Rodney wondered how many of his co-workers would be surprised to learn that he wasn't a virgin. Hadn't been in a long, long while.
Caroline was her name, and surprisingly , she wasn't a blond. Long, brown hair that had fallen to her waist, that's what had grabbed his attention first. Well, not grabbed, more like smacked him right up side the head. She's apologized, not knowing he was directly behind her when she turned her head to answer a call of her name, whacking him with her long braid, the reports in is hands falling in a avalanche of paper.
She'd dropped to her knees, trying to help him gather up the mess, and in typical Hollywood fashion, they grabbed the same paper at the same time, and managed to knock heads. More apologies flew, and for the first time, Rodney just laughed it off. Gathering the rest of his work, he'd reassured her one more time he was fine, before heading off to class.
(When asked about it later, they would laugh and say it was fate that brought them together. After all, how many times could you crash into the same person in the same day, and not say that it was meant to be?)
Picking up his papers for the second time that day, they both groaned when they saw who the other person was. And again, for the second time that day, Rodney did something out of character. He asked Caroline to dinner. And managed not to stutter when she said yes.
Two months saw them labeling each other as Boyfriend and Girlfriend when asked about them by others. Soft smiles followed the words. Six months was marked by whispered "I love you's" in the dark against sweat glistened skin. Tears soon fell, swallowed up in the rising emotions that followed. Seven months had Caroline being evicted from her apartment building, which was being sold to build a new high-rise, and moving in with Rodney. Moving trucks, a seventeen hour stretch as they tried to cram two people's stuff into a four room apartment, and a marked rise in the nearby Salvation Army's stock were the result.
Their one year anniversary brought a letter for Rodney, telling him that he was being going to be given an award for his work with particle physics, the ceremony to take place in three weeks time. Caroline had been screaming and crying and jumping for joy just as much as him. Or so Rodney said when asked about his reaction to the news.
The day of their flight to the award ceremony, Rodney awoke alone. Blinking the sleep from his eyes, he became aware of the sound of someone being sick in the bathroom. Padding across the hall in bare feet, he found Caroline half leaning on the toilet, shivering. Holding her head, he waited until she stopped before rushing back into the bedroom, pulled the cover off the bed, and headed back. Bundling her up, Rodney carried Caroline into the living room and, at her request, placed her on the couch.
After cleaning up the bathroom, he headed back into the living room to take care of the brown-haired bundle currently curled up in a miserable ball. Temperature was normal, eyes were clear, but the mention of food nearly prompted a return visit to the porcelain god. A quick call to a friend had Caroline a ride to the doctors office, as she wouldn't let Rodney take her. As she put it, it was Rodney's big day. No reason for him to miss it because she had a tiny case of upset stomach. She would go to the doctor, get something to settle her stomach, and catch a later flight up to be with him. Against his better judgement, Rodney agreed.
(In the following weeks, Rodney would say that it was his fault. If he hadn't gone ahead, if he had only waited until after the appointment, then they would have both been alright. No matter what anyone said to him, that was what he believed.)
Arriving at his destination on-time for once, Rodney made his way to baggage claim, snagged his bag, and found the car that had been arranged for him. A quick word had another set up to come for Caroline when she flew up later that day.
Checking into his hotel, Rodney asked if there were any messages for him. Two, was the answer. One from the committee giving the award, and one from Caroline. Calling Caroline first, he caught her at their apartment as she finished up packing. He assumed the appointment went good, judging by how happy she sounded. Her 'Have I got news for you,' had him guessing, but she swore not to tell him tell she got there. Not even under pain of tickle torture would she tell, which told Rodney it must be something good. Quick "I love you's", and the conversation was over till she arrived. The committee message proved to be a notification telling him that a car would pick him up for the ceremony in two days, and they hoped he enjoyed his stay in their city.
A pounding on his door woke him in the middle of the night. A look at the clock showed the time, making him curse the entire way over to the door. He shut up fast at the view of the police uniforms before him.
The rest of the night and following day were a jumble of moments and blur in Rodney's memory. He remembered bits and pieces. Remembered the officers giving him the news. Blur. Remembered someone holding his head as he lost what little he ate the day before in the toilet. (The irony that he had been doing the same thing for Caroline hours before only make him retch harder.) Blur. Remembered a committee official saying that his award would be sent to him, offering condolences, fleeing the room as Rodney lunged forward, arms holding him back. Blur. Remembering the flight back home. Blur. Remembering a new wave of nausea as the autopsy report came back on Caroline and the drunk that ran into her car. Remembered the news that she had been two months pregnant at the time. Remembered the ground rising up to slam into him. Blur. Remembered the funeral. The black coffin. Her family seated around him. His sister holding his hand. The sound of the ring as he laid it on top of the casket. The ground opening to swallow his love and child whole. And remembered praying that those things would blur as well. They never did.
Sitting on the balcony over looking the east pier of Atlantis, Rodney lets the memory flow over him like the waves breaking on the city. In his hand, he rolls two rings. One, a plane gold band, the other, with a trio of diamonds set around a V shape, made to bracket another ring that's buried in earth and memories a galaxy and one hell of a ride away.
No, Rodney's not a virgin, not in any sense of the word. But there are times, when he prays to a higher being he stopped believing in a long time ago, that he was.
Summary: Rodney wondered how many of his co-workers would be surprised to learn that he wasn't a virgin. Hadn't been in a long, long while. Originally for the virgin!challenge over at SGA_flashfic on LJ. Inspired by a post of mine on SGA_Post_Secret. Link at bottom so as not to ruin the story.