Stationery Orbit. Cliche-o-rama SGA John/Rodney pencil/eraser hurt/comfort crack!slash. *sighs*
Rodney came from a shop. He'd been wrapped in plastic and was bright, firm-cornered, and held in a navy blue cardboard sleeve. The Child had dropped him into the box irreverently, for which he still held a grudge, but he quickly ascertained that he was the newest and shiniest of all his companions.
Elizabeth was a permanent marker, but her felt was fraying and there was a noble sort of gloom whenever anyone spoke of her, as if they knew that one day she'd be replaced. Teyla was the red corrections pencil, dented from being drummed against the desk. Rodney didn't meet Ronon until his second week: the teacher had confiscated him. Vandalism, Elizabeth said. John glowered. Rodney didn't know how a pencil got to be such good friends with a sharpening knife. He thought it might be because John was suicidal or at least masochistic.
John was matte-finish black but he was gnawed down to wood in places, and he was often sarcastic when his point was dull. No one ever talked about John's past, but Rodney had seen enough pencils back at the stationers' to figure out that John had probably had an eraser of his own attached at some point, at the end which was broken off and which had (he'd overheard with horror) been filed down on the cement curb by the bus stop, leaving a soft tuft of brown wood fibres poking up defiantly.
Rodney didn't know what to make of John. He just knew that John had been with him, shoved up at the right-hand corner of the desk, on his first day out of the box. Elizabeth had marked him with The Child's initials first thing that morning, and Rodney was still put out about that, when he caught John doing the nine-times-table all wrong.
"Twenty-seven," Rodney shouted. "No, no no no no, that's not thirty-six, that's a thirty-B, which is a bra size, not an answer. Unless you're talking about bras."
"Which I'm not," John said. He sounded annoyed. "Look, whatever happens — "
"Is something going to happen?" Rodney asked in alarm.
"Breathe, Rodney," John said. Rodney had absolutely no idea why John was suddenly going all Lamaze-trainer on him, until the shadow of The Teacher fell over the desk and Rodney found himself rubbed carelessly hard over the worksheet. The Child dropped him back on the corner after the brutality and tried to hide the hole she'd made in the paper.
"Ow," Rodney said, as woefully as he could, trying to assess the damage. One whole edge was all grey, and one of his corners was rounded.
"Easy there, buddy." John's voice was cheerful and encouraging, which would have been more reassuring if The Child hadn't been gnawing on his end.
"Is that child clean?" Rodney asked. "I'm sure she isn't. You're going to get germs. Is your paint poisonous? Can you maybe splinter her or something?"
"Aw, you're just jealous," John said. "Relax, she's got gym after this, and then it's lunch."
"I've been used," Rodney moaned for the sake of moaning.
"But, you know, that's kind of the point." John was dropped down, and Rodney would have shifted away from the part that had been sucked if he could. "We do our job right, she learns a lot, eventually she won't make mistakes any more. No child left behind," he added, very seriously.
"Oh my God, you've got some kind of saviour complex." Rodney huffed, torn between mocking John for his idealism and finding John really very attractive, for a pencil.
"You're not so bad yourself," John said, and took advantage of the jostling of the desk to roll closer, so that he pressed his side with the faint gold HB against Rodney's cardboard sleeve. "You're got a pretty good grasp of the times tables, for an eraser."
Rodney informed John that he was a genius, that he should have been erasing complex mathematical functions instead of being banished to third grade. John hmm'd at him. Just for that, Rodney didn't plan on telling John that he was falling in love with him (a little, a bit, some, occasionally; when John wasn't being obnoxious, and actually even when John was being a complete ass).
But then there had been that stupid dare and for four whole lessons John had been missing, impaled somewhere where the custodian might confiscate him, and The Child had used a basketball to get John back. John returned pointless and with a long diagonal chip that had taken off his letters, and Rodney had been so relieved to see him that he'd blurted out You're an idiot and I'd kiss you senseless right now if I could.
John was solid and hard against Rodney's side, and he said, low for Rodney only, "You're a genius but you're pretty dumb if you didn't figure out I felt the same way right from the start."