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Oct. 29th, 2008 @ 06:59 pm Bros Before 'Hos by liketheriver (5.12 Outsiders)
details rodney
liketheriverrun:

Title: Bros Before 'Hos
Pairing: None (gen)
Rating: T.
Word count: ~3000
Warning: None
Spoilers: Anything upto and including The Outsiders
Author Notes: Koschka wanted a tag because she felt bad for Rodney after Carson tried to blow him off, so here it is. 
Summary:  Rodney gets a little reassurance about where he stands.

Bros Before ‘Hos

by liketheriver

 

“Bros before ‘hos, buddy,” Ronon tells me with a grin and rough slap to my back as he stands to empty his lunch tray.  “Bros before ‘hos.”

 

I watch him leave, completely baffled that a man born and raised in the Pegasus galaxy would not only be familiar with that particular phrase, but that he felt compelled to use it with me.  “Bros before…?”  I look across the table to see Sheppard grimacing at Ronon’s back.  “What the hell was that?”

 

“I think that was his way of saying we would have come after you, you know, when you and Carson were on the Hive.”  Sheppard quickly stuffs another bite of his sandwich in his mouth and seems very preoccupied with reading the back of his bag of chips.  I’m sure his interest in the nutritional information of his lunch has less to do the caloric count of a paltry handful of Cheetos and more to do with wanting to avoid what will obviously be my next question.

 

“Exactly which ‘hos were you two bros thinking of putting me before in the first place?”

 

“Not me.  Ronon… and you… having that whole….” He waves a cheese puff as he tries to think of the correct word and he finally settles on, “…thing with Dr. Keller.”

 

What?” I demand, not sure if I’m more shocked that he’s even aware of it or that he apparently said something to Ronon about it.

 

“I just wanted to make sure Ronon understood where his priorities should lie and that nothing happened that would cause friction in the team.”

 

My eyes widen in worry.  “You don’t seriously think he would do anything like stand by and let the Wraith feed on me.  Do you?”

 

“No, of course not,” Sheppard assures, although my relief is short lived considering what he says next.  “I was thinking more along the lines of hip checking you into the nearest wall the next time you try to go off world with Jennifer.”

 

I frown at the idea then frown harder as something else dawns on me.  “Wait a minute.  Why didn’t you feel the need to come talk to me about it like you did Ronon?”

 

“What are you going to do to him?  Bore him into a coma with your dazzling knowledge of some medical term you practiced saying in front of the mirror for hours?”

 

“It wasn’t hours,” I defend before letting my chin drop and mumbling around a bite of my own ham and cheese, “It was ten or twenty minutes, thirty tops.”

 

“Sure it was, Marcus Welby.”  I narrow my eyes but he keeps talking.  “And the point is, you two can do whatever the hell you want as long as it doesn’t interfere with the team.”

 

I brighten momentarily.  “I don’t suppose you forgot to explain exactly what a ‘ho is and that he shouldn’t refer to certain people by that name, such as Jennifer?”

 

“Of course I told him what it meant.  I’m not going to do your dirty work for you, McKay.”

 

“Fine,” I grumble at the loss of a potential advantage.  “But bros before ‘hos?” I repeat in awe yet again.

 

John grimaces once more.  “It was the best I could come up with at the time.”

 

I straighten in my seat as I realize another implication of his statement.  “So you’re calling Jennifer a ‘ho?”

 

“No!  Of course not.  Not really…”  When I glower Sheppard raises his hands.  “No, absolutely not.  Jennifer is a wonderful woman… who is just having trouble making up her mind which member of my team she wants to date.”  When I open my mouth to protest, he continues on.  “But that is definitely not ‘ho caliber material.”

 

“Of course it’s not,” I grump.  “And it’s not like you have a lot of room to point fingers when it comes to dating potential ‘hos.”

 

Now Sheppard is the one scowling.  “Hey!  You didn’t have to sit down and join me for lunch, you know.”

 

I sigh and poke at my fruit cup as I mumble.  “Well, you weren’t my first choice.”

