The Bridge

Title: The Bridge
Author: Keira Marcos
Big Short Prompt: John Sheppard
Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis
Characters/Relationship: Past Sheppard/OFC
Genre: Gen, Alternate Universe
Word Count: 1993
Warnings: No beta
Author’s Note: I took a page of Jilly’s book and wrote fan fiction of my own work.
Summary: A personal situation on Earth changes John’s life for pretty much ever.

– – – –

Being recalled to Earth for a personal situation was practically foreign to John. The only personal relationships he had were on Atlantis. But O’Neill had been specific, the matter was very personal and required John come back to Earth immediately. In fact, immediately had meant he’d had to do it in a Jumper through the half finished galaxy bridge and because it wasn’t finished—the trip had taken the better part of a day.

Everyone in the SGC was looking at him nervously which was honestly more confusing than the summons home had been. John didn’t get it—it had been a few months since he’d bugged out and everyone assured he looked normal now.

Carter, who had met him in the gate room, escorted him to the big conference room above the gate and he sat where she pointed.

“The General will be here shortly,” Sam promised and started to leave.

“Wait.” John took a deep breath. “Colonel, can you tell me anything?”

She paused then shook her head. “No, the General O’Neill hasn’t told us anything. He returned to Colorado three days ago and ordered General Landry to recall you to Earth.”

A strange agony twisted in his gut. “Has someone reported me for…” He closed his eyes briefly to hide the panic. Had someone outed him? Was he about to be court-martialed for being gay?

A hand settled on one of his, and he opened his eyes. Sam Carter was staring at his face. “No. It’s not much of a secret actually, but we knew before we sent you to Atlantis. Sumner tried to get you thrown off the mission because he assumed you were gay but had no proof. O’Neill ordered him to shut up and never discuss his assumptions with anyone as long as he lived. General Landry has been told the same thing. Jack would never let anyone come at you for it. So whatever is going on—it isn’t about DADT.”

She seemed so certain that John allowed himself to relax. “Okay.”

Carter nodded and released his hand. “I can’t say whatever is about to go down isn’t fucked up, but it’s not that sort of fucked up.”

“Small favors,” John said wryly. She laughed and left him alone.

He waited for nearly an hour which wasn’t a surprise since he’d been told that O’Neill was at his cabin off base when he’d arrived. John was standing near the large window watching SG-1 leave the mountain through the gate when the door opened, and O’Neill entered. He turned and offered the older man a salute. It wasn’t often he did it sincerely, but O’Neill had more than earned his respect over the years.

“At ease, Colonel,” O’Neill said. “Sit.” He pointed toward a chair, and John sat. O’Neill took the chair at the head of the table and stared at him. “I’m going to ask you a question before we get started—and you’d better not fucking lie to me.”

John blinked in surprise. “Yes, sir.”

“Do you have any biological children?”

“No, sir,” John said. “I was married shortly after I left college, but she wasn’t meant to be a career officer’s wife. I spent most of my early twenties in war zones, and relationships were in short supply. Why?”

O’Neill opened the folder he’d brought with him and put a picture down in front of him. “Familiar?”

John pulled the photo to him. “Karen Riley. We had…an affair when I was at Monterrey defending my degree but that was eleven years ago, sir. In fact, to be perfectly frank, she’s the last woman I had a relationship with.” Karen had been his last attempt at playing it straight, and after that had fallen apart, he’d stopped trying.

“This is her son,” Jack said quietly and put another picture on top of Karen’s. “He’s ten years old.”

It was like looking at a picture of himself as a kid. “She.” John exhaled sharply. “I…sir. I didn’t know.”

“No, that’s obvious. Her will stated as much, but I wanted to know for certain that I didn’t some asshole in my command who’d abandon his own kid.”

“Will?”

“She was killed in a car accident two weeks ago. You might not have kept up with her, but she kept up with you as much as she could. I guess she wanted to be able to provide her son with details if he asked about his biological father. A few hours after she died, I received a phone call from her lawyer. My name was the last Dr. Riley had been able to get ahold of regarding your assignments, and she thought that I was your CO. Resourceful lady.”

“Her father was in the Army,” John murmured. “Her godfather is high up in the Marine Corps, but I forget his name.” He focused on the picture of his son. “Do you have my son?”

