Summary: "Soon," he replies, like it's that simple.
Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis
Word Count: 1877
Rating/Contents: PG-13, language, post S5, darkish comedy
Pairing: John/Rodney, Rodney/Keller, Ronon/Amelia, John/most of San Francisco, mentions of other pairings
A/N: I'm not sure when I started this- or even what it is, really. ETA: Now with fanart by fennegie!
After Rodney and Keller start dating, John and Ronon start training together three times a day.
It takes up almost all of the time he used to spend with Rodney, back when Rodney used to spend time with people he wasn't fucking. He was rarely this bruised back then, but not fucking Rodney didn't bring down his pack test time by seven minutes; it's a trade-off, really.
"When are you going to get over it?" Ronon asks him as they slow to a stop at the end of the north pier.
"Nothing to get over," he lies, in between bouts of panting and swearing and clutching a nearby railing like he's going to die where he stands.
Ronon gives him his very best cut-the-bullshit glare.
"When are you going to get over it?" John fires back.
"Soon," he replies, like it's that simple.
"Well, there you go."
"You should fuck somebody else," Ronon advises.
John looks him over. "You haven't changed your mind about doing guys, have you?"
Ronon shrugs. "Sorry."
"Worth a shot."
He claps John on the back. "Hey, if I wanted my ass fucked, you'd be my second choice."
John has to take a minute just to think about that. "Good call."
"Race you to the gateroom," Ronon offers.
"You're on," he says; he must be getting better, because Ronon doesn't even pretend like he's going to think about maybe letting him win.
By the time Ronon gets over it, John's lost fifteen pounds and passed out twice from sheer exhaustion, but he feels better.
When they make it to Earth, John's too busy to worry about Rodney or fucking, because everybody wants a piece of him.
But after the first three or four weeks, nobody knows what the hell to do with them.
The really useful people- most of the science staff- start getting detailed to Area 51 and the SGC. They're only short details, three weeks max, but John worries about them anyway.
Woolsey and Teyla go on a whirlwind tour of Washington; John thinks they must be visiting a lot of embassies of countries who don't like the military very much, because he never gets asked to go.
John thinks about quitting, more than once.
But as he stands on the balcony and looks out over the San Francisco skyline, all he can think of is how desperately he wants to go home.
After Ronon and Amelia hook up, John stops eating with the team.
It isn't like it's his choice or anything. Rodney acts like he'd rather fucking starve than be without Keller for thirty fucking minutes, but Ronon still sort of looks like he's going to stab one or both of them with a butter knife, which only makes Amelia get shifty and nervous. On top of that, Torren has a habit of eating at the same time Teyla does, so Teyla, understandably, feeds both of them in her room- which is fine by John, because he's not about to start the Pegasus version of La Leche League or whatever.
For a while, John eats with Woolsey and Zelenka and Marie the nurse at what he privately refers to as the Bitter Divorcee Table. It's okay, for a week or two, until it becomes apparent that he and Radek are eating with Woolsey and Marie, and that's just too weird for him.
In a fit of pique, he takes his lunch down to the brig one Tuesday and eats there.
"I think I hate everyone," he tells Todd, leaning back in his chair with his feet propped up on the bars.
Todd considers this. "You could let me out."
"I don't hate them that much."
"Yet," Todd says, one side of his mouth quirking up into a smile, and John, God help him, actually laughs.
He's all the way to the transporter before he realizes that the high point of his whole fucking week has been talking to a fucking Wraith.
He pulls rank and starts having his meals brought to his office, once he figures out where the hell it is.
In an effort to fill up the remaining time that Rodney's not wasting for him, John convinces Lorne to teach him how to knit.
He makes three lumpy scarves and a severely ugly baby blanket before he realizes that he's starting to resent yarn.
He didn't even know it was possible to have opinions about yarn.
During the second month, they set up a twenty-four hour shuttle service between San Francisco and Atlantis. It gives the military contingent something to do- even if that something is standing around and looking inconspicuous while trying to stop people from walking directly into the side of a cloaked jumper- and it gives everybody plenty of trouble to get into.
John starts going out to gay bars, and he starts fucking everybody who asks him. Straight girls who are only there to dance, older guys who are obviously not, lesbians and their bi girlfriends, investment bankers and scenesters and regular folks. And maybe somebody'll come in and catch him, or maybe they won't. He's not sure that he gives a fuck.
Mostly it just makes him sore and exhausted all the time, which is pretty much good enough for him. On the bright side, though, he never has to pay for drinks.