 

“Gee, I’m sorry you had to lower you standards, McKay.  Do I at least rank in your top five?”

 

With a shake of my head, I try to appease him.  “No, I didn’t mean it like that.  I was just supposed to have lunch with Carson and he blew me off… again.”

 

“Ah.  So that’s what’s had you in such a funk these past few days?” In an odd way, Sheppard looks relieved that might be the case.

 

“I’m not in a funk… okay, maybe… I don’t... it’s just….” I shake my head and give a humorless laugh.  “I should have followed the whole bros before ‘hos edict myself.”

 

“What do you mean?  Without you disabling the weapons systems in that Hive ship, we never would have had a chance of escaping that planet.”

 

“That’s not what I meant.  I was talking about Carson and when I blew off going fishing with him so I could go on a date with Katie.”

 

“Rodney, you couldn’t have known what was going to happen…”

 

I shake my head, because as much as I logically know that’s true and regardless of how many times Sheppard has stated this argument, it doesn’t make me feel any better.  I put my own wants in front of a promise I had made to a friend, and as a result, that friend died.  Whether I meant for that to happen or not is irrelevant in my book.  And ever since then, I’ve tried to be more… aware.  Hell, nicer.  Considerate of what my actions can cause.   And here I’ve been given a second chance to make amends to Carson Beckett and this particular one has no clue why I feel the need to even try.

 

“And the most fucked up thing is that he doesn’t even remember Katie’s name.”  When John looks at me in confusion I try my best to explain.  “The original Carson died because I wanted to have lunch with Katie and he understood Katie and I could be getting a little more serious and he let me off the hook from going fishing with him because he wanted me to go for it.  And this Carson… he asked me if I ever thought of asking out that cute botanist again I had gone out on that one date with.  He doesn’t know about me and Katie, he doesn’t know what it was like for me to go home and tell his mother he had died, hell, he doesn’t even know I took in his goddamn turtles when I came back from Scotland.  I mean, how do I make up something to a man who has no clue what I’m trying to make up to him?”

 

“You don’t,” John tells me simply.

 

“What?”

 

“Look, it’s easy to forget that this isn’t the same Carson we knew for that year between his cloning and the original Carson’s death.  Hell, I forget sometimes myself.  But he’s different.  And I’m not talking about one Carson owned turtles and this one didn’t.  He was Michael’s prisoner for almost two years; that sort of experience would change anyone.  You have to understand that this Carson could care less about you going out on a date instead of fishing with the other Carson.”

 

I’m not an idiot.  I know everything that Sheppard is saying is true, but it doesn’t change the fact that today there is a living breathing Carson in Atlantis.  And after you take a man’s body home to his elderly mother and attend his wake, that’s not something you ever think you’ll have again.

 

“He’s still a Carson,” I try to justify.  “And as far as he’s concerned he’s the same Carson who survived the Wraith siege, who figured out a way to keep you from turning into a bug, who took the tracker out of Ronon’s back…”

 

“Hey, believe me; I’m just as happy to have Carson back as you are.”  Sheppard puts down his sandwich and wipes his hands. “But the fact remains, when Michael cloned him, things changed for him and for us and it’s not fair for you to think he’s going to be the same old Carson we all knew from before.”

 

“So, I’m just supposed to ignore him and not try to spend time with him?”

 

“That’s not what I’m saying.  You have to try to see it from his perspective.  You feel like you have to make something up to him, he feels like he has to make something up to the entire Pegasus galaxy.”

 

“Well, that’s just ridiculous,” I argue.  “He was a POW for Christ’s sake, working under duress.  He can’t be responsible for everything Michael has done.”

 

“I know that.  But I also know you aren’t going to stop trying to get Carson to spend time with you and Carson isn’t going to stop trying to save the galaxy from Michael’s plague.”

 

“When you put it that way, it makes my goals seem a little less lofty than Carson’s, not to mention my reasons a little more childish.”

 

John shrugs.  “Maybe you should take advantage of it.  He’s practically given you a free pass to go back to being the old Rodney who pretty much did whatever the hell he wanted without regard to anyone around him.”

