Five Things about John Sheppard only his team knows
1. The lights in his room never go completely dark.
"There you go, Major. The nice drugs should kick in soon, and you'll be in happy land in no time." He carefully levered Sheppard onto his bed and took off his boots before draping the blankets over him.
"Very funny, Rodney. If I didn't just strain..."
"Hurt, in a manly, heroic manner, my shoulder, I'd..." He'd rolled down a hill because he'd tripped on a tree root. In broad daylight. Rodney snickered.
"Yeah, right. Look, I'll just get the lights, okay? Radio me if you need anything." He hit the light switch, and the room went...dim. Very dim. But not dark. "Major?"
"I...that's what happens here."
"I can fix that."
"Just get out of here, McKay. It's what I want, okay?"
Rodney, for once in his life, didn't say anything.
But he did cobble together a low-energy, lightweight LED that made a tent on moonless night into twilight, and claimed he didn't want to be on a strange planet in the dark.
2. He doesn't play Sudoku like anyone else.
Teyla stopped as she passed John's table in the mess hall hours after dinner - indeed, closer to breakfast. He had a pad of paper in front of him. This was already odd since most of the Atlantis people used their computers for everything.
On it was a grid - nine boxes of nine boxes, arranged in rows of three. She knew the Atlantean number system was based on ten, not the far more logical twelve, as if they had not gotten past counting on their toes.
"This is that game I see some of the others play, is it not? Where the empty spaces must be filled?
John started and looked. "Uh. Yeah. I...sometimes find it relaxing." He did not look relaxed, but that was not what caught her eye.
While the others who played the game used their computers or preprinted books with erasable styli, John used ink. Two colors, in fact.
He was making his own puzzles and then solving them. Later, she asked Dr. McKay if that was normal, and McKay stared at her as if she were insane.
3. He never sleeps on mission
"Sheppard?" Ronon crouched by the fire, where Sheppard stared at the device McKay had built for him. He'd never been on mission overnight before.
"Go back to bed, Ronon." He could hear the tension in Sheppard's voice.
"Judging by that moon, I should have been here a while ago. It's my turn on watch. It's nearly Teyla's."
"It doesn't matter, Ronon. I'm awake, so the rest of you need to sleep."
"Do you do this every time?"
"Just go to sleep, Ronon. I'll see you in the morning." Sheppard's voice had an edge that Ronon knew too well. He left to crawl into a sleeping bag with the others, but he didn't sleep.
That morning, Teyla told him about what happened when Sheppard slept, even with Rodney's toy.
4. He knew the corridors of the city better than anyone.
"What's that sound, Lieutenant?" The Marine - Jenkins - stopped and brought up his gun.
"I don't know." Ford got his own ready. "It sounds very familiar." He looked around the dim hallway, empty except for him and Jenkins. "You stay here. I'll investigate."
"Order, Jenkins." The man nodded and stood at ease, holding his weapon at the ready. Ford followed the sound around the corner.
Oh, yeah, that sound was familiar. He'd heard it every day in high school. He made it himself - he was, after all, the champion of Washington Junior High, only to be superseded by a *girl* in 10th grade.
Major Sheppard was riding a skateboard up and down an unused corridor in Atlantis, and he was doing it with deadly seriousness in the middle of the night. Ford watched for a few minutes, admiring his form on the straight - pretty good for the Major's age - and then turned back to Jenkins, telling him it was nothing and to complete their patrol.
Ford later found out Sheppard did this every night he could. And wished he'd brought his own skateboard.
5. Sometimes, the tricks don't work.
"Go to sleep, Rodney." Sheppard's voice sounded more exasperated than anything else. "We're stuck here for the night. Just. Go to sleep."
"Easy for you to say, Colonel. You don't need a special mattress." Not that this wasn't comfortable, really, but it was too dark for Rodney to see his hand in front of his face and they were...well, the door wasn't opening. This was not a good thing, and Rodney knew it, and knew it for reasons he'd never tell Sheppard. And they'd taken the toy away, too.
"Yeah, right." Rodney heard him turn over in his own bed, and gave up. He even heard Sheppard's breaths even out - he'd fallen asleep.
Rodney tried to sleep, but all he could do was wait. Maybe this time...he could heard the first signs - the gasps and sobs as the nightmare overtook him.
He huddled under the covers and waited some more, until maybe Sheppard would not toss him aside at a touch. Or went past the dreams. Or woke up.
Rodney wished he had the courage to do more than make devices and teach him how to do number puzzles.
Note: I did not watch "The Return" until 10PM tonight, and I read no reviews. When John mentioned sudoku books, I squealed.