Summary: Add together a few dozen Cliché's, mix and serve.
Info: I took a LOT of cliche's here and mixed them together, so take the summary at face value...can you name them all?
"Come on, Sheppard, pick your feet up," Ronon's voice commanded.
His body was not listening to him, it felt heavy and it hurt and his head was spinning. He knew he was hurt, he remembered falling as they ran from the latest set of natives that didn't even bother with a hello...just started shooting arrows at them. He also knew Dex was helping him as they hurried to the gate.
"They are coming!" Teyla's voice called out.
"Move it, McKay!" Ronon called out moments later.
"I AM moving it," Rodney panted as he ran.
John's vision was blurred and his eyes stung, which probably meant he had blood in them from hitting his head when he leaped aside to avoid getting hit by an arrow and wound up falling down a ravine. "D...dial..." he stuttered. He was sure he saw the gate had already been open, but his mind was wandering as he felt himself being dragged along.
"McKay!" Teyla shouted.
John didn't know what, but something had happened, but he couldn't tell the specifics, only that he was being kept moving. Then he felt the disorientation of the wormhole and then he was on his knees vomiting. Before he knew it, he was being helped onto a gurney and he managed to wipe his eyes as he saw Ronon looking toward the gate, just as Teyla stumbled in holding her arm, an arrow piercing her shoulder, but her attention was still on the gate. He was being taken away when it closed and the two members of his team were left staring at the now closed gate...
"Rodney!" John shouted as he bolted up right, his body soaked with sweat as his dreams were once more filled with the memories of their last mission together. He shifted so his feet were on the floor and laid his face in his hands, trying to shake off the guilt, the heartache, the need. He missed Rodney more than anyone could imagine, as he had loved the man for a while now, yet feared admitting it. Now...?
John got up and stomped to his bathroom, and used the facilities then turned on the shower as he stripped down and got under the cool water, feeling heated and flushed. He knew that Elizabeth had sent back a team to retrieve Rodney, but they couldn't find him. It would be days before he learned of this, as he was unconscious in the infirmary. It would be Beckett and Zelenka that told him they found traces of Rodney's blood on the DHD, which could mean a thousand things.
Major Lorne's team reported that the natives wouldn't talk to them, probably too busy hiding as the Marine had gone back with several units and a jumper. John let the cool water hit his face, then bowed his head, the memories hitting harder than the spray upon his body. He had been in the infirmary two weeks before he was released to learn that Rodney had been listed MIA and the search 'narrowed down'. John snorted as he recalled how Elizabeth explained that it hadn't been called off, but there wasn't much more they could do. He could see that she believed Rodney was dead and it angered him beyond anything he could remember. He had told her to let HIM question the natives, he'd get answers, but she denied him...that was a mistake on both their parts.
John reached for the soap and absently began washing his body, his eyes closed as his mind recalled how he gathered several units and two jumpers the moment Elizabeth had stepped off Atlantis to attend a diplomatic meeting and signing of some treaty with the Akoshions, Major Lorne with her as he had not been cleared for full duty at the time. He saw the disapproval in Teyla's face as they surrounded the natives with weapons and the Jumper's before he approached their Chief.
"Where is McKay?" John demanded. "And this time I get answers or else," he growled.
A big oaf, that made Ronon look small stood up and thumped his belly, "He was stringy," the man smirked.
As John's eyes opened wide with some understanding a small woman leaped to her feet, fear in her eyes as well as anger. "You fool! I will not have my children killed for your pride," she shouted then turned begging eyes at Sheppard. "The last of the four was said to have made it through the blue water...we never saw him again...I swear this on the lives of my children," she pleaded, and John believed her.
John nodded, "very well...but if I discover you're lying...NOTHING will protect you and you will WISH the Wraith arrived instead of us," he snarled, knowing he looked like the killer he could be. He then gestured for the others to back off. He took a few steps away and then on impulse turned and pulled his berretta and fired a shot into the stomach of the big oaf that had the audacity to say he ate Rodney. Then he turned and headed back to the Jumpers, and saw a dark look in one of the eyes of a female Marine. "You have something to say, Lieutenant?" he growled.
"Only that you should have aimed higher, sir," she said, keeping an eye on the natives to be sure her CO was safe as they made their way to the Jumpers.
John realized that she was angry at the natives and not his actions, and nodded. He'd keep an eye on her, as loyalty was a key element to surviving Atlantis and the Pegasus Galaxy...
John finished washing his hair and turned the water off. He recalled how furious Weir was with him when she found out, but he had also talked with Zelenka and Becket and three of the symbols had Rodney's blood on them, and now they knew he made it through the gate. Problem was, three out of seven left a LOT of addresses and obviously Rodney had been hurt badly or worse if he never made it back to Atlantis. Now it was six months since then, and the list was narrowing as was John's hope of finding his Best friend and the man he knew more now then before, he was in love with.
John changed into his running clothes and stretched out, before heading out. He needed to work up an appetite as he had been losing weight and Becket had threatened to pull him off gate missions if he didn't keep his weight up and eat properly. Only the thought of not being there when they found Rodney, kept him going at times. He did his duty as did the rest of the people in Atlantis, but everyone was feeling the strain of McKay not being around. Folks were finally seeing just how much the man did for them, now that he wasn't around to do it. Zelenka had known from the beginning he wouldn't be able to do what Rodney did, overseeing so much, and refused to go on missions unless absolutely necessary. Many of the projects Rodney had going had been cut down, and even then, there were a lot of mistakes that had repercussions on the rest of the city. They had lost power in the city for two weeks, Zelenka and a hand chose team working almost day and night by flashlight, to fix the mistake one of the new scientists from Earth had caused. After that, John recalled as he ran how Zelenka demanded that "No more from Earth!" as he didn't have time to teach them and that he had his hands full with the City as it was.
John felt a small smile cross his face as he ran, wondering just how Rodney would react to seeing them falling apart without him. John knew Rodney had an ego and that part would preen like a peacock, but John also knew that Rodney would be deeply sad as he worked hard to get people up to a level of competence so they COULD take care of the city should something happen to him. Rodney loved this city and the city loved him...just like John did, and both missed him terribly.
"Sheppard," Ronon said as way of greeting him as he joined John in running first thing in the morning. It was part of their routine, and John knew he needed this, to keep going. He'd run, and then go work out with Teyla, and then all three would go to breakfast, where they would subtly watch him eat. John felt another smile cross his face as he mentally saw Teyla placing a muffin on his tray. "Eat, Dr. McKay would be amiss if we let you become a...toothpick?" she questioned, though the meaning of her words were clear. Rodney picked on John being so skinny; especially when Becket was concerned about John's weight...she knew they were family. Sometimes he wondered just how much she did know.
John looked at his watch, in two and half hours, they were heading to address 207, which would leave 83 addresses left, from all that was discovered in the Ancient data base that were actually addresses. With a sigh, he forced his mind to shut up and started running harder, with no concern that Ronon couldn't keep up. He found he wanted to move this day along, though not sure if he wanted to get the disappointment over with or just take one more step toward the end, one way or another.
The Wallda people were very nice, though there didn't appear to be any technology of any use, they did seem to be a thriving people. The natives were what he was sure Rodney would put it, in the Bronze Age as they did manipulate metal and had running water with a water wheel system. The people looked clean and fairly healthy and John should be pleased, yet he couldn't help but think something was off. They had been greeted warmly and Teyla greeted them and explained who they were and why there were there, to make friends, trade and look for a lost friend.
The few elders they had met were kind, but again, John was sure they were hiding something, so was on his guard. He looked around the open tent he was sitting in, on a plush pillow, as Teyla lead the discussion, and eyed the surroundings. There were buildings of stone and mud for homes, open tents for a market, and children running around happy. He noticed that there were a lot of children dressed the same in a grayish white tunic and found this odd. His quizzical look must have been notice as the elder, known as Kashel spoke up.
"They are orphans that our village has chosen to care for, Colonel," Kashel said softly and warmly. She was a nice older woman, probably in her early fifties, but one could never be sure, and it was rude to ask. "We hope to find families for them, either among our own village or others."
"They look happy," John said, as it was true and he didn't know what else to say on the matter.
"They are. Children are the key to our future, Colonel, as I'm sure you well know," Kashel replied.
"They are even happier since Tosh built them a play area," Corik, an elder man about the same as Kashel, said.
John wasn't sure, but he thought he saw Kashel glare at Corik, and that was enough for him to inquire further. "Tosh?"
Corik smiled bigger, "He is a member of our village who is very skilled with his hands, Colonel. Perhaps if he returns from his journey before you depart, I will introduce you," Corik said easily...almost too easily.
"Would you care for a tour of our humble home, Colonel?" Kashel asked, and John knew a distraction tactic when he heard one.
"Yes Ma'am, I would, thank you," John replied.
He got up and stretched his legs, glad to be walking as his foot fell asleep. He, Ronon, and Teyla along with Winters an archeologist recommended by Daniel Jackson, as their fourth for this mission. John had flat out refused to permanently replace McKay, and Weir was smart enough not to push it. Personally, though the man was very smart, he was no McKay and he had Teyla for first contact. He needed someone with brains to understand the technology and the only person even close refused to leave the city.
John let the two elders chatter on about this and that, letting Teyla handle things, as he kept his eyes open for trouble and anything of use. The food they were given samples of was very good, which was a rarity and he hoped his suspicions of these people were wrong. He and Ronon were sampling what looked like a strawberry but orange in color, when John saw a young man come running in, holding his side, his face drenched in sweat and his eyes filled with fear. He tapped Ronon who looked and caused the Elders to notice as well. John was on alert as the boy made his way to them, looking to the Elders.
"Help," he panted. "Korey....trouble, Mastage...Tosh...hurry," the boy panted, trying to gain his breath as he pointed to the way he came from.
"What's a Mastage?" John asked, sensing trouble.
"It's a dangerous wild beast that usually stays away from the village" Corik said, fear evident in his voice. "Gather the men," he shouted.
"We can help," John said automatically. "Show us," he said to the boy, who didn't wait for the Elders but turned and started to run back the way he came.
John and the others were on his tail as they ran, but John saw the boy wasn't going to go much farther. "Point, we'll get it from here," he said to the boy.
"There...beyond big rock...hurry," the boy said, falling to his knees.
"Winters, get the boy back," John ordered and was glad to see the man would follow orders without fuss as he, Teyla and Ronon kept running.
The sound of a child's scream filled the air, prompting John and the others to run faster. They ran to the top of a hill and saw the large bolder, and on top of it was a small girl, crying and shouting. There was also a large brown hairy thing, about the size of a cow, the hind legs looking more like a horse, growling at something on the other side. John heard the boy said there were two people here and easily concluded that the second was facing this thing. "Get the girl," John ordered Teyla, who only nodded as she dashed downward.
John and Ronon moved closer and John raised his P-90 and fired at the ground near the beast, wanting to get its attention. He got it. The thing looked like a cross between a bear and a horse; it was big, ugly and had teeth and claws to match. The creature decided it didn't like being shot at and lunged toward him and Ronon, only to be met with gun fire from his P-90 and Ronon's gun, the combination taking the thing down in a matter of seconds.
"I want my daddy," the girl shouted, tears streaking her angelic face, as her blue eyes were red from tears and fear. She looked about six, seven, but sounded older. She was squirming in Teyla's arms, trying to get down.
John would let Ronon make sure the thing was dead as he carefully skirted around it and saw someone on the ground, a deep scratch in their shoulder. He moved and knelt down, "Hey," he said, letting go of his gun, letting the strap carry it, and pulled out a bandage from one of his pockets made for large wounds. "You okay?" he said, reaching out to help the guy sit up. John's eyes went wide with shock as he saw the face, for even a bit of blood streaking down his temple couldn't change the fact that this was McKay.
"Daddy!" the girl screamed, having forced her way out of Teyla's arms and ran to Rodney and was greeted with a one armed hug, the other hurt by the deep gash.
"Shh," Rodney said softly, hugging the small girl to him. He then looked at John and gave a small smile. "Thank you, I don't think I would have been able to defeat it by myself."
John was stunned.
"McKay?" Ronon said, having come and saw who the injured man was.
"Doctor McKay," Teyla greeted warmly.
"I'm sorry, you must have me confused with someone else," Rodney said, sorrow in his eyes at seeing the confused faces. "My name is Tosh..."
"And he is MY Daddy," the little girl said possessively, hugging Rodney tightly, the tears done flowing.
"Ah...you're hurt," John said, thinking it best to get McKay taken care of. They could deal with the...rest...later. "Let me help you."
"Thank you," Rodney said easily, though hissed as it hurt what John was doing, but said nothing, no bitching or complaining as he was treated.
Teyla and Ronon looked to John for their cues on how to act. John shook his head no slightly as he bandaged Rodney and then helped him to his feet. "Think you can walk?"
"Yes," Rodney said, though obviously was in pain. Then even more out of character, Rodney bent down and picked up the small girl in his good arm and held her close. "Korey and I both want to thank you," he then said.
"We should get you back to the village," Teyla said, knowing McKay needed to be treated and that John would want to contact Atlantis.
"Yes," Rodney said and began to move toward the village slowly.
John drifted back to walk with Ronon and Teyla, seeing the deep penetrating gaze the little girl was giving them. John felt as if she was analyzing them, judging them and it somehow seemed like a familiar look, though he couldn't place it off hand. "Teyla, you and Ronon get to the gate, tell Atlantis what's going on and get Beckett and another unit here. I have a feeling, these folks know Rodney's the one we were looking for and may not be so eager to give him up."
"I think you are right, Colonel. I have heard nothing but praise about this...Tosh. Knowing Doctor McKay's skills, no village would wish to lose such a prized addition."
John headed forward to walk with Rodney, knowing Ronon and Teyla would divert at some point. "Can I ask what happened?" he asked, wanting to get some conversation going.
"I was heading to the other village to help do some repairs...and this..." Rodney smiled warmly at the little girl in his arms, "Little monkey decided to follow me..." Rodney shook his head as if torn between anger and affection.
"Monkey, huh?" John said, not use to seeing Rodney so open, so unguarded, so Un-snarky or sarcastic.
"Yeah," Rodney grinned, and then looked at John seriously. "Do you know what a monkey is? I know this sounds strange, but I know the name, but I can't fully place the image in my mind. I'm sure I've seen one, but no one here has heard of it."
"Ah, yes, I have actually. They're small, furry, have cute faces and gets into trouble a lot," he said, seeing the slight pout/frown on the girls face.
Rodney laughed, a real honest laugh, and John realized how much he missed seeing that and how rare it had been shown...though it became more as their friendship grew. "See, I was right, you ARE a monkey."
"I am not. I'm a girl," Korey pouted, but never stopped hugging Rodney. "You going to be okay, Daddy?"
John was still stunned by hearing this and swallowed hard, trying to remain calm. "Daddy?" he asked, for he knew there was no way this little girl was Rodney's. She may have blue eyes similar to his and blond hair, but that was where the resemblance ended, plus she was WAY too old, unless these folks had technology after all.
Rodney smiled, his eyes still showing he was in pain, but there was true affection in his eyes when he looked at the little girl. "Only in heart," he replied. "Korey is very special and the Caretakers are hoping to find a real family for her..."
"You are real," Korey objected.
"But I do not have a wife," Rodney replied easily, a slight sigh followed showing this argument wasn't new. "Nor am I going to marry a woman I do not love, that would be wrong and you know it."
Korey pouted, "I don't see why they can't let you be my real daddy. I don't need a mommy."
"Sorry," Rodney said, looking a bit embarrassed. "I don't think we've been properly introduce, I get told all the time I have lousy manners," he grinned, also changing the subject on purpose. "This is Korey and..."
"You're Tosh," John smiled, though it didn't reach his eyes as he was worried for his friend. "You did mention it. I'm John...John Sheppard."
Rodney looked over his shoulder to say something to the others but noticed they were gone, and then looked back at John concerned. "Are they alright?"
"They're fine. I sent them to get one of our healers," John replied as it was the truth.
Just then a large group of men were running down the path toward them, and John felt a mix of anger at how slow they were and relief that he had been here, for there was no denying it...Rodney and Korey would have died otherwise. "Looks like the Calvary is a bit late," he said softly. He noticed an odd look in Rodney's eyes at his words, like partial recognition and thought that perhaps not all of Rodney's memories were affected, after all, he knew about monkeys.
John could feel the tension in the village as folks were gathered around, though they seemed to be doing their work or whatever activity they had been doing, it was clear they were now weary of the strangers. John was sure that Teyla was right, these people had come to quickly depend on Rodney and his skills and knowledge, or what he recalled and John wasn't sure they would sit quietly and let them take Rodney back.
The Elders as well as a few others were hanging around, never letting anyone alone with Rodney, as Beckett, having been fully apprised of the situation, examined Rodney and the little girl, who sat on Rodney's lap the whole time. Once Carson was done tending to them, he let the Village folk tuck Rodney into his bed in a room in one of the larger buildings, before coming to join John and the others outside.
"He needed twenty stitches and I gave him a shot of a broad spectrum of antibiotics. There is evidence of a serious head injury which is several months old, which could easily account for his memory loss. He's still experiencing a lot of headaches from it. I won't know more until we get him back to Atlantis," Carson told them quietly.
"Well, that might be a problem," John said, nodding slightly behind Carson where a group of people were gathering around the building in which Rodney was now resting, not looking half as friendly as they had moments before.
"So, what do we do? We're not going to leave him..." Carson began, only to be cut off with a look from John.
"You said he's been having headaches right?" John asked, a plan forming in his mind.
"Yes," Beckett nodded.
"Well, we lay it out for them. Rodney...Tosh, has had a very bad head injury, which is true. We offer to help. Let them know if he DOESN'T get the help we provide, he's going to get sicker...die even," John said quietly, looking at Becket for he would have to be the one to weave this tale.
"I hate to say it, but if my suspicions are right, that might not be far from the case," Carson said, his concern clear in his eyes. Seeing John's eyes pierce him, he realized the Colonel was only making up the cover story not realizing how close he was to the truth. "He's had amnesia for six months and head aches, there's usually a reason for that."
"Amnesia?" Ronon asks.
"A condition where a person forgets things about themselves, sometimes everything," Carson explained simply.
"It would explain why he wasn't complaining the entire journey back to the village," Ronon replied.
"That was...unnerving," John had to admit. "He was so...different..."
"Aye," Carson agreed. "But remember, most reactions are conditioned from our past...Rodney doesn't have one and so the reason he's so abrasive and distant from people is no longer present. And he's not THAT different, he's just how we know he can be when he lowers his guard."
John and Teyla both nodded in agreement, for they had come to know Rodney as a good, caring, companionate man. "Alright, Carson, you and Teyla inform our good friends here of the situation. I'm going to contact Elizabeth and fill her in. I rather not turn this into a shootout, but we're brining Rodney home," he said firmly.
"Perhaps if we offer to bring some of the Wallda people with us, they will not feel threatened. Once Doctor McKay regains his memories, he'll be able to explain to them why he can not return," Teyla offered.
John thought about it and nodded, "I'll clear it with Weir, but she'll probably agree. Do what you have too," he added and turned with Ronon to head back to the gate.
"Daddy?" Korey whispered rather loudly.
Rodney opened his eyes, his face turned to the left as he rested on his stomach, his shoulder numb from the stitches, but his body was still sore. He saw who was kneeling next to his bed and smiled. "Shouldn't you be doing..." he waved his left hand a bit as if not sure what the word was, "kid things?" he asked.
"They're boring," Korey replied her voice low but no longer trying to whisper.
"Then go learn something," Rodney replied, his tone firm, his eyes warm and affectionate.
"I KNOW all that stuff already. You are the only one who will answer my questions and teach me new stuff," Korey replied, a slight pout on her very young face.
Rodney seemed to have a sad but understanding look upon his face as he reached out and cupped the girl's cheek. Then he smiled softly, "I forget just how smart you are at times," he says, but there is something underlining his words that isn't made clear. "But, you should still go play...TRY to get along with kids your own age..."
"Kids my age are eating MUD," Korey spat with disgust, sounding too grown up for such a small child. "That or doing other BABY things...I'm NOT a baby," Korey huffed.
Rodney smiled knowingly, "You're right, you're not a baby, but you ARE still a little girl and little girls need to have fun..." he yawned as he was feeling tired after his ordeal, though his heart was lighter knowing Korey was safe.
Korey suddenly looked very frightened. "You're not going to leave me...are you, daddy?" she asked in a tiny voice.
"Come here," Rodney said and pulled the little girl close with his left arm and hugged her as best he could from the odd angle he was in. "I'm going to be okay," he told her firmly. "The new people have a very good healer, I just need some rest." Rodney placed a tiny kiss on Korey's forehead. "I can only say that as long as I have some say in the matter, I'll do my best to be there for you. You deserve a good family..."
