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[personal profile] eccentricweft
These were originally posted separately, the first on the LJ community Casa McShep and the sequels on my own LJ.

All three are John/Rodney and PG. Altogether they're about 1600 words. Warnings at the bottom.

Where the Heart Is

Rodney’s side of the sleeping space is empty when John drifts awake in the middle of the night. He blinks and twists around until he can see the front section of the jumper. There's a dim line barely visible under the door.

Rodney, working again. Even with the jumper hatch down, the nights here are so dark that the pale glow of the laptop screen stands out like a beacon.

He sits up, rubbing his eyes. It's warm and humid, but there's a faint breeze through the air-permeable forcefield Rodney set up across the open end of the jumper.

John hauls himself to his feet and palms open the hatch. Rodney's in the co-pilot's chair, staring at his laptop. His hands are still for once, motionless on the keyboard, and he seems -- drained, somehow. Empty of the frantic, manic energy that's driven him ever since they were thrown from an exploding space gate and crash-landed on this world.

"Can't sleep?" John asks softly, and he can just make out Rodney's shoulders, slumping a little. There's a long moment before he responds.

"I just realized something."

"What's that, buddy?" John edges closer.

"I can't fix the jumper." Another pause. "I can't get us out of here."

John has long since come to that conclusion.

"Yeah, buddy," he murmurs. "I know."

"And the Daedalus isn't coming. It's been five months. They've called off the search by now."

"Probably, yeah." John eases into the pilot's seat. He can see Rodney's eyes now, and the misery filling them.

"I'm sorry."

"What for?" John asks, and puts a hand out tentatively to rub Rodney's shoulder.

"It's just, I ought to be able to get us home," Rodney chokes out. "Atlantis. Teyla and Ronon. Fighting the Wraith."

"Yeah," John whispers. "I miss it. I miss them. But I figured out something too, you know?" Rodney finally looks up at him, eyes narrowed against the emotion he's holding back. "I can take it as long as I'm not missing you."

The blue eyes go wide, and John stands up before Rodney can find words. A first time for everything, he thinks with a small grin, and tugs on Rodney's arm. "C'mon, it's the middle of the night. Let's go back to bed."

They step cautiously through the dark jumper and settle down on the pile of blankets. John pulls the sheet up and wraps his arms around Rodney carefully. "Tomorrow," he offers, hoping he's not going too fast. "We'll start looking for a place. Maybe up in the mountains. It won't be as hot."

"Tomorrow," Rodney echoes, and it sounds like a promise.



John's out of bed early to watch the sun rise over the mountains. As long as they've been on this world, he and Rodney have watched the sky together. He needs to see the sun come up today; it might be the last sunrise of Rodney's life. The days are getting short, and cold, and Rodney's been sick since the spring. Almost half a year. He doesn't have much longer.

John had thought he'd lose his mind when they got to this point, but he's okay. He feels strong. He has things to do. He's calm.

Rodney's still asleep and seems comfortable, so John heads out to the spring to wash, taking two buckets along to haul water. The path to the spring is easy, even in the half-light of dawn. Thirteen years, every day, back and forth from the cabin; they've worn the path wide and smooth.

Back inside, he pours a cup of water for Rodney and hooks one of the buckets over the cookfire. Small flames dance around the metal as he watches.

They don't have any way to treat Rodney's illness; they're lucky to have something for the pain. The nausea and discomfort that were the first symptoms quickly worsened into bouts of pain that left Rodney shaky and weak. And he's lost weight, so much of it. It's been weeks since he could keep down anything but broth and watered-down fruit juice.

Rodney stirs a little and John goes to him, sitting on the edge of the bed. He cups Rodney's face with one hand, and the blue eyes - God, always so blue - open slowly. "Hey there buddy," John says, smiling. "Up and at 'em. You ready to face the day?"

Rodney hmms a little, and John waits patiently. "Another day?" Rodney asks finally, and John leans down to kiss him.

"Yeah, another day," he says gently, brushing the hair from Rodney's forehead. "There's water heating so I can help you wash up. Then, you know. I thought maybe breakfast in bed?"

Rodney smiles faintly at the little joke. "Just like the Ritz."

"Yeah. Just like." John stands and checks on the water. The pot over the fire is boiling; he pours it into a basin and adds cold water until the temperature is right. Then he takes out a clean cloth, pulls back the covers, and begins to wash Rodney gently.

By the time Rodney's clean and dry and back under the blankets, the pain is starting up again. He lies tense and still with his eyes closed, breathing shallowly. John gets out the mortar and pestle and the bowl of chai beans. He picks out two, grinds them to powder, and lets it dissolve in the cup of water.

