Category Archives: Gen

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hollows for the unmended

Title: Hollows for the Unmended (1752 words)
Author: busaikko
Artist: danceswithgary (link to art)
Beta: argosy
Summary: Rodney has all the words. John has none. (standalone in the same series as What Comes Around.)
Written for: Artword Challenge 013: Dual (i.e., the story tells part of the story, the art tells the rest.)
A/N: Title taken from the poem She says, follow the graves by Peg Duthie. chesneycat and E. shared invaluable personal experiences with aphasia, for which I am grateful.

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want

Title: Want (1000 words)
Episode tag to: The Shrine (because all the cool kids are doing it)
Rating: PG for a few bad words.
Pairing: John and Rodney. . . kind of. Maybe. Not really. Ouch.
Summary: No lines crossed, okay? No strings attached. No harm, no foul. Rodney and John have a heart to heart. No wait, I'm lying. . .


"So," Rodney says, and John gives him a moment to go on, because if there's one thing about Rodney, it's that he goes on, and on, and on until you just want him to shut up. Except that after the last few weeks, he's never going to tell Rodney to shut up again. No, really.

But Rodney doesn't continue, and John's at the end of the page he was reading, so he can either flip the page over and find out what vicious thing is going to happen to Constantine, or he can stop pretending he's ignoring Rodney.

He makes a kind of questioning noise in his throat and looks over at Rodney quickly through his lashes, even though Rodney is staring out the window and wouldn't notice even if John gave him a blatant once-over. John can't tell if Rodney's lost in contemplation or posing as if he's contemplative. Probably both.

"What?" John says finally, annoyed that Rodney's hooked him once again. He turns the page and finds he doesn't care about the big red drooly thing with fangs. Pegasus has ruined him for pulp horror.

"How badly have I fucked things up between us?" Rodney says, speaking to the window, and John would give anything for the comic book monster to appear right now so he could shoot it. Maladjusted is his middle name.

"You haven't." John slaps the graphic novel shut and rolls over to shove it into the box under his bed where he puts things to trade. He mentally scripts out a best-case scenario — Rodney saying Oh yes I have, and John saying Give it a rest, and Rodney saying something rude about John or the military or people not as smart as he is, and John caving in and snapping Just shut the hell up, okay? And then maybe they can play Nintendo like two normal people.

But Rodney turns around and his chin is up, which means trouble, Rodney's being brave. John doesn't want Rodney to be brave. He just.

Wants him.

Fuck.

"You weren't ever going to say anything, were you?" Rodney says. He's smiling, a little, and his intonation makes it clear that this is not a question. "I don't even remember when I first thought, and then I thought I was crazy, because — But once I had the theory, I just kept seeing things that supported it."

"Aren't you supposed to not theorise ahead of your evidence?" John says, curling to sitting and winding up with his elbows on his knees and his hands on his elbows and his shoulders practically in his ears because his head is down, he's staring at his own bare feet and his mind is an absolute blank. He looks around the room, because there must be inspiration somewhere.

"Thank you, Dr Watson," Rodney whips back. He crosses his arms and then his face freezes for a moment as he realises that he's mimicking John's defensive posture. But he doesn't shake his arms loose, just pulls the chin up one more notch. "I knew, and you knew that I knew, and we had this. . . gentleman's agreement to pretend we didn't know. There was a line. There was a line and I crossed it."

John doesn't get flashbacks; he doesn't do regrets. He thinks he's just missing that piece of the soul, the way some people don't understand numbers or have no fear. But he keeps hearing Rodney call for him, ask for him, scream for him. For a handful of days, all Rodney wanted to know was where John was; all he wanted was to be with John.

For just that once (while Rodney was dying), they wanted the same thing, no arguments, no fighting. On the same wavelength. John'll be bringing his ice skates to hell, he figures, when the time comes.

John wonders if he can snag his sweatshirt without getting up, but figures he would just fall flat on the floor. He gets up, feeling jerky and unstrung, grabs it and pulls it on, kicks his feet into his sneakers.

"I'm starving," he says, which is a lie and Rodney will figure it out as soon as they get to the mess hall. He needs to tell Rodney that he understands, that Rodney was in the place of needing someone to make his out-of-control life feel normal. A friend. A best friend, even. And John's been in his own place, what he thinks of as his big dumb crush, so long that it's almost comfortable now. "I was glad," he adds, before he loses his nerve, "that I could help you. No. . . no lines crossed, okay? No strings attached. No harm, no foul." He smiles, because Rodney needs that, and slaps him on the shoulder, turning it into a shove towards the door. "Just save the Jennifer gossip for tomorrow, okay? I'm tired."

"I thought you were hungry," Rodney accuses, stalking down the corridor towards the transporter.

