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He had always tried to follow the rules, always tried to do the right thing, and what did it get him? Kicked out of the Air Force with a dishonorable discharge, a few nasty scars and his father disinheriting him... all because he wanted to do the right thing and save good men from dying. The problem was he succeeded in saving his men, but apparently from what he could 'dig up' they were not supposed to live, as they had known something they were not supposed to know... and thus were killed in an accident a week later. When he tried to bring this to someone's attention, the hammer hit hard and he was kicked out in full disgrace.
That was over three years ago, and now former Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard, had used his mother's trust fund, which thankfully his father couldn't touch, and invested it in what he believed the best possible of futures... revenge.
Slowly, ever so slowly, he disappeared from society, erasing any trace of himself, and began seeking out those that would give him all the skills needed to do what he wanted. At first it had been simple justice, but as he dug into the dark secrets surrounding his friends' death, he found out it was due to greed and power, that went fairly high up the chain of command, in and out of the military. He realized he couldn't topple such a large corrupt organization, but he sure could give them a run for their money, in fact, he could take a good chunk of it, and that would hurt them the most... but he needed not only good people, he needed those he could trust... either by personality or blackmail. He needed people whose loyalty he could ensure one way or another.
As with his disappearing from any 'radar screen' he slowly worked to gather intelligence on all sorts of people; experts in various fields, but what he was lacking was someone who could make a computer dance to their whim with little effort. There were hackers, and then there were the elite. Even among the elite, he was finding it hard to find someone who could beat him, and the target systems he had in mind were above his level of expertise, so he needed someone much better... thus he continued to search.
His first year was dedicated to disappearing then investigating. His second was scouting location and funneling his finances so they couldn't be traced and raising more funds so he would have the quality equipment his 'people' would need when the time was at hand. He also needed a base of operations and this took time and cash... lots of cash. To raise that cash he used his skills, not only piloting but his gift for numbers, which allowed him to make a run at the average computer system or gaming table. Monte Carlo was still very memorable in his mind.
This last year was finalizing his choices of personnel, and he had chosen half a dozen that would serve him well, but he was undecided on which computer specialist would serve him best, and he had narrowed his search down to five after searching the world over. He sent them a little 'challenge' under the guise of a job offer which would pay handsomely if they succeeded in overcoming the 'test'. So far only four of the five had responded, as their profiles had said they would, and so far they were proving very disappointing. The challenge was elegant in its conception. He had set up a target computer... their mission was to get in and out of that computer, undetected, having retrieved a particular file... intact. Three had failed to get the file before being detected; the fourth almost made it, but tripped over a little 'minor' protocol program and thus failed to get the complete file. Sadly that was his best option to date. The fifth applicant had either not received his challenge or disregarded it or decided it wasn't enough to even attempt it. Of course they could have simply realized they weren't up to it, which was fine, he didn't need losers or cowards. He needed someone willing to take risks and capable of getting the job done.
Sheppard sat back in his high-back leather chair, looking at his monitor, frowning. The noonday sun was warm, and the shadows played across his study/office, giving it an almost homely feel. He looked up at the sound of a knock to his door. "Enter," he called out, knowing it was one of two people, as no one else would dare bother him, if they knew what was good for them... he established that early once they arrived here to work for him.
The tall slim Asian woman entered, her posture like a soldier, like Sheppard, she had been, until she had been accused of being a lesbian and kicked out of the Marines. Former Sergeant Kiko Takagi wasn't, but she had been outshining too many of the men and had shown up an asshole who turned out to be the son of a General, who didn't believe women belonged in the services...or workforce in general. She had been blacklisted like Sheppard and regular life had been hard and she too wanted revenge on those that had screwed up her life. Her family shunned her as she was a disgrace to them in their eyes, much like Sheppard, but unlike him, her grandfather, a traditionalist, and a bit senile, felt the only way to return honor to the family name, was ritual suicide. They blamed Kiko as did those in her small home town; for they didn't believe she wasn't a lesbian, for in their eyes, the military wouldn't make such false accusations.
John found her running guns in South America, kicking ass and getting drunk. Two nights later, after she kicked his ass and they were a draw in drinking the other under the table, they had a long talk. On the fourth day, the third still a blur from a hangover, Sheppard had himself a bodyguard and the first member of his team.
"Sir, there is an unscheduled boat approaching," she informed him. She treated Sheppard like an officer... one she respected.
John arched a brow, for he had chosen this little set of islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, as no one would be suspecting such an operation off the coast of Canada. "What kind of boat and how fast?" he asked as he got up from his seat and crossed to the door, following Kiko into the hall and down the corridor and down the steps into the bunker, where the control room was.
"Perry reported it was a regular motorboat, traveling at regulated speed, but its heading is directly here," Takagi informed him as she traveled down the steps, looking ever the professional in her grey pant suit, as she also posed as his secretary for the few locals that thought this place was a small, private, up and coming aeronautical firm.
Sheppard waited for Kiko to open the secure door that led to the security room. There were other areas farther underground, but this one was for general security. He saw the slim olive skinned man, look up, his dark eyes showing nothing but curiosity, so whatever was happening wasn't tripping any of his danger senses. Former Lieutenant Richard Perry had been dishonorably discharged from the Army on grounds of incompetence and negligence of duty, like others, it was a bogus charge to cover for the real criminals. John, feeling the military would provide him the best resource of skilled people, traced Perry to Nevada, working for a third rate detective agency. Perry was bitter and going to waste. It only took a day for John to know he could count on Perry, for the man reminded him of his deceased friend Mitch, strong, silent, smart and loyal to a fault if you gave him cause. Perry, like Kiko had been with him over a year now, and he had no regrets.
"Well?" Sheppard asked, moving to see the monitor that showed the motorboat approaching and slowing as it neared the small dock and pier off his property.
"Two men, driver is Blake Shannon, local, hires his boat out from time to time... harmless. The second man... never seen him before, but he doesn't look military or a suit," as he punched a few keys on the control board before him, the image of the motorboat enhancing, the faces of the two men, just visible... the driver's face matching a profile of the locals and others John and his team have downloaded.
"Have Reeves and Wilson meet our... guest. Make sure he isn't armed and show him up," Sheppard said, curiosity getting the better of him as the distorted face struck him as familiar, but he couldn't place it off hand.
"You think that's wise?" Kiko asked, though it wasn't a questioning of his orders, just clarification... she was too loyal to do anything else.
"No, but I still want to meet him," John grinned and headed up to his office as he knew Kiko would carry out his orders.
Sheppard went to his office and poured himself a drink of scotch, and set things to his liking, guns hidden in various spots along with a few other surprises should it be necessary. He then sat down and sipped his drink and got a dark grin on his face. Several years ago he could never have imagined himself in such a situation, but then he never imagined being betrayed by the very people he had sworn to protect and give his life for.
Sheppard was roused from his musing by the sound of a loud voice, one he didn't recognize, followed by the voice of Shelly Reeves, telling whoever it was to quit his belly aching. Sheppard chuckled, as he knew most folks would underestimate Reeves more than they would Takagi. She was Australian/American, holding duel citizenship, and at one time served the United States Navy proudly... until they needed a scapegoat. At only five foot three, though a bit stocky, she could kick ass with the best of them; only Kiko had been able to best her so far. She also had a great eye for concealment and was an expert in explosives and the fine art of weaponries.
"Stay here," came the deep baritone of the powerhouse of his little group, Jacob 'Jake' Wilson, a former Navy Seal, who had also met up with the short end of the stick and was looking to get his own back. His story was similar to Takagi, except he was gay and it was his lover, another Seal, who had paid the price for the narrow mindedness of the US Military. Wilson was currently listed in the Military computers as MIA, when in truth he and his lover had been left behind enemy lines in Saudi Arabia at the end of a Black Operation... they were being set up to take a fall, 'proving' gays did NOT belong in the military. Wilson and his lover had escaped but his lover had been shot and died from lack of medical treatment several days later.
Sheppard had made learning of such betrayals his business and with the help of Perry and a lot of well placed funds, Wilson's name crossed his desk. He and his team went out to find Wilson and his lover... but they had been too late to help Jerry. Sheppard made sure the man was buried in his home town and the family privately notified. That's all it took to win over Wilson and his many talents.
Sheppard had let his door partly open so he could listen and looked up at the six foot two dark skinned brick house opened his door and looked to him for instructions. "Was he armed?" he asked the man.
"No. He only had a duffel bag of clothes and a fancy lap top. He said you invited him," Wilson reported.
Sheppard arched a brow. "Really? Did he give a name?"
"Yes, Sir, Rodney McKay..." Wilson replied.
"Doctor Rodney McKay," the new voice called out from the hall.
John Sheppard's eyes went wide with delight as he placed his scotch, barely touched down on his desk. "Send him in," he grinned as he sat forward.
John watched as Wilson stepped back and saw a man, a bit shorter than John himself, enter, looking disgruntled and rather perturbed. But it wasn't the worn cloths or even the fiery movement that caught his attention, or the snappish voice. It was the most electrifying blue eyes with incredibly long lashes for a guy, that first struck John as the man stormed his way into the office, looking ready to go a few rounds with a bulldog.
"What's the meaning of this? Your instructions clearly said to come here, why the fifth degree? Do you have any idea how long I've been traveling to get here?" McKay gripped, as he moved to just in front of the desk and leaned forward to glare at the man before him.
John loved the guy's brass and smiled. "I'd say a minimum of twelve hours, depending on whether or not you got a non-stop flight or had to do a layover and switch planes. Then of course, there is how long it took you from the local airport to the dock and then finding someone to bring you out here," John replied knowingly. He then stood up and held out a hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Doctor McKay," he grinned, giving his most charming smile, which he didn't have to fake as he was very impressed. The file if removed intact gave instructions on how to contact him only... the fact that McKay had not only got that information but was HERE proved he was the man Sheppard wanted on his team. Of course, just because McKay was here, didn't mean the man would join up, as what John was doing or should say, going to do, was not legal... in any country.
Rodney looked a bit taken off guard, and then barely shook John's hand, regaining focus on his rant. "Actually it's been over a day... I didn't exactly wish to be followed," he said as he turned just long enough to find a chair and plop down in it, looking weary. "Least you could do is offer me something to eat and drink," he snapped.
John grinned, this man was something else. "Wilson, would you be so kind as to... get something for Doctor McKay?"
"Coffee... good stuff and food, yes, yes please," Rodney said over his shoulder. "But nothing with citrus in it," he said and saw the big man roll his eyes as he moved off. "I'm serious here!" he shouted.
"Don't worry, Doctor McKay, Wilson won't bring you anything that will make you sick," Sheppard said taking a seat behind his desk, his mind racing to recall what he knew of the man before him, which wasn't as much as he would have liked. He knew the man held several PhDs, had been working for the US Military from the age of twenty, having his first and other doctorates funded by them in exchange for his services. He had been working on top secret classified projects for years, until last year, when he had been sent to Siberia for some reason. There had been some conflict between him and the Russian Government and the man was sent back to the States three months later, only to be cut off, kicked out, and his records sealed... which for an academic is the same as being dishonorably discharged and blacklisted. He didn't exist in the world around him and his doctorates were next to meaningless without a history, and he had been virtually cut off at the knees. This made him a prime target for what Sheppard was look for in the people he sought out.
"Do you mind if I ask, why would you be concerned about being followed? I mean," he gave a nonchalant shrug, "we don't have anything to hide."
"Huh," Rodney said, turning to see his duffel bag and laptop being set down by the blond woman. Then he looked back at Sheppard. "Remind me to never play poker with you," he replied, taking his laptop in hand, to make sure it wasn't damaged.
"Why is that?" John asked innocently.
"Cause you're very good at bullshitting. If I didn't know any better, I'd almost swear you were telling the truth," Rodney replied and opened his laptop and booted it up. "If you want to sit here and trade fairy tales, that's you're business, and I'll be expecting full compensation for my time and traveling expenses... otherwise, cut the crap," he said, meeting John's gaze.
John thought for two seconds to decide if he was annoyed or amused; amused won out and he grinned. "You're not much on small talk, are you Doctor McKay?"
"No. I've been told by many, I'm petty, arrogant and bad with people. If you've done half your homework on me, you know this already; if not... then you might be way over your head inviting me here."
John's attention was on alert now as the man made a small point, he didn't have a great deal on McKay, not as much as he had on the others. But he wasn't going to let McKay know this, so gave a small smile, "Why would you say that? I wanted someone with skill, you more than proved you have it... since you're here," he grinned more.
Just then Kiko entered with a tray, two cups of coffee and turkey sandwiches as they were John's favorite. The few staff he had here were those he saved from a fate worse than death in the Middle East. Because of this he knew he could count on their loyalty, for they would be dead if not for him, and if anyone knew they were here, as they were here illegally, much like Wilson, they would be deported back. To keep them safe, he previously instructed them to keep out of sight and let his team handle thing, such as delivering lunch. Kiko placed the tray on the desk, and with a look, got the okay from Sheppard, and left.
"Coffee," Rodney said, taking a cup and sipped it, "oh, this is good, one point for you in your favor, which is good, as you lost a few on the rough treatment I received outside.
John chuckled. "So... McKay, as I asked before, why would you say I might be over my head?" John asked as he picked up his cup of coffee and took a sip.
Rodney grabbed a turkey sandwich, checked the ingredients, and then ate it in about five bites before he decided to answer. "Let's see," he said, taking a deep sip of his coffee. "Though your computer system is good, it lacked any 'real' barriers, as I was able to not only access your 'test file' but bypass your other safeguards and access the rest of your system... I wanted to know who I was dealing with," he grinned smugly. "The information I've gathered isn't inclusive by itself, but I'm a genius, Mr. Sheppard, or should I say, Former Lt. Col. John Sheppard of the United States Air Force. I do my homework and I've got some theories as to why you would want someone like me here, and I find myself inclined to listen to what you have to offer."
John arched a brow, for that was a hell of a lot more than he expected and he found himself actually feeling unnerved and that hadn't happened in quite a while. "You accessed my files?" he asked, no longer smiling.
"Please, it was child's play," Rodney said, grabbing another sandwich. "Well, if that child happens to be a genius," he chuckled.
Sheppard narrowed his eyes and placed his coffee down and folded his hands over his desk. "Did it occur to you, that you may not be able to leave here, should you decline my offer?" he asked, sounding just as threatening as he knew he could be.
McKay scoffed. "Please. A few years ago, you might have made me wet my pants over such a threat, but not after the shit I've been through. And didn't I mentioned, genius here," he pointed himself and washed down the mouthful of food he was speaking around, down with more coffee which sadly was now gone. "I've made very specific arrangements to assure my safe return should I not wish to accept your offer. And no, I'm not going to tell you what arrangements... I'm not some stupid scientist that plays the cliché naive geek," he snapped back. The words 'not anymore' rang strong in John's mind. "Can we have more?" Rodney asked, holding up the empty coffee cup.
John found himself amazed and puzzled by the man before him. McKay had admitted he knew he was walking into a dangerous situation, had made arrangements for a safe return, which John found he believed, for the man knew enough to assure he wasn't followed, so he had to have some inkling as to what was going on. "Sure," he said, relaxing a bit. "Takagi," he called out, knowing she would be listening. "Could you have a pot of coffee brought in?" he asked, for he could see McKay was a coffeeholic.
"Thank you," Rodney said, placing his empty cup down, eying the other sandwich with hunger.
"Please, help yourself," John said, finding the expressions on Rodney's face interesting. He realized the man's eyes held so much emotion and saw a weary angry soul, and felt the connection of a kindred spirit. "Okay, why don't you tell me what you think you know..."
"I don't think I know, I know... er... know," Rodney began to snap, and then hesitated over his words. Then he sighed, "Look, all the people you've hired so far are former military, which indicates you either have a weird fetish for such or you have need of such skills only the military can provide. Also, from what I've discovered, most of them have a 'reason' to not like the military, especially the American Government, just like yourself. And though you might have some skilled people, I truly doubt you're looking to become mercenaries or assassins or take over some third world government..."
John smiled the one that could mean many things, and was a bit dark. "Why do you think that?"
Rodney blinked for a second, reacting to the dark smile, then swallowed hard. "Because though your people that I've read about are combat trained, only one was listed for doing Black Ops, the rest have a lot of technical skills...."