Determined and frustrated blue eyes met his. "I HAVE YOU," Korey said, her eyes welling up with tears. "I don't WANT them," she added. "They talk to me like I'm a baby...you teach me stuff...and...and..." she started to get upset.
"Shhh," Rodney said, sliding over, wincing from sore muscles and pulling Korey to lay down next to him, and she curled up to him willingly and cried. "I'll keep on teaching you," Rodney promised, and held Korey as she snuggled closer, wiping her face on his sleeve.
"Folks are saying the new people want to take you away," Korey said quietly.
"Why?" Rodney asked, puzzled as he didn't hear anything like that.
Korey shrugged. "Do you like the new people?" she asked instead.
Rodney gave a sleepy smile as his body was demanding sleep. "I like John Sheppard," Rodney's smile growing.
"Cause he's the one who saved you?" Korey asked her big blue eyes wide with curiosity.
"No..." Rodney yawned, "Because he's cute."
Korey giggled sounding like the small child she really was.
"Shhh, don't tell anyone," Rodney grinned.
"You're silly, daddy," Korey said and noticed that Rodney/Tosh had fell asleep. She shifted to get more comfortable and rested her head on the pillow next to him and closed her eyes, a small arm holding tight to the arm that held her, and decided to take a nap with him.
John was NOT a happy camper. He shared the good news and bad news with Elizabeth and what Teyla suggested and Elizabeth was overjoyed that Rodney was alive but concerned about what the Wallda people would do if John pushed the issue of Rodney returning with them back to Atlantis. She was also concerned of having people come to Atlantis as they were still trying to hide its existence from the Wraith. Elizabeth did agree that if it was the only way to get the Wallda people to allow Rodney back, then she's authorize it. Unfortunately, the Wallda Elders didn't think Tosh's condition was that bad and their healers were capable of looking after him.
Teyla's wisdom and quick thinking prevailed as John was ready to storm the building and grab Rodney and drag him back through the gate. She diplomatically agreed that they were not going to overstep their wishes, but would like to remain a few days to be sure 'Tosh' was well, and with some fancy talking, got the Elders to agree.
So here John sat, on a plush pillow, under an open tent, as the weather was warm and pleasant, staring at all the folks enjoying their evening, wondering how Rodney was, for no one would let him visit him and John couldn't explain why he wanted too so badly. The only good thing was Carson had been allowed to check up on him and reported he was doing okay, though still had a headache, which some of the local medicines helped eased the pain and allowed him to get though the day.
"I'm going for a walk," John said to Teyla and Ronon as he was DONE sitting around, and yet he didn't want to start an 'incident' as Elizabeth spelled it out for him. The Wallda people could easily turn on them, force them through the gate, unless John wanted a bloodbath on his hands, and then slip Rodney out of their village and hide him among the various tribes, they had been told existed on the planet, making it almost impossible to locate him again. John thought a midnight raid would work easily, but promised Elizabeth he'd play it her way...for now. A walk would help release some of the pent up energy he had.
"Very well, Colonel, but please, stay away from the Community Lodge," Teyla warned gently. The large building where they had Rodney was the main building and many of the village folks were suspiciously grouping around it, and Teyla still felt they were weary of them.
"I got it," John said, his foul mood showing in his few words as he headed off in the opposite direction. He wandered along the now closed market area and found a small grove of trees which had a couple of clean logs, purposefully set for sitting on, and sat down. He rested his back along one of the trees and looked up into the twilight sky, not seeing the peaches and pinks that blended into the dark blues as night approached. He was thinking of missed opportunities and now he had another chance and was force to stay away.
"You should make a wish," came a familiar voice from along side him. John didn't realize how out of it he was, that allowed him to be sneaked up on, and jumped a bit at the voice. "Ro...er...Tosh," John said, not expecting to see him here of all places.
Rodney/Tosh smiled shyly then looked up to the sky, "Perhaps next time."
"Huh? I'm sorry...I..." John was confused as he didn't understand what Rodney had said to him, being lost in his own thoughts.
"A shooting-star," Rodney said, gesturing with his chin upwards. "Some silly superstition, but it seems to be popular," Rodney said as he moved to sit on the same log as John. "Thank you, again, by the way," he added, sounding nervous and a bit shy.
John couldn't help but stare at Rodney, seeing him alive and in relatively good health, being so nervous around HIM of all people. John had enjoyed the fact that he was among the few people Rodney had always been relaxed around, and it was hard not to mention it now. "Um...yeah, sorry, didn't see it," John said instead. "Are you okay?" he asked with concern.
Rodney's smile was sincere and warm and John felt the urge to reach out and kiss him, but resisted. "Still got a bit of a headache, but I've gotten use to them...well sort of. More like I find it's not worth complaining about, for then they won't let me work," Rodney replied.
"What...ah, what do you do around here?" John asked carefully, wanting to know what Rodney's been up too all this time.
"Fix things," Rodney/Tosh replied easily, his eyes going up to the sky as the first star appeared. "Make things better," he added with a touch of the old Rodney, sounding proud and a bit arrogant. "Did you know they actually used to HAUL water from the river for their crops?" he asked as if that was the most insane idea ever. "I had to design them an irrigation system..." Rodney shrugged, "wasn't that hard." Then Rodney suddenly looked ashamed.
"Something wrong?" John asked in concern, for he didn't see why Rodney should be upset.
"Sorry, I get told a lot I overstep myself," Rodney replied, his head bowed.
John didn't like seeing Rodney looking like this, nor did he understand what Rodney was referring to, but he had an idea. "You mean it's wrong to take pride in your work or your accomplishment?" he asked, sounding surprised. "It sounds to me like you have every right to be pleased with what you did here."
Rodney's smile was like a million dollars to John. "Thank you," Rodney said. "But it's more than that...or at least that's what they tell me. I tend to get..." his face squinted as if trying to find the right word, "full of myself...and I admit I do. I'm not sure why...just get the feeling of wanting to be appreciated...which they do," Rodney added softly toward the end. Then he cleared his throat, "So...where are you from?" he asked, looking at John with anticipation and nervousness.
John gave a soft smile. "I'm originally from a place called Earth," John said, wondering if what he said might stir memories in Rodney and help bring him back. "Now we're in Atlantis; fighting the Wraith, making new friends, discovering new TECHNOLOGY," John emphasized.
Rodney's face lit up again, the child like wonder upon his face and in his eyes. "Sounds exciting," he said. "I'd love to see some of it. Do you think I could?"
John grinned ear to ear, for here was an opportunity to get Rodney back home. "I don't see why not. I'd love to show you the city."
"You mean...personally?" Rodney asked a slight flush to his cheeks.
John's heart skipped a beat or two, for it couldn't be, but it seemed that Rodney was flirting with him...HIM! John suppressed a shiver of delight and if possible grinned even more, "I'd be glad to give you a personal tour," he agreed easily.
"Is it very big? I mean...how long would I be gone?" Rodney asked, a concern filling his eyes.
"Ah...it's big, and probably a few days." If not more, John was thinking. "Why?" he asked, for he was seeing this chance slip through his fingers and he couldn't let that happen.
"Oh...Korey. She's unhappy when I go to the other villages, I'm afraid she'd have a fit if I went through the Ancestral Ring for so long. She's a...kind of...special," Rodney said, a slight smile on his face as he mentioned the little girl.
John nodded, but he could tell something was up here and knew it was best to pursue this. "Yeah, she's really smart. How old is she?"
"Oh, she's five summers," Rodney/Tosh replied, then got a familiar smirk on his face. "But don't let that fool you. She's super smart." Rodney's face then took on a slight distant look, "this may sound odd, as we're not related in anyway, but...she reminds me of...well, me..." Rodney shook his head as if clearing his thoughts. "Sorry."
"For what? And what do you mean by she reminds you of you?" John asked.
"Truth is I don't recall much about myself beyond the last several months. I had an accident...I don't even know if Tosh is my real name...but?" he shrugged. "But the people here are good to me and have taken me in, so I can't complain. I just can't help...never mind," Rodney said, then sighed. "Korey is different than other kids her age and sadly she gets treated either like other little kids and she HATES it and acts out or she's treated differently, but not in a good way, and she...acts out. Add the fact she's smart enough to cause real trouble..."
"But not with you," John said with sudden insight to the bond between Rodney and the little girl. "You understand her."
"Yeah," Rodney grinned, pleased that John got it. "She's so bright, and folks should be encouraging it, but it seems...well, like they're afraid of her..." Rodney sighed. "I promised..." Rodney bowed his head, a hand rubbing his temple, where John now could see a scar going up under the hairline.
"Just the headache," Rodney replied. "I should get back before someone notices I slipped out. They're good people, but smothering at times," Rodney grins, though John could see some of the sadness in his eyes at not seeing Atlantis.
"Bring her," John burst out as he saw Rodney stand up and some fear of losing him filled his heart.
John got to his feet and forced a smile on his face, trying to dampen down the desperation he was feeling. "Bring Korey, she'd love it there and I'll give you BOTH a personal tour. We've got all kinds of neat stuff...for ah...young and old."
Rodney's genuine smile returned, "Really?"
"Really, really," John said, and then winced a bit as swore to himself he was so not going to watch that movie again. He'd watched it several times because of one lame reason or another Rodney came up with. The fact was Rodney liked it and felt he was like the Ogre, and in a way, John agreed. Of course he wasn't sure if that made him donkey or the princess.
"When?" Rodney asked his eyes bright and full of eagerness.
"Whenever you want," John told him truthfully.
"Tomorrow morning?" Rodney asked, again a slight shyness coming across him.
"First thing if you want," John replied, bouncing a bit on his toes, happy that Rodney would be coming home soon.
"Okay...okay," Rodney said. Then started to step away then stopped and gave a shy smile, "Night...John." Then he turned and hurried back to the village.
"Nigh..." Rodney, John partially said. Then he beamed for a few minutes then rushed back to let the others know what happened...well the summary of it. They didn't need to know of the flirting. John felt his own face flush, for he couldn't help but think, that if Rodney was flirting with him now, when things got back to 'normal' there was a chance for him after all. It was a hope John couldn't let go of, and held it close as he ran back to their campsite.
Teyla and Carson predicted trouble in the morning and John had heeded their concern, so he wasn't surprised to be greeted first thing in the morning by Kashel, her strained smile like a beacon of what was to come. "Morning," he greeted easily, their stuff already packed and ready to go.
"Blessed Morning, Colonel Sheppard," Kashel replied. She then swallowed hard and straightened her shoulders. "Tosh has said you offered to give him and Korey a tour of you city. I was wondering just when you made such an offer?"
John could see the suspicion in her eyes as well as the protectiveness in them. He was also prepared for this. "I was down by the grove of trees," he pointed "and he arrived later and we talked. However," he said, giving his most charming smile, "It was late or I would have extended the invitation to you and a few others as well. In fact, I was just on my way to do so." He grinned wider, his eyes locking on Rodney's hopeful face all the way back by the Community Lodge with Korey at his side. He could tell even from this distance, that Rodney, even as Tosh, was counting on him; he wouldn't fail. "Dr. Weir is most anxious to meet with you as Teyla mentioned before."
John could see Kashel was unsure of how to proceed here. If she turned them down it would break the alliance they had been forming and Kashel was wise enough to know the Lanteans as they were becoming known as, were good allies to have. But John also knew how valuable Rodney was, with or without his full memory. "You, R...Tosh, Korey and a small party would be most welcome. And of course you'd all be free to go or stay the night should you wish to," he added, hoping to tip the scale in his favor.
John watched the dark eyes of the leader of the Elders in this village shift in quiet debate. He saw her turn to look over her shoulder and knew she too saw Rodney's hopeful face, and few could resist that look...few who knew him, that was. By the expression of defeat in her eyes, John knew he'd won this round. It took a lot not to punch the air with his glee.
"Very well," Kashel said. "I need a bit to prepare, is that acceptable?" She asked, just a hint that perhaps this would put things off.
"Please," John said, just biting his tongue from saying 'take all the time you like' as he didn't want her to get any ideas.
Kashel gave a slight nod and left, her entourage following. Then Rodney and Korey rushed over, Korey holding Rodney's/Tosh's hand. "Well?" Rodney asked with hope and excitement, not able to hear what was said from where he had been standing.
"She's packing," John beamed.
"You really are going to show us a big city?" Korey asked, a bit of suspicion in her young eyes.
"Yes," John said honestly. "We also have a huge ocean."
"Ocean?" Korey asked puzzled as she's never heard the word before.
"Vast amount of water...like...a...thousand lakes, like you saw last month when we went over the mountain ridge," Rodney explained. "Though it contains a lot of salt in it and various life forms, thus not drinkable," he added.
"You've seen an...ocean?" Korey asked, her blue eyes wide with wonder, looking very much like Rodney did when learning something new.
"I...I think so," Rodney said, though he looked unsure. He then rubbed his temple and closed his eyes.
"You okay, lad?" Carson asked, knowing Rodney was in pain. "Do you need something for the pain?"
"No...yes...no," Rodney said, then opened is eyes, looking a bit confused for a second, then his eyes cleared and focused. "No, I got something this morning and it's probably not wise to mix thing...right?"
"Aye," Carson replied, though the worry was clear on his face.
"Would you like something to drink?" offered Teyla, holding out a fresh canteen.
"Actually I would..." Rodney/Tosh began, but then he doubled over, a sharp pain in his head. He grabbed his temple as his knees buckled.
"RODNEY!" John and Carson yelled as they moved forward to catch him before he hit the ground.
Carson went into triage mode immediately as Teyla held Korey, who fought like the dickens to get to Rodney. "Doctor Beckett is a good healer, let him help," she said calmly to the crying child.
"DADDY!" Korey screeched at the top of her lungs.
"What's happening?" John demanded, holding Rodney's head on his lap.
"What have you done?" accused one of the village folk and soon they were being surrounded, Ronon looming along with a few other Marines John called in for back up just in case of trouble.
"I told you he was still injured from his head injury," Carson snapped over his shoulder as he opened his medical pack and pulled out an IV. "I'm going to start an IV and I need to get him back. I'm concerned he may go into seizures..."
"You will leave him alone," Kashel demanded as she approached, most of the village folk behind her.
"He's ill and hurt, I most certainly will NOT leave him alone," Carson growled over his shoulder, automatically applying the IV, handing the bag to John to hold up. "His pulse is low, but his blood pressure is up," Carson whispered to John.
John didn't know a damn thing about medicine, but Carson's tone alone told him Rodney was in a bad way. He debated about just grabbing Rodney and let the chips or bullets fly where they may, but from the corner of his eye he saw Korey, still crying and trying to fight Teyla to reach Rodney. "Look," he said, looking up at Kashel, no longer willing to play games. "WE know what's going on here as do you. WE can help him...NO ONE wants harm to come to him. Either you come with us and see for yourself or..." he left his words trail as he was sure the older woman was smart enough to know just at what price OR meant.
John watched Kashel narrow her eyes and then look at the others in the village and saw many mixed emotions. "Please, please, don't let my daddy die, please..." Korey cried. "I'll be good, I promise!"
At that John was even more determined to help the man he loved. He signaled for a stretcher that had been brought, first thinking it might be needed when he called Carson. "Well?" he said as the medics moved in and with Carson got Rodney ready for transport.
"We will go," Kashel said calmly, but her face tense and reserved.
As little kids have a tendency to do Korey broke free from Teyla's grip, just as they were lifting Rodney up already secured to the stretcher, and ran to him hugging him. "Please don't leave me too, please," she begged.
"Come on, kiddo," John said, having long since handed the IV bag over to one of the medics, and lifted Korey up and braced her on his hip. "We're going to our city and Carson's going to take care of Rodney..."
"Tosh," Korey corrected, but she must have been in shock as she just rested her head on his shoulder and cried. "I want my daddy," she sobbed.
"Let's go," John said, willing to bring the Wallda ...delegation, but they were on his time now and he was leaving. Thankfully they brought a 'Jumper so the trip would be quick. It was also going to be crowded, and John was glad there was another pilot, as he had a feeling Korey wasn't going to let go of him anytime soon, and honestly, he found he didn't want to let go of her either. In some strange way, she seemed like a little part of Rodney and at the moment, he needed that, just like she needed to feel secure. He held her tighter and gave her a hug, hoping it would help as he too was afraid.
John didn't envy Weir in the slightest. She was just as worried about Rodney as were all of Atlantis, well those that really knew him, which were many. But with the Wallda people here, she had to be in diplomat mode, and not wanting to clog up the infirmary, she was doing her best to keep them busy, while promising to keep them posted. So far, all she knew was that Rodney was in surgery. Sadly it was all John knew as well.
"Here," Teyla said as she rolled one of the portable small tables they used in the infirmary up in front of John, who was sitting on a exam table, Korey laying next to him, her head on his lap, sniffling. "You both must eat," she insisted.
John couldn't help but smile as he saw two peanut butter and Jelly sandwiches some carrot slices, Jell-O...blue, and one carton of milk and one coffee. He recalled telling Teyla about what his mother served when he was little and upset. "Thanks," he said, knowing that if he refused, Korey would too and she's been awfully quiet and Doctor Biro said she was probably in mild shock, but there wasn't much more they could do other than keep someone close, and that someone was John. "Hey, kiddo," he nudged and was glad to see her look up at him. "Look at what Teyla brought us?" He helped her sit up and she looked at the food with puzzlement.
"This," he said picking up half a sandwich, "is Peanut butter and Jelly on white bread...mmm," he grinned. "My mother served me this when I was little to help cheer me up when I was sad and it tastes great." He then followed it up by taking a big bite and it was the good stuff, which he arched a brow at Teyla, his way of saying thanks, as the cheap stuff was just that.
"What's that?" she pointed to the Jell-O.
"Oh, Jell-O...Jell-O is the best. And blue is Rodney's..." he sighed, as he knew he slipped again.
"Why do you keep calling Tosh, Rodney?" Korey asked a scowl upon her face.
John debated on lying to her, but seeing she was so much like Rodney, he knew that would be the worst thing he could do. Rodney liked honesty and straight to the point. Somehow he could see a little Rodney would have been the same way. "Okay, I'm going to level with you. Tosh, as you call him, is actually one of our people. His name is Rodney McKay, he's our Chief Science Officer...meaning he's in charge of all the science departments..." he saw Korey's eyes grow wide. "You probably know he doesn't remember more than six months ago, that's because six months ago we were on a mission...er we went through the gate and we ran into some...nasty people. We got...separated..." John found his voice tighten so swallowed to get a grip, now was not the time to deal or acknowledge the guilt. "We've been looking for him ever since."
John saw similar blue eyes trying to process what she heard and wondered just how much she was like Rodney. She was five and sounded more like a smart ten year old. He imagined that's what Rodney was like, scary smart...genius. "Rodney's favorite Jell-O is blue, that's why Teyla brought us both blue."
"Is there blue for him when he wakes up?" Korey asked, concern filling her eyes.
"Lots of blue Jell-O for him and later I'll introduce you to his other favorite, chocolate pudding," John grinned and saw the child she was before him and hugged her. "We better eat; we don't want Rodney to get mad at us for wasting food right?"
Korey snorted, just like Rodney would as if she knew better and then took a tentative bite of the sandwich. "Try a sip of milk," John suggested, knowing how the peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth. She did and in no time both were gone. John followed suit. Then they opened the Jell-O and he liked the wonder that crossed her face as he showed how it jiggled on the spoon before he ate his.
Thankfully they were done eating, carrot sticks included, and trays long gone, before Carson arrived, as he looked tired and this way he wouldn't have to lecture them on taking care of themselves...much. By now the infirmary was filled with both Atlanteans and Wallda people. "How is he?" John asked.
Carson eyed the other people and then the little girl. "She knows," John said, feeling this might be the reason for the delay or he prayed that was the reason.
"My daddy going to be okay?" Korey asked in such a small voice it was easy to recall how young she really was.
"Rodney's going to be okay," Carson smiled his tired eyes bright but weary. He then looked at the Elder and the others from Wallda. "It was...close," he said, hoping they understood that if they had delayed much longer, Rodney would probably be dead. He then shared a glance with John and the others and a quick glance to Korey.
"Is he able to have visitors?" Teyla asked, catching on that there was more, but Carson didn't want to speak in front of the child and she knew Korey wouldn't be taken away easily.
"We got him settled before I came out here," Carson replied, knowing there would be a queue of people wanting to see Rodney. "Sandy will show you the way," he said offering Teyla a thankful smile.
"John..." Korey said, looking at him to take her.
