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FIC: Ph.D. Balanced [week 98-100, degree]

Title: Ph.D. Balanced
Author: trillingstar
Rating: PG
Pairing(s): John/Rodney, Ensemble
Warnings: Rather a lot of phallic symbolism. Double helpings of crack, fun poked at characters, tropes, fanon, etc.
Word count: ~1800
Notes: The SGA gang as deodorants. Many thanks to ozsaur & melagan, who are awesome enablers. Rowr. Written for prompt #98-100, degree, on sga_saturday.
Summary: Will Rodney get to tell John how he really feels before they're separated forever?

"Oh, will you shut up already," Rodney sneered at Kavanagh, casting a significant look at the idiot's price tag. With that low number, there was only one way that he could sell so cheaply, which meant Kavanagh was generic. Even though he insisted, too loudly, that he had a ™, everyone knew the truth. "No one is listening to you and your theories are completely irrelevant!"

"Your existence is irrelevant," Kavanagh returned, and Rodney felt himself tipping forward in anger. Next to him on the shelf, John bumped Rodney's side, and Rodney rocked back onto his sturdy base. Settling firmly, Rodney shot one more glare across the aisle at Kavanagh before returning his attention to John.

"Kate was taken," Rodney said, knowing everyone on his shelf could hear, "while everyone was asleep."

There were soft gasps and a few scary growls from behind him.

"Just Kate?" John asked.

"Yeah," Rodney confirmed, feeling grim. He and John had been worried about their worsening situation. Adding Kate to the data pool revealed a shocking pattern, along with the realization that he and John would likely be separated, possibly forever, which was totally unacceptable. They'd been muttering bits of escape plans to one another since it had brightened above them. (Rodney theorized there was some kind of timer. Or an entirely new source of power that he'd never come across before.

He ached to learn more.)

Everyone who'd arrived in the same tower of cardboard boxes had been shelved together. In the creation place, Rodney's body had been smooth and blank, but at the factory, he'd stepped onto the belt and made it through the final rinse cycle. (Some hadn't, their caps ill-fitting, bodies too shiny or too dull. Not perfect in every way like Rodney and at least three of his friends.)

Now, they each had their own set of colors, and there were words in typeface printed on their bodies. Ronon had thought that it was a type of endorsement, but Rodney still wondered what they were endorsing. Once or twice, someone had been uncapped and sniffed, and their innards varied, possibly based on the writing on their sides. That was one theory, anyway.

Kavanagh's words read Store Brand, though Rodney had figured out right away that was a description, not a specific brand like his and John's (Sure), or Dry Idea like Teyla, or Dove for Men like Radek.

Some of them had finer print, like Sam (Lady Speed Stick), who smelled like waterlilies and kowhai blossoms, and Carson (Ban), who claimed to have twenty-four-hour invisible protection, which sounded like lies to Rodney.

Not that he had a nose for testing.

They had all been put into neat rows, with Rodney placed right next to John (even though he'd been in front of John inside the cardboard box, and sometimes he missed knowing that John had his back) and they'd both looked around in wonder at their new world.

Then came the disappearances.

First Sumner (Mum) had disappeared. The official story was that a red-haired shop girl knocked him off the shelf, and that he couldn't be repaired.

Bates (Right Guard) claimed he saw the girl clutching Sumner, then tossing him into a cart and wheeling it away. Teyla remarked that she overheard some people complaining that Mum had a peculiar smell.

Then there was drama, because Bates was convinced that he was always right all the time, which was a ridiculous way to go through life, in Rodney's opinion.

It had turned out they were both correct, and then Bates disappeared too. Next to go was Ford (Suave, though he'd allegedly named himself. Rodney had smiled and nodded, eye-rolling at John and ignoring "Suave," whose wrapper was too bright, too asymmetrical, and there just wasn't any real direction or weight there, kind of a background character, through no fault of his own. Privately, Rodney thought of him as a Teen Spirit type), then Caldwell (Axe, always with his eye slits on John's position at the front of the line) and then Rodney's first crush, Katie (Soft & Dri Soft Scent). After that debacle, he had the thought that he was only attracted to her shape, because he was definitely not into aerosol sprays anymore.

And then while everyone had been asleep or otherwise engaged, Kate (Arrid) was gone too; one at a time, it seemed that they were all destined to be separated.

Kolya (Brut) was the only one who'd ever left and then returned, his packaging dinged and taped shut on one side.

Still on the shelves were Teyla, Ronon (Degree, engineered for superior long-lasting protection); Todd (Old Spice), Elizabeth (The Body Shop), and Tyre (Secret).

Oh, and Jennifer (Summer's Eve), who everyone glanced furtively at once in a while but generally avoided, and they weren't completely sure why; she was labeled hypoallergenic and normally, Rodney would be all over that. Weird.

What Rodney liked now was the color blue, because John had thick blue stripes up his side, part of his newer color scheme. Yes, fine, Rodney was slightly older than John, not that it mattered. John's words promised that he was absolute protection and active, which lent itself well to the occasional-turned-everyday fantasy about how much of John was actually gel and if it would be a smooth slide or turn prematurely sticky. Rodney was an original solid, and while he'd never be mistaken as sporty or organic, those with discerning taste preferred the classics, he was sure of it.

