SGA snippet waiting for context
Rodney realises that he has been stupid.
"Just... be careful, Lorne."
Rodney froze where he stood. Sheppard didn't break his reserve to use that tone of voice very often. Rodney had heard it half a dozen times in the years he had been on Atlantis. Whatever he had to say, it was personal and private and he would not want Rodney walking in on it.
"He's a good guy, sir. I know he can be difficult..."
"That's not..." Sheppard sighed. "I know that, Major. It's just that you can think he's your... friend and then one day without... saying a word... he's moved on. You can trust McKay with your life and your team. He's steady under fire despite his mouth going a mile a minute. He'll never let you down there. Just... don't get too close, that's all I'm saying."
There was a long pause before Lorne spoke again. "I understand, sir."
The footsteps moved away. Quiet and alone, Rodney dared to breathe. That wasn't how it had been. Not at all. Rodney had been perfectly justified in changing teams. Sheppard had made his feelings perfectly clear and...
... you can think he's your... friend a low voice said in his head. your... friend
Sheppard's voice. ... you can think he's your... friend and then...
Perfectly reasonable. He'd taken perfectly reasonable action in the face of the... evidence. Sheppard had...
Sheppard had... nothing. Sheppard had been Sheppard. Sheppard had...
Sheppard didn't even know why.
All the protestations that Rodney had brushed off as ingenuous... think he's your... friend ... had been real. Rodney had walked away from the team without a backward glance, secure in his smug righteousness.
Sheppard's voice had held real pain. He'd warned Lorne, not about any of the things that Rodney had feared - you can trust him with your life and your team he'd said, casual as fuck - he'd warned Lorne not to trust Rodney's friendship.
Rodney leaned back against the wall, fighting for air. Genius! he reminded himself frantically - but the dull throb at the back of his brain knew better. What use was genius when he was a social screw-up of the highest order?
His radio squawked and he jumped. "Coming, coming!" he snapped.
He'll never let you down there ... Sheppard whispered in his head. Just... don't get too close
All the time Rodney had thought that Sheppard had let him down. Now he knew better.
He'd been waiting for it, he realised, since the day he was chosen for the cool team. Waiting for the mask to fall, the trick to be revealed. Waiting for the other kids to jump out from behind the corner, pointing and laughing. 'You didn't really think they liked you, did they? Haha. Joke's on you!'
He'd talked himself right out of the cool team, walked away from the best friends he'd ever had and congratulated himself on it.