The Power Brokers
GH – 1959 (1985 - 26)
MRM – 1968 (17)
LC/EW – 1966 (19)
GH – Med student- is a legend, clearly- but a few- 2 or more- years behind.
MRM – Summer research position @Umich - TAs astronomy?
LC/EW – Sophomores – LC in pre-med, EW in political science/IB
Explaining to JS, post The Same Release
Setting up the story, getting people in place
Dated this girl from his undergrad seminar class
She cheated on him with some guy
Last he heard she was dating some girl
Reflecting after The Same Release
Lots of Lisa and Liz pining away for each other
Lots of Lisa and Liz the manipulators
Talking to LC
House/McKay UST EXTRAVAGANZA
Also they fight
House actually has shit figured out
EW/GH face off
Weir's death/memorial service – when did this happen? Could be anywhere from House 4x03 to post-Wilson's Heart
Lots of background on after MRM left
MRM and LC reconcile
MRM figures it out
House is moral support
Hint of House/Cuddy at the end?
Oh shit- post Wilson's Heart, House and Cuddy have both lost their BFFs
Getting the city livable again after the Ancients and Replicators had their respective ways with it was worse than John expected. They hadn't left much- a few pieces of furniture, a storage cabinet here or there, things they could do without- so when the Daedalus started beaming down their gear, it was sort of like moving in, all over again. The difference was that, this time, they actually had everything they assumed they needed, which was more than enough to make the whole thing a clusterfuck.
"Put that over there," Rodney shouted at some hapless Marine. "No, no, not there, are you blind? Over there."
"Rodney," John admonished. "You could be nice."
"You know what would be nice?" he snapped back. "If people wouldn't put vital- You! You with the bad hair! Don't you dare put that case on top of that box! What's wrong with you?"
"Gentlemen," Dr. Weir said suddenly from behind them, holding out a pair of paper cups, brimming with coffee.
"You are a goddess," Rodney swore, taking one from her and gulping it down as if he were dying of thirst.
"The mess delivers now?" John asked, giving her a winning smile and accepting his own cup.
"One day only," she told him.
"Good way to get out of moving boxes," he replied.
"Is that what you're doing?" she asked, giving him a critical once-over.
John shrugged. "In a supervisory capacity."
"I almost forgot to tell you," Weir said, turning to Rodney, the corner of her mouth ticking up a little. "I saw Lisa while we were- before we came home."
"Oh God," Rodney moaned, handing his empty cup back to her. "I hear the Athosians do a good purification ritual, if you're still feeling unclean."
"Who's Lisa?" John asked, smirking a little.
Rodney rolled his eyes. "Any member of the chemistry staff, come in," he said, tapping his radio as he stalked off. "Has anybody seen the gas chromatograph? It is very fragile, and that imbecile Parker is not to touch it. Who just said- Parker? You've got your radio on? Good. Don't touch the gas chromatograph. McKay out."
He looked to Weir for an explanation, but she was already off supporting the troops again.
Patient man that he was, John waited until dinner that night to bring the subject back up.
"So," John drawled, poking at today's mystery protein with his fork, "who's Lisa?"
Rodney rolled his eyes. "Oh god, you're still stuck on that?"
"I'm curious," he said, shrugging. "It's in my nature."
"If you must know, she's my ex-girlfriend."
"A woman dated you?" Ronon asked, earning him an elbow from John.
Rodney shot him a withering look. "Yes."
Ronon grinned. "Did you have to pay her?"
"Friend of Elizabeth's?" John prompted, wanting to hear the story before Rodney got too pissed to continue.
"As it happens, yes," he said, still crossing his arms defensively over his chest. "Of course, I didn't know that at the time."
It's ten til seven, and Lisa is on the phone.
Lisa is always on the phone.
Rodney shifts idly from foot to foot, his arms crossed over his chest. He's trying not to act as impatient as he is; it's their one-month anniversary, after all, and if he's ever going take off these stupid itchy dress pants anywhere in Lisa's general vicinity, he'd better be on his best behavior.
"I'll see you soon," she says to the person on the other end of the line, sounding soft and sort of sweet in a way Rodney's not accustomed to.
Rodney doesn't get a whole lot of sweetness and light out of his girlfriend. Honestly, on the average day she's really kind of a bitch. Sure, she's tactful in a way that Rodney isn't, has never been, and will never be, but most of the time she snaps at people and throws her weight around without thinking twice about it.
She's also insanely hot, impossibly driven, and just a little bit wild, so Rodney gladly puts up with it.
And except for the fact that Lisa's playing the "You hang up first" game with someone instead of letting him be appropriately dashing and masculine and romantic and whatever, Rodney's life is pretty good. He's still got five more weeks here at UMich, and then it's back to Caltech to start the second year of his masters. Not bad for eighteen- not that he's told Lisa how much younger than her he is. She's only a sophomore, anyway, and he's legal for Christ's sake, so it's not like it matters.
[NB. Rodney's age got changed from eighteen to seventeen at some point, and I never got around to fixing this paragraph, apparently.]
"Are you ready?" he prompts as she finally- finally- hangs up the phone, rocking up on the balls of his feet, hoping that he looks more enthusiastic than nervous.
She looks a little lost, like maybe she's forgotten that he's in the room at all; Rodney can feel his smile fall a little. "Just give me a second," she says, standing up from her bed.
"Who was that?" he asks, watching as she picks up her handbag and takes a brief, critical look in the mirror.
"Just a friend of mine," she answers, not looking at him.
"Ah," he says, because he can't think of anything else to say. "The reservations are for seven thirty," he tells her.
She cocks an eyebrow at him. "I know," she says, and Rodney feels sort of stupid; she made them, after all, of course she knows.
"So I just wanted to say," Rodney gulps, holds out his hand, "may the best man win."
