Winter Sunlight

more fic bits - Siege tag

Another ficlet from last summer that hasn't been posted to LJ yet.

Siege II missing scene - gen - John w/Rodney and a little Zelenka; 1300 wds. The thought occurred to me, watching the episodes, that while they mentioned Rodney's exhaustion, everyone was probably in the same boat by that time.

John doesn't remember how long he's been going nonstop -- how long they've all been going nonstop. He caught a couple hours of sleep after the Wraith, Bob, goaded them into killing him, while McKay and Miller were flying back from the weapons satellite. But then Everett walked through the gate, and since then he's been running on adrenaline and caffeine and a bitter, cold fear, caught up in a crazy mix of disappointment and relief. There's a part of him that's infinitely relieved that he's finally gotten the one thing he's wanted most over the last year -- someone else to give the orders and take the responsibility. And at the same time, he's slowly realizing that he can't just hand it over like that, not because he doesn't want to, but because it's his. This city is his. These people are his. And there's a hard knot at the pit of his stomach: the dread premonition that Everett's chosen course of action is going to cost him all of that.

He's not afraid of dying. He's afraid of what he'll lose before he does.

He doesn't want to stop for anything, but there's only so long a guy can stay on top of his game without a rest. And when he's starting to miss cues and snap at people, he hands things off to Ford for a few minutes, and heads down to the cafeteria to pick up handfuls of sandwiches and some thermoses of the bitter Loranian tea that has taken the place of coffee in the city. Marta smiles at him across the room, and he's not too tired and stressed to give her a smile back. The Athosians have taken over the kitchen facilities, freeing up Atlantis personnel and keeping them all fed. It's the little things, sometimes.

John takes the food down to the chair room.

Cables snake all over the place; John steps carefully over them, trying not to stumble. McKay and Zelenka are arguing, their raised voices raw and cracking with fatigue.

"Brought lunch," John says, and tosses a sandwich to Zelenka. "Take a break."

"Busy," McKay snaps, but that doesn't stop him from snatching a sandwich and a thermos of tea. "You do realize the importance of what we're doing here, right?"

"Right, and that's why no one needs you two making mistakes." John takes McKay by the arm, steers him five steps away from the generator and then lets go and sits down on the edge of the platform surrounding the chair. He can't remember the last time he sat down. The muscles of his legs quiver with fatigue. He doesn't really have the energy to drag Rodney down here with him if the scientist is dead set on getting back to work, but Rodney slumps down at his side, jostling his arm. They're both too tired to care about personal space at the moment.

John takes a halfhearted bite of a sandwich, but he's almost too tired to chew. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Zelenka slumped against the wall, head tilted back and his glasses resting on his knee.

"So how's it going down here?"

Rodney makes a sound somewhere between a groan and a sigh.

"That doesn't sound good."

Rodney's mouth twists. He looks awful -- haggard and unshaven, bruised around the eyes. John expects that none of them look that great at this point, though. "We're trying to interface ten-thousand-year-old technology with a generator that the SGC cobbled together from Goa'uld schematics and Air Force tech and, for all I can tell, duct tape and baling wire. It's not like hooking up your nephew's Playstation, Major."

The crazy thought occurs to John that he doesn't even know if he has nephews. Did Dave ever get married, have kids? He'll probably never know. It's a strange, lonely thought to go with the hard ball of fear in his belly.

But Rodney's still talking. "You gonna eat that?"

John glances down at the half-eaten sandwich in his hand. Tired as he is, he moves a hand to curl around it in a protective half-arc. "Mine."

Rodney gives him a scathing look of disdain, as only Rodney can manage. "I don't want it. I was just suggesting that you might want to finish --" He snaps his mouth closed on the words, and deflates, the anger seeping out and leaving him crumpled and gray.

Rodney just saw a friend killed in front of him, John remembers -- well, days ago now, but all the days are running together and he suspects that it may as well have been five minutes ago as far as Rodney's concerned. It's not like there's been time to stop and process, and there aren't any words for this, at least not any John has ever found. Instead he takes a bite of his sandwich, because if he looks awful enough that Rodney is worried about him, he probably needs to eat something.

"After all of this ..." he says, when the silence becomes too much to bear.

Rodney snorts a small laugh. He's finished two of the sandwiches and drained most of a thermos of tea. "I appreciate your optimism, Major, but --"

"After," John presses. "I'll bring the beer. You pick up the movie, something we haven't all seen a thousand times. They have video stores on Earth, you know."

"Earth," Rodney says, rolling the word around like he's forgotten what it means. "And then what?" he adds, after a moment.

"And then we get completely, utterly wasted. Ford too. We can even bring Teyla. I be she'd be a cute drunk." John shifts to take another bite of the sandwich, and in the process, jostles Rodney's arm. It's largely accidental, but not entirely.

"Teyla drunk is a terrifying thought. Also, I enjoy keeping my brain cells intact, Major."

"Beer," John says, because right now, it feels like he's let go of too much in his life and he isn't letting go of this. Any of this. "You only have to have one. Won't kill too many brain cells that way. Besides, you have brain cells to spare, from what I hear."

