propinquitine: John, looking up while in a cell, from the lovely blue-lit episode Aurora. (Default)
[personal profile] propinquitine
Title: Visual Acuity
Rating: PG
Pairing: John/Rodney
Word count: 8800
Spoilers: Minor through 5x20
A/N: Major thanks for various efforts at betaing, audiencing, and cheerleading to [livejournal.com profile] beadattitude, [livejournal.com profile] fish_echo, [livejournal.com profile] kimberlyfdr, [livejournal.com profile] winkingstar, and M. (It takes a village, heh.)
Also, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] le_mot_mo for her support throughout the process, and for the absolutely gorgeous art.

For [livejournal.com profile] artword Challenge 16: Colors.


Art by [livejournal.com profile] le_mot_mo; to see the beautiful full-size image and leave her comments, go here!


Summary: "There's not a cloud in the sky, Colonel," Rodney said, and John had just enough time to register Teyla's look of concern, Ronon's frown, and Rodney's suddenly colorless eyes before everything went black.


Monday

When his vision comes back, it starts with flashes of color.

Yellow's first, and it's only the distinctive shape of one of Ronon's beads swinging with his dreads that clues John in: he's actually seeing something in the black nothingness, and not just hallucinating.

"I can't explain it, Colonel." Keller's much easier to locate, now, paired stripes of medical yellow hovering by his bedside as she takes another scan. "It might be that your long-wave photoreceptors are the only ones transmitting information to your brain, but we didn't detect any damage that would account for that kind of differentiation."

"Gee, I don't know, maybe it has something to do with that damned potion the Tretaven gave him?" Rodney's tone is biting from the other side of his bed, and, not for the first time since he went blind, John wishes he could see better. He's no expert in body language, but he can tell that he's missing a surprising amount of information when words are all he has to rely on. And he's still trying to get a sense of how Rodney and Keller are now, with each other.

Their breakup had been relatively bloodless, and it hadn't hurt that Keller had stayed behind on Earth for about four months to give working at the Mountain a try after Atlantis had finally returned home -- the two of them had managed to avoid the worst of the 'bitter recriminations' stage, and actually seemed to be better friends now than they ever had been when they were dating. But every so often, one or the other of them will flinch when friendly bickering takes a turn toward sniping; John's pretty sure their inability to disagree about the really important things without getting mean was what had done them in as a couple.

The flinching is happening less and less frequently, though, and Rodney's mentioned several times over the past few months that he'd been having, "really good conversations with Jennifer, Sheppard," and looking like he wanted to talk about it, so what does John know? Still, Rodney's sounding pretty peeved, and John realizes he's half-bracing for a fight.

"Of course it does, Rodney." Keller's voice is warm, though, and John relaxes. Apparently, being stuck in his own head has made him paranoid. "And I know you're worried, and I know you know that we have all of our chemists working to analyze the Tretaven compound. It's good news that Colonel Sheppard is regaining some of his sight. Just, he's doing it kinda strangely."

As Keller bustles off to study the new scans, Rodney hmphs beside him. "Well, of course I'm worried. The stuff they made you drink looked like mud, and we should make it a policy never to participate in 'Rituals of Expanding Vision' or whatever they called it." Rodney shifts his arm so that his elbow rests against John's shoulder. His team had figured out pretty quickly that he was more than a little disturbed about losing his sight (temporarily, the Rodney-voice in his head insists), and had started compensating with innocuous little touches that helped stave off the overwhelming disorientation.

"The Tretaven did not anticipate the effects the maluk would have on the Colonel, Rodney. The typical participant simply experiences several mild hallucinations while in the safety of the temple courtyard." Teyla moves closer to the bed; John can sort of pick out her shape based on where the yellow stripes of the medical personnel disappear and reappear as they move around the infirmary behind her.

"Because blithely agreeing to take alien hallucinogens is such a good policy." He hears Rodney shift beside him, like he's about to cross his arms, maybe, but his arm doesn't move from John's shoulder.

John shakes his head. He knows it's been eating at Rodney, the reason he went through the ritual in the first place. "Look, it was my call. And hey, the Tretaven said they were 'satisfied with my completion of the ritual' -- they're gonna let us into the inner temple to pick over their Ancient artifacts. Once my vision clears up, we can go back."

Ronon thumps a hand down on his foot. "You're already partway there. Not gonna be able to get out of sparring for much longer."

John's chuckle morphs into a yawn. "You make most of those games up, anyway," he says as he settles himself back against the thin infirmary pillows. He hasn't been sleeping much, too unsettled by his inability to tell whether his eyes are open or shut. But now that he's got some distinct shapes to focus on, the slow downward drag of his eyelids isn't so terrifying.

Besides, he can feel his team around him -- Teyla's hand, slim and strong, resting over his, Ronon standing watch at the foot of his bed, and the weight of Rodney's hand on his shoulder, heavy and warm, anchoring him as he drifts off to sleep.


Last Friday

John winced as he finished off the maluk. It tasted like anise and juniper berries, but thick, somehow, and John swallowed hard against the rising bile in his throat. It probably wouldn't help their cause if he vomited all over the temple.

"Oh, that looks absolutely vile," Rodney muttered.

His team stood several yards behind him; the Tretaven had given him the option of performing the ritual with or without observers, and John had opted for "definitely with". Sure, they'd watch him take a little trip and, if all went well, probably mock him mercilessly for whatever awkwardly sincere psychedelic musings he offered up, but John didn't mind. It was a fair price for knowing they had his back.

Teyla shushed Rodney, but the Tretaven prefect didn't seem to care. "And now it begins: you see that which you have not seen before."

John looked around, waiting for the pink elephant parade to start up, or for his own hand to become suddenly fascinating. Nothing in his field of vision changed for several minutes, and he was starting to feel pretty dumb, standing there in the middle of the open-air courtyard with half a dozen people staring at him. He was just about say something, maybe make up a hallucination so they could just get this over with, when the sky over the open courtyard caught his attention. "Hey," he asked, "When did the clouds roll in?"

"There's not a cloud in the sky, Colonel," Rodney said, and John had just enough time to register Teyla's look of concern, Ronon's frown, and Rodney's suddenly colorless eyes before everything went black.



Tuesday

The next time he sees his team, John silently prays that someone on Atlantis is reckless enough to take pictures. Ronon's got about twenty more of the yellow beads strung on his dreads, but to John it just looks like there's a flock of frenetic canaries swarming where Ronon's head would be. Teyla's wearing the electric saffron sash that one of their trading partners had 'honored' her with, and John can still remember being both impressed that Teyla had accepted the garish gift with her usual grace, and relieved that she'd never, ever worn it. And Rodney -- "McKay, what?"

Rodney crosses his arms, obscuring some of the crazy jagged, swirling pattern. It looks like curving lightning bolts, or some kind of hazard symbol. "It's tie-dye, Colonel. I don't make a habit of wearing a color I associate with death, thank you, so, well, this was my only option."

"We wished to make ourselves easier for you to identify, John," Teyla says, mildly rebuking.

He laughs. "Mission accomplished." His cheeks feel tight, stretching; this is the most he's smiled since their mission was cut short by his sudden-onset blindness four days ago.

"Yes, well, come on. We got Jennifer to spring you for a few hours, convinced her that the increased visual stimulation would be therapeutic."

