||River's Run My Flow Of Ideas
|Subject:||Coco and Cookie of the V kind! (and a meme thrown in, for good measure)|
Thanks so much to winter_elf and d_odyssey for the wonderful holiday V gifts of snowflake cookie and cup of coco! Now, if I only had those in real life.....mmmmmm.
Also, as you've probably noticed a couple of things if you stop my LJ on occassion. A) I never do memes, and B) my posting has dropped considerably.
The fact is, RL has cut into my writing time considerably over the past 6 months or so, which, honestly might not have been bad timing seeing as my muse decided to flutter off to parts unknown and only occassional rear her useful head. As to why I don't do memes? Not really sure. Probably a combination of laziness and being pretty sure that no one will care to have a response or even notice. But this one I've seen around lately dealt with fanfics and I thought maybe doing this meme would help lure the muse back by seeing what people found interesting,confusing, funny, etc, in my fics, so here it goes....
Pick a paragraph (or any passage 500-1000 words) from any fanfic I've written, and comment to this post with that selection. I will then give you a DVD commentary on that snippet: what I was thinking when I wrote it, why I wrote it in the first place, what's going on in the character's heads, why I chose certain words, what this moment means in the context of the rest of the fic, lots of awful puns, and anything else that you'd expect to find on a DVD commentary track.
My master fic list is at the top of the LJ and I just updated it the other day so it should contain everything I've written. I'll even attempt to answer questions related to the Geeks and Goons Guide series that pertain to Koschka's sections (or at least make up something that sounds good and possibly embarrassing for her. *G*) With RL, it may take a few days to get back to you with a response, but I promise I will.
|pebbles: Drop a pebble |
|From Military Vessels :|
“Hey! Careful!” Without a word to the other two, I was already closing the distance between us.
When they had lifted John’s body from the rubble, any relief I had felt at hearing he had a pulse vanished, because they had to have been mistaken.
“Easy, easy, careful of his neck,” the medic overseeing the move cautioned the rescue team.
His flight suit was still smoldering. Burnt, black patches on the suit, his hands red and blistered, one whole side of his face blood red. His body limp, arms dangling as they lifted him up over the rubble and to a waiting stretcher. There was no way a body like that could be alive, no fucking way.
“John,” I called hoarsely, then pushing past the workers to reach the backboard they were placing him on, “John!”
Up close he looked even worse, if that was possible, with skin ashen where it wasn’t bloody, blistered or bruised…which didn’t leave a lot. I watched the paramedics work, wishing like hell they were Carson. Because Carson wouldn’t let him die. Carson would do everything in his power and then some to save him. Hell, Carson was practically family, and these people were strangers. Strangers that didn’t know him, didn’t care about him, the real him, the true him, the amazing reason for my existence him. And there was no way in hell they could save him anyway because they had to have been wrong. And that kept running through my head… they have to be wrong, there is no way in hell he still has a pulse. Just look at the wreckage, just look at him…. just look at the way his finger twitched.
Oh, fuck, it had twitched! “John?”
And then his lips moved, silently forming my name.
(Because I love this beyond words).
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|Oh, good, you picked a part of one of my sections. *G* Okay, what to say… First, this is one of my fave of our cowritten stories that Kos and I did because it runs the gammet from ridiculous with Hermiod in boxer shorts to these great moments of h/c and angst. I mean, we whumped the hell out of John in this one. *G* But for that sort of whump to work, in my mind you need an equal amount of Rodney angst and worry (and vice versa if the tables are turned.) So, it's wonderful to hear this struck a chord with you, too.|
One thing Kos and I *try* to do in our fics is be as realistic as possible with the medical stuff without being *too* realistic. I mean, let’s face it, no body wants to think about catheters and the like. But, we were just talking the other day about bad medicine on tv shows and can’t these people at least use Google for Pete’s sake? That being said, one thing that has often struck me about interviews with people who have survived horrific accidents or seen loved ones survive them is that so many of them say something along the lines of, “When I first saw him, I knew there was no way he would survive.” People look *bad* when you pull them out of rubble. They’re bloody, burnt, bruised, pale, and I wanted the reader to see that. More than that, I wanted them to *feel* it along with Rodney.
Add to that Rodney’s inherent pessimism, and I felt his conviction that the medics made a mistake and John really was dead seemed true to Rodney’s character. The thing about Rodney, especially in the Geeks and Goons Guides, is that as arrogant and sure of himself as he is on the outside and in his science, he is very insecure in his personal life. I don’t mean that he doubts John’s devotion to him, because he doesn’t. He knows John loves him more than life itself (which causes a whole other set of worries for him.) But I think Rodney doubts his luck at finally having this happiness in his life and believes it’s just a matter of time before it all comes crashing down. In Rodney’s mind, seeing the condition John is in when they pull him out of the wreckage, this is that moment when he inevitably loses it all. (FYI, I think John feels the same way but approaches it from the opposite end of the spectrum, which I'll adress in a comment for one of linzi's scenes below.)
