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McKay/Sheppard established relationship; PG; no spoilers I can think of.
Disclaimer: not mine, no profit.

For [livejournal.com profile] semielliptical - Surprise!



Five Reasons Rodney Has Trouble Sleeping (And One Thing John Does to Help)


1. His body stops working, but his brain pays no attention.

Every couple of nights John wakes up to find Rodney staring past him with the abstracted look that means he's solving equations in his head, or running simulations, or calculating the best possible energy distribution when Atlantis is running both shields and weapons full strength.

On a good night, John manages to get Rodney back to sleep before he struggles out of bed in search of a laptop.


2. Too much caffeine.

Rodney drinks about 12 cups of coffee a day -- one every 90 minutes -- so he never really detoxes from the caffeine. It's a self-perpetuating problem: if Rodney slept better, he might be persuaded to cut back a little.

John's saving this battle until other things stop keeping Rodney awake at night.


3. Back pain.

John thinks this isn't really Rodney's fault. He spends most of his waking hours hunched over lab benches built for smaller people -- were the Ancients all really that short? -- or jammed under consoles or crawling through access tubes. John knows Rodney's back is hurting when he keeps flexing his shoulders and twisting to stretch his spine, even when he's lying in bed.


4. Gaul, Griffin, and Collins, to name a few.


5. The big questions.

Some nights John catches Rodney regarding him with an uncertain look, as though he's wondering something but can't frame the right question. It took a while to pick up on the pattern, but it's usually after a day when Rodney's been bitchier than usual, more impatient, more pressured and stressed than usual.

It's hard to translate from Rodney-speak sometimes, but John thinks he understands what Rodney's trying to ask. Are you sure you know what you've gotten into? Or when he's completely worn down, too exhausted to dredge up the confidence he wears like a shield: When are you going to leave?



Once or twice or three times a night, John presses himself close to Rodney's side and rubs his back, slowly, soothingly, the way John's mom used to do when he was little.

It gives Rodney something else to focus on, when his brain is stuck in an infinite loop, and maybe helps with the back pain a little. He hopes it helps Rodney remember there are people he's saved, too. And most of all, it's John's answer to the question Rodney's afraid to ask. I'm here. I'm here. I'm here.

end

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