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Title: A Good Day for an Apocalypse
Author: esteefee
Pairing: John/Rodney
Rating: PG
Words: 1391
Categories: Apocafic, post-EatG, Pre-slash, Zombies
Warnings: reference to possible unintentional animal cruelty
Summary: Rodney and John are at a fork in the road. With zombies.
A/N: The first line was a dream I had last night. I came up with no good answer myself.

A Good Day for an Apocalypse

by esteefee

The problem with the apocalypse, Rodney thought, is what to do about your cat.

Did he bring him along? How? It’d be kind of hard to beat off zombies while holding a cat carrier. At the same time, he couldn’t just let him free to fend for himself, even if Rodney could get back to his apartment, which wasn’t a certainty, considering the way Sheppard was gripping his jacket and tugging him along, grimly silent, pausing every so often to tilt his head, huge fucking Howitzer or whatever that fucking thing was in his arms poised at the ready.

And Rodney’s feet were killing him.

"I think I need some new Dr. Scholl's."

"Can't stop. Zombies will eat us."

"That's your answer for everything," Rodney said, which was nothing but the truth, but John just cracked an unamused smile and kept tugging him along.

There was nothing Rodney could do in this situation. That was the most horrific thing of all. Medicine, zombie-inducing killer plagues? Not his area. Battling his way through hoards of fiends bent on using their teeth to tear the quivering flesh from his bones? Also not his thing.

Give him a clean lab, a quad core processor, some ten thousand year-old technology and a tough problem to solve and he was the man in control, the man with the plan. If he didn't have one, he'd come up with one.

This, this scurrying about and making decisions based on nothing but merest instinct and then having to make split-second life-or-death—

John shoved him against the wall and pulled his machete, then went whipping around the corner. Rodney heard a squish and a disgusting thunk, and a moment later a zombie head came rolling into view. John gave the all-clear whistle, and Rodney found John squatting over the body and carefully wiping off his blade with an anti-bacterial wipe.

"You're going to run out of those."

John shrugged. "More where these came from."

Which was, as Rodney recalled, the 7-11 they'd broken into two days earlier on the edge of town. They could use some more food at this point, so maybe Sheppard would be willing to stop. On the other hand, they were getting close to the Mountain.

They were even closer to Rodney's apartment, actually, now that Rodney identified the burned-out shell of a building across the street from them as his favorite Chinese restaurant.

"Ah, Sheppard. We need to make a pit-stop."

"Can't stop—"

"Yes, yes, and et cetera. But this is important."

Sheppard leveled a look at him, one Rodney was all too familiar with. John Sheppard, the lazy wise-ass, had been missing for five days now. Colonel Sheppard, military asshole, was the one in control. Rodney was getting a little weary of the cold, but there was no denying he'd saved their asses repeatedly.

But now Rodney wanted to talk to John. About a cat.

"We're right by my apartment. I need to get a few things."

"No can do. It's too risky."

"It's two blocks!"

Sheppard winced, and Rodney quickly lowered his voice. "Two blocks, seriously."

"So four blocks round trip through a hot zone, for what? Some books you didn't take to Atlantis already? Come on, let's go." John turned away, and Rodney grabbed the strap of his rifle and dug in his heels.

"I lied. It's not things. It's my cat. I borrowed him back from my neighbor while I was in town."

John spun and actually gaped at him for a second before holding up his hands and saying, low, "Okay, you're nuts. But we can't keep standing here in the open. Let's get secure."

Rodney followed this time while John hunted them a spot to sit. Rodney had noticed that Sheppard liked to be high up with two exits, and sure enough he found them a stairwell in the ruins of Tsingtao's that was both sheltered and gave them a good view.

Then Sheppard hunkered down with his back to the wall and said, "Seriously, your cat."

"Yes, um. Manfred von Richthofen."

John actually cracked a smile. "You named your cat after the Red Baron?"

"Well, he's an orange calico. And an enemy of dogs."

Shaking his head, John said, "Rodney, we can't bring a goddamned cat. For one thing, unless he's mute, he'll give away our position."

"No, no. Of course we can't. I know that." Rodney knew that. He couldn't carry Manfred, not and defend himself, and Manfred was not a quiet cat, it was true. "I just can't leave him to starve to death in there."

"So you want to risk your life, and my life, to cross a hot zone to let a cat out of an apartment so he can be zombie food in a couple of days."

"Cats are fast," Rodney protested weakly. "It's how they catch mice!" But the thought was just ridiculous. Manfred couldn't be bothered to catch the catnip mouse when Rodney dangled it in front of his crossed eyes. He was a pampered indoor cat and always had been. He was also getting on in years.

"Hey, wait a minute—how has he been eating these past five days since we've been trying to get back?" John asked suspiciously.

"He's a fat cat, and he had plenty of water."

But Sheppard's face had gone to stone again. "Rodney. Rule number one of the apocalypse? The important stuff only. What's more important here? A possibly already dead cat, or your life? Because, don't make me. I can't let you get killed or bitten—" Sheppard broke off with a quiet swear and bent his head.

