John had started to think of it as "our place" – that certain spot on that certain pier where they needed to think or to talk or to be alone. All four of them had taken it over at one time or another, but it usually ended up just being him and Rodney.
And sure enough, there he was. Wearing the leather jacket he'd borrowed from John that hellish night when he was sick and had never given back, his shoulders hunched against the cold breeze blowing off the Bay.
No, wait, John mentally corrected himself. That was too deep a hunch to be from the wind alone. Something was definitely on his mind.
Without a word, John walked over and dropped down beside Rodney. Rodney looked over at him and then returned his gaze to the breathtaking sight of the towers silhouetted in the night, with the ghostly outline of the Golden Gate Bridge a tiny mirage in the background. "You forgot the beer."
"So, sue me." He leaned back onto his hands and watched the gulls creel around the towers for a long moment. "So what's on your mind?"
"You got a few millennia?"
Ouch. "That bad, huh?"
"That many." He curled a little deeper into himself. "Too many."
John studied him, then slowly nodded as he remembered what day this was. "This was the day we lost Grodin, wasn't it?" Seeing Rodney flinch, he knew he'd hit it. "And then a year from that date – nearly exactly --"
"Carson," Rodney breathed. "Having him back --- helps a little."
"You still blame yourself?"
"I should have gone fishing with him."
"Then Teyla might have died."
"I shouldn't have left Peter on that satellite." He hugged himself. "I shouldn't have given Brandon that gun. I shouldn't have been so damned arrogant in thinking I could control something the freaking Ancients couldn't!"
"Rodney." John nudged his shoulder. "How much sleep have you gotten?"
"What kind of a question is that?"
He shook his head slowly. "Maybe a couple of hours."
John sighed. "Okay, up and at 'em." He hauled Rodney bodily to his feet.
"Shut it. You're overtired and things are getting to you that aren't your fault."
"Well, that's the only thing that was. And it was uninhabited."
Rodney leaned into John's shoulder as they passed through the threshold that led them back into the city. ".....should'a still gone fishin'..." he slurred.
"Not your fault. And if Carson hears you say that, he'll kick your ass."
That surprised a huff of a laugh out of Rodney. Then his knees did a slow buckle and John gently followed him to the ground. Rodney petted his face awkwardly. "....good....friend.....Arthur." And with a grin, and a huff of air, he was asleep.
John shook his head, clamping his lips together to keep the wild giggles in. By now that had become a running joke, and it never failed to make him laugh. When he got himself under control, he tapped his radio. "Sheppard to Dex."
"Rodney's passed out in corridor 24, level 28. Can you help me get him to bed?"
"On my way." He heard laughter in the Satedan's voice. "Worry himself into a snit again?"
"Blaming himself for all the deaths."
"Yeah, sounds about like him." He heard that in stereo as Ronon rounded the corner.
John blinked. "You were close!"
"Amelia lives five doors down from here." He grunted as he lifted Rodney like a child. "Let's go."
And John followed the broad back, grinning from ear to ear. It was a good thing Rodney was asleep.
As it was, Ronon might never let him live it down.....
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