"You go with Teyla, I'll be there in a few. Now that I know Rodney is going to be alright I have to make a report to my boss, who is also Rodney's boss," he nodded toward Elizabeth. It wasn't quite a lie, but he needed to hear what Carson had to say. "Then after our visit we'll check out that pudding, I promise," he said, knowing that making such things as promises to such a smart and young child was not something one did lightly.
"Okay," Korey said and with help, got down and took Teyla's hand and followed the nurse to another part of the infirmary away from the noise of the crowd.
"He really is one of your people," Kashel said with sad acceptance.
"Aye," Carson nodded.
"We've missed him very much," Elizabeth added.
"I understand," Kashel replied. "We will miss him as well. He brought a great many...gifts to our people. We thought him a gift from the Ancestors..."
"He is, to many of us. I know he'll want to keep on helping your people, but we...we kind of need him here too," John added, knowing how big a heart Rodney had, even if the man went to extremes to cover it up at times. Then John looked at Carson, "Okay, what didn't you tell us?"
"He will recover, though I can't tell if his memory or how much will return. He suffered a skull fracture; a bone chip lodged itself in his brain, causing some arterial flow problems...part of the reason for the headaches. There was also a lot of swelling in that area as well. I've alleviate the built up of fluid around the area and removed the bone fragment...he appears to be responding positively to the treatment. I'm confident he'll recover, but the next twenty-four hours as always, will be crucial."
"Just how...close...?" Elizabeth asked, not sure if she really wanted to know.
"Had we not been there..." Carson said, his eyes and silence finishing his statement. He then looked at the Wallda people seeing the guild and concern on their faces. "It probably was aggravated by the attack," he offered, not liking to see anyone hurting.
"If he...doesn't remember?" Kashel asked a slight hesitation in her voice as she knew she was treading on a thin line here.
"I think we'll cross that bridge when and if we get there," Elizabeth replied. "Let's see how he is when he wakes up. You are welcome to stay the night or return home," she added.
"I think it best I return home and let them know...what has occurred," Kashel said calmly, though her eyes were pained and troubled.
"I'll have someone get Korey," Elizabeth said and turned to gesture to a Marine.
"No," Kashel said. "She would be impossible to deal with and no one has been able to...handle her anywhere as good as Tosh...er...Rodney, has. No, if she can stay, it would be better for her to do so."
Elizabeth not fully aware of the situation with Korey looks to John for answers, as this was highly unusual. John shrugged, "she's an orphan. Also...think...mini-Rodney but with girl power," he grinned, for as he thought about it, that was the best way to describe Korey. "She's kind of...adopted Rodney as her daddy."
Elizabeth arched a brow that spoke volumes to John, meaning they were going to be discussing this in detail later. She then turned her best smile on as she faced Kashel, "She is most welcome to stay."
"Thank you," Kashel said with a slight bow. "May we return later?"
"I'll have Major Lorne's team escort you back and he'll bring you back when you're ready to return." She looked at Carson expectantly.
"I don't expect him to wake until at least tomorrow or very late tonight," Carson replied honestly.
"Very well, we'll return tomorrow," Kashel replied. "Thank you," Kashel added, and the undertone was that it was for more than their hospitality, but for saving Rodney's life.
"You're welcome," Elizabeth said and with a nod, she and a few guards left to escort the Wallda delegation back to the Stargate.
John looked at Carson as Ronon, Zelenka and many others looked upon him as well. Carson sighed. "One at a time and be quiet. For I swear anyone who wakes him before hand will be getting vitamin shots in their buttocks for the next two months...with BIG needles," he glared.
"We'll be good," Zelenka replied for the science department personnel.
"We'll be good too," John added for there were quiet a lot of military personnel as well. He knew Rodney would be surprised that he was well liked by grunts as well as his science department or most of them.
Carson led the way to where Rodney was being monitored as he recovered and moved the curtain aside, seeing Teyla resting a hand on Korey's shoulder as the little girl laid curled up next to Rodney. He saw she was being very careful of the wires and oxygen mask and felt a bit guilty that he would have to ask her to go.
"Why is his head wrapped?" Korey asked as she looked to see Carson enter the area.
"I had to fix his head, lass," Carson replied, not sure how much he needed or could explain to her. He saw first hand she was very intelligent, but he was also sure she didn't have a lot of exposure to medical terms.
"Is it fixed?" Korey asked, her eyes wide and hopeful.
"Aye, he should be just fine. He probably won't wake up though until tomorrow," Carson told her, walking up and patting her on the shoulder gently.
"Hey kido," John grinned from behind Carson. Then he leaned in to let Teyla know that Zelenka or the others would fill her in on what she missed. She nodded and exited with a warm good bye to Korey. "Ready to get that pudding?" he asked, torn for he wanted to remain here...forever.
"No, I want to stay," Korey said, trying to make herself smaller so she fit better next to Rodney who was out cold and unconscious on his back.
"I know you do, kiddo, but you can't. You need to eat, and others want to see Rodney, they missed him very much too, you know," John told her for it was the truth.
She turned red and tired eyes at John and he could see the fear in them. "We'll come back," he said as he reached out to pick her up.
"Promise?" Korey asked, fear lacing her voice.
"Promise," John said. He turned to see Carson had stepped out for a moment, so he and her were alone with Rodney. He bent down and placed a kiss on Rodney's cheek, as his head was bandaged up.
"He thinks you're cute," Korey said with a childish giggle.
"He does?" John asked, surprised to hear this.
"But I'm not supposed to tell the others..." she then looked guilty as if she realized she should not have said anything to John either.
"Well, I promise I won't say anything to them either. And between you and me," John said, looking around making a production of his actions, then lowered his voice with a huge grin, "I think he's cute too."
Korey giggled as John carried her out to head to the mess hall and corrupt her to the ways of chocolate; she'd really be a mini-Rodney if she liked coffee. Thank goodness she was way too young for that vice.
Carson smiled softly as he overlooked the two figures in the bed next to where Rodney was recovering. John's description that Korey was like a mini-Rodney was scarily not far from the truth; she wouldn't sleep anywhere where she couldn't keep an eye on her 'daddy' and John didn't want to stay away either, so by mutual agreement, they confiscated the nearest bed and now were both asleep, curled up together.
He shifted the blanket over Korey's shoulder, which placed it at chest level for the Colonel, then he slipped around the curtain that was pulled to give Rodney some privacy or more likely allow John and Korey to forget that Rodney was hurt instead of just sleeping. Carson checked the monitors, and the chart, pleased that his team were on top of things by the notations. He moved up closer to the bed and noticed Rodney was a bit restless and knew he was fighting the anesthesia. "Rodney," he called softly, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Can you hear me?"
Slowly Rodney opened his eyes and the confused expression wasn't new by any means for someone who was waking up from emergency surgery. "Carson?" came the rough raspy voice.
"Aye," Beckett grinned as Rodney seemed to recognize him. "Want me to get you some ice chips?"
Rodney seemed to be pushing closer to cogent, "John...others...?" he asked.
"They're fine," Carson said but saw the concern so shifted and pulled the curtain a bit so Rodney could see John was sleeping. "He's merely asleep as he was keeping vigil," Carson smiled.
Rodney blinked a bit, his eyes taking in the sight of John sleeping and then saw the little girl. "Korey?"
"You remember her?" Carson asked, pleased at the results he was seeing.
"I ah..." Rodney yawned, his body wanting to go back to sleep.
Carson took advantage of the yawn and moved quickly to get some water, seeing Rodney was awake just enough for a sip and knew it would help him sleep better. He returned and had Rodney take a few small sips and before he could ask more, Rodney was sound a sleep gain.
Carson, then tucked Rodney in, for the man strangely became the brother Carson had always wanted...well mostly wanted. Rodney was a good man with a good heart that for reasons he didn't understand hid that part of himself. Oh, the arrogance and pettiness were real too, but they were over exaggerated to cover the vulnerable parts. Meeting Tosh, even for a short time showed Carson how true this was. The reason had to be something in Rodney's past.
"Sleep," he said softly and then pulled the curtain closed and spotted hazel eyes blinking at him. "Aye, he woke, but too briefly to wake you. He remembered me, asked about the team, then Korey, then went back to sleep. You should do the same, I've got this," Carson said softly to John, then shifted the rest of the blanket over his shoulder.
Carson Beckett walked down to his office, knowing his mother would have been pleased by how much he took after her in the mother-hen department. Truth was he liked taking care of people. One of many reasons he became a doctor. He went into genetics after dealing with death and losing too much. Until Atlantis, he had sworn off going back to being a 'regular' healer, but now he couldn't see himself doing anything different. These people were his family and he'd fight tooth and nail, death itself if he had to, to save them. Sadly he knew he'd fail from time to time, but at the moment, he rejoiced in his victories, big and small and went to tend the red tape that followed the Atlantis expedition all the way to the Pegasus galaxy; Red Tape the plague of modern civilization.
"Rodney," Carson called out, needing Rodney to wake up so he could examine him again. He saw his friend and patient stir, but knew the call of sleep was strong but the need to make sure Rodney was recovering properly took precedent over leaving him sleep. "Come on Sleeping Beauty, wake up before I have to go find a frog to kiss you," Carson teased lightly, knowing that such playful barbs in the past worked well on waking McKay.
"Only if the frog is bringing me coffee, otherwise no deal," Rodney moaned, the light a bit sensitive to his eyes, but not excruciatingly so. He blinked a few more times and felt Carson taking his vitals, as if the monitors that Ancients provided weren't enough. "Head hurts," Rodney huffed as he had a whopping headache.
"I imagine so, after having surgery," Carson said, his smile and tone light. "But you're going to be just fine," he said as he patted Rodney gently on the shoulder. "I've got to ask the standard questions, so cooperate and I'll see about getting you a light breakfast. What's your full name?"
"Rodney, you'll-never-know-my-middle-name, McKay...Doctor...and Nobel Prize winner?" he said, but his eyes gave him away that he was playing.
"Nice try, Rodney. Do you know where you are?" Carson asked.
"You're chamber of torture," Rodney replied, a hand gently going to his head and felt the bandage...the very LARGE bandage. "You shaved my head?" he asked, his eyes going wide with panic.
"Only a wee portion, Rodney and it'll grow back," Carson tried to sooth.
"Grow back? Grow back! Has it lost your notice that I have the same pathetic genes that cause male pattern baldness like over fifty percent of men today, which I might add you won't put aside a few measly minutes a day to look into curing. I mean just because YOU have a full head of hair, doesn't mean it's not important..." Rodney continued to rant.
"I see someone's awake," John greeted as he came around the curtain, Korey in tow, forgetting for the moment that his showing up with her may not have been a good thing.
"Daddy!" Korey shouted with joy and broke free of John's hand and instantly found her way on the bed and hugging Rodney, who looked frozen and in shock at her actions.
The shock didn't last long and before Carson or John could respond, Rodney pried off the little arms that were surrounding his neck, preventing vital air exchange. "Would someone get this...this little...urchin OFF me!" Rodney growled, just before moving Korey back.
"Daddy?" Korey asked, not understanding what was going on.
"Oh dear," Carson said, for it didn't occur to him that Rodney might not remember the child as he seemed to do so last night.
Rodney glared at Carson and John, "Is this some kind of joke? If it is, it's far from funny," Rodney snapped.
"Daddy, don't talk like that," Korey said, fear starting to overwhelm her as she saw the cold distance in Rodney's eyes.
"I don't know who put you up to this kid, but I most certainly am NOT your daddy," Rodney stated firmly. He had his reason for not liking to be around kids, and though he never mentioned it to anyone, he had thought his personality alone was reason enough for those around him to keep kids away.
Korey didn't understand. She heard the words, saw the reaction, but it didn't make sense, so came to the only logical conclusion a supper smart five year old could. She turned to Carson, fury in her blue eyes and before anyone could react, she pounced. "You broke my daddy!" she raged, determined to make the fake healer pay for what he did.
Anyone who thinks being attacked by a little kid can't hurt has never been on the receiving end of one. Korey was like an enraged tiger cub, kicking, scratching, and even getting a good bite to Carson's arm before John managed to get a good grip on her waist.
"You stop it this instant, Korey Marra or so help me there won't be enough time in the day to serve all the punishment I'll rain down on you!"
Everyone froze; Carson and John because they've never heard Rodney speak that way, and Korey as Rodney had used her full name. They all looked at him, seeing the stern face of an angry and embarrassed person.
"Do you remember her?" John heard himself ask, hoping that was the case, and felt the tension as everyone waited for an answer.
Rodney raised his hand to his temple, some throbbing was present, but he had worse not that long ago. "Um..." Rodney said, looking at John, then back to Korey, whose red rimmed eyes were looking at him, a silent plea screaming at him to remember her. "Wallda...?" he said and saw a light go on in those sky blue eyes, then once more was being assaulted...er...hugged by the young girl.
Carson was holding his left hand over his right arm, sure that no skin was broken when he got bit, but he was sure feeling the sting of the wee lass' fury. "I'm sorry, Korey. I did not know he might not remember you this morning as he recalled you just fine last night," he said, understanding her hurt, though there would still be a need to talk with someone about her behavior. Reason or not, it was unacceptable, but there was time for that later.
John saw the lost expression on Rodney's face and some of the confusion in his eyes, as he was looking at the child that was sniffling and hugging him so tightly. He saw the hesitation as Rodney slowly brought and arm around as to sooth her and hug her, but also reluctant to act, and John wondered why. "Rodney?"
"I ah...I sort of remember things, but it's fuzzy," Rodney said, trying to process all the information that was vying for his attention. Then he looked up, his eyes wide as if horrified. "I just channeled my mother!"
Knowing there were important issues that needed to be addressed, but sensing the need to lesson the tension surrounding them, John grinned, "as long as you don't start dressing like her, we'll survive."
"Oh ha, ha, very funny," Rodney snarled, then looked at Carson and saw there would be a bruise on his face and by the way he was holding his arm, he was hurt there too. He then poked Korey with his left index feeling. Once he got a tearstained look, he nodded at Carson, the I'm-far-from-pleased-with-you-so-you-better-apologize-right-now, look was upon his face.
Korey reluctantly looked at Carson, her head still resting on Rodney's chest. "I'm sorry," she said, only sounding partly contrite. "I thought you broke my, daddy."
Part of Rodney knew what he should say and another felt he should let someone else deal with this, so much of the confusion remained, as did Korey snuggled up to him. "For this, I think I deserve not only painkillers but coffee," Rodney said instead, his right arm still holding Korey close.
Carson nodded, "the painkiller I can get you, as for the coffee..."
"I've been cold-turkey for months...MONTHS," Rodney protested.
"Then a few more days won't hurt you," Carson said, the smile real, but still strained from moments ago.
"I'll go get everyone some breakfast," John suggested and headed out with Carson. "You okay?" he asked, pointing to how Carson was still holding his arm.
"I don't think it's anything serious, but she packs quiet a sting," Carson said, trying to lighten the situation.
"Don't blame yourself. I didn't even think he'd forget her, so I didn't prepare her for it, so if it's anyone's fault," John said, ready to offer an apology of his own.
"Let's just leave it that he does remember and take it from there," Carson said, the smile this time reaching his eyes. "I'll call the commissary and have them make a tray for Rodney."
"Okay," John said, willing to let it go. "I'll be back in a few," he said then headed out.
Carson didn't go far before he stopped to pull off his lap coat and shift the sleeve and saw the perfect bit size bruise and was glad he wore long sleeves today, for she had gotten a good hold on him; thankfully the skin wasn't broken and so no chance of infection. He put his lab coat back on and went to get Rodney's pain pills and some water.
When he came back around the curtain the scene before him struck him in the heart. Rodney had adjusted the covers so Korey was underneath them, but still in the same position from earlier, hugging Rodney like a teddy bear. Rodney himself still only had his right arm around her, but the left was slowly caressing her long blond locks, while he rested. He softly cleared his throat not wanting to startle anyone. He saw Rodney open his eyes and it was then he realized that Korey was asleep, drained from her emotional ordeal. "Here you go," Carson said as he offered the medication, then the water to Rodney.
Rodney took the painkillers and finished off the water, then looked at Carson with concerned and sad eyes. "I remember her, yet I don't. I recall the mission, but after that...it's fuzzy."
"You had a skull fracture with a bone fragment lodged in your brain for six months, Rodney, give yourself a chance to heal," Carson said softly.
"I've been gone that long? And you're all still alive?" He asked, his eyes showing he was partially teasing. He then looked down at the sleeping child and swallowed hard. "I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do here."
"What do you want to do?" Carson asked in return.
Rodney wasn't sure. He then looked up with even more concern, "I think I made a promise...promises I meant at the time...but...?"
"Perhaps you're jumping the gun here," Carson advised. "How about we take it one day at a time for now," he said and saw Rodney nod his agreement. "Rest for now. The Colonel will be back with breakfast for everyone, then later I'll ask Kate to stop by...and yes, you have to meet with her, as it's SOP in cases like this," Carson said, figuring he'd just head off the protest before it began. He then patted Rodney's shoulder and left, seeing Rodney once again close his eye, wondering if Rodney was even aware that he never stopped carding his fingers through Korey's hair in a soothing and loving manner. He wasn't sure what was going to happen, but he had a bad feeling about it.
John was tired. Not only from his previous worry of Rodney's condition, but all the backlog of things that piled up in such a short amount of time. He knew people thought he didn't do anything, but he was rather particular in keeping things in order, especially since he knew there were going to be days, weeks...months, like this. Of course, he always had Major Lorne as a back up, but he tried not to shove too much on his 2IC, for no matter how much he dreaded paperwork, no one could say he shirked his responsibility...well, those that really knew him anyway.
Then on top of work, there was Korey. After this morning's incident, she was hell bent on staying put with Rodney, and even though Rodney was trying to be magnanimous about it, he wasn't well and needed rest and Carson needed her out of his bed; especially when Rodney needed to use the facilities and isn't allowed out of bed yet. John did what he could, but in the end he knew he wouldn't be able to keep Korey with him and she couldn't stay in the infirmary, so he needed someone with a keen mind, a patient spirit, and cunning...Teyla, bless her.
So, for the moment, after a lot of effort on Teyla's , John's and Rodney's part, Korey accepted the fact she was going to be with Teyla today while Rodney rested, and that she would be allowed to share meals with him. She also had to accept she was going to be sleeping in Teyla's room, and even though she agreed, John's gut said not to believe it. But so far, so good as he headed to his quarters for a nap, as he was dragging and knew the value of a power nap.
"Colonel Sheppard, I need to see you in the control room," Weir's voice came over his radio.
John rolled his eyes, he knew something was going to prevent him from getting his nap, damn it! Rodney teased he was like a six year old, well if they let him take his nap, he could act like a big boy, really he could. John turned around after acknowledging Weir's request and hurried to a transport and exited and made his way to the control room where he saw the Wallda delegation or at least one of them; Kashel.
"John," Elizabeth said, her smile sincere, but a bit strained, so it meant something was not all right in happy land. "You'll be happy to know we signed a trade agreement and alliance treaty with the Wallda people," she said warmly.
Wow, was what John was thinking for it usually took weeks of posturing and whatnot plus some weird ceremony to make such things happen. "That's great," he grinned.
"Kashel has asked after Korey. I've updated her on Rodney's condition via the report Carson gave me," Elizabeth said.
"She's doing okay. She's with Teyla, though that took some doing, she didn't want to leave Rodney...kids," John said, offing his charming smile. He wasn't sure if it was a good idea to mention the traumatic incident this morning or the tantrum she threw over it either.
Kashel smiled warmly, pleased at what John said. "She is not afraid to be here I take it?"
"I don't think she knows the word," John teased, then after a second got serious, "well, except when she thought...but she's seen he's well and they've had breakfast and lunch together, so no, I don't think so...why?"
"I and the others have talked long over what has transpired. As before, many believed that Tosh...Doctor McKay, was a blessing sent to us through the ring; he was. We have agreed that this blessing not only extended to us as a whole, but to provide what we could not."
John was confused and looked at Elizabeth and saw she wasn't, so she knew something he didn't. Thus probably the reason he was called here. "Okay," he said, hoping to get to the point.
"Since we are in full treaty with their people, the Elders and those that oversee the orphans have agreed to give Rodney full custody of Korey," Elizabeth said, her eyes showing she was not pleased to hear this, but since it was probably something not mentioned until after the treaty, newly signed, she was being restrained.
"Ah...um...does Rodney know this?" John asked.
"As Tosh he had made a request previously. Since our world is much harsher than yours, it is our way that a married couple takes in children. However, your world is different and I am told that is not solely how things are done in your culture. Plus, no one has managed the child nearly as well as Doctor McKay does. He is her blessing too, for we all feared what life would be like for her. As Doctor McKay pointed out to us on numerous occasions while he dwelled among us, she is unusually smart. We believe this is the will of the Ancestors and thus granted his previous request. Perhaps it is her destiny to learn here and return to us one day," Kashel said with a slight bow to Elizabeth and John.
