14 June 2008 @ 10:40 pm
SGA: Silver and Steel (PG), Gen.  
He'd planned to be home by now, which was his own fault. He knew better by now than to plan.

Tag to Outcast, before they go home.

The air on Earth was thick and hard to take in.

John didn't know if it was because of all those years in Antarctica or all of those years on another planet entirely, but he didn't feel safe here anymore, trapped between those cold steel buildings that rise up out of the ground like towering blocks of stone. Atlantis was a city but it was not like here, living there was like living inside a work of art, with all of its spirals and colors and empty space. There were three hundred people on Atlantis now, and even they were not enough to fill even one thirtieth of that place.

John liked that. He liked to walk down some new corridor, without knowing where it will take him, but knowing that he wouldn't meet anyone else along the way.

He'd planned to be home by now, which was his own fault. He knew better by now than to plan.

His brother was all white lips and cold staring eyes, tapping his fingers on the table top and John was desperate, so desperate for Rodney to be here, loud and fearless and taking the attention off of him. Ronon was as loyal as they came and John loved him like a brother, but Ronon was too like him to be of much help in situations like this. He sat silent and still to the left of him, ready to fight anything that might physically try and hurt him but without any kind of weapon against words.

His father had left him half of everything.

Dave had not expected that, and John's sure he expected it even less. Dave had been furious on the phone when he told him, but he had said nothing above a level tone, he had said nothing but nice things, congratulations and aren't you glad you came. John had tried to give it all back. He had no use for the house in the Hamptons or six million dollars. He wouldn't have taken them even if he did.

"He left it to you," Dave told him, teeth clenched even though he was smiling. "Means it's yours. I guess I should have seen that coming, right? Maybe I should have run off too instead of taking care of him, if he would have left me just as much."

"If that was the only reason you were doing it, maybe you should have," John had said, smiling just as bright. He'd never come to blows with his brother even once. They were raised up right. They said horrible things but always with a smile, always with a laugh, never loud.

"What was your reason?" Dave asked. "Please. Regale us. We're all dying to know."

"I left so I wouldn't end up like him, like you did," John said. "I don't want the money. I don't want the house."

"Too bad," Dave said. "You've got it now, and I want nothing of yours."

Dave left and Ronon glared at him. "I can talk to him, if you want."

Ronon didn't talk, Sheppard knew. They were alike in this. They sometimes spoke but they never ever talked. "Let him go," he said.

"What do you want to do with this?" the lawyer asked. "What do you want me to do?"

John glanced out the window. He might have kids someday. They might need a place to grow up. They'd need money for clothes and college and food. But he didn't want them to live here, he didn't want them here, if he had kids he'd want to keep them as far away as he could get them. He would want them on Atlantis, even for all that danger--it was worth it, John knew. It was more important than anything his father had ever given him.

He watches his hand rest on the table, not tapping at all. "Give it to charity, that one my father was so fond of," he said. "For the veterans."

The lawyer looked sick. "All of it? All of the money?" he asked. "What about the house?"

"The house too," John said, and then he walked out.

Ronon came behind and said nothing at first. He wondered what Rodney would have said, if he'd been here.

But there was no use in that. There was no predicting Rodney.

"You okay?" Ronon asked, when they made it to the car.

John couldn't imagine why his father had left him anything. He felt sick now too, for giving it away again like it meant nothing. It wasn't that it meant nothing. The fact that he'd done it did, that meant something, even if he didn't know what. It's just that the money meant nothing, and never had. His father had never understood that and it was why he'd never understood him.

"Yeah," John said. "I'm okay."

"Six million . . . is that a lot?" Ronon asked.

"Yeah," John said. "It's a lot."

"And you just gave it all away," Ronon said.

"I guess I did," John said.

Ronon glanced at him, eyes far too knowing. John never underestimated Ronon's strength or intelligence, but sometimes he forgot how perceptive he could be. "You don't belong here anymore," Ronon said, certain. "Let's go home."

John got into the car. He glanced back at the building, grey and faded and tall, and then closed his eyes and took a breath. He never had belonged here. He's been trying to escape all of his life, climbing higher and higher into the sky.

He'd just never thought he'd get what he was reaching for.

He wondered what Dave would think, if he knew, what his father would have said. He would never have told them even if he could--he was too afraid they wouldn't have understood even this.

"Home it is," he said, starting the car.

He wanted to be back where he belonged, where no one ever looked at him the way Dave always did, and all of the towers were silver instead of grey.
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Gaffsie: comfortgaffsie on June 15th, 2008 - 08:26 pm
Oh, that was lovely. I especially like how true that last line rings.
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Layton Colt: atlantislaytoncolt on June 15th, 2008 - 09:25 pm
Thank you! :-)
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(no subject) - (Anonymous) on June 16th, 2008 - 05:41 am
Layton Colt: rononlaytoncolt on June 21st, 2008 - 04:21 am
Thank you! :-)
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