“He’s in Landry’s office,” Jack admitted. “I went to California and picked him up immediately. I feared, and it’s been confirmed for me that Dr. Riley’s interest in your career caught the wrong kind of attention. The car accident…wasn’t an accident.”

Fury poured into his gut. “Who do you suspect?”

“NID for a start and it goes deeper and probably higher than my own pay grade, to be honest. It always has. Your son…is uniquely gifted genetically and intellectually but then most gene carriers are quite talented in a variety of ways. I’ve had Dr. Lam confirm his ATA gene status and paternity. She destroyed the results as soon as she was finished.”

“They killed his mother to get to him?” John questioned.

“It’s easier to kidnap a kid no one is going to miss,” Jack explained. “They miscalculated.”

“How?” John questioned.

“Her lawyer was in love with her—no relationship there, but the man couldn’t be bought. The moment he received the bribe offer, he reached out to me and told me everything. He hired private security to protect the kid until I got there.”

“His name?” John asked, focusing on the picture.

“John Sebastian,” Jack said and sat back in his chair. “Prefers Sebastian and gives me dirty looks whenever I call him Junior so I’ve been doing it on the regular since we met. He’s a good kid—but grieving.” He pulled some more papers out of the folder. “I need you to sign a few things, chief among them adoption papers. You weren’t listed as his biological father on his birth certificate. This will give you legal rights. I asked him about this, and he told me that he’d prefer to take your name because that’s what his mom wanted but…”

“No, that’s fine,” John said hoarsely. He signed everywhere he should, and after ten minutes, O’Neill gathered up everything but the two pictures and closed the folder. “Sir?”

“We have a few options,” Jack said neutrally. “I know your father is retired and living in Virginia. I can reach out to him and tell him his grandson needs a guardian and that you’re in a combat zone.”

That was the last thing he wanted, and it must have shown on his face.

“I can take him,” Jack said. “But I don’t think the NID’s interest is going to fade. They’re shady as fuck, and they always have been. I don’t know why they are so interested in him—maybe it’s his genetics or maybe they want a leverage against you. I can’t guarantee he’d be safe with your father or me.”

“No, I…want him with me.” John took a deep breath. “I don’t have the personal resources to protect him as a civilian, but I can’t guarantee I won’t be transferred back into a combat posting if I leave the SGC.”

Jack sighed. “Sheppard, the only way you get out of the SGC is retirement or a box. You’re the strongest ATA gene carrier we have, and the scientists on Atlantis have made no bones about their belief that they’d have a hard time controlling the city if you were gone on a long-term basis.”

“What are you saying?” John demanded. “Are you’re telling me I can’t come back to Earth for the kid I didn’t even know I had?”

“I’m telling you that both the President and I would greatly prefer if you took your genetically valuable offspring off the planet, Sheppard,” Jack returned tartly. “Leaving him here is a threat to the security of the program, a threat to your ability to be in command on Atlantis, and honestly a threat to his own life. They’ve already murdered his mother.”

John relaxed a little. “It’s dangerous on Atlantis.”

“He’ll have you on Atlantis which is more than he has here,” Jack said. “And to be honest, he wants his Daddy, Sheppard. You might not have known about him, but Sebastian knows all about you. At least, he knows as much as his mother knew.”

“Okay,” John said.

Roughly a minute later, O’Neill all but shoved him into Landry’s office which was empty except for his son. His son. What the hell was he supposed to do? The boy looked up from the tablet he was reading on and met John’s gaze with bright green eyes. At that moment, John desperately wished Karen Riley was alive—so he could ask her why and probably curse her out. He figured he was due.

Sebastian’s cheeks flushed, and he bit down on his bottom lip. “Hi.”

John pulled the door shut behind him and walked across the room to sit on the sofa with the kid. “Hello.”

Sebastian grinned. “You look really nervous. My mom assured me I was never a biter.” He put the tablet aside. “General O’Neill bought me a whole bunch of eBooks. He said he was going to bill you for the Kindle, too.”

John laughed. “Okay.” He rubbed the back of his neck and took a deep breath.

“I didn’t know you worked at NORAD. Mom said you were a helicopter pilot and we figured since most of your personnel file is redacted that you’re specials ops of some kind.”

John blew out a surprised breath. “You’ve read my jacket?”

“Not all of it, Uncle Randolph made me promise I wouldn’t hack into the Department of Defense on the condition that he would show me the unclassified parts.”