 

I cross my arms and ponder the ceiling.  “I seem to recall spending an awful lot of that time doing whatever the hell I wanted playing an Ancient computer game with you.”

 

Sheppard’s lips quirk as he picks up his fork and spears a bite of chocolate cake.  “Well, you know, someone had to make the ultimate sacrifice and spend time with you during your asshole days.”  He sighs dramatically.  “As team leader, it fell to me.”

 

“Not to mention no one else was interested in playing the Ancient equivalent of the Sims on steroids with you.”

 

Sheppard shrugs again.  “There was that, too.”  He takes another bite of cake.  “Speaking of which, are we still on for Halo tonight?  Don’t plan to ditch me to try to lure Carson out of his lab for a little R&R?”

 

“I hadn’t planned on it.”  I furrow my brow at the question.  “Are you… jealous?”

 

“Please,” he snorts.  “Go ahead and invite Carson to join us if you want.  I can borrow Lorne’s extra controls and you can link up the laptops.”

 

Now it’s my turn to snort.  “Yeah, right.  You know Carson gets squeamish over the violence in Pac Man… ah, the wee ghost,” I mimic in a Scottish tizzy before I shake my head.  “At least he used to.  After what he did with those Wraith on the Hive and Michael’s minions… who knows?”

 

And that was the real crux of the matter.  As much as I wanted Carson to be Carson, he had changed.  We both had.

 

John remains silent for a few seconds before reminding me, “You know, those two years Carson was a hostage with Michael, we didn’t exactly have it easy either.”

 

It was true.  We’d lost not only the original Carson but Elizabeth, too.  We’d fought and defeated the Replicators, nearly lost the city to the Ancients, nearly lost Earth to the Wraith, nearly lost Sheppard to Kolya, nearly lost Ronon to the Wraith, nearly lost Teyla to Michael, nearly lost me to an ascension machine…and the Wraith… and the Replicators… and the bottom of the ocean… and Christ, I really needed to rethink my career path, not to mention update my will.  Sheppard may have been right about having a rough couple of years, but there was one thing we had that Carson didn’t.

 

“At least we didn’t have to go through it all alone.”

 

“Then we do our best to make sure Carson doesn’t go through his attempt to save Pegasus alone, either.”

 

“Bros before ‘hos?”

 

Sheppard grins.  “I couldn’t have said it better myself.”

 

“I just wish you hadn’t said it to Ronon,” I lament.  “And why the hell did he feel the need to tell me that anyway?”

 

“Oh, well, he thought you might need some reassurances to get you out of your funk.”

 

“My funk over Carson?” I ask in confusion.

 

“No, we thought you might be in a funk for another reason,” Sheppard confesses.

 

“What other reason?”

 

He shifts his shoulders and takes a bite of his cake without looking up.  “I don’t know.  Maybe the whole being stuck up on the Hive ship thing and… you know, how that sucks and all.” 

 

When he glances up at me I can see what he isn’t saying− I asked you to stay up there and disarm the weapons and risk your life doing it instead of trying to get you off the ship.  And, honestly, my first reaction to that request had been, “What the fuck?” 

 

But, I roll my eyes at the suggestion.  “Please, I have a frequent flier card with the Wraith.  I’m surprised I don’t get a free drink and a deck of cards when I get on board these days.  Apparently I already receive priority boarding.”

 

He nods but keeps studying his dessert.  “Because, you know I would have… you know, right?”

 

But after working with John Sheppard for almost five years, I knew that if there was one constant with him it was that he didn’t leave a man behind.  Ever. 

 

“You would have been on that ship within the hour,” I confirm without a doubt.

 

I mean, he’d woke the goddamn Wraith trying to save a commanding officer who hated him; there was no way in hell he would give up on getting me back… and Carson, of course. 

 

He finally looks up from his tray and straight in my eyes.  “We would have caught the next culling beam after the villagers were through the gate.”

 

But mainly me.

 

My lips quirk and now I stare at my meal.  “Bros before ‘hos?”