It's the best drug they have. Back in the first year they'd roasted the beans to make a hot drink - it tasted more like vanilla chai than coffee, to Rodney's disappointment - and discovered the pain-killing properties when John's sprained ankle abruptly stopped hurting. The side effects are like morphine, so they use it sparingly.

Rodney's expression is strained when John brings the chai over. He slides an arm behind Rodney's shoulders and holds the cup to his mouth. "Small sips," he murmurs, and wipes Rodney's mouth with his fingers when he's done.

Rodney catches his hand when he starts to get up. "Could you - come back to bed with me? Please?"

"Yeah, 'course I will, buddy." He bends down to kiss Rodney's forehead, strips down to shorts and t-shirt and slides under the covers. Rodney relaxes a little in his arms.

They lie together in silence for a few minutes, and it sounds like Rodney's breathing is getting easier. "How're you feeling now?" John asks quietly.

Rodney turns, his eyes meeting John's, and he's smiling - a rare, heartbreakingly sweet smile John's only seen once or twice before. "Safe," Rodney says clearly. "I feel safe. Peaceful. I feel good."

John has to clear his throat, and his chest hurts, but the pain might be happiness. "That's good," he says, voice rough. "That's good." He pulls Rodney a little closer and holds on tight.

* * * * * * *

When John wakes up, it's late afternoon, and Rodney is gone.

* * * * * * *

John sits outside to watch the sunset, until it's dark enough to see the stars. It's peaceful, and the forest sounds are familiar. In his hand there's a cup of chai - strong, so strong it's bitter, all the beans they had left.

When the cup is empty, John goes back inside, to Rodney.



There was a quiet knock and Kisi's voice. "Grandmother? Are you awake?" Teyla opened her eyes and smiled to greet her youngest grandchild.

"I am awake." She shifted in her chair, reaching a hand out to Kisi as she came near. "You've been offworld, I hear. Your father said you would be back today."

"Yes, I took my team to the market on Hmerin to trade. We had one of the light ships." Kisi pulled a chair close to Teyla's, so that their knees nearly met.

"Did you have any difficulty?" Teyla asked with concern. Kisi was well and whole, but she seemed troubled, unusually so for her. Laughter was her true nature.

"Not exactly. We are all safe. But..." She hesitated. "It seems this was the first time anyone has taken a light ship there, instead of using the gate. We found something on sensors, in the region of Hmerin." Kisi gave Teyla an anxious look. "I want to tell you about this, Grandmother, but I'm afraid it will give you sorrow."

Teyla's expression grew a little stern. "That is kind of you, and I realize I am a great-grandmother now, but I do not need to be protected."

Kisi sighed. "I'm sorry. Well. We found a space gate that had been damaged somehow, burnt out, and debris from a Wraith dart drifting in orbit. Brisnat said if a ship was exploding at the moment it passed through the Ring, it could cause the damage we saw." She paused for a moment. "We scanned the planet and found a Lantean ship, a puddlejumper."

John and Rodney. Teyla knew it immediately. But they could not be alive; it had been more than fifty years. No, if they were, Kisi would not have come to her this way, so worried and so earnest. "Tell me," she said, willing her voice steady.

"There was a small dwelling place in the mountains, a day or two walk from the jumper. I found a book with Earth writing. That's how I knew it must be them, the friends you lost long ago. John Sheppard, the one whose name Father has--"

"...and Rodney McKay, who stood by me at the moment of Torren's birth." Teyla finished the words she had used a hundred times, a thousand, to tell her children and grandchildren about two loved ones who were far away, lost among the stars. She reached out for Kisi as a terrible thought struck her. "We have had the light ships since you were a child. If we had found them sooner..."

"I think it was already too late by then," Kisi said softly, winding her hands around Teyla's. "The bodies - they were dust. They must have died a very long time ago. But they lay together, and nothing in the room was disturbed." She looked up at Teyla anxiously. "They died peacefully, Grandmother. I'm sure of it."

Teyla thought of John and Rodney, alone together for years. They would have faced such a challenge with bravery, and persistence, and humor. They would have cared for each other faithfully.

"Yes," she said to Kisi, and if her heart ached, if was for her own loss as well as theirs. "I am sure as well."


Yes, this is a deathfic. I hope it doesn't distress anyone too much. For myself, I find I really don't mind sad endings so much as long as they're together.

Tomorrow and Testament are edited a little from the LJ versions. There were a few spots I wanted to work on.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-10-04 12:14 pm (UTC)
korilian: (asgard)
From: [personal profile] korilian
This was terribly sad, but I definitely prefer the suicide over John spending the rest of his life all alone on some planet.

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