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Sinus Rhythm

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There were a hundred tropes out there—soulmarks, silver cords, counters that started or stopped at the moment a person met their soulmate, living your life in black and white until it lit in color the first time you laid eyes on your other half, having nothing at all but a gut feeling that you'd found the one—but John hadn't ever really understood why they existed.

The reality was more than enough, thank you very much.

And that was why he was the only one in his quarters at McMurdo when General O'Neill came knocking, the rest of the base watching some cheesy rom-com.

“I need a ride.”

John nodded without hesitation. “No problem, sir. Lemme just, you know, find my pants.”

He nodded, saying, “Ah, yes. Pants. Helpful, those,” before ducking back out of the room. A conversation, not exactly soft-spoken, went on while John yanked his flightsuit up over the lounge pants.

Hey, it was a short trip between the base and the research facility: he fully intended to be back in bed, reading comic books and eating contraband candy long before the movie let out.

“Ready, sir.”

O'Neill had a bit of a smirk on his face and nodded toward the exit to the airstrip.

(They flew out, nearly died along the way due to some guy named Beckett, and when they finally made it the facility, setting the helo down without incident, he expected to be handed an NDA to sign and sent on his merry way.

Instead, O'Neill asked, “Wanna come inside and warm up?”

“Sir, this is Antarctica.”

“And?”

“Uh...”

“Sheppard, get out of the chopper.”

“Yes, sir.”)

Now John was kicking himself mentally because, damnitdamnitdamnit, all he had to do was stay where he was told and now there was a flurry of people around him telling him to think of things and... and...

Danvers was going to raid his room for the kinder eggs he'd left out, shit.

“Sheppard!”

He flicked his eyes to O'Neill who lifted an eyebrow and gestured toward another man, one with rosy cheeks and glasses. “Yeah?”

“I said stay here and keep that HUD open.” He added, “Rodney'll be here in a minute,” barely a few seconds before a grouchy, blue-eyed man came barreling into the space, demanding, “What is...”

John grabbed his chest.

Rodney grabbed his chest.

Overhead, the HUD shuddered, crackled, and winked out of existence, noticed by only a handful of people.

A blush crept up both their necks and someone cooed, “Oh, look at that!” as Beckett ordered, “Breathe, man!” causing both the suck in fresh air.

“I...” John grasped for words, his heart thumping solidly against his ribs and stealing his thoughts because wow, that's what it felt like.

Rodney was frozen in position, steps away, unable to move or speak or think.

Then Daniel interjected, saying, “Major,” as John caught Rodney's stoic gaze, and the ceiling above the chair exploded into a sea of stars.