Title: A Soundtrack to 'Unforgettable'
Pairing: John Sheppard/Rodney McKay
Mixer Notes: This fanmix and cover art was made to accompany the wonderful story Unforgettable written by the_cephalopod and sgamadisonThe tracks on this mix are picked and arranged to reflect the tone and plot of Unforgettable, including two tracks actually mentioned in the story. It was a pleasure to be able to put music to a new story by two of my favourite writers. Many thanks to velocitygrass
Spoilers: Please be aware that this soundtrack contains quotes from Unforgettable that will spoiler the story if you haven't already read it.
When he awoke, it was with a mouth that felt like it was full of sand, and the urgent need to pee. The image of dry, dusty roads curving their way through forbidding, chalk-like rock formations wavered through his mind, as intangible as a mirage. He blinked several times and licked his lips, trying to spread some moisture. Whatever he’d been thinking of was gone.
01. Njosnavelin (Nothing) – Sigur Ros
It would appear that this variant of Kirsan fever is far more virulent than the form that Ronon and I experienced as children.” She indicated the big guy when she said the name ‘Ronon.’ “Fortunately, the enchuri plant still worked as a cure, but there seems to be some residual effects among you. Most notably, those of you with the ATA gene. ”
John was reminded of some cartoon in which a person was depicted speaking to a dog, and the dog was shown as hearing only his name and ‘blah-blah-blah.’ He felt just like the dog. “No offense, guys, but how exactly do I know you?”
02. Who Am I To You? - Schuyler Fisk
Who am I to you?
I feel locked out, my head so conflicted
The drawers in the cabinet beside his bed proved to contain only a change of linen and more white clothing like the outfit he was wearing. Scrubs, his brain suggested helpfully. The next second a terrible thought came to him. What if they were all part of a mental institution?
He had to get out of here.
03. F.E.A.R – Ian Brown
You got the fear
You got the fear
F.E.A.R. (You got the fear)
Carter’s presentation was simple. It was a bare bones recap of their mission in Pegasus and the roles that each of them played. She had photos and video- tapped footage to back it up. Without that, John would have accepted her story with the same certainty as if he’d been informed that he was a Latin flamenco dancer. Which is to say, not.
Wormhole travel and Space Vampires. What had he been thinking when he’d signed on for this mission?
04. The Great Beyond – REM
I want the hummingbirds, the dancing bears
Sweetest dreams of you
Look into the stars
Look into the moon
I´m pushing an elephant up the stairs
I´m tossing up punchlines that were never there
Over my shoulder a piano falls
Crashing to the ground
“Then there’s the Stargate. Ever since I saw it in action I haven’t been able to get what I am assuming are the equations behind the creation of a stable wormhole out of my mind. I mean, how did they do it? You see, if we’re talking about the Schwarzcshild metric here, then surely it would be nothing more than a black hole that, theoretically, should collapse before any matter has the time to transverse it. But, demonstrably, that isn’t the case. So does that mean Hawking and Thorne - whoever they are - were right about the Casimir effect? And, putting all of those discussions aside, I’ve got all this stuff in my head about quantum foam and the possibility of creating worm holes at the Planck scale. And, even though I don’t have the foggiest clue of what any of this means, I’m pretty damn certain that if you gave me a piece of paper and a pencil I could write you out a proof for each one of these conjectures.
05. I Am A Scientist - The Dandy Warhols
In me the scientist
Always stuck on always trying this
I try to live on science alone
Analysis and freaky sensitivity
We've gotta live on science alone
Woo! Yeah, I am a scientist
He hovered the ship, giving them both a few moments to survey the view below. In the glow of the twin moons, Atlantis looked like some kind of fairytale castle. The high towers soared in the moonlight and the gold, glowing lights emanating from the city itself set the ocean sparkling, all the elements coming together to make the scene seem almost beautifully unreal.
“It’s breathtaking,” Rodney said, his tone low. “Like something out of a dream.”
“Or a memory,” John replied, his tone equally awed.
Rodney smiled at John’s words. “Like a memory,” he agreed, turning to look at John. “And do you remember?”
John sighed and shook his head slowly. “I’m not sure,” he admitted. “It’s like you said – more like impressions of things rather than actual memories.” He paused then to glance over at Rodney, a small smile quirking his mouth. “I do remember how to fly.”
06. Satellite – Guster
You're my satellite
You're riding with me tonight
Passenger side, lighting the sky
Always the first star that I find
You're my satellite
Rodney wasn’t sure which one of them had initiated the kiss, but as they moved together, the kiss deepening, any thoughts of how and why flew from his mind. He noted vaguely that the kiss didn’t feel as familiar as he thought maybe it should, but it was hot and wet and felt so damn good that soon all he could do was think about ways of prolonging it.