It's natural now to match his stride to Rodney's; unconscious, like breathing. And like breathing, so strange when sudden awareness does come. "I'm not going to sleep well on an empty stomach, now am I?"

"Huh," Rodney says. "Well. I suppose that's true."

"Maybe there'll be more of those — things." John holds his hands apart, trying to indicate the pastries that were kind of like soup, the brown ones.

"Mm," Rodney says, somehow understanding and God, there's half of why John loves him right there. Rodney walks just a bit faster, his elbow against John's arm, carelessly. "Yes. Those are good."

" ' ) ( end ) ( ' "

confiteor

Title: Confiteor
Author: busaikko
Rating: G
Prompts: Radek, mea culpa, exploring the capacity for evil, angst, death, puddlejumpers….
Art: Confiteor by almost_clara


Mea culpa. My fault.

Yes, Rodney. Of course I knew, Rodney.

I am not a fool, Rodney.

Neither is Colonel Sheppard.

Mea culpa. Again, my fault.

Ty seš vůl. He asked me because you would have said no. You would have begged for more time —

Yes, begged, I know you, and I know that you would have given him those desperate eyes, you would have said, please, John. He didn't want to refuse you. Didn't want to fight you. Didn't want you to have to decide. Didn't want to say goodbye like that.

Because with me, it was all very professional. I showed him how to activate the device, he asked intelligent questions and then — gone.

I cannot believe that you asked me that.

No, I can believe it, but I will pretend that I heard nothing, because that is not what a friend says to a friend.

And if he is dead!

Then you will not have killed him, Rodney. Which is what he wanted.

It will be my fault, it will be my most grievous fault, mea maxima culpa.

Through what I did and did not do.



Confíteor Deo omnipoténti et vobis, fratres,
quia peccávi nimis
cogitatióne, verbo, ópere, et omissióne:
mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa.
Ideo precor beátam Maríam semper Vírginem,
omnes Angelos et Sanctos,
et vos, fratres, oráre pro me
ad Dóminum Deum nostrum.

I confess to almighty God,
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have sinned through my own fault,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do;
and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin,
all the angels and saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.

god's gonna cut you down

Title: God's Gonna Cut You Down (2220 words)
Author: busaikko
Rating: PG
Warning: brain damage, no miracles.
Summary: Tell me a story / Where we all change / And we'd live our lives together / And not estranged / I didn't lose my mind, it was mine to give away (No Regrets – Robbie Williams) (yes, yes, shoot me now, please)

A/N: First, there was amberlynne and the song "Let's Talk about Spaceships". Then, there was this gorgeous picture Uncounted by aesc. Final responsibility for taking these bunnies to the illogical extreme is, of course, mine.


The ship was a dream — its weapons were a wet dream. Although it had been derelict for millennia and was barely functional, Carter was nevertheless forced to call the ship into service when the hiveships came. Rodney stayed in Atlantis, orchestrating rolling power outages and minor miracles to keep the shield up. High above that gossamer protection, John used his genetic control over the ship to force it to exceed its limitations. From below, the bright trails of drones and ships and missiles looked like the thousand arms of Guan Yin, fanning out in a promise of salvation, protection, hope.

Freeing John from the ship after the battle was won was a nightmare. It would have been easy for Dr Biro to move his body onto the waiting gurney; but Rodney and Radek needed three days to disconnect John's mind. The ship had annexed John's brain to operate armaments and engines, display screens and sensors; it had uploaded and downloaded systems with a ruthless disregard for personal boundaries. Rodney wasn't sure to what extent John had given permission for this, but he was still furious as he worked, trying not to listen to the respirator. The ship fell apart around them as it lost the driving force of John's will, and they had to make a literal run for the jumper in the end. Rodney was terrified that they'd missed some essential part of John, that Biro would wake him up and they'd find him still paralysed, still blind. Or perhaps he simply wouldn't regain consciousness.

Rodney was asleep when John did wake up, a full week after the attack had been repulsed, and John was asleep again when Rodney made it down to see him.

"That figures," he said, glaring at John with his hands on his hips for a good minute before demanding to see the results of all the tests Keller had run.

He managed to miss seeing John awake for three days, until John was released to his room. Apparently John had lost his circadian rhythm, somewhere, but Keller had drugs and a schedule that were intended to replace it. Rodney got his hands on John's schedule with a bit of subterfuge, and went to stand in front of John's door at half past eight, when John was due back from his evening visit to the infirmary.

The Marines had very diligently line-taped routes all over Atlantis, to the mess and the 'gate and the gym, and all the routes ended at John's door. There was a huge X taped onto the door itself, in case John couldn't figure that out, either. When a team had line-taped its way past his lab, Rodney had thought about pointing out that John had never been good with directions in the first place, but he knew that this was so much bigger than that. He also recognised the therapeutic value of doing something in the face of utter disaster.

He was at a loss, himself. That was why he was here.