They shuffle slowly down the corridors, Rodney hovering at his elbow, Ronon on their six, and Teyla leading the way with that fluorescent beacon tied over her hips. John finds his footing more easily as he focuses on the even sway of the slash of color. Beside him, Rodney chuckles. "What?" John asks.

"No, I've just never seen you stare so hard at someone's ass before."

"That's 'cause you don't have eyes in the back of your head," Ronon rumbles.

"I wonder," Teyla cuts in, saving him from having to respond to that, "have you noticed any changes in your vision since last night?"

John pauses in the corridor and takes a look around. The infirmary had been almost dizzying, his view dominated by the very yellow stripes on the medical team's uniforms as they moved back and forth across the ward. Sometimes the stripes were accompanied by little hovering spots, and John had remembered that some of their test tube stoppers were yellow.

Now that he's out, he can tell that there's not a lot of true yellow in Atlantis's halls. He looks away from his team and their bright beacons and stares toward the far wall, squinting like it'll help him see color that's just not there. But he notices a faint spot, low in his sightline, that doesn't move when his eyes shift focus. He starts toward it, hand held out to meet the wall. He drags his hand down the wall toward the blip of color, grasps it in his fingers and holds it up to his face. He's holding a crumpled-up post-it note, he realizes. And it seems to get more yellow as he stares at it.

"I guess that's a 'yes'?" Rodney asks. "How did you even notice that? It's minuscule."

John shrugs. "Not too hard when it's the only thing you can see," he says. He looks back at the wall, knowing there's nothing that's just yellow on it, but wondering if maybe something -- "Hey," he says, reaching out to touch the wall. There's another spot, a place where what he sees is a fainter shade of black until it's kinda yellow, all at once. "Is the wall greener right here?”

"Yeah," Ronon says, standing just beside his shoulder. "And --"

"And over here, too," John says, touching another spot a few inches away that's just starting to show itself. In his mind's eye, he can see the subtle green-over-blue pattern on the city walls that he knows is what he should be seeing. He must be picking up the places where yellow' is more concentrated.

He turns to grin at Ronon and catches a brief flash of his weirdly yellow face, before his eyes focus on the beads and he's back to just seeing true yellow again. "Whoa," he says, stumbling a bit, and three hands reach out to steady him. "Just . . . overload, I think," he says in response to the concerned looks he knows they're shooting at each other.

"Do we need to return to the infirmary?" Teyla asks.

John looks at her, seeing only the sash, then back at the wall, where the spots slowly start to fill in again. "Nah. I think it just takes me a while to adjust. Let's keep going."

Walking is both more and less disorienting. Teyla moves from point to his right side, so he can try to see the yellow that's in the walls and the floor; there's not very much of it, but there's more in the walls than in the floor, so he can a very rudimentary image of the hallway. A muted splotch swings into view on his left -- he's picking up the skin of Rodney's hand in his peripheral vision, and announces this without looking back at his brightly-clad team. Things are definitely improving.

They're shuffling along, headed in the general direction of the mess, when John sees a flash of red come around the corner. Rodney nudges him. "Hey, heads up, it's -- "

"Woolsey," John says, seeing the man's characteristic purposeful stride in the regular swing of the red stripes at his cuffs.

"What? Yes, how can you tell?" John looks at him, tracking his eyes above the bright color on his t-shirt, and can just make out Rodney waving a wan hand above his head. "Is it the distinctive skin pattern?"

John glances at Rodney's chest, and there's a new curving bolt, and, yep, there's the crimson of Teyla's bodice to his right, and Woolsey's stripes are definitely getting closer. "Nah," he says, starting to grin. "I think I'm getting red back, too."

---

His red vision establishes itself along the same pattern that his yellow vision is. ("This is really weird, Colonel," Keller says during another scan. "Eyes just don't work like this. Light doesn't work like this!" But she's a doctor whose patient is making progress, so she's pleased.) First the bright and bold true reds dominate: stripes on the Admin team uniforms, the cranberry scrubs they'd started using again in the infirmary, the toddler-sized pullover Radek had knitted for Torren that was really more of a poncho. (It still pleases the boy to no end. "Look!" he declares when Teyla brings him by for a visit. "Medo John, wings!" And then he's standing at the edge of the bed, arms spread and ready to jump, until John hauls him back into his lap.)

Then he starts being able to see shades of red, when there's nothing really red to look at. He notices this when he's looking at Rodney, who's just a flat yellow face shape until suddenly he's got lips, and John spends several fascinated minutes watching their contortions as Rodney rants to him about how his day has been.

"Wait, do I have something on my face?" Rodney asks. "What are you staring at?"

"Your mouth," John answers, and it's not until Rodney's cheeks flush to two spots of red that he realizes how it might sound. Might as well go with it -- he's feeling reckless. "It's kind of distracting."

Rodney's yellow hand seems to float up to his mouth. "Yes, I can see how that might be the case," he says thoughtfully. John can see more of his face now, in reds and yellows, but he still can't see Rodney's eyes. This is another one of those times he really wishes he could.

---

He can at least get a sense of Ronon's eyes. They flicker back and forth from red to yellow, because his eyes or his brain or whatever isn't mixing colors yet and can't seem to decide how to interpret "brown", but he can pretty much tell which direction Ronon's looking. This proves to be helpful when Ronon decides John's well enough to work on his reflexes and brings a small red ball to the infirmary to peg at John. John doesn't have much depth perception -- everything's flat-looking, if he can see it, and while he can pick up on the reds and yellows in pretty much anything if he gives his eyes long enough to adjust, things still tend to go black if there's something bright in his line of sight.

He can still focus just fine, though, still has 20/20 vision as long as the eye chart's in red and yellow, and his brain works as well as it ever did, so he adjusts pretty quickly to calculating the rate of speed and arc of the ball based on how big it looks coming toward him.

It works great until he gets distracted for a moment by a flash of orange on one of the medical waste bins. He snaps his focus back to the ball as quickly as possible, but he's lost the trajectory and brings his hand up too late. The ball smacks into the wall above his shoulder and ricochets around the infirmary for a surprisingly long time -- the materials science people must be working on new elastomers.

After that, Keller throws Ronon out of the infirmary pretty quickly. "And no, Colonel, you can't go with him. I need more blood and another scan to see if there have been any changes that correlate with you seeing orange. Not that I'm expecting to see anything that makes sense."

---

His next visitor is somewhat unexpected. Major Lorne -- easily identifiable by the yellow name tag the Marines had started wearing once word got out that John could see again, sort of -- stands smartly at parade rest next to his bed. John waves a hand at him. "Sit down, Lorne. What's up?"

Lorne sits. "Well, sir, I just wanted to check in, give you an update, see how you're doing."

"Just in case something's changed since we exchanged morning status reports?"

Lorne smiles, a red flash of lips and gums. "Not buying it, huh, sir?" John shakes his head. "Well, honestly, sir, I was wondering if you'd describe it for me." Lorne pauses. "What you see, I mean."

Frowning, John says, "I'm not going to be very good at that, Major. I can see red and yellow when they're there, and then a whole lot of nothing where the other colors are supposed to be. It's weird."

"Yeah, I guess it would be." Lorne sighs. "It's just, sir, what you're seeing right now, it's an Impressionist's wet dream."

"Too much info there, Lorne."

"Sorry, sir. I'd just -- to be able to see the colors so clearly -- "

"Not that clearly," John interjects.

