Rodney stood frozen, his body shaking and his heart pounding in his chest, watching the door to the transporter slide shut taking Sheppard with it. The words, if you really wanna try, echoed through his head in surround sound. Those particular words made it seem as if there was still hope, that Rodney would be able to eventually make things right and regain what he had lost. Both Sheppard’s trust and friendship, but Rodney knew the truth.
He would never be able to make things right. He had effectively ended a friendship that he valued above all others and he knew that nothing would fix that. Sheppard might be able to push his anger and disappointment aside to continue working with him, but he would never want to be friends with him again.
Rodney’s life just didn’t work that way. Eventually everyone left, if not by way of death, then by their own initiative. Rodney knew that he was hard to like, but he thought that here he’d finally turned a corner. That they’d seen him.
It wasn’t meant to be though. The best he could do now was work hard and keep his head down. He didn’t want to leave Atlantis, it was the first place in a long time that’d felt like home. He wasn’t sure he could go back to a life on Earth, devoid of the wonders that Pegasus had to offer.
He had spent a good portion of his life feeling adrift, tied not to any single place, but rather the people around him. Earth had never felt like home, he had always had the sense even as a child, that something was wrong, missing maybe. The moment he stepped through the gate and into Atlantis, the feeling went away.
He knew some of the others with the gene felt the same way, but in his case he didn’t think that the gene had anything to do with it. He’d felt it long before his gene was activated and unlike the others it didn’t go away when he went off world.
It wasn’t Atlantis that felt like home, it was Pegasus itself. And he couldn’t lose it.
Rodney startled at the sound of footsteps near him, realizing that he had been stood, staring at an empty transporter for longer than he cared to think about. He spurred himself into action and all but leapt into the transporter, selecting the main lab from the map in front of him. A brief moment of disorientation and the door opened onto the corridor near the labs, sounds of work echoing off the walls.
A deep breath proceeded his entry into the lab, with silence falling as each person took notice of him. He looked at them with no small measure of shame, the look of disdain on Zelenka’s face too much for him. His head dropped, his face heated, and he felt his eyes burn.
He forced himself to walk to his office, when he wanted nothing more than to run, and shut himself inside. The office was mostly bare of personal effects as Rodney preferred the actual lab and its workstations over the empty and quiet office. He dropped into the chair and ran his hands through his hair his eyes closed.
A soft knock had his eyes opening in worry and his heart restarted its pounding. His relief was palpable when Miko opened the door, a cup of coffee in her hands and a sympathetic smile on her face. He took the coffee gratefully, the strong bitter scent filling him with a sense of contentment. He smiled back at her after his first sip, thankful that apparently not everyone hated him.