Chapter Summary: Rodney finally gets a hint of relief!
Posted: Sunday June 1, 2014 Author: GlassesG33k
Chapter Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 4,862
Archive of Our Own – http://archiveofourown.org/works/
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Tumblr – hobbyhermit.tumblr.com
Special Thanks: TT, or TactlessTruth for all of her help. :-)
A/N 1:I thought I'd go ahead and post what I have so far, and this is it. =-/! So enjoy. =-).
A/N 2: Personally I like the song/poem, let me know if you like it too, it popped up in my head while watching X-Files fan videos and it explained this darn fan fiction exactly. I HAD to put it in. =-) So getting an opinion on it, good bad or wonderfully horrible, would really help, thanks ;-D!
XII Twelve XII
Maybe it was his inborn need to fix every damn thing he saw wrong, whatever it was when Mr. Uptight came walking in through the door something in John popped.
He had no idea what it was but when he looked up and saw what he initially thought was a newly homeless man shuffle in he nearly leapt over the counter and hugged the guy up, shoving wads of cash at him. John stopped himself and went to turn away when he noticed it was the man from earlier, the guy who'd watched T.V. with him that one night.
Disgusted outrage that Mr. Uptight would come back warred with his need to keep peace and help the seemingly poor guy out.
For lack of what else to do and his damn curiosity overcoming him John made his way over to the man deciding to do some damage control and properly introduced himself, or tried to.
“Hi, I'm Sheppard, the owner of this establishment how can I help you,” maybe if he managed to cut off the inevitable tantrum he'd be rid of this customer that much faster.
“Hum?” The man seemed to come out of a daze, his eyes were lost in thought and he looked worn to the bone. “do-ah, do you have anything for nausea-an-” he gulped, “and ah.” he faded off for a minute, “cancer-ahh, no.” he bent his head digging around in his pockets, “pain from chemoo-o … or ah, no.”
John gasped, or thought he did, thankfully no one seemed to notice. He'd forgotten what the guy had said so long ago now, no wonder he looked like shit, he took a step back.
Mr. Uptight rubbed his forehead, “vomiting from … ” he waved his hand, “I donno anymore …” he frowned as if his head was hurting him and rubbed his eyes a bit too hard, John winced in sympathy for the poor guys eye balls. Something clearly wasn't right but John couldn't put his finger on what it was. The first time they'd met he was sure the man was high and he'd been terribly wrong, he didn't want to make that mistake again. Though, there was something different about the guy this time, he was kinda … dull?
John looked the man up and down, his form was baggy, as if his skin were an afterthought that now hung on him; a suit that had at one time fit tight and now, like spandex, was wrinkling and folding where it'd been stretched too far.
John wasn't great with figuring out personalities and “social shit” as he'd termed it in his head. Maybe it was just the illness, John had heard that dehydration and starvation could really throw a person off and if anyone was needing food it was this poor guy. Once again the overpowering urge to hug the guy up and try and cure him hit hard, John shoved it away. Just to make sure he tried looking for the usual signs, blown out pupils and whatnot but unfortunately the guys' head was angled downward. More then likely the guy was just sick, John figured that it was the treatments the guy was going through that were throwing him off. Suddenly Mr. Uptight snapped his fingers quick and sharp, like he had just been tired earlier and had gotten his second wind. “Cancer! Do you have anything for cancerous vomiting.” the guy nodded as if he were a five year old having accomplished a great deed of remembering.
“What's you're name by the way,” John felt one of his brow's frown and stood off about to go get what he could for the man. It was clear he wasn't right at the moment, if he was better off then he would have gone down to the Farmacy that was literally with in the very same strip mall as John's place.
“Ahh actually,” the man took out some bits of paper, “if you could just tea, just tea.”
“Yeah, tea. Some of the weakest stuff you've got-and here-here's a list of my allergies.” he shoved some papers into John's hand and put his head down.
Wow. He was sick.
John took a step back, he could feel his own brow arch all the way to his hairline. What to do now …
He decided he might as well help the guy out, make him better or at least ease his suffering as best he could by way of getting some food into the man.
John went into the back and let his day manager know that he'd like her to take over again, she seemed burdened but somewhat relieved all at the same time. The twisted up tense look vanished from her face to be one of more relaxed uptight, 'about to go and do some hard work done' look.
“Than-ah. Alright. You know, you need the rest.” She took a step back and looked him up and down, “Just go and sit yourself down, have a nice long lunch and let me take care of everything alright?”
“Hey-you gonna be manning the store sir?” one of John's good friends came up to him.