07. Gravity – Embrace
And then I looked up at the sun
And I could see
Oh the way that gravity turns for you and me
And then I looked up at the sky and saw the sun
And the way that gravity pulls on everyone, on everyone
Baby, It's been a long time waiting
Such a long, long time
And I can't stop smiling
No I can't stop now
And do you hear my heart beating
Ah can you hear that sound
Rodney laughed. “You probably don’t remember it because you’ve never experienced it, but let me tell you, being the smart geeky kid in school is like wearing a giant bull’s eye on your back along with a sign that says, ‘kick me’. You probably hung out with all the other jocks.”
In a moment of severe disorientation, John saw himself at around thirteen years of age, dressed in a regulation gym outfit from some prep school. He was under the bleachers, surrounded by a group of boys both older and bigger than he was. He hadn’t bothered to put up his fists; he stood with them clenched at his sides.
“Let’s show Sheppard what we do to faggots at Georgetown, shall we?” The tallest boy sneered at him.
The punches began to fly.
08. Different – Acceptance
I wanted to see something that's different,
Something you said would change in me.
Wanted to be, anything different,
Everything you would change in me.
Evan sighed, looking unhappy. “We saw you and McKay holding hands when you came into the room. And you two seem, ah, rather close.”
John looked from Evan to Parrish, who was blushing furiously now. “So?” John asked, not having a good feeling about this.
“So.” Evan looked around to see if anyone was listening, which should have been funny, given that the room was nearly empty. “So, same sex relationships are forbidden in the military. If anyone finds out, you’ll be dishonorably discharged—shipped back to Earth. Like that.” Evan snapped his fingers.
09. Losing your memory - Ryan Star
Remember the day
'Cause this is what dreams should always be
I just want to stay
I just want to keep this dream in me
You're losing your memory now
“Whatever you think you might remember is nothing but bullshit. There is no us – never has been, never will be.”
“But what about earlier?” Rodney countered, attempting to rally even though the words cut him to the quick.
“Earlier was a mistake,” John replied flatly. “It meant nothing – it can’t mean anything.”
“Wait, wait,” Rodney cut in quickly. “What do you mean can’t? Why can’t it?”
“Because I’m not like that,” John replied. “I don’t… I can’t… I’m not gay.”
Rodney wasn’t sure where he was going, only that he had to get away. As he stumbled along blindly, he felt like his head was going to explode as memory after memory came tumbling down upon him. The shame he felt over telling John they were a couple when they weren’t seemed to have triggered the shame he’d felt over every other failed relationship in his past.
10. Tonight – Easyworld
Tell me that you lied
Say you never think of me
But tonight before you sleep
There will be a you and me
And I hope I'm on your mind
When you wake.
Rodney let out a long breath, shrugging. “I don’t know,” he said. “I saw him last night – he explained about the regulations, said he wasn’t gay – that he couldn’t be with me – and it had all been a mistake.”
“I am sorry,” Teyla said, her tone sincere. “I had hoped… Well, Ronon and I had both hoped that your memory loss would help you see what you truly mean to one another. Give you a second chance without your past influencing your present.”
“Well, maybe you should have left well enough alone,” Rodney snapped, his anger back in force. “Maybe you should have realized that there were good reasons why we hadn’t done anything before. Maybe then John and I would at least still be friends.”
11. Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid – Hall & Oates
Some things are better left unsaid
Some strings are better left undone
Some hearts are better left unbroken
“You’re quiet,” Ronon said when they finally began the cool down.
“Rodney came to see me last night,” John said by way of explanation. “I had to tell him there was nothing between us, that it was his imagination.”
Ronon shot him a look that was distinctly curious. “If McKay thought so, do you think…?”
“No,” John snapped. “I don’t.” Which had pretty effectively ended the conversation.
“This is your home, John. We are your family. No one disapproves of you—we admire your courage, your determination, your honor. I know that you would give your life to save any one of us. You have put that devotion to your people to the test time and time again. That will not change because you decide to love Rodney.”
12. Save Me – Gotye
And I could not love ‘cause I could not love myself
Never good enough, no. That was all I'd tell myself
And I was not well, but I could not help myself
I was giving up on living
The likelihood of his taking Ronon down was small. If Ronon got his hands on John, it was all over. Ronon would shake him the way a pit bull shakes a rat, and toss him to one side.
Stop thinking like that. Pretend he’s an intruder into your city.
He wasn’t sure where the thought had come from, but he stood in the center of the mat and watched Ronon circle him almost warily.
“I shouldn’t say this,” Ronon said as he moved around John, “but you look downright creepy when you make that face.”
“What face?” John asked, noting out of the corner of his eye that a small crowd was starting to gather. More than just the people who’d been working out in the gym when he’d arrived.
“You’re wearing the face of the Evil Sheppard. You know, the one that appeared in people’s dreams and killed them.”
