Author's Note: So this was not what I was planning on writing- honestly I don't know what I planned on writing. But this was interesting and so I thought you all might like it.
Summary: A peak into the past life of Rodney McKay.
He used to smile a lot when he was young. His laughter was intoxicating. He could tell a joke without trying and his wit was unbeatable. His parents always thought he was happy; his teachers always saw him with a large group of friends; his sister was the only one who understood what he went through every day.
His parents weren't bad people. They never beat either child; they always had food on the table, clothes on their backs, and a roof over their heads. They didn't come from money, but they had enough to get by on. His sister was three years younger than him, but they were close. Closer than most brothers and sisters their age. She didn't annoy him too often and he left her and her friends alone. They had an oddly intimate relationship that suited them both just fine.
Rodney was a genius. If his teacher knew it, he or she would also know that Rodney was a pain in class. Only classes that he found challenging did he devote any time in class to. He listened and he corrected teachers. The class found it amazing only to the point where it got annoying. The teacher only found it cute for so long. Always giving the correct answer stopped him from raising his hand after a while. That was why few teachers knew his potential after a while. If a student were to know it, it was only because they had been around during primary school when his intelligence shown and he skipped two grades. It could perhaps have been during junior high just before he stopped displaying his intellect. After the science fair, after he became too bored, after his teachers stopped finding his quirks cute, after his brilliance drove away his friends.
He lived in a nice house, his mother was kind and could cook, his kid sister wasn't too bad to live with, his father was some kind of government worker, his allowance was higher than most of the others at school, and his grades were impressive without trying. He smiled, his eyes lit up, he laughed and it sounded beautiful, because everyone thought he was supposed to. Because no one would have understood what would make a kid like Rodney not smile.
Only his sister saw what happened at home. They never hit him, but sometimes he thought it might be better if they did. Then he would know for sure that they didn't love him. No, they fed him, clothed him, sheltered him, talked to him about life and love and all those things. He never went to them for help with school, he didn't need to, but they would have helped him. They never said anything to him, but they also never told him they were proud of him. It hurt and he buried it along with everything else.
Rodney had never been the one to talk about his childhood. There had been few that he ever opened up to. An outsider would never have seen anything wrong with his life; not even an insider would have noticed all of Rodney's inner pain. His sister was the only one who saw it and understood.
He didn't have friends. Oh, he knew people at school. He sat with a bunch of the so-called cool kids at lunch. He surrounded himself with people in class to stay entertained and his locker always had people crawling around it often making him late for class. People invited him over to their houses all the time for parties and he always went to them, though he didn't entirely enjoy them. Kids rarely went home with him, and he doubted his parents ever remembered any of their names.
He spend most of his time locked in his room, ignoring his parents, brushing through his homework and getting lost in star maps or some physics book. Something challenging. Anything challenging.
Jeanie was the only one who knew these things. Their parents thought he had fun with those people, they thought he actual dated because he liked those girls, they thought he was cramming in his room to get those great grades, they didn't understand. Jeanie knew that he hid from the world. She knew how smart he was, how bored he was. She knew because she was the only person he trusted to talk to about things. She was the only one who lived in their house and saw how coldly her parents acted towards Rodney and how warm they were to her. She saw how everything he kept buried inside him clawed at him, how it tore at him, burdened him.
All four years of high school went like that and then he was off to university. University was a blessing he didn't fail to quickly recognize. For once he had professors who couldn't distinguish his name from the hundreds of others that came through their doors. He felt no shame raising his hand and answering questions. Felt no shame correcting the professor or whomever else spoke incorrectly. For the first time since sixth grade, he put effort into projects and took pride in his accomplishments. It was the first time in a long while that he took pride in his grade and flaunted them with some modesty, where as before they were shoved hastily into his binder before anyone noticed the hundreds and 'A' pluses.
With so many people on campus and in his classes, he easily found several he could converse naturally with on a level far above that of anyone in his former schools. His roommate might not have been up to the same level as Rodney had placed himself nor was he the smartest in the school, but his passion to learn made up for any short comings Rodney saw in his intellect. Rodney managed to help him through most of his classes. He considered some of these people friends, but the damaged from his past was already done.