"I've tried to...explain to Kashel that Atlantis really isn't a place for children, but it seems Teyla had mentioned the many children on the mainland, which again isn't the city," Elizabeth said, once more attempting to see if she can get the woman to see reason.
John didn't know why, but the idea of forcing Korey back home without Rodney didn't set well in his gut. He saw the bound and the poor kid had been through enough already. Plus, shouldn't Rodney and she have some say in the matter? "I not a diplomat," John grinned, turning up the charm. "But, wouldn't it be better to say, oh, let Rodney have some time to recover and Korey some time to adjust to the situation. She may not even like it here," he said.
He saw the wheels turning more in Kashel's eyes then Elizabeth's and hoped it was a good thing. "There is a standard trial period, which is customary. We will agree that by the end of such time, if Doctor McKay does not wish to retain custody of Korey, we will gladly once more provide her with a home."
"How long is this...trial period?" Weir asked, drawing on her skills, for though she didn't want the little one here in fear she'd get hurt or worse, she didn't want to offend their new trading partners. Plus, John had a point; Rodney should have some say in what happens as he was involved.
"Three months," Kashel said easily. "It takes time to adjust and to establish a true routine. We discovered that during the early days a child will be on their best behavior and thus their true nature will not show. Same as for new parents, thus with an extended time it is easier to tell if the match is well suited or not."
"Three...months?" Elizabeth asked, looking at John for some input.
"Well, I'll let Rodney know and get back to you on that, is that okay?" John said, looking at Kashel.
"That would be acceptable. Also, please let Doctor McKay know that he will always be viewed upon as a member of the Wallda people and will always find welcome there," Kashel replied and again gave a slight bow of respect. "I must return now. I look forward to our first trade," she grinned.
"As do I," Weir replied and with a signal, the gate was dialed up and Kashel was gone. "Three months?" she then said to John.
"It really is Rodney's call..." John began.
"Atlantis is NOT a place for small children, especially one with no regular supervision, as we know how Rodney is..."
John stopped Elizabeth with a hand gesture, "Let me talk to him. Besides, if anyone is going to be able to explain to her why she can't stay it'll have to be him. She won't believe anyone else and well...let's see what happens," he said, changing his mind at mentioning that she seemed to belong with Rodney. He knew Elizabeth had a point, but again, this rested in Rodney's hands, and all he could do was explain the situation and be there to support Rodney one way or another.
Though Elizabeth managed to explain to the Wallda people that Rodney wasn't in any condition to care for a child for a month or so if not longer; explaining that to Korey didn't go over so well...in fact it failed miserably. Short of carrying Korey kicking and screaming through the Stargate, she wasn't leaving her daddy. John had also promised a tour of Atlantis to her and Rodney or Tosh and Korey had no trouble reminding John, and he didn't want her to think his word was worthless. Some how seeing those pleading blue eyes which strangely reminded him of Rodney, made him think of what a little Rodney might have gone through growing up. So it was decided that he with the help of Teyla, boy did he owe her big time, would look after Korey until Rodney could deal with the matter.
Unfortunately, Carson wasn't going to let them dump the situation on Rodney, keeping him mildly sedated to keep him in bed and rested, for Rodney's stubbornness to make up for lost time, was making Rodney want to get out of bed before he could stay awake long enough to eat a whole meal. So a routine was made, where John or Ronon, who got along with Korey amazingly well, or any other brave volunteer when John was busy, would look after Korey, and Teyla would take her at night. Though after three days Korey knew how to work the transporters and would end up at John's place or in the infirmary, curled up to Rodney.
By day six, Carson agreed Rodney was able to learn of the full situation with Korey and of course John got elected to tell him.
"What?" Rodney said, his voice almost hitting an octave higher than normal. "I....I can't...I...Atlantis is no place for a child."
"Elizabeth agrees with you," John said, feeling a deep disappointment at hearing this, but kept his expression neutral. "But Korey won't accept it from anyone but you. She's convinced you're her daddy. She said you promised to never leave her..." John said, recalling all the very bright conversations he'd had with the young girl.
"I..." Rodney said, looking flustered and frustrated. "She's constantly getting into trouble..." Rodney said, waving his hand as if trying to find words to explain what his thinking.
John frowned, "How do you know?" It was agreed upon that no one tell Rodney what was happening with the difficult little girl, as he was recovering, and he was sure no one had said a word. Plus, things were settling down more and more with each day.
"Ah...well, she would. She's very smart, exceptional in fact," Rodney said, a smile crossing his face, and then he looked like he realized that didn't sound like a complaint.
John narrowed his eyes, "bet you got into all kinds of trouble at her age."
"Well, was it my fault adults didn't know how to deal with me?" Rodney said defensively.
"Did you every have anyone who understood you?" John asked, understanding so much more about the man he loved, through spending time with Korey.
"Ah...well, not growing up...no," Rodney said, looking weary and sad. "They either treat her like a typical five year old, which..."
"Makes her act up," John grins, recalling this conversation with Rodney, then Tosh. "You said this before," he said, seeing Rodney look up at him. "Look, Rodney. Whatever you decide to do, I'll support you. But you, yourself said. She's stifled there."
Rodney is quiet for a while thinking. "She would benefit from a real education," he mused. Then with some reservation he looked at John. "Perhaps there is a third alternative."
"I don't want a new mommy and daddy," Korey stomped. "You're my daddy; you promised you'd never leave me!"
"And I won't be leaving you," Rodney snapped right back. "But Atlantis isn't safe for little kids, no matter how smart they are. Plus, I go to the mainland all the time and the Athosians come here a lot and...it's either that or you go back to Wallda. At least this way we can still see each other."
John sat quietly on the other side of the isolation room, so Rodney could have his privacy while he recovered and had to bite his lip to keep from saying anything. Rodney and Tosh had a lot in common, but Rodney's snark and snap, was back in high gear. He didn't think he should be treating Korey like this and he knew in most cases he'd be right, but seeing Korey actually go silent shocked him.
"Will you come see me everyday?" Korey asked, looking sullen.
"I can't promise everyday, but I can promise as often as I can. There is important work that needs me here. Sometimes there are emergencies that require I deal with them and I can't get away. I also have missions through the gate...it's why I can't have you here. It's not fair to you," Rodney explained and the sincerity in his eyes touched John deeply and he felt an ach in his chest, but remained silent. "At least this way, as I said, I'll be able to see you more. That or you go back to Wallda, Kashel said..."
"No!" Korey said firmly, folding her little arms over her chest.
"Then it's the mainland. Teyla has found a nice couple with a little boy a few years older than you, who would like to meet you. They know you're young but not a baby, so perhaps?" Rodney asked, having told Elizabeth that he believed that Korey had to have some say in her life. John felt it was probably more than a young Rodney McKay got until he learned to stand up for himself. "Just meet them?"
"Fine," Korey said, but her expression was clear she didn't like the situation at all. "You going to come with me?"
"I would, but Carson still won't let me out of this da...darn bed," Rodney said, correcting his language at the last moment. "But I've met then, and they seem like...nice people."
John had met Lanka, her husband Bollen and their eight year old son, Jollen. They were a nice couple who had lost their older child, their daughter Lann to the Wraith in the last culling. John also knew it was Teyla that convinced Rodney that they would do well in providing for Korey, as John knew in his heart that Rodney wouldn't really accept anyone. He saw the looks of affections shared between him and the child, and after hearing excuse after excuse for each proposed couple, Teyla took it upon her self to make the final decision. "They'll treat you right," John said, finally speaking up as he stood up as he was the one going to take Korey to meet them. "So..." John began.
"Now?" Korey asked her eyes as expressive as Rodney's, showing she didn't want to do this.
"We just go meet them, and then we can come back here and have dinner with Rodney. Sound like a plan?" John asked. He glanced and saw Rodney was feeling about as apprehensive as Korey and knew this was probably the best solution all around. "Come on," he said holding out his hand.
Korey climbed up with a bit of effort and a pull from Rodney, onto the bed, and gave her daddy a big hug. "You'll be here when I get back right?"
Rodney smiled, "I'll be here," he said. "Now, get moving, unless you're a genius in two galaxies, you can't afford to be late and make a bad impression," he said and gently pushed her off to John.
"I've gotcha," John grinned, as he picked Korey up, knowing it would be the fastest way to get this over with. He then looked at Rodney, "She's in good hands."
"I know," Rodney replied, his eyes showing how grateful he was for John being there and helping him. "Now, shoo. My brain's tired," he said, shifting down as if he was going to take a nap. John knew Rodney wouldn't sleep a wink until he knew if this was going to work or not, and John didn't blame him.
Lanka and Bollen were very patient people and John liked them for that, as Korey was not so easily soothed, though she admitted they weren't bad. But she was in no way going to leave Atlantis, at least willingly while her daddy was still sick and needed her; so Lanka, Bollen and Jollen stayed in the city during the rest of Rodney's recovery, which was a lot shorter than Carson was happy with.
Rodney stayed a total of two and half weeks in the infirmary and reached the end of his patients. John and Korey arrived about five minutes after Rodney's latest jail break, in time to see Carson hitting the roof! John tried to remind Korey it was improper to laugh when folks were angry, but he was having a hard time keeping his own smile from showing as Carson did speak funny when he was angry and no one made him more angry than Rodney McKay.
"Carson," John said, clearing his throat as he was sure that the words coming out of Carson's mouth wasn't for young ears, and since this was McKay Jr., the nickname the Marines and half the scientists gave her, to her delight; though John knew it wasn't meant as a compliment, but if she thought so who was he to burst her bubble, probably would pick them up quickly, which was not good.
Carson stopped his raging and turned to see them and looked embarrassed, which allowed him to collect himself. "Fine, if he wants out that bloody badly, he's out. But don't let him come crying to me if he's still got headaches. I told that..." Carson looked at Korey and bit his lip. "He can rest in his room and I expect you two to make sure he does, understand or its back here with a guard, got it?"
Korey nodded, "Yes, sir," she said, picking up a few good habits from folks, though she didn't use them often enough.
"I'll see to it," John agreed and did an about face with Korey to head to Rodney's room. With a thought he opened the door and heard the shower going. He looked around and saw the scrubs on the floor and felt he should let Rodney know they were here. "Take a seat," he said to Korey and moved to the bathroom door and knocked. Not getting an answer he mentally opened the door a little and stuck his head in and the sounds that reached his ears through the rush of running water sent a tingle down his spine; Rodney was jerking off in the shower.
The shower door was almost transparent though fogged slightly by steam, and John could just make out the outline of Rodney's body and the motion of his arm. Swallowing hard, John brought his head back out and mentally closed the door. Taking a moment to compose himself, he then turned around, "How about we bring back dinner?" He was sure she didn't have a clue as to what was really going on, but she laughed at him nonetheless, then took his hand and led him out to head to the mess hall.
"You know your way around pretty well," John commented.
"I'm not a baby," Korey said defensively.
"Wasn't implying that in the slightest. We have plenty of adults who have arrived here almost a month ago and they still get lost," John smiled.
Korey shrugged and they entered the transport. She had to stand on her tiptoes to hit the mess hall location, and though John could have thought it, knew she wanted to do it, so let her. Once there they got three trays, and Korey insisted that her daddy got extra chocolate pudding because he had a broken head, and the kitchen staff knew they could have the sweet smile or the stomping foot; they chose the smile.
Borrowing a cart, the trays covered properly for travel, John gave Korey a ride back to Rodney's room, much to her delight, putting her arms out and making plane sounds, like John showed her. He also made them too when no one else was around. "Houston we've located our target," John said as they reached Rodney's door.
"Affirm...tive, Houston," Korey said, still having some trouble with a few new words, but she'd proven she was a fast learner.
Just then Rodney's door opened and he was dressed in his science uniform. "Houston? She's five, Colonel, not ten. She's not ready for flight school!"
John grinned, "We were having fun, McKay. You've head of it right? An activity where you smile, relax and enjoy yourself?"
Korey laughed and John saw the tiny curl in Rodney's lip and felt his heart warm. "And, we've brought dinner, care of Sheppard-McKay airlines. Nothing but the best, sir," he said with a mock salute.
"Sheppard-McKay, huh?" Rodney asked, his brow arched, though John thought he saw something in Rodney's eyes but it was gone quickly.
"He's Sheppard, I'm McKay...Korey Marra McKay," Korey said with pride, pointing to herself.
John saw the mixed emotions cross Rodney's face. "Hey, food's getting cold," he said quickly and pushed the cart in passed Rodney. "And why are you wearing that?"
"What's wrong with what I'm wearing? Radek assured me there was no uniform change, must to my disappointment." Rodney looked down at himself before looking back at Sheppard.
"It's a uniform for work, you are not allowed to work," John said with a cheery grin, shifting things around so there would be seating for the three of them in Rodney's' quarters.
"Daddy?" Korey asked, holding her arms out wide, the request seemingly obvious.
Rodney stared at her for a few long seconds, "Oh," he said and moved and picked her up, but as he moved to put her down, she wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him. "I'm glad you're better," she said, then kissed Rodney's cheek.
"Ah...me too," Rodney said, putting her down, then moved to take a seat. "As for work," he said to John after a moment, "I've been gone for far too long. I'm surprised you're all still here, much less further behind schedule then you already are," Rodney said lifting the cover and starting at his meal, giving Korey a quick glance and smile at seeing the extra pudding.
"Schedule?" John asked.
"Yes, schedule. How do you think we make progress? If those peons were left to their own devise, they'd still be twiddling their thumbs over how to turn this city on, much less to the level we are now," Rodney replied.
"Daddy, can I go with you?" Korey asked, eating her food and kicking her little legs like a happy puppy.
"With me?" Rodney asked.
"Yeah to see the peons at work," Korey said innocently.
John coughed a bit, and then saw the flush on Rodney's face hearing his own words repeated back to him. John used his napkin to cover his mouth as he found it hilarious. But there was a point to be made here, so John buckled down and looked at Rodney. "She's going to have to understand...social skills. And before you say it..." John said, holding up his hand to stop Rodney's protest of 'He managed or something similar'. "...she does need them. As you just experienced first hand, again, she's very impressionable."
"She is sitting right here," Korey frowned.
"Sorry, Korey, I didn't mean to sound rude," John said sincerely, and then looked back at Rodney who nodded his understanding.
Rodney finished his main meal, then sat back a bit, wiping his mouth, his mind thinking of what to say. "John's right," Rodney finally said, catching Korey's eyes. "I tend to...not treat people very well, and well, there's a good reason for it, and most of them don't..."
John cleared his throat to get Rodney back on track.
"Right, right. What I mean is. You need to learn better manners than I use and Lanka and Bollen will be good...role models for that," Rodney finished.
"But you're feeling better and only a small spot of your head is bandaged. I can help you with the peons..." Korey began.
"See, see there," Rodney said, pointing at Korey. "It's okay for me to call them morons, peons or rabble, but then I'm their boss and they expect it. But you're a little girl...aht, you're still little and you can't call them that."
"Why?" Korey asked.
"Well, because..." Rodney looked at John for help.
John found this amusing but didn't feel this was one of those times Rodney would need to sweat it out, plus Korey needed an answer. "Do you like people calling you moron, peon and other not nice things?" he asked in reply.
Korey thought about it. "No."
"Then you shouldn't call others hurtful things...even if it's true," John said, knowing she'd probably say something like that. "Best you learn early as it gets harder to learn as you get older...we're still trying to teach Rodney this," he teased.
"Hey!" Rodney said, then opened his mouth with a nasty barb, but seeing Korey, bit his lip. "You and I will discuss this later," he said firmly to John.
John laughed, "Looking forward to it."
"Okay, I'll try to be nice, like John, when you take me with you to work," Korey relented.
"Ah...see, that's another thing. We discussed this. Tomorrow I'm taking you to the mainland with Lanka, Bollen and Jollen to see you off as I promised. Then I'm going to have a lot of work to catch up...."
"You promised to see me," Korey said quickly, fear filling her young eyes.
"I will, I will, and...and John will make sure of it, right?" Rodney asked, suddenly feeling that he might need some help keeping his promise as he knew how he got at times.
"Don't worry, Kiddo. Rodney will visit at least once a week if there isn't an emergency and we'll see to it you get word when we're off world and back so you don't worry, okay?" John said, getting an unhappy nod from Korey and a grateful look from Rodney.
"How about a movie then bed time?" John suggested, meaning both of the McKay's as he was now thinking of them.
"Hmmm," Rodney said. "Anything good?"
"I figured if Korey is going to be a McKay she should be started out right, so Star Trek original?" John suggested with a smirk.
Rodney laughed a deep hardy laugh that John hadn't heard in a long time and missed deeply. "I guess she should learn about bad science so she can learn to recognize it," Rodney said.
Soon the three were settled on the bed, as it was the most comfortable location, with the lap top set up and playing. John wasn't surprised that Rodney was the first to cave into sleep, then Korey. He figured in celebration of their first night together outside of the infirmary and probably their last night together, she could skip a bath and Teyla's. Seeing her crashed out next to Rodney stirred emotions in John he never knew he had, and it brought thoughts he knew he shouldn't have to the for front. He carefully slipped from the bed and rearranged them slowly, then tucked them both in. He then turned off the lap top and gathered the trays on the cart to take back to the mess hall. Before he exited, he stopped and saw Rodney place a protective arm around Korey and John's heart melted. He moved over and placed a kiss on Korey's and Rodney's temple, and was rewarded by a sweet smile on Rodney's face. "Good night...daddy," John smirked, and took the cart and headed out to return the stuff then head to his room for the night, as he knew tomorrow would be a long day for all of them; Korey was going to the mainland to stay.
The plan in itself was simple. Take Korey to the mainland with her new parents, and Rodney would visit once a week, and slowly taper off, letting her get adjusted to her new situation. Looking back, John figured it was the polite comment Lanka made when Rodney was departing that first time that set up the chain of events that would follow: "Please come back and visit as often as you wish."
John had to admit, that he figured he'd have to pester Rodney to keep his once a week visit with Korey, but that had not turned out to be the case. In fact, it was Rodney who pestered John to tag along if he was going to the mainland or asking for a ride, not that Rodney couldn't fly himself; John figured Rodney wanted the company and John had been more than pleased to provide it. It also gave John a front row seat to watching the turn of events and he really should have seen this coming, he really should have, for looking back it really was obvious. Korey was not adjusting to her new 'parents'. In fact over the two months she was heard saying over an over again, telling Lanka and Bollen that they were just her sitters until her daddy could come back; that being the polite version. Go figure something like that over and over again being tossed into ones face would cause strife.
So, getting called to Elizabeth's office to see Rodney arriving, and Teyla already there should have been a tip off as to what was going to be said, but it wasn't. John knew if he felt suckered punched, and the situation didn't really involve him, he couldn't imagine how Rodney felt being told that Lanka and Bollen wanted him to stay away.
"Www...What do you mean, stay away?" Rodney stuttered, shocked by what Elizabeth was telling him and looking confused.
"Doctor McKay," Teyla said, looking calm though her eyes showed she knew she was in a delicate position. "It has come to my attention that Korey is not adjusting to her new parents. She will not even recognize them as such. Lanka and Bollen both have informed me that they will just manage to get Korey to cooperate and then after one of your visits, she will throw you as her parent into their face and do what she feels you would let her do."
"Rodney," Elizabeth said, seeing Rodney's face of confusion and hurt. "It's not going to be forever. It's until Korey can adjust to her situation. You agreed that Atlantis is no place for a child, and probably won't be for years to come, and her having two loving parents like Lanka and Bollen and their son Jollen, would be best for her. Plus, she will have access to an excellent education..."
"But I can't see her anymore," Rodney said, his voice tight. "I'm a...a what? Bad influence?" he asked, looking to Teyla, Elizabeth and John.
"No," John said quickly. "You've shown nothing but love for that little girl," John said, seeing the pain in Rodney's eyes. He had seen how Rodney juggled his department duties, mission duties and still made time to see Korey as often as possible. He'd seen the moments between them, her eyes lighting up like Rodney's with wonder and discovery, when Rodney brought some new piece of technology (mostly advanced learning toys) for Korey and showed her how it worked. They were so in sync with each other it was hard at times to remember Korey was not biologically Rodney's daughter. Rodney understood her and John felt honored to be included into the private circle as it were, and didn't see it as a bad thing by any means.
"No one is questioning your feelings for Korey," Elizabeth said and Teyla nodded in agreement. John noticed that they didn't answer the part about being a bad influence and felt his own bubble of rage growing inside.