 

“Damn straight.”

 

“I feel like we should bump fists or something,” I admit, although the thought doesn’t really appeal to me.

 

Sheppard’s expression says he feels the same way.  “You can save that for Carson.  He seems to enjoy a good fist bump.”

 

“Seriously?”  He’s changed more than I thought if that’s the case.  “Do you think he’d respond to a little bros before ‘hos type of conversation?  Maybe a bros before galaxy-wide plague talk?”

 

“Couldn’t hurt.”

 

I consider it before asking doubtfully, “Think he’d take the damn turtles back?”

 

“They aren’t his turtles,” Sheppard reminds.

 

“Well, yes, technically that’s true, but genetically they are practically the same person.”

 

“What’s wrong with the turtles?”

 

With a crinkle of my nose, I tell him, “They make my room kind of smell like a swamp.”  Then I have an idea.  “Hey, think Ronon might want them?  I could maybe use the whole guilt over abandoning me on the Hive ship to my advantage.”

 

“I thought you never doubted we’d come for you?” John challenges with a hint of worry.

 

“Yes,” I dismiss, “but Ronon doesn’t know that.”  I smile in wicked delight that I may have found a way to torment Ronon and ditch the turtles all in one fell swoop.

 

Sheppard studies me for a second before standing and picking up his tray.  “You know, McKay, I don’t think you’ve changed as much as you think you have.”

 

“Oh, thanks so much.”  I push back my chair and follow after him.  “Just keep in mind that you were the one sulking that I might not play computer games with you tonight.”

 

He ignores the sulking jab and places his tray on the cart.  “Eh, change is overrated.”

 

I blink in surprise as the truth of his words sinks in.  In the past four and a half years, things really haven’t changed that much between me and Sheppard.  We still bicker and exchange barbs, we still play computer games and chess, we still have the occasional beer and watch bad movies, we still take turns saving each other’s lives, and he still trusts me in the field more than I ever trusted myself and I still trust him more than anyone in my life.

 

John glances at his watch with a curse.  “Shit, I’m late for the meeting with Woolsey and Lorne to find a new homeworld for our guests.”  He’s already walking backwards toward the door.  “So, I’ll see you around eight?  You bring the beer?”

 

“Me?” I complain, not because it’s not my turn but because I completely forgot and now I have to go beg some off of Radek who will no doubt charge me quadruple the going rate.  I swear to God, for a former Eastern-blocker, the man has embraced capitalism whole heartedly.

 

“You,” he confirms, turning to avoid running into one of the tables.

 

Bros before ‘hos, I think to myself with an internal roll of my eyes as I watch him go.  But the truth is, when it comes to me and Sheppard it’s bros before… hell, everything.  And I’m once again amazed at how a simple conversation with him can help me put things in perspective and just feel better about the universe in general.  And now that I finally have a plan to get rid of the turtles, it seems like the storm clouds that have been hanging over me for the past few days are finally parting to reveal nothing but blue skies.

 

“Oh,” John calls as he reaches the door.  “You might want to rethink the whole turtle thing with Ronon.  After all, women have a soft spot for cute little hapless animals.”  He grins and disappears into the hallway.

 

Goddammit, does that know-it-all, son of a bitch always have to rain on my parade?

 

The End

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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From:piplover
Date:October 30th, 2008 02:37 am (UTC)
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Perfect. I love how you managed to capture John's poutiness without making him a thirteen year old girl, and Rodney's constant attempts to try and outsmart Ronon are great. Sigh. Now if only the show would stick to this idea.
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From:liketheriverrun
Date:October 31st, 2008 03:23 pm (UTC)
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I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks John has been a little pouty lately. And I do enjoy a little poutiness, if they keep it manly. *G* Thanks so very much!
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From:pansychubb
Date:October 30th, 2008 03:48 am (UTC)
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Ahahahaha, wonderful, as always!

I'm glad you went into the differences between Carson and clone!Carson. Something that's irked me since his return is the fact that they all seem to have forgotten that Carson is still *dead*. Yes, they might have a copy now, but a good man still *died* that Sunday.

