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Rodney swore under his breath as the jumper console sparked and went dead, tossing the screwdriver back into his toolbox with more force than was necessary.

“You okay?” asked John, sounding a little concerned.

“Yeah,” he said, then sighed. “I mean, no, we’re not okay.”

“Hey, give it a minute. You’ll think of something.”

Rodney plopped into the co-pilot’s chair. “No, I won’t. There’s nothing left to think of.”

“Well, not with that attitude,” said John.

“I’m serious,” Rodney told him. “That spark was the last bit of power in this whole ship. Our jumper is officially dead, which means the life support is off and our air will only last a few hours. And in other good news, we’re in a decaying orbit, so we’re going to burn up in the atmosphere in just over two hours.”


“No amount of annoying me is going to change any of that, Sheppard. Everything I could possibly think of to fix this would require power, which we don’t have. And our check-in with Atlantis isn’t for another four hours, so we’ll be dead before they even realize we’re missing.”

“So that’s it?” John asked. “There’s nothing we can do?”

“I wish there was,” said Rodney. “I love being able to pull off brilliant last-minute miracles, but I’m out of options here. We’re going to die.”

John took a deep breath. “Okay.”

Okay?” Rodney repeated. “That’s all you have to say?”

“You just told me there was nothing we could do!” protested John. “You want me to be mad at you, or something?”

“No. I just… I was really hoping you’d say something flippant yet secretly brilliant and I’d come up with something to save us.”

John managed a smile. “Sorry to disappoint you, buddy.”

“I just…” Rodney started again. He reached across the jumper cockpit to take John’s hand. “Even with your propensity for stupid heroics, I thought we’d have more time.”

“Me, too. I was really looking forward to seeing you as Old Rodney.”

“You were?”

“Oh, sure,” said John. “You could really pull of a cardigan sweater.”

“You never did tell me if I kept my hair,” Rodney grumbled.

John laughed. “You did. It was a little thin, but it was there.”

“Bastard,” Rodney said, but with a smile. “You really wanted to grow old with me?”

“Of course I did,” said John.

“And I…” Rodney looked down, running his thumb over John’s knuckles. “I made you happy?”

“How can you ask that?” breathed John. “God, Rodney, you—”

He slid out of the pilot’s seat to kneel in front of Rodney, catching Rodney’s free hand.

“Happy doesn’t even begin to cover it,” said John. “You’re necessary, Rodney, and I don’t know how to be without you anymore.”

“I…” Rodney began, then lunged forward to kiss him. When they broke for air, he said, “You know, we do have about two hours before we crash and burn. We could…”

John grinned and kissed him again. “Yes.”

They fumbled toward the back of the jumper, still kissing, and John had just started shrugging one-armed out of his tac vest when his radio crackled, “Colonel Sheppard, are you there?

His brain took a few seconds to register the sound and a few more seconds to stop being distracted by Rodney still kissing him.

“Radio,” he gasped, then realized what he’d said. “Radio!”

Rodney blinked. “What?”

“Sheppard here,” John said, then laughed. “Lorne, your timing is both amazing and terrible.”

Thanks?,” said Lorne. “Major Teldy’s team is conducting negotiations on P3X-992, and they need our military commander for the final ceremony. When we couldn’t contact Jumper One, I tried your radio. Um, sir, we’re not reading any power in your jumper.

“Nope, we’re dead in space,” John agreed. “Any chance of a tow?”

Coming up, sir. It might take some time.

John grinned and tangled his fingers with Rodney’s. “We can wait.”