"How...how long?" Rodney asked, again his voice tight, his eyes showing him withdrawing, trying to hide the pain and hurt this was causing him, but failing as John saw it all too clear.
"A year," Elizabeth said, looking like she rather be eating mud then telling Rodney this.
"A year!" Rodney gasped in shock and a bit of anger.
"Korey needs time to adjust to her situation and to learn the customs of her new people," Teyla said, trying to sooth Rodney's ire.
"But...a...a year?" Rodney asked, looking devastated.
"He's got a point," John said, wanting to take that look off Rodney's face, and he also thought it was unfair. "Surely a week or two perhaps..."
"No," Teyla said softly. "Lanka and Bollen have agreed to a minimum of a year..."
"What do you mean agree to?" Rodney asked, sensing something wasn't being said. By the downcast look in Teyla's eyes, he knew he was right. "What do you mean?" he asked again, this time anger tainting his tone.
"They first asked that you never return," Teyla finally said, her shoulders a bit forward and her eyes down as she knew her words would hurt and had hoped to never say them to him. She then looked up and met Rodney's gaze, "They were being unreasonable of course, but only because they are frustrated as they very much want things to workout between them and Korey and become a full family."
The tension in the room was thick and John was ready to shout and scream and back Rodney a hundred percent, but he could see Rodney was simply enclosing himself, his mind whirling in thought. He wanted Rodney to fight this, even if it was illogical, but he had seen how Korey filled something in Rodney that nothing else had. Rodney found patience with her, found joy and laughter and a side that John had only seen in glimpses since they arrived here two years ago. Rodney may not know how to relate and deal with most kids, but Korey wasn't most kids. She needed someone who would answer her million of questions with real answers and not treat her like a baby, but still remember she was a child...Rodney did this! "Rodney..."
"Has anyone...has she been told yet?" Rodney asked, his lips thinned out, his face closed tight, nothing in or out as he spoke.
"Not as of yet," Teyla replied.
Rodney nodded and got up and left. John saw the puzzled expressions on Elizabeth and Teyla's face then jumped to his feet to follow Rodney to find out what was going on. It didn't take long to catch up to Rodney and John noticed he was heading to the Jumper bay. "Whatcha' doing?" John asked, for he wanted to be sure he was right about what he figured Rodney was planning.
"Taking a Jumper," Rodney said in a clipped tone.
"I don't think so," John said, then followed it up quickly so Rodney didn't jump all over him. "Not alone anyway," he said. "I'll drive," he added. He saw the brief but still grateful look in Rodney's eyes and was glad he wasn't going to have to push this point at least.
Once in the Jumper, John got clearance for them and headed out to the mainland. He never liked a quiet McKay, it was unnatural, and so having Rodney sitting here so lost in his thoughts, John felt unnerved himself. "You know, this sounds more like a communication problem, more than anything else," he said, wondering if he was going to make things worse.
"Communication problem?" Rodney said, giving John the you're-an-idiot look. "They don't want me to see her ever again...I'd say that's pretty clear communication, Colonel."
"I only meant, perhaps if you worked together, set some ground rules or something together that Korey needed to follow and you both backed them..." John said.
"What are you babbling about?" Rodney snapped.
"Co-parenting," John said, then looked at Rodney and took a cleansing breath as he knew he was treading thin ice here as he knew Rodney was already feeling hurt and vulnerable, but perhaps he could offer some hope. "I had a friend who had a baby when she was too young to do so...and no, I had nothing to do with it," he added, seeing the look Rodney was giving him, the man still believing he was the James T. Kirk of the Pegasus galaxy. "She didn't want to give her son up, but couldn't raise him. Some folks she knew agreed to raise the boy, but since she didn't want out of his life permanently, they made some arrangements...Co-Parenting. To be honest I don't know the particulars, but I know you love Korey and she loves you. You're both good for each other..."
"Obviously not," Rodney said, cutting John off. He wiped his eyes with his right hand and letting out a heavy sigh. "I don't know what I was thinking. It started out as a promise as I know what it's like to have adults promise things and not mean them...but." Rodney blinked hard and wiped his eyes again, the brightness of unshed tears present. "I never kidded myself to think I'd be a good father, even if the world would benefit from the sharing of my superior genes..."
"I think you'd make an excellent father," John said firmly. "I've seen the way you are with her. Sure you're not perfect, what parent is? But you love her and she loves you and you accept her for who she is and encourage her to be herself and not what others think she should be. I know I'm bias, but Korey really couldn't do better than have you as a father."
"But Lanka and Bollen..." Rodney said.
"Are good people," John replied. "Kind, loving, patient, and good parents on the whole..." John said.
"Which is why they're right and I should step away," Rodney said in quiet defeat. He rolled his neck, trying to release some of the tension he was feeling there. "Atlantis needs me and though I've tried, I can't be there for her 24/7 like she deserves, even if she could be in the city...I get called away all the time. As it is, Zelenka has been threatening me with mutiny if I keep putting things off on him..."
"You're allowed time to yourself," John interjected.
"But I spend hours on the mainland I normally use to keep the city running smooth. As it was, I've had my hands full getting things back in order and we're still behind. I really should be using the time I've been wasting more efficiently," Rodney replied.
"I don't think Korey would think it was a waste. Unless you're saying she's a waste of time?" John challenged.
"No, no...it's...John, please," Rodney said, his eyes imploring him to understand. "This is for the best," he said, then looked away, once more withdrawing, and bracing himself for what was to come.
John wanted to argue more, but it was Rodney's decision and they were at the mainland already. "I'll back you, whatever you decide," he said quietly, and smiled softly when he felt Rodney's hand reach over and squeeze his shoulder in silent thanks.
John followed Rodney out of the Jumper and through the village to where Lanka's and Bollen's hut was. They were barely a few feet away when a high pitch screech filled the air followed by Korey shouting something. It was enough to get both men running, Rodney leading the way as they stormed inside.
"What the hell is going on here?" Rodney demanded as he entered, seeing Korey, arms crossed over her chest, tears rolling down her beet red face, looking furious.
Before Rodney could say more, Korey grabbed a wooden cup near by and tossed it at Lanka. "I hate you!"
"Knock it off!" Rodney roared, getting everyone's attention. He glared at Korey moments before she ran to him and hugged his leg like a life line.
Lanka looked furious as well, her own dark eyes brimming with unshed tears as well as temper. "Doctor McKay, you are not..." she began in a dark tone, moments before John interrupted.
"Why don't we all take a time out and see if we can figure out what is going on here?" John said, using all his charm and the soothing tone he'd seen Teyla use many times with hostile natives.
Rodney thinking it best, picked up Korey and entered the section of the hut that was designated her room and pulled the flap down to give them some privacy, then he sat on the chair in the room with Korey in his lap. He was furious on so many levels, but her tearstained face made his heart ache. "First of all, throwing things is unacceptable," he told her firmly. "Second, what was that all about anyway?"
Korey leaned in close to Rodney's chest, still hiccupping and sniffling. "She...she said..." Korey said, trying to speak, but she was still very upset.
Rodney looked around and found what he hoped was a clean shirt laying near by and used it to wipe her face and let her blow her nose, much to his dismay. "Okay, let's try this again, she said what?"
Korey looked up and her pained filled blue eyes met his and more tears fell. "She said you weren't my daddy anymore," she cried and then hugged him so hard, Rodney could barely breathe, which was probably a good thing as hearing that made his blood boil. He was going to break the news to her, try and explain the situation to her, but it was obvious, he wasn't supposed to even have that much.
Rodney held her back to see her tearstained face, his heart hurting and he realized that perhaps John had a point that perhaps he didn't have to simply walk away. He gently pulled her back and kissed her messy cheek, then used the shirt again to clean her face and his lips. "Okay, once you calm down, we'll talk about this along with the throwing things, because that was just wrong. I know you were upset, and you had every right to be upset, but hurting people isn't right...unless it's self defense, then..." Rodney stopped himself as he realized he was about to go on a verbal tangent and that wouldn't help at the moment. "We'll talk. You owe Lanka a big apology, young lady..."
"But she said..." Korey began.
"Aht, I'll take care of that, but it doesn't excuse your actions does it?" he asked and saw a tiny shake of the head no. "Go wash up, I'll be right back," he said, then kissed her cheek and headed out to talk with Lanka, glad that John was there to offer a cool head.
Once in the other room, Rodney saw Lanka, John, and Bollen were just outside in a heated discussion. Rodney squared his shoulders and headed out there, determined to give John's suggestion a try. Once outside, he saw several pair of eyes turn toward him, only one set looked friendly. "She's cleaning up and she'll be apologizing..." he began.
"I will deal with my daughter," Lanka interrupted.
"Doctor McKay, didn't Teyla inform you of the situation?" Bollen asked his tone even but firm.
"She did and I was on my way to talk with Korey when I arrived to see you went ahead all by yourself, which of course was a raving success I might add," Rodney replied.
"Rodney," John warned, as he didn't need the adults to start fighting and all three looked on edge.
Rodney took a deep breath, "Look, on my way here, John made an excellent suggestion...ah, co-parenting?" he said looking to John for confirmation he had it right. Seeing John nod, he continued. "We work together, set some ground rules..."
"You are not welcome here anymore, Doctor McKay, Lanka said firmly, standing close with her husband. "Korey will not learn to accept her situation and our ways if she will not accept that we," she gestures to Bollen and herself, "are her parents now."
"Look, folks," John said, seeing Rodney's eyes go tight with anger. "Korey loves Rodney and he loves her..." he began only to be cut off.
"We do not doubt his love, Colonel Sheppard," Bollen said, looking just as firm as his wife. "But whether he realizes it or not, he undermines our authority at every turn as well as confuses her with how your people do things compared to how our people do things."
"Thus the Co-parent thing, you all sit down and work together..." John tried again.
"No," Lanka said, glaring at McKay. "It is best you leave and let my family move forward."
Rodney took a few deep breaths looking furious, and then huffed, "fine, fine," he said then turned around and marched back inside the hut and to the room where Korey was sitting hugging her pillow. "Is there anything you want here?" he asked as he looked around and saw some of the clothes he helped barter for and grabbed them and placed them in a pile at the foot of the bed.
"Why?" Korey asked confused.
"Cause we're leaving," Rodney said firmly.
"Leaving?" Korey asked, a bit of fear in her voice as she was smart enough to know that leaving might not be a good thing.
"Yes, WE," Rodney stressed, "are, now chop, chop," he said and saw Korey scurry off the bed as he heard raised voices in the distance, knowing that John was still trying to reason with Lanka and Bollen. "Is that yours?" he asked Korey who had placed a carved doll on the bed, for it looked rather well used.
"Bollen gave it to me. Said it was his other daughter's," Korey replied.
"The you should leave it as we're not coming back," Rodney said, gathering the corners of the blanket together in one hand and Korey up in the other and headed out of the room, then out of the hut.
"What do you think you're doing?" Lanka demanded, when she saw Rodney was holding Korey and a blanket filled with stuff.
"I'm doing as you asked, I'm letting your family move on, which means I'm taking MY daughter and we're leaving," Rodney said, never stopping as he spoke, shouting over his shoulder as he went, knowing that John would easily catch up.
"You can't do that!" Lanka cried out.
"Watch me," Rodney replied, seeing John had caught up to him as he knew he would.
"Rodney?" John asked as he saw Lanka burst into tears and Bollen call for someone to get Halling. "You sure about this?"
Rodney didn't have to say a word, as one look was more than enough for John to see Rodney had made his decision in the matter. "Okay, then we better hurry as things are about to get really messy here soon," John said, moving past Rodney to get the Jumper ready so they could get back to Atlantis ASAP. From that point, John was unsure what was going to happen and he was worried, for he could tell Lanka and Bollen were not going to let this matter go.
Once they were back at the City, John escorted Rodney and Korey to his quarters, explaining to Rodney that his would be the first place Elizabeth would look for him and that they needed to talk and Korey needed to rest, as her little eyes were drooping, though she looked happy to be back in Atlantis.
It only took a few moments to get Korey washed up and tucked into John's bed, with a promise that they'd both be there when she woke up, and since to date neither man had broken their word to her, she accepted it and allowed her exhaustion to claim her and slept.
John pulled Rodney to the far end of the room, where he now had a small table and two chairs, where sometimes Rodney would join him for chess or other friend type activities from time to time. "Okay, now what?" he asked Rodney in a hushed voice.
Rodney was biting his thumb, as he wasn't sure. He turned pleading blue eyes toward John, "I don't know," he finally said. "I only knew I couldn't leave her, John...what am I going to do?"
No longer able to resist, John pulled Rodney into an embrace and hugged him tightly and placed a kiss on this temple. "Whatever it is, I'll be there if you want?" John replied in a soft voice. He wasn't sure if Rodney was going to freak out and push him away or what, but he was pleasantly surprised when Rodney hugged him back, and then looked up, his eyes open and hopeful. Unable to find the words, John leaned in and softly kissed Rodney, letting his lips speak his heart, that he loved Rodney and would do anything for him. Once the achingly sweet kiss was broken he met Rodney's eyes, "what do you want? If you could have anything...what do you want?" he asked, still keeping his voice soft.
Rodney's eyes as always expressed his soul and they shined joy, happiness, confusion as well as sadness. "I'd want Korey...you..." Rodney swallowed hard, "and Atlantis, though a Nobel Prize would be nice too?" he smiled hopefully.
John laughed and then cupped Rodney's face, "I can only guarantee that you have Korey and me, the rest?" John shrugged.
"I...what about your career? And I mean, you don't really know me, how can you be so sure?" Rodney replied, worried not only for John but he knew what type of person he was.
John only smiled more and kissed Rodney silent, then he leaned back and grinned ear to ear, "First off, you and I both have been through hell and back together, believe me, I know you...I love you, Rodney McKay, and if you'll have me...?"
"If, if? Do neutrons need protons? Of course I'll have you, you idiot, I happen to love you too," Rodney said firmly, looking flabbergasted that John could even doubt that he was wanted. "But you career..."
"As I was saying before being so rudely interrupted," John smirked, and then kissed Rodney again to take any sting from his words. "I've come to know what I want, more over the last few months then ever. I don't have any problems retiring, I know what I want," John said, his eyes locking with Rodney's showing just how sure he was.
"Does this mean I'm going to have two daddies?" Korey said, having woken some time ago and now was kneeling in John's bed looking hopeful.
John looked at Rodney for only he could answer that question. When Rodney nodded yes, John felt himself let out the breath he was holding and then he felt little arms wrap around his leg hugging him. He bent down and picked up Korey who reached out and hugged Rodney, placing a huge kiss on his face. "See I don't need a mommy I have two daddies!"
"Yes, yes you do," Rodney said, his eyes bright with unshed tears of joy. Before he could say anything else, John kissed him and he was about to protest about kissing in front of Korey, but seeing her young face light up and hear her giggle as she thought it was funny, kept the comment at bay. "You still need a nap," Rodney said instead.
"I don't need a nap," Korey replied.
"Oh yes you do," John and Rodney said, and then laughed as they said it like a married couple...something they'd discuss later.
Korey pouted for a few seconds, but then she was too happy at having two daddies that it couldn't last. "Okay, but you'll..." she yawned. "Both still be here when I wake up right?"
"If we can, we will, but at least one of us will be, as we still have some work to do, okay?" John offered, realizing it was only a matter of time before Elizabeth would track them down, plus she did deserve a heads up of what was happening.
"O...kay," Korey yawned out, as John placed her back into his bed and tucked her in once more, then once more moved back to the far end of the small room. He pulled Rodney into a hug, and then shifted behind him, still holding him as they both watched Korey fall asleep.
"We'll work it out," he whispered, "and before you asked, I'm sure, never been surer of anything in my life. Don't even need to toss a coin," he smirked.
"Thank you," Rodney said sincerely.
"For what?" John asked, for he didn't see any reason.
"For...everything, nothing...everything," Rodney replied, then kissed John deep and slow, then rested his head on John's shoulder, savoring his scent and his warmth, as nothing else was possible at the moment, and decisions needed to be made. "You know, this will probably mean we'll have to go back to Earth right?"
"Unless you want to go back to Wallda?" John replied in a whisper, only loud enough for Rodney to hear.
"Ah...no," Rodney said, leaning back to meet John's eyes. "She'd never be happy there and to be honest, I'd be board knowing there is so much more I could be doing. At least on Earth, I could teach, assure a smaller batch of idiots fill the world, or something?" he said, knowing he had options, but he didn't want to leave John behind, in fact he wanted to be sure John would be happy. "What do you want to do?"
"Well, if we go back, I'll have to retire of course, so, something with flying, because believe it or not, I don't get to do that much of it here as I would like," John grinned. "If it comes to that, we'll work it out."
Rodney was about to say something else, but John held up a finger, indicating his radio just signaled. "Sheppard," John gave Rodney a look which clearly indicated it was Elizabeth. "Yes, Rodney and Korey are with me...she's sleeping and we promised at least one of us would be here when she woke up," John said into his radio. "Yeah..." John said with a little smile, "that's probably for the best. I'll be right there." John closed his radio channel. "Well, Halling radioed for Teyla and Elizabeth. Halling is saying we broke faith with them and demanding Korey be brought back immediately...Aht," John said seeing the rant on Rodney's lip. "I'll go explain the full story to Elizabeth, you just stay here and rest...I promise to keep you in the loop and make sure nothing gets decided without you, okay?"
"Okay," Rodney replied, realizing it was probably best John went instead of him. John kissed him again, and then headed out. Rodney decided to lay down and removed his jacket and took off his boots, then found a comfortable position on the narrow bed and wrapped Korey close, praying in his heart he was doing the right thing with both Korey and John.
John wasn't too surprised to see Teyla in Elizabeth's office, but he had to admit to looking a bit surprised at seeing Lanka and Bollen along with Halling there as well. He gave his most soothing grin and looked to Elizabeth who was looking furious; he was glad he didn't make Rodney come or there'd be a blood bath by now. "Elizabeth," he greeted.
"Just what the hell is going on Colonel?" Weir demanded, showing just how angry she was by her choice of words.
"I think it's pretty simple, Rodney has decided to keep Korey and be her father, which I don't see the problem, I mean," he looks at Lanka and Bollen, "you both made it clear it wasn't really working out so well, so...problem solved." John grinned, feeling he summed that up pretty well.
"The problem was Doctor McKay," Bollen snapped. "We would just manage to get Korey to listen and behave when he would visit and then she would be throwing his visit and his presence into our faces, especially my wife's. She was not accepting her new status..."
"Status? She's a kid, they don't have statuses," John replied, then caught the death glare from Elizabeth. "Look, I'm sorry it didn't work out, but that's just how it goes."
"I'm afraid not, Colonel," Halling spoke up. "Doctor McKay has broken faith with our people and as a ranking member of your people, it reflects just as poorly on you as well as our agreement. How can we trust you if you show you are capable of breaking such a sacred trust as giving Korey over to be raised as one of us?"
John saw the tension and realized another reason Elizabeth was so angry, as the Athosians were using the 'treaty-trust card' on her. "Look, this isn't about trust and no one GAVE you Korey. Rodney wanted what he thought at the time was best for her, time has proven otherwise. I know you care for Korey but..."
Lanka moved forward looking fierce, almost as fierce as Teyla could be, "I want my daughter back, Colonel Sheppard and I want her now!"
"Colonel, when Korey wakes from her nap, I want her brought here immediately," Elizabeth orders.
John narrows his eyes. "No," he said coolly then looked Lanka in the eye. "Face it, Korey isn't your daughter, she's Rodney's and he's not going to just hand her over just because you demand it or," he turns to look at Elizabeth, "You order it. Don't you people see what's going on here?"
"I see we may not be able to continue trade if this is the way of your people," Halling said.
Before John can respond, Teyla steps between him and Lanka looking like the fierce leader she is. "There is only one way to solve this to the satisfaction of all parties," she said firmly. "Jahava." She looks at Lanka and Halling who after a moment nod in agreement.
"What is this...Jahava?" John demands, as he really doesn't like the sound of it.
"It's an old tradition, rarely used nowadays but still holds firm in our laws," Teyla explains. "It's a fight..."
"Oh no, no one is doing any fight to the death thing," John interrupts.
Teyla gives a tiny smile, "The Jahava is not a fight until death. It is a fight among family members to show their determination over their cause. When one is not able to fight anymore the other wins, it is that simple."
John doesn't look pleased and neither does Elizabeth, "Surely there is another way," Elizabeth interjected.
Teyla looks firm and wise as she shakes her head, "No, it must be Jahava or you forfeit your right to child Korey. I suggest, Colonel Sheppard you explain this in full to Doctor McKay before speaking on his behalf. The fight will be of sticks, as he knows of them and is the only weapon I feel will do least harm in the Jahava." Teyla turns to Lanka, Bollen and Halling. "As my position as Leader, this is my wish, do you accept my decision in this matter?"
