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Title: Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Author: sholio
Recipient: argosy
Pairing: McKay/Keller
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 33,000 *koff*
Warning: Contains some relatively mild horror-movie-esque imagery and creepiness
Spoilers: Set post-Enemy at the Gate, potential spoilers for all aired episodes.
Disclaimer: Not mine, do not own.
Author's Notes: Thank you to astridv for the excellent (and fast!) beta.

Summary: John is dealing with his teammates' love lives just like any other emotional issue: by ignoring the situation and hoping it goes away. But when a mission gone wrong traps John, Rodney and Jennifer a thousand feet beneath New Lantea's ocean -- injured and out of touch with Atlantis, with the clock running down and a mysterious enemy in pursuit -- they're either going to have to work out their differences ... or die trying.

( Devil and the Deep Blue Sea )

Comments

( 78 comments — Leave a comment )
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horridporrid
Dec. 17th, 2009 03:28 am (UTC)
I loved this! :) All of the characters rang so true to me; this is how I've always seen Jennifer, and Jennifer/Rodney, and I adore that you've written it out so beautifully. I love how difficult the relationships were to begin with and I loved how you showed them changing throughout the adventure, and I really, really loved how no one was a villain. That they all wanted to do the right thing, show the care they had for each other, but just couldn't figure out how. (The insight into John and Nancy's marriage not only made me go, "oh, John" but also, "oh, Nancy". Poor guys.)

All that, plus Brain Coral! :D Lovely, lovely tension and "it's behind you!!!" I very much enjoyed this.
sholio
Feb. 11th, 2010 08:40 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! I'm delighted that you liked and sorry I'm such a pile of suck when it comes to answering feedback. *g* I really love getting inside the characters' heads and trying to figure them out emotionally, and I'm glad that my natterings were comprehensible. *g*
alipeeps
Dec. 17th, 2009 08:25 pm (UTC)
This was just... awesome!! I've been suffering from a rather depressing bout of apathy of late when it comes to reading fic but this story was just what I needed to revitalise my enthusiasm - well-written, great characterisation, wonderful whump and a fantastic and well-thought out plot. It had me on the edge of my seat more than once! You captured the characters' voices perfectly and the action played out with just the right amount of tension and drama.

Thank you santa on behalf of all the good boys and girls for delivering such a wonderful christmas present! :D
sholio
Feb. 11th, 2010 08:41 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! I'm delighted that you liked it, especially since this was a somewhat experimental story for me, taking me into territory that I haven't much explored in SGA fic. Thanks for the feedback! :)
wildcat88
Dec. 18th, 2009 04:39 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed this! Your character voices were wonderful, and I loved your insights into John - his views of coupledom, his struggle with finding his place amongst teammates who were in relationships, his desire to do the right thing if he just knew what it was. You made McKay and Keller's relationship believable and let it support the story instead of overwhelm it. You also made the h/c part of the plot instead of the crux of the story. Well done!
sholio
Feb. 11th, 2010 08:43 am (UTC)
Thank you very much; I'm very happy that so many gen people enjoyed the story. :) I do think that maintaining a balance is key to making a story come alive -- between characters, between relationships, between plot elements and so forth!
x_varda_x
Dec. 18th, 2009 06:29 pm (UTC)
Very enjoyable! Hero Rodney, frustrated John, Jennifer angsting over hero Rodney. Wonderful!
sholio
Feb. 11th, 2010 08:06 am (UTC)
I do love my little hero Rodney! Thank you very much. :)
crashbarrier
Dec. 21st, 2009 09:44 pm (UTC)
Its great to see McKay in a role that's more than just sidekick and comedy whiner.

I really enjoyed this story.. I found the characterisation to be bang on. the pacing was excellent with a good balance between action, suspense and exposition.

thank you for writing it
sholio
Feb. 11th, 2010 08:06 am (UTC)
I love writing Rodney, and I really enjoyed giving all the characters a chance to shine! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)
vipersweb
Dec. 27th, 2009 07:37 am (UTC)
This was a cute story. I like that you dealt with the fact that Sheppard is alone with everyone else paired up and how he's having difficulty dealing with it. It would be interesting to have seen what would have happened on the show, though I think they would have ignored it.

