Sponsi (1/1)

Title: Sponsi (1/1)
Rating: PG-13
Characters: Ancient!John/Rodney, Radek Zelenka, Amanda Cole
Warnings:  #30 in the Ancient!John 'Verse; "The Return, Parts 1 & 2," thru SG1 s10e9 "Company of Thieves" for safety); mentions of genocide, sex.
Summary: In which Rodney has an answer.
Notes: This one... well, once I started it was easy. finding the right beginning was hard, as was the right end. All the Ancient/Latin is translated in text, and I hope it was worth the wait.

An Ancient!John Story

* * *

10 December, 2006 / XIII Mar. a.f.c. I - Atlantis, Lantea, Pegasus
He's prepared for any number of reactions, most of them negative, but the last thing Rodney expects is for John to close the gap between them, hands reaching out to frame his face before capturing his mouth in a kiss that can only be called claiming.

"'Etiam'," he murmurs raggedly against Rodney's lips when he pulls back far too soon. "'Sane'," he adds before kissing him again, gentler this time but still far from chaste, not with the way his tongue keeps darting into his mouth, less teasing and more a promise of what's to come.

"That's a yes, right?" Rodney manages when they break apart again. They don't go too far - his hands are still fisted in the ridiculous embroidered front of John's robe; John's have migrated south, to clutch at Rodney's hips with clear desperation - but even the the scant inch forced upon them by Rodney's need to breathe seems too much right now. It's been too long since they were like this. Far too long. "Please say that this is a yes. 'Cause I know that that was maybe the worst proposal ever, but this definitely seems like it might be a yes."

The gust of air tickles his cheek as John snorts, "Yeah. It's a yes."

"Forgive me if my knowledge of Ancient goes out the window when you kiss me like that."

He feels the corners of John's mouth turn up this time. "I guess you just need more practice then." Before Rodney's oxygen-deprived mind can unravel that sentence, John presses the softest, lightest of kisses to his lips. "'Te amo'," he whispers.


"'Te desideravi'," he mutters, pressing his lips to Rodney's forehead now. "'Te tam valde desideravi'."

Rodney swallows, because there's no denying the emotion in his 'amator's' voice. It's almost impossible to remember at moments like this that the chapped lips on his forehead, the brush of stubble against his eyelids aren't real. That beneath his patina of false skin is more energy than a human mind can adequately comprehend, and it's trembling from the memory of being without 'him'. It's equal parts heady and terrifying, and his own broken breath does nothing to steady him.

"John," he says again and Rodney can only hope that he fills it with half as much meaning, because John is everything to him. Everything.
Touching their foreheads together now, "'Non me rursus destituere sinis'," he breathes, so quiet it's almost lost in the scant space between them. Or maybe John doesn't say anything at all and it's just the feeling, passing back and forth between them on shared heartbeats and coating itself in the veneer of words so that his imperfect human mind can make sense of it all.

'I love you'.

'I missed you so much'.

'Don't ever leave me again'.

"I know," Rodney tells him, because that's all he can do. "I won't. I- I can't give you forever, but I'll give you as long as I have."

John just holds him closer. It's not the homecoming either of them had imagined, but standing there, with bruised lips and fully clothed, it's somehow better. And for the first time in longer than he can remember, Rodney has a feeling that everything is going to work out.

* * *

11 December, 2006 / XIV Mar. a.f.c. I

The feeling is a lie, of course, as Rodney realises the next morning when he wakes up alone in his lab with his cheek pressed to the keyboard of his laptop and thousands of lines of alien code glaring harshly in his eyes.

"Well fuck," he says, letting his head fall back down with a protest of little plastic keys and some annoyed beeping from a much-abused spacebar.

The air recycling units make a chittering, amused noise overhead. "I have no earthly idea why I missed you," he tells the city, squeezing his eyes as tight as he possibly can against the tropical sunrise of a rare cloudless day in the middle of the rainy season. Blinds. He needs to invest in blinds for his lab next chance he gets. Or, in case such things don't exist in Pegasus, steal the stupid sparkly curtains from John's old quarters. If they're back to scavenging for what they need now that Earth's no longer in the picture, Rodney gets first dibs.