The three Athosians share a look then nod in agreement. Teyla turns back to Colonel Sheppard. "It is best to not let this linger, so if Doctor McKay accepts the Jahava, we will meet in the practice room in two hours, otherwise, Korey will need to be brought here."
John doesn't know why, for apart of him feels angry and a bit betrayed by Teyla, but another part feel's she's up to something and it's that he holds onto, when he nods and with a look to Elizabeth, he leaves to inform Rodney of what his options are. He debates with himself on the way back if running and trying to hide in the Pegasus Galaxy is a good option to mention, considering the Wraith and Rodney's perchance for trouble and allergy against backwater hamlets...he decides against mentioning the option...for now.
John isn't as surprised as he thought he should be that Rodney decided to face Bollen one on one with the sticks he barely can hold, then simply give Korey up. He is surprised that Teyla insisted that Korey be present and have what is happening explained to her and at how many folks have shown up to watch. He hopes they're not here to see Rodney get his butt beat, for then John will do some beating of his own later, but right now he's watching his partner and soon to be lover take another hit in the leg from Bollen. He wants to yell out instructions, but it's against the rules...rules he's coming to hate more and more by the second as Rodney takes a hit to the shoulder, but it's his determination that keeps him going.
A sniffle captures his attention and John turns to see Korey, who is being held by Ronon, as he is considered a neutral in the matter, and must do so according to the damn rules. He tries to give Korey an encouraging smile while tightening his fists in his pocket. He then sees her tiny eyes grow wide with horror and John turns in time to see Rodney go down, holding a cut to his temple where Bollen has struck him. It's a sudden hand on his arm that keeps him from rushing forward, and he turns to see his 2IC Major Lorne there, looking concerned.
"If you interfere he loses," Lorne reminds him.
John nods and bites his lip, feeling a small draw of blood while using all his strength to remain where he is while watching Rodney struggle to his feet while Bollen tells him to give up, that he has no chance of winning.
John sees Bollen making a feint to his right, and thankfully Rodney sees it for it would have hurt if the stick had made contact with Rodney's head. Sadly though, Rodney isn't quick enough to block the counter strike and takes the stick in the jaw, and he tumbles to his knees with blood pouring out of his mouth.
The hands of both Major Lorne and Lt. Cadman is barely enough to stop him from going forward, but it's Korey who has managed to wiggle her way out of Ronon's arms who beats him to the mat, tears flowing down her face as she screeches at the top of her lungs for Bollen to leave her daddy alone, while her little fists flail at him left and right. John only smirks with pride as he pulls free and moves to kneel next to Rodney and checks to see if he's alright as he looks disoriented.
"I hate you!" Korey shouts with anger and wallops Bollen right in the groin, causing him to flinch over in pain.
"Korey," Rodney called out, not wanting her near the man that was trying to take her away from him. She turned and ran immediately into his arms and hugs him with all her heart and soul.
"I'm sorry," Rodney mutters, as a few tears fall down his face, as he knows he can't beat Bollen and he probably has a concussion.
John's eyes flashed with anger and turns to Carson to wave him over while taking the sticks from Rodney's hands. "It's not over yet," he states firmly, so Bollen and the other Athosians present can hear as he twirls the stick in his hand with fierce determination in his eyes.
"This is a fight between families only," Bollen snaps, having recovered from the blow received by Korey.
"First off," John states and looks at Elizabeth directly, "I hereby render my resignation...thus making me a civilian." John ignores the gasps at his announcement, as he turns to face Bollen, "Second, I love Rodney, he loves me and we plan on raising Korey as OUR daughter, and so that makes me family. If you can't handle that, feel free to withdraw, otherwise, prepare for a pounding, for I plan on being here for quite awhile."
"If I should fall, others of my family may stand in for me," Bollen replied, using the same rule as Sheppard was.
Ronon steps forward next to Sheppard, "If he falls, you'll have to fight me next."
Bollen raises a brow in suspicion, "you are family?"
Ronon takes an arm and lays it round John's shoulder, "We're brothers. Can't you see the family resemblance?" John can't help but smirk and lean in a bit so Bollen can get a good look at the 'brothers'.
"And if by some miracle Ronon falls, you'll have to fight me!" Cadman called out, as she was holding Korey as Carson was patching Rodney up, for he refused to leave.
"And you are his sister I suppose?" Bollen asked, sounding annoyed as he gestured to Sheppard.
"No," Cadman replied and placed a hand on Rodney's shoulder, "I'm his," she smiles down at Rodney who looks a bit surprised then touched, then too busy snapping at Carson for causing him more pain with his split lip.
"Enough," Lanka called out, moving to stand by her husband, looking solemn and resolved. She turns to Teyla and nods. "I understand now," Lanka said then turns and places a hand on her husband's arm. "It's over. The Jahava is not about might but about seeing the truth via the conviction of the other family. It's clear, Korey has chosen and we...I am being a fool to try and force what isn't meant to be." Lanka turns to Rodney, looking contrite, "For that I am sorry. I just didn't want...want to lose another daughter." Lanka gives Rodney a slight bow then turns to her husband and allows him to comfort her.
Rodney's head is bandaged, his lip will need stitches, and he is wobbly on his feet as he stands, but he's determined so no one stops him from crossing to the center where John, Lanka, Bollen and Ronon are standing. "Look, less than a year ago, none of his would have made any sense to me. I never saw myself as a father or having kids, but now...?" he looks at Korey and her shining blue eyes, red rimmed from crying and gives her a smile, before flinching from the lip, then turns back to face Lanka. "I do understand now. All I can say is you didn't lose Korey, well...because you never really had her." Seeing the looks, Rodney rethinks his words, "What I mean is...she was mine and I...I almost lost her. You kept that from happening and for that, well...ah...thank you."
John knows that for Rodney, that was pretty profound and moves to wrap an arm around his shoulder, plus he's looking a bit unsteady on his feet. "Look, I've never been a parent...to just recently," he grins thinking about it. "But no one can replace your daughter and I'm sure you know that. And as for Korey, she wasn't meant to be with you guys that doesn't mean you can't try again, I mean the Wallda people have a LOT of children needing homes..." he shrugs, "It's a thought."
"We...we will consider you words, Colonel," Bollen replied, holding his wife, while she tries to maintain her dignity while tears of grief fall down her face. He then turns to Teyla, "Again your wisdom prevails, thank you." With that, Bollen gives a nod to Sheppard and McKay and then escorts his wife out of the practice room, accompanied by the rest of his family and Halling.
"I will see them off safely," Teyla smiled softly, then trades an Athosian greeting with Rodney, "I never doubted you," she told him, then takes a step back. "But we WILL be practice more when you are healed," she smiled warmly, her eyes twinkling.
"What you knew I'd get my butt handed to me?" Rodney snaps, missing the whole point.
"No, she knew you'd show them how much you loved Korey and how far you were willing to go for her," John explained, and then eyes Teyla suspiciously. "You knew this would happen didn't you?"
"I knew how much Doctor McKay and Korey loved each other and I knew Lanka was holding onto the love of her lost daughter and reason would not be an easy thing to point out...so I hoped, this would be the outcome. Though I must say, I did not know about you and Doctor McKay, may I offer you my congratulations," she smiles, then with a slight bow, she departs wanting to speak with those of her tribe before they depart.
John grins, as he takes Korey into his arms, from Cadman, as Carson is fussing with Rodney. He sees Rodney still doesn't get it. "She had faith in your love for Korey," he said, and was glad Rodney got that. He then looked at Carson? "How is he?"
"I'll need to take an x-ray to be sure, but I think he might have a mild concussion, and his lip will need a few stitches, as you can see," Carson replied, relieved that it was finally over.
"Sir?" Lorne then said, looking concerned. "Were you...serious?"
John then sees some of the military personnel don't look too happy. "Look, if anyone here has a problem with me being gay, I still have the sticks and we can 'talk' about it all they want," he replied, narrowing his eyes at the others.
"I can't say for everyone, sir, but personally I could care less. I'm talking about you resigning?" Lorne asked.
John feels a relief fill his chest at hearing this and sees more nods then anything else. "Well, as the rules are clear, I can't have both and I hope you understand, something are more important," he grins, looking at Korey who is ordering Carson to get her daddy some ice for his lip, while Rodney is fussing about being placed on a gurney to be taken to the infirmary. It's then he sees Elizabeth and she's fuming mad. He sees her walk over, her body coiled with anger.
"When Carson clears Doctor McKay from the infirmary I want the BOTH of you in my office immediately, do I make myself clear?" she asked, her eyes sparking with fury.
"Sure," John replied, not really worried about Elizabeth, for though she has a right to be upset as this came out of left field for her, it's a done deal and he's a civilian now. Though she could be a bitch and try to pull a technicality about nothing being placed in writing, but John had long ago had his letter ready and it would find it's way on her desk as soon as he was sure Rodney and Korey were alright, and they've all eaten. Wouldn't do to face Elizabeth on an empty stomach now would it?
John knew nothing would happen between him and Rodney that night as it was too soon to be passing Korey off to anyone, as she needed her daddies after something so traumatic, just like Rodney needed her there too. John even admitted he needed both of them, so it was no surprise they all fell asleep snuggled up together on the floor of John's room as the bed was way too small for the tiny family.
He had hoped that tonight perhaps, even though he knew things were going to be busy with him showing Lorne what he needed to know and Rodney doing the same for Radek, for word was out; they were leaving Atlantis on the Daedelus when it arrived in under a weeks time. He was hoping to ask Teyla to watch Korey after lunch, so wasn't expecting Rodney calling him on the radio and demanding he meet him in his quarters ASAP.
John hurried as he could tell something was not right by the anger in Rodney's voice and was surprised that Rodney wouldn't discuss it over the radio. When he got there he found Rodney was well over half packed and still packing more, looking furious. "What going on?" John looked and saw a small bag with Korey's stuff already packed by the door, but she was not present.
"We're Gating back, tonight!" Rodney announced as he kept packing.
John moved in and taking life and limb in hand, took the object in Rodney's hand, a picture of him and one of his awards, and placed it aside. "Talk to me," he said calmly, wanting to know what has his love so wound up, and Rodney is almost at a loss for words, which really has him worried.
"She...She...." Rodney looked furious and John knew he needed Rodney to calm down, so leaned in and kissed him, glad at seeing it worked, and then he pulled Rodney into a hug.
"Okay, try again," John said, leaning back to meet Rodney's eyes.
"Elizabeth...she...she had the gall...." Rodney pulled away, needing the space to wave his hands around to get the anger out as he struggled for the words.
"What did she do?" John asked, now feeling some anger boil up in his stomach.
"She sent a team to Wallda, wanting them to come get Korey!" Rodney growled, though it was clear he wasn't angry at John. "I only found out because she made the mistake of using Major Bennett's team, which has Cadman and she told me. Thankfully, Karshel told Major Bennett that she was sorry things were not working out, and if things remained a problem, they would come at the end of the trial period."
Rodney folded his arms over his chest, furry vibrating from his body. "So, it's clear we need to leave...tonight. We have enough power in the ZedPM and I wasn't looking forward to weeks on a ship with Korey anyway."
John can see the hurt and betrayal in Rodney's eyes and knows it's the latter that has kept him from storming Elizabeth's office and telling her off, for all Rodney's faults, he's a good and loyal man and this cuts to the core. John nods in agreement. "Where's Korey?"
"She's with Ronon, with strict instructions of not letting her out of his sight," Rodney said, trying to look more angry than hurt.
John moves in and kisses Rodney and cups his cheek, "You did good and you're right. I'll be ready to go in an hour, okay?"
"John...?" Rodney's eyes look vulnerable and uncertain.
John doesn't need to hear the question to know what Rodney is thinking, "I've never been more sure, Rodney. Trust me...in fact," John knows it's far from the most romantic moment, but he sees it's needed for both their sake, and drops to one knee. "Rodney McKay, I love you and I want you to make an honest man out of me, by marrying me when we get to Earth."
Rodney's eyes grow wide and he stares in disbelief, then he blinks a few times, "I haven't made a dishonest mad out of you yet," he replied.
John smirks, "then just do me the honor of being my husband then."
Rodney does his imitation of a goldfish, "I...I don't know what to say?"
"Say yes, my knee is killing me here," John smirks, only a tiny bit of him acknowledging that Rodney could say no.
"Yes...yes, yes, YES!" Rodney replied pulling John up into his arms and kissing him so soundly, they both lose their balance and fall sideways on Rodney's bed, just missing the box.
Most things are forgotten as they kiss passionately, but it is not meant to be, as John's radio sounds with Elizabeth's voice requesting his presence in her office. It reminds John of what brought all this about and the anger kills a good portion of the lust he feels for his fiancé...then he smiles knowing that Rodney agreed to marry him! "On my way," he said and kissed Rodney again as he stood up. "Better make that an hour and a half," he said to Rodney just before leaving as he fully planned to let Elizabeth have a ear full if what Cadman said was true, and she had no reason to lie about.
Seeing Elizabeth standing in the control room only served to infuriate him more and thinking of how she tried to manipulate his family...HIS family now, only served to propel him forward.
"Colonel," Elizabeth said, as she saw him coming.
John clenched his teeth, for even though he submitted his resignation in writing and via a data burst, complements of Rodney, a copy to Stargate Command, she wasn't acknowledging it. "Is it true?" he demanded, deciding to cut through all the crap and take a note out of Rodney's handbook and get right to the point. "Did you send a team back to Wallda to have them come take Korey back?" he demanded.
"Colonel, we can discuss this in my office," Elizabeth said, looking stern and ready to take him on, or so she thought.
"First off, I'm a civilian now, which means I don't take orders. Second, we're going to have this out here and now! You made it perfectly clear that Atlantis is not safe to have family here, we agreed and so Rodney and I are going back to Earth regardless of your dislike in the matter. There was a choice to be made and WE made it! Third, where the HELL do you get off going behind our backs do ANYTHIHG that involves our family, ESPECIALY Korey?"
"Atlantis needs McKay," Elizabeth interjected, cutting John off in mid-rant. "Zelenka is good, damn good, but we all know it's been McKay that's made the difference and he's needed here..."
John doesn't acknowledge the hurt of her saying only McKay was needed in Atlantis, though the sting is strong. "So, you take it upon yourself to have the stumbling block of what is keeping Rodney from staying removed is that it?"
"Korey needs a family..." Elizabeth retorts.
"She has one, us!" John snapped back "It's already bad enough we're being forced from our home, now you have the gall to try and split us up? Jus who the HELL do you think you are lady?" John shouted, knowing he was using the term loosely at the moment.
"I'm in charge of this expedition, and I'm trying to do what is right for the safety of the people here and Earth. Something I would THINK would be important to you of all people?" Elizabeth growled back, ignoring the audience that had gathered around at their shouting match.
John narrows his eyes, "oh, believe you me, it's damn important. But what you're asking us to sacrifice is too much. We've risked our lives the past few years and now you're telling us we're not entitled to a family or happiness...then what the hell are we fighting for?"
"It IS a war, Colonel and we need our best people here to fight it. It means a sacrifice I know, and perhaps later..."
John cuts Elizabeth off, "Later? Later may never come, Elizabeth and we both know it! Rodney and I both would like to stay, as Atlantis is our home, but since we want to raise our daughter, NOT give her away, we have to leave, so you better just accept that!" John snapped, almost mentioning his and Rodney's plans of departing tonight, but doesn't want to give Weir any warning, she doesn't deserve it.
"John, it's not safe," Elizabeth begins to reply, but John has had enough.
"Well, if I were the head of his expedition, instead of going behind peoples back's trying to get my way, I'd find away to MAKE it safe. Because it's only a matter of time people will want a life, Elizabeth and if they can't make it here, they'll leave...it's as simple as that. Now, if you excuse me, I have some business to finish up, Doctor Weir...good day." He grinned, knowing how much that would aggravate her and turned to go, not seeing the people, as all he could see was visions of him pummeling her into the ground, or better yet, Teyla doing it for him, as he made his way back to his quarters to pack...they were going home tonight!
No one was really expecting any contact from Atlantis, much less the homecoming of Rodney McKay with a little girl in his arms, and former Lt. Col. John Sheppard. Samantha Carter went to greet them, seeing John at the top of the ramp with the cart that was loaded down with items; their belongings she was guessing.
"Rodney?" Carter said in way of a greeting. "I thought you were returning with the Daedelus?"
"Oh, well, something came up," Rodney replied, then looked at Korey whose eyes were looking all round her and beamed. "Sam, this is Korey, my daughter," Rodney introduced with pure fatherly pride.
Sam had heard from the General that Rodney was returning and Sheppard had resigned, but had been so busy she hadn't learned the full details behind it, so this came as quite a surprise to her. She blinked with astonishment. "Ah...hello," she smiled at the beautiful five year old.
Rodney still beaming with pride, finished introductions. "Korey, this is Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter, she's not as smart as me, but pretty darn close, and a friend."
Korey tilted he head as if thinking, then said, "She doesn't look like a bimbo. In fact she looks pretty."
Carter's eyes were wide with shock and some anger, where Rodney's eyes were expressing deep horror at hearing what Korey had just said. "I...I never said..." Rodney stuttered, scared that Sam would believe he did, though he didn't know where Korey heard such a thing.
"Ah..." John cut in, looking a bit sheepish as he took Korey from Rodney's arms into his own, while an Airman took their belongings. "I'm afraid that was my fault, Colonel and I apologize. That was just...um...something that slipped out....before Rodney and I got engaged," he smiled, hoping to sooth over the raw nerve he knew his jealousy had hit via their daughter.
Sam almost choked, then blinked hard at both men, as she had NO clue something like this would happen. "Ah...well, um...congratulations," Carter stuttered, the insult suddenly forgotten. Then feeling the awkwardness, wanted to lighten the mood, "So, what did McKay threaten you with to agree to marry him?" she teased. The dark glare that met her from Sheppard told her, her joke was far from funny. "It...ah...was a...joke," she tried, hoping to sooth things over.
"I asked HIM to marry me," John said coolly, letting it known he didn't appreciate the joke at his fiancé's expense.
Just then Daniel Jackson came striding up to Carter, "Welcome back," Daniel greeted. "I thought you were coming back on the Daedelus?"
John plastered on a smile, "Change of plans. We decided to get an early start on getting on with our lives, starting with getting married and then finding a good place to raise our daughter, Korey."
Daniel blinked, "Daughter...I heard McKay was adopting a child, but...wow, marriage. So, what did he blackmail you with to get you to agree?" Daniel joked, smirking in amusement. Then he noticed Sam's sour face, and the glare that came in triplicate from the future McKay family.
"Ah, he asked Rodney," Sam said, not believing that Daniel made the same mistake she just did.
"Hey, General Landry wants us in the debriefing room," Cameron Mitchell said as he wandered in. Seeing the glares and the sheepish expressions on his 'wonder twins' face, he moved closer. "Did I miss something?"
"Oh, ah..." Daniel turned trying to think of a way to defuse the situation that he and Sam had accidentally caused. "Sheppard and McKay are getting married and this is their daughter, Korey," Daniel said, trying to sound relaxed, though he was sure no one felt that way at the moment.
"Married huh? So what..." Mitchell began before he was cut off by Sheppard.
"I asked HIM," John said, his eyes showing he was not playing games anymore and the subject had better be changed and fast as he placed a protective arm around his love.
"It's not like it's impossible for someone to love me and want to marry me," Rodney spat, feeling insulted that this was the reaction he was getting to his joyous news.
"Hey, I was just going to ask, what brought you back so soon," Mitchell said sincerely.
"Oh," Rodney said, looking a bit flustered. "Well, we...ah..."
"Should go debrief before the General gets mad," John interjected, seeing this meet and greet needed to come to an end.
"I take it back, Daddy, they're both bimbos," Korey said, causing Rodney to slap a hand over his face and grab John's arm.
"Let's get out of here before someone decides to shoot me," Rodney sighed, not believing this had gone so disastrously.
"Don't worry, I'll protect you," John said, an easy loving smile on his face to Rodney, then a deadly serious glare over his shoulder as he left the gate room with Rodney leading.
"I could be wrong," Mitchell said. "But I don't think that went very well, do you?"
Carter and Daniel shared a look then shook their heads no. "No," Daniel said. "In fact, I'd say that was a complete and utter disaster."
"Then it's probably a good think they're both wanting to resign from the SGC," Mitchell replied.
Carter looked shocked, "Wait, McKay's...quitting?"
