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Summary: Rodney's not used to getting things.

Categories: General
Characters: John Sheppard, Rodney McKay
Genres: Challenge, Character Study, Friendship, Vignette
Warnings: None
Chapters: 1 [Table of Contents]
Series: None

Word count: 753; Completed: Yes
Updated: 27 Mar 2005; Published: 27 Mar 2005

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Author's Note: This was written for the We Invented the Remix...Redux III: Reloaded Fic-a-Thon.

I remixed Kageygirl's story "Candied Apples," which you can find here.
it's a great story and I hope this remix did it justice.

The beta for this was Wickdzoot, who did a wonderful job.

***

It's not an apple. And it doesn't even look right-—it's an oval fruit, cut into slices coated in a sweet glaze and wrapped in wax paper. The slices aren't white, and the glaze isn't red, like all the candy apples he remembers seeing growing up in Canada. Candy apples are always red. Rodney knows that, even though he's never had one.

John seems so surprised to hear that.

Which really doesn't make sense—-John's experienced a great deal and the man isn't stupid. He surely can't think that everyone, everywhere, could possibly have lived through the same chain of events. John can't really think that everyone's childhood included candied apples.

John's looking at him like Rodney's meant to say something. Or do something, more likely. Probably eat the fruit. But Rodney just keeps looking at it, won't touch it. He knows he's being rude.

But... It's just that Rodney's sure John's childhood was normal—-full of happy, wiggly puppies, and birthday parties where all the kids came, and store-bought peanut butter, and orange juice, and Valentine's Day cards from everyone in the class, and cartoons on Saturday mornings, and special midways in the shopping mall parking lots, with Ferris wheels and bright-red apples on sticks that your parents buy for you just because you asked them.

John wouldn't understand what it was like to want something—-to want something terribly, horribly--and to not ask, to never ask, because there was no point in asking, because there was no way you were ever going to get it.

And there's no way John could understand why Rodney is looking at the fruit, in its open-flower of waxed paper, as if it's something both precious and horrifying. Rodney barely understands it himself, really, except that he's not used to getting things. Or at least not anything he didn't specifically demand, or that doesn't serve a practical purpose. He'd felt like the Zed-PM General O'Neill brought back to the SGC was almost a gift, because it meant he could travel to Atlantis. He'd imagined that being asked to help Major Carter save Teal'c (not that he had, in the end) was kind of a gift, because he'd been able to meet her, and she was both aggravating as hell and utterly amazing.

But this-—Rodney isn't sure what to make of this, this gift. John was on the mainland, and he saw this candied fruit like an apple, and he brought it back with him because he wanted Rodney to have it. And that's just... that's just astonishing.

John wanted Rodney to have it, so he brought it back with him. Rodney can hardly comprehend that. He didn't even know the Athosians were having any kind of celebration; let alone had made something that might, almost, be a substitute for one of the many, many things Rodney had wanted once, but had never actually expected to get.

Rodney didn't ask for this, didn't ask for anything. But he got a gift anyway.

"Don't you want it?" John's voice is surprised, almost hurt.

Rodney blinks, looks up at him. John is smiling, but it's tentative, and Rodney realizes that it matters to John, if he takes the gift or not. And that's something else Rodney isn't used to--someone caring about what he wants. And that's astonishing, too.

"Of course I want it," he says, because John brought it for him, John wants him to have it, and he smiles. And John's answering grin is so pleased and happy that Rodney almost feels like he's given John something in return.

Rodney picks up one of the slices of fruit and takes a bite.

It tastes nothing like an apple at all. But it's sweet.

***