John found himself once more arching a brow, for his records didn't say anything about the background of his people, so McKay must really have done his homework. "In the modern world, such technical skill is needed to do just what you first said, McKay," he replied.
"True..." McKay conceded, and then nodded, "but then you wouldn't need me. Computers are for one thing, information, and top security... not the kind you'd find in third worlds, even with the level of technology out there on the black-market. Whoever set up your system is good enough to deal with most of them and a bit more. No, you're after something more or you wouldn't have bothered me, nor could you afford me... and I don't work cheap."
"You think anyone is going to pay you more than a basic teaching position, with your... background?" Sheppard replied, seeing his words stung the man before him.
John could see Rodney was hurt by the words as it was a horrid truth, a gift to him for all his loyal and invaluable services for the past fourteen years with the American Government. He then scowled, "You want to insult me, fine. You either make this worth my while or I leave... and remember, I've made arrangements for all I've learned to go to very specific people should something happen to me... people I admit I deplore, but would be interested in your little 'operation' here."
Again, John had to be amazed by the man's brass. "Alright McKay, I'll cut to the chase. There are a lot of people getting incredibility rich in the US Military and Government, by sacrificing national security and good men and women to cover their tracks. Now, let's get one thing straight, I'm NOT interested in selling out any particular government to another. I AM interested in taking the money these Son-of-a-Bitches are 'earning' from them."
"And do what with it?" McKay asked directly.
"Why get rich of course... I'm not stupid enough to think I can topple a corrupt government or military. I can get back at individuals and I decided that if I can get wealthy doing it, it would be more... justice in the long run. How does that sound?"
"Promising," McKay said seriously and grinned at seeing the pot of hot coffee being brought in and left on the tray. Rodney was on it the second Kiko let go of the handle. "Thank you," he smiled while pouring it. He took another sip and relaxed at the flavor. "But what do you need... me for if all you're interested in is money. I mean, really, had you been interested in toppling a few governments or such, I could see, but..." he shook his head, not seeing it. "Just what kind of money are we talking here?"
"The kind one gets from stomping on the toes of those that are abusing the good men and women in the military, which sadly is a very large sum, Doctor McKay. As for needing you, well, I have some very high goals and very... special targets... targets that my skills, though as you said, good, isn't good enough..."
Rodney's eyes went wide, "You set up the system?" he asked, looking surprised and a bit impressed.
John smiled, a real one this time. "Yes, McKay..."
"Rodney, I'm not in the military and I'm kind of done with them, so if you don't mind?"
John could understand that, it had just been habit and dealing with so many former military. "Not a problem, Rodney... John, if you please."
"Yes, yes, so... if you're thinking your skills aren't good enough, then the only targets could be..." Rodney's eyes went wide, "you're either ambitious or insane," he gasped.
"A bit of both I fear," John grinned.
"Huh," Rodney said, sitting his coffee cup down, only half empty and seemed to be lost in thought for a moment. He then looked at Sheppard with a great deal of seriousness. "What if I said, I could deliver you a lot more than you're thinking? What if with careful planning I could deliver you not only money but give you enough influence to swing the balance of power in this world?"
Sheppard had been studying McKay since the moment he walked through the door, and he saw a lot of anger, a lot of determination and a man he could easily bilker out of all his money in poker; though McKay's tells were minor and mostly in his sexy eyes. John was feeling a pull from the man across from him, and deep down he felt that this man really could give John what he was looking for... real revenge. "I'd say, what do you want and how do we finalize this deal?" he replied in all seriousness.
McKay grinned, for he could see Sheppard was taking him seriously and offering him a chance to get even with the smug sanctimonious bastards that used him and then tossed him aside. He nodded his head, "I want credit for my work when it's done... and yes, there will be much," he added. "I also want fifty percent..."
"Whoa, that's quite a big chunk McKay... er... Rodney," Sheppard interjected.
Rodney grinned, "I'll be providing you with more than enough. I doubt anyone will be complaining. I'll also want free rein over the science department you'll be developing, as you'll need it, and of course a top rate lab to work in."
Sheppard laughed, for that was some list, and though he had money to fund a lot, he didn't have that much. "Sure, anything else you want while you're at it?" he asked, his sarcasm clear in his voice.
McKay looked at him and smirked, "yeah, regular hot sex would be nice. It's been awhile. You'd be amazed at how hard it is to find the time when you're being hounded night and day by idiots and morons, then shipped all over the damn world."
John couldn't help but laugh, the man was nothing but blunt and full of brass... no steel balls. "I'll see what I can do for you," he added. Then he calmed down and met Rodney's gaze. "Before I could give you such 'luxuries' I'd have to have a lot more funds than I currently have, though a lot, it isn't going to get you all that..."
"I wasn't expecting you to deliver it tomorrow, but I figured I'd point out what I'm expecting up front. I am going to need good equipment if I'm going to be 'hacking' into high level computers to do your dirty work. Fortunately for you, I know those systems well and know what you need..."
"I'm surprised they let you go if you know that much," Sheppard joked, but deep down he was serious.
"They always underestimated me, but they were keeping an eye on my activities, thus why it took me so long to get here," McKay replied seriously. He then sat forward, "Look, you give me what I want I'll give you what you want. It seems the one thing we've all got in common is we've been screwed over and conventional justice isn't going to happen. Here," he said and hit a few keys on his laptop that had been sitting open and up since the beginning of this conversation. He then turned the screen so Sheppard could read it.
"What's this?" John asked as he read a long list of names of companies.
"Companies that are either contracted by the government to do top secret work or use classified technology, or a front for the government for the same. We have the technology from these locations you'd be virtually invulnerable, John. Hell, you probably could take over the world."
Sheppard arched a brow. "Don't you think that's... a bit cliché for you... I mean, evil scientist?" he grinned.
Rodney wasn't smiling. "You have no idea what they did to me. Eighteen years of Nobel Prize winning work washed away in a key stroke, and people dead because some assholes wouldn't listen and then chose to blame me for their ignorance. No, I don't think its cliché. Besides, if I wanted to be the Evil Scientist, I'd just create a virus that killed off stupid people... and since that would mean Billions of people, I think I'd rather not... just yet," he snapped, though he didn't seem like he was keen on the idea of hurting people. "The one thing I've learned with working with the Government... several governments if you must know, it takes more than just money to get things done, but money is the base of such power. You want it I can deliver it... do we have a deal?"
"Eighteen years? You're record said you started working for the American Government at age 20, you're thirty-four, wouldn't that be fourteen years?" John asked.
Rodney glared at him like he not only wasn't impressed by John's knowledge, but even more stupid for bringing it up, then Rodney shook his head with disgust. "You really think they're going to have on record somewhere some... hack, could get at, that they were having a sixteen year old building bombs for them? I don't think so and if you were half as clever as you think you are, you'd have noticed the serious income flux in my parent's revenue, which is damn impressive for one parent that is an alcoholic and another whose career highlight was High School physics, because he "loved his job". Loved it so much he..." Rodney stopped his rambling and shifted in his seat and lifted his chin high. "As I said, I am a genius, an underestimated, overlooked and under appreciated genius. I'm tired, and if you can't see what I can do for you and your operation, then... then... you'll be doomed to fail and I'll take the satisfaction in saying I told you so... if you're still alive that is..." Again, Rodney stopped his rambling, seeming to realize he was on another tangent. He folded his arms over his chest and stared at John waiting for a decision.
John thought about it, for if he agreed, it would make McKay his partner in this, though he didn't really see the man trying to take over for him. "Before I agree to such, I would need proof. I mean, as you said, my system was easy compared to my targets... so...."
Rodney rolled his eyes. "Fine, fine... but I'm going to want a good meal and some sleep. Then I'm going to have to see what you've got to work with and I'll let you know what I can and can't do based on what you give me... sound fair?"
"Yes," John nodded.
"Good," Rodney said, getting to his feet. "Oh, and room and board is included along with the 50/50 thing and all the rest," he said, pulling a crumpled sheet of paper out of his jacket pocket and laid it on the desk in front of Sheppard.
Sheppard looked and it was a list of wants, the main ones listed were already mentioned by McKay. There were a few others, but they were truly minor, and he had to laugh for regular hot sex was actually on the list. John stood up and moved around his desk, placing an arm around Rodney's shoulder. "You know, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship," he grinned.
Rodney rolled his eyes again. "Great, lovely, Humphrey, but can we skip the trip down movie lane and get me some place to shower and sleep, I'm tired and my back aches from the lousy seating on some of the planes I've taken and not to mention all those people, I'm covered in germs... you'll probably want to wash too," he said, indicating the arm around his shoulder.
John laughed, and noticed that Rodney didn't seem bothered by him being so close or the contact and found he was deeply pleased by this. "I'll risk it, come on, I'll show you to a room you can use," he said and led McKay out and through his house, giving a small tour as he went. The place was simply furnished, for Sheppard had simple tastes, plus, he was more interested in security than luxury, though the place had plenty of that too, and he had a feeling with McKay here, the place would be livened up a lot more, than he ever imagined.
Rodney was tired and though he had been traveling for over a day straight, he rested in the nice welcoming room, freshly showered and found his mind drifting. He wondered if he were insane for doing what he was doing. It was a line he had never even considered crossing until a short time ago, when his world went to hell in a handbasket. He had known for sometime to what kind of money and power he held the key, and those things had never meant anything to him, so long as he was free to work on the discovery of... whatever project stimulated his imagination at the time. He had always believed he was a precious asset to the government for whom he was working, or the one he had been 'loaned' to, but now he saw it clearly... he had been used, his work abused and now... now he was in a situation in which he had never imagined being and found he was scared, but of what exactly wasn't as obvious as he had thought it should be.
The sound of a knock at his door disturbed Rodney, and he realized he had fallen asleep while contemplating his past. He sat up on the very comfortable bed and rubbed his face to get the sleep out of it. He was still dressed in boxers and a T-shirt, so felt it was good enough to go answer the door. "Yeah?" he asked as he opened it and saw the short blond from earlier.
"Sheppard wants to see you," she said and then stepped back, obviously going to escort him once he was dressed.
"Fine," he replied and closed the door and scrambled some jeans on, wanting to be comfortable, and seeing no need to dress to impress. Clothes only made the man if said man wasn't one of if not the smartest man in the world. He slipped on some sneakers, and ran a hand through his thinning hair and wished he knew someone who had discovered a 'real' cure for male pattern baldness. Rodney then grabbed his trusty laptop and headed out and followed the short woman, who he was sure could break his neck without breaking a sweat should she decide, down stairs and to living area where Sheppard was waiting. Sheppard was dressed in a preppy version of someone getting ready to go out sailing. "You wanted me?" Rodney asked, thinking seconds later afterwards that perhaps it might be the other way around, as Sheppard was a very sexy man. Sadly the SOB knew it as he turned up the wattage of his smile.
"I want you to prove yourself, Mc... er Rodney," John said, having the decency to blush at his slip of the tongue, the military in him showing through. "Follow me," he said and he turned and headed out the door and down the way Rodney had come, but where there had been no boat/ship there previously, there was now a small yacht, dubbed the Snow Queen.
Rodney was led to a nice salon and offered premium coffee and told that once they were out to sea he would be shown the equipment and given his target. "After all, if you screw up, I don't want it traced back to me," Sheppard added.
"If I screw up, which is not going to happen, then you should throw me overboard, as I'm not fit to live," Rodney snapped back, insulted.
John chuckled, for he found Rodney's arrogance and confidence amusing and if the man could deliver half of what his ego was spouting, John would be very pleased indeed. "Let's just take it one step at a time, shall we?" he suggested, plopping down on the couch opposite of McKay and taking a drink from one of the ship staff, much like his house staff, all owed him their very life, and thus easier to be trusted. Though Sheppard never trusted fully and always had alternate plans going, to keep his options open. "So, while were waiting, why don't you tell me, what was behind your dismissal... the real reason," he added, letting Rodney know he was aware of the BS that was circulating about him.
"It's classified," Rodney said on automatic, then when he saw John's brow arch, realized what he said and had to laugh himself. "Sorry, automatic response," he grinned, looking a bit shy. "Some habits will be hard to break I guess," he added. Then he took a deep breath as if getting ready to dive into the deep end of a pool, which metaphorically, he was, and he wasn't even sure if he knew how to swim, much less with the various sharks and other creatures he was about to join. "I was working on a new power generator, which will revolutionize the world... literally," he smiled. Seeing the doubt in John's eyes he continued. "Imagine a generator approximately the size of a VCR that could power an entire city," he said, his eyes twinkling with knowing his words were the truth having seen them work.
John sat up a bit, seeing the delight in Rodney's eye and wondered if the man was telling the truth or insane, but he was willing to listen. "That would revolutionize the world," he commented.
"Indeed, but... it's still experimental," Rodney replied, some sadness in his eyes. "There are only two working models, there was to be a third, as a residual payment for some trade, to be honest I don't want to discuss those details now. To say the least, I wasn't happy being packed up and tossed on a plane to Siberia of all places with less than a day's notice," Rodney growled, recalling how they treated him.
"What happened?" John asked in order to encourage Rodney to keep talking.
"Well, basically I was supposed to be given as my assistants, Russia's best and brightest... I got MORONS," Rodney snapped, his anger sparking in his eyes, and John almost thought he really could see the lightning flashing in them. "I told them over and over and over again, that they were not ready for preliminary testing. They not only didn't listen, they had me dragged out of the lab and taken to the nearest military base to be 'sent back', though I should be thankful they did so, or I'd be dead like the rest of those assholes..." he shook his head, trying to let go of the images he had been shown of the test site, days later. He then looked up and met John's eyes. "Then they had the nerve to accuse me of sabotaging the project. Had I not already been back in the states, they probably would have tossed me in a prison and lost the key or shot me... but it wasn't my fault. I told them...."
Rodney was surprised to suddenly realize that Sheppard was now sitting next to him, rubbing his back, whispering to him to calm down. Rodney took a deep breath and did calm down, unsure if to acknowledge what John was doing or not. "Anyway, to satisfy the Russians I was hung out to dry... didn't matter that I could prove my innocence...." Rodney decided he was done talking about it. "Are we there yet?"
John realized he had moved and was comforting the man and felt a slight flush cross his face, as he had never felt the need to comfort anyone in a long time, much less a man. But there was something about Rodney McKay that spoke to him on a level he didn't fully understand, but found he wanted to explore it. "I'll go see," he said easily and got up to ask, knowing he'd be informed, but could tell that Rodney needed some time to gather himself.
Kiko was waiting just outside the door and saw Sheppard exit. She followed him to the front of the yacht and lean on a railing, looking distracted. "Well?" she asked, for she wanted his thoughts on the bizarre man that had the nerve to approach them. It also won, in her mind the man some points, as that had to take some guts, though she was sure he'd fold under real pressure.
"He's... complex," John said, for he wasn't able to get a clear picture of Rodney McKay, which wasn't the norm for him. "What does Reeves have to say?" for she had a good eye for sizing up people.
"Well, he wouldn't be breathing if she thought him a threat," Takagi replied knowingly. "She did say he had more depth than he probably realizes, and gave him points for showing up on your doorstep. She's still holding judgment on the rest... as you said, complex," Kiko finished.
John nodded his head, not that surprised.
"Sir," one of the staff said, getting John's attention. "We've arrived at the coordinates you requested, sir," the man said.
"Good. Hold steady until I tell you otherwise," John said lifting from the railing and turning to Kiko. "Let's go see what McKay can do," he grinned and went to gather the wayward scientist.
Rodney had his laptop open and was doing something with it, then looked up at his entrance. "Well?" he asked, closing whatever file he had been working on.
"Come with me," John said, thinking it might be a good idea to get a glimpse at what McKay had on his laptop sometime.
John led Rodney to the stern of the yacht and down a flight of stairs that led to a large computer room with the works, and held out his hand just like one of those models on TV, showing off the goods. "Tada."
Rodney looked around, but didn't seem impressed. He then kicked whoever was sitting behind the keyboard of the main terminal out by just shoving him aside, no manners whatsoever, and sat down. "Okay, what's my target, destination, whatnot, so I know what I need before hand and I can see if you possess it," Rodney said, sounding inpatient.
John wasn't surprised that Rodney wanted to get straight to the point, though he was a bit disappointed not to see Rodney's eyes light up as he had some of the best equipment money could buy sitting here. "Very well. Your target is the Simon Trade Center's central computer."
