Title: Remember me
Rated: R or NC-17?
Spoilers/Warnings: None, amensia-type fic set in early canon universe.
Summary: John wakes up and can't remember... well anything.
Also available on my AO3
Everything felt fuzzy, like the static of a TV but filling up in his brain instead. His brain, did he have one of those? He must. But where was it? In his head, of course. Wait, did he have one of those? He wasn’t sure, but it seemed to make sense for some reason. But everything was just fuzzy and grey and black and static. Then he opened his eyes.
Everything was bright and he snapped his eyelids closed again. He raised his hand to shield his eyes, and opened them slower this time. Fuzzy, that’s how his fingers felt. Prickles of pins and needles slowly faded away in his extremities, like a dream slipping out of your grasp as you wake up. Everything was white and pale blue, odd looking light fixtures lining doorways. He was standing in what seemed to be a hallway. There were several doors on each side and the hallway ahead curved smoothly and disappeared.
Where was he? He felt a surge of panic rise as he wracked his brain for any information. But he didn’t know… or couldn’t remember. Then he thought suddenly, who was he? He couldn’t even remember his own name. Did he have a name? He had no idea. What the fuck was going on? Fuck… fuck. Why couldn’t he remember who he was, but he could remember the word “fuck,” and that it was called a “curse” word, like something from Harry Potter. Why the fuck could he remember Harry Potter. Sharp pain stabbed through his thoughts, it felt like a knife had just been jabbed into his brain. His hand went up to feel his head automatically, but of course nothing was there. Just smooth, short hair that he gripped with his fingers for a second before rubbing both hands over his head then his face.
He brought his hands down to his side and started to feel annoyed. Where the hell was everybody? He didn’t even know who he was expecting to find here. But then footsteps came ringing through the halls, bouncing off the white curves. Just one set, and they were… they were fast and hard, the sounds of running. Then came the sound of harsh breathing… and wheezing. John furrowed his eyebrows and bit his lip, his hands clenching and unclenching into fists and back again. He wasn’t sure what to expect, he didn’t know if he should hide somewhere or maybe this person could help? It was a tough choice, but soon it was made for him because the person became visible around the corner. It was a man, with short receding hair, understandably wheezing from the workout because he didn’t seem one prone to physical exercise.
“John!” The man yelled at him.
John? John. That felt... yes that felt familiar, and just… right. Another stabbing pain in his head, this time far worse than the previous ones. It made him drop to his knees and clutch at his hair. What the fuck was wrong with him?
The other man stopped running and dropped to his knees, grabbing… John’s wrists.
“Are you okay? God, what’s wrong? What have they done to you?”
John couldn’t answer because the man’s hold on his wrists was warm, and somehow soothed the pain in his head. And he brought his hands down from grabbing at his head and looked up into the other man’s eyes.
“I have no idea who I am,” was all John could say, feeling sad and weak, and he didn’t know why that bothered him so much.
The other man’s eyes reflected his own sadness immediately as his crooked mouth fell open slightly. The look was gone quickly, however, because there were more footsteps now, all of which were rushing and trampling through the curved hallway. There was no way to tell how close they were. The other man had turned away to look behind him and when he looked back there was only anger and determination in his blue eyes. They’d both been kneeling on the cold floor, knee-to-knee, and bodies less than an arm-length away, but now the other man was standing and pulling John up after him.
“We have to go. Right now,” said the man. And John never doubted for a second that he could trust this man. It worried him how easy it was. His stomach churned a bit, but it wasn’t a feeling from suspicion, it was… excitement, as they ran down the hall at full speed away from the stampeding sounds falling back into the distance.
It wasn’t too long before they were standing in front of… a giant metal ring. John felt in the back of his mind that he knew what it was, but the word evaded his tongue.
“We have to get through the gate!”
GATE. Gate. John was just about to remember that word, he swears. And he feels another sharp stab in his head.
“God dammit, that’s getting really fucking annoying,” he said aloud, but mostly to himself.
The other man was slapping some grey slabs of stone with some weird symbols on some weird device, and it was just a bit too much for John to even try to comprehend so he just looked away. He stared at the “gate,” and wondered briefly why it was called that because somewhere in his mind was being snarky and telling him it looked nothing like how a gate should actually look.
Suddenly there was a “woosh” and John couldn’t even describe what he’d just seen. Something like an explosion of water burst out of the gate and now formed a shiny, rippling, plasma-like surface in the centre. John just stared and didn’t move until the other man grabbed his hand, and walked speedily towards the gate. John didn’t know why but he linked his fingers through the other man’s, simply because it made him feel better, it made it feel… right. But the action had caused to man to stop and look at John with surprise. John just smiled as sweetly as he could, and gripped the man’s hand tighter, not wanting to let go. Then they both stepped through.
