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The Best Part of Waking Up

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On Earth, it took three cups of coffee to get Rodney on his feet in the mornings (or at least to make him feel something resembling “human” as opposed to “reheated zombie thing”).

On Planet Siberia, Rodney raised the number to four tall cups brewed strong enough to knock a Russian sailor down, sometimes spiked with an endless drizzle of Hershey’s chocolate syrup to console Rodney about the whole “exile” thing.

In the Pegasus galaxy, Rodney gorged himself in case he didn’t see it again. And while he squirreled away a stash of double roast he’d carried through the Gate, the cache dwindled and, like the proud dodo, it vanished completely.

Even with regular supply refreshments from the Daedalus, Atlantis had its periodic coffee shortages; those times were dark days that Rodney found himself the target of many suspicious glances, as though he, alone, had diminished their supply. The months between stock-ups, the best substitute was what John dubbed Manarian chicory, a thin amber-colored drink Teyla laughed at them for drinking (though Rodney would like to see her go two weeks without her morning stout tea).

In the absence of coffee, the yellow bark-tasting chicory was Earthers’ best option. It did nothing to get Rodney on his feet and, after a month of drinking sixteen cups a day, Rodney’s skin had turned a carroty orange and Carson had forbidden him from imbibing anyway.

On their arrival on what the others had semi-officially called Lantea II (and what John unofficially called “Surf Planet”), their coffee supplies disappeared after three months. This was commonly and resentfully attributed to the new recruits from Earth, who were not yet used to rationing their intake for the common good. Again, the chicory was the best option and that option was still outlawed by the Carson clone.

What wasn’t outlawed was an alternate method of getting Rodney up in the morning. Rodney got a hold of it more often than not these days on Lantea II – the feathery brush of hair on his collarbone, a tongue tracing his clavicle, a drowsy open mouth working its way south. The first wet, stiff suck got Rodney up immediately, even if he was still half-asleep. The crown of hair in his lap was a rich, dark color not unlike Rodney’s favored brew, bobbing under Rodney’s fuzzy stare. Like coffee, John Sheppard was strong, bold, rich (as it turned out), and unparalleled at waking Rodney up in the AM. Rodney was getting used to John’s taste, too – slightly bitter with a nutty finish.

In Pegasus, it was all about making do and Rodney was finding himself oddly okay with doing without.