"But to see where all of the yellow is, and the red, to see how much of it's in every color, every shade, every tone around you -- it sounds amazing, sir." Lorne coughs, ducking his head into his yellow fist. "And, of course, I'm glad you're getting better."

John arches an eyebrow at him. "Lorne," he says, and waits for a moment to be sure he has the major's full attention. "I know you're not in here working up to asking me to approve recreational use of an alien hallucinogen. One whose full effects we still don't understand. One that has an as-yet-undetermined recovery period."

"Ah, no sir. Of course not."

John nods. "Good," he says, settling back into his pillows. "Before anything like that could happen, we'd need a full pharmacological report on the plants the Tretaven used, and I don't think botany's been focusing on compiling that."

"Right, sir." And John can practically feel Lorne tense in his chair, ready to spring up and out to a transporter, post-haste.

"Of course," John says, prolonging things just because he can, "Doctor Keller will probably give a lifetime supply of lollipops to whoever can tell her exactly how this stuff works."

"That's some incentive, sir."

John chuckles. "Yeah, okay, dismissed, Major. Get out of here."

Lorne heads out, throwing a "Thank you, sir!" over his shoulder. "I didn't promise anything, Major!" John calls after him, and wonders whether Pegasus turns you crazy, or if the SGC considers that a mission qualification.

---

When Rodney realizes that John can see orange now ("What? You kept saying 'red' and 'yellow' and 'kinda in between'. How am I supposed to know that means 'orange'? For someone who's so picky about his throw pillows, your color vocabulary is really atrociously bad, Sheppard."), the first thing he does is bring John his favorite flannel shirt.

"I thought you said this makes me look like a lumberjack," he says as he slides it on. It doesn't look quite right to him, the plaid pattern's clearly too complex for his eyes to handle right now, but it's a welcome change from the screaming red of the scrub tops.

"Yes, and?" Rodney helps him tug the shoulder up, and then reaches out to smooth the collar down.

"Pretty sure the implication was 'stupid lumberjack'."

Rodney snorts. "Ronon's got more beads in his hair than a co-ed on Spring Break, Teyla's veering into Ronald McDonald territory, and I've been called 'hey mon' by no fewer than four of my minions. You owe us." Collar apparently fiddled with to Rodney's satisfaction, he releases it and claps John on the shoulder. "C'mon, Jennifer wants you out of her hair for a while."

John figures they'll just head to the mess, or maybe Rodney's room -- he bets they could have a good time playing "How trippy is this movie in red-and-yellow-vision?" Of course, maybe looking at a flickering laptop screen with his sight messed up like this will give him seizures.

He doesn't get a chance to float that worst case scenario, though, because Rodney hustles him into the nearest transporter and jabs a finger at the screen. "Rodney, where -- " he starts, but in a flash they're there, and Rodney's tugging him along.

"So, I don't know exactly what you're seeing, obviously -- and no, I'm not subtly asking for the chance to see for myself, I have a better sense of self-preservation than your XO." John quirks an eyebrow at him, stumbling a little when he takes his eyes off the line between splotchy yellow wall and splotchy red-and-yellow floor, but Rodney's hand is there at his elbow, steady and sure, and he doesn't fall. "Oh, yes, I heard all about the Major's brush with insanity. One of the botanists radioed to complain that the Marines were giving them grief over their record keeping, and I had to explain to both of them that surely a full pharmacological profile would be created in the course of, hey, figuring out what the hell these plants are doing to you, which clearly should be everyone's first priority, and also when did I become an HR agony aunt?"

"It's gotta be your winning interpersonal skills," John suggests.

"Hmmm, yes. Well, I'll have to work on that." Rodney shrugs. "Anyway, like I said, I don't know exactly what it is that you're seeing, but I thought, if it's red, and yellow --"

"And orange," John interjects.

"Yes, and orange, well," and they're stopped in front of the city's central power station, "I thought this might look pretty cool."

The door whooshes open, and they step into the room. It's almost entirely black, Rodney must be keeping the lights dim, so John's not picking up color from the walls and the consoles. The only color comes from the brilliantly red-orange ZPM glowing in the middle of the room.

They're usually only ever in this room when there's some sort of crisis, when the city's under attack and they need more power, or when the city's been infiltrated and they have to defend her heart. Too seldom, they're there to install a new ZPM, or at least, one that's slightly further from completely depleted than their current one. They're never here just for the hell of it.

Well, John isn't. Maybe Rodney comes here all the time. Maybe he isn't alone when he does. The thought makes John's stomach curl up, so of course he says something about it. "Aw, McKay, do you bring all the girls here?"

John can't really see him in the dim light, but Rodney sounds confused. "Uh, only the weirdly color-blind ones?" He pauses, then says, "I'm sorry, this was stupid, it probably doesn't even--"

John grabs Rodney's wrist. "No, Rodney, it's cool." Rodney's arm feels tense, so John gives it a little shake. "Seriously. This looks awesome." The ZPM, not having to compete with light or other colors or imminent doom, is beautiful, shining brightly from its interface, colored light gleaming out in dissipating rays. "It's all . . . ." He trails off.

"Orange?" Rodney asks dryly.

John nods. "And glowy." This gets a chuckle from Rodney.

They're standing shoulder to shoulder in the darkened room, watching the strong, constant glow that fuels their city, keeps their people safe, and in that moment, John is convinced that things will work out for them, all of them. He turns his head to tell Rodney as much, and in the dark he's almost certain he can see Rodney's blue eyes looking back at him.


Last Saturday

He woke to blackness, disoriented as his body told him
it's morning and you were drugged and there's something over your eyes. But there wasn't anything, no matter how frantically he clawed at the blindfold or the hood or the mask that should have been there.

"John. John! Stop it!" Rodney's hands grabbed his own, pulled them away from his face, and John realized in a detached kind of way that he wouldn't have needed to hear Rodney's voice to identify him. It helped, though.

"Rodney, what --" he broke off with a cough, the back of his throat gummy and sour, and he started to recognize the sedative hangover feeling. Not drugged, then. Or, not drugged by someone who wasn't an MD.

Rodney let go of his hands, and that wasn't good, that wasn't good at all, but then he handed John a cup, wrapped his fingers around it and helped him guide it to his face. The water was room temperature, almost stale, but it helped clear his head. "You're currently experiencing, ah, some visual impairment," Rodney explained, dropping his hands from around John's.

"No shit, Rodney." He remembered now: the Tretaven and their ritual; the jumper ride back where he sat in the rear compartment instead of the cockpit; the cold, oily pool of dread that formed somewhere behind his navel and spread throughout his body as test after test came back
inconclusive, making him feel like he was choking until Keller had needed to sedate him to get his respiration under control. "I'm blind."

"Temporarily," Rodney answered. "Only temporarily; it has to be."

John gritted his teeth. "Hoping real hard's not going to fix it, Rodney."

"That's just it, there's nothing to fix." Before John could contradict him, Rodney went on, "The scans all show no physical damage – retina, corneas, optic nerve, all of it's unchanged. And there aren't any clots or blockages that could be interfering with your sight and damaging soft tissues permanently."

"So?" John blinked, and then shuddered to realize that his eyes had been open and he hadn't even noticed. God damn it.

