Compromising Positions | Into the Black | Contact

Counterpoint

Notes: Big thanks to my betas on this one: Eleanor K. for wrangling the commas and making the usual grammar tweaks and skripka for helping with the title and telling me that she liked it.

Suppositions made: that young Rodney looked like young David Hewlett and that the characters are approximately the same age as the actors.



From Wikipedia: Counterpoint is a musical technique involving the simultaneous sounding of separate musical lines.






Mrs. McKay knew her son was different from the day he was born. He did everything faster than the books said he would. But her husband just rolled his eyes and called her a typical proud mother. And she almost believed him, until one day she came into the living room and found her four year old son sitting on the floor with the vacuum in pieces around him. Rodney swore he was making it better and the scary part was – he did.



When he was four years old, John was the apple of his father’s eye. Always tidy, always obedient, he followed his father around everywhere, imitating his every move. He begged and begged to be taken to the base so he could see the jets. One day, his father relented and he beamed with pride as John firmly told everyone that he was going to be just like his daddy when he grew up.



At 14, Rodney McKay has a fragile beauty – pale skin, soft lips, and big blue eyes that still look at the world around him with wonder. He is years away from the lab accident that will damage the nerves on the left side of his face, giving his mouth a permanent slant. He is in his first year of university and is madly, painfully in love with his physics professor.



At 14, John Sheppard is all long arms and legs, and just the slightest bit clumsy. In his first act of rebellion against his father’s strict rules, he has grown his hair out until it hangs in his eyes. He’s gorgeous and charming and has lots of friends, but he’s not especially close to any of them. He thinks he might like to make out with Maria Stephens, but he also thinks he might like to make out with her older brother, Peter, and that freaks him out enough to make him avoid her for the rest of the summer.



By they time he is 24, Rodney has had his research stolen twice and his heart broken once. He is just starting to show the effects of spending the last 10 years eating whatever was convenient (usually out of a vending machine) and exercising only when necessary – that is, running across campus to get to class because he stayed up all night working on yet another “brilliant” theory. He wears his arrogance like a suit of armour, pushing everyone away with distain and sharp words. It’s safer that way.



By the time he’s 24, John knows two things: that he’ll never please his father and that he was born to fly. He gives up on the first and pursues the second with a determination that shocks everyone. The day he gets his wings is one of the happiest of his life and he ignores his father’s disapproval when he chooses choppers over jets. It’s not speed he wants; it’s control. But he’ll never tell anyone that.



When he’s 35, Rodney is in exile in Siberia. He is a bitter, angry man, resentful of being punished for being right. He quickly earns the nickname “The Bear” from the way he growls at everyone. He nearly dies one day after drinking coffee laced with lemon. Rodney doesn’t ask what happened when he gets out of the infirmary and notices that one of the junior scientists is missing, he just never leaves his coffee unattended again.



When he turns 35, John is doing the milk-run in Antarctica. He loves the wide-open spaces and the quiet solitude. Two years ago, he had been given a choice – ride choppers in Antarctica or ride a desk. He chose Antarctica. It wasn’t really a choice. Just like the choice to save his men. Some things just have to be done, no matter what the cost. John’s not entirely sure he really lost anything; after all, he’s still flying.



On his 45th birthday, Rodney, wakes up and does his annual assessment. Still no Nobel Prize (damn it), saved Atlantis from certain doom – 5 times (well below the annual average, so at least there’s been some improvement there), a little fatter, a little balder, and a whole hell of a lot happier than he’s ever been; which might have something to do with the long, lean body currently curled tightly against him. John nuzzles his neck in his sleep, and Rodney wonders why he had to travel a galaxy away to find what he never knew he was looking for.



Two days after his 45th birthday, dodging heavy fire from natives who seemed friendly until Rodney said something to piss them off, John wonders what the hell he ever did to deserve Rodney McKay. When they get back to Atlantis and Rodney’s shoving him hard up against the wall of his room, and kissing the breath out of him, he thinks it just might have been something very good.