Title: Socii (3/6)
Words: 2,060 (of 16,253)
Pairing/Charecter(s): Ancient!John, Rodney, Stephen Caldwell, Carson Beckett; John/Rodney
Warnings/Spoliers: part 3 of #13 (part 1, 2) in the Ancient!John 'verse. Spoilers for everything through "Trinity," as well as "Critial Mass." Oh, and this gets it's rating entirely for, er, adult language, but nothing particularly descriptive.
Disclaimer: All characters, situations, quotes et al are properties of their respective owners and I am merely using them under Title 17 of the US Code, § 107, aka the Fair Use Doctrine, without intents to infringe upon or defame anyone's legal rights.
Summary: John goes on one of his walking tours of the city. Rodney accompanies.
Notes: So, I've come to the conclusion that, if I don't post what I have so far of this, I never will, so "Socii" will just grow longer... and I'll quite possibly grow mad in the process. But there will be Asgard interaction soon. I promise.
An Ancient!John Story
"What?" Rodney snaps, blindly reaching for his coffee as he tries to work his way through the equations John had found for him relating to recharging ZedPMs. A second hard look through them has proven that the equations are only half-completed – or, at least, written with several steps missing which, while perfectly fine for Alitia Agnis Perita, whose work notebook they had been salvaged from, is more than a little bothersome for those trying to recreate them ten thousand years later.
John sighs as he slinks further into the lab – or, at least, that's what Rodney assumes he's doing by the sound of it. He doesn't actually look up until John's right next to him, leaning against a stretch of not-so-cluttered work desk and raising an eyebrow smugly at him. "I said that, since Carson says Colonel Caldwell's up for it, I'm going to be doing a walking tour of Atlantis in twenty minutes and asked if you wanted to tag along."
He blinks once at this, then, "Did Elizabeth put you up to this?"
It's the Ancient's turn to blink then, features slipping into a mask of confusion. "No?"
"So you're doing something nice for the anthropologists because you want to?"
"What?" John starts, quickly adding, "No. No anthropologists. No anthropology. Not that kind of walking tour at all."
"Good," Rodney tells him, genuinely relieved. "I was starting to think you were developing a terminal case of Christmas spirit. You haven't seen my coffee have you?"
He can hear John's eyebrow going up as he glances about the lab then points to a spot directly behind where Rodney's currently sitting. "It's one thing to tolerate the holiday for the sake of morale. It's another thing entirely to put up with anthropologists because of it."
"I guess it's a good thing I put your name on the things I got people then," Rodney snorts, turning around to discover that, yes, that is the cup he was using perched atop what he's been assuming is a broken Ancient music box. "How did that get over there?"
"I dunno. And, you did?"
Rodney pauses in lifting the rediscovered cup to his mouth just long enough to frown at the Colonel and point out, "I'm not nearly as heartless as people seem to think. And only for, you know, Elizabeth and Carson and the team. Oh, and Radek but his is mostly just so I don't have to hear him go on about how I don't appreciate him as a fellow scientist again. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'd rather have him keeping an eye on things here when I can't but you'd think that allowing him to do that in the first place would be appreciation enough..."
"Don't worry," John says placatingly, "I promise I won't tell any of your scientists that you're just a big softie underneath all the bluster."
His eyes narrow involuntarily. "You wouldn't dare."
John just laughs.
"Fine, but if you say anything to my minions, I'll tell your Marines about your fondness for Russian literature."
He snorts this time. "Lorne paints in his free time and Cadman does something called yoga. I don't think the Marines will care if I read a few Terran books."
"The only Earth books I've seen you read have been Russian, which are possibly the most depressing and confusing books ever written. Nothing but long, involved stories of failed love affairs and suffering as a means of redemption."
"We named it first," John says, completely ignoring the last.
"And we live there. We win, six billion or so to one."
"Whatever," he says, sounding more Valley girl than ten-thousand-year-old alien. One of these days, he really needs to ask John about that. After he figures out the ZedPM recharging problem. "You want to come along or not?"
"Depends. What kind of walking tour is it then, if it's not thetop ten places in Atlantis to see before you die, and what chance is there of getting coffee at the end of it?"
"It's a talk to Beckett about the Ga'uld he took out of Caldwell, visit the Asgard in section seventy-three, ask you how the ZPM stuff is going, then break for lunch before dialling the SGC and telling them all about it kind of walking tour."
"So, basically, what you normally spend all day doing, only with other people involved."
"Yes, that's it exactly," John says in the driest tone possible. "So, coming?"
"Eh, why not?" he says, saving his work and closing his laptop. "I'm kinda curious about what's got the Asgard so excited they'd travel nearly five million light years to get their hands on it, even with hyperdrive technology."
"That's the spirit."
"So, what you got for us, Doc?"
Carson looks up from his microscope, saying, "Not much, I'm afraid," before turning to Rodney with a suspiciously large grin. "So, what's the special occasion?"
Rodney blinks at him, then at John, who shrugs from the perch he's taken on the nearest infirmary bed. "Come again?"
"John's usually alone when he pops by on his rounds of the city."
"John also usually doesn't plan on visiting the Asgard after we're done here either, so there you go."
