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Fic: [SGA] A Transient Memory (PG)

Title: A Transient Memory
Author: skinscript
Rating: G
Genre: General
Spoilers: Broken Ties (5.03)
Warnings: I think I swore in here somewhere.
Wordcount: ~950
Disclaimer: Seriously?
Posted at: sga_episodefic

Summary: Broken Ties episode tag. Lorne is the only one left who knows, and Rodney would just as soon keep it that way.

Tyre stank.

Lorne wrinkled his nose as he helped Rampersad prepare the unconscious bastard for transport back to Atlantis. Sheppard and McKay had retreated to give them room. McKay had his hand over his mouth as he glared down at Tyre, and Lorne had to admit he wouldn't want to be in Tyre's shoes when he woke up. McKay could be scary.

They rolled Tyre onto his side to fit the stretcher under his back, sending up another invisible cloud of odour. Rampersad choked a little, and Lorne felt his whole face twist as the smell penetrated to his tongue this time. Stale, rancid sweat, old vomit, wet not-wool and urine, all laced through with this bitter sickly taint that was hauntingly familiar and absolutely fucking disgusting. He pushed Tyre onto the stretcher and leaned away, coughing until his throat burned with trying to get that damned stench out of his mouth.

"Here." Something clanked against his tac vest, and he took the offered canteen gratefully without even looking up. A long swallow, swish, and spit later he tilted his head back, holding the canteen up.

"Thanks," he managed to force out, turning to face his benefactor. "God, what is that smell?" His eyes lifted to McKay's face as he rapidly twisted the cap back onto his canteen, and suddenly remembered where he'd smelled it before. Oh. OH.

McKay was looking away, his face tight with things Lorne couldn't name. "Time to head out, Major," he said to the wall. "Let's get home."

Lorne shuffled his feet and lifted a hand to the door, then cursed under his breath and shoved it back in his pockets. What the hell was he doing here? Sure, McKay was tolerable enough, and yeah he'd come a long way in the last three years, but seriously, what was he thinking?

Well, actually, he knew the answer to that one. He was thinking about McKay. About the tight, closed expression on the Doc's face as they shifted Tyre, as they bitched about the smell. The smell that McKay knew all too goddamned well, and that was probably still haunting his dreams. Especially after having watched Tyre and then Ronon go through a familiar hell the last few days.

He couldn't get it out of his head.

Lorne gritted his teeth, and rang the chime.


A quick push with closed eyes and Atlantis confirmed that McKay was inside. He bit his lip, undecided, then rang again. Nothing.

Ok. One more time, and he'd give it up.

He'd just turned on his heel to walk away when the door swished open behind him.

"I am not sharing my bath with...." McKay broke off midrant, eyes widening in surprise at seeing Lorne. "Uh. Well. Actually. Not with you either." He lifted his chin and tried to look dignified, but mostly just succeeded at looking wet. And bubbly. McKay yanked his blue bathrobe tighter around his waist and crossed his arms. A small white blob of bubbles teetered unsteadily on the top of his head, another stuck haphazardly to the side of his neck, half-obscuring his ear.

Lorne smiled involuntarily, scratched his head to cover his amusement. "Uh, hey Doc. Sorry to interrupt your bath."

"You interrupted some very important work, actually." McKay actually let go of his bathrobe to gesture vigorously, barely grabbing the loose edge before it revealed more than the good doctor likely had in mind. "The bath helps me ... helps me focus." Some expression flickered across his face too fast for Lorne to catch.

"Yeah. About that." He hesitated, then decided to go for broke and shouldered his way gently into McKay's room. "I was, uh." The Doc's eyes were going wider and wider, on the verge of panicking, and Lorne finished kind of desperately, "I was wondering if you were ok."

McKay frowned. "What?"

"Look, Doc. I know this thing with Ronon... I just wanted to check and make sure you're all right." Lorne shuffled his feet uncomfortably. "So... you ok?"

"What? Me?" McKay blinked at him rapidly. "Why wouldn't I be?"

Lorne felt his mouth twist a little, heard himself go for sarcasm, barely managed to gentle it at the last second. "Cause enzyme withdrawal almost killed you?" Damn, McKay was exasperating sometimes.

"Oh," McKay said in a small voice. "With Elizabeth and Carson gone... no one said ... I guess I thought everyone who still remembered that was already gone."

And then, he'd say something like that and all the irritation would drain away. "Yeah." He really didn't know what else to say.

"I kind of ... well. Liked it that way, actually." He attempted a smile, but it came out as more of a grimace. "With no one knowing."

Lorne nodded. "Ok. Ok, well, I can have a very selective memory. If you ever needed me to remember, I could probably make the effort." He reached out and caught the little pile of bubbles on McKay's shoulder right before they slid off. The bubbles felt cool and light in his hand. He wiped them off against his hip and turned to leave.

"Major." McKay stopped him before he could reach the door. "Um. Thank you. For asking." He huffed a little self-deprecating laugh. "I'm ok." He considered an instant, then amended grudgingly, "mostly."

