|To Everything, There is a Price
Author: Cypher PM
He'd saved the universe, it just cost him his friends and Atlantis...but maybe not everyone. Slash, AURated: Fiction T - English - Drama - Rodney M. & John S. - Words: 2,037 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 7 - Published: 12-03-06 - Status: Complete - id: 3272658
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The view from the hotel penthouse was exquisite, as Rodney expected it to be. It was the best, the very best in all the United States. The President had personally picked it out just for him, and was footing the bill, as a thank you. Rodney was at the window, watching the stars come out and holding a bottle of champagne by its neck--one of the most expensive in the world, courtesy of the SGC Oversight Committee. He hadn't opened it yet.
He didn't feel like celebrating.
One year. He'd achieved all his dreams in one year. He'd saved the world--hell, he'd saved the universe. He'd gotten medals and gifts and a Nobel Prize in physics…and that was just Earth. The Asgard weren't naming a ship after him, they were naming a building. Their Science and Technology Research facility, to be precise. And there were other worlds where his name was praised, where they left gifts and women and other such things by the Stargate because he had done it. He had saved the universe.
All it had cost was his friends, his job, and Atlantis.
Setting the bottle back in the wine stand, Rodney shuffled over to the king size bed--the hotel bought a brand new mattress that they swore would fix his back in just one night--and sat on it heavily. He was still wearing the tuxedo from the afternoon ceremonies, his bowtie undone and hanging limply around his neck, jacket open. The rental company told him to keep it, it was the least they could do to thank him.
He was tired--no, he was exhausted. He just…couldn't sleep. He should be ecstatic, and on some levels he was. But…Atlantis.
"I'm sorry, Rodney." Weir's voice was a mix of rage and sorrow. "I can't…after what you did….I need you…"
Rodney smiled sadly. He knew the price. "My things are already packed. The Daedalus is going to bring it back to Earth after I go through the Gate." She gave him a tight nod, and he left.
Rodney scrubbed his eyes with the heels of his hands and toed off his shoes before turning enough so that he could fall back on the bed and not have his feet hanging over the edge. It was odd, suddenly being alone again. On Atlantis, he'd had friends, a family. Now he had nothing. Sure, he had people who trailed him, people throwing themselves at him…but no one he wanted. Atlantis personnel wouldn't touch him, and the SGC, though complicit in the plan, wasn't overly fond of him right now.
He'd do it again, though. He could still see the digital diagrams, the three galaxies: Milky Way, Ida, Pegasus. He could still see the haze of red that covered almost all of Pegasus, half of the Milky Way, and a fifth of Ida. And it was spreading, a virus, a disease that couldn't be stopped, not through talking or medicine. Some good had come from it, of course, but nothing that they wanted to cheer about.
"I don't believe it…"
Rodney ignored the new dialing technician and took a seat at the sensor array panel, running a diagnostic. "This can't be happening. The odds are-"
"They're in our galaxy now, Rodney." John was staring at the main screen in the control tower as well, tense. "The Ancients weren't ascended when they fought the Wraith. These guys…"
"Yes, but how could they destroy Hive ships so quickly? They don't even HAVE ships!"
"That we know of," Weir cautioned him.
Teyla was frowning. "Many people will welcome these strangers. By bringing about the destruction of the Wraith, they have secured the allegiance of almost every world."
The wormhole disengaged a moment later, and Lorne stalked up the steps, only taking a minute to look at the sensor display before turning to Weir. "I'm afraid you were right, ma'am. The Genii have gone Ori."
The door opened and closed, and Rodney simply stayed on the bed. The front desk had specific orders to only allow one person up. Rodney really didn't expect to see him. Yes, he'd come back with Rodney on Caldwell's order to open the Gate to Earth for an unscheduled immediate trip, but they hadn't seen each other since disembarking from the ramp. Granted, Rodney had been busy working with the Asgard and the people at the SGC…
He felt the bed dip slightly, and finally turned his head to the side. He didn't know how this would end. "Hi."
"Hi," was the reply, no drawl or teasing note. Just a simple reply. "I saw you on TV."
"You didn't look happy."
"Didn't you hear, Colonel?" Rodney lifted his head to look into the green eyes of his ex-friend. "I saved the universe. I'm so overcome with emotion and joy that they had to cut my acceptance speech because I was barely coherent."
"And not because it lasted thirty minutes."
Rodney dropped his head back to the very soft hypoallergenic pillow. "What do you want." He was tired.
"I never told you how angry I was." The voice was just a tiny bit softer, now.
"You didn't have to."
"Rodney!" John grabbed Rodney's shoulder and spun him around before slamming him against the wall. "What the fuck were you thinking?! You could've gotten Telya and Ronon and who knows how many others killed!"
"I was careful! I wouldn't risk hurting anyone, you know that! I spent days--weeks!--refining the code and making sure no one else would get hurt! And frankly, the only one who has the right to be pissed is Elizabeth because I told her, she said no, and I did it anyways!"
