementioned women). John's bewilderment had been painfully familiar, so Rodney can't put it up to age, and the obliviousness almost frightening. There's a fairly good chance John could lose his virginity and not even know it, by sheer brute absentmindedness.
This virginity, anyway.
That reminds him--"John, how was your run with Ronon?"
John doesn't flush, stammer, or run away, all very bad signs. Blinking, he tilts his head. "Weird."
Rodney fights not to close his eyes and quickly change the subject. "How so?"
Scratching absently at the back of his neck, John goes back to his laptop, climbing on the stool a little awkwardly; he's still compensating for that last growth spurt. "We were running and went by--this fountain thing? And we stopped for water. He said that the water was pure and should always remain so, and I asked if it was okay if I put my waterbottle in it to fill it up and he said--um." John screws up his face in thought. "He said that I should remind myself of pure water when I feel like--" John stops, shaking his head. "Like doing things that might make the water dirty."
Rodney's not even sure how to put that one together. "And then?"
"And I should ask you about it." John scratches his head. "I know that was supposed to be a metaphor, but I really have no idea what he was talking about."
That makes two of them. Rodney stares at the white board. "I'll be right back."
John's gaze travels slowly up the fifty feet of slick, glassy wall that
surrounds the city; from klicks away, the glare from the sun made it look
like a diamond forgotten in the snow, reflecting light in a blinding
Rodney had almost had some kind of orgasm when he'd identified the
material; John thinks he could have lived a long time without having to
ever hear Rodney make *that* sound in relation to a mineral object.
The sunglasses cut the glare; at least they left him those, though that's
probably just to mock him. God knows they took everything else; his
pack's gone, his vest, his weapons, even his watch and his wristband, his
goddamn *radio* was stripped away by Ronon while Teyla held his wrists and
murmured that all had to travel these paths to prove themselves worthy in
that creepy I-have-been-possessed-by-incredibly-stup
depressingly, they've all learned to identify at twenty paces or five
At least they left him his jacket. So he'll freeze to death a little
"Prove myself worthy," John mutters, pretending that his teeth aren't
already trying to chatter. "My. *Ass*."
Taking a step back, John scans the wall, looking for the thin lines that
mark the door he'd been pushed out, from the summer warmth of the city to
the wasteland that had once been smooth, open fields, Pegasus' Ukraine
once upon a time, known for fertility and harvests that could feed a solar
system. Salt and burn isn't limited to the Earth or even the Milky Way.
Pegasus has learned a thousand ways to run and hide and survive, but
creating their own nuclear winter has to be a first.
The snow crunches uncomfortably beneath his boots as he takes another step
back. The surface is as glassy and flawless as before, colorless like
polished quartz or ice, and he can see his own reflection, pale and
blurred, looking back at him dubiously, like even he's not sure of the
logic of this entire Pegasus-brand of insanity.
"You and me both," John tells him, and turns around, surveying the endless
white that stretches out around him. Paths, which John would trust a lot
more if he hadn't just had his three team members turn on him and exile
him into the cold; it's not that he blames them--this *is* Pegasus, and
getting mindfucked is kind of a given--but he's allowed to be testy.
John scans the landscape, then sighs at the faint sight of something
shadowed in the distance. Trees. Glancing at the sky, he marks the time
and estimates the distance; he'll need cover by nightfall, and didn't
Rodney mention something about snowstorms?
So. Shelter. Thataway. With a last, bitter glance at the city walls,
John starts walking.
There are some truths that are self-evident no matter where they go;
John's total value as a sentient being can be defined by his ATA gene or
his unique ability to attract ethically-questionable women in ten seconds
or less. Since for the people of this particular brand of Pegasus
survival, the ATA gene has no value (and the women, of diverse race and
type, had all carried on in the possessed-by-aliens voice), he doesn't
John doesn't like introspection, but he has to make twenty klicks in less
than four hours with snow that keeps sinking him to his ankles, and it's
not like there's anything else to *do*.
He's out-classed by Pegasus on a daily basis. He's not Ronon or Teyla
with their extraordinary skills, and he's not Rodney with his unique
genius; both things that Pegasus values higher than diamonds. And
usually, he's good with that, but right now, with the hard burn of
God-knows-how-far-below-zero air against his face and cutting through his
clothes like a knife, he takes a second for abject self-pity, because if
he could build nuclear reactors or break people in half with one hand,
he'd be having hot soup in a warm room with blankets--God, *blankets*….
…and would also be under the influence of aliens and talking about the
holy Coming of The Something or throwing teammates out the door to die in
this miserable cold. He thinks he prefers it this way, all things
Laris had been apologetic. "We must rid ourselves of the weak, the
useless. Your friends will bring us skills we do not have, and their
skills will help us in our goal of ridding ourselves of the Wraith. Your
sacrifice assures those like you in the future are not left to die, that
all can live in freedom. Do you understand?"
John had squinted at him thoughtfully. "Do you believe anything that's
coming out of your mouth?"
Probably not the brightest thing to say. Laris hadn't been comfortable
either; while they were used to stealing travelers and keeping the best
ones for themselves (and killing off the extras), they weren't used to
dealing with people who had not only somewhere to go home to, but a home
that was filled with people who didn't take kindly to kidnapping. The
council had been certain that John was lying; Laris hadn't been so sure.
If he survives this, John hopes to God that he gets to see their faces
when Lorne and the marines stomp in. With any kind of luck, with *zats*.
Or at least a few AK-47s and some C-4.
Pushing his hands up beneath his arms, John measures the distance between
himself and the trees, then pretends that the shadow looks a lot closer
than it did when he started. His eyes burn from the cold, and his
vision's bad in this kind of weather, making everything faintly gold and
for some reason, he keeps seeing *green* instead of snow. It's closer.,
he's sure of it. It is absolutely *much* closer.
There's some kind of weird but deeply symbolic symmetry in the fact he
crossed the universe to find Antarctica all over again. And there's a
fairly good chance that he could die here, surrounded in endless snow and
beneath a wide blue sky that reminds him of the first time he ever flew,
riding the sharp, hyperreal edge of adrenaline and fear, the snap of
recognition that said, *here*, *now*; his entire life had waited for that
moment, built to it, and he'd thought then there would never be anything
better. It was who he was, what he was, every cell and every nerve sure,
But that was before; the eighteen year old who first touched the sky is
two decades from the man who currently wishes to God he'd worn two pairs
Two decades and a million something miles, actually, and John checks the
sky and speeds up his pace; he wants some kind of cover before nightfall.