"So," and Rodney's voice was a lot happier than it should've been for a guy whose best friend had just been permanently disabled, "this means that it has to be chemical, whatever it is that's causing the, uh, the . . . blindness." Rodney went quiet, and the disorientation crept back into the blackness again, leaving him untethered.

It was too much, much too much, and he didn't want to think about it, didn't want to deal with any of it. He reached out, fumbling and grasping, and Rodney was there, warm and solid under his palm. He didn't comment when John twisted his fingers into the fabric of his shirt, just leaned closer to the infirmary bed and put a hand on John's shoulder. "So," John said again, needing to hear something, in case that sense get taken, too.

"So we're working on it," Rodney answered, close enough that John could feel his voice vibrate in his chest, his breath stir John's hair. "It's got to be chemical, and there were definitely chemicals in that crap they had you drink, so -- we'll work something out." He squeezed John's shoulder and launched into a description of the myriad explanations they'd already come up with (
While you were lazing about in bed, Colonel, honestly), and John felt the dread retreat, just a little.


Wednesday

Blue doesn't come back as fast. He wakes up the next morning, wondering if it'll have already started while he's been out, but he opens his eyes to the same patchy red-and-yellow infirmary he'd seen before he went to sleep. His team stops by to say good morning (Teyla), bring him breakfast (Rodney, who helps himself to the second cup of coffee on the tray), and test his reflexes (Ronon, using the ruby huilet fruit Rodney's brought). They don't ask how his blue vision is, but they do all happen to stop by later in the morning, right around the twenty-four hour mark since his red sight came back. He compliments them all on their various red and yellow accessories and begins to quietly freak out again.

By the afternoon, John's been scanned and bled and analyzed several times over, and the medical staff is marginally closer to having an answer. "Well, we've discovered that one of the plants the Tretaven used in the mulak grows more like algae, and produces an enzyme that's similar to one produced by an organism our entomologists think is an evolutionary cousin of the Iratus bug," Keller tells him.

The infirmary's been hopping, chemists, botanists, biologists, phycologists (and a few frustrated optics specialists) running in and out constantly, each one increasingly frazzled every time he or she returns with a report from the labs. When one of the protein synthesis guys breaks down, it comes to light that Rodney's been down in the labs all day, riding increasingly irascible herd on a group of people who've been working their asses off for five days to try to restore John's vision. The mission commander in him winces at the clearly biased mis-allocation of resources; the guy who's afraid of staying blind is pretty damn grateful.

Still, Keller's got a point, one that she tries to convey to Rodney over the radio. "You're doing more harm than good down there. They can't work under this stress, and you're only taking your own frustration over not finding a solution out on them."

Rodney's reply is loud enough out of Keller's speaker that John doesn't even have to turn on his own radio to catch the scathing tone. From what John can see, Keller's red lips are pressed flat enough that they've almost disappeared, so John taps his earpiece. "Hey, Rodney? Could you come up here? Maybe give me an update, or something?" he asks quietly.

John feels like kind of a heel for how quickly Rodney's out of the labs and at his bedside; he didn't want to worry him, but the sigh of relief from the other scientists was almost audible. Besides, he does feel better hearing updates on the progress (or lack thereof) from Rodney himself.

"So, these brilliant minds have finally figured out that, hey, it might be your ATA gene that's making you respond differently to the compounds," Rodney snipes, drumming his fingers against the bed rail.

"It's a little more complicated than that, Rodney," Keller replies, brandishing some printouts at them. She's printed them in red ink on yellow paper, which is a nice thought, but John doubts chromatograms of his own blood chemistry would make much sense to him no matter how easily he can see them. "Yes, ATA is implicated somehow, but at this point, we're thinking it came into play secondarily, after the Colonel's leftover Iratus retrovirus antibodies reacted to the hallucinogenic algae. It makes sense that the Tretaven were totally surprised by your reaction, Colonel. Unless someone's been exposed to the retrovirus and had the ATA gene, this just wouldn't happen."

"Yes, because we're all so concerned about the Tretaven right now," Rodney snaps.

John reaches up to where Rodney's yellow fingers are strangling the invisible bed rail and bumps his fist lightly. "Hey, it's good to have some confirmation that the Tretaven are on the up and up. What else we got, doc?" he asks as Rodney snorts beside him. His grip does relax a little, though.

"Well, now that we've isolated the protein produced by the retrovirus antibodies' reaction to the algae, we've been able to model the reaction it has with several of the ATA proteins. Together, they've prompted production of a new enzyme that's reacted with a compound in the other plant in the maluk, and we think that's what's interfering with your vision and causing your brain to interpret visual signals the way it is."

"Great." John nods.

Keller's mouth quirks into a smile. "Well, no, Colonel, not great, but we have noticed that the chemicals produced by the interaction between the enzyme and the second maluk plant compound have dropped significantly over the past few days, and each major drop has correlated with you, um, regaining a color, which still makes no sense, but it's clearly a complex chemical process that seems to be working its way through your system. And our readings don't indicate that the process is slowing. So." Keller shrugs.

"So, what?" Rodney asks. "All of that, and your advice boils down to 'sit and wait'? Aren't you at least supposed to tell him to take a few aspirin?" But Rodney's calmer, now; this is good news.

"Well, we finally understand about ninety percent of the process, and I'm sure this research will be helpful in the future. The phycologists are already thrilled with what they've learned about the algae."

Rodney sniffs and folds one yellow arm over the other. "That doesn't exactly help the Colonel, does it?"

"Hey, I'm good." Or he will be, it sounds like, once the bug and algae and Ancient stuff calms down. Damn bugs.

Keller ignores him in favor of teasing Rodney. "What, you're telling me that knowledge for the sake of knowledge isn't a sufficient end in and of itself?" She's sounds like she might be quoting him, but it's gentle, doesn't have a malicious edge.

Rodney actually chuckles at that. "Oh, I don't know, maybe I've finally 'reevaluated my priorities'," Rodney says, starkly yellow finger quotes and all, and crap, that sounds like he's verging back into couple-y banter territory, but then Rodney grabs his arm and tugs him out of his bed. "C'mon, John, they've all but admitted that this is total voodoo, and you can sit on your ass and wait in nicer places than this."

John expects some kind of protest (it has been over an hour since they've drawn any blood, after all), but Keller just waves them off. "Have fun, guys. Just keep me updated. About the vision stuff," she adds quickly, and John really wonders how much of this conversation he's missed, stuck in his two-tone world.

"Hey, you haven't been outside since," Rodney's hand blurs in a gesture that must mean 'you went terrifyingly blind because of that stupid retrovirus, again'. "You've got to be getting antsy, by now."

"Yeah, I kind of am. Pier?" It'll be dicey, going out along that edge, but he wouldn't mind feeling the wind on his face, even though he won't be able to see the ocean.

"Mmmm, I was thinking something a bit different." And Rodney's herding him into another transporter.

As soon as the doors open, John can tell they're in the jumper bay. There's not a lot for him to look at, just the sparsest traces of reds and yellows in the gray bodies of the jumpers, but the space feels cavernous. "Rodney, buddy, I can't --"

"Bear to let me fly you even on a short lap around the city? Really, John, I'd think you would have more faith in your own teaching abilities than that."

John rubs a hand across his eyes and snorts. "Yeah, okay. Let's go up."

