Spoilers: The Daedalus Variations (5.04)
Posted at: sga_episodefic
Summary: The Daedalus Variations episode tag. An offhand comment from Lorne makes John suddenly understand what they left behind on the Daedalus.
Rodney as a father.
John shook his head, the grin he'd been fighting in the infirmary breaking free as he stepped through the main doors. It really was a terrifying thought, no matter how good a job he knew Rodney would do.
John turned to see Lorne jogging towards him. "Major," he nodded. Lorne fell into step beside him.
"Doctor McKay going to be all right? That looked like a pretty nasty wound. Glad it was just a graze."
"He's fine. Bitching and complaining, but they're going to keep him overnight anyway." He and Lorne exchanged a look of shared amusement and pity for the nurses. John's grin widened as he realised Keller was on night shift. Maybe Rodney would go easy on her. They were actually kind of cute together, and he ignored the vague sinking feeling in his chest at that thought.
"That's real good. Kinda wish you'd been able to bring back one of those blasters though."
"You and me both, Major." John remembered the green glow and dripping plasma of the hit with avaricious regret.
"Ah, well. More important that we got *you* back, Colonel. Between you and Doctor McKay, not to mention Teyla and Ronon..." Lorne shook his head. "Just don't know what we would do without you." He smiled at John widely. "Good to have you home, sir." He waved a hand and peeled off at the next hallway, heading for the gyms.
John stopped dead in the hall, feeling his chest pull into a terrible tightness.
They'd left the other team on Daedalus, of course. The other team, all dead. *Them*. Himself, Ronon, McKay. Teyla.
That other team would never make it home. Their Atlantis would be forever without them.
Rodney had said it, had said "They're *us*, and they *failed*." He hadn't processed it, not really. Not the truth of it, the truth that raised up and choked off his breath now. God, given all the times the survival of Atlantis had hung on the actions of any one of them. How would their Atlantis cope with losing them all?
John turned on his heel and headed back to the infirmary, needing to immerse himself in the reassurance that they... *this* they, had made it home safely. He needed to see Teyla and Rodney, needed to touch them and prove they were real.
And if maybe, later, he raised a glass to the team who hadn't *failed*, damn it... they'd saved his life and the life of the only family that mattered, well. They deserved it.
The doors opened ahead of him, and John felt the ball of tension in his chest dissolve at the sound of Teyla's laughter and Rodney's deeper chuckle.
They were home, they were *fine*, and their Atlantis would be, too.