“Oh ah, no, no you can-” he stopped and turned to everyone realizing he had been going off the deep end the last few days.
He'd gotten angry and had literally taken over single highhandedly running the shop for a good two weeks or so now. It'd nearly killed him once again, just like it had at the beginning, when he'd first opened up the place. He'd lost near ten pounds and hadn't slept with how busy they suddenly were. Customers had literally been banging away on their front door at five a.m. trying to get in just so they could get their stuff before work. John had never expected this and it had been hell setting John's nerves off every damn time. Once he'd been ripped form sleep still chocking on the dust of the desert and had army crawled to the back kitchen area before his arms touched the tile and he'd realized he wasn't in Afghanistan anymore.
He'd taken to sleeping on the couch once again after that, all the lights on and music up playing loud enough to blend in with the customers demanding. A cacophony of noise instead of the sudden rat-tatt-tatt of knocking or in John's ears, bullets or guns going off; punctuated by silence.
It was the way he'd lived, tried to sleep when he'd initially started the store, tense and watchful, unable to do more then doze. He'd laid there, eyes wide shut, limp, his mind racing, going over every single scenario and what he could do to fix, dissolve, or correct it; even deal with it. That's the way it had been when he'd first gotten the place, this time though he dozed causing the waking night terrors to be that much worse, jarring when he finally came to the realization that he wasn't there.
Instant shame and humiliation would be the second thing that hit, finding out-realizing that he'd just been there, back in Afghanistan which didn't exist anymore-he was here-home; in America not there-lost, dying, sucking in dust for air instead of oxygen.
It was this, the raging banshees screaming out, pulling him under every damn night as of late that caused him to quit trying to sleep at all.
Up until this point John had been proud of the fact that he'd gotten to where he could sleep with a few low lights on and no music playing. He'd pulled off sleeping in a closed, quiet, dark back bedroom, the four walls closing in on him and stuffy. But he'd managed it, not seeing the sky-open air surrounding him.
John blinked … maybe it was best he was homeless at first, after wards; even if he had the money to live indoors he probably couldn't, more then likely he would have ended up saving the money on rent and lived outdoors anyway.
John rocked back on his feet, well, maybe he would have at least rented a campsite-tent-or at least a sleeping bag, something better then being beaten on a sidewalk when he'd tried to curl up and doze for fifteen minutes.
John shook himself coming back to the here and now, it'd been hell and working with out sleep had been John's only way to cope with all the false alarms and cranky demanding public.
It had not worked, at all, only causing him to be that much more cranky and uptight himself and a bit short with his staff.
John had nearly fired someone just that morning, something he swore to himself he'd never do and it was then that he finally realized, he needed a break; immediately. (Or he decided, as soon as he could manage.)
“I'm done-you all can go back to work and I'll just take a few days off here!” John lifted his hands letting everyone know. “I know I've been a bit uptight as of late but I'll try to kick back, smoke some-” he smirked and thankfully a few nervous chuckles popped out of a few people in back, “and relax for a while. From here on out Chyah will be in charge and Elizabeth the head will be in charge till … I donno.” John waved his arms, “three days from now or till further notice, how about that.” John flapped his arms and smiled.
Someone actually hooted, then one person wooed.
Then a clap, and the next thing John knew everyone was clapping, someone yelled “Thank you sir!”
“I'm not that bad am I?”
The room suddenly kind of quieted, “Yes you are Mr. Sheppard!”
John just smiled and shook his head.
“Well You'll all get some time off from me, and on me! You all can take three days off-” everyone went into an uproar, “as-As Long As-” John curled his hands around his mouth, “AS LONG AS YOU CAN GET SOMEONE TO COVER FOR YOU!”
“Woo!” and laughter ensued.
John was glad and was a bit more then humiliated since he'd never known he'd been that bad to deal with when he was uptight.
“Mu”*snort!* Rodney lifted his head it being bumped by someone or thing. He'd dozed off again and how he got down here-oh yeah, he'd just dumped his one last hope of living and been being fired. Great.
He held his head moaning, worried and relieved all at once, he was supposed to go through at least two to three more treatments. Rodney wondered if he'd get better because he was off the whole mess or if he'd get worse, his body being over taken kind of like strep throat, how if you didn't take all the anti-biotic it'd come back raging and take you out in one fell swoop, no word at all.