"Oh for God's sake, yes, if it'll shut you up." There's a quiet moment, but because Rodney can't ever leave anything alone: "This is assuming that the Daedalus even shows up, and doesn't explode somewhere between here and the Milky Way. And also assuming --"

"Quit spoiling the moment, McKay."

Rodney snorts and finishes his second sandwich, but John thinks maybe he doesn't look quite so crumpled and shattered. And he thinks maybe he's got the energy to get up and go back out there, and help the rest of Everett's people set up their railgun emplacements. If he stays in this dark, quiet room any longer, he's probably going to fall asleep. That would be embarrassing, especially if he falls asleep on Rodney.

A soft snoring sound breaks the silence. For one brief, disoriented moment John thinks it's him; then he looks around, seeing Rodney's head swivel also. Zelenka has gone limp against the wall, his mouth open, a mostly uneaten sandwich in one loosely curled hand.

"Where's a camera when you need one," Rodney sighs, and drags himself back to his feet. He turns, hesitates just a moment, and then reaches a hand down.

John lets himself be helped to his feet.

Rodney's mouth opens and closes; he's obviously just as bad at tying off these sorts of things as John is. "So," he says, and tilts his chin up, looking exhausted and stubborn and defiant. "I'm going to hold you to that, Major. You owe me a beer."

"It's a date, McKay," John says, and escapes from the chair room to the sound of Rodney's outraged squawking.
I really like this for the John and Rodney friendship, both of them worrying about each other, but I also love the insights into John, and how he felt when Everett showed up - which is exactly how I think he would feel.

And also it was bittersweet, with the plans for the future which include Ford, and the fact that they've just lost Grodin. (I hated that they never mentioned him again in canon.)

Cute image of Zelenka asleep and snoring against a wall! *g*
Thank you! :) I will never not adore John and Rodney friendship, and the two of them trying to take care of each other in their clumsy way. *♥'s them*

And I agree, I really wish they'd touched on Grodin again, in an AU or something if nothing else! *sigh* Sadly, that kind of follow-through is something the show is not too good at.
that was lovely. And probably a deleted scene from the show. And if it wasn't it damn well needed to be. Or. no. It needed to be in the show. Because it's perfect.

Thank you very much! I like to imagine these little scenes happening around the main action. :) (And, oh, pretty icon! I need a general Atlantis icon without characters in it; I keep meaning to make one...)
I love this peek into John's head. :) I love that he's such a leader, making the effort to smile at Marta and recognizing the little things being important, recognizing his need to rest and translating it to getting Rodney and Radek to rest as well.

Very enjoyable read. :)
Thank you very much. :) I think my favorite "side" of John is his leader/caretaker/protector side; I really like seeing, and writing, him in that role, especially since it's so much at odds with the laid-back slacker persona he often cultivates.

(Though I also like commando!John. And dork!John. Okay, I kinda like him in any version. XD)
Oh, perfect missing scene and a laserline inside John's head.

This line was perfect and sad and so John. He's not afraid of dying. He's afraid of what he'll lose before he does.

Wonderful, sweet piece of John and Rodney friendship and some unintentional and intentional arm brushing :D
Thank you very much. :) I really enjoy writing John POV - and like I said in the comment above, I love bringing out his leader/protector side, the side of him that worries too much and cares too much.
yay for fic bits. :) And yes, it is the little things. Like the Athosian's taking over the kitchen, like John's thoughts about his family and Atlantis. I especially liked the line about his feelings about Atlantis. That rings very true. And of course there's the lovely way he manages to simultaneously rile and comfort McKay :)

Oh, and I almost forgot ... the snoring!! LOL. :)

Edited at 2009-12-31 02:15 am (UTC)
Thank you! :) I was wondering, re-watching Siege, what it must feel like to be all geared up to defend the city as usual and then have Everett swoop in and take over -- the shock and sense of displacement must have been huge for him.
I really like stories like this, with everyone at the end of their rope, but doing what they can to help each other keep going.
Great story. You did a beautiful job describing the exhaustion--it was painful--and I loved the friendship and John's desperate optimism just like everyone else did. I only wish you'd posted it at the time. :D
Thank you very much. :) I have a certain fondness for apocalyptic scenarios and desperate people finding comfort in each other.
Aw, poor exhausted boys! And I really like the detail of John's disorientation at being relieved of command.
Thanks! Yeah, I think it must have been very strange for him; the responsibility had been suddenly removed, but I can't imagine he'd be able to let it go just like that.
oh, now I love that! Love the Rodney and Sheppard mix of banter and spoken or unspoken sentiments.

Lovely work!

So, are you going to write the beer/get drunk/Teyla cute drunk story too? ;)
Thank you very much! :) The idea of John and Rodney getting Teyla drunk is kind of amusingly compelling ...
why yes... yes it is....

*feeds muse chocolate and encourages it*

you should.... you really should.... ;)

Really a lovely vignette, touching and insightful -- and I have hopes for this John and Rodney. Thank you!

PS: cute drunk Teyla would be a story worth reading!
Thank you very much. :) I'm glad you enjoyed it. And the idea of John and Rodney getting Teyla drunk is kind of irresistible...
I loved this little scene. I've enjoyed a bunch of your stories recently including the squonk one and the secret santa one - going to friend you so I won't miss any. I love John stories and you write him very well!