13. One Way Or Another – Blondie
One way or another I'm gonna lose ya
I'm gonna give you the slip, a slip of the lip or another
I'm gonna lose ya, I'm gonna trick ya - I'll trick ya!
But if you’re fine just the way you are, why doesn’t he want you?
The thought snuck through unbidden and Rodney found that he couldn’t dismiss it. It seemed to resonate with his growing pile of memories, bringing to the forefront of his mind flashes of a lonely childhood, an isolated adolescence, and a bitter and angry adulthood.
14. Broken – Outmatch
So why won't you look at me
Are you afraid of what you'll see
When your mind's gone missing
When my heart hits the ground
Are you close enough to hear it sound
This time, whatever John was doing seemed to be working. The pulses of light became stronger and faster as the Chair tilted back, the back panel illuminating to halo John’s head. As Rodney watched, the expression on John’s face changed slowly, morphing over long minutes from one of intense concentration to one of almost peaceful acceptance. It was as if he had to wage some internal mental battle in order to connect with Atlantis’ AI and sweep the city’s network. Well, Rodney conceded silently to himself, for all he knew that was precisely what John had to do. With his memories still not entirely accessible to him, perhaps his innate connection with Atlantis was not as easy to access either. Still, battle or no, Rodney knew that John would persevere until he had succeeded.
15. In Time - Craig Armstrong
The earthy smells of sawdust, manure, and hay made him open his eyes. He was startled to find himself standing in the aisleway of a barn—and not just any barn, but the stable on his dad’s property when he’d been just a kid.
Bemused, he walked down the aisle toward the wide open doors at the end. Somewhere nearby, a radio was playing country music; John couldn’t ever recall being in a barn when there wasn’t some sort of country singer crooning in the background. As he listened, he could make out the words to The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia and recognized it as the original Vickie Lawrence version. Somewhere ahead of him, he could hear someone singing along over the sound of running water.
16. The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia - Vicki Lawrence
That's the night that the lights went out in Georgia
That's the night that they hung an innocent man
“What do you want?” he asked again, quieter now.
“More like what do you want, dear?” Her voice was gentle. “Everything you need to know is here. But you have to want it. Surely you want to remember me?” She sounded a little bit sad and John thought it might just kill him.
“Of course I want to remember you,” he said carefully, as though the words might break him if he spoke too fast. “I want to remember you the way you are now. Here, in the barn. Where you were happy.” When you were healthy.
“So, Hotshot.” Jim turned an assessing eye on him and John felt as though he was twelve again, and in trouble for riding one of his father’s prized event horses. “There some reason you don’t want to remember me?”
“No!” The word ripped out of John before he could stop it. “No,” he said more quietly. “I want to remember you, Jim. Hell, you’re one of the good things.”
17. Real Life Version – Voxtrot
All the talking we could do
Oh if only we could be
A real life version of you
A real life version of you
And a real life version of me
John opened his eyes and they were in a bar. Johnny Cash was singing Hurt over the jukebox and John had never thought a song more appropriate to his life than that one just now. He looked down at his hands—they were empty. His gun was nowhere to be seen.
Lyle Holland was alive and unwounded. He was dressed in civilian clothes and even though John had nowhere else to go; Lyle kept closing in on him with relentless determination. John had his back against the wall in the narrow hallway leading to the restrooms. No one from the bar could see them.
“This never happened,” John said. Desperation made his voice sharp.
18. Hurt – Johnny Cash.
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything
Elizabeth laughed and let him go. Her laugh was as he remembered it, as light and free as a swallow wheeling in and out of the barn. “Oh John,” she said, not explaining herself further.
He got it now. To deny his memories because of the losses he’d experienced was to deny himself the wonderful benefits of knowing and remembering the people he’d loved, whether he could admit that or not. Right. So now what?
19. Remember Me - Thomas Bergersen
This time Rodney reached out for John, placing a hand on his shoulder in a move which mirrored the way John had recently reached out for him. He grinned up at John, certain that his delight with the way things had turned out was clear in his expression. For a moment, John’s face was equally open and, in that moment, Rodney found himself wishing that their memories had never returned. That they could go back to being friends and lovers. That he could stand at John’s side as his colleague and his partner, with no repercussions for John’s career.
Then the shutters came down sharply over John’s features and he pulled himself, almost roughly, from Rodney’s grasp.
20. No One's Gonna Love You – Band of Horses
We're reeling through an endless fall
We are the ever-living ghost of what once was
But no one is ever gonna love you more than I do
No one's gonna love you more than I do
You two have the hots for each other. Life’s too short to be stupid
21. Taken By The Sea – Darren Hayes
Fall, I took a fall
I took it easy
On the surface
I was perfect
But down, way down below
I started believing
I deserved it was I worthless
Sinking like a rescue boat
Washing right over me
Vessel is struggling
Waving both my hands in the air
Then the blindness of love
Then your arms all around me
And I want you and that's so terrifying