"Alert! Alert!" shrieked Grodin (Mennen) from the end of the aisle. Originally Rodney had the thought that Grodin was lucky, put in a display by himself, where he could think and work and not have to worry about keeping them together. All right, that last part was more John's worry, but Rodney cared about what John cared about, sort of. There was a certain sentimental attachment to everyone who'd come from the same factory, even though they had to know that it couldn't last forever... oh, that was it, right there.

"I've got it! We're not disappearing, exactly," he whispered to John. "We're being purchased."

It all made sense – the various abductions, empty slots, spots on the shelves, and more replacement strangers in their midst every day. Some of the newer arrivals were practically robots, terse with their answers, their demeanors oddly menacing.

"Purchased and taken to our forever homes?" John asked, sounding eager.

"Yes! That is what I am telling you!" Rodney said, taking in John's grin and wide eyes. "Wait, are you mocking me?"

John grinned. "Yeah."

"You're projecting," Rodney said. "You're terrified of the possibility that we could be split up and go to different forev– final destinations. You're using humor as a defense mechanism to hide the fact that you care, buddy, oh, you care."

"Never said I didn't," John said easily, the line of his cap moving minutely, almost like a wink. Despite his better judgment, Rodney was impressed.

Something very witty and appropriately come-hither was about to come out of Rodney's mouth, but suddenly he was jostled, flung back hard against the robot behind him, whacking his head on the robot's body. "Fucking ow," Rodney bit out. He regained his base, wobbling into place, and glanced at John to make sure he was all right.

John was gone!

Whipping back, Rodney stared in horror as John was lifted from the shelf and pulled away.

"So long, Rodney," John said, looking as though he wanted to say more, then closing his eyes and biting his lower lip.

"WHAT????" Rodney bellowed, using the shelf for leverage and rocking forward, winding up for a jump and bracing for a dizzying slip and fall.

"Good price, may as well get two," someone said, their deep voice booming in Rodney's ears. "Whoops! Gotcha."

And he was grasped, touched, fingered, pulled from the shelf, floating up, quiescent in a way he hadn't thought possible; lights swooshed by so fast that Rodney had to close his eyes against nausea, and then there was darkness around him. Rodney's side scraped against scratchy paper. Coming down was the worst, he was in free fall, landing with a thock! and cracking his head, again, this time onto John's midsection.

John's midsection! Daring to hope, eyes wide, Rodney looked up and saw the familiar shape of John's head. Rodney's eyes traced down to the bumps on John's sides meant for traction, and gripping.

"We're in the same bag," John said.

"I can see that, moron," Rodney said.

John sounded annoyed when he said, "Kinda thought you'd be happier about it."

"No, I am," Rodney said, struggling to reach eye-level, then stopping all movement. "I was busy rubbing off on you. Oh god, I said that out loud. I must be concussed."

"I like it," John said quietly.

"You like me being concussed?" Rodney demanded. "That is plain weird."

"No, Rodney," John said. "I liked the rubbing. Your rubbing. Hugs from you are okay."

"Hugs from..." Rodney trailed off. "Hugs."

John looked away. "And other stuff."

"And other stuff!" Rodney rejoiced. "Maybe there is something to be said for being on sale."

"Definitely," John said, wiggling closer.

They shared a smile.


the end


It turned out that their forever home contained a science enthusiast, who wanted to perform an experiment that required using each John and Rodney twice a day, on different arms. There was data to discuss and theories to bandy about, and after a while, there was only a little bit of John left when Rodney was empty.

"I'm not leaving you," John said, but it was beyond his control. Rodney was measured and then tossed into the trash can, where he stared forlornly up at John.

But within a couple of days, John was measured and thrown away too. Rodney beamed at him through a layer of wadded tissues and whisker shavings.

At the landfill, they were compacted into a cube together, and then they were stacked onto a barge together, and then they sailed off into the sunset together, two parts of a whole, two Sures that, together, became Truth*.


the end for sure!

* .tiny AU coda for ozsaur, post-trash compactor.

"Not that calling it that was anything more than what it was," Rodney reminded John. "Plain and simple. It's only a metaphor."

John rolled what was left of his eyes. "A metaphor for our freaky, compacted, plastic, undead franken-messiah love?"

Rodney goggled at him. "You think the Truth is zombies?"

"Seems legit," John replied. "Either that or love."

"They don't have to be separate entities," Rodney said. "Brains."

"Brains," John agreed. "Braaaaains."


.add'l links of interest.

A picture of Rodney and John.
How Advertisers Convinced Americans They Smelled Bad
→ Teyla's 'remark' concerning Mum's particularly offensive odor was based in truth; it was one of the main complaints from early customers about the formula.


( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 24th, 2013 03:57 am (UTC)
Teyla as Dry Idea! Ronon is totally superior long-lasting protection. \o/

and I do love John and Rodney's trash-compacted forever love. I was worried there for a second until Rodney's tipover. <3 <3 <3

I always thought Summer's Eve was creepy!
Apr. 25th, 2013 03:24 pm (UTC)
Re: crackastelicious
I think the plotting went something like, "BUT WAIT! They go into the same cart! OMG YAY!" :D

Thank you, sweets! I'm so glad that you enjoyed this.

it just seems to be one of those products where people are all, 'do I really need this? probably not.' and they move on. *g*
Apr. 24th, 2013 03:59 am (UTC)
Oh, man, John and Rodney ride off together into the sunset! On a garbage barge! I LOVE IT!!! SGA characters as deodorants -- too funny! You put the characters and brands together perfectly.

Zombies? Braaaaiinns? You are too good to me! LOL

I am so happy you finished this, and posted it. :D
Apr. 25th, 2013 03:27 pm (UTC)
Of course they ride off together into the sunset! OF COURSE. ;)

I'm so pleased that you liked this, thank you. Thank you for enabling, too. THANK YOU!

Apr. 24th, 2013 05:03 am (UTC)
Oh, man...there goes what was left of our brane. How am I supposed to get the smell of Mennen out of my head now? Damn your eyes underarms! I like how Rodney came running/wobbling after John, determined not to be left behind - sweet.

Rodney's eyes traced down to the bumps on John's sides meant for traction, and gripping. - Niiiice.

Excellent use of the prompt. You so rock. Of course I'm pretty sure I've told you that before. *g*
Apr. 25th, 2013 03:30 pm (UTC)
*chases after brane*

Well, you know, John didn't want to leave Rodney behind. He was all prepared to brood about it. Extensively. *g*

Thank you, dearest! I'm so glad you liked it. HUGS
Apr. 24th, 2013 08:06 am (UTC)
"You like me being concussed?" Rodney demanded. "That is plain weird."

Pffft, BOYS. This was absolutely delightful, you really sold me on their Sure, compacted, forever love :D
Apr. 25th, 2013 03:31 pm (UTC)
Awww, thank you! Your comments made me grin. *eeee*
Apr. 24th, 2013 12:56 pm (UTC)

The names too too perfect!

awww forever together as a block of compacted porn sweet love.
Apr. 25th, 2013 03:34 pm (UTC)

YAY I am so glad that you liked the crack that you oh-so-subtly prodded me towards and the names and their block of smushed-up forever love. Thank you!!
Apr. 24th, 2013 02:26 pm (UTC)
I can't even...
Apr. 25th, 2013 03:35 pm (UTC)
...and yet you DID! :D
Apr. 24th, 2013 03:30 pm (UTC)
Cute! :-D
Apr. 25th, 2013 03:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you kindly! :)
Apr. 24th, 2013 08:17 pm (UTC)

That's brilliant!
Apr. 25th, 2013 03:36 pm (UTC)
Yay I am so glad this gave you some laughs. :D

Thank you!
Apr. 25th, 2013 07:14 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is so funny! And so sweet. I just loved it.
Apr. 29th, 2013 12:18 am (UTC)
I'm tickled that you enjoyed it! Thank you :)
Apr. 26th, 2013 05:38 am (UTC)
Ok. That was the most crackity crack crack piece of crack I've ever read...or cracked. Crack. Crackity Crack. Crack. Hilarious.
Apr. 29th, 2013 12:27 am (UTC)
Re: Crackity-Crack-Crack

Aww yeah, crackin' thank you :D
Apr. 26th, 2013 12:01 pm (UTC)
And he was grasped, touched, fingered, pulled from the shelf, floating up, quiescent in a way he hadn't thought possible; lights swooshed by so fast that Rodney had to close his eyes against nausea, and then there was darkness around him.

Damn. You even make crack sexy!

I honestly laughed out loud when reading this - way to start the day! Two parts of a whole! Yessss!\o/
Apr. 29th, 2013 12:29 am (UTC)
Why, thank you for noticing. *g*

I'm so glad that this made you laugh! Good morning to you \o/
Apr. 26th, 2013 05:56 pm (UTC)
I'm happier than I probably should be that John and Rodney got compacted into a cube together. OTP FOREVER.
Apr. 30th, 2013 05:49 pm (UTC)
*nods sagely* Think of the ensuing pining if they hadn't been... ow.

Thank you!
Apr. 27th, 2013 04:56 pm (UTC)
Great fun, and perfect brand-name line-ups!
Apr. 30th, 2013 05:51 pm (UTC)
I'm so pleased that you enjoyed this weird bit of my brain, thank you! :)
Apr. 27th, 2013 10:33 pm (UTC)
HAHAHHA. Brilliant, really, just brilliant.
Apr. 30th, 2013 05:52 pm (UTC)
YAY! Thank you so much, I'm delighted that you laughed XD
Jun. 2nd, 2013 05:24 pm (UTC)
I really have no idea what to say, except that I loved this, and the happy ending :D
Jun. 2nd, 2013 08:08 pm (UTC)
I think you've found the perfect things to say! I'm so pleased that you enjoyed this, thank you! :)
( 30 comments — Leave a comment )

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