Title: Ancestry, or How Colonel Sheppard's Hair Defied Genetics, Too
Fandom: SGA/Surprise crossover
Spoilers: Small ones for the whole series
Word count: ~1000
Note: First story in my Dots & Lines 'verse.
Summary: Rodney learns that some of his jokes about Sheppard's hair have been right.
Rodney usually found a way to make fun of Sheppard's hair at least once a week. It was not something that was planed, Rodney just discovered that the hair was something that could get some reaction. There were three typical reactions: Sheppard making some witty and cutting remark back at Rodney, many times something about envy and the effect stress had on hair-loss; Sheppard glaring at Rodney while lightly brushing his hand over his left temple; and the least common reaction (but also Rodney's favorite), pouting while patting his left temple.
Rodney had categorized this in the first few months in Pegasus. He was not sure if he had done it consciously a first, but by the time he wondered that he was too ingrained in his habits to change.
So, the first time Sheppard reacted outside or Rodney's expectations Rodney was reasonably surprised.
It happened after what was supposed to be a routine "make nice with the locals" mission. There was mud, rain, arrows, hours spent in a ditch, and a humiliating rescue involved. One of the Marines on the rescue team had broken a leg and had a lung punctured. Like everything else, Sheppard though it was his fault.
Rodney was not good at comforting, but he was still naive enough to try, back then. Why he thought that the Colonel- Major, then- would agree with logical reasoning he had no clue. He would never blame himself for things he couldn't control, he had been sure. (Now the litany of 'Gaul, Weir, Carson, Grodin, Abrams, Ford' repeats in his head. The only reason there are not more is that he cannot remember the names. He does remember faces and screams, though.)
Still. Rodney tried reasoning back then, thinking it would work, sometime."You don't control the rain, you know. Or the hostile natives for that matter. He still has a whole other leg! And lung! I'm sure you would know this if your hair did not sap all the nutrients from your brain."
Sheppard does nothing, hardly glancing at Rodney. His hair seems to match his mood, droopy and hanging in a way that shows it does follow the laws of physics. Sometimes. He looks so much like a wet cat that Rodney wants to scritch him under the chin or behind an ear. Sheppard would probably act exactly like a startled cat, too. It's what stops Rodney from try. Well, that and he likes his life.
"Where does hair like that even come from," Rodney wonders to himself. He is tired and cold enough that he wonders out loud.
Sheppard lips move in a way that suggest 'smile' without really being one. It's a strange sort of expression. "It runs in the family," he replies.
Then there are Wraith darts and Jumper maneuvers that would make Rodney sick without the dampeners. He still feels a bit sick, anyway. He never had time to think of Sheppard's comment and it was pushed to the place where he kept all the personal information others thrust upon him in the back of his mind.
Rodney does not remember that until years later.
"Ronon showed me pictures of your brother and father. Neither of them have your hair," Rodney blurts out when they are both sitting the the lab, late one night. Rodney had wondered how Ronon got those pictures, and why, but he was not one to question Ronon. The look Sheppard gave him showed that he, too, wondered where the pictures came from.
"It's from mom's side of the family. She had curly hair, though, because she had the brain,"Sheppard might have said this while nodding a bit too much, but neither of them had gotten much sleep in a while. For a moment Rodney thought that was why he did not understand Sheppard, but then he realized that that last sentence was impossible.
"What- brain?" Rodney asked inanely.
Sheppard has the look on his face he gets whenever he wants to back out of something, or change the subject. By now Rodney can recognize that look and his own expression changes. He hopes it conveys that he will not back down and will pry the words out of Sheppard any way possible, not stopping at coercion and mental torture. Sheppard knows enough about Rodeny's unfortunate past that Rodney will not let go of the chance to grab some small bit of this.
Whatever look Rodney has showed, Sheppard seemed to recognize it. He deflated a bit, sighed, and licked his lips.
"Well, in my mother's family, there were two traits passed down- the hair and the brains. You got one or the other. I was actually the first to get both in over five generations," Sheppard's voice fades quietly. His eyes look through the walls and into the past. The quick moment of introspection softens his face. He jerks pack to the present suddenly. "Actually, I have cousins that each have the hair or the brain. One's like you- a super genius. The one with the hair, Don, doesn't have it any more. He cut it too short, the last time I saw him. He got made fun of in school or something. Haven't thought of them in a long time."
"You have a genius cousin, that is like me? And, wait, that hair is duplicated somewhere?" Rodney is not sure which shocks him more.
Sheppard is already distracted by some shiny Ancient device left on the table. It glows colors that he can't really name and something in the middle is twirling. "Yeah. Hmm. Next time we're on Earth I'll introduce you.
"Your cousin is Charles Eppes?" Rodney demands, turning on Sheppard when he sees the name on the office door. "Why did you not tell me this? Are you trying to give me a heart attack?"
Rodney continues to rant at John until he is halfway into the office. He then notices that there are several people in there, all staring at him. He ignores them. "You!" He shouts at Charles Eppes, recognizable from the photos on book jackets, "You should work with your cousin- Col-Sheppard, let us take him with us!"
Sheppard just laughs.
End note: The chapters in the story are not really chapters. Each is it's own story and they will not follow each other either chronologically or stylistically. I'll give notes to where each falls overall, but it's best not to worry about it. All the stories are set in the same universe and orbit the same main point- John and Rodney stumbling into the Numb3rs world. There will be some ficlets concerning John and his past relationships with the Eppes. These will mostly be written for the utter d'aww that is a wee!Shep and wee!Eppes. I am really doing all of this just to make myself giggle.
The whole thing is slanted towards humor, as that is pretty much all I do well. But sometimes, like in this first story, angst will slip in by accident and I have no clue how it happens. I might have been drunk at the time.