The nice thing about writing in first person is that you get to see some of Rodney’s thoughts that he would never say out loud. Like the bit about how Carson would have been able to save John but these strangers wouldn’t, and the following bit where he thinks about how these people didn’t know what John means to him and therefore wouldn’t try as hard to save him. Those are things Rodney would never tell anyone but I think he would be thinking them.
By the way, here’s your bit of trivia… the first person writing in this series is all Koschka’s fault. The first section I wrote for Arachnids was in third, but Koschka hates writing third so I had to rewrite it in first. The funny thing is, she didn’t even realize I had written in third until I read her second section that was in first person and I asked which we were going to use for the fic. She had just read mine as being in first since I tend to write a very thinly veiled third person. *G*
Edited at 2009-12-14 01:11 am (UTC)
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|From 'Infans Cursus Semper Fidelias'.|
I sat quickly as I looked out the window and noted the way the walls tilted in my view. My senses could deny the motion thanks to the inertial dampeners but my eyes told me the truth. McKay was barely keeping the Jumper airborne, much less doing it with any finesse. “Uh, Dr. McKay, maybe you should reconsider…”
“Quiet,” he snapped, “I’m trying to concentrate right now.”
The opening to the bay loomed above us and I leaned my body to the left as if that would steer the ship away from the wall that was creeping closer and closer on our right. “Over, over, over!”
“Major, you are not helping,” he gritted out as he overcompensated and we veered quickly toward the opposite wall.
“McKay, what the hell do you think you’re doing?” Colonel Sheppard’s voice broke through the radio.
“Oh, so you are still out there,” stated the man piloting the Jumper, and I used that term very, very loosely.
“Rodney, I told you, you are not…”
“Colonel, request permission to fly the Jumper to the Mainland,” I blurted out quickly as we passed through the opening, clearing the edge by mere inches.
“Lorne, what the hell is going on?” my CO demanded.
“Whoa!” The Jumper dropped like a stone so that we were skimming a few feet above the water.
McKay pulled it back up, but by the way that the horizon bobbed ahead of us, he was flying this thing like a roller coaster car.
“Sir, I really think you should let me fly Dr. McKay to the Mainland.”
“Dr. McKay doesn’t need to come to the Mainland, Major,” he told me matter-of-factly.
“Not arguing with you, Colonel. But he’s coming, and bringing me with him, whether you give him permission or not… Up! Pull her up!” Spray splattered the cockpit window as the Jumper actually clipped the top of a wave. McKay winced and directed the ship up with visible concentration. “I just think it might be a good idea if I was actually flying the Jumper instead of someone who could give Cheech and Chong a run for their money.”
“What?” The Colonel’s shocked voice rang in my ear. “Rodney, are you flying under the influence?”
“I may have taken a couple of painkillers before I left,” he admitted grudgingly.
“Oh, for the love of…” I could just picture Sheppard standing there, running his hand through his hair before throwing them up with a heaven-help-me shake of his head. “What the hell do you think you are doing?”
“Well, I never had any intention of flying the thing until you had to be so difficult. That’s why I brought Lorne along in the first place.” I let out a sound that I admit was part whimper, part groan, and complete conviction that the Jumper was going down this time and there was nothing I could do to stop it. McKay recovered his sense enough to recover the ship and I opened my eyes to see that we were still above water.
“Then let him fly the damn thing now,” the Colonel reasoned.
“Not until you promise to let him fly me to the Mainland and meet up with you and the rest of the team.”
“Damn it, McKay…”
“Colonel!” I called desperately as the horizon line was becoming more vertical by the second.
“Alright, alright! Just give the ship over to Lorne and you can come.”
“Thank you, Colonel,” he responded smugly even as I leapt to take the controls he was releasing. “We’ll see you in a few minutes. McKay out.”
He rose from the seat and I settled in with a sigh of utter relief. From his new position in the co-pilot seat, he shook his head with a small frown. “I swear that man can be so difficult to reason with sometimes.”
“Yeah,” I agreed even as I fought to even out my breathing. “I don’t know how you can stand it.”
The scientist completely missed my patronizing tone. “You don’t know the half of it.”
(because I totally love this bit - woozy determined McKay, exasperated Sheppard and slightly panicked Lorne ftw!!)
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|Wow, it’s been so long since I even thought about this fic I had to go back and skim through it to remember a few details. It’s always fun to see an old fic that has stuck with someone and I’m so happy this one did for you. I do remember when I wrote this, Lorne had only been in a couple of eps, but he really struck me in the ep Runner when he went head to head with Rodney and managed to hold his own. He had this vibe about him that for some reason really reminded me of an older brother stuck taking care of a younger sibling. You could just see his exasperation, yet he knew he had to keep his cool around this guy. That’s what I used as my model of Lorne for this fic.|
This scene that you picked really is a fun scene for the reasons you mentioned. Lorne is trapped between a rock and a hard place in the form of Sheppard and McKay and I wanted him to have to finagle his way between the two. He’s already in hot water with Sheppard, so he can’t risk pissing him off more, but his life is literally in McKay’s hands at the time. I actually thought he managed to do a good job with it. *G* And I loved playing on Rodney’s less than stellar piloting skills by making them even worse with the pain meds. Piloting the Jumpers seems to take a certain amount of concentration and I was intentionally making Rodney fly worse the more frustrated he became with Sheppard, as that was distracting him as much as the drugs.