He missed his sister. She was his only contact inside the world of his hometown, but he didn't care. He barely returned and when he did, it was purely a selfish need to see how she was doing. His parents seemed for the first time not to be their usual dismissive selves, but his life outside their domination made him equally as cold to them as they had been to him.
An overload of classes kept him up at night studying and kept him from many night parties and alcohol. Parties had made up much of his social life back in high school, but despite those and the amount of time in school he devoted to those people, he never learned to truly interact with people.
Back in high school, he had lost his virginity to one of the popular preps, a face he barely remembered years later. It was a peer pressure thing- to get it over with- and something his parents had never learned about. In college, sex was something he was indifferent to but accepted as part of college life. His relationships were few and far between; they didn't last long as he didn't put a lot of effort into them but they existed.
As his years as an underclassman dwindled, he found himself just as bored as he had been in high school. He blew off his studying habits in favor of parties, he devoted more time to dinner dates and movies than he had ever before, he skipped his less engaging classes in favor of hanging with the guys. But these habits still did nothing to alleviate the damage already done.
He graduated top in his class, earning himself a degree in Astrophysics. His parents didn't come to the ceremony because he didn't tell them about it. He had mentioned it to Jeanie, but never told her the details only because he knew they would come.
After he graduated, he took the last of the money his parents had given him and whatever he scrapped up over the years, and headed off with his degree to the states.
His years as a graduate student were far different than those before. He worked hard as ever to earn his PhD. His relationships were pathetically nonexistent and his acquaintances were hardly people he'd call friends. He became harder as he tried to hide his nervousness in a new, uncertain place with the guise of a cocky, self assured young man. It was an easy disguise to hide behind as it was the same he had always hidden under. Just as he had used wit and a charismatic smile to charm his way through junior high and high school, he used arrogance to lead him through the first semester in the states. The problem he faced was allowing it to be chipped away as he became more comfortable. But the damage had been done before and he clung to something he knew, and he knew how to be cold to those around him.
He got himself a job working the piano at a small club. He'd learned when he was young. Music wasn't something he could easily force from his mind. His old roommate had been a theatre major and occasionally they had studied together in the music wing. Rodney had toyed with the piano sometimes, remembering the notes but still he felt the same detachment to them then as he had as a child. The practice got him the job and he played classical pieces at times, oldies rock most of the time, and hipper things if the crowd called for it.
By the time he earned his PhD, coolness towards his fellow humans was just a natural demeanor. An accidental meeting during his break at the club had him stumbling into a job with the Air Force. Settling into the job, him found an odd mixture of those like him- arrogant and cocky- and those that were the reverse- the Rodney he was once able to pretend to be, or perhaps once was. He drifted from job to job, eventually moving his way to the Stargate program. He had been utterly cynical of life at that point. But a certain other scientist was the first to take a chisel to the mask he had donned nearly a decade before. She had made it possible for him to look at life a little differently. He went to Russia with a slightly altered perspective of life. It was frustrating and he was no less demanding of his staff, but he had slowly lost his cynical edge. By the next time he saw her, he let her get to him, to slither through the armor and he opened up without realizing how easy she got to him.
His short stint in Russia eventually led to him moving up to Antarctica. He'd only let the one person slip under his skin, only one, but as the months flew by in first Antarctica and then Atlantis, all the damage from his childhood was slowly being stripped away. It wasn't often that he realized it was happening. Or perhaps he did, but the thought that his façade- his defense since childhood- was slipping from his grasp was terrifying. Perhaps he was more terrified to let the façade go and sudden realize that he didn't know who he was, that he had no personality beyond his arrogance and pettiness.
The first sign of damage began when he was young and his teachers had him skip grades. That was the start, he had later decided. The start of them turning away from him. Back when he was bright eyed with a wide smile and glowing eyes. Back before he pulled away from everyone and protected himself with sarcasm. Before his trust had been thrown to the floor and stepped on. Before he hid behind the smile that slowly transformed into a scowl. Back before he resented his talent, a talent he later clutched so tightly hoping deep down that one day someone would be proud of him. Before the façade, before he lost himself to the coldness his parents taught him…
So what did you all think?
I guess this was my attempt to explain Rodney's behavior. I hoped you liked it, please review and give me some feedback. Thanks for reading! Hugs!