Eh, but I'm ranting now. Thanks so much for sharing!

:-)
-Pansy Chubb (aka LilRicki)
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From:liketheriverrun
Date:October 31st, 2008 03:27 pm (UTC)
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It has been very odd with the clone!Carson because I get the feeling the team is either in total denial over the fact this isn't the same Carson or the writers are just hoping we will forget that this isn't the same Carson if the team acts that way. Ronon's rough hug for Carson when they first saw him in this ep really struck me that way. This little ficlet finally let me address something that's been bugging me since the writers don't seem to want to do it (or know how). I'm glad you enjoyed the fic, though. Thanks!
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From:dru_evilista
Date:October 30th, 2008 07:43 am (UTC)
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Awwww perfection! They are just so cute. Bros before hos. Totally.
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From:liketheriverrun
Date:October 31st, 2008 03:28 pm (UTC)
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Thanks so very much!
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From:water_soter
Date:October 30th, 2008 02:40 pm (UTC)
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oh nice one! Loved it as usual and I was so thrown by Ronon and his bro's before 'hos comment, it cracked me up! I loved the way you treated the "love triangle" and yeah, there are times when I wonder if the writer's of SGA are going to make things hard for Rodney. It kinda seems sad that Rodney feels like he doesn't measure up or is good enough for Jennifer. Luckily, Sheppard is there to pick up the pieces, *wink, wink*
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From:liketheriverrun
Date:October 31st, 2008 03:30 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, if only those two would realize they are meant for each other and stop all this crap with women, the world would be a better place. *G* And I really did just love the idea of Ronon saying bros before 'hos. It cracked me up, too. Thanks so much!
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From:winter_elf
Date:October 30th, 2008 06:17 pm (UTC)
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Nice bit of friendship and conversation, and good followup for that episode. And yea, Carson is different. Nice to see them talking about why.
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From:liketheriverrun
Date:October 31st, 2008 03:31 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! I actually think the writers have been doing a good job of showing how this isn't the same old Carson. What they haven't addressed is how no one has accepted that fact, so this little ficlet gave me a chance to do it. *G*
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From:d_odyssey
Date:October 31st, 2008 12:48 am (UTC)
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Loved this. Great use of humor between John and Ronon then Rodney - Bros before hos. *g* Excellent points that both Carson and Rodney had changed in that time frame and it really wasn't the Carson that was Rodney's best friend. Nice touch with the turtles - and Rodney going to pawn them off with Ronon. Best of all was the conversation between John and Rodney - that shows the real best friends and more. Perfect voices for the two with a great mix of serious support and good old snark. Great tag.
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From:liketheriverrun
Date:October 31st, 2008 03:35 pm (UTC)
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You know, the thing that threw me the most about Sunday was when Rodney told ghost!Carson he was his best friend. I hated that almost as much as them killing Carson because it undercut everything that I had seen and believed about the John and Rodney friendship. But I'm glad you enjoyed the fic. Thanks so much!
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From:astridv
Date:October 31st, 2008 02:04 am (UTC)
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He finally looks up from his tray and straight in my eyes. “We would have caught the next culling beam after the villagers were through the gate.”

But mainly me.


Without a doubt. :)

Great tag! I love your take on the Rodney/NotQuiteCarson relationship, too - makes perfect sense.
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From:liketheriverrun
Date:October 31st, 2008 03:36 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, okay, maybe it wasn't *entirely* gen. *G* But I do firmly believe they would have gone to get Rodney off the ship as soon as the villagers were safe. Thanks so much!
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From:astridv
Date:October 31st, 2008 06:09 pm (UTC)
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Oh, oh, I meant relationship in the strictly platonic sense here. Carson/Rodney is one of the ships I can't see at all...

But I do firmly believe they would have gone to get Rodney off the ship as soon as the villagers were safe.

