Rated PG13 at most.
Word count: 543
Rodney’s been back from the slave camp on Maldona for almost a week now. Physically he’s recovered well from the injuries he sustained during the 3 months, 1 week, 4 days and 7 hours he was held prisoner there. Yes, John had been keeping count the entire time till they’d found him and brought him home to Atlantis. Carson released him from the infirmary two days ago but asked John to stick close to him, make sure he rested and ate. The first part of that is easy, the second surprisingly difficult.
Rodney just shrugs when John tells him it’s meatloaf night in the dining hall and they should go now if they want to be sure there’s any left. Shrugging isn’t a response John expects from Rodney when there’s food involved but it’s a response nonetheless so he seizes the moment, grabs Rodney by the arm and pretty much drags him along to the dining hall. Rodney makes a token protest of hanging back momentarily but then he seems to give in and apathetically follows in John’s wake.
John feels like a helicopter parent as he exhorts Rodney to try just a little bit more of everything on his plate and that’s another non-Rodney reaction. Usually Rodney would have hoovered up not only his own meal but whatever John hadn’t eaten yet in the ten minutes they’ve been sitting there. Rodney finally pushes the plate away and John lets it go. Rodney’s eaten more than he has in the past days at least. He’s about to get up for more coffee when he senses Rodney stiffening beside him. Looking up, John sees several Atlantis personnel heading toward their table. Rodney has a deer in the headlights look on his face that gets more strained when they reach them and tell him how glad they are he’s back safely.
John knows Rodney’s fighting not to get up and run so he puts his hand under the table and just rests it on Rodney’s leg, squeezing gently. Rodney doesn’t react at first but after few moments he puts his own hand under the table and places it over John’s.
Once the well-wishers have left, John stands up and leads the way out of the hall. On the way across he can feel Rodney walking so close behind him that if John has to stop suddenly he’ll end up with Rodney’s nose smashed up against his backbone. A couple of other people call out to them as they leave and John smiles when he hears Rodney murmur “thank you” to them. He keeps going till they reach the transporter and once they’re inside presses the coordinates for the pier, the one they’d spent the night on when Rodney had been dying from the Second Childhood disease.
Out on the pier, the city looms above and below them, her lights reflected in the night-dark waters. John sits down and dangles his legs over the edge. When Rodney does too, John moves over till he can pull Rodney close against his side then he leans in and places a soft caress on Rodney’s mouth. He smiles against it as Rodney slowly responds then pulls back and tells him, “You’re gonna be just fine, Rodney.”