I like Keller in this a lot and that you kept her at the skill level she is - that is, she's a good Doctor, but not very skilled in the field b/c of lack of experience. I like the bits and pieces you show of Rodney and her relationship. Though you used Teyla very little, where and how you used her was to great effect. Like the end quite a bit, especially since you brought in a bit of Athosian culture.
sholio
Feb. 11th, 2010 08:07 am (UTC)
Thank you very much; I'm glad you enjoyed this! One of my regrets with this story was that I couldn't give Teyla and Ronon much to do; it was long enough as it was. *g* But I really enjoyed playing with the interpersonal dynamics between the characters -- it's much more interesting when everyone is not getting along than when they all are!
schneefink
Dec. 31st, 2009 09:20 am (UTC)
Great story. Zombie brain coral!, very creepy (not only "relatively mild".) Especially the scene where Rodney has to cut it out of his hand *shudders*, and trapped at the bottom of the ocean! Yay for Zelenka´s big red button and shark repellant. (Which is just one example of the many details why I loved this story. Nautilus and Athosian naming and marble cake.)
The character voices were excellent. I particularly liked that you show that Jennifer can be just as socially awkward as Rodney. I can´t imagine the three of them racing cars together, but at least she´s trying.
sholio
Feb. 12th, 2010 02:23 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! I'm glad that you liked it; I was a little worried that the part where Rodney cuts the coral out of his hand would be a little too gory ... especially for a Christmas story. *g*
(no subject) - crashbarrier - Feb. 12th, 2010 10:24 am (UTC) - Expand
obsessed1o1
Jan. 1st, 2010 11:44 pm (UTC)
I loved this. WOW! I can imagine that that was exactly how John would be feeling at that time. You got the awkwardness and tension down perfectly and bought them together as friends without it being forced or trite.

Really really lovely. Thanks for a great read
sholio
Feb. 12th, 2010 02:24 am (UTC)
I'm delighted that you liked it! Thank you very much for the comment. :)
aelfgyfu_mead
Jan. 2nd, 2010 01:35 am (UTC)
Wonderful story! I hadn't thought about it much until I read your story but, like Rodney and John, Jennifer really isn't that sharp with the people skills. You work John's failed marriage very neatly into his current predicament, and we never do see him comfortable around another couple. He gets along just fine in certain circumstances, and he and Rodney can play race cars until the cows come home, but yes, I think you've really got his number for the moment things get more complicated.

I love what you do with Jennifer most of all. I did like her and hate to see her demonized; she makes mistakes, but her missteps make sense as a very young, smart, bookish person tries to find her feet in a place that calls on physical skills and physical courage she never needed before she left our galaxy. She can read Rodney, but doesn't do very well with Sheppard (which is no surprise, because it's hard to read someone who can't read himself some of the time). Still, of the three of them she's the most stable emotionally, so she has to be the one to try to work things out!

I also love Teyla's cameo (it's not so much all Earth people who are crazy, Teyla, as the ones who would go to Atlantis), the reminders of Zelenka even when he isn't present, and the brain coral. I'll never visit aquariums the same way again!
sholio
Feb. 12th, 2010 02:28 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! I really enjoyed working on the complex interpersonal dynamics in this story; I was nervous about the reception that it would get, knowing that readers would be mapping their own interpretations onto the characters, so I was very happy (and relieved!) that it seemed to go over well.

(it's not so much all Earth people who are crazy, Teyla, as the ones who would go to Atlantis)

LOL! So very true.
tipper_green
Jan. 2nd, 2010 10:06 pm (UTC)
Now this was perfect. We have an awesome bad guy (and so very Doctor Who-esque! There needs to be more of these spooky sorts stories in the SG-verse. I didn't realize until I started reading it how few of these sorts of stories there are, while its almost common on Doctor Who. That being said, you really kicked it up a notch -- I love how beautiful your bad guy is, and how it wouldn't have been sentient and so violent but for the minds it took over...that's just so cool), fantastic action, suspense and h/c on top of h/c, and all that good stuff. BUT, what makes this brilliant is that you managed to center it around that horrible time in an adult's life when everything changes -- from single and having fun to everyone getting married and having kids. It's such an unbelievably awkward time, and so hard, especially if, like Sheppard, you feel a little left behind, and you did such a great job of it. I loved Jennifer and John's oh so awkward talk--I could hear every word, as if I were watching it on the screen. Characterization is spot on. And I particularly loved how clueless Rodney was throughout the whole thing--I love that his friends can resolve their differences with no help from him (although he is saving the day, so I suppose it all evens out. LOL). Really, this is one of the best stories I've read this year!

