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Why Is A Raven Like A Writing Desk?

It's like mold, it kept growing!

It's like mold, it kept growing!

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Benchley
This fic turned out a lot longer than I was planning on it being, but it doesna matter. I'm pretty pleased with it. ^_^

A Riddle, Wrapped In a Mystery, Etc. Etc.

If anyone ever asked Rodney about his scar, not that they would, because they weren’t likely to see it unless they were one of the few people who already knew what had happened, but if someone who didn’t know the story asked one day, Rodney wouldn’t tell them. It wasn’t that the story was embarrassing, because it was, and it wasn’t that the story was frustrating, because it was, it was because it was really John’s story, anyway, and he didn’t like to talk about it. But if Rodney was going to tell it, this is how he’d do it:


Rodney first noticed the scar when they were hopping into their clothes as a prelude to running for their lives. The scar was on John’s upper left shoulder blade and about the length of Rodney’s pointer finger but thin and jagged. John was jumping on one leg in front of Rodney, his bare back going up in front of Rodney’s eyes, so it wasn’t like he could miss it.

Although some might say he should have had other things on his mind, Rodney’s found that the threat of imminent death to focus his very large and very brilliant mind. It was so focused that he stopped dressing and stood holding his pants for a moment, trying to remember when John would have gotten the scar.

“Rodney! Why are you just standing there?” yelled John when he turned around after putting on his shirt, to find Rodney staring into space.

Rodney blinked in surprise and moved to step into his pants, but the barricaded door gave an ominous creak and all of a sudden John was ushering him out the first floor window. Rodney stumbled out, still holding his pants, and landed on his butt on the dirt.

John jumped down lightly and gave Rodney an odd look. “Leave the pants and go,” he commanded.

Rodney dropped the pants and stumbled to his feet, trying to keep his mind on the problem at hand. They’d just escaped from a freaky alien ritual involving saplings-best to forget that bit, actually. They were now running from the angry aliens to the Stargate, which was on the other side of the deserted village. The village was only deserted because everyone had turned out to see the ritual—running away, Rodney reminded himself sternly. That’s what he needed to be focusing on.

As they sped through the dusty streets, John fumbled for his radio, which he must have hidden in his hair because when those guys stripped a person, they did it very thoroughly—running away, right, right.

“Teyla, Ronon,” John said, “meet us at the Stargate. Things turned a little…”

“Highly disturbing?” Rodney suggested. “I-may-actually-go-see-Hieghtmeyer disturbing?”

“Well, let’s just say there were cultural differences involved,” John finished, ignoring Rodney.

“I understand, Colonel,” Teyla said calmly.

“We’ll be there in five,” Ronon added.

Teyla and Ronon had gotten the estimable job of going on a tour of the local produce, where they would ‘unfortunately’ miss the ceremony. However, time was short and so the ceremony and the tour had to be conducted at the same time. Apparently, the planet was about to go into a four-day night. The sun was already setting slowly, after the four-day day.

Rodney was gasping for breath by the team they reached the Stargate where Ronon and Teyla were waiting with a native guide who looked a little bewildered. Even John was breathing heavily, but neither of them slowed down. They could hear the village warriors about to catch up.
John called, “Dial it! Go! Go!” to Teyla and she complied.

The gate whooshed open just as john reached it and he dove through, pushing the guide out of his way unceremoniously. Teyla and Ronon went next, and then Rodney stumbled through.

The silence of the gate room was very anticlimactic. There were only a few technicians and Elizabeth besides the team. The loudest sound was Rodney’s harsh breathing, followed by John’s as they paused as a group in the middle of the room.

Slowly Rodney straightened up and his breathing began to slow. Immediately he checked to make sure he hadn’t left anything vital on the planet. John was patting down his own pockets.

“Rodney…” Teyla began, but Elizabeth interrupted.

“What happened this time?” she asked in a tired voice.

“Irreconcilable differences—“ John began, but was cut off by Ronon’s loud guffaw.
“Rodney,” Teyla began again, ignoring Ronon. “Where are your pants?”

Rodney looked down, momentarily perplexed. Oh yeah, he’d gotten distracted and this was all John’s fault! Looking back up, he put on his most fearsome scowl and raised his chin.

By this time, John had joined in with his donkey laugh, and even Teyla and Elizabeth were hiding smiles behind their hands. The technicians were laughing outright, and a small crowd had gathered to see what the commotion was about.