It was interesting, because John was almost implying the decision was Rodney's after all.

But it seemed like nothing at all was under Rodney's control. He'd spent the past five days ducking, cowering and hiding and being terrified, and not just for himself. Every time John swung that damned machete of his, Rodney winced and prayed to a God he didn't believe in that no gore would splatter into John's face, into his eyes or mouth, that John wouldn't be infected by an unseen scratch or hidden bite.

And Rodney had shot three zombies himself, three once-people, now monsters. Innocent people with no control over their own actions. And Rodney had felt equally helpless, firing blind and terrified and angry at the necessity.

He just wanted to do this one thing. Save his cat, even though realistically he knew the Baron was probably already dead, that even if he'd survived having no food, he'd probably been loud enough to attract a zombie or two of his own.

"Just say you'll do it," Rodney said. "Say you'd take me. Please, John."

John stiffened, and then his shoulders dropped in utter defeat, and he moaned into his hands.

Then John nodded.

Something burned in Rodney's chest, something he'd been aware of for a long time. "Really? Really? You'd take me?"

"Christ, yes, all right? I'd take you even though it's the stupidest thing, and pointless, and I don't want—Christ, Rodney, I don't want to risk you, all right?" John kept his voice low out of habit, and his eyes jerked over Rodney's shoulder, and then back over both stairwells in sudden alertness, as if reminded of the danger. "God. Why would you do this? We're so close, and if anyone's beaten this thing it's the SGC, and we can send you back to your apartment complex in a tank, okay?" John put a hand on his shoulder. "Please, Rodney. Don't make me risk you."

"But you would." The warm spot had bubbled up higher until it almost closed Rodney's throat. "You'd do it because I asked you to."

John blinked and dropped his hand. "I just said so, didn't I?" He cleared his throat. "Either way, you'd better decide. We've been here too long."

"Right. Can't stop."

"Zombies will eat us." John smiled, for real this time, and lifted up his pack, slinging it on. "Which way are we going?"

"To the Mountain. But we're making a quick pit stop."

"Oh, yeah?" John's eyes were already busy scouting ahead. Rodney dropped behind him.

"Yeah, let's hit the drug store. I need some Dr. Scholl's."

And some other stuff, Rodney thought, smiling and looking up at the blue sky.

It wasn't a bad day, for an apocalypse.


A/N: The Red Baron.


( 60 comments — Leave a comment )
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Mar. 30th, 2012 12:48 am (UTC)
You dream weird shit. Really.

But it's good weird shit... that's a good point... what do you do with your cat?

I love Rodney's epiphany.... ;-)

Nice work!
Mar. 30th, 2012 12:54 am (UTC)
Thanks. :D I really don't know...she's a scrapper when biting my thumb, but I don't really think she could survive a zombie attack. Or would know what to do with a real mouse if she saw one. :)

Rodney is in control of one thing, at least. <3
Mar. 30th, 2012 01:44 am (UTC)
Fantastic story, but Rodney's poor cat! Cats can survive for months without food, so he'd most likely still be alive unless zombies really eat animals as well. That's just so sad. D:

I'm going to assume that one of the SGC's ships is in orbit and will beam up everyone's animals and take them to Atlantis. Yeah.
Mar. 30th, 2012 01:56 am (UTC)
yes, I'm sure they make it back to the SGC and use the Daedalus to save everyone's family pets. um.

we definitely have the tender hearts of people who haven't yet had to survive the zombie apocalypse. :D
(no subject) - kate_fire - Mar. 30th, 2012 02:42 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - esteefee - Mar. 30th, 2012 02:55 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kate_fire - Mar. 30th, 2012 03:25 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - esteefee - Mar. 30th, 2012 03:34 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 30th, 2012 02:00 am (UTC)
I love a zombie!fic! Oh poor Rodney and his cat! I kept eyeballing my puppy who was sleeping soundly as I read this fic!

But yay for John/Rodney!
Mar. 30th, 2012 02:08 am (UTC)
You should name your puppy Zombie Killer and start training him to go for the C3 vertebra. ~:

::runs away::
(no subject) - zoemathemata - Mar. 30th, 2012 02:17 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - esteefee - Mar. 30th, 2012 02:27 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 30th, 2012 03:30 am (UTC)

I have the heart of a *marshmallow*. How can I be happy for John & Rodney when the cat has probably died?!?

Actually, Rodney's cat has totally gotten into all the Things That Are Not Cat Food, Are You Crazy, What Do You Mean You Like Cantalope and hasn't starved yet. But I want them to rescue him!
Mar. 30th, 2012 04:16 am (UTC)
I have it on good authority that cats can survive on couch Cheetos for up to 8 days!
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 30th, 2012 05:04 am (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 30th, 2012 04:39 am (UTC)
Re: Unauthorized epilogue
----epilog to your epilog-----

"Rodney, your cat is looking at me funny."