The instant John arrived on the other side, he was amazed by what his eyes were taking in. The awe was short lived though, as words kept popping up in his head to name things and people that were around him, causing jabs of pain with each one. He fell to his knees and had to let go of the man’s hand, which he’d still been gripping tightly, to clutch at his head. His head throbbed as he cried out. And then everything went black.
He was back in the building with the white walls and bright lights. There were even brighter lights in this room, and he could see himself, see his body lying on a table. There were several people standing around his unconscious body, wearing white scrubs and gloves and masks. There were sounds of machines and monitors and then drills.
John’s eyes snapped open and he tried to gasp for air but there was something down his throat and he started to choke and claw at the tubes.
“Woah there, Colonel,” came a voice with some sort of accent, accompanied by hands that helped with the tubes.
John tried to sit up, but his head hurt. Not with searing stabs of pain like it had before, but more of a heavy ache in his skull. He laid back down and took in deep breaths and tried to calm himself. He wasn’t in the white room anymore; it had been a dream. The lighting here was less harsh, more yellowy. The ceiling was actually quite beautifully sculptured and he shut his eyes and took a soothing breath through his nose. With it came smells that seemed almost familiar and a word was rolling around in his head just out of reach; a word that reminded him of clear skies and ocean spray and adventure and… home.
Atlantis. John winced, ready this time for the pain that seemed to pounce whenever he remembered something. But it never came. John unclenched his fist he’d unknowingly made. Then he started to look around some more and found a man staring down at him with dark, spiky hair and wearing a white lab coat over some sort of uniform.
There was deep concern in his eyes, but also hopefulness as he said “Welcome back, Colonel Sheppard.” Scottish. That was the accent.
John had no idea what he was talking about, but he got the same feeling that it was right when the other man had called him John. The other man, where was he?
John opened his mouth to ask, but realized he didn’t know the man’s name. He tried to remember his face and grasp at words that tried to connect with his tongue, but as usual, the words were just out of reach. Skimming by as he tried to spit them out.
“Where is,” John started anyway, hoping this man (doctor?) would maybe understand what he was getting at.
“Rodney?” The man asked with the hint of a smile.
Rodney. Rawwwdneeee. Yeah, that was definitely it. He said it out loud with the air of an explorer shouting “Eureka!”
“Rodney. Yeah, I knew that!” John smiled as he said the name again. Then he frowned at himself, not knowing why this was the most exciting word he’d remembered so far.
Just before he could think too much about it, he heard yelling in the hallway and the doors to the… infirmary?... slid open. And as soon as the man – Rodney – as soon as his eyes fell on John, the yelling stopped and his eyes went soft.
“You’re up. Hey,” Rodney smiled. Then turned to the doctor with a fiercer glare. “He’s up! He’s up and you didn’t call me? Carson!”
“Calm down Rodney, he only just woke up. I was just about to call when you came barging in here.”
“Hi Rodney,” John said excitedly, like he wanted to get a pat on the head for knowing Rodney’s name. John felt oddly child-like, but didn’t really mind because he was smiling sweetly and Rodney’s eyes went back to him with the soft look again.
“Hi John,” Rodney said before probably getting embarrassed at seeming like a nice guy. John had the feeling that wasn’t something he liked too many people knowing. He wondered if he usually would be embarrassed too. He had a faint recognition of where he was, it was like the hospital of Atlantis. It worried him that he had the feeling he was a frequent visitor. Rodney came over to stand by John’s bed and looked worriedly at John’s head. John wondered if his hair looked stupid or something and reached up to feel. What his hands found were bandages wrapped around part of his head. Now he wondered how he hadn’t noticed earlier as he could feel it hot and itchy on his skin.
“What the fuck?”
Rodney’s mouth made a tight line and then he looked at the doctor – Carson, Rodney had called him. John looked at Carson now, too, hoping his eyes made it clear he wanted an explanation.
“Colonel Sheppard – John, you were abducted while working an off-world mission. You were separated from your team and your memories seem to have been erased.”
Well that would explain the amnesia, at least. Though not much of the other stuff was making sense quite yet. He chewed on his lip and looked away from the two men standing by his bed.
“They… seemed to have used you for some sort of… experiment. They implanted a small device in your head –“
John flinched as he remembered the dream and the sound of the drills. Rodney’s hand dropped worriedly to the thin mattress, beside John, as is if he was afraid of actually touching him, but still wanting John to know he was there. John stared at Rodney’s hand for a moment before entwining his own fingers with Rodney. He looked up to Rodney and the man almost looked pained, but also relieved. John furrowed his eyebrows and tightened his grip on Rodney’s hand. He then looked back at Carson, who was pretending he hadn’t just been staring at their hands together, and then continued talking.