Rodney stared off into the distance visions of death in all manner and how he'd be taken care of swimming before his eyes. He just hoped it wasn't like that one horror show he watched as a kid, “Crypt Keeper” with that darn skeleton. On the episode he had caught this one guy had sat down and started talking into the camera which was apparently the “dead” man. The guy said how he knew the camera or “dead” guy was still alive and that he'd noticed that the camera/dead guy was an organ donor, he then began to speak in great detail about how having your organs removed really hurt …
“Hey you okay?” Something waved in front of his eyes but it seemed translucent, ethereal even. Rodney just hoped he'd be truly and entirely dead before he was cremated, one of his biggest worries was to be either embalmed or cremated while still alive.
Rodney looked up, “oh!” he sat back dragging himself into the here and now.
“You okay there?” the guy from who knows, slid into the seat across from him. He was dressed a bit differently, didn't have an apron, hat, gloves, or anything on like usual it seemed. His tacky company pants were replaced with nice form fitting jeans, an old broken in pair that fit the guys body perfectly. His blouse was replaced with a sweatshirt, when Rodney looked up it was the glasses that caught him. The guys skin was beautiful golden, a pale almost tan fading away to laugh-lines at the corners of his eyes the golden rimmed glasses perfectly accenting his features.
Rodney licked his lips and nearly wept.
The guys face contorted as if hurt and he nodded at Rodney, licking his own lips, “you got your tea.” Rodney looked down to see a cup being shoved towards him.
“Oh, oh thank God,” Rodney reached forward and nearly wept, again.
He pulled the stuff near him and prayed his guts out, which really was better then barfing them out, Rodney figured if their gonna be removed at least have them go with the chance of something good or worthwhile being done with them. Rodney begged anyone listening to just be allowed the dignity of keeping his stomach down while he sat here.
He tried to pick the cup up but his hands shook too badly, his arms nearly giving out, “Damn!” He had no idea why this was happening, there as no reason for it! Maybe it was because of the darn shit hole of a day he'd had, his resources depleted past empty.
He felt the weight of a stare then the darn guys voice was back, “her-here.” Rodney reached for the cup again, “here.”
Rodney looked up to see the guy slide the cup away from him, taking it; Rodney leaned forward nearly following the damn thing.
The blue jeans guy-what was his name? Did he ever say it? Rodney couldn't recall but the guy stood up cup in hand, “here. Come'ere. Follow me.” he walked away and Rodney blinked, not sure what to do … follow or … was he in trouble? Or about to be in trouble? …
Rodney shook his head, why not just go after the damn cup of tea, he was dying anyway, if the guy did anything it didn't really matter did it? Of course the idea of being beaten or what have you then dumped out back as trash didn't appeal to him. The image of his blindingly pale skin peeking out from under his clothes catching someone's eye as they wandered by the dumpster danced before his eyes.
Despite himself Rodney got up trying to find where his darn cup of tea had gotten to. He walked into the back of the store past the kitchen area-oh yeah! Rodney recalled seeing it before, now it was starting to come back to him, damn his mind was really a mess; these darn pills were really taking it out of him. He found the guy who had his tea and went to walk up to him but the guy just slipped further into the back, past the cooking and prep area and into a whole other section. He crossed through a door way that was built onto a thick outside-or sound proofing wall it seemed. When he entered he noticed the whole place was kind of cramped and well, kind of had a feeling and look of a home.
The sound from the store faded away and his ears had an urge to pop, as if he were stepping into a recording studio, from what Rodney had been taught.
It was kind of odd to have the kitchen an noise, a cacophony of the store-muzack; people, pots, pans clanging and all, fade away and be just beside him as if the sound itself was obeying some kind of thick glass wall.
Rodney gulped and then he noticed it, a slight faint noise, it was … Rodney jumped, some guy was talking! He listened hard tilting his head to the side.
To broken to touch
to broken to feel
to broken to breath
take in what's real
He looked for the source of the noise but couldn't find it.
From what Rodney could make out it was literally the back of the store, the entire length of it had been extended at least ten feet or more and made into a sort of trailer type apartment. Rodney didn't want to even ask or know what kind of building, business and residential cods were being broken having this place attached to the fairly new store. He knew it was more then likely totally illegal though, in far to many obvious and various ways.
to hollow to care
to hollow to feel
to hollow to know
( I'm numb)
and this is-
can't be real
“Here,” the guy put the cup of tea down on what was clearly his kitchen table. Rodney looked to the side and noticed that the other half of the, living room was it? The area attached to the kitchen/dining area was split in half one part being made up to be an office space, a desk sat cluttered with papers and electronic devices, the main one being what seemed to be a wimpy attempt to pimp out a laptop.
