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untitled drabble #45

Title: untilted drabble #45
Rating: PG
Words: 1,000
Pairing/Charecter(s): John/Rodney
Warnings/Spoliers: not your usual "Outcast" rewrite
Disclaimer: Title 17 of the US Code, § 107, aka the Fair Use Doctrine.
Summary: In which John has an office
Notes: I desperately tried to turn this into a story but couldn't, so it it remains.




#45

A Stargate: Atlantis drabble


"I felt for a moment that the whole Wilcox family was a fraud, just a wall of newspapers and motor-cars and golf-clubs, and that if it fell I should find nothing behind it but panic and emptiness."

EM Forester Howard's End


The thing about Sheppard's office isn't that he doesn't know where it is, though lately the more senior members of the Expedition have taken to telling the newbies that to save time and explanations. No, John knows exactly where is office is. The problem is that no one else does. It's location is a jealously guarded secret that no amount of chocolate, coffee, or alcohol has ever been able to pry from him, and on the rare occasions someone actually manages to stumble upon it, it is moved within forty-eight hours.

Nobody's really sure why John does it.

Rodney figures it has something to do with Antarctica. After all, John had been posted for a long time at McMurdo, longer than most of the scientists even, and people get weird if they spent too much time in such a barren, remote place. Not that John probably hadn't been a little off beforehand, but Antarctica had probably made it worse. Probably. Either way, weird like that doesn't just go away. No, it lingers on long after the snow and the ice has been left behind.

Or, at least, that's how it'd been for the first couple years of the Expedition. At this point, over four years in, it's become sort of a game. Well, maybe not a game, but a tradition at least, and so every couple of months or so someone will make a concerted effort to find the mythic place that is John's Office. And every time someone actually manages too, John moves it again.

Which is how Rodney winds up wandering around the South-West Pier with a life signs detector in hand and a package about twice the size of a shoebox tucked under his arm, trying to figure out where John's latest office is. It takes him two hours, seven different towers, and a walk across an extremely narrow footbridge with railing only on one side, but he does eventually find it - it being this time a surprisingly large space with the Ancient equivalent of a kitchenette in one corner and a private balcony off the other.

"Nice place," Rodney says.

John looks up, momentarily startled, before giving him a small, tired grin. "Hey you."

"I've got something for you."

John smirks at him and closes his laptop. "Do you now?"

Rodney rolls his eyes, but allows John to give him a quick kiss before surrendering his package. "You're impossible, I hope you know. And need I remind you that we're supposed to be keeping this," he gestures fervently between them, "quiet so that your bosses don't decide to draw-and-quarter you next time we're on Earth."

"There's no one here, Rodney."

"And yet the mail clerk - the new one, only arrived on Daedalus' last run - knew enough to give me your mail. That's not exactly on the down low, John."

"We're on the same team. I'm sure he'd have given to Ronon or Teyla too."

"He better not have," he mutters darkly. "But who do you know in Baltimore?"

"Baltimore?" John asks, examining the package for the first time. It's a slightly battered, slightly beaten affair wrapped in brown paper and twine, with nondescript return address and a Baltimore postmark from almost three months ago. He's actually kinda surprised it made it this far. "Why would they...?"

John pulls out his KA-BAR and cuts the twine. The brown paper falls away, revealing an even more battered and beaten cardboard box. The most current label says

FOR J.P.

in heavy block lettering. He can't make out any of the others, but a couple of the crossed out words look like they might be French.

"John?" he asks-

-but John doesn't say anything, just frowns and uses his knife to cut through the masking tape.

An envelope of heavy, cream-colored parchment sits atop a bed of styrofoam peanuts. When John makes no move to open it, or even investigate the box further, Rodney does with an impatient huff that lasts only until he's managed to read the first sentence of the letter within aloud:

"I regret to inform you that our father passed away on 29 April at Johns Hopkins, of complications resulting from his lung cancer- What kind of person tells someone by letter that their dad's died?"

"My brother, apparently."

"I didn't know you have a brother."

"Half-brother, actually," John shrugs like it doesn't matter, starting to dig through the box, peanuts going everywhere.

"Half-brother, then."

"We were never exactly close."

"I didn't know you're dad was sick either."

John pulls a small, silver-framed photo from the box. "I didn't know either."

"They didn't tell you?" Rodney asks, surprised. He's more than familiar with dysfunctional families, but silence on such an issue seems a bit extreme, even for that.

"Oh no. I've not talked to any of my family since 1992."

"What happened in 1992?"

"I joined the Air Force."

"Ah," he says, and before either of them can say anything else both their radios go off, and they're out the door, off to solve the latest crisis.


  • 52 comments
Oh, I love the moving office theme. It's a fanon concept that makes me smile XD There's something so sad about receiving a letter that your father has died, months after the fact. I don't know, I keep picturing an open box, cream-colored parchment on top of packing peanuts, and it just seems so...remote.
i'd planned to go into detail about what was inside, but just couldn't make a story out it.
it was very sad to realize
but i think John's the type of person to really value his privacy. If he wants to be around other people, he'll seek them out, but if he wants to be alone, he'll go to extreme measures to assure it
Not only is this rather believable, it's painful in all the right ways. I think hiding who he is has become part of John from a fairly young age; it's practically canon that he essentially did just that with his family.

Not only is the fact that he learned of his dad's death through a letter painful, it's the wording that Dave used...ouch. Also, I've always been sort of partial to the idea that he and John were half-brothers.

The moving office thing reminds me a bit of parts of Domenika Marzione's stories, in that she has Sheppard constantly moving and Lorne sort of his 'gatekeeper', so I like your version here. And in a city the size of Manhattan, John should have plenty of rooms to choose from.

I think the box contained some of John's things from childhood, and maybe a few things his dad left him. Probably also hard copy of any paperwork he needed to sign relating to inheritances, etc. But that's just me.
yeah, I'd planned to go into detail about that stuff, but just couldn't turn it into a story proper. But you're right on track.

I don't think I've read the stories you're refering to, but as I was mentioning to popkin, I think it's a privacy issue. If John wants to be around people, he'll seek them out. If not, he'll be all but impossible to find.
Ooh, you have to check out Domenika's stuff; she focuses on the military, especially the characters that must exist but are never named. I'd consider her a must-read in the fandom. Her site is offpanel.net/dmz if I'm not mistaken, and she's miss_porcupine on LJ.

I think John puts his spec ops training to good use in finding new places to hide; he's a creative thinker, so he'd be good at finding places where no one would think to look for him.
I'm particularly fond of the idea he's a pararescueman myself. It seems a natural fit, considering his personality and what we know about his profession in canon.

i'll have to check her stuff out
Quite a sad tale really. Poor John! AT least he has Rodney... and Teyla and Ronon, to call family now :)
Love John's mobile office. I really like your assessment of John too. I've always seen canon John as someone who likes people up to a point, but when that point has been reached he's happier in his own company. I really liked John's reaction when Rodney violated his sanctuary,
John looks up, momentarily startled, before giving him a small, tired grin. "Hey you.",
no anger or irritation. Thanks for the story.


::grins:: I tried desperately to turn it into a full sized story, but I'm glad you like the. Character study that came about instead. I'm rather pleased with it myself. :)
I read your conversation with popkin and very much agree with you about John's apathy towards his family. That's how I saw him in Outcast. Haven't seen the episode in awhile but I seem to remember his frustration that everyone assumed that this was grievous news and that he would want to hasten to his brothers side. Loved the end of this story with them running off together to deal with the latest crisis. Great image.
  • 52 comments