The one thing that’s always bugged me about this fic is that I used the wrong first name for Lorne, and I’m fairly certain he’s actually Air Force and not a Marine. At the time, neither of those were established as Atlantis canon. I’m honestly not sure if they ever did establish his branch of service, although I learned later he first appeared on SG1, but they had Marine teams there, too, so it wasn’t impossible for him to be a Marine. I was going off of the fact that Sheppard was the only Air Force officer on Atlantis in Season 1, at the time it seemed that was a safe bet for Season 2, as well. I’m pretty sure I was wrong, though. As to his first name, I don’t think Evan was given until at least Season 3. When I wrote the fic, I searched on line to see if I could find it. I came across a group of Lorne fans who used Marcus, so I figured that would be as good a name for him as any.
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|Subject:||Love this idea! |
|Time:||2009-12-13 10:15 pm (UTC)|
|From Supplemental Education:|
Torren was almost fourteen months old, walking easily around their quarters and playing with one of the wooden pull-toys Halling had carved for him when the undulating worm-shaped toy became twisted around a chair leg. Before Teyla could walk across the room to help her son who was growing increasingly agitated and frustrated with his toy, he kicked it and exclaimed, "Fuck!"
Teyla gasped at the outburst, stopping in her tracks in surprise. Her child, her precious innocent baby boy, had just cursed in front of her and he couldn’t even put a sentence together. His entire vocabulary was limited to a handful of words and now that was one of them. And that had her eyes that were wide open in shock narrowing dangerously.
Swinging Torren up onto her hip, Teyla stormed down the hall to Rodney’s lab where she knew he and John would be playing video games. Once there, she pushed her son into John’s hands. John looked at her in confusion that only grew when she told him, "You will fix this."
"Fix what?" John held Torren out at arm’s length and looked him over from head to toe. "Nothing seems to be broken. Does it, buddy?"
John had been addressing the child he was holding but Rodney was engrossed with the game. "Does what?"
"Not you," John clarified, "the kid."
"What’s wrong with him?" Rodney asked, his body leaning to mimic the action of flying the spacecraft on the screen.
"Nothing that I can see," John admitted with a studious frown as he tilted Torren in much the same way Rodney was tilting the gaming control.
Before Teyla could explain exactly what she expected them to fix, Rodney’s animated craft crashed.
"Dammit, Sheppard! Why didn’t you tell me there was an asteroid belt on this level?"
"Ha!" John barked with a gloating smile. "That’s what you get for wasting all your time doing science stuff instead of practicing."
"Yes, ensuring you have potable water and power for the city are such a waste of my time." Rodney tossed the controls down in a huff and Torren provided his own assessment of the situation.
The two men’s eyes widened in surprise at the outburst and Teyla crossed her arms in self-satisfaction that they had obviously now seen the error of their ways and would do everything in their power to rectify the situation. Instead John and Rodney looked at each other for a second before they started snickering.
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|Oh, where to start on this one. *G*|
This fic really pulled on a lot of my own experiences as a mother. The section where Torren combines suckin’ fuckin’ is actually from my son when he was three years old and the follow up conversation my husband and I had when hubby tried to plead innocent as he’d never used that combination before. I think anyone who has been around children has had this sort of experience at one point or another, and as a parent, you don’t know whether to be appalled or laugh out loud (usually you wait until the child is out of ear shot before cracking up.) I learned to say shit from my great-grandmother as a baby and would sit in my highchair and sing it at the top of my lungs. My parents were mortified when we were out a restaurant even though people would come up and comment about how cute I was. But for someone who isn’t the parent, laughter is usually the first response, which is why John and Rodney’s reaction in the fic when they hear it is to start snickering.