"Hey, there," John said, turning the corner and giving Rodney a smile as he opened the door and waved Rodney in. He looked so entirely normal that Rodney's heart twisted inside his chest.

"So, did you know what you were doing?" Rodney asked, starting a circuit around the room to see what changes John was making. There were flattened cardboard boxes and a roll of duct tape set on one of John's chairs, but he hadn't actually started packing up yet. Rodney didn't know how long it would be before the SGC's medical board reviewed John's case. He didn't have any doubts about what they'd decide. "Did you let that, that machine tear you apart, or did it rape you?"

John was moving about the room himself, heading for the window, but he paused and looked over at Rodney. His tongue flicked out and swiped his upper lip; Rodney didn't think John was aware of the movement.

"I can't answer that," John said, very slowly, and looked around the room as if he'd mislaid something. "I agreed to the interface — that was the point of me being there — and after that. . . ."

"The ship slipped you a digital roofie," Rodney insisted.

John grinned. "I was the ship. And if you make any Anne McCaffrey jokes, I'll hurt you."

"With all you lost, I can't believe you hung onto crappy science fiction." Rodney heard the words with a frisson of horror, and reached up as if he could grab them back. It didn't work.

John took a deep breath and turned away from Rodney, wavering a moment before crossing to the latticed window. "I got to keep all the crappy stuff — what does a spaceship need with stories or first kisses or failed marriages? And language," he added, and Rodney's shoulders tensed the same way that John's did at the thought of losing communication. "I had to think in the ship's language — English wouldn't have worked."

Rodney picked up the objects set in a row on the desk and put them down again: watch, books, pens, the keys to a Toyota light-years away. "Maybe you can communicate with other tech. Then you'd have — " He cut himself off before making the unforgivable blunder of saying a reason to stay here. John shot a smile over his shoulder that was sharp and knowing and not nice at all, as if he'd finished Rodney's sentence anyway.

"I didn't know what was happening when you disconnected me," John said, tracing the lattice with his fingers. Oddly, there was no dust, and Rodney wondered why. He had cobwebs and crooked little alien spiders in his room. "So I didn't try to stop you. But if I interfaced again — " Even sidelong Rodney could see John's grimace.

"You're addicted," Rodney said, thinking of Ford, remembering begging for the sure power of the wraith enzyme. He remembered being such a genius that the universe stripped its secrets bare for him. He still missed that, in his dreams.

"I'm crippled," John shot back. "I feel like my body is wrong, and my mind's soup. I'm always reaching for things that aren't there. You have no idea what it was like. Like — like dancing, or music. Like a symphony. And now there's only this." He made a sharp flick of his fingers from head to toe, and then wound his hands tightly in the lattice, staring out over the ocean. "I could hook up but I don't think I could unhook again."

"We tried," Rodney said, his mouth cotton dry with the need to confess. "I swear to you, I did — maybe not the best that could have been done, but the best that I was capable of. I don't think the Ancients intended the process to be reversible. I think the pilot was supposed to be kept in stasis, permanently attached to the ship. There wasn't time. I don't know how long it would have taken to find everything the ship stole from you and put it back." He could still hear the respirator, regular, harsh, and the screams of rending metal, the muted explosions of the ship as it died.

"I know," John said, nodding, and Rodney thought he preferred anger to understanding. "I'm glad to be alive. I'm glad to be walking, and talking, and I'm glad to be home." He shrugged, and leant his forehead against the metal. "If any wraith survived, if things get desperately bad, keep me in mind. I'd do it again in a heartbeat, to keep everyone safe, but."

"We wouldn't be able to get you out again." Rodney crossed and uncrossed his arms. "You're an irritating asshole — at least, you always have been, and I doubt very much that the Ancient tech stole your annoyingness. But I like having you around."

"Pretty sure annoyingness isn't a word," John said.

Rodney dismissed this with a wave. "Geniuses are allowed to make their own words. And," he added, jabbing a finger at John, "you are the dictionary definition of annoyingness. Way to ruin the moment."

"Hadn't noticed we were having a moment." John grinned, and his hands slipped free of the bars. There were red marks across his palms from where he'd been gripping too tightly.

"I came here to say, if there's anything I can do. . . ."

"Like my taxes?" John's expression was mocking. Rodney supposed he deserved it. "Lorne's got my job and a lot of new grey hairs to go with it. We tried — I can't fly a jumper. The HUD's meaningless, I can't judge distances, and I can't dial the DHD. I can shoot, with a laser sight, but don't ask me how much ammo I have left, or anything to do with calibres." He shrugged, and he must have seen something of Rodney's grief on his face because he took three steps forward to clap his hand on Rodney's shoulder, both as comfort and to steer him back to the desk. "Do you want any of this crap?" He waved grandly, just like television shopping. "The car's a beater and it's green and in Oregon — got it cheap off this guy. The books — aren't that much fun, now, plus I forget what page I'm on. The watch might look good on you."

