I was watching a SGA vid called 'Savin Me' by Chayiana . It's McShep and it occurred to me that (and I'm probably the last to think of this) Sheppard inspires Rodney to be the person that Rodney wants to be because Sheppard always gives every part of himself to reach a goal. He sees Rodney throwing aside his fears and wants to be 'as brave as Rodney' in a way.
Each man is the other man's hero.
And while Sheppard hates parts of himself, he'll still reach into those dark recesses gladly to ensure people are safe.
I hope this makes sense to anyone but myself.
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