Briefly, he wonders where John's made off to, but quickly stamps down on that thought. That way dragons be and he's still got work to do, mainly to the tune of figuring out the finer points of Helia's dead-man's program. He's not made much progress, what with all of last night's distractions, but Rodney's got the feeling that even if he'd devoted every second of the last ten or so hours to decipher the code, he'd still not have been able to make his way through even a tenth of it. It's messy and ugly and probably a good eighty percent of it is trash, but some of that trash might be important and figuring out what fresh hell Helia decided to call down on them with her last breath. It'll probably take weeks to sort out properly.

If they have weeks. Anything aimed at Asuras is bound to be apocalyptic in nature, and Replicators don't exactly need rest or sleep or twenty years to augment their numbers.

(One day, he swears, he's not going to have to save the world every other week, and he'll have no idea what to do with himself.)
He feels around the flat surface of the workspace for the flash drive that contains the program that runs his still-nameless device. He doesn't need it to keep his sanity - he can hear Atlantis' song just fine, even if she still seems overly amused by his half-wakeful stake - but it will certainly cut down the time it takes to figure out just what Helia sent to Asuras, and there's never enough time.

Because Rodney will grow old and die long before John's sentence of Ascension comes close to ending. It doesn't change anything - a single lifetime is all they'd ever have even if John had never Ascended, - but it makes a mockery of his proposal. Sure, he gets John for the next forty, fifty years, but what about the next thirty thousand? How many more like him will step up, however fleetingly, to be the Emperor of Pegasus' consort? The worst part - the absolute worst part - is that John could honestly and genuinely mourn him for a century, for a millennia even and still have time to fall in love with someone else, marry someone else, mourn someone else several dozen times over before his parole is due.

If Rodney were a better person, it might make him happy to know that John probably won't be alone after he's gone. But he's not. He's petty and jealous and unforgiving and takes things far too seriously and hasn't had the emotional distance he needs to be a proper scientist since the moment he first stepped through the Stargate and met John.

He can never be John's first. That spot is taken by the mysterious Nicolaa de Luera Pastor, whom Rodney only knows enough of to know that she can't have ever appreciated what she had if she threw it all away like she did.

He won't be John's last either. That belongs to someone who isn't yet born, whose thousandth great-grandparents won't be born for millennia, in a galaxy Rodney can't imagine the shape of.

He should be grateful for his three, four decades. At the rate John was going before his Ascension, he'd have been lucky if he'd gotten three or four more 'years' before John did something so recklessly suicidal that there was no coming back. But Rodney can't be. That's not who he is. He wants more. He wants everything. And while John is everything to him, there is no way in the universe Rodney can be everything to him.

Rodney sighs and lifts his head up - and sighs again when he sees the alarming orange of his flash drive resting just out of reach atop a pile of greenhouse maintenance logs. He's just about to plug it into his laptop when the door slides open.

John's obviously trying to be quiet, tiptoeing around the sensitive lab equipment with one eye on his feet and the other on the coffee cups he's holding. It's kind of stupidly endearing and makes Rodney's heart feel lighter than it has in years, including last night, especially when John still manages to run into the corner of one of the workbenches, sending a stack of 'The Astronomical Journal' and 'Advances in Physics' sliding to the floor. His head snaps up, obviously trying to see if he's woken Rodney-

-only to see that Rodney's already awake and grinning at him fondly.

John glares at him. "You coulda said something, y'know." His eyes flick briefly to the ceiling. "Either one of you. I'm not picky."

Rodney rather thinks John could have left a note, but that might be asking too much of the universe. "Tell me there's coffee in one of those," he says instead.

"There is," John tells him. "I don't know how good it is though. You guys took all the coffee machines with you when you left, so I borrowed Lorne's setup. There's like a ninety-nine percent chance that it's not palatable and a fifty percent chance that it's not coffee at all, but..." He shrugs, handing Rodney one of the cups, "It's the thought that counts."