Believe it or not, there were several things I was trying to accomplish with this fic besides just the humor associated with kids cursing. First, I wanted to really get across the team as family on a level that goes beyond the standard “I would die for you” that we see in the action/adventure genres. Family babysits, family plays games, family bickers, and gets angry with each other, and tries to make amends when they mess up. I like to think the down time defines them as family as much as the missions. And I really loved on the show seeing John and Rodney (and Ronon to a lesser degree) on their downtime and how… childish they could be. I mean, think about it; every one of them has put his life on the line for the city at one time or another. They’re constantly making life or death decisions, and yet they entertain themselves being big kids with the RC cars, video games, comic books, etc. I actually love that dichotomy about them and wanted to play that up a bit in this fic. So while you know the men in Teyla’s life would keep Torren safe physically, they probably are going to be the “fun” uncles who do things a parent would never condone. I also firmly believe Sheppard and McKay do use this sort of language and I find this sort of situation not only very believable for them, but it makes me grin just to think about it. *G*
Second, I wanted Teyla to come across as a truly three dimensional woman in this fic. I think the writers on the show didn’t flesh her out as well as they could have. They tried with the whole conflict over how to be a working mom during her pregnancy, but then they just dropped it. I’m not saying I wanted to see Torren and Kanaan in every ep, but there were some key moments where I really felt their absence. I firmly believe they should have been present for a scene or two of The Queen. How great would it have been to see Kanaan taking Torren out of the infirmary with the baby in tears because he was scared of his mother as Wraith? It would have pushed the emotions of why Teyla was doing the whole thing to a new level. But I digress… In this fic, I wanted her to come across with the needs that every woman, particularly a working mom, has. She wants adult time, romance, and yes, sex, and she’s willing to compromise and let the guys babysit so she can have it. She struggles with a child, her teammates/family, an overeager lover, and even a slightly insulted boss on a daily basis.
Finally, I have to confess that one of my favorite lines in the fic is in the section you chose. For some reason I really liked Rodney thinking John was calling *him* buddy and not Torren. *G*
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|And if I may offer a second one...|
This section in The Geek's Field Guide to Arachnids gets me Every. Single. Time. Both because of the emotion (gah!) and the running situation with the poor C-4 guy (or, I should say, the poor guy who never has the C-4.)
I would have let out a relieved sigh but I couldn’t spare the breath. I suddenly felt Carson’s hand on my chest. “Rodney, we still can’t get into the infirmary and the only way I can keep your airway open until we do is to intubate you.”
I nodded my understanding even as he told the medics, Teyla and John, “Hold him down, I don’t have anything to sedate him.”
He broke out the tube and regarded me with sympathetic eyes. “Sorry, lad, this is going to be rough.”
Well that was the fucking understatement of the century. As much as my brain knew that the rough plastic being shoved down my throat was the only chance I had to live, my body refused to listen. I felt weight of other bodies on my arms and legs as my limbs fought and flailed to get at the tube and yank the foreign object out of my windpipe. At the top of my head I could hear John calling my name in a frantically calming voice even as his hands held my head firmly in place so that Carson could work.
Carson squeezed my shoulder. “There, at least we’ll keep your breathing.”
I closed my eyes, fighting not to gag on the object and failing miserably. John still held my head in his hands, trembling fingers brushing at my hairline, pressing his lips to my forehead before resting his own on mine. I felt his thumb wipe away a tear that trailed down my temple from my clenched eyes and I focused on his voice whispering words of comfort and love and soothing. And after a time, my body finally stopped bucking and with a final caress, John lifted his head from mine.
“I want C-4 on the infirmary door,” the quake in his intonation as subtle as the touch of his fingers, “and I want it done yesterday.”
“But, sir, I’m a medic,” came a familiar voice and protest. “I don’t carry C-4.”
Now was that fucking irony or what?
Once he managed to straighten out just who was in possession of the explosive, John leaned near my ear. “I’ll be right back,” he promised and he was gone. Then the hands were back, lifting me onto the gurney. A detonation echoed through the corridors, and Teyla squeezed my right hand in encouragement at the sound even as Carson sighed as they walked beside me as I was rolled down the hallway. Halfway to the infirmary, John’s hand enclosed my left again and he never let go even after we arrived, after Carson started the IV of epinephrine and after the sedative started taking effect. And the last thing I knew before I drifted off to oblivion was the feel of John’s fingers tracing the lines of my palm.
. . . and later, John's POV
“Jesus Christ,” I complained. “I just wanted to stop and grab some lunch. Sitting at a cafeteria table isn’t that much exertion.”
He pointed to the edge of our bed and repeated, “Sit.”
There are some times a Colonel has to bow to a higher command…or face doing without for a long time. I sat. Rodney eased my scrub top off and frowned. I looked down to see bruising over my sternum. “Hey,” I murmured. “You saved my life, Supergeek. A few bruises are worth it.”
But it wasn’t as easy as all that, was it? I’d held him down. I’d held Rodney down while Beckett shoved a tube down his throat and I refused…I absolutely refused to acknowledge that each breath could be his last. I’d told him everything was fine, that he wasn’t going anywhere without me…and when that didn’t work, I told him other things. Private things. And if Beckett heard them, he pretended he didn’t.
Then I blew the doors to the infirmary and took a good part of the wall out too. I held Rodney’s hand as epinephrine brought him back from a teetering edge and kept on holding when a sedative took him down to a peaceful sleep he more than deserved. I waited until I was sure he was thoroughly out before I went to the bathroom and puked up the breakfast neither of us had eaten.
