John would never admit it, but he felt a little lost without Rodney. He couldn’t count how many people laughed and suggested he’d be happy to have some time to himself, but they were wrong. John’d had years to himself. He was tired of being alone.
Luckily it was only for a week. Rodney was doing a rotation on the Daedalus, which was doing some scouting out around the far edges of galaxy. John would’ve gone too, but it had been decided that Atlantis couldn’t be without both her Military Commanding Officer and her Chief Science Officer for that length of time.
When John returned to their shared quarters that first night, he was surprised to see a folded, slightly-crumpled piece of paper on his pillow. He stared at it for a long time, a feeling of dread sitting like a lead ball in the pit of his stomach.
Rodney used tablets, laptops, and whiteboards. He very rarely put anything down on paper. Surely a note, left behind while he was gone, was a bad sign. It wouldn’t be the first time someone had cut ties with John that way. Things between him and Rodney seemed good, really good, but there was always that slim chance he was missing something important.
With a sigh, John made himself pick the note up and open it. There were coffee stains on it, and the ink had smeared a bit in a few places. The main body of the note seemed to be a lengthy, complicated-looking equation, under which Rodney had jotted down a few words in his spiky handwriting.
I don’t want your mind turning to mush in my absence. I expect this to be solved by the time I get back. If you finish it early, which is doubtful, there’s another one in your footlocker.
And stay out of my chocolate stash! I know you ate the last Caramilk, you bastard. You owe me.
PS – Love you
John grinned. He smoothed out the paper and sat at his desk, ready to tackle the equation.