“We’re not sure how the device works yet exactly, but we’re sure it was what created the pain that caused you to black out. It appears that it’s purpose was to make sure you didn’t remember anything, and gave a sort of electrical jolt when you did.”
John would have clenched his hand into a fist at the reminder of the stabs of pain, but Rodney’s hand was in his; solid and warm, and Rodney’s thumb was rubbing a soothing rhythm back and forth into John’s wrist. John felt like he could be told he was going to die, or the world was going to end, and he’d be able to take it as long as he had this.
“Yeah. I, uh, think it was sort of to condition you to not want to remember either. Like Pavlovian response or something.”
Rodney’s eyebrows went high on his forehead and he looked amused. “Gets his memory wiped, yet he can still remember Pavlov’s dog? Leave it to John Sheppard to remember the most useless things.”
“Hey I remembered you!” John retorted defensively.
“Well see, at least that one makes sense. I only save the galaxy on a weekly basis,” Rodney responded dryly as he rolled his eyes.
The banter made his heart swell in fond familiarity. He grinned in what he hoped was a cheeky expression and not one of puppy-love or anything like that.
“Beckett, uh, how long, I mean… is he gonna get all of his memory back?”
Beckett. Yeah, that was more familiar. Carson Beckett, but apparently John preferred last names. McKay. That was Rodney’s. He didn’t even have to hear it out loud, and that would have made him smile except that Beckett was looking concerned and Rodney had stopped rubbing his wrist and was chewing on his own lip.
“We’re not sure. We have no idea what sort of technology they used, or how permanent it is, but if they had to put in this device so that you wouldn’t try to remember, then that does give us some hope that the memories will come back.”
John tried to feel optimistic. He had been remembering quite a lot when he’d stepped through the gate. He’d just gotten overwhelmed with all of it and that device must have been firing like crazy. He squeezed Rodney’s hand so that he looked down to meet his eyes.
“Hey,” John smiled, “I’m gonna be fine.”
“Alright, I think what you need right now is some rest. You’ve been through a lot and your head needs time to recover,” Beckett said with authority. John knew there was no use complaining or arguing, he actually did feel pretty tired. But he chewed his bottom lip, worried about the dreams that might come. Beckett started towards the door and asked if Rodney was going to join him. John felt a lump in his throat. He quickly looked up to Rodney’s eyes, which were big, blue, and questioning.
John worried that this might be overstepping some boundary he didn’t know about. He really didn’t know what his relationship with Rodney had been like before all of this, but he knew that Rodney’s presence was all that he wanted or needed right now. And apparently it was all Rodney needed to hear as he was telling Beckett that he might just stay a while longer.
Rodney pulled the nearest stool over and sat on it. Then he crossed his arms, keeping one hand glued to John’s the whole time.
“Go to sleep,” Rodney said as he rested his chin on his arms and watched John.
And John slept.
~*~ Two Weeks Later ~*~
It had been a busy time for John since he’d woken up in the infirmary. He spent a lot of the time in bed, being fussed over and sleeping and eating. Rodney was there a lot too. They mostly bantered and argued and played the prime number game, just to make sure nothing was too horribly damaged in John’s brain. A lot of people came in to see John including Elizabeth Weir and his other teammates Ronon and Teyla. When he saw faces and heard names, he would start to remember things, like hot air clearing the frost on a car’s windshield
Eventually he was allowed to leave the infirmary. Rodney and Beckett flanking him, making sure he wasn’t going to collapse after being off his feet for so long. His head felt a lot better and his hair had started to grow back on the small patch that had been shaved off for the surgery. Rodney had teased him about, mocking the way John had seemed disheartened that his unruly hair had been messed with.
“Yes, well sorry we had to compromise some of your style points to uh, oh yeah, save your life!” Rodney had said loudly with fake annoyance.
There hadn’t been much hand holding though. Rodney seemed unwilling to let John have physical contact when other people were around, which was now very often, after that one time with Beckett. John wasn’t sure why, but he didn’t want to push it, and Rodney probably knew better than he did.
It wasn’t until late one night, when John was reviewing some of the laws and codes that he probably didn’t fully know even before his memory loss, that John came across something called “DADT.” John was a military commanding officer, and as John continued to read, he realized why Rodney had seemed so nervous about it. The rule didn’t apply to Rodney since he was a scientist, but he’d been protecting John.
John rolled his eyes and shut the computer. Personally, he thought Rodney had been a bit stupid about it – what’s a little hand holding to comfort someone recovering from amnesia? It’s not like he was actually gay, or they were having secret make-out sessions somewhere. John frowned, maybe he was gay, how would he even know? Is that something you just remember with the snap of your fingers? John thought about seeing Rodney come running around the corner in the too-white hallway, and the smile he couldn’t keep off his face when he’d finally remembered Rodney’s name. Maybe he didn’t care anymore about what the military expected of him, because he liked the way Rodney’s thumb over his wrist could calm him, and he missed the warm, solid weight of Rodney’s hand in his.