Rodney looked board. "You want the personnel list or their plans for their latest ppv-chip?"
John laughed. "Surprise me," John said, not believing Rodney could get in, as it was one of the toughest computers out there with more security than Fort Knox and Fort Gunther combined.
Rodney looked annoyed as he started evaluating the computer system before him, then after two minutes, hooked his own laptop to it, and began to work through it, instead of the main keyboard.
John sat back and kept an eye on Rodney, his stop watch prepared as he would time Rodney from the moment he began to transmit and connect to the satellite. The phone next to him beeped and he picked it up. "Yeah." He listened as he was told that a signal had just been sent moments ago from the computer room. "Okay," he said and lowered the phone, no longer feeling pleased with McKay.
"I should let you know," Rodney said, never breaking his concentration on his keyboard. "I sent a signal to prevent my... arrangements from taking place. I'll have to do that once a day... for a little while," he said over his shoulder.
"Why only a little while?" John asked, curious, and still wasn't sure how he felt about McKay getting this by him like this.
"For then, I'll either be working for you and will no longer need such reassurances, or I'll be home, and for the record," Rodney stopped what he was doing and looked at John, "I deplore those bastards, so I have no desire to give them squat, except as a last resort to prevent my untimely demise."
John could see that Rodney really didn't like his former bosses and nodded. "So, when do you think you'll begin or can you?"
"Your equipment is decent, it needs upgrading if you want to tackle more than the Simon Trade Center's mainframe, but your software is about as sophisticated as if a bunch of cranky two year olds wrote in crayons before naptime. Thankfully, I was prepared and have what I need with me already," Rodney informed him. "I've already tapped into your satellite, as you should know as I sent a signal," Rodney added. "I can make you a list of what you'll need and I can install it and upgrade it further, as you can't get what you really need out in a regular market..." He stopped and looked over his shoulder at John, "any market actually," he said, then turned back to what he was doing, his fingers never having stopped typing, as if they had a mind of their own.
"Hmm," was all John said, trying to watch and see what McKay was doing, but the program information was flying by so fast on the screen, he couldn't read it and he didn't recognize over half of it, which was very unusual. "So, what do you plan to do?" he asked.
"Do you want me to do it or hold a class discussion?" Rodney snapped, never turning his face from his screen.
"I'd like to know what you're doing?" John replied, feeling annoyed as he didn't like not knowing what was going on around him.
"I'll explain... later," Rodney said, and hit a few more keys and then reached over and placed in two CDs in the double burner then hit a few more keys, and a percentage bar came up on his screen and quickly zipped from zero to hundred percent, then flashed finished. Rodney then hit another few keys and then removed the two CD's and handed one to Sheppard. "Here," he said, placing the second one in his CD drive and closed it and began to power down his laptop.
"What are you doing?" John asked, not understanding what was going on. Rodney hadn't been at it for even twenty minutes and he was giving up already?
"Powering down, unless you have something else you want me to do," Rodney said as he looked up at John and it took a few moments to realize what the problem was. "I'm done," he said and nodded to the CD in Sheppard's hand. "There's your surprise," he smiled smugly.
Okay, John couldn't believe this. The man had barely been online there was no way, but he moved and slid the CD in and a brought up the directory and saw two files. One marked Personnel the other CLPPV239, and grinned. "That really the lasted ppv-chip?" he asked, as he opened the file and saw the information files listed.
"Yes," Rodney said, sounding unimpressed. "It'll improve a great deal of the performances of technology in general, but far from the best out there."
John's eyes opened wide at hearing this and it was suddenly dawning on him, just what might be at his fingertips. He then looked at McKay, "this is considered second rate?"
"I can give you access to better, but some things I won't be able to access from a second site and some materials needed to make other items are only to be found in secure locations... but yes, this is considered second rate by my standards."
John couldn't help it, he started laughing, for this was better than he had ever dreamed. He didn't even think about it, he grabbed McKay and kissed him, brief and quick and turned, his face beaming as he looked at Kiko. "Get us back, we've got some planning to do... seems my... Partner," he looked at McKay warmly then back to Kiko, "is going to take us into the next century... right?" he asked McKay.
Rodney saw he was in, and the kiss had sparked a lot of interest that he couldn't help but smile about too. "Right," he said, knowing that if somehow they pulled this off... he decided he didn't want to go there... yet.
It had been three weeks since he arrived here on the doorstep of John Sheppard's home, now his home and Rodney was feeling a mix of excitement and fear, as they were getting closer and closer to possessing the world's finest technology in existence. Sheppard's team had proven to be more than competent, and very capable at getting the items on the shopping list which he had given to John. There were only two items left and they had been deliberately left for last, as Rodney would have to go with them on their excursion since he couldn't access the computers in question from anywhere but a direct access link. Also, Sheppard had insisted Rodney get some 'training' in a lot of the basics... he wished he didn't agree, as he was paying for that with bruises and humiliation; though thankfully nothing too serious, to his face anyway.
"How's it going?" Sheppard asked as he entered the new bunker, which Rodney ran tighter and stricter than any military facility Sheppard's ever seen; he admired that, and the people that were hired showed great intelligence and great fear of pissing off their boss... McKay. John found he liked that even more.
"Well, if Ellington doesn't get his head out of his ass, you may have to shoot him, but other than that, we're on schedule," Rodney said, and John wasn't really sure just how serious McKay was about him shooting this Ellington person, as he's seen Rodney mad, and the man could be scary. "Once we get the plans for the RCP and the material to make it, I estimate six more weeks to be fully up and operational."
John grinned, and nodded with approval. "Do you think you can spare a few hours?" he asked, smiling one of his best smiles. "I've got something I'd like to... discuss with you."
Rodney sighed, as he was busy keeping his minions in line, but there were one or two he could trust to keep things from going astray. "A few," he said and called to his top assistant and told them he'd be back, a glare informing them that they would regret letting him down, before placing down his PDA and following John to the elevator that took him to ground level.
Rodney followed John, his mind still on what was being done, what still needed to be done, that he was startled to realize he had been led to a large bedroom. "Ah... ?" he said, looking confused.
"Care for a beer?" John asked, moving to a small refrigerator and opened it and pulled out two beers, showing Rodney they were Canadian.
"Yeah, sure," Rodney said, taking the beer, wondering where he was, but it didn't take long to realize he was in John's bedroom. He opened the beer and took a big swallow, appreciating the quality before looking at John for explanation.
John saw the confusion and thought it was cute. In fact, over the last three weeks, he'd realized he thought Rodney McKay was in his own way, not only cute, but sexy as hell. He was just as smart as he claimed to be, never pulled his punches... verbally that is, which always let you know where you stood with the man. He also had a heart, which surprised John. Seeing the man do little things for his staff and team, but never taking credit for it, and demanding accolades for doing his everyday work... the man was a puzzle and kept John on his toes, and he liked that... he liked that a lot! "I figured we could see about fulfilling the rest of your requests to being my partner," he smiled, easily removing his suit jacket, as he wasn't going to be needing it anymore today. He'd done his webcam meeting and had freed up his schedule just for this very purpose.
Rodney didn't know what John was talking about. He'd been giving free rein to create a top lab and computer system and full say over who worked with him, and was getting all he asked for on his shopping list. He would be getting fifty percent out of the profits they would be seeing at the end of three more months, he couldn't think of what more there was. "What?" he asked, not catching a clue, even as John removed his tie and kicked off his shoes.
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but I've come to the conclusion that you find me attractive, and not opposed to having hot sex with a man, am I right?" John asked, a knowing smile on his face as he sees Rodney's eyes grow wide with first surprise and then sudden understanding as John starts to take off his shirt, displaying his tanned naked chest.
"Um... well... no... I mean, yes... I..." Rodney stuttered, his eyes drinking in the sculptured chest, the dark hair that enhanced John's torso and lined itself downward, to what could only be more delightful to see.
John liked seeing Rodney flustered, it was a good look on him; just like seeing him passionate about his work, or furious at one of his workers, the man was a force of nature, and John was drawn to him, like a moth to a flame. He only hoped he didn't get burned too badly. He moved in and removed Rodney's lab coat, and saw the man's blue eyes grow darker with arousal and was very pleased by this. "Do you have a preference?" he asked, though it was more for conversation than anything, for he fully planned to fuck Rodney's sexy ass, having been starring at it for over three weeks. The workouts with his team had the added benefit of showing on Rodney's solid frame, which was looking more buff. He could easily imagine what he'll look like in a year and the image in his mind and before him made him drool.
"Um... obviously not, or I wouldn't be letting you strip me," Rodney replied, having found his voice.
John laughed. "I meant top or bottom," he corrected, and then kissed Rodney, finding his lips softer than he imagined, and soon his own mouth was engulfed as Rodney returned the kiss with skilled enthusiasm and the moan that escaped was his own. It had been a long time since anyone made him moan from a simple kiss.
"Damn," John gasped, then grinned. "I shouldn't be surprised, but I find I am," he panted.
"Surprised at what?" Rodney said, feeling lightheaded.
"That you're a fantastic kisser," John breathed then kissed Rodney again, his hands pulling the strong solid body closer to his own, and then slipping down to grab the hem of the shirt so he could lift it up and off Rodney's body.
Rodney's mind was spinning, not only at the delighted taste of John Sheppard, but the very fact that John was kissing him, touching him, wanting him. When he had made his comment, he figured it would be some blond bimbo who would be hired to 'please' him and that was okay, for then he wouldn't have to worry about pleasing her or even being nice... he never saw this coming!
Rodney suddenly realized he was on his back in the middle of a very large and comfortable bed, stripped down to only boxers and he was so hard, he felt he was going to explode. "John," he panted out with need.
John was also only in boxers as he knelt over Rodney, the tent in them big and obvious. "Just tell me you've done this before," John said, not sure if he was going to last. Rodney turned out to be hotter than hell during a heat wave, by the little sounds he made, and how responsive his body was to his touch. "Cause I want to fuck, you Rodney, I want to do it fast and hard," he panted.
Rodney's eyes were black with arousal, "Yes," he said, not sure if he could make another word, so spread his legs wide when they were free from his boxers, letting John see he wanted it and yes, he had done it before.
The preparation was fast and furious, and soon John was sliding in between Rodney's tight cheeks and had to hold still and count backwards in two languages to regain control as Rodney's passage was hot, tight and felt delicious around his cock. "I knew this would be fucking good," he growled, and began to slam into Rodney with all he had.
Rodney was open to whatever John wanted. He'd never been taken like this, it felt like being claimed and he was more than willing to be claimed by this beautiful, sexy, smart, cunning man. "John," he moaned out, gripping the sheets, but soon it wasn't enough and he reached out and pulled John to him tighter, his hand's gripping John's shoulders. Soon their mouths were devouring each other's again.
The climax that occurred between them was simultaneous, both men calling the name of the other out, and the light of the day danced behind their eyelids before darkness overtook their senses, leaving them both drained and fully sated, having felt as if their bodies had exploded and were slowly coming back together.
Time wasn't relative when they both came to their senses, and John could only beam as it had never been this intense and good with any of his past lovers, male or female. "Wow," he smiled ear-to-ear.
Rodney grinned and nodded in agreement. "I might have to reevaluate that request for every day," he panted, still trying to regain his breath.
John looked puzzled as he thought they had been spectacular, "Why?"
Rodney blinked his vision clearing. "Because doing that daily would probably kill me by the end of the week," he said and laughed at John's burst of laughter.
"But what a way to go, right?" John asked warmly.
Rodney nodded. "Only way to go, if you ask me..." then he yawned. "Sorry," he said, then began to sit up, and a hand on his chest stopped him. He looked at John unsure what was wrong, for the sex was over and as much as Rodney would love to stay, he knew how it was with men.
"Do you have to go back to work right now?" John asked, only his eyes showing a hint that perhaps he was hoping Rodney would say no.
"Ah..." Rodney said, almost missing the clue bus again, but he didn't, and the fire in John's hazel eyes, warmed him deeper than he thought possible. "No," he replied, and then yawned again. "Sorry," he murmured, for he wanted to stay, but he didn't think he'd manage any more sex at the moment.
"Good." John cuddled up next to Rodney, using him as a pillow. "Let's take a nap," he said softly, closing his eyes and relaxed.
Rodney was stunned, for he'd never had a man ask him to stay nor cuddle with him, but then no man he'd ever met could hold a candle to John Sheppard. Rodney settled back down and hugged John to him, and realized it hadn't taken much at all, he had fallen for the man, and fallen hard... if this went wrong he was in for a world of hurt!
Two months later after their first night together, it was decided that the Nestler building in Hong Kong was the perfect target to access for an on-site hit, where Rodney could assess the computer required to get the plans for the chip he needed that would finalize their plans making Sheppard's people "virtually invulnerable" and then would begin the roll of profit as they hit the son-of-a-bitches around the world where it hurt most... their pockets.
Timing was the key to a well executed plan, and Sheppard's people were the best, and Rodney felt humbled when he watched them in action and honored to be included in their circle, for they didn't look at him as an outsider anymore or the super geek, though he was and didn't mind being called King of the Geeks, by Sheppard. But to be welcomed to join them for a drink and thanked for his latest creation that saved their bacon from the fire, it made him feel appreciated.
It was also turning out that the partnership between himself and Sheppard, made them really unbeatable. Sheppard had a great mind for strategy, outrageous plans that would increase efficiency and decrease the odds of anyone getting hurt; especially the innocent folks that worked at the target sites. He gave Rodney an obstacle and Rodney would come up with a solution or Rodney would make a suggestion or list of what he had to offer, and John would rework the plan to encompass them in unique ways, that less than ten percent of their hits have even been detected, and there was still no clue as to who was behind them. Rodney knew this as he knew where to listen and keep an ear to the ground, just like Sheppard, and was pleased to hear victims scrambling around like blind mice.
The plans to the building had been easily retrieved, as was the security layout. John had decided the team would go in; render the few guards unconscious, as heavy force was only used if no other option was available. Then John would bring Rodney in when the place was secure, for he didn't want anything to happen to him. John made it sound as if Rodney was priceless to the team, but the others saw that Rodney was becoming priceless to John's heart and the same could be said of John's importance to Rodney's heart... this pleased them all and made them extra careful in the execution of the plan tonight.
So far so good, as John brought Rodney in, and they took up the express elevator to the thirty-third floor which contained the best access to the computer. His people had the building secure, and no one on the outside was any the wiser, and the guards would only think they fell asleep at their separate posts... there were not that many. All security feeds were in a non-detectable loop, thanks to Rodney's invention that mixed the signal and the playback enough to make it not look like a loop at all... very clever.
John stayed in front of Rodney as the elevator doors opened, and met Kiko, who nodded all was well, and the three went to the mainframe room. Rodney, dressed all in black with a mask like the rest of the team, opened his laptop, and with a special keycard he designed, he placed the card in the swipe and left it there, and with a few key strokes, the door opened, greeting Mr. Yamamoto. John shared a look with Kiko and she remained on the outer door to keep watch, just to be sure, and John followed Rodney inside.
John kept to the back of the wall, watching Rodney, for he knew the man had been nervous, but now, being here, Rodney was his confident self and moved with a grace one wouldn't think possible with his build, and took a seat at the main access terminal, and with a few keystrokes and a few tools he had in his little pouch, Rodney had access to one of the top five secure computers in the world... John was hard and very impressed. "You ever going to tell me how you do it?" he asked, for he had been watching and he still couldn't believe Rodney could access these computers as easily as he did.
"It would ruin the mystery," Rodney chuckled over his shoulder, his fingers still dancing.
"I doubt that," John replied.
"The truth is less impressive than what your colorful imagination is probably painting," Rodney laughed.
"Oh, now you HAVE to tell me," John insisted.
Rodney didn't say anything as he worked quickly, seemingly knowing exactly what he was doing. He then pulled a connection from his own laptop, which like John's gun... the man never left home without it, and John could see he was downloading the information. "I thought you said it was going to take you twenty minutes?"
"That's to download the information to my laptop and then for me to upload a little... surprise for them," Rodney chuckled, actually pleased with what he had planned for those that booted the computer up in the morning.
"Ah... surprise?" John asked, for there was no mention about there being any surprises. "What kind of... surprise."
"Oh, nothing much," Rodney said.
"I'm deleting their operating system, and mixing up a few commands... if they're lucky, they'll be up and running again in...a... few weeks."
