Summary: Rodney realises Mother Nature doesn't hate him after all
Aged four, Rodney wondered why Mother Nature hated him so much. While other kids played in the park all summer, he had to stay inside. A speck of pollen could make him wheezy for hours; it wasn't fair.
Aged six, Rodney was put on antihistamines to go to school. He carried an inhaler, plenty of snacks, and a tacky med-alert tag. He explained his symptoms and necessary care to each and every teacher, knowing from their faces that they didn't comprehend the enormity of the trust he was forced to place in them. It usually took the humiliation of a fainting spell or going into anaphylactic shock to make them see. By second grade he knew to get it over with as soon as possible, staging minor 'scenes' to make sure they understood.
By the age of eight, Rodney knew that Nature wasn't sentient, but each new allergic reaction underscored his response. Maybe he was just the result of his parents' genetic flaws, but having your throat swell shut because of lemon zest in your birthday cake felt damn personal to him.
He was twelve when Nature played her cruellest trick in his life so far. His dreams of touring the world with his piano were stomped flat. His tutor informed him that while he was technically proficient at hitting the keys, he lacked the soul so integral to producing real music.
His parents accepted his unexplained decision to drop the lessons, and they sold the piano he'd begged for all those years before. Then Rodney turned his focus on the sciences.
Mother Nature continued to play her tricks throughout his schooling. Until an unexpected growth spurt at the age of seventeen, he was standing head and shoulders below the majority of his classmates, just another stumbling block in the path of his pitiful dating career.
At eighteen he was suddenly, unexpectedly, in demand - instead of being bullied he was intensively pursued. Oh, occasionally a Neanderthal still threatened to break his arm if he didn't come across with a pass grade essay, but sex was on the table now, as bribe, as lure, as payment, and Rodney repaid the kind ones with B+.
It wasn't until he was trapped in another galaxy, far from home, that Rodney understood how Mother Nature tried to balance life. Everything he'd missed, lost, and suffered had been worth this prize.
He had John Sheppard.