Rodney doesn't even bother putting his head in his hands when John takes off -- again! Again, like they have life-sign trackers that work here! -- just follows behind at a more sedate pace, too annoyed to even bitch. Well, bitch loudly, since he's damned sure that John isn't listening to him anyway. "My mother used to always complain about that," he says to himself as John runs reverent hands over sleek black metal and makes happy crooning noises under his breath. "She could talk and talk and really, that woman could talk, and no one listened to her, least of all her husband. And now you're not listening to me, and why am I the one who turned into his mother? Isn't that Jeannie's job? Except Jeannie isn't like our mother, or our father, and great, now I'm just talking to myself like a crazy person in the middle of the street while you make love to a -- ooo. Is that an Impala?"
That, unsurprisingly, gets John's attention. His eyes are dazed when he glances at Rodney, the darker ring of his iris giving him a stoned look that has nothing to do with the massive jolt of car-lust he's feeling. "It's perfect," he croons, as gently as if the car were a child -- hell, a puddlejumper! -- and streaks a shiny thumb-print over the chrome around the door. "Man, whoever owns a beauty like this -- "
"Probably doesn't want you leanin' all over her."
Rodney whirls, since John isn't, and gropes for a gun that is absolutely there. Like he gives a Wraith's ass what Landry and Cameron think. "Um. Hi. So, I realize this is quite awkward, but you're going to have to excuse him because he isn't a car thief or anything ridiculous like that. He's just -- well, he's insane. Escaped from a mental institution insane, and thankfully he's had enough shock therapy that he won't do anything inappropriate with your car, just touch it a lot and probably make the kind of noises usually reserved for small children."
There's more, a lot more, but Rodney is suddenly aware that the young man who'd spoken -- pretty in a scruffy, more facially refined Daniel Jackson kind of way and also, almost short -- is no longer paying any attention to him. Instead, pretty boy is swaggering over to lean against his car's trunk, watching John look her over like a horse trader might examine a potential new purchase, smiling slightly.
It's a nice smile. A really nice smile, actually, and Rodney loosens sweaty fingers from around the barrel. For some reason, Earth seems a whole lot scarier than the scariest parts of the Pegasus galaxy, now, and each return trip only reinforces it.
"Uh, can I help you?"
Some one big -- really big, my god, was there Jaffa blood in him? -- loomed up over Rodney and in between the scrambling and the flailing and the shouts of surprise from both him (maybe his were squeaks, maybe) and the Jaffa-related monstrosity that looked a little put out at Rodney's reaction, somehow John managed to deftly disarm him even as he tugged Rodney under his arm, solidly against his side. Unfortunately, that still worked, and Rodney finds himself blinking, adrenaline draining away to nothing while John thumbs the tendon in his neck that always hurts the worst, smelling of mountain air and that innate John-ness that Rodney really, really wishes he would stop reacting to, because honestly, it's almost humiliating the way he just kind of melts every damned time, like John's found an off-switch that Rodney wants recoded as soon as humanly possible.
John presses down a little harder, right on a good spot, and Rodney stops thinking entirely. "Mm," he murmurs.
"Mmmhmmm," John drawls back at him. Twisting a little he adds, "Sorry about that, kids."
"Kids?" the Jaffa-related one asks, broad features going wider in disgusted dismay.
"Relax, Sammy," the first one says and the grin he gives John is as sharp and wicked as the loosest of John's.
Rodney makes a disgusted noise because off-switch or not, it doesn't last that long. "Oh, fine. Are you children old enough for a beer? He'll want to grill you about your car and the fact that you aren't reacting to the way my gun glows. Also, that I have one."
Both boys glance at gun resting casually in John's hand, glowing faintly with Atlantis green while it points harmlessly at the ground, and look at each other with the kind of instant connection that Rodney is quite proud he recognizes, because apparently three years of doing it doesn't actually make one see it in others.
Jaffa-boy shrugs with a sigh. "What is it about some guys and this car?" he complains. "There's a place a mile or so that way, if you want," he adds, jerking a thumb over his shoulder.
"Forgive him," pretty-boy says with a blindingly white grin. Caps. Had to be caps. "He's a moron. He's also Sam, my brother, and I'm Dean Winchester. I'd offer to shake, but I'm pretty sure I don't want that thing pointed at me."
"Nah, it's Rodney you gotta watch out for. Guns have a finite amount of shots," which is not actually a lie, although thoroughly misleading when referring to an energy weapon, "and Rodney here's kinda like the Energizer Bunny. Only a whole lot meaner."
Rodney settles on scowling, since he's not sure if he should be pleased or threatening ice-water showers for a week. "Beer?" he pleads.
"Yeah, yeah. Our cars over there." Gun in one hand, Rodney held under the other, John manages to turn to give both Winchester boys a once over that sees more than the most exhausting, thorough, week-long study could've ever determined. "In the interest of full-disclosure I should probably tell you boys -- "
"We are not," Jaffa -- er, Sam growls, "boys."
"-- you kids," John obliges with a smile full of charm, "that me'n Rodney are here on assignment about that house a few blocks away, the one that's started to light up like a Christmas tree even though the power's turned off? Yeah. Since I'm pretty sure that's why you're here, I thought I'd be the gentleman and just let you, ah, know. We aren't competition, but I'm pretty sure we've got information you don't."