Thinking very dark thoughts about John’s mysterious scar, he stalked out of the room proudly. For the next week, people kept asking him if he’d remembered to wear pants or exaggeratingly looking at his legs and then telling him, “Good job!”

Sadly, this was not the last time John’s scar got him into trouble.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

After the furor caused by Rodney’s lack of pants died down, things were quiet for a couple of days (practically an eternity for Atlantis- Rodney even found himself missing the exciting good ole days,) but Rodney didn’t forget John’s scar. He could picture it perfectly: it’s lightning bolt shape, right on John’s shoulder blade.
Rodney had also determined that the scar didn’t come from any of the missions they’d gone on. He’d hacked into John’s medical files and he’d never gotten wounded right there on Atlantis. So, it was something John wasn’t telling Rodney about, and this was definitely not allowable.

Weren’t they supposed to be close? Besides being teammates, whatever happened to telling your friends everything? Admittedly, John was worse than a clam, especially compared to Rodney, but a scar that size had a story behind it, and Rodney should have been informed.

For once, Rodney was glad that on almost all of the missions they went on, the natives made them get at least partially naked. They provided a great situation in which to innocently inquire about the scar. In fact, his opportunity arose on their very next trip.

~~~~~~~

Rodney felt a nice stretch going from his upper arms to his shoulders, and the sun beat down pleasantly on his bare back. He turned his head to the left and looked at John, who was in a similar position. Rodney couldn’t see John’s scar because the slope of his back hid it. Strangely enough, they weren’t tanning on one of the docks. They were, in fact, trussed up on a rock slab, shirtless, and about to have religious designs burned into their backs.

Rodney glared at the guard who was in his line of sight. Clearly being shirtless was not enough. This was going to take some more effort. Maybe he should wait for a planet where they were stripped because they were getting amazing massages.

“Why does this always happen to me?” Rodney asked. “What have I done that made the universe hate me so much?”

“Rodney, shut up,” John grunted as he attempted to tug his hands through the ropes binding them.

“Don’t worry, Rodney,” Teyla said from his right. She had gotten to keep her shirt on, but since it was a skimpy halter top, that wasn’t saying much. “I am certain that Lorne’s team will reach us in time.”

Rodney said sarcastically, “Oh, thank you, that was very reassuring. Despite the fact that our cattle branding is imminent and Lorne is nowhere to be seen!”

“Think of something else,” suggested Ronon from Teyla’s other side. “That’s what I do.”

“We’ve met before, right? When have you ever known me to be able to think of something else?”

A guard leaned over with and poked Rodney lightly with his spear. “The Grand High Ruler requires you to be quiet.”

“Ow! Get away from me with that pig-sticker! I’m not going to shut up unless it’ll get me out of this. Which I sincerely doubt, so—“

“Rodney, be quiet, unless you want to make it worse,” John said, pausing in his efforts to loosen his bonds.

“Hmph,” said Rodney.

“I commend these travelers to you, mighty Ancestors,” intoned the Grand High Ruler as he took the brand from the fire. It glowed bright white. The crowd started cheering like spectators at a sporting event.

“Oh no, oh no, ohno ohno ohno,” moaned Rodney as he frantically struggled to scoot farther away. He ended up pressed against John’s side, with the ropes cutting off circulation to his hands.

The Ruler approached Ronon first, who didn’t take his own advice. Instead, he gave a loud roar and managed to wrench his feet free. Bracing against his forearms, Ronon kicked out wildly. He caught the Ruler a glancing blow before guards swarmed him and tried to manually hold him down.

The Ruler advanced again, more cautiously this time. Ronon continued to thrash about while Rodney shouted encouragement at him.

“Come on, Ronon, you’re bigger than they are, you behemoth! Fight them!”

The guards had subdued Ronon through sheer force of numbers when a shot rang out, freezing everyone in a disturbing tableau. The villagers, who had never heard a gun before, were confused and frightened. People began turning around to face the opposite end of the town square. Lorne stood there with several Marines.

Lorne strode forward through the crowd who melted back before him. The marines fanned out behind him. Lorne was still holding his gun out. “Let them go, now,” he demanded loudly.

The guards holding Ronon down slowly backed off and the Ruler lowered the brand. The Marines jogged up to the platform that held the Ruler and the slab of rock, led by Lorne. With some Marines pointing their P-90s at the natives, the rest began to untie John, Rodney, Teyla and Ronon.

Rodney clambered off the rock, rubbing his wrists and thinking. This was clearly John’s fault. If John didn’t have that stupid scar, Rodney wouldn’t have been wishing for shirtless situations. Rodney had read about The Secret; he knew what happened when you wanted something. He wouldn’t have wanted to see John shirtless in the first place if John didn’t have that scar. Thankfully, that was the last time John’s scar put Rodney into mortal peril.

Absentmindedly, he accepted his shirt and vest from Teyla and tugged them on. It made his hair stick up funny, but he didn’t notice. After everyone else was freed and dressed, they began to leave. Rodney followed them out of the square to the Stargate just beyond the opposite end. The Marines walked backwards, still pointing their guns at the natives, who were looking a little annoyed at having their sacred ritual interrupted.

“Are you all right?” asked John as they stood around waiting for the gate to finish dialing.

“Of course,” Rodney answered imperiously. He lied, “I’m just thinking of my work, which is way beyond your measly comprehension.”

John rolled his eyes and stepped back to Atlantis.

