untitled drabble No. 77

Title: untitled drabble #77
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Ancient!John/Rodney
Warnings: after "Percantator" in the Ancient!John 'Verse
Summary: More on Names
Notes: Er, so this happened. that's about the best explanation for it.

No. 77
An Ancient!John Drabble
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"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be."
Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night

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11 December, 2006 CE / XIV Mar. a.f.c. I -- Atlantis, Lantea, Pegasus

The thing is, Rodney has absolutely no idea where the patio chairs came from. They certainly hadn't been here when the Expedition left, which leaves only the possibility that Lorne had made off them at the same time he abducted the rest of those who'd chosen to come back to Atlantis, which is all kinds of strange but still a better explanation for their existence than their having been in some sort of Ancient storage room for the last ten thousand years and only dredged out now. There's something distinctly made-at-lowest-bidding-price about them, even if they're plausibly Ancient in style, and, as much as he now knows about the Gate Builders, he'd rather go on believing in their ability as engineers for the time being.

It's a rare dry day in the middle of the rainy season. The sun is beating down furiously, reminding them all that 'rainy season' is synonymous with 'tropical summer'. He can already feel the skin cancer setting in beneath the thin sheen sweat he's managed to develop in all of the fifteen minutes he's been outside, made all the worse because of the honest-to-God 'fire' John's trying to build in an old oil drum someone converted into a barbecue in the first year of the Expedition. It still manages to look sturdier than the chairs, which is somewhat worrisome.

"God, why are we out here? It's got to be 38℃ out here 'before' your utterly unnecessary heat source over there and 'some' of us are still subject to heat stroke."

John rolls his eyes - something Rodney's sure he never did until after they started seeing each other. "One, you're not going to get heat stroke. Two, water doesn't boil itself. And, three, if you're going to give me a pet name, can it not be 'god'? 'Cause that's just weird on so many levels."

"I wasn't-" Rodney begins. Then changing directions rapidly, "Do you want a pet name?"

"Well," John says dryly, "it's not like 'John' is really my name."

Frowning, "I thought you liked the name 'John.'"

"I don't mind it. It's not like I expect you call me 'Iohannes' or 'Licinus' or 'Icarus."

"Whoa, wait a second," Rodney says, sitting up straighter to get a better look at John, who's still trying to get the barbecue started. The Ancients might have mastered fire a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, but John clearly never got that lesson, which ought to be the most worrisome thing about all of this but is somehow painfully endearing instead. "I thought Lorne was just joking about the whole 'Icarus' thing."

"Why would he joke about that?"

"This is Lorne we're talking about: he's voluntarily sleeping with Zelekna; something's obviously not screwed in tight enough upstairs with him."

"I like him. 'Sides, you've gotta admit it's a cooler nickname than 'Licinus.'"

"I dunno," he admits, leaning back in his chair as he muses on it. "The story's all hubris and failed ambition and bad engineering."

"I wouldn't say that. I mean," John continues over the metallic clanging that arrises as he tries to replace the grate on the makeshift barbecue, sans fire,

"Icarus had a pretty nice run before the end. That's all any of us can really ask."

"Well, that's a depressing sentiment."

"Is it? I rather like it."

"Of course you do. You're the 'go out in a blaze of glory' type. I'd rather like to live long enough to see the fruits of my labour."

"I-" John begins, clearly about to come back with some sort of flippant remark. He must reconsider it, because what he says next ends up being, "I can't just sit back and watch people suffer when I can do something about it. Which," he adds with a touch of black humour, "was the real Icarus' problem too, I guess."

"The 'real' Icarus?"

"Yeah. He was, well," he leans back against the observation deck railing, "the easiest way to describe it is probably like a member of the UN Security Council, but only with real political power - and this was right before the 'Schisma', when the line was really getting drawn between those who believed the 'Haeresis' and those who knew better. We're talking like sixty-five point eight million years ago, seven hundred thousand years before 'Lantis was even built.

"But anyway, the way things were going for him, he was going to come into some serious power. He'd probably have elected in charge of the whole Alteran Caravan before much longer, had things gone differently. Only his brother, Phaeton, joined the 'Haeretici', and Icarus told the folks in charge that he could redeem his brother - go undercover, if you will, and break apart the movement from the inside. Stop the whole war before it ever started."

"It didn't work, I take it?"

"No, it didn't." There's a long pause, less as if John's debating what to say and more as if how to say it. "He ended up becoming the worst 'Haeretici' of them all. Think a little less Judas and quite a bit more Lucifer."

This has Rodney sitting bolt upright in an instant. "Your cousin nicknamed you after then Ancient devil?"

"Less Pretty much."

"And here I thought my family was messed up."

"I like your sister."

"She's a vegetarian."

"I'll try not to hold it against her," John says dryly, pushing away from the railing and returning to the barbecue. He snaps his fingers and a bright, brilliant flame erupts inside.

So some explanation on Icarus is explained. I've got to say that none of this really made me regret John killing all the Ancients. I'm still worried about John, and I do hope the Icarus thing doesn't mean John is in danger of becoming quite the worst Haeretici of them all. Hopefully Rodney will keep John grounded...
John is, at heart, a good man who doesn't believe he has a single decent bone in his body. And I'm sure Rodney will help him from doing anything too crazy....
I just love it when you do things like that!

Rodney watching John trying to build a BBQ-fire and perceiving him as somewhat (endearingly) clumsy in his efforts. John as a pretty average, normal, if not even slightly inept (at least when it comes to building campfires) guy.

Against this background their conversation takes on a slight surreal touch - the situation itself is just such a familiar and average thing but the topic of their conversation is anything but this.

And then you top it of with this last line of John lighting the fire with a casual snap of his fingers and suddenly you're ambushed by remembering that John is anything but average. You gulp a little and have the slightly uncomfortable feeling that you just made the mistake of underestimating something very dangerous if poked.

With that last line the story does a real about-face. You're so good at this.


thanks, that's exactly what I was trying to accomplish. I'm glad it came across so clearly!