John hefted the watch. It was ridiculous and oversized, probably waterproof and crush-resistant and bullet-proof and shatter-proof, with someone's name written in gold on the analogue face. It only had twelve hours, but the strap was black leather and went neatly around Rodney's wrist when John tried it out. John made a pleased noise and strapped it on. It was heavy, and probably very expensive.

"This is a terrible accessory for someone with a receding hairline," Rodney told John. "I'll have to get a red car and a blonde to go with it."

"It's self-winding," John said, tapping the face. "The way you flail about, it'll never run down."

"I don't need the books," Rodney said, and looked at John from the corners of his eyes. "I suppose you want the graphic novels back."

"That'd be nice," John said, crossing his arms. "Did you even bother to ask before you took them?"

Rodney was tempted to apologise all over again, but he didn't think that would go down well at all. Instead, he raised his awkwardly heavy arm and said an ungracious thank you for the ridiculous, expensive present.

"Don't think this makes me your boytoy," he added, with a glare in John's direction as if he suspected ulterior motives.

John burst out in rude, insulting laughter. Rodney felt the warm glow of indignation and ire spread through him like pleasure.

"In your dreams, McKay," John said, canting his hips in some kind of utterly unnecessary macho pose.

Rodney spluttered and sniped back and said goodnight before John could force him to take the car. When he shut the door behind him, he had to take a deep breath before he could convince himself that John was still there, on the other side, and hadn't winked out like a hallucination.

Over the next few weeks, the feeling that John was impermanent never went away, so when Rodney came home late one night to find John waiting for him, with Ronon's gun strapped to his leg and a list of gate addresses from Teyla and a stuffed rucksack with a sleeping bag strapped to the top, he wasn't surprised. Relieved, perhaps, and heart-broken, but not surprised when John stood and asked, awkwardly, if Rodney would do him the favour of dialling the 'gate for him.

"Stay," Rodney said; he had to say it. "Please don't — just, stay."

John's face crumpled and looked old in the dim light. "I'll come back."

Rodney shook his head, slowly. "No. You won't."

John's chin came up. "Then you come find me."

"Are you going to stun me if I say no?"

John tapped his finger on the gun. "I just. You'd be safe from Carter's wrath, Teyla or Ronon not so much. And I thought — Jesus. Even with all the vacant rooms I've got upstairs, you still know me best of anyone. I just wanted it to be you."

"Whatever," Rodney said, and took a deep breath, and then another, and then he was walking along the taped yellow line down the hall, with John on his heels, trying not to make noise. The gate room was deserted. Rodney wondered if everyone but him had been in on the escape plan. He would have asked, but John pulled him into a hug and thanked him in a voice that broke, even though Rodney pretended that he hadn't heard and John, pulling back a moment later and looking down at the gate, pretended he hadn't spoken.

"You take care now," John said, clearing his throat beforehand, and Rodney couldn't say anything. He waved at the gate with his left hand, impatiently. The blue light from the gate shone on the watch face, and he had to drag his eyes up and away to look down at John.

"John," he said. John stopped just on the edge and turned around. He smiled, and waved. "Come home," Rodney said, and he could have sworn that John bit down on his lip at that. At any rate he nodded, once, before he stepped through and was gone.

Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha


The Last Goddess (Miyuki Nakajima)

Why is it people only remember
The last dream they had?
Won't you try and remember a dream you saw as a child?

Ah, that was a broken toy
I loved it so much all, all the time, but
I couldn't fix it
I still cry for it in my dreams
They won't form words, the waves forming S-O-S
Is there anyone out there to receive them?
Ah, that was the last goddess
You're the real thing I'm waiting for
Ah, for example, even if the last rocket
Left you behind as it threw the earth away

Believe in the continent you haven't seen yet
Like the way a bird crosses the ocean
The paper with the promise written on it is in the wind
Is there anyone out there to receive it?
Ah, that was the last goddess
Even if the angels stop singing
Ah, that was the last goddess
You're the real thing I'm waiting for

Hearts change — everyone changes
Go on and change, go on and change, become more loving
Why is it people only remember
The last dream they had?
Won't you try and remember a dream you saw as a child?

Ah, that was the last goddess
Even if the angels stop singing

memoria anqueetas

Title: Memoria Anqueetas (Gen, G-rated), about 1,100 words
Author: busaikko
Summary: Dr Jackson — Have a look at this set of data files, would you? I think it's kid stuff, basically useless. Ought we to bother translating them, or can they be trashed? — Bernice (Technological Acquisitions / Antarctica Site)
A/N: Why yes, I *did* read a lot of Zenna Henderson as a child….  *Very* obscure spoiler for S4 (only if you understand mangled Latin, really).

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