Rodney guides him up the ramp and into the passenger seat. The jumper interiors are never much to look at, but there's really nothing for John to see, right now. Except for a few unilluminated lights on the console, there's not much in the way of red and yellow, and everything else is just not there. He calls up the HUD reflexively; if he closes his eyes, he can see it perfectly, but he doesn't know if he's really seeing it or just remembering what a standard start-up display looks like.

Rodney clears them for launch with the control room, but he doesn't take them up immediately. John's still sitting with his eyes closed, and he's not surprised when Rodney says, "We don't have to, you know. If this is a mistake."

John shakes his head. There's no reason to think he won't get better (they have no idea what's going on, they don't have a clue how to fix this, you know what happens to pilots who can't see), there's no reason not to open his eyes and see whatever it is he's going to see. He turns his head, looking Rodney square in his blank eyes. "Let's go."

Watching out the front window is disorienting; the levels of the tower they pass by as they rise to the opening in the upper canopy pass in a smear of light red and yellow, and then they're out into the nothing sky. It's summer, and John knows the sun won't set for hours yet. The sky should be a brilliant blue, but -- it isn't.

"So, no miraculous return of sight as we burst triumphantly into the sky?" Rodney asks.

"Nah," John says. He rolls his shoulders, trying to get rid of the disconcerting feeling of being in the air and not being able to tell. "What, did you have a theory? Sensory deprivation and then overload, or something?"

"No, no, that would make too much sense." Rodney takes them in a slow bank; not that John can feel it, because of the inertial dampeners, but Rodney has a tendency to lean in the same direction he's pushing the controls. "You heard Keller, it's all about the magic bug/algae chemical levels. There's no way of knowing when it'll happen, unless we're constantly running blood tests."

"Yeah, I think they tried that. Didn't seem to help."

"So we'll just keep surrounding you with blue, and at some point it'll click, and you'll be fine." Rodney shifts back to the center of his chair; he's taking them in the direction of the mainland, then. "It'll happen, John."

John looks front again. "You seem pretty confident about that." John's really not been letting himself think about his own prognosis, but he's pretty sure if he did, he wouldn't feel as confident. He'd probably feel a creeping horror at the idea of being permanently grounded, and gut-punched at the notion of being sent away, back to Earth. Hence the not thinking about it. "You've got some plan?" He likes it when Rodney has plans. Well, usually.

"Mmmm, well, clearly the first idea is immersion, surrounding you with blue, like this. Or we can take Torren and everyone out to the mainland and, you know, spend some time on the beach on a clear day."

"You'd risk the evils of solar radiation?" John grins.

Rodney sniffs. "I will be under an umbrella and several layers of sunblock, thank you. There's nothing that says you have to stand naked in the middle of the sand to appreciate the ocean." John looks over at him, and yeah, there's definitely some more red in the cabin now, two spots high on Rodney's orange cheeks. "I mean, if you wanted to, I'm not going to stop you." Rodney's staring straight forward, with a lot more concentration than even he needs for this type of flying.

"I'll keep that in mind," John says, fighting back his smile. "What else?"

"Well, we don't have to go all the way to the mainland to see the ocean and the sky. We'll get you out of the infirmary more, out for good and back into your own space -- you're getting quite capable at moving around the city on your own -- and then we can get back to having meals on the mess balconies."

Yeah, he missed that. "What else?"

"Ah, well, I could go back to wearing the old science team shirts. I mean, you don't necessarily need to have total immersion in the color. You might benefit just from regular exposure."

Rodney's hand is hovering over one of the controls as he says this, maybe fiddling with it, and even though John knows they don't keep the ships armed with nukes regularly, he takes a moment to send an extra Don't fire anything, sweetheart to the jumper. "You mean the ones with the little zip-up thing?" he asks. "I liked those."

Rodney darts his head in a nod. "So did I. Of course, for that approach to work . . . ."

"Yeah?"

"I'd, ah, I'd have to be around you a lot." When John doesn't immediately respond, Rodney continues, "I mean, like I usually am, the way that I'm, that you and I -- we spend time together. It's great, it's enough, it's more than enough, maybe? Well, no, but -- we can just keep doing that, like usual."

John tips his head to the left. "Yeah. We could spend more time together."

"Yeah?" Rodney's turned to face him now. "Like usual?"

"It could be different than usual. We could try that. If you wanted. I'd like to . . . try that," he finishes lamely. He's looking at Rodney, and this would be a really fucking fantastic time for his sight to come back all the way, because clearly they're terrible talking about this, and he's pretty sure that Rodney's smiling, lips curving up, red and parted, but he could just as easily be baring his teeth, except he doesn't think he's ever really seen Rodney do that and --

"John." It's one word, almost an exhalation, but heavy and pleased and yeah, okay. He and Rodney are on the same page here.

He stands up, not really sure what he's going to do, and stumbles, tripping toward the pilot's chair and just catching himself with a hand on Rodney's shoulder. Rodney reaches a hand up to steady him, saying, "Wait, I mean, yes, whatever you're thinking here, yes, good, but I forget how to set the autopilot."

John's about to answer Just think "autopilot" when he realizes that the shirt under his hand -- "Rodney, you're already wearing your old science shirt."

"What? Yes, how could you tell? Was it the zipper? You're awfully fixated on the zipper, which admittedly might be in my best interest, but --"

But it wasn't the zipper at all, it was the color, and John looks into Rodney's eyes, two bright blue rings of color, and sees Rodney get it, sees comprehension light up his face that's still drawn crudely in primary colors, but they're there, they're all there, everything he needs to see, it's right there. "I --" He has no idea what to say.

Rodney nudges him toward the front window. "It's the bold ones first, right? Just, take a look, and I'll get us back home."

John crowds forward into the window, sees the outline of the city's spires come into view, a clearly visible silhouette, as Rodney banks the jumper through the wide azure sky.


Thursday

Keller releases him from the infirmary late enough Wednesday night that it's the next day, after he's gotten blue and then purple and green back in quick succession, on the condition that someone accompany him (this was said with a grin), and then they're alone, together, in his room.

Rodney looks at him, two blue spots on an orange-ish face, strangely yellow eyebrow arched with the question his red red mouth is opening to ask, and John just closes his eyes and goes for it.

Behind his eyelids, he can clearly picture his room and the not-uncommon sight of Rodney standing near his couch. Under his hands, Rodney's biceps feel familiar, strong and solid, though the answering clutch of Rodney's hands at his waist is kind of new. Rodney smells like he always does, a little bit of sweat and overheated electronics and hypoallergenic shampoo, and tastes like John had always thought he might, a little salty on the skin around his lips, a little bit like coffee and something else entirely when he opens his mouth and lets John in.

Eventually, John pulls back and opens his eyes. When he does, he has to laugh a little.

"Oh, yes, that's exactly the reaction I was going for," Rodney says, his very red mouth tilting down.

"No, it's just -- it's kinda like making out with a cartoon character," he says, and then Rodney makes some comment about having an extendable tongue and all of John's blood goes rushing south, and things quickly dissolve into frantic kisses and hastily popped buttons.


Saturday

Rodney flies them out to the mainland on Saturday. John had liked the sound of Rodney's beach day with Torren, so he talks the team and Kanaan into loading into the jumper and heading out for the afternoon. Torren doesn't need any convincing.