Rodney groans because of course, of course this is the local equivalent of alien-watchers or hunters or whatever the were calling themselves this time. They've run into a few, so far, but before Rodney can open his mouth he actually notices the way the Winchester boys are looking at each other, full of the same kind of world-weary consideration Rodney can see in the mirror sometimes.
"Huh. Maybe you aren't crackpots," he says, and, "you mentioned beer? This will go a lot better with beer. Also, my boyfriend desperately wants to ride in your car, because he's twelve."
"And has good taste," Dean says with a nod. "Sure, Mr. Army -- "
" -- Air Force man, come have a ride in my car."
"Dean! You aren't seriously going to do this."
Dean rolls his eyes at the exact same moment Rodney does and for now, that's kinship enough. "Come on, Jaffa-boy. You can ride in our car and give me directions."
There's a short, vicious war in the car when Sam unthinkingly tries to change the radio station. Rodney does not listen to 'pop' music. He doesn't dislike it -- in fact, he likes a lot of it a great deal, and he's even coming around to Johnny Cash, not that he will ever tell this to John -- but he does hate the radio. What was once a grand tradition of free thinking and expression has gone corporate to a degree Rodney finds stifling.
Also, there's always the possibility that rap will slip into his music. There has to be a melody, and no, beat-boxing is not a melody, and if there are going to be words, he prefers they are not slurred, tangled, or mangled to the point where it's another language entirely.
He likes the Sugarhill Gang and Biggie, though. He's a man of complexities.
"Hey, come on. That's ACDC!"
"That is shrill, grandiose attempts at shredding ones vocal cords," Rodney snaps and turns the station back to Vivaldi. Trite, boring, and the station is fading in and out, but it's still soothing aloe after a long day in the sun. "Touch the radio again, Jaffa-boy, and I will show you exactly why all the muscle-bound idiots I work with live in terror of my displeasure."
Turning carefully down the gravel road, Rodney holds his breath: the unintentional rhyme is usually the most juvenile -- and therefore easiest -- speech misstep to pounce on. Since he's sitting next to a six-foot-plus child, it seems obvious...
"What the hell is the United States military investigating a haunted house?"
Turning the car off, Rodney turns the sentence over in his mind. He can hear the possession in Jaffa-boy's voice because he's felt it -- hell, voiced it -- before. Many, many times, before. It's odd to hear it in a boy this young, with much older eyes, who isn't involved with Stargates or the like.
"Not the US Military," Rodney corrects. The engine of their Escalade ticks. American made piece of crap. "The SGC."
"I can probably dig up a few acronyms of my own to throw at you, if you wanted."
"I'm sure you could, Jaffa-boy, but they would be just as meaningless to me as this is to you. Wait until we can tell both of you at the same time, okay? Frankly, I think Sheppard was half-expecting you." Or someone like him, although Rodney can't believe it's a child. A pair of children, really -- they make Ford seem ancient. "He talked about this dive-bar he used to go to. Owned by a woman who he probably slept with, because he is the most hetero gay man I have ever encountered, and he loves to bring up past flings just to watch my blood pressure rise and, oh, yes -- her name was Ellen."
Sam stiffens, the way Rodney half expected he would. "Ellen."
"Harvelle," Rodney finishes. "Yeah. Surprise, you know her, don't you? Don't answer that, just get out of the car and buy me a beer in the cleanest glass you can find. Sheppard's much better at this kind of thing, anyway."
Sam gets out of the car, face a mask. He's halfway up the ramp to the bar, which is unsurprisingly run down and very much a dive, he whirls and says, "Aren't Jaffa cookies of some kind? Cakes?"
It takes Rodney a full ten seconds for his mind to make the correct association and he's still laughing almost five minutes later when a wind-blown, grinning Dean and John enter the bar, sliding in next to their respective partners.
John cups the back of his neck, a soft gesture for a man who's picked up enough of Ronon's tricks that he no longer looks like he's cruising when he leans back, surveying the room they're in. "Rodney?"
He's laughing too helplessly to explain, and Sam's faltering attempts only prolong it. His stomach hurts and he's going to have hiccups any second, but he can't get the sight of Teal'c or, god, Brea'tac stamped onto little wafer cookies that he remembers scarfing down eagerly as a child.
John clearly doesn't get it, but he makes small talk while he orders their drinks, distracting the Winchesters from their edging-away-from-the-crazy-man butt-dance. "It's been a long couple of days," John says. "Here, McKay, drink your beer and no, it's not American. All they had was Molson."
That's acceptable, barely, and Rodney drinks away the encroaching hiccups just in time to hear a fast-and-dirty show down between John and Dean about who knew Ellen best. When John mentions a mole on her shoulder -- oh, he so totally slept with her -- Dean nods, satisfied and smirky because Sam's gone falsetto shrill at that particular revelation.
"So." Rodney breathes deep, testing the depth of his lungs. They're going to be here a while. "Sheppard, the thing in my -- "
John's already burrowing into Rodney's pocket, worming around an extra few seconds before he pulls out a tiny black cube. "Got it. Okay. Once I touch this, nobody'll be able to hear what we're saying."
Dean peers down at it, interested. "Some kind of mojo?"
"Dean! We can't -- "
"No, it's not mojo, or at least, it's the kind of mojo that's created with circuitry and some very, very advance sound harmonics. Look, just let us start and then you can provide the home-brewed version, okay? Oh and," he snaps at John, who's grinning as he pulls out a sheaf of forms, "you'll need to sign these. Non-disclosure agreement."
"Sorry, boys, but if you want help -- and trust me, you need it -- that's what you're gonna have to do."