"Oh," Carson says a little sadly – not much, but enough that even Rodney notices it and thinks it odd.
"Why do you think it should count as a special occasion that I'm tagging along on one of his walkabouts? I've seen Lorne on them before." Actually, now that he thinks about it, Lorne's just about the only other person he's ever seen tag along on one of these things and Rodney's not entirely sure whether the Major does it 'cause he wants to or if it's just to keep John apprised of the official running-of-the-battalion things John, being John, could really care less about.
Before the doctor can say anything, John snorts. "It's his week in the pool."
Honest to God, Rodney actually thinks they're talking about a pool, with water and chlorine and microbacteria and whatnot. And then he remembers that he's living on what is essentially the universe's most remote forward operating base with Marines and children. "You didn't."
"Oh my God, you did. You placed a bet about us in one of Zelenka's ridiculous pools. And you call yourself our friend!"
"Oh, relax Rodney. It's nae but some light-hearted fun."
"Plus," John says, seemingly utterly unperturbed by this information, "they've got some pretty good stuff in there by this point. Having the Daedalus around to regularly bring supplies really ups the bar on what people are willing to bet about these things. The one for when we first got together has something like five hundred dollars in it, plus enough coffee and chocolate to keep you happy for a month. And you don't even want to know what's in a couple of the less PG pools."
"How do you know what's been bet?" Carson asks, forgetting his embarrassment at being caught for long enough to be genuinely curious. "Radek guards that notebook fiercer than my dear mother guards her quiche recipe."
"Forget that, what do you mean less PG pools?"
"Oh, y'know, who goes where when we have sex and the like... But you'd be surprised what people leave lying about when they think you can't understand them."
Rodney gapes at him, wordlessly, for nearly a minute before he can say anything. (In his defence, Carson's doing much the same – and it is some comfort at least that the good doctor appears not to have known or, God forbid, participated in that one. But still.)
"I'm sorry, but you know about betting pools like that and you let them continue?"
John shrugs, "What does it matter?"
"What does it matter?" Rodney repeats. "Tell me, in what universe does it not matter that people – more specifically, members of this Expedition who, by default, can only be one of our subordinates – are speculating about our sex life?"
"It's not like they're hurting anybody."
"That's not the point."
The honest query causes his anger to deflate somewhat. "Look, if it's all the same with you, I'd rather not have people betting about where our dicks go, okay? So please do something about it and never, ever mention it again?"
John cocks his head to the side at this and appears to think about it. "Sure thing."
"Thanks," Rodney says with a truly grateful sigh. Then, "I thought Zelenka shut down his black market after we got back in contact with Earth."
"That still," Carson protests, his voice finally seeming to have returned, "does nae explain how you know about the bets, Colonel."
"I happened to... overhear... Doctor Kantor placing her bet with Radek."
It takes him a moment but, "Wait, isn't she the German oceanographer the Daedalus brought on it's last run?" At John's nod, he continues, "The one who McNabb insists we need so badly for their research on M8R-169 that it doesn't matter that her English is about as good as my German?"
"Ah, but Radek speaks German."
"You'll be surprised what you can learn when people don't think you can understand them," he says mysteriously before looking at his watch and asking, "So where is Caldwell anyway? He's the one who wanted to tag along in the first place and he's late."
It's apparent that John's got no wish to elaborate on his intentionally cryptic statement (though Rodney's thinking updated translation matrix, particularly as he's fairly certain the copy of War and Peace he's seen him reading is a Russian-language copy underneath a translation's dust jacket) so Rodney decides to shelf that one for the moment and grouse instead, "Oh, yes, because you've such a tight schedule to keep."
John raises an eyebrow at this.
Rodney just rolls his eyes at him. Well, he also steps closer to the infirmary bed John's perched on, with the intention of slapping him upside the head next time he decides he wants to say something annoying like oh, by the way, our subordinates are speculating about our sex lives for money. He doesn't get the chance though, as Colonel Caldwell takes this opportunity to appear from whatever corner he's been hiding in.
"Sorry for the delay," he says. "Doctor Weir wished to clarify some things before we started and time got away from us."
John's eyes shutter at clarify but Rodney thinks he's the only one who notices, particularly with the way John turns up the charm after this comment, as if Caldwell is some native chieftain they have to deal with in order to see the sacred temple rather than, well, the closest thing to a commanding officer John's likely to ever have in this galaxy.
"No problem. Happens to me all the time," John says with a wry smile before turning to Carson, clapping his hands together, and asking, "So, Doc, learn anything interesting from our Goa'uld friend?"
"Like I said, nae much. I ran it underneath the Ancient scanner but it didn't tell us anything we hadn't already learned about Goa'uld physiology. I also took the opportunity to run a genetic profile on it but without access to those that the SGC has run on the Goa'uld they've had access to, I cannae tell you more than it's a Goa'uld, an' a young one at that. Colonel Caldwell here was probably its first host."
"Lovely," Caldwell says dryly.
"Well, it's better than nothing," John says, hopping off the infirmary bed. "I figure we'll be at the porta in about two hours, so..."
"My report's already on the server, waiting for the dial-up."
"Cool. Well, I promised Rodney we'd go see the Asgard, so we better get to it before he turns into a pumpkin or something."