~~~~~~~~

Finally, Rodney thought gleefully, mentally rubbing his hands. This was it! He was finally going to find out how, exactly, John had gotten his scar. They were on another mission, this one almost a month after the near-branding incident. Since then, Rodney had tried to focus positive energy on going to a planet where the natives would give John drugs like they had a couple times in the past.

Of course, they had gone on a couple missions before this one where nothing happened, not even a scientific discovery, hardly even any trade. That made it very hard to keep up the positive energy and Rodney eventually gave it up as a load of crock. That and the fact that Zelenka kept asking him if he was feeling well, as he flip-flopped between determinedly cheerful and extra grumpy.

But now, now, the time had come. When they arrived on the planet, it was perfect. It was spring here, the sun and two moons were shining, all sorts of crazy flowers were blooming, beautiful women greeted them and led them to an airy building with lots of bright wall hangings, wide windows and very comfortable cushions. This was obviously the type of place where they offered narcotics to visitors.

The natives did not disappoint. As soon as formal introductions were over, the people called themselves Mawreens, who the fuck cared, just get to the drugs already. The ‘traditional herbal pipe’ was brought out. The team had to pass it around to ensure ‘harmony and community.’

“A side effect is drowsiness,” one of the beautiful women said. ‘We will resume negotiations when you have recovered.”

Teyla nodded serenely and accepted the bong. The beautiful women exited gracefully as she took a hit, then passed it to Ronon. He inhaled and then gave it to John, who then handed it to Rodney.

“Rodney, why are you smiling?” John asked worriedly. “It’s creepy.”

“Oh, no reason,” replied Rodney airily. “I’m just glad things are going well.” Ignoring John’s skeptical look, Rodney took a hit.

After they’d smoked the whole bowl, a beautiful woman crept in to take the bong away. The team lay spread out on the very comfortable cushions. John crawled over to rest his head on Rodney’s shoulder.

“Rodneeeyyyy,” John said happily. He didn’t seem like he was going to say anything else.

“Hey, John,” giggled Rodney. They were silent for a while, while John smiled slightly and Rodney tried to gather his thoughts. He knew there was something important he had to ask John. “…Hey, how did you get that scar?”

“Aw, Rodney, you’re so cute when you’re obsessed,” John said, twisting his head in a way that he was really going to regret it later and so that he could look Rodney eye to eye.

“I am not,” protested Rodney. “I just want to know how you got that scar.”

John pouted adorably, and whined, “I told you I don’t like to talk about it. Now stop.”

“But it can’t be that bad.”

John ignored Rodney completely and began to play with his collar. “I’ve seen you watching me. You think I’m hot. You want me to take my shirt off. You want meeeee.”

“Uh,” said Rodney, but before he could attempt to explain himself again, John was sitting up and pulling off his shirt. “Wait, your scar?”