Exactly. And Rodney wasn't even fretting because he knew that. They got that hive ship rescue routine down by now. ;)

[eta]more on the Carson/Rodney thing... Your take on it rings true: I'd just been talking in someone elses post (horridporrid's?) about how their whole relationship seems off, particularly since Carson's return. Rodney seems definitely more invested in that friendship than Carson, who's barely humoring him. And that rubs me entirely the wrong way; I don't like unequal relationships of any kind. But this makes a lot of sense - Rodney guilting over Carson's death and wanting to make up for it, while for Carson that whole reason for that guilt is irrelevant. They're not best friends, I honestly can't see them as real friends at all, but this is a really good explanation why they act like that. Particularly Rodney.

I wonder if the writers considered that. I like to think that their interaction was intentionally written this way.

Edited at 2008-10-31 06:23 pm (UTC)
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From:liketheriverrun
Date:November 1st, 2008 07:25 pm (UTC)
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Oh, no,no,no, I wasn't suggesting a Carson/Rodney ship because I don't see it either. In fact the only one I see is John/Rodney and that's what I was talking about with Rodney believing John would have come after mainly him on the Hive.

As to the Carson and Rodney friendship since clone!Carson showed up, I've thought a lot about that myself. I actually think the writers have realized that clone!Carson is not the same Carson we had before. He was a POW for 2 years forced to do things he didn't agree with to help Michael. Of course he's not going to be the sweet Carson we had before. As much as I hate not having the old Carson, I respect the writers for thinking that there would be changes. I think where they've struggled (or at least not addressed directly) is that most of the others (Ronon and Rodney in particular) don't seem or want to consider him as anything except that same old loveable Carson. And then I think about what Rodney has gone through since the clone!Carson's life splintered off from the others and your realize the clone missed out on a lot of Rodney's growth potential events... Toa of Rodney, Doppelganger, Quarantine, Sunday, just to name a few. The clone is expecting Rodney to be like he was in the first 2 seasons, which was a little bit more self centered. That's the Rodney he's used to and this new one is probably catching Carson a bit off guard, too. I don't think clone!Carson was being mean to Rodney at the end of Outsiders, it's just that the Rodney he knew wouldn't have necessarily come looking for him and if he had, he wouldn't have had his feelings hurt if Carson turned him down since he probably would have done the exact same thing to Carson the day before. Does that make sense?

As to the best friend thing, I have never seen Rodney and Carson as "best friends". The concept of that is a little antiquated in adulthood anyway, at least to me. I have great friends at work that I never see outside of the office. Would I be devistated if they died? Of course I would. Same thing with friends I have outside of work. I think Rodney and Carson were always great friends and cared for each other but Rodney wasn't hanging out with Carson and playing video games like he was with John. Carson seemed thrown when Rodney (via Cadman) asked Carson to join him for his date with Katie, like that sort of socialization wasn't the norm for them. Sure Rodney was going to go fishing with him in Sunday, but he sure wasn't looking forward to it. Whereas with John, they geniunely seem to enjoy hanging out with each other on duty or off. Now the question is, do John and Rodney just not understand that they are best friends because on the surface they seem so unlikely as best friend material?
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From:trishkafibble
Date:October 31st, 2008 06:18 am (UTC)
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^^ Adorable!! That last bit is just perfect--true friends know exactly which buttons to push, eh? Very cool throughout, too. I do so love your Rodney and Shep (and what's not to love about anybody's Ronon? ;) ). And, well, maybe newCarson's not so hard to take, when you think about his perspective like that. Great job, thanks for sharing!
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From:liketheriverrun
Date:October 31st, 2008 03:38 pm (UTC)
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Thanks so much! I have to say that, although I miss the original Carson, I respect the writers for realizing that clone!Carson isn't going to be the loveable teddy bear Carson from before. They just haven't addressed the teams reaction to those changes very well IMHO. But then, that's why we have fanfic. *G*
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From:scifigeek72
Date:November 3rd, 2008 09:59 am (UTC)
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Wonderful....I love the way you capture their characters. Well done!
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From:liketheriverrun
Date:November 5th, 2008 02:24 pm (UTC)
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Thanks so very much! I'm so happy you liked it.