"Some of us aren't still on medical leave and do have work to catch up on," Rodney grumbles half-heartedly as he unpacks the cooler of sandwiches snitched from the mess, but he quiets down when John strips to his swim trunks and ran for the surf. John's vision has been improving every day, but it's a nice break from the visually complicated environment of Atlantis to spend a few hours surrounded by blue sky and yellow sand.

True to his word, Rodney camps out in the shade and slathers on the sunblock. John goes over to him while Teyla instructs Kanaan in the finer points of bodysurfing and Ronon helps Torren make a big pile of sand, and says, "C'mon, Rodney, take the shirt off." He rests a hand on Rodney's shoulder and bends down to murmur, "Not anything I haven't seen before," in his sultriest voice. (Because, if this whole best-friends-suddenly-more thing didn't give him license to use his corniest come-ons, what's the point?)

He strokes his thumb back and forth along Rodney's neck, just once, and then stands, grinning. Rodney glares up at him and says, "Maybe I will, when I can stand up again."


Sunday

There's a gentle breeze coming off the ocean, just enough to make the napkins on the table flutter. The mess serves brunch on Rest Days; Woolsey had realized that the surest way to enforce the mandatory break time was to lure everyone out of the lab/office/infirmary/gym with the promise of breakfast pastries.

(John woke that morning to Rodney moaning in his ear. It took him a moment to figure out what was prompting it -- he'd discovered a number of different ways to make Rodney moan over the past few days -- but when he realized that Rodney was quietly groaning waffles at him, he burst into laughter.

Rodney looked surprised for a moment, eyes wide and blue in a face that was almost completely back to normal, but then he grinned and started crooning to John about the wonders of
waffles with melted butter, mmm, and that tzitzi syrup, maybe some strawberry-and-huilet preserves, until John just had to grab him and kiss him quiet.)

Most of the senior staff is gathered at the table, and Rodney scoots his chair closer to John's to give Woolsey room to set down his tray. There's an official no-business policy when they all get together on Rest Day, one that Ronon in particular takes great pleasure in enforcing.

Today it's easy, since Torren's just learned to count to five, and he spends most of the meal crawling from lap to lap around the table to demonstrate to each adult. He clambers across John's knees to plunk himself down where John and Rodney's legs are pressed together, and Rodney flashes him a delighted smile, leaning into John's side as he tries to show Torren how to use his fingers to count in binary.

John leans back, tempted to drape his arm across Rodney's shoulders, too. He's gotten knowing looks from pretty much everyone (Keller, especially, and Teyla of course, but also Woolsey and Chuck, which had been pretty strange. Ronon had just rolled his eyes and slugged him in the shoulder.), but he's still figuring out how comfortable he feels with public displays.

In private, though, the transition from spending time together to spending time together has been easy, really easy, and John might have thought that was weird if he hadn't also been recovering from seeing everyone around him look like Lego people -- the weirdness of his life is definitely relative.

He looks at Rodney, who's now mid-debate with Keller and Lorne about the feasibility and wisdom of synthesizing the three or four proteins involved in his strange sight reaction. John's pretty sure Lorne's just winding the other two up, with his arguments that of course it would be perfectly safe, just look at the Colonel, to try to recreate the conditions. And maybe Keller's realized this too, because she's gamely outlining all of the reasons it would be a very bad idea, Major, honestly, but doesn't have that apprehensive tone she gets when one of her patients is trying to do something incredibly stupid. (John would know.)

They're clearly having fun ganging up on his XO (though John's pleased to see how well Lorne is holding his own, and all while balancing Torren on his knees now, too), as Rodney chimes in with assertions that Lorne's mother clearly must have let him work with lead-based paint as a child. Keller and Lorne both laugh, Torren squeals in delight at the sound, and Rodney darts a grin at John. Under the table, Rodney's hand lands on John's leg, right above above the knee, squeezing briefly and then just resting. John slouches in his chair a little, knocking his knee into Rodney's, and looks at Rodney's sunburn-pink nose.

The meal slowly winds down, and people start heading off to the rest of their day. Teyla, Kanaan, and Torren are headed out to the Athosian settlement, Keller's off to hang out with some of her Marine friends, and Lorne's got a date with a balcony and the new set of pastels that came with the most recent Daedalus shipments. Woolsey announces plans to go back to his quarters, and Ronon follows him to make sure he hasn't stashed away some paperwork. John figures that'll end the way it usually does, with the two of them getting melancholy on whiskey and listening to Mahler.

He and Rodney walk back to his quarters, but Rodney hesitates in the doorway when John goes in. "It's occurred to me," he says, clasping and releasing his hands in front of himself, "that I've been, well, that we've been -- "

"Spending more time together?" John asks. He lifts an eyebrow. "Wasn't that the point?"

Rodney shrugs, a quick little jerk of his shoulders. "Well, yes, of course, but your vision's almost back to normal, you don't need the visual stimulus . . . ." He trails off when John tugs him by his belt loops out of the doorway and into the room. The door slides shut behind him.

"I'd have thought the amount of effort I put in to getting you out of those shirts would've clued you in, Rodney: I'm not just interested in the Science Blue." He rests his hands on Rodney's hips, and Rodney leans into him a little, but he's still frowning. "What's going on? I thought we were good."

"We are," Rodney says emphatically. He huffs out a frustrated breath. "I think it's just that -- I like this? Kind of a lot? And I don't want you to, to get tired of me?" His voice rises, unsure, at then end of each sentence. "I mean, I know this all has been very helpful in your campaign to disassociate yourself from what's going on with your sight, and I'm glad to contribute, really, as this has been a mutually beneficial scenario, but if I'm encroaching . . . ."

John shakes his head. "Going on six years, now. I haven't gotten tired of you, and that's not even counting all the --" and he tilts his head down to catch Rodney's lips with his own, gentle and already familiar. Rodney hums a little pleased sound in the back of his throat and kisses back, his tongue sneaking out to trace along John's lower lip. John groans and kisses his way down to Rodney's chin and up along his jawline. "Besides," he says between nips at Rodney's smooth skin, "I'll be back on duty by Tuesday, and you'll have plenty of time to give me my space, and get your own back. But today -- "

"Today we're going to spend with as little clothing as possible," Rodney says, not questioning anymore, as he slides his hands up and under John's t-shirt.

John shivers at the feel of Rodney's fingers over his spine and nods. "Sounds like a plan," he says, working at undoing Rodney's belt while nibbling on his earlobe at the same time.

"And tomorrow," Rodney says, tugging John's shirt up and over his head. It catches on his nose, so John pulls back to wrestle it all the way off. He looks at Rodney, and his vision's settled down considerably by now, the yellows and reds and blues merging and mixing with black and white until everything looks about how he's remembered it, but he'd never realized just how much Rodney's eyes remind him of wide open skies.

"Tomorrow," Rodney continues, "we'll take out another jumper. And this time, you'll fly."







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Date: 2009-03-02 06:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] le-mot-mo.livejournal.com
*g* I still love this fic to bits! It's true what Lorne said-- I would also love to have John's condition for a while, just to see the world through a different point of view.

I'm glad we got to do this. :o) We make a great team.

PS: I think you forgot to close an HTML tag for 'bold', because the entire post is bold.

Date: 2009-03-02 08:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] propinquitine.livejournal.com
We do make a great team! :D It was so much fun to see your depiction of the words I wrote (and then use that to make my words more coherent!) -- it was definitely a perception shift for me, since I'm more verbal than visual. And the art, oh, it's gorgeous, and I'm going to go leave a comment about it now. :-)



Date: 2009-03-02 06:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mirabile-dictu.livejournal.com
Oh, just as beautiful as the primary colors John can see! Really lovely work.

