Title: The Way You Left Me
Pairing: John/Rodney, Rodney/Jennifer
Summary: "I love you, Jennifer." His voice is hoarse and slightly desperate and she isn't sure if he's trying to convince her or himself.
"I know you do," she keeps her voice soft and soothing, reassuring, "that doesn't change the fact that you loved him before you even knew my name."
A/N: Tag to the Last Man so spoilers obv. but you kind of need to have seen that episode or at least been spoiled anyway to understand this
Jennifer is woken in the middle of the night by Rodney gasping and thrashing in his sleep.
At first she thinks he is having a nightmare, it wouldn’t be the first time, they’ve both had their fair share. But she realises these gasps are a different kind of familiar. The kind that instinctively tightens something low in her body.
He wakes with a gasping cry. The name he calls out is not hers but it does not surprise her and the twinge she feels is one of pain for her husband, not one of jealousy.
“John,” he sits bolt upright, gasping and flailing.
“Rodney,” she grabs his arm and tries to calm him, “shh, Rodney.”
He takes a deep breath and flops back onto his pillow.
“Sorry,” he pauses for a second, “nightmare.”
She watches him for a moment before deciding not to play stupid by accepting that answer. Maybe if she can break through his denial she might finally be able to help him heal, even just a little bit.
“No, I don’t think it was.”
He freezes, “What?” turns to her with a frown that doesn’t quite hide his fear, “what?”
“It’s okay, Rodney,” her voice is soft and understanding, she doesn’t want to spook him, “I know how you felt about him.”
He stares at her and she sees the moment he decides that he won’t pretend he doesn’t understand, that he won’t deny it. His eyes cloud up and he turns away.
She watches him climb out of bed and go to stand by the window, staring out at Earth’s single moon.
For once she isn’t distracted by his nudity. She doesn’t see his body. She only sees his pain. She follows him, goes to stand beside him and waits. She doesn’t know how long it is before he turns towards her but the goose-bumps on her skin register the minutes.
“I love <i>you</i>, Jennifer.” His voice is hoarse and slightly desperate and she isn’t sure if he’s trying to convince her or himself.
“I know you do,” she keeps her voice soft and soothing, reassuring, “that doesn’t change the fact that you loved him before you even knew my name.”
He doesn’t need to tell her she’s right, she can see it in his eyes.
“How,” his voice breaks and takes her heart with it but he clears his throat and tries again, “how did you know?”
She smiles at him hoping it will push back the tears she can feel gathering in her eyes. “Everyone knew, it was the worst kept secret on Atlantis, how besotted you were with each other.”
He opens his mouth in the middle of her sentence but the indignant retort never comes because as she finishes his face goes terrifyingly blank.
“We,” his voice is flat, but that doesn’t hide the cracks, “he didn’t,” she sees him pull himself together, “we weren’t together, Jennifer, it was just a stupid crush on my part.”
She doesn’t understand him for a long moment and then doesn’t believe him for an even longer one. It defies everything she always thought she knew about him. Everything she always thought she knew about his relationship with John Sheppard.
If he is grieving this much? When he doesn’t even know…
She reaches up and puts a hand on his check, her heart breaking all over again for everything he’s lost.
“Oh, Rodney,” she can tell her grief is showing in her voice as well as in the tears in her eyes.
When she blinks away those tears there is confusion temporarily masking his own grief. She knows that he still doesn’t understand. She knows that what she is going to say next will break him, but he needs to know, he deserves to know.
No matter how much it will hurt both of them.
She makes herself look directly into his eyes as she crushes his heart with the true nature of his loss. “He loved you too.”
And then she holds him as he cries.