House rolls his eyes. "Fine." He doesn't take Rodney's hand.
"So what happened?"
"My funding ran out." He twiddled his coffee spoon absentmindedly. "It was only an eight week position, after all."
Rodney just looks at him, like he doesn't know what to say. "And then I went back to MIT."
Ronon rolls his eyes. "With the girl."
"Oh. Well, she never spoke to me again."
"I can't imagine why."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Last I heard, she went to med school- a complete waste of her talents, obviously, but then no one seems to share my opinions in that regard. She started dating some girl right after I left." John spat out his coffee, which Rodney pointedly ignored. "Shame I didn't know she liked women while we were dating."
"What? It's not like I turned her into a lesbian or something."
"Are you sure about that?"
"Yes," he huffed. "I guess. Why wouldn't I be?"
"So I wanted to say," McKay says, looking shit-scared and holding out his hand, "may the best man win."
If Greg rolled his eyes any harder, they'd fall out. "Jesus Christ," he mutters. "Are you fucking slow or something? Is it painful to be that dense? Because it seems like it should be."
McKay is still standing there with his hand out, terrified; Greg suddenly feels really old and kind of like a jackass for bawling out a teenage kid. "Whatever, fine," he says, just so McKay will stop looking at him like that.
Jesus Christ, how many times is he going to go through this? "McKay already warned me off."
She set her mouth in a grim line. "What does McKay have to do with this?"
This is certainly a new development. "You're not here to plead the case of McKay and Lisa's true love?"
Elizabeth raised an eyebrow at him. "I don't make a point of advocating for the competition."
"Since when is this a competition?"
It was an odd memorial service, as memorial services went. The crowd was a weird mix of people- nearly as many military as civilians. Elizabeth's mother and cousins were in the front row; Cuddy didn't recognize any of the people with them, though. Certainly she would have remembered if there was a massive guy with dreadlocks in Elizabeth's family. The man next to him looked so familiar, but Cuddy couldn't place him for the life of her.
Some Air Force Colonel, a man with messy black hair and a bad slouch, stood up and said a few words. He obviously didn't want to be up there, from the way he kept eyeing the exits; but for all that, he still managed to make a pretty decent speech.
The reception afterwards was nice.
The man made his way over. "Lisa," he said, smiling crookedly at her, and, wait, it wasn't, it couldn't be-
"Rodney?" she replied, trying and failing to keep the confusion from showing.
"Hmm. Well, yes, I suppose I don't exactly look like I did when I was seventeen anymore, do I? I had almost forgotten about it there for a minute. What a shame. How is," he waved his hand vaguely, "everything?"
"I'm still at Princeton-Plainsboro," she told him, and he nodded, though it was clear from his face that he had absolutely no idea where that was.
"You were seventeen?" House interjected. "You mean I could have been giving you hell over your jailbait boyfriend for twenty years and I didn't even know it?"
Rodney glanced over at House and immediately did a double take. It was his turn to be confused. "Greg? What the hell happened to you?"
"Rodney," she snapped, out of old habit more than anything else.
"Pack of rabid supermodels," House said easily. "I kept saying no, but you know how it is."
Cuddy gave him a look before turning back to Rodney. "I didn't know that you and Elizabeth were-"
"We worked together on- in- for the government," he covered lamely, looking disconsolate, his expressive mouth falling into a miserable frown. "For the last three- five-" he shook his head, as if he couldn't keep it straight even to himself. "Few years."
"Ah. I don't know how to ask this, but how did she-"
"It's just that, I've been- it was- I can't talk about it," he said, waving a hand. "And by that I mean both that I am uncomfortable discussing such an emotional subject and that it's classified, so I couldn't tell you if I wanted. Which I don't. At all."
"I get it."
"Look, I'm glad you came," he said, sounding exhausted. "I've got to get back- it's nice to see you." He turned back around suddenly, staring at the both of them, open mouthed. "It was Elizabeth."
House rolled his eyes. "It better have been. I put on a tie."
Rodney shook a finger at him. "Shut up for a second." He turned to Lisa. "It was Elizabeth. The girl- after I left. That's who you were talking on the phone to all those times."
She just blinked at him. "You didn't know?"
"How could I know? I only met her twice. You hardly ever talked about her. Was I just supposed to intuit that?"
"Everybody else did," House told him. "It's taken you this long to figure this out? Seriously? And they gave you a masters?"
"And two PhDs, thanks. And it isn't like this is some great mystery I've been hell bent on solving for the past twenty-five years. I've barely even thought about it since then. I mean, not that it wasn't great and all-"
She wandered back into the chapel, sitting on the last row and looking up at the massive cross behind the altar.
She didn't realize, at first, that she wasn't alone; but the hushed voices from the front of the room soon drifted back towards her.
"I can't do this," Rodney was saying. "God, John, don't make me- don't make me go out there and face all those people not when we- not when I just-"
She couldn't see Rodney's face, plastered as it was against the stiff blue of the other man's- John's?- dress coat.
He was obviously uncomfortable at how Rodney had burrowed into his side- Rodney never had been good at telling when he made other people uncomfortable- but he didn't make any attempt at all to dislodge him. He just sat there, rubbing soothing circles into Rodney's shoulder, letting him get it all out.
The way a best friend would.
It took Cuddy so suddenly that she had to bend and rest her head against the pew in front of her. She didn't have one of those any more, did she? Elizabeth- she and Elizabeth- it had always been so complicated, so caught up in men and sex and the ever-constant power play, right there under the surface. But at the end of the day, that had been it- Elizabeth was her best friend, the person who really knew her when no one else did. Elizabeth got it when no one else could. And even when she'd been out of reach for years at a time, so deep in top-secret work that Cuddy couldn't even fathom the importance of, there had always been that, always that connection running between them.