Date: 2009-03-03 01:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] propinquitine.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! It was so much fun to play around with colors in this story, and to try to tie them back into the theme. I'm glad you liked it!

Date: 2009-03-02 06:45 pm (UTC)
ext_2410: (Canada Man)
From: [identity profile] kimberlyfdr.livejournal.com
A wonderful piece. I appreciate you letting me help beta it :D

Date: 2009-03-03 01:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] propinquitine.livejournal.com
Well, I appreciate your lightning-fast beta when I was certain I was running face-first into my deadline. :D Glad you liked it!

Date: 2009-03-02 06:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] beachlass.livejournal.com
Wow. Wonderful story - an inventive hurt/comfort.

Date: 2009-03-03 01:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] propinquitine.livejournal.com
Thanks so much, I'm glad you liked it! And it's funny, I didn't really notice at first that I was writing a hurt/comfort story -- I just took John's sight away, la dee dah, and then realized, oh wait, that's going to majorly freak him out. :-)

Date: 2009-03-02 06:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eccentricweft.livejournal.com
Both the art and the fic are gorgeous! What a great response to the challenge. Happy McShep and happy teaminess at the end, all wonderful. And this:

Beside him, Rodney chuckles. "What?" John asks.

"No, I've just never seen you stare so hard at someone's ass before."

"That's 'cause you don't have eyes in the back of your head," Ronon rumbles.


*giggling madly*

Date: 2009-03-03 01:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] propinquitine.livejournal.com
Thank you! This challenge was a lot of fun (and I have so much fun writing Ronon as way more observant than anyone gives him credit for. :-) I'm glad you liked it!

Date: 2009-03-02 07:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gaffsie.livejournal.com
and even though John knows they don't keep the ships armed with nukes regularly, he takes a moment to send an extra Don't fire anything, sweetheart to the jumper.

Aww, John. ♥

And how much do I love that Ronon and Woolsey drink whiskey and listen to Mahler together? A LOT, that's how much.

Date: 2009-03-03 01:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] propinquitine.livejournal.com
Hee, I may have been thinking of you and your Woolsey-love (that I totally share!) when I wrote that. :-) You know he's on a secret campaign to seduce everyone with his upper-crust past times. John gets cigars, Ronon gets classical music, and Rodney gets . . . the Yorkies, I guess?

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From: [identity profile] gaffsie.livejournal.com - Date: 2009-03-03 07:16 am (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2009-03-02 07:29 pm (UTC)
sabinetzin: (sga - shortly before the end)
From: [personal profile] sabinetzin
Aww, this is awesome.

Date: 2009-03-03 01:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] propinquitine.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it!

Date: 2009-03-02 09:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ex-kisa-haw.livejournal.com
Beautiful - I really enjoyed your descriptions of John's visual stimuli. It was really well done.

Date: 2009-03-03 01:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] propinquitine.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! I definitely benefited from [livejournal.com profile] le_mot_mo's beautiful art with that -- when she sent the art to me after I sent her the first chunk of story, it was a total moment of "Oh, wow, that's what was in my head!" and it really helped me solidify my own descriptions.

Date: 2009-03-02 09:28 pm (UTC)
ext_24067: (SGA - Ronon grin)
From: [identity profile] wihluta.livejournal.com
This was great!

My favourite bit was Lorne's wish to see what John sees. I can so understand him. I'd love to experience that (wihout the scare-factor of course)

Also, this:
and Ronon follows him to make sure he hasn't stashed away some paperwork. John figures that'll end the way it usually does, with the two of them getting melancholy on whiskey and listening to Mahler.
I absolutely brilliant! LOL

Great work, both of you!

Date: 2009-03-03 01:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] propinquitine.livejournal.com
Thanks very much! I just had to include Lorne not-really-but-kinda asking to take the drug -- I'm not even an artist, and I'd still like to see how strange the world would look. (And, hee, I'm glad you like the idea of Woolsey and Ronon hanging out together as much as I do! When he hangs with John, it's beer and Johnny Cash, I'm sure, but Woolsey's got fancier tastes. :-)

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From: [identity profile] wihluta.livejournal.com - Date: 2009-03-03 07:02 am (UTC) - Expand

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From: [identity profile] propinquitine.livejournal.com - Date: 2009-03-03 07:03 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2009-03-02 09:46 pm (UTC)
danceswithgary: (Default)
From: [personal profile] danceswithgary
What a great concept! I love how you make such a scary thing as being blind into something warm and fuzzy without being too sweet. :-D

Date: 2009-03-03 01:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] propinquitine.livejournal.com
Hee, thank you! I did start the piece without really thinking of just how awful it would be for John, in particular, to lose his vision, but as I wrote (and as my betas prodded me), it became clear that, yeah, this would be really scary for him. So I'm glad to hear that the final product worked for you in that respect!

Date: 2009-03-02 10:15 pm (UTC)
ext_1175: (J/R kiss)
From: [identity profile] lamardeuse.livejournal.com
Yes. This is the way I want my Atlantis to be. Thank you.

Date: 2009-03-03 01:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] propinquitine.livejournal.com
Oh, thank you, that's such a lovely compliment. It was actually really freeing to take control of all of the characters and their relationships -- it definitely helped me get over any residual angst from S5. :-)

Date: 2009-03-02 10:16 pm (UTC)
ext_3674: pete wisdom says, "Gotta love those happy endings." (ridiculous fangirling)
From: [identity profile] iambickilometer.livejournal.com
Oh, wow, you just - this took the challenge and just ran with it. It was gorgeous, and I loved how well you described what John was seeing. Such an original idea. I agree with Lorne and the assembled masses; I think I'd like this kind of experience. So long as it was temporary, of course. I loved the team interaction we got, the characterisations of even the more minor characters. I loved the details, like Radek having knit Torren a sweater. And Lorne's artistic inclinations! I haven't seen that in fic before, and I like it. :D

Date: 2009-03-03 01:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] propinquitine.livejournal.com
Heh, when [livejournal.com profile] le_mot_mo and I started with this, I was going to write drabbles for each color, so yeah, I did kinda run wild with it. :D

I'm so glad you liked all the details. For a while, I was worried that they were over-done, but I wanted to show that John's pretty well connected to practically everyone in his city -- I'm a sucker for One Big Happy Atlantis Family stuff. :-) Thank you for such a great comment!

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From: [identity profile] iambickilometer.livejournal.com - Date: 2009-03-03 02:14 am (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2009-03-02 11:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] outsideth3box.livejournal.com
Wow. That was one of the most wonderful team fics ever. I just got all wibbly when the team turned up all wearing *yellow*. And Ronon finding a way to work with John on normal things and Rodney taking him FLYING. Oh...

Just full of team love.

And Rodney's awkward pass in the jumper and John's equally awkward response, and oh, my boys!

Gorgeous.

Date: 2009-03-03 02:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] propinquitine.livejournal.com
Oh, thank you! I really enjoyed writing the team (and extended senior staff) as a happy and supportive family; I love the idea that at this point, they've all chosen time and again to be on Atlantis rather than anywhere else, and have really formed an extensive but tight-knit bond.