John tossed the shirt aside. It floated down gently to land over Ronon’s face. Then he launched himself at Rodney, sloppily pressing their mouths together. Rodney, not being in any better shape than John, slowly toppled over backward. He considered protesting, but surely there would be time for that later?

~~~~~~~~~

“Oh my God!” shouted Rodney as he jolted awake. He had this faint memory of his plan going horribly awry, yet again. But how? He was a genius, after all. On the other hand, he still didn’t know how John had gotten that scar.

He struggled to sit up, so as to think about that better, but something was restraining him. He looked down. It was Johns’ arm. He looked farther down and saw that they were both undressed.

“Oh my god,” he said faintly.

Then Rodney had what was probably the fastest sexual identity crisis ever. I had sex with a guy. Well, it was John, so it probably doesn’t count. Actually, it wasn’t half bad. And really, when one is in a foreign galaxy, one must be open to new experiences.

And that was that. Unable to get himself out of John’s iron grip, Rodney lay back down and relaxed. He may have, possibly, stroked John’s hair a little, but he would deny that to the end.

He spent the time waiting for John to wake up thinking about why his plan went wrong. He’d thought it was foolproof, but apparently not. The one definite thing he hadn’t counted on was John jumping him.

The sunlight streaming in from the windows traveled slowly across the room, illuminating the pillows strewn around, Teyla curled up like a cat around one, and Ronon flat on his back like a bear rug. They slowly stirred, yawning widely.

Teyla looked at Rodney and John with one raised eyebrow, smiling slightly. Rodney most definitely did not blush and waved his trapped hand a little. Ronon only handed Rodney John’s black t-shirt.

Later, when John woke up, there was a little bit of awkwardness, but mostly the normal type, like when John almost put on Rodney’s boxers. After they dressed, the beautiful women came back and trade negotiations were under way.

They talked in a wood paneled room around a great mahogany-ish table. Rodney didn’t really remember much, having tuned out after hearing that they didn’t have anything of scientific value. He spent his time idly staring at the chest of the women opposite him as she talked expressively about something or other and thinking about how he could fix his plan.

However, he kept getting distracted by brief snatches of memory. Had he really managed that? And that couldn’t be right, because no one was that flexible! The end result was that he had to keep shifting around uncomfortably in his chair and when they got up to leave he accidentally caught John’s eye and blushed mightily.

~~~~~~~~

John came over that night when Rodney was sitting on his bed, typing on his laptop. After being admitted with a yell of “What? I’m very busy!” he slouched against the wall, watching Rodney work. He kept… looking at Rodney, as if trying to figure something out. Resolutely, Rodney ignored him and kept typing.

“So, I guess we should talk…” John said awkwardly.

“Oh, don’t worry about it. I mean, I had no idea you were, but now it appears I am, so there doesn’t seem to be a problem, and it’s not like there’s anybody else.”

“Right,” John said. “But aren’t you a little freaked out?”

“No, should I be?”

“Cool,” said John.

There was an awkward silence. Rodney tapped at his keyboard. John ran his hand through his hair.

“…Well, then, I guess you wouldn’t mind if I did this…” John said. Rodney looked up in confusion as John sauntered over to him. John took his laptop away.

“Wait, wait! I need to save that,” Rodney cried, but John, who straddled his hips and began kissing him, interrupted him.

At first, Rodney was a little surprised because he’d never seriously thought people said things like,’ I guess you wouldn’t mind if I did this,’ and then there was the fact that John seriously wanted to have sex with him again, but he wasn’t about to complain.

Somehow, after they’d both had incredible orgasms, John ended up staying the night. Rodney hadn’t really been prepared for that, but after amazing sex, it seemed a little rude just to kick him out. Unfortunately, Rodney wasn’t the type to immediately fall asleep after orgasm unless aided by drugs, but John was. So Rodney lay tangled with John on his minuscule bed listening to John snoring softly. Which wasn’t cute. At all.

He really wasn’t very tired, thanks to the pot of coffee he’d consumed prior to retiring to his room and he still had a lot ideas to work on. Rodney tried to slowly ease out of John’s death grip, but the man only tightened it and snuggled--there was no other word for it--into Rodney’s shoulder.

Being in a relationship was hard.

Rodney was never sure how long he stayed awake, but it certainly felt like an eternity. The seconds stretched by for hours and Rodney was wide-awake the whole horrible time.

His limbs ached from staying in one position for ages and he couldn’t get his mind to turn off. His body wasn’t used to going to sleep this early and all he wanted to do was finish his work! Was that too much to ask, really? After all, the universe owed him several times over what with all the life-threatening danger he was constantly exposed to.