Everywhere Rodney looked everything was made specifically for space saving, almost like some boat or yacht. Every single surface was of the highest quality and polished to shine but it was also packed into some of the smallest space possible. Infact (as Rodney literally turned in a circle he heard a chuckle) it looked like most of the cupboards, furniture and everything here was literally made from or more then likely taken from a Yacht,“Huh.”
A Venetian blind was pulled over a large plate glass window, it's slats open to let in light. The size of the darn thing took up half the opposite wall. On either side there were rectangular sections able to be opened to let air in. There was a glint and Rodney noticed that the whole of the window had a kind of dark sun-glasses tinting to it, the sort that would be reflective on the other side and have a mirror like silver to it; a one way mirror of sorts.
“Did you steal all this?” Rodney looked down not sure he wanted to sit, he didn't want to be incriminated simply by being here.
Suddenly a booming chorus ignited and it made itself known.
I know this isn't-can't be real
to frigid to love
to broken to breath
can't take in what you give me!
Rodney covered his ears, “What is that!?” He turned again trying to catch where the damn sound was coming from, it seemed that the whole place was vibrating like those darn cars he hated, the ones that came booming along with an earth shattering bass tone.
“Oh sorry,” the skinny hot guy scrambled digging, he bent over a few things and Rodney noticed how nicely curved the man's ass was.
The guy picked up what looked like a remote and pushed a button. Silence engulfed like some kind of sucking void. Rodney blinked and noticed the whole place suddenly felt starkly different, like the damn noise had never been off from the day it had been built.
“Sorry I ah,” the store manager-owner who ever he was tossed the remote aside. “It helps me. It's a local group. Olson's.”
“Ah!” Rodney nodded feigning knowledge of what the heck the guy was saying then looked at the table where his tea had been placed. He wavered not wanting to sit down. He swayed turning in a circle again, he still felt that if he made himself comfortable he'd be arrested instantly or in the future-either way he didn't want to die in prison that was for sure.
“Are you ahh … ” he waved his hand over everything, “ah-ah,” he finally stopped turning and then started in on the detailed visual search of each and every single item, “you're a drug dealer aren't you?”
“What!?” the guy crossed his arms.
“Well, this all came from a yacht and I've never seen it put into a land locked-heck anything that wasn't
associated with water before-how'd you get it?”
“From a friend.”
“Yeah, uh huh.”
“Listen this was a bad idea,” the guy lifted his arm, moving to usher him out, “how about we go back out front.”
“Yeah I'd like that but ah, can I get that to go.”
“So how did you get into this business anyway.”
“Well,” at this, to Rodney's great dismay, the guy stopped seeming to think hard as if it were some long drawn out difficult thing. He set the cup back down, “here why don't you sit.”
Rodney glanced down, all he wanted was a yes or no, a quick answer.
“It won't bite'ch'yeah,” the guy smirked and did this thing with his shoulders all casual looking like he was leaning backwards.
“If you want we can go out front but you look like you're about to keel over where you stand.”
“Actually I think I'm about to puke, you got ahh” Rodney pointed and thankfully the guy showed him back into the far reaches of the place. He opened a door and once again it looked far to tight and claustrophobic, like some yacht.
It was a good half an hour before he was able to even show his face again. While losing what he didn't have Rodney realized he was probably going to die and if he was this close to death he might as well feel good for a short amount of time.
He wasn't sure if the pill had come up, it seemed that half of it had but not all of it, whether that was a good or bad thing Rodney wasn't sure.
He wanted to say Chemo and pain pills sucked ass but that's be an insult to ass sucking and really Chemo wasn't anywhere near that nice, or even pleasurable for any party.
Maybe the damn hospitals wallet though, that sure seemed to be pleased.
Rodney heaved again and spat.
He eventually crawled out of the bathroom to find the guy sitting on the now cleaned up couch reading a magazine. The damn music was back on but now it was what the store had playing, tacky and relaxing. Rodney looked around and found that the whole place had been cleaned up. It actually looked nice now that there weren't clothes, papers, junk food, to go cartons and trash laying all over. Rodney sniffed the air and his stomach roiled, the guy had even sprayed one of those darn mist scents. God Rodney hated those!
He sneezed despite himself.
“You okay?” the guys eyes were wide with hope and … almost happiness? … or something, Rodney couldn't tell what.
“Yeah I-” he waved his hand wishing he had a Kleenex, “I just have allergies.”
The guy's face went worried, “Oh crap, I didn't-” he jumped up opening windows.
Rodney plopped himself down on the couch, “sorry about ah-all...” he waved his hand and then got chocked up. It hit him then that he was about to be forced to apologize to a stranger he'd just met for vomiting in his bathroom. He was so damn sick and now was getting emotional about it, in the worst possible place, at the worst possible time!