"Seems that's part of what the General wants to discuss with them," Mitchell said, before turning to leave as he was requested to attend the debriefing as well. He decided to forgo the invitation for Carter and Jackson to attend feeling it best for everyone at the moment, as it was clear Carter and Jackson had put their foots in their mouths. Though he did wonder as he left, just what alien device Sheppard had been playing with that would make him propose marriage to McKay, but knew he was better off not knowing...ever.
Korey's stubborn determination not to be separated from her parents, resulted in the debriefing to be cut short...way short; not that John or Rodney were complaining as they were both tired, but they had something they needed to do with Korey before they headed to bed.
The three of them headed to the elevator and Rodney slipped his key card then used his key and code to allow him to the surface. He noticed the look he got from John and knew immediately what he was thinking. "Guilt can be very useful," smirking and seeing John was tired as he didn't get the full picture, he added, "Carter."
"Ah," John grinned, wondering why he didn't think of it. Then again, he was fielding questions left and right, trying to keep Rodney from browbeating the General, who seemed sincerely disheartened that John was quitting and even mentioned that there was a reason he hated some rules, but did agree to process John's paperwork and make arrangements for the three of them to go to Canada. Because of Korey, it would take longer as they (as her new parent) would have to make sure Korey understood the aspect of secrets and not telling. This of course was met by Korey announcing loudly that she was not a baby!
"Were are we going?" Korey asked, looking sleepy as so much was happening so fast, but wanted to see it all.
"I don't want you to think this place is Earth. This is just a base under a big mountain," Rodney explained. "So, we're going up top to see outside."
"Why aren't we there yet?" Korey asked innocently, for on Atlantis you walked in, pushed a button then walked out seconds later.
"Because, sadly, this isn't Atlantis," Rodney replied.
"Earth doesn't have all the technology Atlantis does, so things take longer," John added. "You do remember, outside of this mountain you can't talk about Atlantis to anyone but me and Rodney, right?"
"Yes, but I don't understand why?" Korey replied, sighing at seeing the numbers flash so slowly above the elevator doors.
"Because most of what happens here or out in the...universe, is a secret. A secret that probably should be shared, but those in the 'know' think otherwise, and since John and I don't want to go to jail and lose you, we ALL keep it to ourselves, got it?" Rodney said, looking seriously at Korey for he needed her to understand.
"They'd take you away from me if I tell about Atlantis?" Korey asked, concern filling her big blue eyes as the seriousness of what she was being told finally sank in.
John rubbed her back, "That would be the worst case scenario, Kiddo, but Rodney..." John grinned, "You're daddy and I could get into a lot of trouble, so best we just keep it our secret, okay?"
Korey nodded. "Are we there yet?"
Rodney rolled his eyes and John grinned, "almost."
The elevator was actually father fast for Earth transportation, and soon they were on the top floor and headed down the hall that led to the security exit to the stairs that led to the top of the mountain. Once outside, the moonlight, which was fading, dazzled the area in gold and silver and Korey gasped with delight.
"I thought for sure it'd be day time," John said, forgetting that Earth and Atlantis were on different day rotations.
"It will be soon," Rodney said as he continued to walk out, so he could point out some stars, which Korey hadn't heard about until now.
Less then an hour, the sky lightened as the sun was beginning to encroach upon the night. "See, our sun rises from the East and sets in the West, so as you can see the sun is coming from that direction that way is..."
"East," Korey grins, then yawns.
"I think it's time for bed," John said, suppressing a yawn himself. "There will be plenty of time to see more later."
Rodney nodded and was glad to see John take Korey as he was feeling the hours and time change. He wasn't surprised to see Korey fall asleep before they were halfway down to their level where their quarters were located.
"You know, you never did tell me what you said to Weir to get her to allow us to gate back to Earth?" John asked in a hushed whisper, as he knew Korey was asleep.
"Oh....that," Rodney said looking sheepish. "I ah...told her that if she made us stay she'd better put us in the brig, or I'd...ah, lock everyone out of Atlantis," Rodney said quietly.
John's eyes went wide, and had to bite his lip from shouting, then when he knew he could keep his voice low, "You what?"
"Well, she wasn't going to let us leave," Rodney replied, lifting his chin in defiance as he always did when feeling defensive.
"She could have called your bluff and put us in the brig," John said, not looking happy as he didn't know what was said, but he did notice Weir going pale at something Rodney said to her and then told the technician to dial the gate to Earth.
"John, you know I suck at poker, thus she knew I wasn't bluffing, which means, as she is a semi-intelligent woman, knew I would have had a contingency plan in line should she have thrown us in the brig, resulting in them being locked out of Atlantis." Rodney beamed with pride at his plan.
John already knew that Rodney had a good lung capacity for kissing, and got another demonstration as why and grinned. "Ah, but if we're in the brig, and everyone is locked out, how would they get us out?" John asked, feeling mischievous.
Rodney glared, "The brig has a manual override, and I am a genius you know."
Korey stirring silenced the two men and John rubbed her back to sooth her just as the door opened to their floor. John followed Rodney who stopped in front of a door and ran his card key, which opened the door.
John frowned as he walked in seeing only Rodney's and Korey's belongings. He placed Korey down on the cot, taking off her shoes and then tucking her in as she was out cold from exhaustion. "I'll be right back," he said and exited the room.
Rodney was puzzled as to what John was up to, but was too tired to think about it as he went into the bathroom and got changed for bed. He came back out to see John with his belongings in hand. "Where you going?"
"They put me in another room," John said quietly. "I was simply rectifying their mistake," he grinned as he placed his stuff next to Rodney's. He moved to Rodney, kissed him briefly then headed into the bathroom too. When he came back out he wasn't surprised to see Rodney was already asleep, and though it would be tight, John was determined to spend their first night on Earth together, so slipped in behind Rodney, who automatically shifted and turned to accommodate him, resulting with Rodney's head on John's shoulder, and soon John followed his family into sleep as well.
It took some doing to get clearance to take Korey out of the mountain, but John found Rodney was right, guilt goes a long way and with Carter's and Jackson's support, the General caved and the little family was off on it's first outing. John insisted it be to a carnival for Korey had to know what a Ferris Wheel was and Rodney, though complained about showing her more scientific wonders, didn't slow John down any or do anything to stop him as the headed out, with a car from the motor pool.
By lunchtime, Korey had her first ride on a Ferris wheel, the Whip and discovered why one should not eat hot dogs and cotton candy before such 'absurd' rides, as Rodney put it, had the joy of cleaning her up after she lost her meal...on his shoes.
Afterwards, they kept to slower rides and carnival games. John of course was a whiz at the shooting gallery and won a hug monkey, Korey now knowing what they looked like, adored. It turned out Rodney and his applied knowledge of physics could actually pitch a softball hard enough to knock over the heavy milk-cans, winning his daughter a nice size unicorn. Of course, this led to a discussion on how unicorns were mythical creatures as were dragons and elves, and that led to a discussion on just what a dragon and elves were. This of course led to the getting of a few films, Lord of the Rings Trilogy being one of them, and Chinese takeout to be watched back in their room for dinner. By the end of the first movie of the trilogy, Korey was convinced John was a half elf, due to his ears, and there didn't seem to be any swaying her differently.
"He's got pointed ears," Korey insisted, poking at John's ears as they all sat on the bed to watch the movie.
John laughed. "No I don't," he insisted.
"It's an optical illusion," Rodney said, reaching out and pushing strands of hair behind John's ear. "Hmmm...she may have a point. Or should I say, you do," he laughed.
John knew he was being teased and played to it with a large huff and folding his arms over his chest, "I do not," he pouted, but his eyes gave him away.
Korey giggled and climb on top of him, "You're a Elf, and Daddy's a dragon..."
"Wait, wait, how did I become a dragon?" Rodney asked, shocked to hear this as it made no sense to him.
"You said dragons were highly e..evol..." Korey stuttered the word.
"Evolved," Rodney said for her.
"Meaning supper smart," Korey grinned. "Plus they can be protective of their lair and scare people away who don't belong there, right?"
"Well, there is more to it than that," Rodney said.
"But you did say that, Rodney," John now seeing where Korey was coming from and grinned.
"Okay, but I don't see..." Rodney began.
"You're way smarter than anyone and you scare everyone out of your lab who doesn't belong there, just like a dragon," Korey grinned, proud of her deduction. "This of course makes me...." She looked lost for a second. "What does this make me?"
"A princess," John grinned. "Who is being loved and protected by the two most powerful creatures in all the land."
"Great, I knew somehow you'd find a way to corrupt her mind, we're not even back a week and already she's into fiction and fantasy," Rodney huffed.
Before more was said, there was a knock on the door. Rodney rolled his eyes and went to see who it was. He was surprised to see Carter, as he didn't see her too often for as he was 'retired' he wasn't allowed access to the labs. This of course was a sore point with Rodney, but John was quick to point out the advantage of spending time with his family, making it a bit easier to take. "I knew you couldn't do without me," Rodney smirked.
Carter rolled her eyes, "Actually, I was on my way to invite all of you to join SG-1 for lunch, but the General got a message from Atlantis and asked to see you and Sheppard."
John was up, Korey held next to him. "Do you have any idea what it's about?"
"He didn't give me any details, just said it was important," Carter replied. "If it's okay with you, I'd be glad to take Korey to lunch. She hasn't met Teal'c and he's great with kids," she smiled, hoping that four adults can oversee one mega-smart five year old.
"Okay," Rodney said as he turned to Korey. "We'll be there as soon as we finish with the General."
"Do I have to go?" Korey whined, sounding her age.
"Yes, you do, but for a short time," John smiled. "Be good," he said as he took Korey's hand and gave it to Carter.
"Make sure she eats a proper meal," Rodney told Sam. "Don't let her talk you into all deserts or just junk food...and NO Jell-O-O does NOT count fruit!" he called out as Sam took Korey down the hall to the elevator, knowing she better go while she could. "Though it should," Rodney said solely to John as they stepped out and locked their room before heading to see the General.
"You think something's wrong?" John asked as he and Rodney headed down the hall.
"Of course something is wrong, why else would they be sending for us and making Sam baby-sit," Rodney replied, looking as worried as John felt.
It didn't take them too long to get to the General's office, John doing his best to distract Rodney and his super brain from thinking the worst, though John had to admit, to himself, he too was thinking the worst. "You wanted to see us, General?" John asked as they both stood in the doorway.
"Come in, gentlemen and have a seat," Landry said, gesturing to the chairs in front of his desk.
"Since you're asking us to sit does this mean it's really bad news or casual news?" Rodney asked, trying to scrutinize the General's offer.
"Please, have a seat, Doctor McKay," Landry said, giving a small reassuring smile, though his eyes showed he was far from happy about something. Once they were seated, Henry Landry looked at the folder before him, deciding on how to proceed. He then looked firmly at both men. "Moments ago, we received a transmission from Atlantis," he said, handing over the folder with the message inside. He sat back and watched John and Rodney open the folder and read what was sent.
"Are they serious?" John asked, shocked and concerned.
Rodney on the other hand looked smug, "told you they couldn't do without us."
Landry didn't look pleased at Rodney's comment. "Be it true or not, doesn't matter. What does matter is that they have chosen NOT to do so. In fact, as you see, all the scientists have gone on strike and the military personnel are backing them, going so far as to only follow a direct order. Gentlemen, this is NOT acceptable."
"I can tell you, sir, Rodney and I had NOTHING to do with this," John said firmly, for he wasn't going to let anyone blame him or Rodney for this fall out.
"We know that," Landry replied. "I've been speaking with the President and the IOA and I can tell you gentlemen, they are far from pleased. In fact, there is discussion of sending the Daedelus to collect everyone and bring them home..."
"Are you insane?" Rodney snapped. "Atlantis is the only thing standing between the Wraith and Earth. Plus there is so much we can learn that no doubt can and will make a difference to the war with the Ori and life here on Earth and...well, you're talking madness. You can't shut Atlantis down!"
"They meant the scientist," John said, knowing what was really meant by collecting everyone. "Making it a military post," he added, looking far from pleased.
"That's just as bad if not worse," Rodney growled. "Many of the planets we have made alliances with, don't care for the military and most military couldn't handle first contact without shooting something or someone! The Athosians won't put up with it, and with in a week, some idiot will blow the city up..."
"Rodney," John tried.
"There is a lot of delicate equipment there and twice...no five...no ten times the amount of Ancient technology that we don't know about. You can't go letting a bunch of brain dead gorillas bumbling around..."
"Rodney!" John was glad he got Rodney's attention. "I think he's got the point."
Rodney folded his arms over his chest, "I hope so."
"Well, though our 'gorillas' have managed pretty well for themselves over the years," Landry smirked, "I happen to agree with you and so does Doctor Weir...she made a proposal to the scientist and they are willing to accept it...however, it hinges on you two," Henry Landry said, handing over the proposal that was in another folder.
"They're serious?" Rodney asked, feeling touched and surprised.
"Sir, I resigned so I could marry Rodney. It's not something I want to shove under the rug or put off..." John began.
"Sheppard, as much as I'd love to hand you back your commission, we both know things just aren't the way they should be to allow that to happen. I also understand from personal experience that something's are NOT worth sacrificing, and your family is one of them. However, if you read carefully, you'll see that was addressed too."
John looked down at the paper before him and opened his eyes wide. "She agreed to this?" John asked, for he couldn't believe it.
"She proposed it, so I would say yes, Doctor Weir agreed to it. So, what do you say?" General Landry asked.
"Wait, you're saying this has been approved, by the President and the IOA?" Rodney asked, for he was a bit surprised.
"Doctor McKay, there are plenty of people who would love to drag the men and women in Atlantis back and rake them over the coals for this stunt, but there are more still that know just how important those men and women are where they are at, myself and General O'Neill being among them. So, yes, this proposal has been approved, knowing full well all that it would entail; after all it is it the Pegasus Galaxy," he grinned.
"Ah, can we...think about it?" John asked, not sure what to think about the proposal before him and Rodney.
"Of course," Landry said. "If you do agree, you'll have to take the Daedelus back, so you have time to make any...arrangements, you need. Just let me know."
John stood up as did Rodney, both looking kind of shocked, "Thank you, sir," John said, then took Rodney's arm, and escorted him out of the office.
"Well?" Rodney asked.
"I'm not sure," John said honestly. "It's...it's a lot to think about."
"It's a chance to go home."
John looked at Rodney and saw the hope in his eyes. "But is it the right thing to do for Korey?"
Rodney sighed unsure how to answer that question. "I guess we should talk about it, then talk to her about it."
John nodded as they entered the elevator, "either way, we're getting married," John said with determination.
"And taking a honeymoon," Rodney added, for he didn't know how he kept his hands to himself this long. "I'm sure Carter won't mind watching Korey..."
John laughed, "Oh, I'm sure she'd love you for it, but I was thinking your sister. Doesn't she have a kid of her own?"
"Ah...yeah," Rodney said, seeming ambiguous about the matter. "I haven't really been in touch with her, it's been four years..."
"Four years? Rodney, we are so going to Canada and you are going to introduce me to my sister-in-law and Korey to her Aunt and Uncle and her cousin, got it?"
Rodney's eyes twinkled with merriment, but his huffed in response, "not even married and you're bossing me around."
"And you love it," John teased.
"No, but I do love you," Rodney said, his eyes growing soft and he and John neared as to kiss but then the elevator door opened the moment was lost.
They both headed to their room, knowing they needed to discuss things before seeing Korey as she would know something was up and they would need to be ready with some answers. Then it would be Canada, either temporarily or to stay.
Caleb was home and they were discussing options for dinner when the doorbell sounded.
"I get it!" a young girl called out.
"No, I'll get it," the mother said, smiling at the eagerness of her daughter as she went to the front door. He eyes went wide when she saw who was standing there with flowers in hand. "Oh my word," she gasped.
"Ah...hi, Jeanie," Rodney said, feeling unsure about this meeting.
"What do you want?" Jeanie said automatically.
"What? I can't come say hello?" Rodney asked defensively.
"You haven't written or called in over three years, Mer. So no, no you can't just come by out of nowhere to simply say hi," Jeannie said, looking as stubborn as her brother.
"Look, I just wanted to tell you that ah...well, I was wrong, and ah...well, I understand...now, I understand now why you..." Rodney floundered his hand outward then behind Jeanie.
Jeanie, a bit shocked to hear her brother admit he was wrong, turned at the movement to see Caleb and their daughter arriving. "Look who showed up?" Jeanie said, and then saw the bit of confusion on her husband's face. "My brother."
As if on cue on the word brother, which translated to family in a young child's mind, the little girl launched herself forward and clung to Rodney's leg. "You bring me a present?"
"Madison!" both her parents chided, a bit embarrassed by their daughter's boldness.
To both adult's surprise, Rodney squatted down with a warm smile, still looking a bit uncomfortable. "Well, I kind of did," he said the turned at the shadow that crossed the threshold to reveal John and Korey, both dressed to impress. He stood up, still feeling nervous, but better now that John was beside him. Jeanie, Caleb, Madison, I want to introduce you to MY family," he grinned with pride. "This is John Sheppard and our daughter Korey...she's your cousin," Rodney said to Madison.
Madison's face light up like it was her birthday and Christmas as she stormed forward and hugged Korey then grabbed her hand, "Let's play!" she said firmly while pulled Korey forward.
"W...wait," Jeanie said, placing a hand on Madison's shoulder to still her from departing. She looked at the young girl, then to her brother, then up to John. "You...how...when?" Jeanie stuttered.
"Well, I can't tell you everything, but Korey is adopted, and recently and soon. We're here to get married and um, well...I kinda would like it, if....you know?" Rodney replied.
John grinned his most charming, "Hi," he said offering his hand to Caleb, "John Sheppard."
"Caleb Miller, Jeanie's husband," Caleb said, seeming to have a better grasp of what was happening on his doorstep.
"What Rodney is saying, is that we're here in Canada to get married and he wants his family to be in attendance, as I don't have any, and well...it's important to us both."
Jeanie's eyes looked moist as she leaped and hugged her brother, "Oh, Meredith, I am so happy for you!"
"Meredith?" John asked, as Korey pulled on his sleeve, wanting to go play with her new cousin.
"Aht, we'll discuss that later," Rodney cut in quick. "And you can play after you say hello to your Aunt Jeanie," Rodney said, trying to sway the attention of his life sucking sister off him.
Jeanie pulled away and then squatted down, "Hello," she greeted warmly.
"Hi. My name is Korey Marra McKay-Sheppard and I'm from...Colorado," she looked to Rodney to be sure she had it right and saw him nod so she turned back and continued. "I'm five, but I'm a genius like my Daddy, though Dad is pretty smart too."
"Oh my," Jeanie grinned from ear to ear and hugged the little girl, "you are definitely Rodney's daughter," she laughed.
"Thank you," Korey said. "Can we go play now?" Korey asked, seeing Madison looking as restless as she was.
"Just remember Madison's a McKay, but she's still very young compared to you," Rodney said, then the girls were gone before anything else was said.
Jeanie stood up and looked at her brother and then John a moment, before hugging him, "welcome to the family," she said. Then she pulled back, "and yes, Mer, I'd love to attend your wedding, even though you didn't attend mine."
"Oh come on, I said I was sorry," Rodney said, looking ready to defend himself.
Caleb pulled John, now free from Jeanie's hold to the side, "They'll be at it a while, how about a drink?"
John laughed, "Thanks," he said as he followed the man through the living room, where he saw Madison showing off her toys, and was pleased that Korey who had little dealings with toys from Earth, was enthralled with her cousin.
"So, how did you two meet?" Caleb asked.
"We work together," John said as he entered the kitchen and saw all the makings of a vegetarian household when Caleb opened the refrigerator...the tofu was a big give away. "Unfortunately, most of it's classified," John added when offered an organic beer.
"Are you planning on moving here?" Caleb asked, as he opened his own beer.
"Ah, well, truth is, we're pretty sure we're going back...to Colorado, and so you know we've been given special compensation so we can be married," John said for it was mostly true. They were given permission to come get married in Canada before they went back to Atlantis, for he and Rodney decided they wanted to be home, though now that Korey was getting a first hand view of Earth, it was subjected to change, though he wouldn't mention that to anyone but Rodney later.
"Oh," Caleb said, sounding disappointed. "Jeanie may not seem it at the moment, but she's really missed her brother."
John nodded, "Yeah, I believe it. Rodney's the same way..." John said only to be cut off by Jeanie as she stormed into the kitchen.
"You have a lot of nerve, Mer!" Jeanie was saying over her shoulder.
"What? All I asked was if you'd consider, CONSIDER, watching Korey for a few days so John and I could go on a honeymoon, before we left?" Rodney said as he was right on her heels. "What?" he said, seeing a look from both John and Caleb.