"She's furious!" John poked two fingers into his shoulder. "And so am I! God damn it, where's the line, Rodney?! You blew up a freakin' solar system-"
"Five-sixths," Rodney corrected automatically.
"-and now this! What if it had backfired?! What if it affected everyone this time?! What if-"
"What if the sun suddenly exploded! What if there was a goa'uld in our midst! What if those fanatics finally got their hands on us and burned us at the stake!" Rodney pushed back, shoving John--no, Sheppard, away. "I wasn't going to let them hurt anyone else, not when there was a chance I could end it!"
"So it was about Miko? It was about revenge?!"
"No! Yes!" Rodney rubbed the back of his neck. "I don't know! But she was only the first, and if we let things continue, she wasn't going to be the last and I wasn't going to stand aside and let it happen!"
"But this…you did this wrong! You broke the rules, you broke our trust!"
And Rodney thought back to all the times Sheppard had done the same to him, broke the rules to finish the mission, to do what was right. Each time, Rodney supported him in the end, because it usually was the right thing to do. And now the shoe was on the other foot, and Rodney was left without support. So he growled. "Fuck you!"
And stormed off.
"You did it wrong, Rodney."
"I know, Colonel."
The other man sighed, then swiveled around and lay down beside Rodney, though there was still a good foot between them. "You can never go back."
"I know that." He'd know the very instant he'd stepped into that lab and stolen the nanites. He could lose more than his life, he could lose everything. But it was for the greater good. He'd never understood that sacrificial concept before Atlantis, and he suspected there was some irony in losing the city while making the ultimate personal sacrifice.
"That's why you didn't tell me, isn't it. You were trying to protect me."
Silence reigned between them for a few minutes, then the messy-haired man sat up and looked down at Rodney. "You…" The Colonel hesitated, then glanced towards the glass doors that led to the incredibly huge balcony with a hot tub. "You did good, okay? You saved the universe and…and we are proud of you."
"You just don't trust me."
"You went mad scientist on us, Rodney." The Colonel flopped back down. "You programmed those things to seek out Priors and fry their brains."
The idea was so simple, so elegant, that Rodney had actually let out a small maniacal laugh as he realized that it was…so easy. Yes, the nanites were blank at the moment, but a little reprogramming, and he could have them up and running again. He had to reset the countdown, of course. Maybe five minutes instead of hours after infection.
And he had the SGC's notes on Priors. They had slightly different EM fields that he could use to have the nanites hone in on. The brain scans were particularly useful. The initial programming just caused a blood clot in the brain, but a few adjustments, and he could actually cause multiple blood clots, each designed to hemorrhage just enough so that the damage to the brain was irreparable.
It would be painful, and possibly very messy, but it would work. He could feel it. Plus he had Carter's notes on how to tie in all Stargates at once. In theory, they just had to get enough nanties, then dial every Stargate in existence in all three galaxies…and poof, no more Priors. No more Ori threat. Just simple Jaffa and bounty hunters and a few straggling Goa'uld. He had to smirk at the fact that a weapon obviously designed to hurt the Ancients in some way was going to be used to repel an enemy of the Ancients.
"We were losing, Colonel. You're a military man. You use whatever assets you have available."
"I'm not going to argue again." The Colonel rolled onto his side. "Rodney, look at me." Rodney hesitated, then tilted his head just enough. "I'm not going back to Atlantis."
"You have to."
"The Wraith are gone. The Priors can't enter the galaxy without dying. The Daedalus makes regular trips between the galaxies and finding a ZPM will be a lot easier with only the Genii on their back." Sheppard propped his head up on his hand. "Weir…she won't let you back. The SGC, I'm told, only wants you on a consulting basis."
"They're afraid I'll build a doomsday device." He wouldn't. He did what he did only because the Ori were winning the war, on three different fronts.
"But Atlantis was home to you." Rodney was silent at that. "It's my home, too. And I'm still angry--believe me, you don't want to know what I did to one marine--but I'm not letting you go through this alone."
"I told you. You didn't look happy." Sheppard's eyes focused their gaze towards the sheets. "And Atlantis won't be home…without you."
Rodney looked the Colonel over. He'd thought he lost everyone on Atlantis. And on Earth…even Colonel Carter wouldn't return his calls. He was famous and well-respected…but he had resigned himself to a life alone with many cats. Colonel Shep--John was willing to be with him. Rodney doubted it was forever, but even some time would be nice.
Rolling off the bed, Rodney moved to the wine stand, picked up the bottle and the two champagne flutes on the kitchenette counter, and came back to the bed, offering one to John before setting his own down and wrestling with the bottle. A few minutes later both of them had full glasses, and Rodney raised his. "To saving the universe."
"May we never have to again." John started drinking, and Rodney thought that maybe, just maybe, he hadn't lost everything after all.