Words: 1,821 (of 16,683)
Pairing/Charecter(s): Ancient!John, Rodney; John/Rodney
Warnings/Spoliers: part 3 of #14 in the Ancient!John 'verse (see part 1, 2). General spoilers for "Aurora," and SG1's "The Nox," "The Torment of Tantalus," "The Fifth Race," "Frozen," and probably all of S8.
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: In which Iohannes' mother makes an appearance of sorts.
Notes: This chapter kinda... wrote itself. Two days ago, actually, but now's the first time I've been awake enough to edit it. We will get to the Aurora next chappie, I promise, but this one I felt was kinda important to include. Oh, and since the Nox (thankfully) kinda dropped out off the face of the galaxy after that one episode with the Tollan, I decided to take some liberties with what happened to them after that.
Oh, and the first of 2 planned satallites for SBIRS was launched in 2011. One of it's precursers, Brillant Eyes, was part of the Strategic Defense Initiative back in the early '90s. SDI is better known as Star Wars.
An Ancient!John Story
"You want to talk about it?"
Iohannes doesn't even dignify Rodney with an answer. He just turns away from the display screen in the Muspelheim's version of an on-board library, raises his eyebrow and goes back to reading some dead Asgard's thesis on the fate of the other Alliance races. There's nothing quite as depressing as having one's own race referred to as extinct seventy-seven times in the same manuscript and he'd have probably have given up on it hours ago if it wasn't for the fact that he is kind of curious as to what happened to the Nox and Furlings.
"Good, 'cause I've honestly got no idea what to say here."
"I find that hard to believe."
"Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of things I can say – like why you're hiding out here rather than, say, one of the observation rooms – but as to what to you're actually supposed to say in situations like this, well, I'm kinda at a loss."
"You don't have to say anything."
Rodney frowns and takes a seat on the bench next to him. "I feel like I should, though. This definitely feels like a time I should have something to say to help you but I really don't know what to tell you. Hell, when my own parents died I was in DC, working on SBIRS – well, it was still called Brilliant Eyes back then but that project essentially evolved into the Space-Based Infrared System of today or, well, what would be today if your government would stop cutting funding to the program. Which is just stupid considering all the threats against Earth that have been made in the last ten years alone but I guess that's what you get when they insist on keeping everything so hush-hush...
And, anyway, what I'm trying to get at is, when my parents died, I was in the middle of a very important project and didn't bother flying home for their funerals or, well, telling anyone that they'd died. So I really don't have any first-hand experience with the whole things to tell someone who's just lost their parents scenario."
Bumping shoulders with him, "I think it's the thought that counts," Iohannes says, repeating a Terran aphorism he's heard more than once since being pulled out of the cathedra. "And, 'sides, as far as I'm concerned, it's been almost thirty-three years since Mother died. It's not exactly like I've not had time to get over it."
"I was twenty-six when my parents died and I hated them – not for dying but for all the stupid shit they pulled while I was growing up and, really, if I wanted my mark on the world to be a Pulitzer, I could write you a book on how not to raise children based off the thirteen years I spent in their house. But my point is, it's been twelve years on my end and, well..."
"I know what you mean."
"You do?" Rodney sighs, shifting over a little so that most of his weight is braced against Iohannes' right shoulder. If Rodney tilted his head just a little, it'd be resting on his shoulder just like it sometimes does on movie nights, when they're taking a break from Star Trek – or, more recently, Wormhole X-treme – to watch something a little less close to home. If it weren't for the bright lines of Asgard runes on the screen before him he could almost imagine they were getting ready to watch one of the more ridiculous movies his amator pretends not to like rather than, well, investigate what amounts on some level to a floating graveyard. "Thank God, 'cause I'm not even sure what I mean."
"I think it means that, for all our parents screw us over, they're still our parents."
Snorting, "Trust you to be better at this than I am."
"My genius knows no bounds," Iohannes says dryly.
This earns him a genuine chortle this time. "Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves."
They're quiet for a long time after that, the only sound being the occasional, unamused huff Iohannes makes as he continues to scroll through Dagr's account of the breaking of the Alliance of the Four Great Races and its more long-term consequences.
"What are you reading?" Rodney asks after a while. It can't be too long, though, because the trip from Lantea to the remnants of the Eloran system shouldn't take much more than three hours with the Muspelheim's hyperdrive and they were well into hour two when Rodney had shown up. It just feels like forever.
"I'm trying to find out what happened to the Nox and the Furlings after we left Terra."