It is one of the universe's great jokes that chicory is native to Pegasus and the coffee plant is not. If ever a galaxy needed coffee, it is Pegasus.

The coffee is... Well, it's coffee at least, and once he's got enough caffeine in him, he's able to set most of his earlier fears aside in favour of asking the more pressing question: "So, what's the plan?"

"For today?" John asks picking up the journals he knocked over. "Mainly about figuring out where we stand. We've got enough people to make a good start of it, but it's not like you guys came prepared like last time-"

"That tends to happen when you're only given an hour's notice before you're abducted by aliens."

"I prefer the term 'liberated'. And either way, we need to take inventory. Figure out what we need. I've already asked Teyla to get her hands on some extra clothes for everyone - I'm pretty sure most everyone only came with what's on their backs and stuffed their bags full of surgical equipment and seed packets instead. I'm kinda curious to see how that works out."

"They wanted to come, John. We all did."

"I know. I'm just saying, I don't wanna be around when the coffee actually does run out."

Rodney shudders. "If we send Lorne back to Earth now, he might get there before Sam figures out exactly what I did to Oracle and fixes it so 'Aurora' can't

slip into obit unnoticed anymore."

"I've already got Lorne and Zelenka getting Rory ready to do some recon of Asuras, but we'll see how bad the coffee situation really is before I send them off."


"No," John says dryly, putting the last of the journals back. "But the IOA is sending over a delegation the day after tomorrow. I'm pretty sure we can get them to bring some coffee beans with them as a good will gesture if they haven't already thought of it themselves."

"The IOA?" Rodney asks, genuinely confused. Earth is... Earth isn't in the picture anymore. Yes, he and Radek and the rest of those that Lorne saved might have been born there, but it's not home. The IOA left, gladly returning Atlantis to the Ancients' care when the price grew too high, and never would have tried to return, not so long as they could maintain their hegemony of the Milky Way with what technology they already have. The people who want to be on Atlantis - who want to do genuine research, to do genuine exploration, and, yes, to genuinely 'help' the people of Pegasus, - they're already here, barring a couple military types they couldn't be sure wouldn't have turned them in to their superiors regardless of how much they might wish to return. "What are we doing talking with the IOA?"

"Preventing an intergalactic war, if all goes well. Solving our supply problems - and maybe even our manpower ones - if all goes really, really well."

"You're inviting the Expedition back?" But that doesn't make any sense. Why go to all the trouble to 'liberate' them from Earth if he was just going to let them all come back?

"Not technically? I mean," John shrugs, "if things go well I was thinking of offering to lease them space in the city - like with stalls in the marketplace, only on a bigger scale - but I'm not going to just welcome them back with open arms like nothing ever happened. There's forgive and forget, but then there's letting them walk all over us."

"I'm not sure how well a mixed-based like that is going to go over." It's never exactly gone over well in the Milky Way any time the SGC has tried to do it with the Tok'ra or the Free Jaffa. Which John would know if he actually, oh, 'bothered to read the mission reports' instead of worrying about 'Wormhole X-treme' spoilers.

"They can do what they want," John says, making himself at home on the workbench opposite. "We'll still be the ones in charge. The Confederation can
still move forward, our plans to irradiate the Wraith will still go ahead as planned, and if they get in the way or try to stop us we can send them packing back to their precious little planet, no harm done."

Frowning, "Unless it starts an intergalactic war."

"Yes, well, no plan's perfect."

Rodney relaxes into his chair, a tension bleeding from him that he'd not been aware he had. "That's somehow comforting. Why's that comforting?"

"'Cause you're weird?"

"I'm not weird. You're weird."

"And yet you're marrying me, so what's that say about you?"

"Hey," Rodney grins at the reminder, "I 'like' weird."

"Only 'like', huh?"

"Oh, believe me, like doesn't begin to cover it."

"Good to know you go in for 'weird'. It might come in handy someday."

