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At the End of the Day

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When Rodney first started dating John, one of the things Evan had warned him about was this: “When John says he’s tired of talking, he’s tired of talking. He’s not shutting you out emotionally, but he’s physically tired of speaking.”

So when John said he was tired of talking at the end of the day, that he just wanted to cuddle up with Rodney while they read their own books or watched a movie, Rodney gave in, but he was wary every time, especially if John made this declaration in the middle of an energetic conversation.

And then Rodney lost his voice, hit with the Pegasus equivalent of strep throat (of course, Teyla and Ronon were immune because they’d had the disease as children), and he couldn’t talk, and all day he had to sign. And he got it. When John wasn’t around, Rodney didn’t have to bother signing when he was talking to other people, and contrary to popular belief, John and Rodney weren’t attached at the hip, so Rodney didn’t realize how much energy it took, signing constantly, for every instance of interpersonal communication.

When John was tired of talking, he was physically tired.

So Rodney cuddled with him and they watched another episode of Battlestar Galactica, and he wished fiercely that he could get over this damn cold. Carson was researching a cure, but Ronon had volunteered information on a local remedy, and he and Teyla were going out on missions to random planets, looking not only for some of the home-brewed remedy but also a recipe and some component ingredients so they could keep the remedy on hand. Rodney supposed they were lucky, that the infection was mostly contained with the science contingent, who were all the most conversant in ASL, so they could keep on working, but his throat hurt, and he was cranky.

John fell asleep when the credits rolled - he’d been acting as a translator all day, too, finger-signing words the other scientists didn’t know - and Rodney tucked him into bed before toeing on his shoes and heading for the door. He wanted to see how Carson’s research was coming, because Pegasus had no damned honey, and Rodney really, really wanted some honey tea for his throat. He was surprised to see Evan in the infirmary, shirt off while Marie checked him over.

“Tell me you’re not getting sick too,” Rodney signed.

Marie pursed her lips in disapproval. “He’s been overdoing it. His bursitis is flaring up again. You haven’t been stretching or getting massages on the regular, have you?”

Evan ducked his head, looked chagrined, and then yelped when Marie pressed something on his shoulder.

“That’s what I thought. Look, while everyone’s down and out and signing, you don’t need to be translating. Sheppard’s in his element. Give it a rest. Don’t make me wing you by putting you in a sling.”

“But I -”

“It’s good practice for everyone,” Marie said. “In fact, why don’t you talk to Elizabeth about making one day a week Deaf Day? It’ll be good for you, too.”

Evan sighed. “Marie -”

“I’ll ask her.” Marie shoved a bottle of ibuprofen at him. “Now get out of my infirmary and start obeying orders like the good little soldier you are.”

Evan nodded, tugged on his shirt one-handed, and hopped off the exam table. “Did you need me for something?”

Rodney shook his head, signed, “I was looking for Carson.” Carson’s name-sign was Kilt, which he’d never caught on to.

“He’s in his lab,” Evan said. “I’ll walk with you.”

“Shouldn’t you be asleep?”

“Once the pain eases, I can settle down.”

“How did you injure yourself?”

“Repetitive motion injuries are pretty common among interpreters, actually. When John is tired of talking, he stops. Hearing people don’t get tired of talking, so I don’t get to stop signing.” Evan shrugged one shoulder.

Rodney had never thought of it that way. He suspected Evan wouldn’t ask Elizabeth for one Deaf Day a week, but he’d ask. Couldn’t afford to lose Evan, after all. But first, Rodney needed this damn cold to be over with.