Title: Regrets, I've Had a Few
Genre: Gen... was supposed to be h/c.
Word Count: 1010
Spoilers: All of SGA, up to 5x05, also some for SG-1's "48 Hours" and "Redemption".
Summary: For what is a man, what has he got? If not himself, then he has naught.
Ten years ago, there wasn't a single thing Dr. M. Rodney McKay would say that he regretted.
Eight years ago, he would, grudgingly and if possibly drugged, maybe admit that he regretted the way he handled things on his first visit to the SGC. And maybe calling Major Sam Carter a "dumb blonde", because in hindsight that had been a grossly inaccurate statement. Mostly, he regretted being stranded in that frozen wasteland working on naquadah generators instead of studying the Stargate like he was supposed to.
Seven years ago, Rodney found himself regretting his bull-headedness as Sam Carter nearly electrocuted herself to save the SGC (and Earth, and him by proxy) from his one of his less-than-pure-brilliant ideas. Spilling his guts to her later about his music he only laments a tiny bit, because she did kiss him at the end of the day. (On the cheek, but Rodney had known she was just holding back for appearance's sake. It would have been unbecoming for an Air Force officer to fawn all over him in the hallways.)
Six years ago, Rodney stopped picking up the phone when Jeannie called. He never went to her wedding, and never gave her away like they had planned after Dad died. And when Madison was born, he didn't even know until he got a card in the mail. Indignation and self-righteousness had comforted him then.
Four years ago, the Genii invaded Atlantis and Rodney's forearm had met the wrong end of a knife. A deep, burning, twisting shame winds its way through his gut whenever he can make out the barely noticeable scar and still hear the pathetic way he babbled everything – almost getting Major Sheppard killed in the process.
Three years ago, Rodney shot a former teammate in self-defense, got another consciousness stuck in his brain, blew up a solar system, nearly overdosed on Wraith enzyme in a futile attempt to save his team, got Sheppard stuck in a time dilation field, nearly drowned in a sinking Puddle Jumper, accidentally shot a possessed Sheppard, and nearly led the Wraith to Earth. Those all had kind of sucked.
Betraying Sheppard's trust during the Doranda incident–there is no visible scar to remind him of that, but it twists harder and burns hotter than shame. Rodney doesn't regret it happening–there's no word that can adequately encompass the deep self-loathing he still has for that memory.
Less than two years ago, Rodney ducked out of going fishing with a very good friend. There's not a day that goes by where he doesn't wish he had been less selfish and self-absorbed – it's just been eased a little with Carson's "reincarnation" via clone.
Last year, Rodney hadn't let Elizabeth die. He wishes there was some way he could apologize for robbing the peace that death would have given her.
Eleven months ago, Rodney had been willing to sacrifice himself to save his sister–part of him regrets letting Sheppard know that in time to come up with another plan. The rest of him regrets being eternally grateful for the sacrifice that was made in his stead.
Seven months ago, Rodney took back a marriage proposal. In hindsight, he doesn't regret giving Katie her freedom – he just wishes she would have stayed because he really misses her quiet presence at times.
Three months ago, Rodney tweaked some of the dialing protocols that wound up letting a solar flare send Sheppard almost fifty thousand years into the future. That had led to a lifetime of regrets – but Rodney doesn't know that in this timeline.
Last week, Rodney had stood by and watched as Elizabeth Weir sacrificed herself for Atlantis again. He still doesn't know how to fix it and he wishes he still had enough time to keep trying.
Five years ago, John Sheppard had approached Rodney with an offer to join Atlantis's premiere off-world team. Rodney had been sure he was going to regret accepting that offer a thousand times over. He's come close about eight hundred and forty-seven times so far – but never close enough for it to count.
Thirty seconds ago, Rodney had seen the muzzle of one of the local inhabitants' version of a shotgun pointed at John's back and had thought there was time to shove him out of the way.
Fifteen seconds ago when the dark spots started flickering in his vision, Rodney idly wondered if there would even be time to regret being infected by Sheppard's stupid hero complex.
Seven seconds ago, John decided that ordering gunshot wounds to stop bleeding was more effective than field bandages. Of course, the bandage was already soaked, so it wasn't doing a very good job anyway.
Three seconds ago a hand closed around his spasming fingers, trying to anchor him into the present with the words, "I swear to god, if you die on me, McKay, I'm going to kill you."
At this very moment, Rodney would explain to him how utterly ludicrous that statement is, but everything whites out before has a chance to.
A day later, when he wakes up in the infirmary, he's greeted by sock-covered toes twitching a few inches from his face. Rodney wishes he never allowed John to form the habit of propping his feet up on his teammates' cots. There never has, or ever will be, enough painkillers in the universe to numb his nasal passages from the odious stench of Sheppard's sweaty socks.
Rodney's feeble efforts to shove the offensive feet away only serve to ignite a pain in his side and to wake his slumbering sentry. He's greeted by dark smudges under hazel eyes, a day's worth of stubble, and a bright, relieved smile that belies the exhaustion on the weary face.
Ten years ago, Rodney would have been spitting fire about their positions being reversed like this, because being shot really, really sucks and he's always thought that heroism is overrated and John is still grinning like Rodney has told the world's funniest joke instead of just opening his eyes–
And so even though Rodney should – he finds that today he doesn't regret a damn thing.