John smiled, for this was so Rodney, though he wanted to know why his sister called him Meredith. "We were going to ask you...later," he said looking at Rodney, "after dinner, because we weren't given a lot of leave time..."
"Leave, that sounds like the military...oh my word, Meredith Rodney McKay, did you go and sell out to the American Government?" Jeanie demanded.
Rodney seeing the look in John's eyes glared, "Shut up," he told John and then looked back to his sister. "And no, I work for an international body, though most of it is through the American Government as it's based in Colorado..."
"I can't believe you," Jeanie growled and stormed out of the kitchen, Rodney still on her heels, leaving Caleb and John in their wake, looking stunned.
"Ah, I don't see a problem with that," Caleb said, his eyes searching out John's reaction to the McKay sibling storm and chuckled seeing John wasn't as phased as most folks would have been. "We'd love to watch Korey."
"Thanks," John said, knowing that it would be him and Caleb doing most of the wheeling and dealing from now on, if anything was to be accomplished.
"Come on, we can use my office to discuss the arrangements for your wedding unless you've done it already?" Caleb offered.
"We did locate someone local and made an appointment, but that's as far as we got for we didn't want to assume anything," John said as he followed Caleb to the office, the voices of Jeanie and Rodney bouncing off the walls, the subject long since changed to something mathematic. John did peek in the living room to see the girls getting along great and so he relaxed as he entered the office. "Oh, we'll buy dinner tonight, sort of a sorry to barge in on you like this, kind of thing," John said.
"Oh, I'm sure we have plenty in the kitchen," Caleb grinned.
"Trust me, we're better off going out, as Rodney and vegetarian..." John shrugged.
"Don't get along to well?" Caleb asked.
"Not so much, no," John grinned.
The McKay Sibling Hurricane blew itself into the office with Jeanie walking up to John and poking him in the chest. "You're American Military?"
"What aspect of former didn't you understand?" Rodney said right behind her. "He USED to be in the Air Force."
Jeanie turned to John, hands on her hips, "You were a pilot and you're marrying my brother?"
John grinned, "Lt. Colonel John Sheppard, recently honorably discharged, at your service ma'am. And yes, I'm marrying Rodney, because I find smart incredibly sexy, and he's a good and brave man...he's saved my life and the lives of others countless of times over the last two years. You should be very proud of him," John said sincerely, his love for Rodney beaming in his eyes. He then turned to Rodney, who was looking proud as a peacock and smug. "We're buying dinner tonight."
The smug look faltered as Rodney looked confused, "Why? I'm sure even with Jeanie's cooking there is plenty here."
"Hey!" Jeanie said looking defensive, chin raised high like her brother had a tendency to do. "I have you know I haven't burnt a meal in over a year!"
"They're vegetarians," John added.
"Vegetarian?" Rodney said, and then looked at his sister as if he didn't know her anymore. "Vegetarian!" He said and they were off again, this time out of the office destination unknown. The words "it's healthy for you" rebounding back into the office as Jeanie went on the defense.
John turned to see Caleb smirking. "You're good," Caleb said lifting his beer in salute to John.
John grinned, "That was nothing you should see me when I have to keep Rodney from angering the...local folks." Seeing Caleb was curious, he changed the subject. "So, where do you recommend for a honeymoon, as Rodney and I only have two weeks and we do want to spend some time here before heading back." John was pleased to see Caleb allowed the change of subject as he began rattling off suggestions.
John listened to the siblings still going at it, his daughter and Madison giggling at something, probably Jeanie and Rodney and Caleb was still offering suggestions as he booted up his computer to search online for information. John felt warmth inside his chest and realized that he was feeling happy, and very glad he and Rodney decided to come here.
Three days later, Jeanie beamed with pride while standing witness to seeing her brother married. He looked handsome in his tux, though John looked better; she was still human after all. Korey was the ring bearer and Madison was the flower girl. To her disappointment their vows were too short, but the love that practically glowed from them made up the difference as the exchanged rings and sealed their vow with a kiss.
Afterwards, Caleb and Jeanie insisted on taking everyone out to celebrate, and a fine restaurant that had dancing was prearranged, so the newlyweds could have their dance. Rodney fussed but once John stood up and extended his hand, Rodney couldn't refuse him anything. Jeanie saw he was a bit subconscious when the singer of the band announced this was their wedding day and they were going to dance their first dance as a couple, and people applauded and left the floor to leave the loving couple their moment. Then the band played Because You Loved Me by Cecily Dion (as she owed Rodney for not attending her wedding) and soon Rodney was melted into his husband's arms, and John had eyes only for Rodney...she blamed a spec in her eye when she felt a tear fall down her check as she watched and wolf-whistled when at the end of the song, the two men shared a kiss, and she laughed at seeing her brother flustered as people returned to the dance floor.
"Just for that," Rodney said and pulled Jeanie to her feet and dragged her out to the floor, where he showed that he was capable of dancing very smoothly, if not fancifully. John of course took Korey's hand, while Caleb took Madison's and they let their daughters stand on their feet as they danced. Then it was Rodney's turn to dance with Korey and John danced with Madison while Jeanie danced with her husband...then the dinner arrived along with a bottle of champagne compliments of the house with their congratulations to the married couple.
The meal was followed by a small cake, which Jeanie had prearranged with the restaurant, and everyone at the table banged until John and Rodney agreed to feed each other a slice, which of course wound up over both their faces, instead of in their mouths. Caleb, having agreed to also be camera person made sure he got plenty of photos of the disaster and kiss Rodney placed on Jeanie's face moments after.
Once everyone was cleaned up, John and Rodney took a cab from the restaurant to the hotel they were going to be staying at, having decided they didn't want to go too far from Korey should they be needed, while Jeanie and the rest headed home.
"I can't believe it," Rodney said, as he looked at the gold ring he now wore, for he had believed he'd never marry.
"Believe it, Doctor Sheppard," John grinned, placing a small kiss on Rodney's cheek as the cab headed to their hotel. "We're married."
Rodney beamed, "Yes, Mr. McKay, we are."
John burst out laughing, "you know, I'm going to give Caldwell with that, don't you?"
"What, him having to call you Mr. McKay and me Doctor Sheppard, when everyone else will still be using our surnames?" Rodney asked, knowing full well that was what his husband had in mind.
"That or make him use Sheppard-McKay for me and McKay-Sheppard for you," John said, looking like the imp he was capable of.
The quickly arrived at the hotel, John paying for the cab, for they were already checked in, their belongings brought by before the wedding. John was pleased that a few of the staff from earlier recognized them and congratulated them on their marriage. John decided that if they did change their minds to stay on Earth, as it wasn't a hundred percent they were going to go back to Atlantis, for John and Rodney had a few 'demands' of their own, before saying yes, they would settle in Canada.
Once upstairs, John didn't wait until the door to their honeymoon suite was closed before pouncing on his husband. He kicked the door closed and then pressed Rodney up against the wall, kissing his mouth with a hunger born of weeks, months, years of denial. "I want you," John said in between devouring kisses.
For once Rodney was too busy focusing on kissing and touching his husband, he didn't even try to reply. He just multi-tasked, kicking off his dress shoes, while finding the clasp to John's pants, making it clear that not only he wanted John, he wanted him naked and in bed now!
"I can't believe I managed to keep my hands to myself so long," John panted as he moved back only long enough to remove the jacket and shirt, which landed someplace on the floor along with Rodney's tux, as he stepped out of his pants. His eyes grew darker seeing how aroused his husband was and it made him even more so. "Bed now or we'll never make it."
Rodney grinned and without hesitation flew to the bed, removing the last vestiges of clothing to lay sprawled out on his back in the center of the large king size bed. "What's taking you so long?"
John had stopped at the foot of the bed to savor the look of his husband, naked and waiting and willing for him. He licked his lips as he dropped his boxers, leaving him nude as well. "I can't believe you're finally mine," John said in a hushed whisper, as if he spoke too loud the dream or spell would be broke and he'd lose this. Slowly John climbed up the bed up and over Rodney, not touching him, just soaking in the heat of his body, increasing the intensity of the want he had and could see in Rodney's eyes. "For the next three days," John said, his breath increasing simply from being so close to his soon, very soon to be lover, "we not leaving this room and I'm going to make love to you over and over again, that you'll forget anything exists but me."
Rodney grinned ear to ear, "Bet I can make you forget first?" Then Rodney proceeded to pull John down into a hot deep wet kiss, then slid his hands down John's strong back to press their bodies together, wrapping his legs around John's.
"You win," John said when forced to take a breath, then dived back in, relinquishing all thought about anything that didn't have to do with Rodney and making love.
Korey wasn't too happy about leaving her cousin and new best friend, Madison, and neither it seemed was Rodney; himself feeling about the same, but their leave time was up as it were and they needed to get back to Colorado and the SGC to get and give some answers.
John was pleased by the small party given by SG-1 and unofficially attended by General Landry, in honor of their wedding. Rodney was red the rest of the party after opening Sam's gift and found it to contain an enormous amounts of various flavored lubricants...minus lemon and Orange flavors, as the note attached stated. John pocketed the coffee and chocolate flavors to put aside for 'special' evenings.
Thankfully, Korey had been too enticed with meeting Cassie Frasier, who was an alien and adopted by human's, her Earth mother the former Major Janet Frasier who died in the line of duty, and Samantha Carter's goddaughter, that she was never made aware of the more 'embarrassing' gifts the two men were given.
That evening, the little family was shown back to their quarters...bigger quarters, thanks to Daniel Jackson, where they crashed early from the jetlag and the excess of sugar overload, so John was a bit surprised to wake up in the middle of the night to find himself alone in the room. He got up and checked to see Korey was sound asleep in the side room, snuggled up to the stuff tabby cat Rodney got her.
John had just finished putting on his pants when the door to their quarters opened revealing Rodney, who was only partially surprised to see John was up. "Sorry," he said softly as he moved to sit at the table provided and placed down two folders, looking very unhappy.
"What's wrong?" John asked, making sure Korey remained asleep and closed the door most of the way before taking a seat next to his husband. "Where did you go?"
Rodney sighed. "I probably should have said something but with everything going on, it seemed rather trivial, but with the last data burst to Atlantis, I sent Radek a message or to be precise a question...I just got the answers back." He then slid the folder with the fewest papers in it over toward John to let him read it for himself.
John opened the folder and saw each paper held the same question, though the replies varied. It read: Would you invite your loved one or family to live on Atlantis right now? Why/ Why not? Explain below.
John looked up at Rodney puzzled. "And?"
Rodney sighed again, "You're holding the only POSITIVE replies, the rest..." Rodney shoved over the other thick folder. "Though the survey was anonymous, it's not hard to pick out a few folks, but more importantly, Radek made sure everyone participated.
John looked through the other folder quickly to see they all said no, for various and similar reasons. He looked up in time to see fury pass in Rodney's eyes and he reached out and laid a gentle hand on his, "Rodney?"
"They were willing to sacrifice our family, to have us there. Our daughter, but not willing to sacrifice or risk their own family...that...that makes me..." Rodney looked hurt and furious at the same time.
John looked again in the yes folder and was able to tell via the answers given that it had to be the same handful of folks that supported them in staying and felt relieved, then gave the folder to Rodney. "Those that wanted us to stay..." he began, only to be cut off.
"No, I meant the damn IOA and Governments!" Rodney spat. "Even the Prime Minister of MY Government denied my request to have Jeanie's family to come along. Said, some nonsense about security and that Korey was born out there so it wouldn't be a shock to her. I...I..."
John reached over and gently kissed his husband, as he didn't like seeing him so upset, even though he understood totally why Rodney was angry. "I know how badly you want to go home, as do I. But if it's not safe then..." he saw the anguish in his love's eyes and knew what he had to say. "Then...we find a way to make it safe."
"Do you think we can? I mean from here...Earth?" Rodney asked, sounding so young and his eyes looking so imploring John had to hug and kiss him.
"Together we can do ANYTHING," John said, for in his heart he knew it was true. He then leaned back to meet Rodney's eyes. "It might take some time, but so long as we're together, we'll be fine, I promise."
"I think we need to tell Korey we're not going back anytime some," Rodney said softly, leaning his head on John's like the Athosian handshake.
"Yes, but in the morning, just before we inform the General and Atlantis. I know those who support us will understand, especially when we explain our new mission."
Rodney leaned back, "and that is?"
John grinned, for he knew Rodney was a genius, but at times he could be thick, especially when he was very tired. "To make our home safe for our family....families," John amended.
Rodney beamed and cupped John's face, "I am so glad I married you," he said moments before kissing John senseless.
Two Years Later
"Are they here yet?" A seven year old Korey asked her Daddy as she ran into the control room, huffing a bit and brimming with excitement.
Rodney turned from the control panel dressed in his science uniform and rolled his eyes and placed a hand on his hip as he looked at his daughter. "What are you, seven or something?" he asked sarcastically.
Korey giggled, "Yes."
Rodney smirked, "then I guess it's okay, and..."
Just then John hurried in, dressed in a black t-shirt and khaki pants, not huffing as hard as Korey was a minute ago. "Are they here yet?"
Rodney rolled his eyes and before he could respond, Carson followed on John's heels.
"Are they here yet?" Becket asked, huffing similar to when Korey arrived moments earlier.
Rodney shook his head, and then he tapped his ear radio and pressed a button on the control panel. "Attention all Atlantis," he said. "I'm announcing that the new arrivals at this time have n..."
"Incoming wormhole," The technician said, interrupting Rodney's announcement. "Earth shuttle IDC," the tech added.
Rodney cleared his throat, seeing the smirks on John's, Korey's and Carson's face along with a few others in the control room, then continued as if uninterrupted. "Arrived," he said as he moved toward the trio of inpatient people as he spoke. "All new arrivals will be processed via the jumper bay as is protocol, before proceeding to the visitors lounge." He said as he just stepped past the trio. "Also, anyone expecting new arrivals still left in the control room following this announcement...is a rotten egg." Rodney said as he tapped his radio off and dashed to the transporter, doing something no one in Atlantis until recently would have ever expected of him; giggling.
"Daddy!" Korey cried as she dashed after him, then was swept up into John's arms as the two ran after Rodney, Carson on their heels, while laughter from the control room filled the air.
Carson just made the transporter as the doors almost closed on his butt. "That's not funny," Carson said, only his eyes showing he enjoyed the game.
Rodney, who had been standing in the center, stepped toward John and Korey and waved a hand under his nose. "Whew, does it smell of rotten eggs in here?"
Korey giggled, "Daddy, Doctor Carson doesn't smell, even if he was last."
"Thank you, darling," Carson said and leaned over planting a kiss on Korey's cheek.
They exited moments later to see Laura Cadman-Beckett waiting for them; a very expecting Laura Cadman-Beckett. "What's taking you so long?" she griped, as her back was hurting her as she was carrying high and as big as twins, though Carson insisted it was only one.
"Sorry, luv," Carson said as he greeted his wife and let her lean on him as they made their way to the area appointed as the Visitor Lounge, where all new arrivals were screened before being allowed to enter the city.
"Doctors" One of the soldiers on security detail smiled before using his code to allow the party to bypass the main entrance, so they could greet the shuttle as the passengers disembarked.
"They're here, they're here," Korey said with excitement at seeing Madison scrambling down the ramp of the Puddle Jumper with Caleb in tow, equally excited. John for his part had no choice but to put her down as she ran to greet her cousin.
"Glad you could finally make it," John greeted as he shook Caleb's hand, and then squatted to give Madison a kiss and a hug.
"Glad to finally be here," Caleb said then turned to help Jeanie down the ramp, as she was carrying a toddler and she was as big as Laura. "Here let me get Bradley," Caleb said, taking the little boy and the baby bag from Jeanie.
"You're looking big," Rodney greeted as he walked up to Jeanie and gave her a kiss and a hug.
"If I wasn't pregnant with little Robbie here, I'd kick your sorry...butt," Jeanie said, her eyes sparkling with love and affection for her brother.
"So, it's a boy then," John said as he hugged his sister-in-law.
"Yep, due any day now and before you protest, I wanted him born here in our new home," Jeanie said firmly.
"Everyone," Carson interrupted as he led an older woman over to the group along with Laura. "I'd like to introduce you to my Mum," Carson grinned with the pride of a boy proud of his mother.
"It's a pleaser to finally meet you," Mrs. Beckett smiled, still amazed to what new wonders her baby boy, soon to be a father of his own, was up too.
"This is Doctor John Sheppard, leader of our little band, and his husband, Doctor Rodney McKay and their daughter Korey," Carson introduced.
"Not Sheppard-McKay or McKay-Sheppard," came an unexpected but familiar voice.
Everyone turned to see Elizabeth Weir stepping off the 'Jumper carrying a large duffle bag, looking relaxed along with a pleased to be back look on her face.
John grinned as he moved forward. "Ambassador Weir, welcome to Atlantis," John said as formally as he could, then broke into a huge grin and hugged Elizabeth. "Welcome home."
Elizabeth looked only a tad guilty, then smiled sincerely, "Thank you for having me back."
"You sure you're okay with..." John gestured his hand, much like Rodney in a circular motion, hoping it expressed his thoughts.
Elizabeth laughed, feeling nothing but welcomed after so much time had passed since she stepped down to let John take over. "To be honest, I'm relieved. I get to do what I love best and step back and let someone else deal with the headaches," she grinned sincerely.
"Yeah, yeah," Rodney said as he gently shoved John aside and hugged Elizabeth, all the animosity from the past long since forgiven, as it was her who made all this possible in her support of John taking over in her place, once he met the minimal qualification and got his Doctorate.
"Aunt Liz!" Korey greeted and ran and hugged her, not expecting her anytime soon.
"Well, this is definitely cause for a celebration," John said, rubbing his hands together. "The whole family is here," he said, looking at Elizabeth and the Becketts and his in-laws.
"Can we have pizza?" Madison asked with big hopeful eyes.
Everyone exchanged a few looks, and Jeanie sighed. "I did TRY and explain that things would be different here," she said.
"Don't worry, I'll show her the ropes," Korey said, much like her other father, John.
"I don't care what we have, so long as I can get off my feet," Laura said.
"I'm with you there," agreed Jeanie. "You must be Laura," she then added and the two women were off in comparing notes on pregnancies and the pros and cons of husbands, with poor Carson in the midst as his mother joined in as well as they headed out.
"I'm so glad we arranged our stuff to be sent ahead of time," Caleb said with relief, handing little Bradley over to his Uncle Rodney, along with the baby bag. "I should go..." he thumbed toward Jeanie and dashed off, feeling sympathy for Carson and relieved he'd ditched Bradley and Madison with John and Rodney.
"He did it to us again?" Rodney said once it struck him that he got tricked into babysitting, like Caleb and Jeanie did on Earth with Madison several times before.
John laughed. "Yep, seems so. I'll leave you to it, I've got to meet the rest of the new personnel," he added, hoping to make his own escape, but was thwarted by Korey who pulled on his pant leg wanting his attention.
"Yes?" John said, seeing that Rodney had already figured out John's strategy and was making toward the exit with Bradley, leaving John with Korey and Madison.
"Now that Atlantis is safe for families, when am I going to get MY baby brother?" Korey asked innocently.
John blinked like an Owl for a moment then looked up to see Rodney laughing as he vanished behind the exit doors. "Rodney...Rodney!" he shouted. He then looked down and saw Korey standing with her arms crossed over her chest much like Rodney, looking as if she not only expected an answer, but a time and date of delivery.
"Doctor Sheppard, please report to the Visitor Lounge," came the announcement.
"Well?" Korey asked as she folded her arms over her chest much like Rodney, Madison looking like a little twin taking the same pose; it must be a McKay thing.
John slapped his palms to his face, "For the love of..." he said, then sighed. He had wanted this; Rodney, family, Atlantis, he'd just have to accept there would be bumps in the road like this, since it was worth it. Definitely worth it! Then he looked at her with a huge smile, "That is a question you should put to your Father, after all, he's the mega-genius right?"
"Right," Korey agreed easily, grinning ear to ear. She then took Madison's hand, "Let's go ask my daddy when my new baby brother is coming," she said dashing off after her father.
John wasn't too worried, for he and Rodney along with the rest of the crew of Atlantis had worked hard in securing the city and working with the bio signatures, so access was now limited, so small kids or any non-authorized personnel wouldn't be able to go anywhere unsafe or they would get gently corralled by the Atlantis computer to locations suited to them...i.e. Korey and Madison would be directed to where Rodney was.
John feeling rather proud of himself that he pawned that question off started to head to the Visitor Lounge and then froze. Suddenly it dawned on him, if anyone COULD figure out how to make such a thing happen it WAS Rodney McKay-Sheppard, Mega-Genius of two Galaxies...Oh boy, was the last thing John though before he passed out with realization that sometime soon he was going to be a father again.