Summary: John Sheppard. Five people. And then there's Rodney.
Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis
Original story: telesilla, Five People Rodney McKay Didn't Expect to Miss, but Does (and One Person He Expected to Miss, but Doesn't Any More)
Notes: Thanks to lamardeuse for beta!
Five People John Sheppard Didn't Expect to Miss, But Does (And One Person He Expected To Miss, But Doesn't Anymore: the Role Reversal Remix)
1. The guy with the bass at Bagram
All of the officers' quarters at Bagram were small and dusty and cramped. But only John's were next door to Dill's.
And in those flimsy halls, sound carried. Which meant that when Dill played bass, John could hear every. Single. Note.
Dill had no rhythm at all. John wasn't sure how anyone that bad at an instrument could cheerfully fail to realize it.
One hot night Dill was walking past John's door, propped open in hopes of getting some air, and he caught sight of John's guitar case in the corner. "Hey," he said. "You play?"
"Nope," John said. He wondered how rude it would look if he closed the door. It had been a long day. He didn't feel like hanging out.
"'Cause we could --"
"Sorry. There's not actually a guitar in there," John said, jerking his head toward the case. "I just keep it for sentimental reasons."
"Okay, never mind." Dill raised his palms and backed up a little. He obviously thought John was a little nuts.
A lot of guys in Afghanistan went a little nuts after a while.
Actually John was teaching himself to play. But now that he'd told Dill he didn't have a guitar, he couldn't play it, because Dill would hear him. That pissed him off.
Once he got to Atlantis he regretted never taking a bottle of Beam over to Dill's room and jamming.
2. The waitress from Paesano's
Paesano's was his favorite pizza joint in Palo Alto. It was a little hole-in-the-wall, all white stucco and cheesy red glass candle-holders. But what he really liked was that it was dark and had low ceilings and he could lurk in the back of the bar and eat pizza and nobody would bother him.
The place was so crowded most nights that nobody paid attention to the loner at the table for one. Except for Cindy, the waitress in the bar. She didn't flirt any more with him than she did with anybody else, but he never had to ask for another beer, or wave his hand to get her attention.
After a while he knew what days she was working. He'd come late, eat his pizza slow, have a few drinks. Drive her home, follow her inside, get lucky.
She wasn't his first older woman, but she was the first one who pushed his boundaries. The third time they fucked, she said "you'll like this" and slicked up her fingers and pushed them up his ass while she sucked him off. She was right; he came hard and fast, his whole body shuddering like she'd tripped some kind of switch.
It freaked him out. He stayed away for two weeks. One night, drunker than he usually let himself get, he thought about going out and picking up a guy.
He didn't do it, but he went back to Paesano's the next night.
There were never any strings attached. They both liked it that way. After graduation, after he'd packed up his apartment and was ready to ship out, he went to Paesano's his last night in town. But Cindy wasn't there that night; nobody was sure why. He thought about going to her place, but it felt like he was presuming -- maybe she was out of town, maybe she was with a boyfriend. None of his business.
Still. He wondered sometimes, years later and worlds away, whether she was pissed at him for not saying goodbye.
Dave was the son Dad always wanted, and John the perennial disappointment. They'd never been friends anyway. John didn't like to think about it.
4. Jack O'Neill
They didn't really know each other. John ferried him to the top-secret base in Antarctica, did some impressive stunt-flying by the seat of his pants, and then sat down on the control chair and his entire life changed.
Their interactions had been limited ever since. Being in another galaxy had that effect. Though when they did cross paths, O'Neill always seemed quietly amused. Like he recognized something in John.
And John couldn't shake the feeling that if they ever had time to really sit down and talk -- well, they'd have to get past their various war stories first. They both had a lot of those, and there was protocol; you had to tell them. Boast a little, and remember the dead.
But O'Neill might be able to tell him something about saving the world and keeping your sense of humor intact.
5. Dawn Sangiovese
She sang jazz. She spent a single summer in MacTown on a fellowship from the Office of Polar Programs because she'd managed to convince some bigshot that in order for her work to evolve into its fullest glory she needed to experience the midnight sun and the jumbled ice formations of the Ross Ice Shelf.
She turned Hut 10 into a temporary jazz club. There was a crappy upright piano which one of the geologists turned out to be able to play, and every Saturday night she crooned and people sat around and drank vodka martinis and called out requests for old Ella Fitzgerald tunes.
She thought she was Norah Jones, and John honestly wasn't a fan. Her voice was too sweet. Nothing gritty or interesting about it. Just before New Year's Eve she came up to him and asked, sweetly, whether he was going to come and hear her sing. "Not really my style," he said, folding his arms. "Sorry."
"I can do country," she teased. "You're a Cash fan, right? Do you have his new album, the cover tunes?"
"I like the old stuff," he said. There was a pause. "Yeah, I'll try to come this week," he said, but he didn't.
And then the summer was over and the OPP fellows were gone -- Dawn and the watercolorist both, their offices scrubbed clean -- and he wasn't sure why he felt empty when he walked past the former jazz club, now home to Thursday night BINGO for the winter-over crew.
One Person He Expected to Miss, But Doesn't Anymore
She had amazing legs. She was smarter than any of the other women he'd dated. She was ambitious and good at her job and she gave spectacular head. Dad had even liked her. But John always knew he would screw their marriage up eventually.
She hated that he couldn't tell her where he was going, or for how long. She hated knowing he was risking his life. "Don't they care that you have a wife?" she yelled once, and he just looked at her, mutely. Her voice was quiet and furious when she said, "don't you?"
They never mentioned the other thing. The way men checked him out. He never looked back, but by the end he felt like even that was a betrayal.
She still showed up in his fantasies for a while. He'd think of her in the shower, remembering how it felt to look down at her soft dark hair, to feel her mouth on him.
But Rodney elbowed her memory out of the way. Made it clear he was God's gift to humankind, which seemed kind of ridiculous at first, although when John was writhing under him begging for more he was inclined to agree. Sometimes after missions he followed John back to his quarters and John fucked him against the wall, their clothes yanked hastily out of the way, both of them still sweaty and full of adrenaline.
The first time John showed up at his lab at two in the morning, locked the doors, and knelt under his desk to suck him off Rodney gasped "fuck, John, you're perfect." Just remembering the wonder in his voice made John's heart catch in his chest for days.
Rodney didn't expect him to be someone else.
Once, after coming his brains out, Rodney mumbled an apology. Apparently he still jerked off thinking about Drew Barrymore sometimes. He sounded so embarrassed and defensive that John couldn't resist biting his ear and rubbing up against him a little. "S'ok," he murmured, and licked Rodney's earlobe. "Sometimes I pretend you're Orlando Bloom."
He didn't really, but he figured it would get a rise out of Rodney, and maybe net him a blowjob. And it did.