John heard a hitch in Rodney's voice on the word weeks, "Just how many weeks?" he asked.
"Eight to twelve, depending on how smart their people are... though I'm betting twelve as they've got nothing but idiots with PhDs from Cracker Jack boxes."
John sighed. "I thought we wanted to avoid detection, Rodney. Don't you think, someone is going to know something is amiss when they can't access their computer tomorrow morning?"
Rodney laughed. "Yes, but I've arranged it that 'someone' accepted a collect call, which was hooked to the land modem and OOPS," he giggled.
John blinked, his jaw dropped for Rodney actually giggled and the sound dispersed warmth through him he never knew existed. He was determined then and there, Rodney needed to not only laugh more, but giggle. "Okay, just hurry up."
Rodney did what he planned and then shut things down, and collected his laptop and moved to join John by the door. The black ski mask didn't do a lot to hide one's face, not that there was any video anywhere, but John didn't believe in taking chances. Rodney still leaned in and kissed John quickly on the lips. "Backdoor," he said afterwards.
It took a moment for John's brain to get what Rodney was saying, "wait... how?"
Rodney grinned. "John, I helped design most of these systems and some of the key components and no one with any real credit to their name, wouldn't place in a backdoor."
"I thought these systems were checked to prevent such things?" John asked.
Rodney laughed. "They are, but I told you, smartest man..." Rodney didn't get another word out as he was suddenly pushed to the floor and the echo of gun fire filled the air.
Kiko was inside the room, her own gun drawn in an instant, but whatever happened had gone down already.
Rodney was shocked and didn't notice John's weight on him until it was gone, as John was getting to his feet, telling him to stay down. Before he could move, he saw Kiko move past John to the far left side of the room, gun in the ready, and then was kneeling down. "Pulse," was all she said.
"What... what's going on?" Rodney asked as his radio keyed in as did the others, with Wilson's deep voice coming over loud and clear.
"Sheppard, are you and McKay alright?"
"Yeah, but I want to know where this clown came from," John demanded as he helped Rodney to his feet, eying him to be sure he was okay.
"I'm on it," Wilson said and clicked off.
Rodney was still shaken but moved on impulse toward Kiko before John could stop him and there laying on the ground was a young man, probably in his mid to late twenties, a gun laying on the floor near him. He was breathing, but appeared unconscious. "Crap! He can't be security, he's in a suit," he said, looking up at John with concern.
"See if there's ID?" John said and saw Kiko do a quick search and pulled out a wallet. She opened it and then handed it over to Sheppard.
"Naruto Yu-Low," John read and saw Rodney's eyes go wide. "You know him?"
"I... I've never..." Rodney closed his eyes and swallowed hard. "I've never met him, but..." Rodney opened his eyes when he felt John's hand on his shoulder. "John, he's the son of this company's Vice President. As to why he was here?" he shook his head.
"If we let him live, we don't know what he knows, and that could be very bad," John said, his voice low and serious.
"What... what do you mean... let him live?" Rodney said, for up until now, there were no deaths, or none that he's heard about. It's been clean and precise, and Rodney was able to keep his delusions of simply working for a private lab intact, but now, he was being forced into reality and he didn't like what he was seeing. "He's hurt, we need to get him medical help."
"Rodney," John said, seeing McKay was on the verge of panic. "He could have heard us talking... names, even what you said about being apart of creating the system... if he did, then be assured those that we've been working hard to avoid until we're ready to dance on our terms, would know and you'd be hunted down and wanted all over the world..."
"But... but..." Rodney didn't know what to say. He wanted to say, he was joking, this was a mistake and go back to his little corner of Canada, but knew it was too late for that, as he let John lead him away from the young man. He was to the door when he stopped, the reality of what was being said and the mess he was in hit hard, and Rodney had two choices... fold and go home or step up to the plate as Reeves would say, their resident baseball fan. He felt his face and body grow cold, his decision made. "Finding a body will be just as bad," he said his voice quiet and low.
"Well, we didn't plan for disposing of a body," John said, hating to deal with this, but it needed to be address.
"No, but we do have what it takes, though we're going to need a few things," Rodney said, feeling a cold sweat run down his spine.
"Rodney, we can take care of this, you don't have to be involved," John insisted.
Rodney turned to look at John, his expression; even under the mask was easy to see was determined. "I am, involved already. Do you know how to get the blood stain out of the rug? Do you know how to dispose of a body without leaving any real traces in the," he looked at his watch, "thirty-five minutes we have left, before the guards begin to wake up?"
John didn't like it, but he understood what Rodney was saying. He keyed his radio, "listen up, ran into a problem, and McKay has a plan." He nodded to Rodney. As Rodney began to make his shopping list Sheppard moved behind him to block Rodney's peripheral vision and with a nod to Kiko, let the woman quickly and quietly finish the man off. John knew this was going to change Rodney, it changed everyone. He just hoped it wouldn't destroy the man, for he found he loved the man's soft side, and it didn't see the light of day near enough. This could chase it off for good, and John would regret that deeply.
"I need those items ASAP, we've got, thirty-three minutes left," Rodney said.
"I'm on it," Reeves said, followed by Perry's acknowledgment as well.
"Sheppard, I've got you the run down," Wilson said. "Seems the man was in the other office tapping into financial records, though I couldn't tell which ones from the camera angle," he reported.
"Gotcha," Sheppard said and looked at Rodney, concerned for how he was doing.
"That works, actually," Rodney said, his face closed, his eyes masked, and John found he didn't like it. "Embezzlement is a good reason why he would vanish and they would then blame him or his associate for the virus," Rodney said, turning and walking passed Kiko and the man, never looking down.
John was right next to him and watched Rodney move to the desk and saw the PC was still up and running. "Rodney?"
"I'm making sure he did shift some funds if not, then I'm going to have to along with pointing all evidence of the RCP plans missing on him..." Rodney began, then went quiet and sat down and went to work.
John wanted to go out there and kill the man all over again. Rodney didn't need this, didn't need this brush with pain and blood. John loved Rodney the way he was, but as much as he hated to admit it, it was best Rodney knew the truth of his reality now, where he was here to help them, rather than later and alone. He moved and placed a hand on Rodney's shoulder, and then, just as he was going to leave, Rodney's hand came up and held him there. There were no words, as Rodney looked up at him, his eyes moist and filled with pain. John leaned down and placed a loving kiss on Rodney's lips, "I'm sorry," he whispered, meaning it.
"I know," Rodney said quietly.
"It was either him or you, and I... I couldn't bear..." John found his own mouth devoured by Rodney, the meaning clear that what was between them was definitely not just sex, but much deeper. "I'd do anything for you," John said afterwards.
"Me too," Rodney said, and when he looked into John's eyes, he knew he truly meant those words. Then he swallowed hard and turned back to the computer, "I need to finish this. Let me know when the stuff arrives..."
"Rodney, just tell me what needs to be done... please," John insisted. He saw the look in Rodney's eye and made Rodney turn to meet his gaze. "I don't think you're a coward or less a man, and neither do they," he said gesturing with his head to the other room, indicating his team. "They would let you know if they did. But, you don't need to do this... we're..."
"Soldiers and I'm the geek," Rodney said coolly, the self accusation clear in his voice.
"Actually yes," John said, and followed up quickly, "but you're King of the Geeks, and our geek and if we can spare you any pain, then please... let us. Please," John went on, his eyes pleading more than his voice. "Team work, McKay. You keep us safe with your brain and gadgets, let us do our part."
Rodney nodded, unsure if it was for John or his lack of wanting any part of what was going to happen with the dead man. He then explained what John needed to do and how to mix the common chemicals into a flesh and bone eating acid and how to set things up to dispose of the body and remove the blood stain along with any trace of them doing what they were doing. He then went back to work shifting funds around and setting the dead man up for a fall, he's already taken.
John knew his luck had been running too good over the last month, even the little upset with the dead guy in Hong Kong didn't compare to this, as that he could deal with. This was out of his hands and he found he wasn't worried about himself but his people and especially Rodney who had been caught with him, having insisted on being with them as they 'liberated' the needed material to build the RCP. Rodney had been edgy for over a week now, and John should have listened to his instincts and made him stay behind, but Rodney's insistence was not to be denied and John thought he could keep him, and his team, safe. But something had gone wrong, and he still wasn't sure what, and the next thing he knew, he and Rodney were surrounded by Marines. He didn't even know if the rest of his people had been caught too, or if they had got away.
All John could do was sit in the small room that he was sure was used for interrogations, as he'd seen one like it before, his hands cuffed behind him, and wait. He closed his eyes and made himself appear calm, for he didn't want to give anything away, nor let on that Rodney was of any importance to him, as that would only make matters worse. He opened his eyes when he saw the door open, and two Marines entered, along with, whom by his rank insignia was a full bird Colonel.
John watched the older man dismiss the two Marines with a wave, and waited until the door was closed before moving forward to stand on the other side of the table, the poor lighting making him look more sinister than he probably really was. "Sheppard," he said, with a knowing grin.
John used all his will power to not look surprised that the man knew who he was, as John had spent a lot of time and effort erasing himself from the world. "You have me at a disadvantage, Colonel...?" he said easily.
"I have you at a lot more than a disadvantage, Sheppard," the older man said smugly. "I have you for breaking and entering on Federal property, attempted theft also of Federal Property and to top it off, you don't officially exist, so no one will be the wiser if you suddenly 'disappear'," he told Sheppard. "Oh, and don't think your 'team' will help, as my people are out there rounding them up as we speak... your little 'operation' is being shut down and hard," he growled.
Okay, Sheppard was not a happy camper, as he was sure no one knew about him and his people. Something must have shown on his face as the other man started to laugh at him. "You're going to share the joke?"
"Why not," the Colonel said. "The joke, Sheppard, is, you've been played and betrayed." Seeing John's eyes grow wide with disbelief, he laughed harder. "Oh, let me guess, you didn't think anyone was on to you?"
John shrugged the best he could, trying to look calm and uncaring. He didn't think he was invisible, but he hadn't done much of anything, but gather intelligence and gather the right people... he was building up. Guess someone took notice after all. "What do you want?" he said, knowing this creep wanted to do more than just taunt him, but one never could tell with crazy military types and this guy was probably one of them, and he was dirty too, as that's why he was so interested in John's activities. John also didn't believe the SOB either.
"Your base of operations will do for a start," the Colonel grinned, showing some teeth, one having been fixed as John could see the patchwork from the sloppy dentist work.
"Have no idea what you're talking about," John grinned back.
The Colonel snorted. "I didn't say I needed you to tell me where your base of operations is, I said I want it. My men are moving on it now, and any of your people get in the way... well, let's say, no one will give a damn or know."
John narrowed his eyes, as he was no longer calm about this, for he could see, this bastard was telling the truth his people were in danger. "You will regret this," he vowed, even if he had to come back as a ghost he'd haunt the fucking bastard.
"Oh, I don't think so," the man replied. "As I said, no one knows you're here and you don't officially exist, so..." he snapped his fingers, "you'll vanish."
"So, again, what do you want?" John growled, for he didn't like this prick in the slightest.
"Oh, I just wanted to see your face when you realized that you were screwed... royally. I also wondered if you've figured out who betrayed you?"
"Go to hell," John said, deciding not to play this man's game.
The Colonel chuckled, finding Sheppard's reactions amusing. He then opened the door, "Bring him," he said, and headed down the long hall.
Sheppard was manhandled out of his seat and hauled down the same long gray hall and was brought to a room where the Colonel, no name tag on the uniform, was waiting. Sheppard then was dragged in the room and once more cuffed to an uncomfortable metal chair, facing what he knew had to be a one-way mirror, and he was not on the window side. On the other side, was Rodney, pacing back and forth looking beyond upset.
John looked and saw he was being kept company by his Marine escort and saw the Colonel move in and hit a switch that would allow John to hear what was going on in the other room, so far there was only the sound of Rodney pacing back and forth. Then the Colonel must have slipped out as he was entering the other room and Rodney stopped pacing.
"Where is she you, fucking son-of-a-bitch," Rodney snarled.
"Patience, Doctor McKay," the Colonel said with false concern. "I promised she'd be brought here and she's on her way."
John paled at hearing this, for he couldn't believe that Rodney... Rodney betrayed him. It was hard to listen to the rest, but he forced himself, and a part of his mind acknowledged that Rodney hadn't done it willingly, but had been coerced.
"You must love her very much," the Colonel said, a knowing smile upon his face.
John felt nauseous at hearing this, for he had been sure Rodney loved him back.
"Duh, of course I love her, you bastard! And I'm warning you, if you harmed my sister..."
"Watch it, Doctor McKay, you're in no position to make threats," the Colonel snarled back.
John felt a slight sense of relief at knowing it wasn't just any woman, but Rodney's sister, and somehow that made a difference, though it still stung that Rodney didn't trust him enough to tell him.
"Where's John?" Rodney then asked with great determination.
John noticed that Colonel wasn't looking pleased and realized that Rodney, as usual, wasn't playing along with the rules of the game. They were trying to manipulate Rodney into saying things to make John think he didn't matter and that there was another woman, but Rodney didn't play well with others... just John, and he couldn't help smiling to himself as the Colonel stormed out of the room, leaving McKay's question unanswered.
"You promised not to hurt him!" Rodney shouted at the locked door, banging on it. "You hurt either of them Olsen, you'll regret it!"
Colonel Olsen switched off the sound and glared at Sheppard, realizing his little plan had backfired. Then straightened up and masked his emotions. "He still betrayed you."
"You backed him in a corner and lied," John said, still feeling hurt and worried about his people, but he wouldn't give this bastard any satisfaction.
Just then someone opened the door and just walked in, a corporal probably and handed a sealed note to the Colonel and then when dismissed, exited, only his eyes showing he was curious as to what was going on. John watched as Olsen opened the communiqué and read it, his eyes growing dark from anger. "Something wrong?" he asked.
John got backhanded for his trouble and watched Olsen storm out of the room. It was only a moment later he saw him enter the room with Rodney and he knew he'd regret it, but he shifted and kicked out, hitting the switch so he could hear the conversation, and got smacked on the back of the head for it.
"... sniveling fat prick, the place was deserted!" Olsen was shouting, as he shoved McKay back against the wall.
"You said you wanted the base of operations, that's what you got!" Rodney spat back, his eyes showing he was scared and pissed off to boot. "You promised me my sister and that no one, would be hurt. You also promised that we all could leave..."
John didn't get to hear more as the Marine turned it off, and punched him in the gut, but John didn't care. He now knew that Rodney protected his people... their people, while trying to protect his sister. When they get out of this, they were going to have a long talk about communication and keeping secrets from partners... spouses... it was legal in Canada...
"What are you smirking about dog meat," the Marine that punched him twice said.
"Just realized something, that's all," John replied easily, for he realized that he wanted to marry the man in the other room, who scared stiff, his mouth bleeding from being hit by Olsen, was still looking at him with defiance, and was too smart for the SOB, and that somehow they would get out of this.
"Oh, and what's that, dickwad?" the other Marine asked with a dark laugh.
"That I'm looking at a few dead men, and that Olsen is going to die a very long and agonizing death," John said in all seriousness, as the man slapped Rodney again, making him bleed more.
The first Marine that had hit John moved and grabbed John up by his black shirt, his right hand pulled back to strike....
"I wouldn't do that if I were you."
All three looked up to see a tall Asian woman, dressed in standard Marine BDUs standing in the door way. "Let him go," she ordered.
"Who the hell are you?" the second Marine demanded, as he knew she wasn't one of them.
"The woman your mother warned you about," Kiko said and in one smooth action, brought up the gun she had been holding behind her back, silencer in place and fired two shots, placing a bullet between the eyes of both Marines. She then moved in and began to work the cuffs. "Are you alright?"
"How the...?" Sheppard asked, for he didn't imagine seeing her much less any of his team here.
"McKay. He came to me while you were dealing with the Aero Company last Tuesday. He wanted to tell you, but I told him not too..." Takagi informed him as she worked the cuffs off.
Sheppard got to his feet, rubbing his wrist and looked angry. "Why?" he demanded.
Kiko didn't blink as she met his gaze, "Because you would have been hurt and probably not listen. He could have come here with the full intention of turning us all over to them," she said, nodding to the SOB, which was still hitting on Rodney, as he didn't know what was happening in the next room. "He didn't have to say a thing, but he loves you, Sheppard and you love him. So, I did what a good 2IC does, get your backs. Now come on. Reeves and Perry are getting McKay's sister, Wilson has our exit covered," she said heading to the door.