"He's just a little antisocial."

"I mean funny as in...hungry."

"What? No, he—"

"Rodney. Hand me my machete. Right now."


--mission accomplished--
(Deleted comment)
Re: Unauthorized epilogue - shaddyr - Mar. 31st, 2012 06:49 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Unauthorized epilogue - esteefee - Mar. 31st, 2012 07:43 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Unauthorized epilogue - squidgiepdx - Apr. 9th, 2012 05:23 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Unauthorized epilogue - esteefee - Apr. 9th, 2012 06:16 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 30th, 2012 04:34 am (UTC)
put Rodney's cat to sleep. They can't take him with them and he can't live on his own. I hope this isn't callous but....
Mar. 30th, 2012 05:05 am (UTC)
Well, I think that's just realistic, which it's necessary to be during an apocalypse.
Mar. 30th, 2012 07:56 am (UTC)
This is a sad what if that I have never considered in all my time of watching zombie tv shows and movies or playing the games.

What do you do with your pet? I couldn't imagine leaving my dog behind. But sometimes you've got to do callous things...
Mar. 30th, 2012 08:09 am (UTC)
I know! I'm sorry. Now everyone with a pet is going to have to come up with the solution. ~: Post-Apocalyptic Pet Ranch! Via Sub-Cu Transfer Beam.

It could happen!
Mar. 30th, 2012 08:50 am (UTC)
Man, I'm callous. My brain was screaming "DON'T BE AN IDIOT, RODNEY. LEAVE THE DAMN CAT" throughout the story.

But all is not lost! Maybe the zombies will turn him into a zombie cat. :P
Mar. 30th, 2012 06:42 pm (UTC)
I'm with you. I mean, Rodney did abandon the cat for five years. and I think a John in the hand is worth one possible zombie Baron in the apartment. :)

Mar. 30th, 2012 08:54 am (UTC)
Hah, that would totally be my dilemma in an apocalypse. I would be running with cat carriers, and then eaten by zombies.

But I really love this, and how John really would go back to the cat and brave the zombie horde if Rodney asked him to. Oh, John.
Mar. 30th, 2012 06:47 pm (UTC)
<3 heart of gold, that guy. actually, that would make a great T-shirt.

FRONT: "I would brave the zombie horde to save your cat if you asked."

BACK: "Now can I have a snog?"

Mar. 30th, 2012 01:12 pm (UTC)
But...but...Rodney's cat! Yeah, I know...zombie apocalypse but...the CAT!

Great story!
Mar. 30th, 2012 06:54 pm (UTC)
Oh, I think his neighbor rescued the Red Baron and headed for her aunt's farm in Kentucky. Not to worry. She never liked Rodney much, though, so he's kind of screwed if she decides not to get in touch after the apocalypse. :)
(no subject) - tarlanx - Mar. 30th, 2012 08:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 30th, 2012 02:36 pm (UTC)
Hee! I love zombie stories, and this was great, and a clever use of the prompt.
Mar. 30th, 2012 06:56 pm (UTC)
aw, thanks so much! I think Rodney controls the best bits. :)
Mar. 30th, 2012 04:19 pm (UTC)
Awesome, you did a zombie piece and yes, absolutely I can see Rodney's point of wanting to check on his cat. I was one of the people in the audience for the original Alien movie yelling for Ripley to go back for Jones. LOL Thanks for even giving them an 'out' so that they could take a tank and go back and check and yay for John, making the gooey soft decisions for Rodney.

I have no idea what I'd do with my guys and Tootsie, what to do with Tootsie my dog? I'm hoping for a zombie apocalypse involving man eating zombies only. lol
Mar. 30th, 2012 06:58 pm (UTC)
yeah, we're kinda screwed, aren't we? they are a luxury. time to start building that fall-out shelter!

and \o/ John being gooey. :)
Mar. 30th, 2012 06:46 pm (UTC)
Well, given the bacteria cats have in their saliva, maybe they're zombie-proof (or even anti-zombie - had a friend who got a serious bite from her cat and was on IV antibiotics for a few days). My last cat was declawed, but he was still quite the mouser - I think he thought they were toys. Still, I can see Rodney not being alone among SG personnel in wanting to pick up his pets (Carson and his turtles?).
Mar. 30th, 2012 07:03 pm (UTC)
I think probably the top priority would be retrieving human personnel though, don't you? and rebuilding some sort of command structure, getting food, first aid, shelter and weapons to surviving humans, and finding a cure/vaccine?

I imagine the very *last* priority on the SGC military's list would be people's pets. Unless it was the president's, but I'm guessing the prez wouldn't push the privilege.

Mar. 30th, 2012 08:51 pm (UTC)
Are there zombie animals? A horde of zombie cats or a pack of zombie dogs roaming the streets would be crazy. Rodney's cat would be leading them, of course.
Mar. 30th, 2012 09:22 pm (UTC)
heheheh, totes! The Red Baron rules the streets! Zombie dogs quail in fear! :DDDD
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