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|I have to tell you, I love Arachnids because it was my first collaboration with Koschka. We decided I would write Rodney’s POV and she would write John’s. In later fics we started sketching out plots a little more, but for this first one it was much more of a round robin where I wrote a section, then she wrote a section, then would send it back and I’d have to build on the plot from there. So, we really never knew where the story would go until we got there. We did know we wanted to whump them both…severely… and the allergic reaction seemed the best way to go with Rodney, especially with them cut off from the infirmary. Having used all of Rodney’s Epipens to restart John’s heart earlier just put them in more dire straits. Like I said above in the comments to Spacedmonkey’s section from Military Vessels, we try to be as medically accurate as possible without going overboard and Koschka’s medical background definitely came in handy. I remember we discussed intubation and how it always looks so easy on television/movies when in reality people’s natural instinct is to fight it and they rarely have time to sedate a person before they do it, which is why I put that aspect in the fic. Plus, I loved the image of John talking Rodney down from the pain and the panic while fighting to hold himself together for Rodney. I think Koschka picked up on that same emotion brilliantly in John’s POV section where he discusses doing just that before finally giving in to his own emotions and fears once Rodney is safe and throwing up.|
Another thing about John’s POV is how it does contrast the difference between John and Rodney and their responses to disaster. Like I said with Military Vessels, Rodney tends to let his pessimism show, but John seems to go into denial and absolutely refuses to let himself believe Rodney could die. I think that panned out as being accurate with canon on the show down the road, too. It’s the exact same emotion from the two and comes from the same set of fears and insecurities, but each man portrays it from opposite ends of the spectrum. I believe I speak for Koschka on this, too, that for us, that’s one of the reasons they mesh so well as a couple, like two sides to the same coin. I also thought she did a great job of giving John’s thoughts on what we saw from Rodney’s POV earlier while paralleling what both of them had been through that day and acknowledging that the hardest thing for both of them wasn’t his own injuries, but watching the person he loved suffer through his.
Finally, I have to say that the line where John talks about saying things, *private* things, to Rodney is one of my all time favorites from this series. Kos and I made a conscious decision from the beginning that the boys were going to stay the boys throughout the series. They fell in love snarking at each other and that wouldn’t change just because they were married. As repressed as both of them are, neither of us could picture either of them saying something like “I love you” out loud on a regular basis. I think, later on in the series, we had them thinking it more often, and at one point John asked Rodney if he loved him when he proposed, but the image of them saying mushy things to each other all the time just seemed very out of character for them both. And they are both so secure in that love it just doesn’t *need* to be said. So that use of the term “private things” has always hit the nail on the head for me in regards to John. The second thing I loved about it is the follow up about if Carson heard, he never said anything. Carson and Radek were always big players in this series and I think that line speaks volumes about Carson as both a physician and a friend.
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|Time:||2009-12-14 01:34 am (UTC)|
|From "Road Trip"|
The second order of business had been to introduce Teyla and Ronon to the joys of American fast food. Torren was obviously hungry and Teyla had brought plenty of healthy snacks for him while Rodney went over the rental paperwork. But there was something downright barbaric about eating whole grain crackers and fresh fruit cubes on a road trip, even if it was for a one and a half year old child. The kid needed preservative laden meat and deep fried potatoes doused in about five ketchup packets and a useless plastic toy to play with in between bites. So, as soon as he had the keys to their new ride, he’d taken them to the McDonald’s drive thru. Of course that had lead to Rodney having to interpret the entire menu to Teyla item by item. Ronon had simply asked for the sandwich with the double meat and cheese and the funky sauce with an extra large order of fries and one of those chocolate ice cream drinks, which led Rodney to the conclusion that Sheppard had already acquainted their Satedan teammate with the glories of Mickey D’s. Teyla on the other hand had agonized over every detail until the cars behind them started honking.
"Look, just get Torren the Happy Meal," Rodney had finally insisted impatiently. "It’s an Earth tradition that every child has a Happy Meal at least once in his life."
"What is so happy about these meals?" she’d asked.
Rodney had frowned at her in the rearview mirror. "Well, for one thing, if you order it, the man in the car behind us may decide not to attack us with a crowbar to get us moving through the line."
"I am simply trying to make an appropriate choice for Torren’s lunch," Teyla had insisted.
"There are no appropriate choices at McDonald’s," McKay had retorted. "That’s the whole point of eating here. You just randomly pick something because it all tastes the same and is all horrifically unhealthy."
"Then why would we choose to eat the food they prepare?" Teyla asked in confusion.
"Because it’s the American way!" Rodney snapped. "And we’re in America now and by refusing to eat this food you are insulting Sheppard’s way of life that he puts his life on the line every damn day to defend."
"I am very respectful of this American way of life," Teyla had defended. "In fact, there are many aspects of American popular culture with which Torren is already acquainted. Dr. Zelenka provided him with several DVDs from his private collection featuring the small, blue creatures… the Smuffs?"
"Smurfs," Rodney corrected with a roll of his eyes. "And they aren’t even American, they’re Belgian."
Ronon perked up. "Like the waffles?"