John was angry, but he knew couldn't deal with this now so followed. They moved to the other room. "Give me your knife," John ordered and was glad Takagi didn't hesitate as she pulled her knife from under her BDU jacket and handed it to him. She then took stance to cover the perimeter as John kicked the door open.
"I'm not telling you squat!" Rodney shouted, his voice filled with pain.
"You'll tell me what I want or I'll rape that little bitch of a sister of yours..." Olsen didn't get to say much more as he felt the sting of pain in his side. He turned and looked surprise to see Sheppard standing there. He didn't get to say much as the sting was no longer just in his gut.
"No one touches my people," Sheppard snarled, looking every bit the trained killer the Air Force had taught him to be. "And no one touches my husband!" John growled and slashed Olsen on the face then jammed the knife deep into Olsen's stomach and shoved it upward and gave a deep twist. The man would die a very painful death. John then pulled the knife out and tossed Olsen to the floor and took a step toward Rodney.
Rodney saw the anger and the fury, and knew John had to know what his part in all this was. He thought about begging for his life, but Kiko promised to see his sister was safe, that was more than he deserved. He couldn't help but flinch as Sheppard entered his personal space, less than an inch from him. He could see the dark hazel eyes, the slight unfocused glaze to them. Then Rodney flinched again as the knife was plunged into the wall a foot from him, then he didn't think, as John's hands cupped his face and kissed him; hard, brutal, claiming, punishing at first, then it eased up and became caring before John pulled back. "No more secrets," Sheppard stated firmly.
Rodney only nodded as he couldn't believe it, John still wanted him!
"We need to go," Kiko reminded them. She reached in under her BDU jacket and pulled out two small hand towels, "Had a feeling you two might need these."
Rodney had blood on him from being hit, John had his from... other sources, but neither of the men said anything, just started to follow Kiko out, Sheppard closing the door to this room knowing Kiko had closed the door to the other one, to slow folks from learning of what was happening. "You better put that away," Sheppard said, as he was sure his team didn't shoot their way in, as this was a military base, a small one, but one none the less.
Kiko nodded and placed the non-regulation gun in the holster she had in the back of her BDU pants. They only took a few steps before she felt a hand on her lower back. She twisted in time to see Rodney with the gun, and then see him fire.
John was wiping his face with the towel, when he saw Rodney grab Kiko's gun, then he was stumbling hitting the wall, as Rodney shoved him with one hand while firing the weapon with the other. It took a moment for him to realize that Rodney had shot someone... Olsen. The SOB had managed to follow them and had been armed. It was only a moment later that he realized that Kiko's gun had a silencer, so that meant the sound had to come from Olsen's gun. "FUCK!" he shouted, as he saw red on Rodney's side. He leapt into action and lunged toward Rodney who was looking a bit in shock. "Make sure that fucker's dead," he ordered as he took the gun from Rodney and checked to see where his lover had been shot. He looked up to see Takagi crush the SOB's windpipe by stomping on it, and still felt it wasn't agonizing enough for what he did to Rodney. "Radio Wilson, we're going to need assistance, Rodney's been shot in the side."
Kiko nodded and keyed her radio as she dragged the body into the nearest empty room, while Sheppard guided Rodney into another empty room, which turned out to be an office. He helped Rodney to a chair and then began looking for anything to help staunch the bleeding. "Crazy son-of-a-bitch," Sheppard swore worried sick about the man.
"I... I couldn't let him... he was going to shoot you," Rodney replied, his breath shallow as it hurt.
"He was probably aiming for Takagi or you, as he hit your side and she had the only gun," Sheppard said, saying a huge thank you to someone out there as he found a first aid kit in the cabinet in the back. He opened it and grabbed all the gauze pads and tape, seeing nothing else of use and headed back to kneel next to Rodney. He then looked up into beautiful worried blue eyes. "It'll be alright," he promised and then kissed him. "Thank you," he said as he saw that Rodney was only thinking of him and was touched. "Just no more heroics, nobody is paying us for it, and I want you alive," he scolded lightly.
"Did I hear you right? You said, no one touches your husband?" Rodney suddenly asked, then hissed as Sheppard pulled his shirt up and started placing the sterile gauze pads over the wound.
"I think it only grazed you," Sheppard said, feeling relieved, and began taping the pads in place. "And yes, you heard me right, you ass," he said, looking up, showing he was still angry. "You never mentioned a sister much less... this," he gestured outward to the base around him. "Is there anything else I should know or you... perhaps lied about?"
Rodney looked down, guilt in his eyes. "I don't lie very well, so I stick to the truth as much as possible. I didn't mention Jeannie as we'd had a falling out about a year or so ago over her marrying some English Teacher-wannabe, and getting knocked up. Then later when they contacted me via her email I didn't mention her or what happened as I knew that would lead to arguments and hurt feelings and... I never expect to fall in... fall in love with you," Rodney whispered sincerely.
"You didn't trust me to help," John said softly, the hurt radiating in his eyes.
"No, I trust you, John. I do, it's just... they said I was being watched and if they thought you knew, they'd kill her. I didn't know what to do or who to trust, but I knew I had to take a chance, I couldn't let them... I couldn't..."
"So you went to Kiko?" John asked, trying to understand.
"I figured if they were watching you as they said, then when you were elsewhere I could approach one of the team for help."
Sheppard raised Rodney's chin so they could meet eye to eye, "Takagi told me you went to her for help... you didn't have to do that. I'm also assuming the two of you worked something out as they didn't find anything at the compound..."
"I wouldn't betray you, John," Rodney said, his eyes dark and sincere. "I was willing to come back here alone... I was..." Rodney didn't say more as John kissed him quiet.
"I believe you," John said softly, his eyes showing he did. "You do know, that it was a lie, they obviously were not watching or they wouldn't have needed you to tell them the location of our base," John added with a small knowing smile.
"Oh... um... yes, of course. I guess I was just so afraid... they sent me a picture of her bound and gagged... and we've not spoken in over a year and I thought I'd never..." Rodney started to ramble, but was quieted by a caress from John on his face.
"I'll be alright," John promised.
"Wilson's on his way with Perry. Reeves has your sister, McKay," Kiko reported. "We planned a diversion and most of the base is... attending to that," she smirked.
"Is Jeannie okay?" Rodney asked, for he was worried sick.
"Reeves said she could be better, but nothing a good meal and a hot shower won't fix," Kiko replied.
"Kiko..." Sheppard said in his most charming voice, which meant, he wasn't too keen on something as he was using her first name. "Just what kind of distraction did you plan?"
"Oh," she said, then chuckled. "Wilson and Perry hired a bunch of hookers whose convertible has 'broken down' on the other side of the base by the fence, and well... they're bi hookers, so..." she laughed, seeing Rodney's face blush and a tinge of blush on Sheppard's. "Small military outpost... middle of nowhere..."
"Well," Sheppard said, and then decided to say nothing further on the matter. Then there was a noise in the hall and Kiko went to investigate.
"In here," she said, which meant it was his team.
Wilson looked unhappy dressed as a Marine, but he fit the bill so well. Perry was in a Medic BDU and they had a wheelchair. "How bad?" Perry asked.
"Looks like a graze. I managed to bandage it, he'll have to have it looked at once we get out of here. Is that going to be a problem?" he asked, for they were all winging it, as far as he knew.
"No, our distraction is working just fine," Perry chuckled, and then could tell by the looks that Sheppard and McKay knew just what that distraction was.
"Come on," Sheppard said, helping Rodney to his feet long enough to pivot and sit in the wheelchair.
"Here, sir," Wilson said, handing Sheppard a duffel bag.
Sheppard changed into Marine BDUs as Perry double checked Rodney's bandage, then placed a blanket over his shoulders and lap to help keep him warm. "We ready?" Sheppard said, letting Wilson give him the once over.
"Just a second," Wilson said and moved to the open first aid kit on the floor and grabbed a large band-aid. He then moved to Sheppard and opened it and stuck it on his cheekbone.
"What?" John asked.
"Two men fighting won't look that suspicious as we escort you both out of here," Wilson said.
"Good thinking, now lets blow this pop stand?" Sheppard said, more than wanting out, as he knew what little luck they had wasn't going to last much longer.
The group exited the room and headed down the hall and around, Kiko by Sheppard; Wilson on the other side, as Perry led McKay, making sure the blanket covered him enough so no one noticed he wasn't in uniform. They used a side exit where a military transport was waiting for them. John could just see the large group of men gathered by the south fence and could hear the whistle and cat calls.
It didn't take much to get Rodney loaded into the back, where he was reunited with a woman that was a much lovelier version of her brother, though John knew his preference without a doubt, and could see the relief in Rodney's eyes. "He'll be alright, Miss McKay," John said then motioned for Takagi, Reeves and Perry to take the back with Rodney as he would sit up front with Wilson who would be driving the enclosed transport. John removed the bandage from his face, as he took a seat, for it would look suspicious or bring about unwanted questions at this point.
There was only one guard at the gate, who was looking very frustrated and curious as hell. "Hey," John smiled easily. "Can you believe what's going on over there," he said pointing his thumb over his shoulder, indicating the vast group of men by the fence.
"What's going on?" the guard asked, more interested in the crowd than the people wanting to leave the outpost.
"Oh, seems a couple of lesbians or just very bored bi chicks, are doing it... man if I didn't have to be somewhere..." he chuckled knowingly. "Perhaps we'll go out of our way to drive by," he smirked. John could see the man's attention was NOT on them. John took the clipboard from the guy's hand, knowing what needed to be done, and signed a false name and placed in some random numbers. "Thanks," he said, giving the board back.
"Did I look at your papers?" the guard asked, looking confused.
"Yeah, do you need to see them again? I want to get a look before they finish," John insisted.
"No, no, that's okay," the guard said and hit the button to open the gate and Wilson gave a nod and they drove off.
A few miles away, they had a large RV parked, which looked like a dozen other RV's in the area as there was a national park nearby used for camping and this was the season for it. They got Rodney unloaded and into the back, where Perry got him settled. They all changed and Wilson took care of the transport, removing prints, by burning the thing. Kiko was driving, Reeves decided that food was in order and broke out soda, water and pre-made sandwiches, as there was no drinking on a mission and until they were settled and relatively safe, this mission wasn't over.
"So, just where are we going?" Sheppard asked, as he hovered in the doorway, watching Rodney rest, as Jeannie fussed over him.
"Home of course," Reeves said as if John lost his mind.
"You didn't tell him everything?" Rodney said, as the RV wasn't that big and all could hear the conversation.
Kiko looked into the rear-view mirror briefly. "Time was short," was all she said.
"Tell me what?" Sheppard said, this time looking toward Rodney.
"I wasn't about to hand over all that hard work to those assholes... so it took a bit of doing, but they were sent to a very hollow base... they didn't know exactly where you were located, otherwise they wouldn't have taken Jeannie and forced me to... well, you know... I should have realized they were lying about watching..." he said, seeing he was being glared at by both Sheppard and his sister. "What? I did the best I could in a sucky situation! I may be a genius, but I've never been in a situation like this. Ask me to build you a rocket that'll take you to the moon, Mars even, I can do. Ask me to build a nuclear bomb that I can do..."
"You can build a nuke?" Reeves asked with some excitement.
"He did that in sixth grade, got into lots of trouble," Jeannie said, the first real thing out of her since they were together. "Mer, do I even want to know what you've got yourself into?" she asked him.
"Ah... no, probably not, but... I don't know how to keep you safe. Olsen wasn't the top dog of his little chain gang..." Rodney sighed.
"She'll be safe with us," John promised. "And did she just call you Mer?"
"Oh... ah, I'll explain that later. Jeannie, this is John Sheppard... my fiancé," Rodney grinned knowingly, and was delighted by the blush on John's face and the slaps of congratulations John suffered from all but Kiko as she was driving, as well as dodging the inevitable about his name.
"Pay up," Wilson said to Perry.
"What do you mean pay up?" John asked, seeing Perry fork over a hundred dollars.
"Wilson said you two would be engaged if not married by the end of the year. I said next June," Perry shrugged.
Rodney laughed, and then winced in pain, and John was by his side, glad that Jeannie knew now to back off a bit. "We'll get you fixed up like new in no time, but we might have to move our base, and well, we can deal with the fall out of this when we get back, okay?"
"Okay," Rodney panted his side gong numb so long as he stayed still.
John leaned in and kissed Rodney tenderly, "rest,' he said and then gave Jeannie a small smile. "There's food and soda out there if you want any. It'll take us about four hours or so to get to the boat. We have plenty of medical supplies on-board."
"I don't know all that's going on, but... I can see he loves you, and since you're going to be my brother-in-law," Jeannie said then moved and hugged John tightly. "Thank you."
"You're welcome," John said.
"John," Rodney said softly from the bed, looking sleepy.
"Yeah," John smiled softly.
"Remember we agreed no more secrets right?" Rodney said, looking hesitant.
"Yeah..." John said, wondering what else Rodney had to tell him.
"I have a cat. I'd like to have him back, a neighbor is taking care of her," Rodney told him, looking concerned and worried.
John smiled, "I'm sure we can work that out." He then laid one more kiss on Rodney's forehead, and glad to see him asleep. He turned to Wilson, "You slip him something?"
"Small dose of morphine, we need to pack some antibiotics in the first aid kit from now on," Wilson, the former Navy Seal replied.
John nodded then tucked Rodney in and held out a hand to Jeannie and led her out of the back, "Well, Jeannie... welcome to the dark side of life," he said, offering her a soda, as he took a seat, and listened to the laughter of his team, and enjoyed the look of puzzlement on his sister-in-law's face. Yep, things were definitely looking up... today in-laws tomorrow... the world, and with Rodney by his side, he actually believed it possible. Of course, first they had to get back to their base and get Rodney fixed up and move to their alpha site... John was nothing but prepared for emergencies; whenever possible.
Rodney was not happy.
"Tell me again, what was the point of me going to all that trouble to keep those morons away from our base, just so you could up and relocate us?" Rodney fumed at John, his arms wrapped around his chest, trying to contain his anger. "It took me weeks of hard work to get the last place to my specifications, now I have to start all over again!"
"They had the general area, McKay," John snapped back. "That means they may not know where we were, but they had ideas, and I'd rather play it safe, especially since we're no longer running under their radar. Besides, this place is bigger, and since Jeannie is with us, she needs her own lab too."
"I'm in charge of the scientists, she'll work where I tell her to," Rodney replied, lifting his chin with determination and a bit of childish petulance.
"Right," John drawled out, having seen the two siblings hash it out over a coffee mug. John knew then that if he wanted to keep his base in one piece it would be best to give them both separate spaces. "Besides," John said, trying to shift things around as he didn't want to argue with his... Fiancé, and John still couldn't believe Rodney said yes. "She has a lot on her mind and having her own lab lets her work on projects she would enjoy, while we try to locate her bastard of an Ex-husband and her daughter," John said, feeling it was a reasonable explanation, over the two of them fighting. Sadly, it was a true fact that one Kaleb Miller, former husband to Jeannie McKay, was an all around bastard. Shortly after the divorce, the jerk went to the babysitter's home that was watching little Madison Rene McKay Miller, not even a year old, and lied his head off about taking his daughter for a doctor's appointment. The older woman fell hook, line, and sinker for his deception and let him leave with the baby. The son-of-a-bitch took the girl and vanished, leaving Jeannie in anguished tears, and spending a small fortune trying to find them. Even with Canada's version of the FBI, there was no trace of the bastard. That was less than three months before Jeannie found herself prisoner to that monster Olsen.
Rodney was beside himself for not knowing what his sister was going through, having not stayed in contact with her, especially with his exile to Russia, thanks to the American government. John knew he was trying to help, but it would be John's network that would flush out a snake like Miller. "She needs to keep busy, not be yelled at, so, let her have her space and later when things get settled, you can share projects or whatever," John said, hoping he soothed over this situation.
"Right, right," Rodney said looking guilty and worried. "Its... it's just she is so smart, she didn't even get to go to college because of that two-timing bastard and... well..."
John walked up and hugged his lover, glad to have him hug back. "We can take care of that too. She could use her lab as a classroom, get caught up and things like that." He leaned back and kissed his soon-to-be-husband softly. "Would be cool to have to Doctor McKays around here."