Lorne grinned at him, taking in the soaking wet bathrobe and cheerful bubbles hanging on here and there. "Yeah, Doc, you are."

The door opened behind him and he stepped through with a jaunty salute, bubbles still clinging to his fingers, evaporating like memories.



( 42 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 7th, 2008 01:26 am (UTC)
Oh! That was good, so good. I love Lorne, I love that he's checking in on Rodney, SO MUCH LOVE!
Aug. 7th, 2008 01:34 am (UTC)
Thanks! It bothered me that no one mentioned that Rodney had gone through the same kind of extreme withdrawal, nor that Ronon and Teyla had both been through it before (and Ford's guy died from it).

Then I realised that the only people who were a part of McKay's experience were Elizabeth and Carson, and it was entirely possible that no one else even knows about it, and so.. this.

Thanks for reviewing!
(no subject) - kimberlyfdr - Aug. 7th, 2008 01:36 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spike21 - Aug. 7th, 2008 01:57 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kimberlyfdr - Aug. 7th, 2008 02:00 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spike21 - Aug. 7th, 2008 02:09 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - skinscript - Aug. 7th, 2008 02:12 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spike21 - Aug. 7th, 2008 02:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - skinscript - Aug. 7th, 2008 02:53 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kimberlyfdr - Aug. 7th, 2008 02:21 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - skinscript - Aug. 7th, 2008 02:58 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - badwolf36 - Aug. 8th, 2008 05:53 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - skinscript - Aug. 8th, 2008 10:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spike21 - Aug. 7th, 2008 04:16 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 7th, 2008 01:32 am (UTC)
Very nice.
Aug. 7th, 2008 01:34 am (UTC)
Aug. 7th, 2008 01:56 am (UTC)
very nicely done. Lorne's voice sounded just right to me and his take on McKay was very touching and realistic.
Aug. 7th, 2008 02:44 am (UTC)
Thank you! I can't imagine Lorne feeling comfortable enough to talk to McKay he would a friend, but I can also see him being unwilling to let it go despite himself. I really like Lorne - he just seems like such a decent guy.

Aug. 7th, 2008 05:28 am (UTC)
A Transient Memory by skinscript
Excellent fic! I was wondering why no mention of Rodney or Teyla's previous encounter with the Wraith enzyme was mentioned. Just Rodney and Teyla sharing a meaningful look would have been something for those of us who pay attention to continuity.

Or, as you have written, maybe the others on the team don't really know that Rodney OD'ed on the Wraith enzyme because it was the only thing he could think of to escape. The rest of the expedition maybe thought it was Rodney with a 'normal' addiction. Maybe Rodney kept that to himself.

Thanks for writing!
Aug. 8th, 2008 10:19 pm (UTC)
Re: A Transient Memory by skinscript
Thank you! Me too. But the writers do seem to have a pretty selective memory, so I try to remember to give them some leeway. (*I usually fail, I should add...)

I find it kind of depressingly plausible that the rest of the team wouldn't know. I see it as consistent that they wouldn't think to ask. As for the rest of the expedition, I don't know how many would even have the need to know McKay was going through withdrawal. He came in from offworld and essentially dropped in the gateroom - it's plausible that they might have just been thinking 'funky alien virus' or some such.

Then again, small places = everyone knowing eveything, so maybe they did all know and just didn't process.


Thank you for reviewing!
Aug. 7th, 2008 07:06 am (UTC)
Hey Skin. :)

You already know most of this, but I am nothing if not repetitive.

I love this. As you know, I was curious about why Rodney would choose not to pipe up about the withdrawal, or why everyone just seemed to be so "Oh my, isn't this new?!" about it, but ya know what? This makes a whole lot of sense. If you feel like I've been saying that a lot in my responses to your fics lately than it's totally your fault for *explaining* things, or something. Seriously, I'm considering making you watch everything that ever had a 'bit' which made no sense with me, and then getting you to write in missing scenes/the aftermath to explain why it is the way it is. But we can discuss terms and payment later. :D

Back to the fic, I *adore* Lorne here. I adored him already, but I love that he is clearly feeling awkward yet makes an attempt to talk to McKay anyway. And then knows when to shut up and leave. I'm like, considering letting him back into my OTT with Hermiod again. Ok ok, I jest... but he really is fabulous, and in this scene they both say so much, *and* give so much away about themselves without actually saying that much at all. (I know I kinda ripped half of that off from you, but I agree, so I stole it. Sorry.)

This also just breaks my heart a bit for McKay too, obviously and it just... makes sense again. Of course he'd want to forget. Plus - there's the added bonus of McKay in nowt but a blue bathroom bathrobe and some bubbles. You really can't go wrong there. :D

Love the writing here too. Your description of the smell is vivid and gross enough to make me feel like *I* recognise it. Which I don't. Because apparently the wraith aren't real, but whatever.

I also have to spare a moment to HEE at --->
"I am not sharing my bath with...." McKay broke off midrant

And naturally, the last line, which rounds it all off so well, is love. :)

Thanks for sharing, now if you're bored waiting for the next episode to come out, I, for one, won't object to you writing 'McKay: The bathtub's perspective.' Just putting it out there...