Thank you so much for such a fantastic story!

Edited at 2010-01-02 10:07 pm (UTC)
sholio
Feb. 11th, 2010 08:05 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! I thought this story might kinda be up your alley. *g* As much as I enjoy everybody getting along, sometimes the most interesting things happen when everybody doesn't get along, and I really enjoyed exploring the interpersonal dynamics in this -- like you said, this is something that everyone goes through, one way or another, and it was fascinating for me to look at that from the characters' point of view.
brasslizard
Jan. 5th, 2010 07:16 am (UTC)
I love, love, love that I can always count on you for a good adventure fic. I also wish that this Jennifer was the one we got to see on the show; I really WANTED to like her (and in some ways I did) but...well. You did an excellent job here with the dynamic between John, Rodney, and Jennifer - fully believable on all counts. Most of all? I adore a slightly wumped, hero!Rodney and you delivered THAT in spades. *grin* VERY engaging read (couldn't put it down) - thank you for the hard work!
sholio
Feb. 11th, 2010 07:57 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! I do love me some hero Rodney *g*; I'm glad that you enjoyed it!
silivren_tinu
Jan. 6th, 2010 09:02 pm (UTC)
I really love stories where a friendship doesn't end when one of the friends in question gets married. It happens far too often in Real Life and I'm really not fond of having to see it happen in fanfiction, too. Meaning, I loved how you resolved the situation with John feeling estranged because all his friends are in steady relationships now or on the best way to it. Somehow, I'm beginning to think he and Jennifer will get along great after taking the final hurdles. ;-) I enjoyed the action, the h/c, and the creepiness lots, too, and the ending was just perfect. *g* This story definitely just made my day - as someone else said, I feel as if I've just gotten a late Christmas present, even though this story wasn't written for me. :D
sholio
Feb. 11th, 2010 07:51 am (UTC)
*nods* It's not an easy situation to deal with, and I wanted to give the characters an opportunity to work through it ... in their own emotionally constipated way, of course. *g* I do think they've laid the foundations for a good future; they've still got work to do, but they all care about each other and I definitely think their future looks bright! And thank you very much for the comment; I'm very happy that you enjoyed it. :)
bironic
Jan. 10th, 2010 02:30 am (UTC)
You do hurt/comfort like nobody's business. Seriously. With a wonderful John-angst cherry on top. And now Keller's along to help with the worst of the damage -- well, the physical damage, even as she complicates and tries to help resolve the interpersonal problems. It's refreshing, too, to see that Rodney and Jennifer and John can get along if they work at it, instead of one pair having to take precedence over the other. (And three cheers for woman-positive stuff like the not-pink race cars and Jennifer not necessarily being good at relationships just because she has two X chromosomes!)

Really loved this. Truly alien life is always a treat in SGA stories, and having it be coral here ("brain coral" was great!) is both brilliant and creepy. Because of course there'd be fascinating marine life on a planet that's mostly ocean! Nice foreshadowing with the joke about blowing up the manta rays, too.

Also, light bulb jokes. Physics light bulb jokes. \o/
sholio
Feb. 11th, 2010 07:56 am (UTC)
Thank you! This was a really fun story to write, and I wasn't sure about the reception that it'd get, so I'm delighted that it seems to have gone over well. I really enjoy exploring interpersonal dynamics; doing so while they're being chased by alien zombies is pretty much just how their lives seem to go sometimes. *g* I'm glad you liked it!
klatubarada
Jan. 10th, 2010 08:50 pm (UTC)
oo i just found this little treat! I adored this story -i was so pleased to see a balanced view of john,rodney and jennifer and the 'brain coral' was brilliantly realised.Got a real shiver when Rodney was in peril \o/

more please!
sholio
Feb. 11th, 2010 07:49 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! :) I really enjoyed writing the character dynamics in this, and I'm glad you liked it!
anotherdreamer5
Jan. 19th, 2010 04:46 am (UTC)
wow. I loved this. great, great job creating a genuinely scary situation with a lot of character moments. very well done!
sholio
Feb. 11th, 2010 07:47 am (UTC)
Thank you! I love combining scary/action stuff with character stuff; it's so much fun that way. :D
(no subject) - anotherdreamer5 - Feb. 12th, 2010 01:20 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sholio - Feb. 12th, 2010 01:46 am (UTC) - Expand
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( 78 comments — Leave a comment )

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