|"Five Reasons John Sheppard Doesn't Like To Be Touched" by Kellifer_fic
||[Oct. 2nd, 2006|08:28 pm]
Title: Five Reasons John Sheppard Doesn't Like To Be Touched|
Word Count: 980
Disclaimer: Don't own, don't sue, no offense, no money.
Notes: Stand alone companion to Slow and Steady
When John was six, his mother checked out.
That was what his Father called it when he eventually committed her to a facility that he said would be good for her, care for her better than he could. For months before that though, his Mother moved around the house like a ghost, existing but not really there.
His Father would have whispered conversations on the phone with a series of doctors and would ask questions like, “Well, if it’s not a breakdown what the hell is it?” Years later, John simply believed that inexorably and horribly, his mother had been hollowed out and a black depression had swept in to fill everything that had once been her.
She would cry sometimes, standing in the middle of the living room, always holding one of the delicate pieces of china she had once collected.
A week before she had been put into a home, John had had a nightmare so bad that he had momentarily forgotten just what was happening, his simple need for his mother overwhelming everything.
He had run into his parent’s room, only occupied by his mother now as his father had taken to sleeping in the spare room, and had crawled under the covers and tried to hug her.
She had woken screaming, clawing at her face and rending her nightgown. His father had come tearing into the room and had pushed John aside, nearly tumbling him off the bed.
John, with a child’s cold certainty, had been sure that he was responsible for tearing the fragile fabric that his mother was now made up of, of breaking her.
His father didn’t notice John flinch when he patted his head the next morning at breakfast.
~ 2 ~
He knows it’s supposed to be a joke, just some rough-housing, but they have held him under for too long because grey is starting to touch the sides of his vision and his lungs are burning.
When they drag him to the surface, one of the boys is crying and has thrown up on himself and the other two look pale and shaky.
They leave him lying on the side of the pool and it’s eleven at night before someone finds him.
~ 3 ~
He’s not sure quite what happens in Junior year at high school but John suddenly goes from the guy everyone ignores to everyone’s friend.
John is a little too brainy to fit in with the jocks and a little too coordinated to fit in with the brains and it is the very moment he decides he doesn’t care that everyone else decides he’s cool.
It also doesn’t hurt that he shoots up three inches and the puppy fat that has plagued his existence since he was six falls away almost overnight, leaving him lean and lanky. Girls flirt and boys seek his approval and John isn’t quite sure what to do with it all.
When Amber Peterson grabs his hand and places it squarely on her breast while they are outside the junior formal, John pulls his hand away as if it’s been burned and she looks at him with narrowed eyes.
“Just what the hell is wrong with you?” she demands.
“Maybe I don’t like your stupid face,” he snarls back and she slaps him, hard.
He feels like a bastard but he’s not sure how to apologise and just resolves to being called a jerk for the rest of his high school career.
He pulls into himself, stops talking to people and gets into fights.
The girls all call him troubled and if anything, their efforts double.
~ 4 ~
John is twelve when his Father stops slapping him with the back of his hand and starts using a balled fist instead.
John is fifteen the first time he hits back. His Father is knocked out cold and John is so terrified that he will take beatings for two more years without raising a hand in retaliation.
~ 5 ~
Andrew Peterson is the first person John puts in hospital.
The councilors talk to him about unresolved aggression and anger management and try to get him to talk about his home life.
He stonewalls them, talking around the subjects with an ease that means he’s passed from councilors to therapists, who meet as much if not more resistance.
One of them says something that finally gets to him though.
“Why don’t you try to stay out of people’s way?” A sweaty Doctor named Febriens asks him and John looks at him levelly and says, “That’s what I try and do.”
Something about his expression gets Febriens to release him from therapy. Something John imagines that is so cold and removed that the Doctor realizes there is just no reaching him.
He’s equally relieved and disappointed.
~ Rodney ~
Rodney McKay is clumsy, brilliant and talks too much and too loudly.
Rodney McKay is pale and smells weirdly of the tropics every time they go outside.
Rodney McKay is full of inappropriate humour and nervous tics.
Rodney McKay never tries to touch him first.
Instead he lets John work up to it, close the space between them in tiny increments the way he’s always wanted to. He is allowed to circle warily, like a wild coyote edging his way ever closer to a handful of food. Rodney backs off whenever John takes a step toward him and that just prompts John to take another step.
He’s left wanting, needing to touch unlike he ever has before.
He’s pretty sure Rodney McKay knows exactly what he’s doing, because he always does but when he is finally at a point where arms around him and fingers threading through his hair is the comfort it was always meant to be and not something he wants to run screaming from, John doesn’t care in the slightest.
Not at all.