skinscript (skinscript) wrote,

Fic: [SGA] Metaphor (PG)

Title: Metaphor
Author: skinscript
Rating: G
Genre: General
Spoilers: The Shrine (5.06)
Wordcount: ~900
Disclaimer: Seriously?
Posted at: sga_episodefic
Summary: Rodney returns John's jacket.

"... I love you. I've loved you for some time now. Okie. Where was I?"

John wasn't sure whether it was the words or the unguarded look on Jennifer's face that was ringing through his skull more insistently. They were certainly making it a serious competition.

Even without being able to see the monitor or Rodney's expression from his vantage point at the back door to the Infirmary, John knew it had been true. The soft, rapt look on Jennifer's face said it all. Rodney had meant every word.

Of course, that didn't translate into him meaning every word *now*.

"... I love you. I've loved you for some time now. Okie. Where was I?"

In the other timeline they had ended up together. He was sidetracked briefly by the tangent of wondering what else would be unchanged. Woolsey on Atlantis, Rodney and Jennifer. Christ; what if his return had only delayed inevitabilities? He thought of the grief on hologram Rodney's face and knew he wasn't strong enough to face the litany of loss that Rodney had in that alternate timeline. No, he'd probably be throwing himself at death just to escape the...

The chime on his door interrupted his increasingly dark thoughts, and John tried to shake off the mood as he moved to the door.

Naturally, it was Rodney.

John turned away, schooling his face into blankness as rapidly as he could, knowing he'd failed by the way Rodney blinked before following him inside. John's jacket hung loosely from one large hand. John gestured at him to sit on the bed, raising an eyebrow when he did it without comment. He was even more unnerved when Rodney simply sat silently.

"Uh. Hi?" He finally ventured.

"I told Jennifer I loved her." Rodney replied flatly, as if John had asked something completely different. "Day 6 of tracking the progression."

"Yeah, I.. uh. I know." John scrubbed his hands through his hair, wondering abstractedly if the churning in his stomach was going to get bad enough to give him an excuse to avoid this conversation. "I overheard a replay."

"I think I meant it." Rodney stared at his hands, clenching on the dark nubbled leather of the jacket. "Then, I mean. I don't..." He heaved a breath. "Then I forgot about it.... " A hand windmilled expressively around his ear, "when I was ... away. And now... I don't mean it now, at least not right now. He huffed a little self-deprecating laugh. "I have a bit of a history of diving straight to the conclusion, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars. Or, usually, the girl for that matter." His fingers tightened further, pressing lines into the leather that made John's hands twitch with the desire to take it away from him, to smooth the jacket back into pristine shape. "But, I think I could mean it. Again. At some point."

John swallowed hard, nodded. "That's. That's good, buddy. I think she could... You know. Too. Maybe does."

Rodney glanced up at him, then away fast. He suddenly seemed to realise he was twisting the jacket into knots and hurriedly patted it back into shape before holding it out nervously. "I came to give you back your jacket," he said.

John found himself completely unable to talk through the lump in his throat. Instead he nodded dumbly and took it, hoping to cover the trembling in his fingers with speed. He gathered the jacket over his arm, held it close against his side, used the tactile sensation of the heavy coat as a focus to rebuild the faulty walls around his emotions. The heat from Rodney's hands lingered in the leather, warming him.

"Thank you," Rodney suddenly burst out, startling him into realising a silence had fallen into the space his thoughts had left. "John. I think your not wanting to say goodbye? It helped. Somehow. I never forgot you." His eyes narrowed on John's face, and he wondered what Rodney saw in his struggle for control. "Not even at the end. So. Thank you."

John heaved a breath and tossed the jacket onto his bed. "You shouldn't thank me. It's not a thanking kind of thing."

Relief flooded him as Rodney smiled slowly. "Fair enough. In that case, I won't tell you what I spilled on the jacket." His internal balance snapped back into place with the return of the familiar banter, and it was all he could do not to thank Rodney in return for lightening the mood. Instead, he went for normalcy.

John glared at him sharply, picking the jacket up and examining the front. "What did you do to it? It's a good coat, McKay, geeze..."

'Ha." Rodney stood, took a step towards the door. "It's a great coat, Sheppard."

John heaved a put-upon sigh and threw the jacket at him. Rodney barely managed to catch it before it thwapped him in the face. "Now I'm going to wonder. God. It's probably got McKay cooties. Take it with you."

"Really?" Rodney's face lit up and he shrugged into it with a triumphant grin.

"You owe me a new one." John groused.

"Consider it yours." Rodney paused at the open door. "I'll see you later?"

"Yeah." John nodded. "Unless I see you first."

With a grin, Rodney stepped through. The door closed.

John closed his eyes and let the barriers fall.


Tags: c: sga fic, f: metaphor, t: tag
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