Aug. 7th, 2008 07:19 am (UTC)

As adorable as Lorne and bubble covered Rodney are, what's going on underneath this aint that cutesy.

Sure, it's not quite SC!Angsty level...

but the SGA hasn't broken you yet. ;)
(no subject) - skinscript - Aug. 8th, 2008 10:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - skinscript - Aug. 8th, 2008 10:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 7th, 2008 07:55 am (UTC)
Lovely scene!
Aug. 8th, 2008 10:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Aug. 21st, 2008 04:56 pm (UTC)
This was lovely! It was nice to see the theme of Rodney's own enzyme experiences, which wasn't explored in the show. You've captioned Lorne's reaction perfectly here, concerned with a hint of awkwardness, but fundimentally willing to make the effort and be a team player. :)

I loved this piece of description - He reached out and caught the little pile of bubbles on McKay's shoulder right before they slid off. The bubbles felt cool and light in his hand. He wiped them off against his hip and turned to leave.
Aug. 21st, 2008 09:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you! This show does have a history of not exploring. Oh well - more fanfic for us!

I'm glad you liked the bubbles, especially since without them I had no ending. I also kind of liked the idea of Lorne reaching out awkwardly, which I suppose could be sort of a metaphor for the whole scene. :)

Sep. 8th, 2008 07:57 pm (UTC)
Sep. 10th, 2008 03:49 am (UTC)
Thank you for the lovely recommendation! Thank you also for reading. :)
Sep. 8th, 2008 09:51 pm (UTC)
Very nicely done. I liked both of the voices in this, and the entire premise.
Sep. 10th, 2008 03:50 am (UTC)
Thank you! I can totally see Lorne and McKay striking up an infrequent but genuine friendship.
Sep. 8th, 2008 10:42 pm (UTC)
Oh, Lorne! Oh, Rodney! *huggles both*

My favorite line was "I am not sharing my bath with...." McKay broke off midrant, eyes widening in surprise at seeing Lorne. "Uh. Well. Actually. Not with you either." Hee! That was cute! :D
Sep. 10th, 2008 03:51 am (UTC)
Hahaha. Rodney surprised me with that line actually, so I am extra glad it is your favourite.

I love your icon. Lorne rocks, doesn't he?
Sep. 9th, 2008 12:09 am (UTC)
Lorne may not be a major (sorry for the pun) attraction for me on the show, but he does have a significant role on it (and in my heart), as do many other recurring characters (which is why No.More.SGA is made of fail).

There are so many touching emotions that are evoked by your story. I can see this Lorne, especially, being born during The Last Man when Sheppard was lost for 12 days. During that time, Lorne would have been acting military commander and would have worked more closely with McKay. As Sheppard's 2IC, he already would have learned his lesson well, that it was the military's duty to protect all civilians, especially but not exclusively McKay.

I think Lorne would have also remembered how McKay refused immediate medical assistance in Search and Rescue, saying that Lorne's needs were more urgent. So, even though McKay had the reputation of being a hypochondriac, Lorne knew what the truth was. Stopping by to check on McKay would be quite in character for him, as well as a caring gesture. [And, totally off topic, Lorne's genuine nice-guyness is also evident when he finds out that Teyla is pregnant and he is just ... just ... ::flails:: I have no words to describe how fuzzy and cuddly his supportive reaction made me feel!]

Thank you so much for the lovely scene ... with errant bubbles as a bonus!

Thoughtful hugs,
Sep. 10th, 2008 03:52 am (UTC)
See, I don't watch SGA for Lorne either, but every time he's in an ep I'm glad to see him.

I hadn't thought about the Last Man implications, but I think you're right. Lorne and McKay very likely had lots of interactions during those 12 days. Hmmm. *damned plot bunnies*.

Thank you for reviewing!
Sep. 9th, 2008 02:08 am (UTC)
This is lovely. I like the image of Lorne feeling compelled to check on Rodney, regardless of how he feels about the man, and his "selective memory." McKay's relief that there was no one left to remember his breakdown also seems very in-character.
Sep. 10th, 2008 03:53 am (UTC)
Thank you! When I came up with it I was pleased by how in character they felt. I haven't written Lorne before so I'm glad you feel it works. :)
Sep. 9th, 2008 05:54 am (UTC)
lovely fic. I like this a lot - it's nice to see these friendly moments between McKay and Lorne.
Sep. 10th, 2008 03:54 am (UTC)
Thank you! I think so too - I wish there was more McKay and Lorne interactions out there; canon and fanon!
Jun. 22nd, 2009 04:34 am (UTC)
this is very good. I like the interaction between two people who don't necessarily consider each other as more than passing in the corridor colleagues.
Jun. 22nd, 2009 11:55 pm (UTC)
Hi there

Thanks! I think that Lorne and McKay have the potential to be friends, but I think they wouldn't become close (without some other event driving them that way)
( 42 comments — Leave a comment )

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