"And Dr. Goossens in xenobiology, neither of which are here now. What is here," Rodney pointed out with a wave of his arm, "is the large menu board with your many choices for lunch."
Teyla ignored the prompt to order. "Regardless of their country of origin, Torren enjoys them." With a slight frown, she added, "I must admit that I am a bit disturbed by the apparent lack of females of their species and what that must mean for the lone woman in their village. Although on a certain level, I can easily relate to her dilemma."
Rodney had watched Teyla sigh in a bizarre sororal bond with Smurfette as the lone woman on the team. Having finally had enough, he had demanded. "Just order the smurfing Happy Meal and something for yourself so we can get on the road."
"Maybe you need a Happy Meal, McKay," Ronon had told him from the passenger seat with a warning glare of his own.
What Rodney really needed, he decided at that moment, was Sheppard to help wrangle their teammates, because this whole trip was kind of a boondoggle from the beginning and the majority of it had been finagled by John. That meant the entire ridiculous argument he had with Teyla was, in essence, Sheppard’s fault.
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|Although there are so many to choose from this one has always been my favorite|
Fall from grace:
So, have you come to curse me as well?” I ask.
Rodney has already been here this morning, threatening to have my medical license revoked in three countries (although I explained I never intended to practice medicine in Canada) and two galaxies (although I’ve never seen a medical review board in Pegasus). He then questioned the reputability of my sheep’s skin, and proceeded to discuss the irony that the printing of said diploma involved the use of that particular barnyard animal, even asking if I had been intimate with the one used for my own document. After tiring of that line of insults, he moved on to my lineage going all the way back to the Ancient that had passed on the hated gene, at which point I informed him that I was in entire agreement with his assessment of that particular ancestor. Satisfied that we had reached common ground, we then made plans to meet later for lunch. Fortunately, he never mentioned the little personal lock I had squirreled safely away. Whether intentionally, accidentally, or coming to his better senses, I may never know.
John grimaces shyly and lowers his voice, “Actually, you were right. I do feel better now that I’ve had some sleep. Just don’t let anyone know I said that.”
“Your secret’s safe with me,” I tell him with a wink. “But I do apologize that I had to be so sneaky about it.”
“Believe me, I’ve learned my lesson, no taking candy from strangers or Scottish physicians.” He steps into my office and I can see he holds a piece of paper folded in half. He seems to consider it for a second then hands it forward. “Speaking of apologies, I was wondering if you could hold on to this for me.”
I take the paper, noting the simply written ‘McKay’ on the outside fold. “Just give it to him when…well, when the time is right.”
I start to protest, to tell him it won’t be necessary, but I know it will sound hollow because we both know how necessary it may be. I nod and he seems content and turns to leave. “Major,” I call as he reaches the door, “I’m meeting Rodney in an hour for lunch. Would you care to join us?”
“If I can,” he tells me and I have a feeling we will not see him there. “Thanks, Doc,” he says then leaves.
I open my desk drawer, intending to place his note on top of the one with his own name on the outside that Rodney just gave me this morning, but I hesitate. I know I shouldn’t, but I cannot resist opening the folded sheet. Its funny, you know, how time isn’t the only thing that is relative, how something small can really be large. Rodney said more in one moment of sleep deprived insanity than he did in that entire hour of video that was sent back to Earth. And the Major? He hadn’t had a personal message to send back to Earth at all, instead he is leaving one here. His note is one word. One single word written across a map of the southwestern United States, the route from Colorado Springs to Las Vegas highlighted in yellow. The word ‘Sorry’ is printed in a neat black hand and nothing more.
I refold the note and put it away in my desk, speaking a silent prayer that I won’t have to deliver either note, knowing the chances are good that I won’t, but for the horribly wrong reasons. I know that sometimes the choice is out of my hands, I know that sometimes even the most deserving fall from grace, fall from the sky, fall into the gray murk between necessary and heroic. I know it and yet I can’t let go. I can’t let go of the images of young men dying bravely, and friends saying goodbye in their own small way, and the fear of what is to come. And yet, I also can’t let go of the hope because sometimes, that is necessary too. I can only pray that this time, it will also be enough.