After many minutes of slowly moving, Rodney managed to get himself into a more comfortable position, at least. John had clung to him like white on rice, moving as he moved. He was working slowly towards being able to get up, but that was hours away. In the meantime, he was on his back with John half on his chest and his arms around him.

Idly his right hand stroked John’s back a little, gently exploring. Actually, it wasn’t so much of an idle stroke as a frenetic spasm, but same difference. What really matters is that he felt the scar. Or rather: the Scar. The stupid thing had definitely earned the italics and capital S. Rodney could feel his eye twitch.

Stupid Scar, and stupid John, this was why he was so miserable! Well, not completely, orgasms were always appreciated—but still! This Scar was the reason Rodney had had a sexual identity crisis—granted, it was a minor one, but that was most definitely not the point.

Rodney stopped arguing with himself in his head. It was never worth the effort; he always lost. Instead, he gave himself over to anger. How dare that Scar? What was it thinking? Being mysterious and hot and totally ruining his life!

“Argh! I can’t take it anymore,” Rodney shouted, leaping out of bed. “This is inhumane! It’s worse than inhumane--it’s monstrous! A person can’t be expected to live under these conditions!”

John raised his head sleepily, a hurt look flashing across his face, before he kept it carefully blank. Quickly waking up, he stood and looked around for his pants.

“I’ll just be going then,” he said, not meeting Rodney’s crazed eyes.

Where are you going?” demanded Rodney.

John paused, precariously standing on one leg, in the act of pulling up his pants. “I understand, Rodney, it’s fine. You don’t want me here; I’m going.”

“Why am I surrounded by idiots?” wailed Rodney.

John said, “Um.” Usually he at least had some sort of idea about what Rodney was going on about, but this time he was totally lost.

“You have to tell me,” begged Rodney. “It’s driving me insane.”

“Of course, Rodney. But, forgive me for asking, what are you talking about?”

“Your Scar, obviously! How did you get it? Why do you torment me with it?”

John hesitated. Rodney was seriously upset about his scar? This was a whole new level for Rodney. Rodney normally barely looked at people unless they were between him and his coffee. And all of a sudden Rodney was obsessed with his scar?

“Wait. Which scar are we talking about, specifically?”

“The one on your left shoulder blade, imbecile,” Rodney grated out.

“That one? Really?”

Yes.

“I don’t really like talking about it,” John began, but when Rodney made a sound like a dying whale, he hurriedly added, “but needless to say I’ll tell you.”

Thank you.

Rodney staggered back to his bed, suddenly exhausted. Resting his head in one palm, he looked up at John expectantly. John was standing awkwardly, trying to decide if he should keep putting on his pants or just leave them. To stall for time, he cleared his throat.

“Well,” he started. “It’s from when we were on Earth. And you know how my team was really bad?”

Rodney nodded vigorously, and muttered threatening things about John’s former teammates under his breath, the stupid fuckers, risking John like that.

John pulled his pants on all the way, just incase Rodney really was insane and he needed to make a quick escape. “Anyway, um, one time we got back from a mission and I hadn’t really gotten a chance to eat before things went to hell, but the docs at Stargate Command needed blood to make sure we weren’t carrying any pathogens back. So after I gave them my blood, I may have stood up too fast and fallen—not fainted, mind you, just got a little lightheaded, and I fell onto the corner of a metal cart, and it cut my shoulder.”

Rodney blinked. That was it? That was actually it? “Are you kidding me?” he asked incredulously, rising. “I spent all that energy and time worrying that you’d been abused and weren’t telling anyone, and all that happened was that you fainted?”

Rodney took a threatening step towards John, but slipped on his own boxers. Down he flew, his legs flying out form under him. He caught the corner of his desk with his hip, quite painfully.

Not realizing the extent of his cut, Rodney never got stitches. And that’s how Rodney got his scar. The end.


Oh, sorry, were you wanting more of a resolution?


“My hip! My hip! It’s broken!”

“Rodney, it’s not broken, just bruised and cut.”

“It’s broken, I tell you!”

“Sure. I’m just going to get you a band-aid and then we can go back to bed.”

“And an ice-pack—hey! That’s it? We’re just going back to bed after all this?”

“Well, not just going back to bed.”

“…Oh, well, that’s all right then.”


The end. Really.
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