"I thought all Canadians were supposed to be polite," John said in irritation as he swatted away Rodney's hand from his forehead. "Ask first. Say please and thank you."
"Just because you're a stereotype doesn't mean I have to be a stereotypical Canadian," Rodney retorted. "Hmm... definitely hot. I'll call Carson."
"It's just a touch of flu, Rodney."
"So when did you gain your medical doctorate, Sheppard?" Rodney asked breezily.
It had taken years to get the facts out of John concerning his journey 48 thousand years into the future, and only after that particular future was well and truly gone, but Rodney recalled how John related Jennifer's fate. In that terrible future without John she had contracted Michael's modified Hoffan virus and died back on Earth, leaving Rodney alone with his memories of losing two of the most important people in his life. The thought of spending a lifetime in a dead-end teaching post, trying to figure out what had happened to John and fix it had left a mental scar even though he wasn't the one who had lived those years. All he had to base his fear on was those 12 days while John was missing, and how he had argued with Woolsey to let him keep searching even after Woolsey officially declared John MIA. Missing in action.
He had lost his best friend, and part of him seemed lost without John.
It only occurred to Rodney now how John had avoided telling him about his relationship with Jennifer in that lost future, not until after they had broken up. Rodney had a suspicion John had avoided mentioning it in the hope it never happened, and certainly he could recall a few times when John seemed less than happy to see him with Jennifer. He also remembered how John had looked so guilty after the break-up even though he'd had nothing to do with it.
Though on second thoughts, perhaps it had everything to do with John.
Jennifer had pointed out in her break-up speech how Rodney couldn't be in love with her because he was already in love with someone else.
Of course she had refused to give a name, telling Rodney it was obvious, and for a time Rodney had tiptoed around Teyla and Kanaan with a guilty conscience as he couldn't think of any other woman close enough to him, even though he'd always thought of her more like a sister. A more diplomatic sister as Jeannie was not a stereotypical Canadian either. It was Teyla who set him on the right path after forcing him to train with her and hitting him with her bantos sticks far harder than he deserved until he finally admitted why he was avoiding her.
"Are you not a scientist, Rodney? Perhaps you need to broaden your parameters."
He wondered why women had to be so cryptic rather than tell him straight out. Instead he worked it out after Atlantis finally had permission to head back to Pegasus, only to be told John had been reassigned to an off-world team in the Milky Way. The thought of leaving John behind on Earth was too horrifying to contemplate but the US military would not budge. Jeannie came up with a solution when even Rodney's threat to resign and leave Atlantis fell upon deaf ears, and for the first time he was grateful she wasn't a typical Canadian - or a typical woman.
"He could resign and take up a science post. Better still, if he became a Canadian citizen and you married-"
Rodney was partway through scoffing at her idea when everything clicked into place, and while it did take a few weeks to convince John, that was more about changing his citizenship than getting married to another guy. Weirdly that part of the equation had come so easy to both of them, as if deep down they had known all along they were meant for each other. It appeared Jennifer was right all along - as was Teyla. He had been in love with someone else for years but had been too blind to look beyond their gender. Now he embraced that fully, and often, admitting it was the best sex of his life though maybe that was because he was with the person he loved.
Carson was happy to make a house call, agreeing with John.
"Aye, it's likely just a touch of flu caught from a longer exposure to germs on Earth after spending a lot of time in another galaxy."
"Thanks, Doc," John murmured as Carson prescribed fluids and bed rest.
Rodney harrumphed and Carson raised an eyebrow.
"Manners, Rodney," he chided. "Perhaps you could learn to be more Canadian like your husband," he added impishly.
John simply looked smug.