Originally for sg1_five_things here
PG-13, some John/Rodney, 1600 words
1. The first time John writes a will, he's just gotten married. It's pro forma, fill in the blanks; everything goes to her first, and to a carefully constructed family trust in the event of both their deaths. He sits in a buttery-soft leather chair in his father's attorney's office, all of neutral earth tones and wooden paneling and carefully understated opulence. Nancy sits next to him, back straight, legs primly crossed at the ankle, letting the lawyer take her hand in that perfect fingertips-only excuse for a handshake given to ladies of a certain social standing.
He knows that he looks just as perfectly comfortable in these ridiculous surroundings as she does, and hates himself a little for letting himself be held even this much in his father's world. But he signs on the damn dotted line, because he said "I Do," and this is how this sort of thing is done in the world she comes from (the world he comes from too, as much as he wants to pretend he didn't).
It's not her fault if he's marrying her in some last-ditch effort to not end up cut off from his family forever. He even loves her. As much as he's ever going to love a woman, maybe, certainly as much as he's ever going to love someone still so firmly in that society he hates, at the very least as much as he's ever going to love someone who doesn't feel the same urge he does to get out, to get away, to fly. He damn well does love her, and he chose to say "I Do," and none of it is her fault, and this is the first step to doing the best by her he can.
(The best he can turns out to be not very good. He leaves her in his will, though, because she didn't deserve any of this shit.)
2. The thing about Antarctica is it's quiet. McMurdo itself is a sprawling mass of ugly metal buildings constantly thrumming with the noise of electrical generators and heavy machinery and aircraft. It all sounds soft as a whisper after anti-aircraft fire and RPGs and artillery. He worries about frostbite instead of shrapnel and the freezing air can burn your lungs, but he’ll take it over the gagging, soup-thick smoke of a burning oil rig any day. And flying a helicopter may be about the loudest occupation ever invented, but somehow, when he looks down and sees all that endless emptiness spread out underneath him, he can feel the quiet bypass his overloaded ears and seep right down into his bones.
He sends off for the papers, and on one of his days off he hikes up Observation Hill and fills them out to give a sum to the World Wildlife Fund, earmarked specially for Antarctic preservation. It feels a bit silly, but there's nothing wrong with a gesture.
After all, the Air Force has made it plain that he'll be flying garbage and mail duty on the forgotten continent until he's physically too old to fly or until he gives up and resigns his commission. John's spent what feels like an entire lifetime running, and this is about as far away as it's possible to get. He thinks maybe this is where he's gonna stop running. Can't get any farther, after all.
(It turns out that you can get a lot farther. But somewhere along the line it becomes running to instead of running from, and John's shocked to wake up one day and realize that he doesn't want to get away anymore at all. But he leaves Antarctica in his will just because it amuses him to remember that it once seemed like an end, instead of the beginning.)
3. John is - as far as military officers go - very, very lucky. When Elizabeth lays a hand on his arm and asks if there's anything between him and Rodney, he's able to say, "You're not supposed to ask me that," in an easy, unconcerned drawl, while his eyes give her all the answer she needs. His stomach clenches in dread, but that's an irrational fear reaction; he trusts Elizabeth.
A little later, he stumbles out of Rodney's quarters at 0200 sweaty and flushed and well-fucked, and literally runs into a Marine patrol. He spends the next three days (when he's not cursing himself for forgetting to check the life-signs detector) on adrenaline-fueled pins and needles, waiting for the talk, bracing for the insubordination, wondering if he's going to have to resign when he can no longer command effectively. But at some point it becomes obvious that everyone knows and no one cares. Colonel Carter knows, too, within weeks of her arrival, and he's left scratching his head and wondering when the Air Force started deliberately overlooking his misdeeds, when he became surrounded by people who would cover for him.
It's a strange and unsettling feeling, and it makes him realize how very lucky he really is. He leaves a big chunk of change to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Fund, dedicated to fighting "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and helping military personnel negatively affected by it.
(When that policy is changed right after the election of 2016, John cuts them a big check in his own name and uses their legal help to get a lot of boring paperwork done for him and Rodney. But he leaves them in his will, though the organization's name and mission changes a bit. It's a good reminder, kind of like the Antarctica thing.)
4. Teyla isn't in his will. It's not a slight; he just doesn't have a lot of the type of worldly possessions she would value. But her cultural exchange work is important to her, and it's not getting the support it should from the American diplomacy corps, or the IOA, for that matter. So he endows a little scholarship for college graduates to come teach math and physics in Athosian schools, and for Athosian young adults to study in Earth-based universities.
He doesn't wait till he dies to set it up, though. Teyla talks constantly about the bright young minds of New Athos and the desperate necessity of getting her people's next great leaders an education that the powers of Earth will recognize as legitimate. She's read her history books, and absorbed the lesson of what happens to people deemed technologically or scientifically inferior. No reason to wait on anything so desperately important.
So he sets it up as soon as the idea occurs to him, though of course another sum will go to it from his will as well. Doesn't name it after himself or anything. God knows, after hearing about the McKay Astrophysics Research Institute or the McKay Grant for Extraordinary Scientific Potential or the McKay.... well, he's not going down that road.
(Interestingly, the fourth recipient of the Emmagen Scholarship actually studies at the McKay Astrophysics Research Institute, and publishes a paper that proves Rodney's theory of naquadah's interaction with a forming wormhole to be woefully incomplete. This enrages Rodney so much that he throws his back out flinging the journal against the wall. Teyla just asks coolly what his intention was in founding the institute, if he did not wish he work to be expanded upon? John figures it was worth not waiting 'til he died just to see that.)
5. Ronon fits in really well on Earth. For values of "fitting in" that include drawing gaping stares everywhere they go, of course. But not because he seems alien - just because he's six and a half feet of muscle and dreads, and fills out a suit jacket with slouchy, careless, leonine grace. John's seen how Teal'c looks trying to navigate Earth, the way he's always just a little startling, just a little odd, always seems to need a cover identity. Ronon doesn't need a cover. He's just exactly as much Ronon on Earth as he is in Pegasus, and it doesn't seem to occur to him for a moment not to sink right in and enjoy.
It gets John to thinking about what will happen to him if the IOA pulls out of Atlantis all together. No Sateda to defend, no more Wraith to defeat, nowhere other than Atlantis that he's called home- he doesn't doubt for a moment that Ronon will survive and thrive absolutely anywhere he choses to go, but he wants the guy to have options. Ronon's stayed with them after the elimination of the Wraith threat, and that pretty much means that he's thrown in with Earth-based humanity for the long haul, but John doesn't have any misconceptions about just how badly it might go for an alien on Earth if mass xenophobia breaks out.
It's tricky leaving anything to Ronon, given that he doesn't actually exist in anything but the most classified layers of bureaucracy, but he manages. At least the guy'll have a car and some cash (and a really sweet surfboard) if he ever decides to transplant himself for good.
(Ronon never does transplant, and he never really decides whether he would, if the IOA did pull out of Atlantis completely. But he uses the money to buy a little beach house and stashes the surfboard and a small armory there, and it becomes a hideaway for Lanteans - former expedition members, and current members on leave, and aliens who do make the leap - where they can talk freely and smell the salt. Ronon drops by every six months or so, and is astonished at how many ways John gave him a home.)
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