"Why?" he snorts, uncapping the flash drive and leveling John a look that says he clearly doesn't have time for this but is going to humour him anyway. "Is there some freaky alien mating ritual we need to complete before we can be married in the eyes of the others? Because if the word's 'pon farr' come out of your mouth, I'm calling the wedding off, no matter how hot it might be at the time"
Dryly, "Not that I know of."

"Good. Though that's probably going to upset the anthropologists."

"We just have the one now, remember? Doctor Morris was the only member of the 'soft sciences' to sign onto our little 'Haegira'."

"That's something at least."

This, for some reason, earns him a smile. "We've got three-sixty ocean views, a population density of point seven one four eight per square mile, and plenty of floor plans to chose from. We'll solve the manpower issue one way or another, sooner or later." John pushes away from his workbench and into Rodney's personal space just long enough to clap him on the shoulder. "I gotta go. I promised Carson I'd help him scout out a good location for the IHC ten minutes ago. I just wanted to make sure you got some coffee in you before you started in on Danelia's program again. I'll check in on you later."

* * *
13 December, 2006 / XVI Mar. a.f.c. I

He's islanded in a sea of stars, only the stars are zeroes and ones, and even so are little more than red- and blue-shifted streaks as they race towards and away from him in the deepest depths of his mind's eye. It is eternity, without beginning or end, only time and understanding expanding ever-outward, until Rodney knows without a doubt what the program is and what it means to do. And then he's falling through the emptiness, though the infinity he inhabits has no up or down, only the stars flying away from him until they are tiny pinpricks of light so far away they might well be the constellations he once knew so well. Then the sky brightens, an unseen sun bringing with it a bright and brilliant dawn and he wakes.

He doesn't notice that he's no longer in his laboratory. Nor does he immediately recognise he's lying in a hospital bed, or that the pain he feels when he lifts his hand to his ear in search of his earwig is from the cannula lodged in one of the more annoying veins of his forearm. It becomes clearer when his movement to find the earwig dislodges the IV, sending an even worse burst of pain through his arm - and his ears, when it's unintentional removal sets off some sort of alarm.

But he finds the earwig and it's only when he gets it in his ear that Rodney realises he's in the infirmary - or, rather, some garage chic version of one. Batting away Doctor Cole's attempts to access the damage he's done himself. "Radek?" he says, opening a comm line, "You and Lorne better still be in the city."

A snort comes over the comm. "The Colonel has said that we are not allowed to steal coffee for you."

"Forget the coffee," he snaps.

There's silence, both over the comm and in the infirmary with him. Cole looks like she's about to start testing him for brain damage. "Are you feeling entirely alright, Rodney?"

"No, but, unfortunately, that's not the important thing at the moment. What 'is' is that I just finished going through Helia's dead-man's program: She's reactivated their primary objective. The Replicators are going to war."

Awww! All the lovey stuff...
But how can a man as smart as Rodney believe that John will let him go that easily? There's just no way!

Favorite line though has to be-
"The Colonel has said that we are not allowed to steal coffee for you."
I can see Radek and Rodney requesting that Earth pay their lease in coffee beans...
Well, he does have a point. Even if John spends the next 10,000 years after Rodney's death mourning him, he's still got enough time left on his sentence to do it twice more (and then some) before he Descends.

Plus, Rodney has like... a whole bunch of ego when it comes to his job and science and all that, but very little when it comes to his personal value, particularly in relationships.

Though it does make sense, the idea of John being with others after Rodney hurts my OTP heart. I like to think that even if Rodney isn't John's first or last, he'll always be the most special. Of course, I still live in hope that something's going to happen and he'll be able to descend before Rodney dies, but that's the eternal optimist in me.

And so now begins the Replicators killing humans to end the Wraith's food supply, yes? Oh dear.

It'll be super interesting to see how things go with the IOA.
i told you you would love the beginning, did i not?

I know, it hurts my OTP heart too. But I promise things will get better (after they get much, much worse).

Yep, you've got it right. The Replicators are on the move.

And the IOA should prove interesting too. :D