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For McSmooch, a reaction to SGA's cancellation.
"Sun's up," John said, yawning, as he poked Rodney's shoulder. "Think it's about time for bed."
"It's about time for more coffee," Rodney corrected, and got up from his computer, only to stagger. He swayed in place, blinking blearily down at the empty mug in his hand. "...think someone drugged my last cup."
"Decaf," John said, settling an arm around his shoulders to steady him.
"Decaf?" Rodney couldn't have sounded more betrayed if John were jangling thirty pieces of silver.
"The last three cups. Sorry, buddy, you know the rule: if you can't taste it, you need it." John steered Rodney, stumbling, for the door. The way was clear, the other scientists long since gone to bed, or at least vacated the premises, knowing better than to risk the temper of a sleep-deprived McKay.
After spending three nights running hunched over his computer, and the afternoons crumpled on desktops in the corner, snoring fitfully while his underlings tiptoed and whispered around him, Rodney's usual charging stride was reduced to a shuffle. With every step he sank more heavily against John, head drooped on his shoulder by the time they reached the transporter.
The transporter didn't rouse him, but the doors to his quarters sliding open did. Rodney jerked up, peered around. "Wait, what?"
"Home sweet home," John said, pushing him inside.
Rodney planted his feet and braced himself on the doorframe. "No," he said, shaking his head, "I've got to—there's a lot—haven't finished—need to—"
"Need to sleep," John told him patiently, prodding him away from the door. What the other Atlantis scientists never stuck it through long enough to find out was that Rodney, past a certain point of exhaustion, became malleable, suggestible as a cheap drunk, the cutting edge of his sarcasm dulled to unresisting acceptance. He stumbled to his bed, mutely sat when John pushed his shoulders down.
"Get your shoes off?" John suggested, and when Rodney just frowned like he'd been asked to factor a dozen-digit number, John crouched, untied the laces and yanked the sneakers off.
"But," Rodney said, apropos of nothing, though when John looked up Rodney was looking back down at him, brow furrowed. "I wasn't done yet," Rodney explained, sounding not annoyed but only confused.
"Done what?" John asked, because he'd dozed off himself hours before and had lost track of whatever project Rodney had been working on.
"Everything," Rodney said.
"Right," John said. "Don't worry about it, the universe will still be around tomorrow, and I'm sure you'll figure it all out then, after a good night's sleep."
"But," Rodney repeated, blinking in a pie-eyed fluttery way, like his eyelids were window shades he kept having to pull down to retract up again, "Elizabeth's still gone, we haven't found a safe way to bring her back."
John rocked back on his heels, exhaled through his teeth. "Yeah."
"And Carson's on Earth, because they can't trust him here," Rodney said. "And Michael got away, we know he did, and he's got his research with him. And the city's only got one ZPM and not enough power left in it to keep dialing Earth regularly, we'll run out within the decade if the IOA keeps insisting on semi-weekly updates. And what kind of place is this to raise Torren, anyway? And the Wraith culled two planets just yesterday. And those zombie-Borg who shot me in the alternate dimension probably exist somewhere in this one, too. And you're forty-eight thousand years in the future and no one's waiting for you in this timeline. And—"
"Rodney." John stood up and took Rodney's face in his hands, tilted it up toward his own, and the surprise of the calloused palms framing his cheeks shut Rodney up, long enough for John to say, "It's okay. It'll be okay."
"But—" Rodney said, but John shook his head.
"It'll be okay," he said again, and the funny thing was, looking at Rodney's face when he said it, looking into Rodney's eyes, all gray and dazed and fatigue-fogged and infinitely determined, it was true.
He put one hand to Rodney's chest, the other to his back, levered him down on the bed, gently. Rodney let himself be lowered, body heavy with the sleep that was dragging his lids shut over his eyes again. But he shifted restlessly when his head hit the pillow, rolled over to shove himself sitting again—"But I can't—I haven't—"
"We'll get Elizabeth back," John said. "You'll find a way. And we'll get Carson back, too—we got them both back once, we can do it again. And we'll find a new ZPM, if you don't build us one first; and screw the IOA anyway, we've got Woolsey on our side now. And Torren's going to do fine, he's got his mom, and his dad, and three kick-ass adopted uncles to make sure of that. And we'll deal with the Wraith, and the zombie-Borg, too, whenever they show up. And I'm not in the future, I'm right here, you got me back. And everything else..."
John's hand on his arm was light, but it kept Rodney as fixed in the bed as if it were an iron manacle; and Rodney stared up at him, bloodshot eyes wide and believing, so tired he had no choice but to trust, and John was too tired to tell him anything but the truth.
"Everything else, you'll figure out," John said, and bent to brush his lips to Rodney's temple as he finally sank into sleep, breathing the whisper of a warm promise over his closed eyes, "tomorrow."
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