chelle

Atlantis

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One of Those Universes

chelle

Title: One of Those Universes

Author: chelle

Author's email: chelle@chelle.slashcity.org

Author's URL: http://chelle.slashcity.org/

Fandom: Atlantis

Archive: Ask first

Pairing: John/Rodney

Rating: G

Notes: A Mensa AU fic, inspired by prompts from trobadora and inthekeyofd.

"Hey."

Rod notices again how his John's voice is softer than that of the other Sheppard. Looking up, he smiles, "Hey."

John takes the seat across from Rod's. It's late and they're the only two people in the mess. Rod had taken a seat next to the window so he could look up at the gibbous moon. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" John asks when Rod doesn't say anything else.

"I think so, Brain, but burlap chafes me so."

John chuckles and it's nothing like the other Sheppard's deep, dirty laugh. John's laugh is more cautious. "Other universes?"

"How'd you guess?"

"It's what I'd be thinking about," John answers ending with a sip of his coffee.

Rod nods and looks back out the window. The moon on the other Atlantis had looked exactly the same, but he's pretty sure the other him never wasted time gazing at it pensively.

"So what was the other you like?"

"Arrogant, obnoxious, self-absorbed, tactless. I liked him." When John smiles but doesn't say anything, Rod adds, "Jeannie was there."

"Really?"

"They don't get along as well as Jeannie and I do, at least from what I could tell."

"You didn't spend time going over your lives, trying to see what the differences were?" John asks. He's wearing those black-rimmed glasses that Rod knows he doesn't need. It's camouflage. John wants people to see his brain, not his looks. Every time John wears them Rod wants to take them off, expose the man behind them.

He shakes his head. "Rodney was pretty busy with the experiment." Looking out the window he adds, "Somewhere out there is a universe where I'm called 'Meredith.'"

"Scary thought."

"Very," Rod says with a smile.

"Somewhere out there I asked Beth Richards to the prom."

"Somewhere out there I married Terese." Rod's pretty sure Rodney didn't date Terese. She's the person who taught Rod everything he knows about kindness, compassion, understanding. She taught Rod about people, and Rod has no idea what he taught her. Not to love geniuses, maybe. He looks back at John and their eyes meet for just a moment before John looks down at his coffee. "I spent quite a bit of time with the other you."

"What's he like?"

Rod has no idea if John really wants the answer or just asked the question because it was the obvious thing to say. "He's the military commander of Atlantis."

"They put a major in charge?"

"He's a lieutenant colonel."

"Oh."

"Apparently he was never part of the SGC." Unlike John who had given up flying for a PhD and the chance to go off-world.

"How'd he end up in Atlantis then?"

"He sat in the chair in Antarctica and lit the thing up like a Christmas tree."

"He told you that?"

Rod shook his head. "Beckett did."

"Wonder what he was doing in Antarctica?"

"Ferrying people and supplies around in the snow."

"Yeah, but what did he do to end up assigned there?"

"No idea." Absently picking up his coffee mug, he remembers it's cold and puts it down again. John pushes his mug across the table. "He plays golf. Terrible hook."

John nods as though that makes perfect sense while Rod takes a sip of his coffee. He looks up at the moon and Rod wants to tell him that the glasses don't hide a damn thing, don't make the angles of his face any less beautiful. "The other John and Rodney, are they friends?"

There was a slight hesitation before the last word. "Yes. Sheppard seemed really fond of him."

"That's good."

Somewhere out there are universes where John and Rodney aren't just friends, where they've acted on the tension that ebbs and flows but never seems to go away, not entirely. Rod had admired the way the other him just said what he felt, what he was thinking, but he's certain that Rodney hasn't said anything to Sheppard, any more than he has to John. He's also sure it's his own insecurity holding Rodney back, which is too bad because he's certain Rodney's bluntness would get through Sheppard's walls in a way Rod's people skills never would.

His John has different walls, though.

Picking up John's coffee, he downs what's left in one swallow.

"Hey," John protests, but it's half-hearted.

"Come on." Rising from the table, Rod does the inconsiderate thing and leaves the empty mug where it is.

"What are you up to, McKay?" John asks, but he's rising to his feet.

"I'll tell you when we get there."

John doesn't ask any more questions, just follows Rod out of the mess hall and into the transporter. He doesn't say anything when they step out of the transporter across the hall from Rod's quarters. When the door closes behind them and Rod turns to face him, John says, "This is it, isn't it?"

Not bothering to answer, Rod reaches up and removes the glasses from John's face, tossing them on to the nearest flat surface before tilting his head and stretching just slightly.

John tastes of coffee and his lips are a little chapped. Rod doesn't care, because he's come home.

And home is now one of those universes.

~~~

Credit for the burlap line goes, of course, to the writers of Pinky and The Brain.