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|I’ll confess that Fall From Grace is my favorite POV story that I wrote. I really enjoyed getting into Carson’s head, especially at this particular time period in the series. I don’t think anyone else could have conveyed that combination of dread and refusal to give up hope for a miracle like Carson could, although I think the others were feeling the same way. Letters From Pegasus really gave us a glimpse inside the heads of the characters and hit me as a very bitter sweet episode. This fic was about capturing that feeling with these three characters while expanding on the stress, fear, and anxiety everyone was under. Also, the episode was about saying goodbye to loved ones back on Earth and I wanted to explore the flip side of that in saying goodbye to the people they’d come to care about on Atlantis. I think saying goodbye to those people standing beside you is, in some ways, even harder than saying goodbye to those back on Earth because if you do, you’re in essence conceding defeat. I think Rodney was really struggling with that conflict in wanting to tell Sheppard how important he was to him and how worried he was for them all without coming right out and admitting it.|
The thing I loved about Season 1 was how the characters… John, Rodney, and Carson in particular… grew and evolved. John grew into the leader he always had the potential to be, Rodney saw the importance of having people in his life, and Carson saw some atrocities, such as the Hoffan mess, that caused him to harden a bit. Actually, I’m not sure harden is the right word, but it affected him deeply, and that’s something I was trying to get across in this fic. The other thing I tried to convey in this fic is the friendships between the three and how they’re all a little different but still very meaningful to each man. I thought the bit with Rodney threatening Carson for drugging him and using every form of insult and legal action he could think of and Carson simply riding it out until they could make lunch plans really summed up the nature of their friendship (that and the sheep jokes *G*). Then there’s John reluctantly admitting Carson was right about sneaking drugs to him, too. And finally, John and Rodney who refuse to admit to themselves or each other how close they really are until it comes time to say goodbye. I also thought Carson was the perfect person for both of them to use as their messenger for those final goodbyes. But I kept thinking, chances are, if the Wraith overtook the city, no one was going to be around to deliver those messages, which is why Carson thinks that same thought. John and Rodney would have know that, too, so by leaving those notes, I think they were showing a bit of faith that someone would make it out alive.
The story was also kind of the culmination of the series up until that point and if you hadn’t read the entire series, I don’t think the note John left for Rodney would hold the same emotional impact. Actually, reading over it again, it took me a second to remember that the whole promised trip to Vegas was just my own personal fanon. *G* The whole POV series started out with trying to write Sentry Duty and struggling with making it something more than a straight forward h/c fic. When I finally wrote it in first person from Ford’s POV, the whole thing sort of snapped into place. I also really liked getting into different character’s heads; it turned into a personal challenge for me to find the voice of each character I wrote, but also made them a ton of fun to write. It’s funny, because when I finally wrote a fic from John and Rodney’s first person POV with Triptych I was terrified I’d get it completely wrong and yet they were the characters I enjoyed the most.
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|Subject:||Junior Mint (no LJ account) |
|Time:||2009-12-14 08:41 pm (UTC)|
|I love this story and always wondered where you came up with the dancing metaphor: |
I’d never wanted Rodney to have to dance in the first place, but it was the nature of the business. You couldn’t do what we did without getting in the groove now and again. As much as I would have kept him off the dance floor if that had been a possibility, I’d have been fooling myself if I really thought I could have avoided it.
I considered what he said with a small shrug. “Maybe we’ll just learn a few new moves.”
The truth was, I’m not sure I ever really wanted to dance myself. But I’d found out early on that I was good at it, I excelled at it, and it’s hard to turn away from a calling like that. But all these years with Rodney had shown I was also good at something else as well as being good for someone else, and in the long run, that had ended up being good for me.
If that meant giving up the style of dancing I had learned working for Michael, then so be it. After all, Dr. Rodney McKay was no longer a multimillionaire-industrialist-genius, so maybe that meant he no longer needed a bodyguard in the traditional sense. But Rodney and I were adaptable, to say the least. And as long as our new employer let me keep McKay as my dancing partner, I was good… hell, I was great.
And if Rodney could finagle a few trips to Vegas into our new assignment, I had no doubt we’d have that home theater system back in no time.
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|Subject:||Re: Junior Mint (no LJ account) |
|Time:||2009-12-15 01:51 am (UTC)|
|The dancing metaphor is kind of a two-fold answer. The first part revolves around the Sheppard McKay friendship in the story. John is very aware of what he does for a living in this fic. In his mind, he’s an assassin, plain and simple. And while he knows he’s good at his job, it’s not something he’s exactly proud of. It was my way of paralleling the self-doubt/failure issues Sheppard has in canon, particularly regarding his failure with saving Holland in Afghanistan and the black mark that caused on his record. Rodney, however, believes just the opposite about John. Yes, he knows John’s killed people, but he also believes it’s just part of their profession and that Sheppard is a good person. Therefore, he refuses to use terms like assassin to describe what Sheppard does for a living. So, I needed something for Rodney to call it besides assassination or killing, that’s why he used the term dance instead. I actually liked the term because of how dancing and spying have a lot of parallels. Each involves at least two people and there’s that implication of motion and action and give and take. In dance you’re trying to anticipate the next step of the person you’re dancing with, in spying you’re trying to stay one step ahead of your adversaries, so it just felt right when I fell upon the term.|
The actual title of the fic and the idea of using dance as the metaphor came from the title of a song by Mindless Self Indulgence. For some reason, when I heard it, besides being a really kick ass song, the whole concept of Never Wanted to Dance (with Nobody but You) just seemed to fit the story and the characters perfectly. I don’t think either of them appreciated the concept of being on a Hybrid team until they started working together, hence they never wanted to “dance” with another person until they met each other. But the irony of that pairing was they finally saw themselves through the eyes of someone else and both started to realize that they were better people than they ever gave themselves credit for being. So while they liked working together, they didn’t necessarily like the work they were doing for Michael. Although, to be honest, I think staying together was more important for both of them than their moral dilemmas over their work. If neither of them had been in danger from Michael, they probably would have stayed right where they were. That whole scene you chose was John’s way of saying no matter what they’d stay partners.
