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[ untitled missing scene, insert clever title HERE ]

Rodney looked up from the database and found John staring at him. He looked at Zelenka, who just shrugged. "Colonel. Something wrong?"

John blinked and shook his head, stepping forward. "Sorry. Zoned."

"Yeah," Rodney said, reaching up and tapping his head. "My head's still a little… ya know. From earlier."

John nodded, lacing his hands behind his back and kicking his foot into the lab table's leg. "So uh. I wanted to talk to you about something."

Zelenka cleared his throat and stood up. "I should ah… I'm feeling very parched. I'll…" He looked between John and Rodney. "I'll be back."

John wrinkled his nose. "He's not very good with subtle."

Rodney grinned, humming an agreement. "Yes, us scientists never are."

John raised an eyebrow. "I've noticed."

Rodney lowered his eyebrows at him. "You wanted to talk?"

John leaned against the table. "About the… mind probe."

"Oh," Rodney said, looking away. "Yeah, I really, really don't want to talk about that."

John blinked at him and then shook his head. "No, I mean. Well. I mean, if you need to talk about yours…"

"No, really," Rodney said, holding his hands up. "Really, really, really don't."

John nodded, looking around the empty lab. "So mine."

Rodney put his pencil down, turning to face him more fully. "Okay."

"It felt so real," John said, hands moving listlessly through the air. "It… feels real. Still. Now."

"Yes," Rodney said, nodding. "Mine did too." Off of John's look he held up his hands again. "Still. Not talking about it."

"The thing is…" John shook his head, reaching up to run a hand through his hair. "The thing is, I know it's not real. It wasn't real. But that doesn't change how it felt."

Rodney nodded. "Mmhmm."

John cleared his throat and finally met Rodney's eyes. "I feel like I owe you… I don't know. A thanks. A… I don't know."

Rodney frowned. "Me? Why?"

John let out a huff of air, closing his eyes and looking entirely uncomfortable. "I'm not good with this Rodney."

Rodney waited for a moment and when John didn't speak he shifted in his chair. "Do you need me to say you're welcome?"

John laughed, leaning over the table on his elbows and looking at Rodney. "Here's the thing. There were hive ships. Seven of them. Right over the city. And then there were fifteen more."

Rodney's eyes widened. "Oh. God."

"And there was no time. The cloak didn't fool them, and the shields wouldn't go up. They were… they were firing at us, obliterating whole sections of the city at a time."

"Jesus," Rodney said, feeling sick. "This is making my experience look like a cake walk." John looked at him and he smiled. "Still not talking about it."

"We had to evacuate. We got everyone to the gateroom and dialed Earth, but we were losing power and the gate wouldn't have stayed open… we had to…" He frowned, clearing his throat. "Someone had to stay behind to manually activate the self-destruct sequence."

Rodney's eyebrows lifted. "And it was me?"

"No," John said, smiling and shaking his head. "No. It wasn't you."

"Of course it wasn't," Rodney said, his expression falling. "It was you."

John nodded, looking away. "And here's the thing. Because I was fine. I was okay with it. I mean, not that I wanted to die, but…"

"That you were willing," Rodney said softly, nodding. "Yeah." He smiled. "You would be."

"You were too," John said, looking back up at him. "You… offered. You said we should flip a coin."

Rodney's eyebrows shot up. "In my life, I don't think I've ever said we should flip a coin."

John grinned, laughing. "It was my subconscious Rodney. The point is… you really would have done that. And I know that. I know you would have."

Rodney nodded. "You of course didn't let me."

John shook his head. "No, I didn't. But I appreciated the offer." He cleared his throat again, standing up. "The point is, I owe you a thanks."

Rodney shook his head. "But it didn't really happen. As you said, it was your subconscious."

"Yes, but." John sighed, running a hand through his hair. "I just, I feel the need, Rodney, to tell you that I know you'd do that. And to tell you that I appreciate that. And." He looked away, frowning. "And I don't think I verbalize how much I rely and depend on you to be that person, Rodney. The person I can trust the most. To be there for me."

Rodney blinked, for once at a loss for words. "I… I honestly don't know what to say."

"Not just as a scientist or a team mate, not just for me as a commander," John continued, clearing his throat and looking everywhere but at Rodney. "But as a… As a friend."

Rodney smiled. "Of course as a friend."

John looked up at him then. "Yeah?"

Rodney nodded. "Colonel, friends don't have to thank each other for being friends. It's just… what we do. Though I appreciate that you felt the need to verbalize it."

"So…" John looked at him, nodding slowly. "So, okay then."

Rodney frowned for a moment. "I'm a bit surprised you think I'm that brave. Because you're saying I basically offered myself up for a suicide mission."

John smiled and shrugged. "Somewhat begrudgingly, but yes."

Rodney shook his head. "I'd like to think I would but…"

"You would," John said without hesitation, nodding firmly.

"You think so?"

John nodded. "I know so."

Rodney smiled, looking away. "Thank you."

"I thought we just said friends don't need to say thanks," John said, tapping his hand against the desk in front of Rodney, smirking down at him.

Rodney laughed. "From this point on, then."

"Okay," John said, backing up and looking visibly relieved. "Sounds like a plan."

All feedback much appreciated!
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