John stood up quickly and left his room, following the path he’d learned so well that took him to Rodney’s door. John knocked a few times, not too hard as to wake anyone up but not too soft that Rodney could ignore it.
“WHAT?” Rodney’s voice echoed annoyed through the door.
John chuckled. “Hey buddy, it’s me. Open up.”
The door opened almost instantly. “John? Hey, are you okay?”
“Yeah, yeah, its fine. I’m good. Did I wake you?” John said wryly.
Rodney was only in boxers and his stupid “I’m with genius” shirt that had an arrow pointing up to himself. His hair was ruffled, and the word that came to mind was “adorable” and the thought made John bite his lip.
Rodney looked down at himself and seemed flustered all of a sudden.
“Here, come in. No you didn’t wake me, I was just working. I’ll, uh, go put some pants on.” Rodney had been spinning and pointing awkwardly not knowing what to do.
“No, hey wait.”
Rodney stopped. “No? No, don’t put some pants on?” Rodney looked confused. He was kind of hilarious when he was tired from working late. Like he’d used all his brain power on trying to solve problems, there wasn’t any left for basic human functioning.
John stepped closer to Rodney. “Hey, can I try something?”
Rodney still stood like a deer in headlights. “Uh, sure?”
John’s hands went up to cup Rodney’s face, he waited a second just to make sure Rodney wasn’t going to pull away in revolt or anything, then leaned in. He brushed his lips against Rodney’s crooked ones. It was soft and experimental and then he pressed them together and darted his tongue across Rodney’s lips just for a second, just to get a taste. John may not have all of his memories back, but he was sure they’d never done this before. Because John would remember this, this was important. This was the best feeling. Rodney was gripping John’s hips and John was still cupping Rodney’s face, kissing slowly. John sucked at Rodney’s lips, bit the lower one then licked it. He couldn’t get enough of it; the taste of Rodney in his mouth was too much and not enough, never enough. He wanted more. Rodney had been fairly complacent this whole time, but finally something ignited in him. He tilted his head so they had a better angle, and he slid his tongue past John’s lips to explore his mouth. Rodney’s grip on John’s hips tightened and he pull them flush against each other. John could feel Rodney’s hard cock through his thin boxers and it made him breathless and he had to gasp for air.
John didn’t know where exactly they had stood before the stupid mission-gone-wrong, but he didn’t care, and he was almost thankful for what happened. Because this felt right, and no military codes were going to stop him from having this for himself. They’d keep it a secret if they have to, but from what he’s remembered about Teyla and Ronon, they were pretty intuitive, and they probably knew about John’s feelings for Rodney as long as John had. And John figured it had been quite some time. Because Rodney’s tongue in his mouth, his lips sliding with John’s, his hands roaming over John’s body, and his heat blanketing John, it all felt perfect, made John feel whole.
Rodney took a step back and John immediately pouted at the missing warmth, but Rodney was dragging John by shirt toward the bed. John grinned lopsidedly fell on top of Rodney happily.
“Take this stupid shirt off, I hate this shirt,” John spoke softly as he struggled to get the t-shirt over Rodney’s head.
“Take off your pants. Why are you still wearing pants?”
John laughed lightly and took off his own pants and shirt and stared down at Rodney. Rodney’s hands were holding his hips again, and he thought maybe one day he’ll have bruises there from Rodney’s fingers, a reminder of Rodney fucking him the night before. But right now, he knew they needed something easy, something affectionate, and John just needed Rodney to know that he was all his.
John bent down to kiss Rodney long and deep, he was straddling Rodney’s thighs and Rodney started to slowly rock up and rub their cocks together through their boxers.
“Mine,” John whispered between kisses.
“Yours,” Rodney panted back obediently.
John lowered both their boxers so they could finally feel skin on skin. Both of them were hard and leaking. They kept kissing and John reached down between them to take both of their cocks in his hand, using the pre-come to help slide them together more easily. They kept a slow pace, Rodney’s hands wandered all over John’s back and sides. They broke kisses for panting breaths and sloppy nips and licks. John wasn’t sure who came first, but one was quickly followed by the other. Both their stomachs were slick with come and John let go of their softening cocks. He kept kissing Rodney though, not wanting to ever stop tasting him. But Rodney’s lips slowed, and John could tell he was drifting to sleep. John pulled off their boxers and used one pair to do a shoddy cleanup job. He sank down against Rodney, letting the warmth blanket him. Rodney’s arms curled around John’s body and Rodney pressed himself to Rodney’s chest, their legs intertwining. John looked at his own wrist and remembered Rodney’s thumb dragging across the skin there. John smiled to himself and knew things would be okay, even if only for a little while