Rodney sits up a little, moving closer to the screen. "Really?" Iohannes knows from previous conversations that his understanding of Asgard is spotty at best, and, as this particular thesis has less to do with high-energy physics than historical events, he thinks it's unlikely that his amator understands very much of it. "We've had run-ins with the Nox before – and by we I mean SG-1, of course – but sorta fell out of contact with them after Apophis finally kicked the bucket. I dunno why."
"Huh. Well, according to Dagr here, when the Avalonian Replicators started attacking your galaxy, the Nox homeworld was one of the first they went after. Apparently all the psychic power in the universe doesn't do much good against an army of servola. Who would've thought?"
"I take it there were no survivors?"
"Not that the Asgard could find."
"That's... I mean, I never liked them myself – who lives in mud huts when they have that kind of technology, I ask you? - but to kill them all like that..."
Iohannes makes a dim, agreeing sound and tabs the document forward. He counts the hundred and third reference to the extinct Alteran race and doesn't even try to fight the icy surge of depression this raises in him.
"Wait, back up a second," Rodney says suddenly, voice quickening as he jumps to his feet quicker than Iohannes' ever seen, "you said Avalonian. Which means-"
"We took care of ours years ago, I promise. Definitively."
"Let's just say that there's a planet out there that will fall into its sun before it's halfway habitable again and leave it at that," Iohannes says delicately as he tabs the document forward once again.
Upon catching reference number one oh four to his supposed extinction he decides he's read enough. Turning, he throws one leg over the bench and leans back, using up the space Rodney's vacated to lean back and stare at the ceiling. It's a rather boring ceiling as far as ceilings go – he likes the Asgard, he really does but, goodness, their ships are utilitarian enough to make him sympathize with 'Lantis' current interior design mania – but it's better than looking at the screen any longer.
"I'm going to hold you to that."
"Cross my heart."
"Don't say that," Rodney says unbearably earnestly. "It's enough I have to deal with your suicidal tendencies on an all too regular basis; I don't want to have to hear confirmation of them."
Rodney's out of his current line of sight but Iohannes rolls his eyes anyway. "Can we not have this conversation again? Flying the jumper up to the hive myself was the right decision and you know it."
"I'm sorry if my concern for your continued existence is such a burden to you."
"Rodney..." he says warningly-
-which seems to do the trick as he hears Rodney's hands fall – loudly – to his sides a second later, accompanied by a, "Fine," that sounds more resigned than before. "I'll drop it, if that's what you really want. Though – and this is the last thing I'll say on the subject, promise – I'm starting to see why 'Lantis is apparently always going on about your mental health issues."
"Gee, thanks Rodney."
"One apology is all you're getting," Rodney says, frowning as he steps into Iohannes' line of sight.
Maybe it's something to do with the angle, with the way the light is hitting him right at that moment. Maybe it's all in his eyes, which seem impossibly bright and blue and lambent, or maybe the set of his jaw, which is somehow both defiant and reconciliatory at the same time. Or maybe it's a combination of all of these, or none, just something that naturally occurs after a conversation such as this one. Whatever the case may be, the sight of him was enough to remind Iohannes – suddenly and violently and with such to-the-gut intensity that it's probably for the best he's laying down already – of all the reasons he fell in love with this man in the first place.
It's kind of overwhelming, really, and for a moment he doesn't think he can breathe. All he knows is that, whatever they might find on the Aurora, it doesn't change the fact that he's here, now, and he's not actually alone. The last Alteran in the universe, maybe, but not alone.
It's not just because of Rodney, though he's a major part of it.
But, by all the gods their Descendants have ever imagined, he's glad Rodney's here right now.
Iohannes wants to say something, to tell Rodney everything he actually means to him, but he's never been good with words and so doesn't try, just reaches out a hand and tugs the front of Rodney's TAC vest – the only part of him Iohannes can reach – to pulls him down into a kiss.
It's awkward, the angle, and Iohannes has to lean up to reach him in a way he's going to feel tomorrow, but he pours everything he can into it.
Rodney stumbles a little when he releases him, Iohannes startled to find they're both short of breath as he lies back on the bench. "What was that for?"
He shrugs the best he can lying down. "No reason."
"There has to be a reason for a kiss like that."
"C'mon," Iohannes says, pulling himself to his feet. "Let's head on up to the bridge. We've gotta be nearly there."
"I'll tell you about it later," he promises.
Rodney looks at him suspiciously for three long seconds, then shrugs as well. "Fine – but I'm holding you to that too."
"Wouldn't have it any other way," he grins at him and starts for the bridge.