Rodney's eyes narrowed, his embrace tightened. "So long as you know which one you're partnered with."
"Oh, no worries about that," John purred. "She's beautiful, but wrong gender. Plus, she's not you," John said, then kissed Rodney's breath away.
After a short while of kissing, both men's lips puffy from their mini-make-out session, Rodney broke the kiss and leaned his forehead on John's. "I don't think I ever told you how... glad I am... I mean that you're..." he looked at John hoping the man knew how grateful he was and how much he loved him.
"I feel the same," John said, and was going to move in for another kiss when there was a light knock and clearing of the throat. John looked up to see it was Kiko. "Something wrong?"
"Not so much, just that Dr. McKay wanted to be notified immediately when the target shipment arrived." Kiko Takagi said, a little smirk on her face at catching the two men kissing... again.
Rodney pulled back his face lighting up like it suddenly became Christmas. "It's here? No one opened it right? The stuff needs special handling, tell me you didn't let one of my idiots have free reign with it," Rodney rambled at her.
Kiko gave a small smile, showing she liked John's partner, even with his quirky and sometimes irritating ways. "Shelly is babysitting it for you," she said, then turned serious and looked at John. "Jake said that container was guarded like a nuke or gold shipment, but your plan worked, sir."
"That's because it's more valuable than gold and what it could do for a nuclear explosion..." Rodney said, his face first lighting up, then quickly fading into remembrance of the lab he used to work in before those idiots kicked him out and ignored his warnings... so many lost lives for nothing, he was just glad there was no nuclear materials around when it blew. He shook his head, feeling John's hand rub his shoulder in understanding.
"This na-qu-da, really that dangerous?" John asked, probably for the fourteenth time.
"Naquadah," Rodney corrected automatically. "Again, only in the wrong hands, but yes," Rodney said. "What happened in Russia was the result of a small portion, if the manifest I hacked is right, we have enough to blow-up... well, let's say that if someone is that stupid, there wont' be anyone to yell at them for their stupidity, and at least three continents will be experiencing serious earthquakes and massive tsunamis... not to mention any islands, boats or air craft in the area will be... gone..."
"Even jets flying over head will be affected?" John asked.
"Oh yeah, for as you know, the vibrations of earthquakes affect air space, this will be more than that, earth, rock, ocean, maybe even magma if the earth's core is punctured..." Rodney looked a bit pale suddenly.
"Easy, I trust you, Rodney. No one and I mean no one will be touching that stuff unless it's under your direct supervision," John said, sharing a look with Kiko, who nodded she understood his orders and all of what they may entail. She then turned and let the two men alone. John then focused back on his lover. "So, generators the size of VCRs that can power an entire city... each?" John grinned, for they could do oh so much more with such technology at their finger tips.
Rodney grinned back. "Yes, and more. I promised you the world at your feet, John, it wasn't a metaphor. I told you about the SGC, what they're doing and now that bastard Senator Robert Kinsey has taken control via the NID. They have even more access to the technology found out there, and I have no doubt they are simply taking what they can't get anyone to give them, while at the same time trying to force the government to shut the SGC project down."
"You mean he wants the gate for himself, and if the project is shut down, he'll be free to relocate it somewhere else. Somewhere he and his cronies run everything, putting our world in even more danger," John said. He then shook his head, for when Rodney decided it was really time to stop keeping secrets, he blew John's mind with the truth. Aliens, traveling to other worlds, enemies that can take over a person and if you didn't know what to look for, could easily infiltrate... "These...snakes... you think they're behind this?"
"Goa'uld," Rodney corrected, without thought. "Perhaps, but there's no denying greed has set up its own deadly nest of snakes in the ground, as it were." Rodney broke the embrace and moved in what was now their new bedroom in the new base, to the window that overlooked even more ocean; this time in the Pacific closer to South America. He once more folded his arms over his chest, this time, not in anger, but in need of self comfort.
"What's wrong?" John asked, moving up behind him, wrapping his arms around Rodney, hoping to provide more comfort and support.
"I've never been able to keep Jeannie safe, no matter how hard I tried. Before Olsen, it was one of Kinsey's NID puppets that got me into all this mess. His name was Col. Frank Simmons; the bastard knew I was working on the gate technology, desperate to learn everything I could, though I was stuck at Area 51. He came in one day and said he needed the leading expert on the gate... like a fool; I let my ego take the lead and agreed to help him. Turned out, someone was trapped inside the gate, one of the team members of their leading scientist, Col. Samantha Carter... sexy blond, with a brain that almost matched my own."
"You're mine, now, no drooling over blond scientists... or any scientist ... .let's make that anyone," John growled softly, tightening his embrace.
That made Rodney give a small snort, and John could feel his shoulders relax a bit. Rodney turned to look over his shoulder and smiled tenderly at his lover. "No one but you," he promised. Then with a soft sigh he turned back toward the window to continue his tale. "I knew what the problem was and I even knew how to fix it... but I wasn't allowed to..."
"What do you mean?" John asked.
"Simmons had approached me again, just prior to our landing in Peterson Air Force base, and showed me pictures of Jeannie... there were cross hairs from a sniper riffle over them, showing that someone with a gun was watching her. I was scared for her and didn't know what to do. Plus... well, this guy was an alien, someone I didn't even know, so it was much easier to agree, when faced with the death of my sister... so I told the SGC they had 48 hours before the gate would recycle automatically and his pattern lost, that they should just give it up... have a lovely funeral." Rodney laughed, but it wasn't a sardonic one. "They thought I was such a bastard and I played into that, afraid that if I let something slip, Jeannie would be dead... seems Simmons was hoping to blackmail them with the knowledge he'd gotten from some Goa'uld prisoner he had, but O'Neill and some guy named Maybourne helped him out... so, Sam was able to fix the gate, destroyed the Russian's DHD, and even after I tried to explain what happened, since they arrested Simmons, they still sent me to Russia as punishment as well as payment to the Russian's for loosing their precious DHD," Rodney snapped, his body once more tight with anger at what happened to him.
"Hey, hey, it's over now, they're idiots, and you're with me now. Besides, if things hadn't gone the way they did, we wouldn't have met, and I find that unacceptable," John said, his voice firm and loving.
Rodney turned in John's arms and nodded. "You're right, but it'll be awhile before I can forget, much less forgive."
"Well, in the mean time, let's make those assholes pay," John said, his grin dark and mischievous.
Rodney smiled back, shaking his head. "I love that look on your face, it always means so much, and I think I'd like a little revenge to go with all the payback we're going to give them."
"I promise you, Rodney, they will pay, and dearly, for what they did not only to the good men and women in our armed forces, but to you... especially to you," John vowed. He may not have known Rodney when they screwed him over, but no one messes with the people he loved and cared about, and that included Rodney; more now than anything or anyone. He would still do his best to help those who did try to do right by this world, especially the military, but he found falling in love had changed some of his priorities. Simmons was in jail, but Kinsey was still out there, corrupt as the day was long, and the man was gunning for the Presidency... no way was he going to let that happen. If the good (well semi-good, couldn't be all that great if they still punished Rodney after he confessed he was protecting his sister, then later sold him down the river by blacklisting him when, once again, someone didn't listen to him) couldn't keep control of the program, it seemed best someone else, himself naturally, needed to take charge: With Rodney by his side, it was only a matter of time before that project came under his command.
The scene before him was straight out of a James Bound film, with McKay playing the typical evil villain as he sat in a large leather back chair, behind a huge desk, holding his tiger striped cat, Copernicus, laughing with glee... his maniacal laugh put other TV villains to shame and brought an equally wicked and joyous smile upon John's face, without even knowing why. "So, Dr. Blofeld, what has you in such a good mood," John said.
Rodney arched a brow and smirked at John. "Does that make you James Bond?"
"Only if he found the real Dr. Blofeld as sexy as I find you and changed sides," John smirked as he moved in farther, leaning in and kissed Rodney soundly. As he straightened back up he gave Copernicus a scratch behind his ear. "What's up, besides the obvious?"
Rodney's scowl was far from authentic as his eyes danced with merriment. "Oh, just that I not only succeeded in hacking Switzerland's toughest bank, but was able to trace a few of the corrupt Generals' and Senators' accounts to a dummy corporation they're using as a front; which included one Senator in particular. And as of five minutes ago, they are all flat broke... the money having gone 'poof'." Rodney let the cat go, as he threw his hands out in demonstration of his magic trick, scaring poor Copernicus off his lap. "And if that wasn't enough; relieving them of their Swiss accounts and the other accounts related to the corporation, I wrangled all the real books into nice little package and delivered it anonymously to CNN's financial Editor. According to the responses I'm getting from my hack of their inter office communications emails, the story will break at six PM Eastern time... ooh to be a fly on the wall when those bozos see their names and faces hit the screen along with all their dirty little secrets... well, perhaps not all, but enough..."
Rodney would have kept babbling, but John has turned the chair and made himself at home in his lap and proceeded to kiss the hell out of him. "How much... how... many?" John was asking between heated kisses. For at the moment he was truly basking in Rodney's genius. "How many bastards did we get?" He asked having to finally breathe.
"Ah... um..." Rodney's eyes were dilated, his face flushed and John could feel his hard cock under him. "What?"
John grinned and shifted so he was straddling Rodney's lap, stretching forward so his own hard cock was pressing against Rodney's. "How much did... you get?" he asked, thrusting deep, but slowly, wanting this to last a bit longer than it normally would, as Rodney could get him hotter than anyone, and that was without even trying... the man was irresistible when he was in full genius mode, like now.
"212... mill... Oh... fuck!" Rodney cried out as John thrust against his now throbbing cock.
"You're fucking amazing," John growled. "And you're mine... all mine," he snarled as he took Rodney's mouth in an open, wet, dirty kiss, claiming it as his own. His left hand gripped Rodney's head, the right grabbing the back of the chair as he thrust harder, feeling the burn beginning to engulf him. Then he felt Rodney's strong extraordinary hands grasp his ass and press him even closer so their cocks were rubbing even more, the clothes between them wet with pre-come and no time or thought of removing them either as John's body burned even hotter. "Oh... fuck!" John gasped, throwing his head back, exposing his throat to Rodney.
"4 Generals..." Rodney gasped, nipping and biting John's necks and shoulder. "5 Senators..." Rodney bit down hard on John's neck, and then began licking the area. "In... cluding... that... oh fuck... bastard Kinsey!"
"Rodney..." John panted, he wouldn't be able to last much longer.
Rodney was panting heavy too. "Come for me," he ordered.
John groaned and thrust once, twice, then a third time and came so hard he saw stars. It took a quite a few moments before he recalled that he needed to breathe, and as his body came down to rest, he felt Rodney's body tighten, causing John to open his eyes and saw Rodney's face as he came hard as well. John shivered with desire, wanting to bring that look upon Rodney's face as often as possible. "Fucking amazing," he breathed out.
"I can't believe I came in my pants." Rodney complained, his tone like kid who had just stuck his foot into his shoe and found it full of mud. He then looked accusingly at John. "I can't believe you made me come in my pants"
John couldn't help it, he started to laugh and seconds later, Rodney did too. John shook his head, "Have I told you how amazing you are?"
Rodney beamed. "Not in the last fifteen or twenty seconds... I think you're overdue."
John laughed harder. "Can't have that," he said and leaned in and kissed Rodney deeply, with love and affection. "You're amazing," he said as he broke the kiss.
Rodney was puffed up like a peacock and pointed to himself. "Genius."
"No," John said purposely, seeing Rodney's glow falter for a split second. "My genius," he then said, glad the radiance increased at his words. "Which reminds me; I came in here for a reason, but was distracted by your sexy genius... 212 million and 9 bastards, including that SOB Kinsey... totally sweet!"
"Well... 106 million..." Rodney said, looking away.
John sat back on Rodney's lap. "What do you mean? I thought you said you got 212 million from those assholes."
"I did, it's just... well I... donated some... I mean, they were taking funds that were supposed to be going toward helping military families, and one fund in Dover, Delaware, was completely empty, they were trying to take out a loan to cover the needs of some of the Air Force families... I figured, being you were Air Force, you wouldn't... you know... mind," Rodney began.
John cupped Rodney's chin and made him look at him. John hoped the man could see how much he loved him. "No, I don't mind and I know the others won't either. I admit we want to get rich off the scum we screw over, but I don't think any of us wouldn't want to help where we can as well. You did good, Rodney... real good."
"Yeah?" Rodney asked, his face showing John just how insecure his lover could be at times. He'd done a lot more homework on the man after meeting him that first day and could tell that Rodney had been used, and in many ways abused, causing this deep seated need to be praised and reassured. John knew he was the man for the job.
"Yeah. Now, how about we go take a shower and change clothes. I came to tell you we found Kaleb and I think you and I should pay the bastard a visit," John said giving one of his dark smirks.
"Have you told Jeannie?" Rodney asked. "Where is he?"
"No, I haven't told her yet. Thought it would be best to just surprise her..."
"No, no, Jeannie deserves her pound of flesh from that cretin, plus, she'd never forgive me... us, if we robbed her of it. She needs to come with us when we go... where?" Rodney asked, looking up at John, anger at Kaleb, mixed with concern for his sister, and the niece he'd never met, upon his face.
"Taiwan. He's teaching English as a second language for a low-level social group, there. He's going by the name of Andrew James... Andrew being his middle name and James his mother's maiden name," John explained. "My contact also said he had a very healthy daughter, so he's at least taking care of Madison... he didn't change the kid's first name, which made it easier to confirm it was him," John smirked.
"Okay, yes... shower, then Jeannie... off, off," Rodney snapped.
John smiled, for sometimes Rodney was a trip all by himself. He got up and helped Rodney up. "Let's go to your lair, Dr. Blofeld, and I'll let you seduce me to your evil ways while we're in the shower."
"Ha, ha, if anyone was seduced to the dark side, it was you seducing me," Rodney protested as John led him to the door, his hand on Rodney's back.
As they got into the hall, John turned with a leer on his face toward Rodney. "I'll show you my light saber if you show me yours," he grinned.
"Why you..." Rodney began to splutter, and John took off down the hall, knowing that Rodney would be following him... life was good.
The place was a rundown shack, but compared to some of the other 'houses' in this... area, it was top notch when it came to shelter. It didn't help that it was raining, more like a heavy drizzle, but the place seemed dirty and dank from Rodney's perspective and he couldn't for the life of him understand why anyone, even an idiot English major would bring a kid here to be raised. Of course, he grudgingly had to credit the man for getting Madison and himself out of the country without being detected, but still... this place was a cesspool. "Are you sure this is the place, I wouldn't let a pig die here, much less have a kid..."
Both John and Jeannie were snapping at him, so Rodney shut up, but still felt a bit hurt and affronted. He was just stating the truth; this place was a spawning ground for germs and other awful diseases. He reached into his pocket and felt the bottle of sanitizer he brought with him. He felt he was going to need to bathe in the stuff after being here. He turned to look at Kiko and Jake, and by the scowls on their faces, Rodney felt they thought as highly of this place as he did.
"This is the place," John said, leading Jeannie to a door that had a paper nailed to the outside that was in Taiwanese and English... Teacher. John turned to Kiko and gave her a nod, as she was the fastest and most agile, and Rodney knew it was John's signal to send her to the back in case the moron tried to run.
After allowing enough time for his unspoken order to be carried out, John knocked on the door.
Rodney wasn't sure what he was expecting. He saw the door open and the shock cross the face of Kaleb Miller. The man had grown his hair out as well as a bushy beard. It was even dyed black, making the man look even more dim-witted. He knew the man had reason to be upset, but the fear that crossed his face was so intense, Rodney almost felt sorry for him.
"No," Kaleb said, shaking his head. "If you found me, they can too, you have to go back..."
Rodney's attention was on the babbling man, he didn't see his sister's wind up but he did see how she socked the man in the face, forcing him to stumble and fall backwards into the wooden shack he was calling home. "Jeannie," he gasped, for the last thing they needed was local police involved, they were not exactly here legally. But seeing his sister storm in, he knew she wasn't listening.
"You fucking, low-life, scum sucking..." Jeannie was shouting as she stormed further into the shelter, as Kaleb scrambled backwards so as not to be hit by the woman again.
