The fallout from the Acturus Incident shouldn’t really have surprised Rodney. He should have expected it really; after all, it was what he was used to.
People never stuck around. Family just stopped calling and writing as if they could forget he ever existed. Friends decided he wasn’t worth the effort and abandoned him. To colleagues he had just the stepping-stone on their way up the food chain. Even to some of his lovers. No one ever wanted him for him. He was too sharp, too astute, too socially inept, too honest, too… unlovable.
He’d made a mistake, a colossal one, but it was still a mistake, and yet he’d suddenly become the expedition pariah. Weir looked at him as if he was the biggest disappointment on the planet; Carson always had patients to attend to; Zelenka wasn’t talking to him; Teyla was far too busy with that Neanderthal Dex; and Sheppard… John Sheppard just looked through him like he wasn’t even there. Hell, not even Kavanaugh would talk to him at the moment, and that was practically scraping the bottom of the barrel.
But Rodney McKay still had his pride, if nothing else. He’d endured this sort of shunning before; he’d endure it again. It was like that cutthroat from Olesia, Torrell, had said: Rodney may have appeared to the rest of the world as weak and cowardly on the outside, but inside, inside he knew all about his strength of character. He’d had to. It was the only thing that had kept him going sometimes when the isolation and the loneliness tried to crush him.
Bottom line, everyone left him for one reason or another. Lovers stopped loving him; family just ignored him, pretending he didn’t exist; and friends moved on to easier, better friends. Why should this be any different?
Rodney let the fork drop to his plate and pushed it away, his legendary appetite nothing but ash in his mouth. Staring out at the sunlight as it danced across the water, Rodney tuned out the happy sounds of people surrounding him and yet pretending he didn’t exist and decided he really did prefer a table for one, after all.
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