He doesn't tell anybody about it, not even Ronon; he might have told Rodney, but he can hardly even remember the last time Rodney talked to him for more than five minutes. Rodney and Keller aren't even around for most of that month, anyway; they take a week off to go and visit- John's not even sure who. Jeannie, probably- she's either going to love Keller or hate her guts, they're too much alike- probably Keller's dad, too.
John starts to think that he might not mind if they stayed.
Two important things happen while they're gone:
Teyla and Ronon get the flu for the first time ever; Ronon almost dies, which is getting to be a disappointingly common state for him.
John sleeps with a personal best of thirteen people in one week.
One important thing happens after they get back:
Rodney and Keller have a spectacular break up in the middle of the infirmary in front of the entire night shift.
John isn't there to see it; he's actually in his own bed, for once, asleep, and it's not like it applies to him, anyway.
The next night, the door to his room opens at what must be one or two in the morning; there are only six people besides him who it'll open for, so he's not all that surprised to hear Rodney's soft, "Colonel?" as it closes again.
John doesn't answer, doesn't even turn towards the door, hoping Rodney will leave him be. It doesn't work; he stumbles over and sits heavily down on the bed. "I need- I just," Rodney stammers, resting a tentative hand on John's hip. "Sheppard. John."
John finally turns over, squinting at him in the half-light of the room. "For fuck's sake, McKay, I'm trying to sleep."
"Fine," he snaps icily, standing up so fast the bed actually makes a noise as it springs back into position. "Sorry to have interrupted your precious beauty rest."
John rolls over and falls back to sleep before the door even closes.
The new shrink arrives and immediately embroils John in an elaborate game of cat and mouse, culminating in his cornering John in a transporter and physically blocking the map until he agrees to an appointment. Of course, once John finally gives up and bluffs his way through it, the shrink says there's nothing wrong with John that sleep and exercise won't cure.
Carson tries to fire the new shrink three separate times before John has to sit him down and explain that clones don't get to make hiring decisions.
"He came to your room."
"In the middle of the night."
"It was more like the early morning."
"Distraught and needing to be comforted."
"He was probably a little distraught. The second part, not so much."
"And you sent him away."
"He woke me up!"
"Jesus Christ, did you wake up straight or something?"
"Ronon, don't say that."
"No, Jesus Christ."
"You and McKay say it all the time."
"Do you even know who Jesus Christ is?"
"Jesus Christ is a person?"
"Are you fucking with me?"
"Didn't we talk about that already?"
Finally, finally, finally, after the longest three months of John's entire life, they're cleared to go back to Pegasus.
As predicted, Keller- along with the new shrink and a whole bunch of other people, most of whom John already knew didn't have the balls for it- resigns; Biro gets promoted in her place.
Despite what Carson seems to think of her- sometimes John has to take a moment to wonder why they're worrying about the opinion of a damn clone- John really likes Biro. She's no nonsense, she's a decent shot, and she's just as gay as anybody could hope for.
It's a step up, as far as John's concerned.
Of course, she doesn't even get all the way through his physical before she puts him on anti-depressants. It's not until John is standing there in his bathroom with the pills in his hand, ready to swallow them, that it occurs to him that he didn't even attempt to fight her on it, that he's so exhausted from doing nothing that he doesn't even have the wherewithal to protest.
Fuck, that is depressing.
But, eventually, slowly, somehow, John gets better.
Weeks later, they've just come back from a mission; it's a milk run of the best kind, really, to a planet where the sun is shining and the food is good and the local population doesn't wear much clothing and looks good doing it.
On his way back to his quarters, Rodney drags him off to a teleporter and punches in a destination on a far end of the city; when they get there, Rodney crowds him up against a balcony railing and says, "No, see, what I meant was," and before John has time to figure out where the rest of the conversation went, Rodney is leaning up and kissing him, his lips tentative and demanding all at once, just like everything else Rodney does.
John lets his eyes drift shut, and he thinks, now, that's what I'm talking about.
Later, much later, they're sitting outside, watching the sun set over the ocean; Rodney's behind him, his arms wrapped around John's waist, resting his chin on John's shoulder.
"I'm sorry I let Jennifer Yoko the band," Rodney says suddenly, the words in a rush, like he's been waiting to say them for a long time.
John thinks about it for a moment. "She totally Yokoed the band."
Rodney pulls back slightly, enough to give John a skeptical look. "Can you even make that past tense?"
"Let's hope so," he answers, lacing his fingers into Rodney's.
Even later, Rodney says, "We all helped, you know."
"Yeah," John replies. "Let's get rid of that, too."
"Agreed," Rodney says, and he pulls John closer.
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