He held his face, hiding from it all. Here he was, about to die in the back of a drug dealers wanna be pimped out trailer in the back of a pot store! What a way to go!
How had his life, so damn promising, his mind; been wasted and come to this!
“Hey you okay?”
“Do, do ah,”
Rodney heard the guy scrambling around, “do you need me to ah, call a doc. Or, or somethin'?” Rodney caught a glimpse of him wiping his hands on his jeans.
It took a few minutes but after a while he was able to breath again, “no no. I'm, I'm ahh,” he gulped wiping his eyes, “allergies. Just allergies. Here.” he made gimme motions towards his tea.
The guy picked it up and brought it over to him.
“Probably cold by now.”
“I don't care I need this stuff right now,” Rodney went to hold it then, “this has pot in it right?” he looked up at the guy.
“Yeah,yeah.” the skinny dealer sat down next to him.
“Thanks,” he went to take the drink but he was still too weak his hands shaking, actually he'd been vibrating at some level the whole day.
“Here.” The guy gingerly thread an arm behind Rodney and held the cup in his other hand. He brought it to Rodney's mouth and tilted it just enough so Rodney could sip out of it.
Ohh … ahh … the liquid was soothing and down right wonderful.
Rodney soaked it in, savoring …
“Ohh yeah,” he sighed when the guy finally drew the cup away.
He noticed he was leaning up against the man and for the first time in … well, his whole life, he felt warm and wrapped in soft fuzziness.
“Oh God that was good.”
“Good?” the guy smiled at him, then shifted looking forwards out the large plate glass window. “Thanks.”
“Huh?” Rodney turned to him.
“I made it,” the guy lifted the cup, showing it off.
“Oh,” Rodney turned away, nodding.
He thought for a bit, his mind wandering off.
He wondered for a minute if the pot would interact with the Chemo and other meds he was already taking, but once again he dismissed it. Granted he'd caved and taken one of the pain meds that morning but it hadn't done one damn bit of good. It was why he was here now.
“Hey?” Rodney said.
“What's your name?” Rodney said.
“What,” John said.
“Oh like John Dough?” Rodney said.
Rodney got what looked like a frown, “No. Like John Sheppard. Why.”
Rodney thought on that, rolling it around in his mind like candy on his tongue, smooth and buttery.
“I think I like you John Sheppard. I like Sheppard.” he nodded matter of factly.
“Well,” the guy grunted slipping out from underneath him, “thanks.”
Rodney was laid on his side the world going wonderfully soft and puppy like.
Puppies … puppies were so soft, so soft, like kitties … so soft-awesome.
Rodney looked up to see the guy smiling down at him,“what.”
“What?” Rodney said, the guy-John guy wasn't making sense.
“Just go to sleep.”
The guy-John stopped.
“What to know my name!?”
“Sure,” the guy smirked down at him, as if he'd said something really funny.
“It's Rodney,” he nodded, “Meredith, Rodney McKay.”
“Yeah. If you wanna befriends-I've never had friends before.”
“Oh you haven't have you.”
“No. I need a friend. Mom-Mom says-she said before she died...” Rodney rubbed his eyes, he was crying again, “She died John! Mom died!”
“I'm sorry buddy,” John petted his head.
“She died and I couldn't save her! And she hated me! And my sister” he sniffed, “My sister she left! She hated me! She was my only friend and she said she never wanted to see me again! Said I was a terrible brother! I couldn't save her! I couldn't I couldn't save her from the bullies! And she said-” he gasped, “she said I was bad and terrible and Mom said too! And she lef-”
“Shh … Shhh....” Rodney felt a weight stroking him, it ran lightly over his head and down his shoulder.
“She left me-turned her back and never looked back!”
Rodney snuffled and snorkeled, “I need a Kleenex.”
John looked around, worried. “Ahh...” he jumped up and before he came back darkness faded in then over took.
Rodney felt something, pressure wiping-rough on his nose. It hurt, burning sharp and terrible-then nothing.
Rodney was gone.
John stared down at the heap on his couch.
He clutched at the cup in his hand.
It didn't even look like a person was there just a pile of blankets the poor man, Rodney Meredith McKay, was so damn skinny.
“Shit dude,” John tossed the paper towel he had across the room almost hitting the waste basket.
So close but so far, John tried for a smirk but just couldn't bring himself to it.
He looked down at the guy again and inhaled long and tense then let it go. He looked around and not knowing what else to do with himself he decided why not get some of the financial stuff done.
There was nothing else he could do.