The song itself, other than the title, has nothing to do with the story, but it does have a great line about being too cool for the second grade, and I couldn’t resist having Rodney say that line at one point in the story. *G*
I have to admit, I was surprised how well this fic was received seeing as it was an AU, but I really enjoyed writing the h/c at the beginning when John was poisoned. The funny thing is that Koschka had been talking to me about what a great movie Casino Royale was with Daniel Craig (which I hadn’t seen at the time) and we were throwing around the idea of how fun it would be to have John and Rodney as spies, which was where the idea for the story came from in the first place. When I wrote the scene where John was poisoned by the martini and Koschka read it, she told me that the poisoning scene was great in the movie. I had to ask her what scene she was talking about since I hadn’t seen it yet. She’d assumed I’d based the scene in my fic on the one in the movie when it had just been a total coincidence as I knew nothing about the specifics of the movie. I just needed to disable John and being poisoned by Rodney’s drink as he taste tested it seemed a convenient way to do it… and of course it had to be a martini since it was a spy fic and Bond always drank martinis. *G*
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|Oh, this has me sad :( I have been re-reading your Geeks and Goons series (for some reason, that has become my finals tradition for the past three years or so), and it makes me sad that it looks like you're not writing any more...|
I'm not doing the commentary thing because I have my last final tomorrow and um, reading is about the only thing I can justify doing... and I shouldn't even do that, but I just wanted to send you my best wishes for sorting out all that crazy RL stuff! I hope your muse finds her way back to you because she is AWESOME!
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|Well the lack of Geeks and Goons Guides has nothing to do with my absent muse, it has to do more with Koshcka not having time for fanfic now that her professional writing takes up all her time. So, in a way, it's a good thing! (Although I do miss writing with her terribly.) But I am still writing, it's just very hard to find the time, and without doing it as much as I used to, it seems the ideas aren't coming as easily as they once did. Hopefully that will change, though. But it's nice to hear that the Guides are helping make it through finals yet again. *G*|
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|Subject:||Could I ask another? |
|Time:||2009-12-15 07:26 pm (UTC)|
|From "The Pegasus Device" (having now found it)|
“Maybe you just didn’t try hard enough,” he challenged, pulling his gun, and firing straight into Rodney’s chest.
I screamed… something. Maybe not even a real word, maybe just an inarticulate sound, because nothing seemed real anymore. There was no goddamn way that was Rodney, staggering back two steps before his knees folded under him and he was facedown on the floor. There was no way the exit wound had ripped through the back of his blue suit jacket to leave a ragged, darkening hole. And there was no way that was really his blood pooling on the floor.
I was on my knees beside him, rolling him over, calling his name even as I placed my hand over the spreading red on his shirt. “Rodney, Rodney, Rodney… look at me, look at me… okay?” Blue eyes tracked to mine, his mouth silently trying to form my name. “Stay with me, okay? Don’t… don’t leave me. You have to stay. You have to…” And his eyes were dimming before my very own and there wasn’t a fucking thing I could do to stop it. “Rodney!”
Behind me I could hear Beckett begging, “Let me go! Let me use the device! I can save him!”
“Only one person can save him now. Isn’t that right, Detective Sheppard?”
“Give it to me,” I croaked out, my hand reaching for the device Beckett had used to heal his arm while the other refused to let go of McKay. “Give it to me!”
Radek snapped out of his shock and pressed it into my hand and the stone blazed to life so strongly at my touch that I actually had to squint against the brightness. But I had no idea what the hell I was supposed to do with it. I could feel it wanting to heal, asking me what it needed to do, and I turned my pleading toward Kolya. “I don’t know how to use it.”
“You better learn pretty quickly, Detective,” was all he told me.
“Concentrate, lad.” Carson’s calm voice cut through the sheer terror that had overtaken me. “Have it find the damage and repair it. It will do most of the work, just guide it.”
Doing as he directed, I felt the room tilt as I realized I was following the entry of the bullet. Bones were shattered, they need to be fixed. And just like that, they started mending. His lung was collapsing, it needed to be repaired. Blood, too much blood, something’s bleeding, make it stop. Flesh torn, make it better, make him whole. Don’t let him die. That’s all I could think─ do whatever you have to do, just don’t let him die.
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|Subject:||Re: Could I ask another? |
|Time:||2009-12-16 03:49 pm (UTC)|
|My other favorite River fic of all time. Yet another one I'd love to see a series in that universe. The most brilliant and amazing AU fic I've ever read. And Rodney's "Hello, beautiful" was so indicative of the vernacular of the time. LOVED it. |
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||River's Run My Flow Of Ideas