Winter Sunlight

fic bits - just catching up

This was actually written several months ago (so some of you have already read it, I know) but I never posted it to LJ.

Title: Steps Forward and Back
Word Count: 5800
Rating: PG; gen
Summary: "38 Minutes" tag; John POV; takes place primarily between "38 Minutes" and "Suspicion", with a little post-Siege as well. Sometimes people prove themselves under pressure; other times, you find out things you didn't really want to know about them.

Steps Forward and BackCollapse )
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I loved this! I'm so glad you addressed what happened in "38 Minutes" (which is my #1 fave Ford ep; alas, there aren't many to choose from) and had it be Ford who brought up McKay's flailing. Because it isn't realistic to have John or even Ford wave his hand and say, "Oh, no big deal that McKay needed hand-holding", not when you're on the front-lines and facing danger together as a team each time you step through the gate. Either you can count on your teammates to pull their own weight, or you die. For John and Elizabeth to not even address this issue would be insanely stupid.

I mean, basically John's doing what Sumner did with him, which is assess that an expedition member had a history of mistakes--no matter where their heart was at--and manage them appropriately. I'm not saying John or Rodney couldn't rise above their reputations--obviously they did--but their CO/boss' job is to keep people safe and accomplish the mission, not risk people's lives so one man can earn his redemption or whatever.

But to build on my previous point... I haven't seen anyone else comment on this, but I really like what you say about McKay under the surface, how he tried. He took John's rejection to heart and worked on it, he kept volunteering, he tried to be braver, he got more comfortable in confronting danger when none of the other scientists would. I'll never be Rodney's biggest fan, and I tend to be critical of him as a knee-jerk reaction to fanon and protective fans, but the way you've presented him here? I absolutely appreciate his hard work to grow and become a better person.

Last point: I adore John and Sam together; their interactions in S4 are among my favourite moments of the entire series. So I love John buying Sam a beer and the respect he clearly has for her, as a scientist and a soldier and as someone who's survived McKay ;)

In conclusion: awesome story!
Thank you very much; I really appreciate the long comment!

I love Rodney; I do. But that doesn't mean I'm blind to his flaws -- one of the things I love most about writing, actually, is finding the stress lines, the places where people crack, where human relationships crack. I like writing action/adventure type stuff and simple heroics as much as the next gal (well, the next gal who's in love with things that move fast and go boom), but I also love writing about flawed people doing stupid things and then having to pay the consequences.

Since canon dealt seldom with follow-through and consequences, I like to think of these sorts of things going on in the cracks in between. Because, yeah, there's no way John and Elizabeth aren't going to need to deal with this, and to suggest otherwise does a disservice to their characters.

I really enjoy John and Sam's interactions too, and the obvious respect they have for each other. Actually, I wish that Sam was written more in combination with nearly all the Atlantis characters; I think there's a great deal of untapped potential for stories there.
I've never thought about how Rodney ended up in John's team but I like this explanation very much. I can see John having doubts about Rodney at the beginning. And I can't help wondering if Elizabeth was being tricky, even if she said she wasn't, arranging things so that Rodney was always going off-world in John's team.
Nice work.:)