Rodney went in as did John, who Rodney saw was able to keep his sister from killing the man. The sound of crying suddenly assaulted his ears and he recalled, he had a niece, who was obviously upset. "Um... Jeannie..." he tried to speak, but the woman was on a roll of some of the most colorful insults, that it almost made him blush, and he'd worked for the military for years. He looked around. John had Jeannie, keeping her from committing murder, Jake was watching the door, and Kiko was nowhere to be seen, that left him. Nervously, he moved toward the only other room this hovel had and there in the center was a makeshift crib, with a few blankets in it. Rodney noted it was clean, dry and importantly, warm. Slowly he moved closer to peek inside. Familiar blue eyes were looking up at him, the crying subsiding a little at seeing him. She looked so much like his sister when she was a baby that Rodney's heart was flooded with love and affection for this little girl. It was also filled with regret and guilt for not being there when she was born. Mentally straightening himself, he nodded in determination. "Well, I'm here now, and we McKays take care of our own... well... we do now, and that along with our genius is what you're going to pass on, got it," he said, as he carefully reached in and lifted Madison up into his arms. His heart swelled again, especially when she stopped crying and smiled at him, as if she knew him. "Hey," he said softly. "Your mommy was worried about you... so was I. But we're here now. We'll keep you safe," Rodney promised and kissed the little girl's head, the vow burned into his heart. He then blinked his eyes, suddenly realizing he was crying, which made no sense, as he wasn't sad. "Huh," he said as he realized it was because he was so happy... he had Jeannie back, he had John who was going to be his husband soon and now... now he had a niece... who suddenly stank! "Awww, seriously?"
Rodney made a beeline for the other room, where Jeannie was still cursing out Kaleb. "Beat the man senseless another time, your daughter just decided to take the world's biggest dump in her diaper and I am not changing diapers. That's what parents are for, not Uncles..." Rodney said as Jeannie froze in place for a moment then turned to look at him like he was a stranger, then her face morphed from anger into a mix of relief and joy as she bounded across the room in two steps and snatched Madison out of his arms. "Hey, watch it, she's a baby, not a plaything," Rodney snapped.
Jeannie glared at him. "I know how to care for my daughter..."
Thankfully John stepped in, and Rodney found himself grateful since it suddenly looked as if Jeannie was planning his death. "Why don't you get her changed and get her things together, we'll wait out here." John said.
Jeannie listened, but she still glared at Rodney as she pushed passed him. Rodney sniffed, and turned to see John was glaring at him too. "What? She snatched her out of my arms, she's just a baby... they're... fragile." He was a bit puzzled at John's sudden anger turning to a soft smile, but at least John wasn't mad at him anymore. Then seeing the movement of Kaleb getting onto a stool to sit, something buzzed his brain. "What did you mean, if we can find you, they can too... who?"
"I... I just wanted to keep them safe, I didn't have anyone to turn too... I just..." Kaleb babbled.
"Who?" Rodney asked again, a hand on his wrist let him know he had moved forward and John thought he should probably calm down and let the man talk.
"I don't know who!" Kaleb snapped, anger filling his face, though fear outlived it, in his eyes. "About six-seven months before Jeannie kicked me out, I was approached by a couple of men, who flashed badges of various military organization, NID I think and CCIS, telling me that since Jeannie was most likely a genius like you, she was doing her country a disservice by not pursuing her education. I told them she had a right to make her own choices. One guy laughed in my face and told me that if I didn't get Jeannie into college with courses geared toward Physics and other science based courses, he'd arrest me for treason and made it quite clear that he could do it too. He also stated that I couldn't say anything to her as he was 'familiar' with the McKay stubbornness. He advised me that they were watching us all the time, and showed me photos of us and of Jeannie at the doctor's office. I didn't know what to do, so I agreed. That was when all the tension and crap began to build between us. I kept trying to get her back to school, but she didn't want to go, so when the scholarship award letters began showing up, of course she accused me of going behind her back and against her wishes. She tore them all up and yelled at anyone who called. She then gave me an ultimatum."
"Didn't you tell those morons what was happening? To back off?" Rodney asked, his brain processing as quickly as he could the time frame between what Kaleb was saying and events in his own life and a picture was coming into focus, one he didn't want to believe was true.
"I did, they said, single mothers tended to go back to school fifty percent more than married, then told me to "get out of the picture" or they'd take me out and, if they needed to, the baby as well... I didn't... I couldn't let...."
"You made Jeannie want to divorce you," John said, showing he understood at least in part what was happening.
"Why?" Jeannie asked, having heard some, if not all, of what had been said. "Why didn't you just... tell me, trust me..." she begged.
"I do trust you, it's those people... they showed me photos of you, rattled statistics at me about single mothers and school and then... then..." Kaleb seemed to crumble, looking tired and weary.
"Then what?" Rodney asked, his voice tight as if he couldn't breathe, knowing what was going to be said before Kaleb spoke.
"They talked about... how accurate snipers could be... how Jeannie would survive, but not..." tears cut off Kaleb's words.
"They were... going to kill... our... baby?" Jeannie asked, sounding like a lost child herself.
Rodney was glad John was able to go comfort her, as he was being overwhelmed with guilt.
"After the baby was born and you still didn't enroll, but got a job instead... I was afraid. I'd rather you hated me than lose... I couldn't let them harm her," Kaleb pleaded with Jeannie to understand.
"Son-of-a-bitch, why didn't you tell me, we could have gone together..." Jeannie yelled back.
"No," Rodney said, before Kaleb said a word. "No, you couldn't have. They were watching you... not him, not the baby, you. They... they wanted you," he said, his eyes blinking fast with moisture, part of him wanted to cry, another wanted to rage in anger, another was overcome with guilt, for this was his fault.
"Why?" Jeannie demanded of him, somehow knowing he had the answer.
"Rodney?" John asked, moving from Jeannie to him and wrapping his arms around him.
"Replacement," Rodney softly sobbed, trying to rein in his emotions. This started around when Simmons went to prison. The NID and who knows what other agencies were planning his replacement, someone they thought they could control better... someone who had his genius and a child to blackmail or threaten to assure their cooperation... for Rodney had failed. "My fault," he said, turning to bury his face in John's arms, hoping the man wouldn't be too disgusted with him, would still want him after this.
"You! This is... your fault?" Jeannie snarled.
"No," John snapped right back, his tone firm, demanding to be listened to, and it stopped Jeannie from more accusations. "It was not his fault. It's the fault of a corrupt government that will do anything to get what they want. They wanted Rodney, but in trying to protect you he became on the outs with the SGC. They targeted you as either his replacement or a way to have both of you working for them and with a child, they had a way to control you both. So, it's no more Rodney's fault than it is yours... there will be no accusations, and no guilt. I don't even blame him," John gestured toward Kaleb, "for what he did. He didn't have anyone to trust and they would have killed him and the baby. He did what he did to keep you both safe. But now is not the time to discuss this, we can do more back... home."
"But..." Rodney tried to speak, but John cut him off with a soft kiss. John's eyes were on fire, anger filled them, but none of it was for Rodney and he felt so relieved that John didn't blame him, wasn't disgusted with him over this.
"No guilt," John said softly. Then he looked over Rodney's shoulder. "You're coming with us. Since we have Jeannie and Rodney, it would only be a matter of time before they found you. They probably figured with you out of the way, they could move in..." John then stopped and looked at Rodney. "I don't think the right hand knows what the left is doing. That's why Jeannie was taken to hold against you...."
"You were kidnapped?" Kaleb asked, his concern evident in his expression.
"Yes, but she's fine now," John said somewhat soothingly. "Now get your things, we can discuss more of this later." He then turned to Jake, "Let Kiko know we're leaving..." he took one look at Rodney then back at Jake, "Let her know she gets to fly the plane," John finished.
Rodney was a bit confused, it was a lot to take in, the depths of depravity the NID and the others were willing to sink to in order to have, in essence, his genius under their control. He wondered if they had any others in the same boat. Then like a spark of genius, he had an idea. He turned to John, hugged him tight and kissed him. "You fly, I'm okay."
"Rodney, I know..." John said.
"No, no. I'm fine," Rodney said and meant it. He looked into John's hazel eyes and let him see it was true, he was fine, he had a plan. "John... I know what we're going to do today," he grinned, and he could see reflected in John's eyes it was his, what John called, "evil genius" grin.
"Oh?" John asked.
"Let's just say, money isn't the only thing we can take from those bastards," Rodney said, and then with a glance to see that Kaleb and Jeannie were packing he turned to Jake. "Use that radio of yours and let Perry know I'll be contacting him in about an hour and to have his... 'stealth system' set up," Rodney ordered. Perry's system had been good for slipping in and out of closed networks. But since Rodney had gotten his hands on it, there was nothing on this planet that with the right access it couldn't beat, especially if Rodney was at the helm. "Tell him we're going hunting."
"Rodney?" John asked.
Rodney turned and smirked, his eyes gleaming toward John. "Shh," Rodney said. "Be vewwy, vewwy quiet... its rabbit season," he said, using his best Elmer Fudd impersonation. Then turned and headed out the door, Rodney was a man on a mission and he was glad John trusted him to take the lead.
"Yes, scientists," Rodney said, again placing the list he made in front of him.
John took the list and looked it over. "Tell me again, why these particular scientists?" John asked, leaning back in his office chair, placing his feet up on his desk. Rodney was seated on the corner, enjoying a large cup of coffee. He also hadn't been to bed since they arrived home twenty-seven hours ago and he looked exhausted.
"The NID and the other idiots need them to work on the technology they're stealing. They can't rely on the reports they're getting out of Area 51 or the SGC, especially if my guess is right and they have technology no one is supposed to know about," Rodney snapped, his face showing he thought John should have been smarter than he was acting at the moment.
"I got that part, but... no one on this list is even American," John replied, lowering his feet so he could sit up properly. "Czech, Japanese, German, British..."
Rodney sighed, and John knew he was attempting patience for his sake. "What would be easier for a corrupt American agency to get their hands on...Americans? I mean, think about it, if they're any good, they already work for the American Government. I'm tired and you're acting like the hardest thing you can comprehend is tying your shoes, which are boots, so please, stop it. These particular scientists are... not completely stupid," Rodney said.
"Ah, high praise from you," John smirked, as he got to his feet, understanding Rodney was exhausted. The two of them, Rodney and Richard Perry had been awake for hours apparently, gathering this list of names. He laid the list down and moved closer, running a hand over Rodney's unshaven cheek. "I'm not trying to be an idiot here, I just want you to explain it to me," John said softly, not wanting to irritate Rodney at the moment. It may be fun to wind him up and watch him go, but the man looked on edge, having to deal with his sister's emotional rollercoaster of events, his own guilt over what happened, even if not his fault, and his efforts in his current plan. Rodney hid a lot of himself, but John saw very clearly, that if you returned that affection, sincerely, and gave Rodney half a chance, the man would give a hundred and ten percent back... boy did everyone underestimate the man before him. He couldn't help but be glad; otherwise, they probably would have never met. "Just let me in on what you're planning, I can't help otherwise," John said.
Rodney gave another sigh, while suppressing a yawn. His face automatically leaning into John's touch, like a cat, his eyes closed almost making John wish they could forget business for a moment. Then Rodney opened his tired eyes and gave a small smile. "As I was saying, they're not stupid people, and being they're not American, and the SGC's reluctance to work with other countries fully, the NID and others are taking advantage of it. The people on this list are being blackmailed to work for them, and their families' safety is the price. Thankfully, for those on this list, the number of family members is limited, so we don't have several hundred to get to safety, but we do need to get them out of their respective countries where the NID can't touch them. Then... then," Rodney beamed, "We get these scientists to work for us."
"What makes you think they're going to want to do that?" John asked.
Rodney leaned away as if suddenly burned, his eyes open wind in disbelief. Then to John's surprise, smacked him upside the head. "Hey!"
"Of course they'll want to work for us. We're the ones who are keeping their families safe, we're going to let them work with never before seen technology and they're going to get paid a bundle. Not to mention, I don't have a problem with letting people get credit or patents for their own work!" Rodney snapped.
John smirked, he couldn't help the tease. "You... share?"
Rodney's eyes narrowed. "If I'm part of it, I'll get my share of credit, but if I'm not, I won't take it away from others, not like some of those backstabbing, two-timing scientist-wannabes, making a career on the back of my work!"
John saw he'd hit a raw nerve. He looked at Rodney apologetically and leaned in to place a small kiss on his lips. "I was joking, I'm sorry. I know you're not like that," he said. Rodney was basically a good man under the gruff exterior. "Seriously though, there is no guarantee..."
"Look, just make the families an offer they don't want to refuse... I mean, have you seen the way they're living? It shouldn't take much, plus I know scientists, and these... they'll want the work, they just don't want their families harmed. Besides, in essence, we're the good guys," Rodney beamed.
John couldn't help but smile in return, he found Rodney's smile to be infectious and he also loved it. "Okay, okay. We'll have to find a translator, no one here speaks Czech..."
"Please," Rodney said, rolling his eyes as if John should know better.
John raised an eyebrow. "You speak Czech? Your records don't say anything..."
"Hello, genius here, my records show only what I want them to, nothing else. They also don't show that I'm bi or in this case gay. Besides, most languages are just patterns and I am excellent with patterns, as well as other things," Rodney beamed, sticking his chin out with a smug smile.
John laughed, for it was true, the records he had of one Dr. M. Rodney McKay didn't say a thing about his tendencies toward men, which was very evident when they were in bed together. "So, how many languages do you speak?"
Rodney slowly got up from the desk, reminding John of how tired his lover was. His smile playful as his eyes showing how exhausted he was and how bad he needed to sleep. "You'll just have to find out," Rodney challenged.
"How about I get you to bed, and see if I can find any way to... make you talk?" John leered, more than willing to play, but knew his fiancé would be sound sleep moments after hitting the bed. John was okay with that, for he also knew this little game wouldn't be ending any time soon... after next week, they'd have a lifetime to see who won. "Come on, sleeping beauty, time for all good little evil geniuses to go to bed. I'll even tuck you in," John said, taking Rodney's arm and gently guiding him out of the office.
"You know that's a contradiction, right?" Rodney said, suddenly looking as he might not make it to their bedroom.
It was tempting to tease Rodney some more, he was so much fun, but John could see it wouldn't really be in good spirits with the man dead on his feet. "We'll discuss my usage of grammar later, you need to get some sleep."
"We need to discuss how we're going to get the families out," Rodney tried to insist, but didn't put much effort into it.
"You sleep, me and team will look into the situation and see what options are open to us. Don't worry, we won't do anything without you, I know how grumpy you are if you don't get to play with the big boys and girls," John smirked, as he led Rodney into their bedroom.
"Bah, everyone wants to play with me, I'm a genius," Rodney replied, the tiredness keeping him off his game.
"No one plays with my genius but me, now, let's get these off you and into bed," John insisted, moving to get Rodney's shirt up and over his head. John had known his lover was worn out, but by his sluggishness and lack of complaint he knew now just how much.
"Shower?" Rodney asked, his shirt off, and not showing any sign of interest as John was undoing his pants, after untying his shoes.
"I don't think you'll make it past the bed right now. When you get up, I promise to wash your hair for you," John said with a loving kiss on Rodney's cheek. "Sit down," John ordered softly, and gently guided Rodney to sit down on the bed behind him. Then he removed Rodney's shoes and pants, leaving him in his Bugs Bunny boxers. He'd asked once, why not Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius, and Rodney scoffed at him. Telling him that Bugs was the true genius and that the Coyote was a mockery to all true Super Geniuses, such as himself, John kind of had to agree. He then helped Rodney lay down and pulled the covers up gently tucking him in. "Get some sleep," he whispered, seeing Rodney was already half-way there.
"John," Rodney said sleepily.
"Yes," John said, keeping his voice very quiet.
"Love you," Rodney said, ending his statement with a soft snore.
John beamed his heart swelling. He gently caressed Rodney's hair; silently vowing to keep this man safe and to do everything in his power to make him happy... he was everything to John. "I..." it was hard to say the words John realized. But Rodney deserved to hear them and he would. With a soft kiss on Rodney's hair, John got up and crept silently from the room; he had families to relocate and scientists to recruit... if things kept building this way, he was half convinced that they just might be able to take over the world... he just wasn't sure what he'd do with Cleveland.
"English, English, you glass eyed-frog!" Rodney snapped at the shorter man with wild hair and glasses.