And I always enjoy writing the boys as awkward and in love. :D I'm glad you liked it!

p.s. Icon love!

Date: 2009-03-03 12:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ailurophile6.livejournal.com
what an interesting idea, executed perfectly! :) thanks!

Date: 2009-03-03 02:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] propinquitine.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! It was definitely a fun and challenging idea to work with.

Date: 2009-03-03 12:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] teenygozer.livejournal.com
Wow, clever concept, beautifully executed -- some angst, some sweetness, and a good story. Lots of the brilliant little character touches that makes for a really stand-out, memorable fic. The art and the words work really well together.

Please note, you left the "l" off of the end of your link to the artwork (where you wrote "go here") -- it should be "html", not "htm".

Date: 2009-03-03 02:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] propinquitine.livejournal.com
Thank you very much! I really enjoyed including all of the character bits as they came to me, so I'm glad to hear they worked for you! And it was such a treat to work on this project with [livejournal.com profile] le_mot_mo; we really tried to build off of each other's work, so it's great to hear that the two parts work together.

Date: 2009-03-03 01:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pixiequeen10thk.livejournal.com
This is wonderful. Such an interesting concept. And the boys are just adorable together :-)

Date: 2009-03-03 02:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] propinquitine.livejournal.com
Thank you! It was fun (and really challenging) to try to get the concept to make sense, and fun (and not so challenging) to get the boys to be adorkable. :D Glad you liked it!

(And, heeee! Your icon is making me giggle.)

Date: 2009-03-03 02:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looking4tarzan.livejournal.com
I love this concept, and the fact you know Lorne will try it

Date: 2009-03-03 02:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] propinquitine.livejournal.com
I'm thinking, he's got a couple of days of leave on the mainland, a new canvas, and a connection with the botany department . . . . ;D Glad you liked it!

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From: [identity profile] looking4tarzan.livejournal.com - Date: 2009-03-03 02:12 am (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2009-03-03 03:32 am (UTC)
ext_975: photo of a woof (Cool)
From: [identity profile] springwoof.livejournal.com
lovely fic! I really liked how panicked and afraid John was about going blind, and how supportive his Team was. The scene with them walking down the hall, all wearing yellow for John to see them, was awesome. Showing Rodney & Jennifer getting along after an amicable breakup was really well-done--I liked that nobody was the bad guy, they just weren't meant to be. I also liked how family-like you depicted the relationships among senior staff, especially in that scene with all of them eating brunch together, and Torren going from lap to lap. I liked that they all had relationships of different kinds with each other--that touch about Ronon going to hang out with Woolsey was inspired!

Date: 2009-03-03 07:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] propinquitine.livejournal.com
Thank you so much for the lovely feedback! I'm glad John's reaction worked for you -- I didn't want him to be continually angsting about things throughout the story, since I figure he'd bury a lot of that pretty deeply, but I also thought that the initial bout of waking-up-to-nothingness would hit him pretty hard.

I really enjoyed playing around with all of the different relationships; I love the idea of most of Atlantis operating as a kind of extended family, so it was fun to try out different dynamics in that. And this was the first thing I've written since the finale that features Keller in a substantial way, and I really wanted to do her justice. I'm really pleased to hear you liked the story!

Date: 2009-03-03 05:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fanficfan.livejournal.com
I enjoyed this a bunch--I think it's neat that John's sight moving from primary colors to more shades parallels the growth of a more involved, shaded relationship with Rodney. And yet, the foundation of that relationship is one of core loyalties, values, and emotions--primaries in themselves. Solid team and community connections, too.

A great visual that complements this story but is also powerful on its own.

Date: 2009-03-03 07:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] propinquitine.livejournal.com
Thank you very much! I love your interpretation of the parallels between John's sight and his relationship with Rodney -- that idea was definitely in my mind while I was writing (particularly with regard to the primary/fundamental elements of his relationships, not just with Rodney, but with the team and everyone), but I didn't really try to make it explicit, so it's really cool to hear that you picked up on it. :D So pleased you liked it!

Date: 2009-03-03 08:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] almostnever.livejournal.com
The details of how everyone tried to accommodate John: wearing colors he could see, yellow nametags, charts printed in red on yellow... all that really made me love the team and the Atlantis expedition. Same with Torren moving from lap to lap at brunch. ♥

Date: 2009-03-03 07:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] propinquitine.livejournal.com
Thank you! There was one point during the writing process when I realized, "Oh, hey, this is my everyone-is-nice-to-John-and-he's-not-sad-and-alone fic!" in response to him being so isolated in the finale, ha. I'm glad my rendition of "the expedition = happy family" worked for you! :-)

Date: 2009-03-03 01:21 pm (UTC)
ext_13205: (Deranged Mckay)
From: [identity profile] korilian.livejournal.com
Loved it. It's just such a fun weird idea and it worked perfectly.

Date: 2009-03-03 07:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] propinquitine.livejournal.com
Thank you! It a lot of fun to work with [livejournal.com profile] le_mot_mo, and I think our collaboration on the idea was really what made it successful. I'm so pleased to hear it worked for you!

Date: 2009-03-04 01:50 am (UTC)
runpunkrun: team sheppard tiny in the foreground, huge mountains in the background, and a lot of ground between them (this walk in the park is no walk in the)
From: [personal profile] runpunkrun
What an interesting idea! I love it. It's funny that John, who does so much of his communicating non-verbally, would find it surprising that he has trouble understanding the subtleties of conversation when he's unable to see body language. Duh, John. *g*

The team was great here -- dressing up in the colors that John can see, touching him more -- and for some reason I find it very awesome that Woolsey and Ronon drink whiskey and get melancholy on Mahler together.

Date: 2009-03-05 07:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] propinquitine.livejournal.com
Thanks very much! And yeah, having John be surprised about info conveyed by body language might be a bit of a stretch, though I guess I'd argue that he'd always used and responded to it subconsciously, before, so now this thing he kind of knew already (body language = lots of information) becomes very apparent in its absence. (. . . Also, I needed a segue for those paragraphs. *g*)

I'm glad you liked it! And thanks for the great feedback!

Date: 2009-03-04 05:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ezazahaz.livejournal.com
Aww... This was a really warm and fuzzy fic. I loved the imagery, how you managed to paint just how John was seeing, and how it left him lost as to the silent conversations that happen all around him. And I adored the last scene--I love fluffy team moments, but they have to be done right, and you totally did. Beautiful!

Date: 2009-03-05 07:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] propinquitine.livejournal.com
Hee, thank you! I wanted to write something that was ultimately happy and showed how much everyone cares for everyone else, without going saccharine about it, so I'm really pleased to hear that it worked for you!

Date: 2009-03-05 01:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] duffy-99.livejournal.com
Brilliant! This is a great example of what I like about the best fanfic--it gives you something so creative that you know the writers on the show would never have thought of it in a million years.

Date: 2009-03-05 07:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] propinquitine.livejournal.com
Aw, thank you! I can only guess at how crazy-high the effects budget would have to be for a show to be able to film something like this. *g* I'm glad you liked it!

Date: 2009-03-06 02:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] panisdead.livejournal.com
This is so fun! Warm, funny, and interesting.

Date: 2009-03-10 09:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] propinquitine.livejournal.com
Thank you very much! We definitely wanted to have fun with this challenge, so I'm glad to hear what we came up with worked for you!
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