John was far enough away to laugh softly, for it was so much fun to watch Rodney go at it with his minions. Though Radek Zelenka, who was swearing up a storm in Czech, was no push-over and, from what John could see, well able to keep up with Rodney and give as good as he got. John felt a bit jealous, but he was confident that his husband of six weeks still loved him, and so pushed it aside. It also said a lot about Rodney, who was pretending he didn't speak anything but English, when John had so far discovered he spoke Czech fluently in addition to French and Russian. Of course those confessions were easy to work out of Rodney in the bedroom, the Czech not only because Rodney told him, but the man had been the one to convince Radek's family to leave their tiny two bedroom home, where ten people existed, to live on one of the smaller islands over which John had taken owner-ship, in three large houses, with enough monies to start a new life. It didn't take long to convince Radek to join them along with Miko Kusanagi, Peter Grodin, and Helena Simpson, who had gone back to Germany after her American husband died of lung cancer, to stay with her mother and younger brother. All their families were safe and the scientists were now able to focus on their work; work in which Rodney was leading them, and although he kept him in the loop, John couldn't help but feel things had taken a drastic turn from just 'sticking it to the man' and taking their money. No, things were much, much more complex now, and John loved it.
John shook his head, this was too much fun, but unfortunately, the business of keeping a few steps ahead of their enemies, which were multiplying now that they'd relieved several countries of their best scientists and left the NID hanging. "Hate to break this up, fellas, but I need Rodney," John smirked at his husband. "We're ready for our little trip," he added, so he could stop Rodney's protests in their tracks.
"Oh... so soon?" Rodney said, having a tendency to not keep track of time. "What about Jeannie?"
"She's not coming," John said, and then held up a hand to stop Rodney from interrupting. "She's doing the family thing with Kaleb, I think they have a real chance of getting back together. Besides, this is your plan, we don't really need her do we?" John asked, giving Rodney a knowing look, that he should leave her alone and let her have a chance to be happy
"Fine, fine, Zenik, you're in charge. Mink is working on that computer program we discussed and Piper is finishing the Mark II schematics."
Radek cursed again in his native language. "Zelenka, you hairless baboon. And I know what Miko and Peter are working on. I asked you if I could take Helena off Tinkering duty and have work on real project."
"Tinkering... TINKERING!" Rodney shouted back.
"Hey, Rodney... we have to get ready, or I'll have to leave without you," John interrupted. He couldn't help it, he loved to watch his husband splutter and bluster as if he were going to explode. It was such fun to wind him up, and even more fun to make it up to him later.
"As if you had a chance without me," Rodney snapped, and then glared at Zelenka who was glaring right back. "No, you cannot take Simpleton off her project. Once we get the generators operational, even idiotic amoebas could detect the energy signatures. She's working the shield design, I created..."
"We," Zelenka corrected.
"We? All you did is correct a touch of math... John could have done that in his sleep," Rodney snapped, looking like he was ready to bite Radek's head off.
John puffed up, proud that Rodney thought so highly of him, even if it was a backhanded complement.
"Ah, but he did not do it, I did. And without my corrections we would have gone BOOM into the night, so... we created," Zelenka replied, standing his ground.
"You only get credit where and when it is deserved," Rodney said, a touch of true anger showing, which made John know he needed to step in.
"I'm sure Radek meant only that, Rodney. He's not trying to steal your work," John assured, eyeing the shorter man to be sure he understood he'd touched a raw nerve with Rodney. He was glad to see the man understood.
"Steal his work, no, have enough brilliant work of my own. He is only glad I am willing to put name to his project, to increase its brilliance, ano?" Radek said, and then held up his hands in a surrender manner before Rodney could continue. "But, you make point in that power signature will be easy to find, so I leave Simpson to her task. But I will still need someone to help get ready for gate arrival, ano?"
Rodney looked somewhat appeased, and relaxed his stance, so John felt he could too. "Rodney, tick-tock," he said, pointing to his watch.
"Alright," Rodney snapped at him. "Fine, but they are busy as you know with the other projects, but if you must, take Pepper, we can wait a day or two to finish the Mark II. Besides, I'd rather be here for that anyway," Rodney conceded. Then he turned to face John. "I'll meet you at the plane in twenty minutes," he said, his tone of voice brooking no argument and left.
Radek shouted after him, "I will let Peter know." Then the short man smirked at John with a knowing smile. Then got serious, "You really going to take this Star gate from hands of Russians?" he asked.
"We know that about a year before Rodney was brought to the SGC, the Russians lost most of their people who were working on the gate and after SG-1 and the American Government helped them out they brought them in as 'partners'. Shall we say, the gate has been left dormant... supposedly? Another gate, which was found to have been in the hands of an NID rogue operations group, was being used to steal technology from supposed allies, without their permission. This was stopped by the SGC and the gate was confiscated and put back into storage where they had first placed it after its discovery. Long story short, something happened to the original gate, and the one in storage installed, thus there are only two gates on this planet that we know of, one in the SGC and one in Russia... which one do you think we'll be able to grab easier and quicker?" John asked, a challenging smirk upon his face.
"Ano, ano, third gate rumored to have been found in Antarctica," Radek nodded. "Rumored Russians got gate from alien ship that crashed into the ocean."
"Seems we can't be too careful with our gates, now can we," John smirked, as he turned to head out to meet his team and Rodney at the plane. He stopped in the doorway and looked at the short man that could almost rival his husband. "You do know he understands everything you say, right?" he asked; for Radek Zelenka didn't strike him as an idiot, no matter what Rodney said when he was angry.
Radek smirked knowingly again. "My family said it was Rodney who spoke to them and in perfect Czechoslovakian and knew my name well. He is genius and this is his way, ano?" Radek said, nodding that he understood and would be more than willing to play along. "But he will remember my name again soon enough, ano?" he smirked. Then looked serious again, "but you will not tell him I said that. Like Rodney, I too know how to 'fix' plumbing."
John gave a small laugh, feeling that Rodney had found himself a kindred spirit for a friend, one his gut said would look out for him. He nodded his understanding and headed out. They were off to Russia to get themselves a gate. From what Rodney had told him, it was a very good thing they'd kept the gate and the Naquadah generator project very far apart, or they'd be in a nuclear winter by now, if the planet had survived. John also couldn't help but wonder if what happened had been a real accident of stupidity or something else. Having learned that the NID were pushing to have Jeannie McKay to be their new expert, he couldn't help think that they knew somehow they were going to need her. But John was going to keep that suspicion to himself for now. The entire matter was a sore subject with his husband, not that he blamed Rodney. But according to Rodney, there were a few 'not so stupid' people there that died, and John could tell, Rodney took it personally.
Well, soon the gate would be theirs and blamed on the crooked NID, but it would put the SGC on alert, which was going to make their next step even harder. But John trusted Rodney and his team. It was only a matter of time before they had the Stargate program under their full control. John wondered just what another world would be like, though from the reports Rodney had been able to show him, most looked like the Northwestern part of Canada... hmm, perhaps he'd save himself the trouble and just go visit Vancouver.
As Rodney and his team were busy getting the final preparations for the gate set up and the computer system they would use once they had a dialing program... the one they were going to get from the SGC and improve, according to Rodney, John kept his eye on the world around him. Russia was accusing the Americans of stealing their gate as was planned. The US Government was blaming the NID stating they had more rogue agents, and the NID was blaming China of all places. Seemed this new player was making big waves, either way it kept anyone from looking his way.
John was feeling good, the sky was the color of Rodney's eyes, the wind soft, the sun warm and the only thing that could make it better out here on the private beach of their island, was if his husband could join him. Of course, John didn't think he stood a chance of getting his husband to surf with him, but it would have been fun to try. He smiled at the thought as he lay back on the beach, taking the opportunity to rest on the one day he allowed himself to push the world aside and just be. He had tried to drag Rodney with him, and most times Rodney was receptive to his suggestions, but not today. Rodney was not only busier than ever, but something was going on; he had, however, stopped and kissed John deeply, then told him to go enjoy his day surfing and had dashed off like something was on fire.
John laid there fantasizing about his husband, when he heard something. He opened his eyes and looked along the beach. Surprised, he sat up thinking he might be seeing things, but no, it was Rodney heading toward him, carrying what looked like a picnic basket. He was dressed in shorts, a long sleeved open shirt over a sleeveless shirt, and a big floppy hat. He couldn't keep the welcoming grin off his face as Rodney drew near. "Hey," he greeted.
John saw Rodney's expression as soon as he almost literally fell to his knees next to him. His lover was exhausted, tired, and emotionally raw. "Rodney, what's..." was all he got out before his husband grabbed him and kissed him senseless. Once they broke for air, John found himself wrapped tight into Rodney's embrace, which he loved, but feeling the tremors in Rodney's body concerned him deeply. "Love, what's wrong?"
Rodney's silence scared him more as his husband only continued to hug him tight. John returned the hug and caressed his lover's back until the tremors subsided somewhat. Then he leaned back and made Rodney look at him. Rodney's eyes were so filled with emotions it was almost impossible to read them. "Hey, what's wrong? What happened?"
"We... we almost lost it all today," Rodney stated. It was obvious from the sound of his voice he was struggling to contain his emotions.
"What do you mean? The island is safe, I'd have been notified if it wasn't, no one knows we have the gate..." John started to say.
"No, John. I meant the whole damn planet. We almost lost the entire world," Rodney said, his expression shifting on his face from worn to angry very quickly.
"What?" John asked, but didn't need to ask more as Rodney was no longer in quiet mode.
"You recall Anubis right? I mean, you have been keeping up on the reports we've been taking from the SGC, right? Well, the bastard did something and had found a way to turn the gate under Cheyenne in the States into a giant bomb. One, that if it had gone off would have destroyed the planet... the entire planet!"
"Why didn't you say something?" John demanded. A bit angry to be kept in the dark over something this huge.
"Say something? Say something? Say what? 'John the world is about to go to hell via the express train because some crazed Goa'uld has gone and turned the American gate into a giant explosive device in a matter of hours? But since there is nothing you can do about it, you can just stomp around worried sick and get in the way.' Hell!" Rodney snapped, and then shifted until he was sitting on his butt on the sand, next to John, looking pale and rather distressed.
John shifted closer to his husband. He could kind of understand Rodney's thinking, but it still upset him. "I may not have been able to do anything, but I would rather spend the last moments of my life with you," he said softly, leaning in and placing a gentle kiss on Rodney's cheek.
"Oh," Rodney said, as if he hadn't thought of that. "But, you love to surf," he replied, looking rather lost to John's eyes.
John hugged him and smiled warmer. "But I love you more... so much more," John told him. Seeing the smile on his lover's face eased the tension in John. "So, since you're here, does this mean we're... close...?" he asked, wondering how much time they had left.
"Oh... um... no, we've got years left, so long as you don't go and do something stupid," Rodney replied, his smile warm and loving. His eyes telling John that he was still very raw emotionally over the situation. "The team and I were monitoring the situation, seeing what Carter was trying to do. Anonymously, I sent a few ideas to the SGC... didn't work out too well," Rodney said, and he looked rather defeated and this bothered John deeply.
"Hey, you tried, there could have been more information that you just didn't have," John encouraged.
"Perhaps, but I'm supposed to be the foremost expert on the gate and I couldn't stop it," Rodney said, and the expression on his face was killing John.
"You are, Rodney. But the technology is alien, you said so yourself. It only means that if you couldn't solve it, it wasn't going to get solved..." John said, and then thought over his words, for it might not be true as someone solved it. "Um... how did it get solved?" he asked.
"Oh, one of the aliens at the SGC saw the key under the mat, and suggested we just get rid of the gate," Rodney sighed heavily.
"Okay... ah... key under the mat?" John asked, not familiar with that expression.
"Yes. At one of the colleges I attended we had this annual contest, where participants would create these extravagant locks on their doors and then if they felt inclined to do so create clues that lead to other clues on either how to open the door or get the key. Of course during this time most simply wanted to see if someone could break into their room by overcoming the locking system. The goals were simple, first one to get in someone's room got a prize, the last one to either get opened or remained locked during the allotted time period won over all for best lock design," Rodney explained.
"Did you win?" John asked, smiling for he could see Rodney doing it.
"Um... I wasn't allowed to participate," Rodney said in a hushed voice. He was silent for a moment then looked to meet John's eyes. "I was thirteen and since they were teams and no one would work with me..." he shrugged.
John knew he was showing the shock of hearing this on his face. "Wow," he said, for that was rather young.
"Yeah, well, would have been sooner, but my Mother tried to hold me back a few years. But after the fiasco of building a nuclear bomb when I was in the sixth grade, at which the Government took great offense... I mean it was only a working model. Even I couldn't get hold of the plutonium required... well not then. Now I know better than to mess with such things and Naquadah is so much better..." Rodney said.
"Rodney, focus," John said softly.
"Oh, right. Anyway, I watched carefully. I watched them go to great lengths and stupidity to try and open these doors. The winner of the best lock, was not someone with a fancy lock, just a good idea. He knew how... we... us... scientists thought and he took advantage. In fact, the guy kind of reminds me of you," Rodney smiled.
"He attached a small electric wire to the lock, so if you touched it, it gave a low level shock. This made everyone think there was this massive system attached to the simple key locks established on the door. Then he supplied a clue, which lead to another and another... it took the entire time allotment for the team to gather the clues, so they failed to get the last one. Well, at the end, you have to demonstrate how to open the lock. The guy went to the door, lifted the welcome mat and grabbed the key. The part you held was encased in rubber so not to let you feel the shocks, and he simply unlocked the door." Rodney said; looking like it was the funniest thing ever.
"Wait; so if someone had simply looked under the mat..." John said.
"They would have been able to unlock the door right then and there," Rodney nodded. "So, like seeing if a computer is unplugged, it's the more simplistic answers we tend to overlook. This... Jones guy, out of everyone in the damn Mountain over there, was the only one to see the solution," Rodney huffed, and John could tell he was feeling stupid.
"You are the smartest man in the world, Rodney. But even Einstein needed help with the simple things. Heck, his wife had to check his math and tie his shoes; and since I know you can tie your own shoes, you're one step ahead," John said, hoping to cheer his husband up.
Rodney smirked. "Does that mean you're the girl in our relationship, since you tend to check my math?"
John laughed, "I'm not girl and in a little bit I'll prove it, but I want to know what happened?"
Sadly the smile on Rodney's face fell some. "Well, they removed it and apparently they were trying to get the gate as far away as possible, I told you about how bad the explosion of the gate could be normally, this would have been much worse. At best, we were still looking at a nuclear winter and over half of the US to be gone and any areas near the ocean would be wiped out... so they were trying to use one of their experimental planes... I told you about those," Rodney said.
"Yes, and I hope to get to fly one someday," John grinned.
"Yes, yes, gate first," Rodney smiled back. Then again the smile faltered. "There was a problem with the plane; the aircraft didn't have enough power to open the warp gate long enough. Carter was racing to fix it, but facts were facts. Of all people, O'Neill... you remember him. A big jerk, but still... not really a bad guy, suggested they open it for a few seconds... he'd die on the other end, for he'd have no way back, you see," Rodney explained.
"Colonel O'Neill was taking the plane himself?" John asked.
Rodney smiled a little at John. "Something else you guys have in common, besides being flyboys. But don't worry, he's so not my type nor as good looking," Rodney said.
"You think he's good looking?" John asked, feeling a bit jealous.
Rodney smiled bigger. "Doesn't hold a candle to you," he said and kissed John lovingly. John felt a hundred times better. But then recalled their unfinished conversation. "Um, does this mean..."
"I created a code to allow him to eject and I sent an instant message over his shipboard computer to let him know he could eject. I know Carter is looking for her mystery helper, but she won't find anything and I have Zelenka keeping tabs. O'Neill is safe, he's being picked up by the Navy... but the gate... it's gone." Rodney said.
John rubbed Rodney's back with the hand that had been wrapped around his husband's shoulders. "You did good," he said, for it was true. He then leaned his head to rest on Rodney's strong shoulder, taking in the fact that they were still alive and together.
"Wait a second," John said as he sat up straight. "Does that mean... we... have the only gate left on Earth?" he asked.
"Well, unless someone else is hiding one... yes," Rodney said, turning meeting John's eyes.
A huge mischievous smile crossed both men's faces and they burst out laughing, for if the SGC wanted to continue their program, they were going to have to deal with them... the new keepers of the gate.