The kid’s utterly serious expression was unnerving. “Randolph,” John murmured. “As in Randolph Rampart.”

“Commandant of the Marine Corps, yes,” Sebastian said. “He’s my mom’s godfather. I don’t have a godfather since she didn’t raise me Catholic though she did try to put me in Catholic school once. It didn’t work out.”

“I just bet,” John said dryly. “And I don’t work at NORAD. Technically, we aren’t in NORAD.”

“Where are we then?” Sebastian asked.

“Stargate Command.”

“Stargate…” Sebastian trailed off. “What does that…” His gaze narrowed. “Daddy, do you fly space ships?”

John’s heart gave a little jolt at being called daddy—what an odd sensation. “As a matter of a fact, I do.”

“Can I see one?”

“We need to talk about that,” John admitted.

– – – –

Forty-eight hours after going to Earth, John exited the half finished gate bridge into Pegasus with his son in the co-pilot seat. He swung the jumper around and dialed the gate for Atlantis then sent through his IDC. They were expecting him since he and Carter had sent several messages to Atlantis through the bridge using the communication buoys he’d dropped for McKay on his way through.

“Daddy?”

“Yeah?” John questioned.

“Do you think Dr. McKay will let me have my own lab?”

The radio signaled, and McKay’s voice filled the Jumper. “John Sebastian Sheppard…Senior! You have a kid? Carter says he’s a genius! Bring him through right now!”

John laughed. “Maybe he’ll let you share with him.”

Sebastian grinned and leaned forward slightly as they headed for the Stargate. “Cool.”

The End

Author’s Note:

The Big Short is a short-form writing challenge hosted on Rough Trade’s forum, The Workshop. The prompts come in two forms — a word challenge (the theme) and a single character challenge. I post my responses to the prompts on the forum first and eventually they’ll make it to my website. Each is a stand alone piece with no potential for expansion.

These short works are NOT prompts! These are my responses to the forum prompts. No, you cannot use them as prompts. No you cannot continue my short work with a longer work or write a sequel. For fuck’s sake.

Keira Marcos

In my spare time I write fan fiction and lead a cult of cock worshippers on Facebook. It’s not the usual kind of hobby for a “domestic engineer” in her 30’s but we live in a modern world and I like fucking with people’s expectations.

119 Comments:

  1. I’m grinning like an idiot as I read this piece. That’s what your penned creativity does to me. It’s a bright spark in a dreary night. Thank you for sharing this, and all the recent Big Shorts.

  2. Oh be still my heart!! WMHB is still one of my most favorite series you have ever written. Don’t get me wrong, I adore your HP fic, but your SGA is how I found you. I think the thing I love most about how your write is how fleshed out your characters are and how everyone serves a purpose.

    Thank you for posting this amazing little gem!

  3. This. Is. DELIGHTFUL. Sebastian in Atlantis is a treat I didn’t know I needed!

  4. Ahhh I love Sebastian! In what ever form you want to give him! Quite lovely and nerve racking foe John! Lol

  5. I absolutely love this.

  6. This is awesome!

  7. Oh! A different version of Sebastian! Cool! Favourite line: “I’m telling you that both the President and I would greatly prefer if you took your genetically valuable offspring off the planet, Sheppard.”

  8. Absolutely lovely, Thank you!

  9. This was great!

  10. Fantastic!

  11. As Oliver Twist said, “More, please?” Fun au of your au!
    I love your Stargate fiction. I reread WMHB & Sentinels of Atlantis once or twice a year.

  12. Loved it!! Thank you for sharing.

  13. “-she did try to put me in Catholic School once. It didn’t work out.” I just bet! This is delightful. I loved WMHB and it’s good to see a twist on it.

  14. I REALLY enjoyed this! It took me by surprise, and I supposed it shouldn’t have, but WOW! Just loved it! Also enjoying your other shorts, and wanted to thank you for Rough Trade.

  15. Aww, I missed baby!Sheppard! Now I need to re-read WMHB. Thanks for cheering up a dreary Sunday!

  16. I have no idea how you pack so much awesome in so little. You are amazing! And now I want to reread all of WMHB…and then maybe every other fic you’ve ever written.

  17. As the boy said, “Cool”, very cool!

  18. I love this alternate version of Sebastian’s life. And getting to go to Atlantis right away! He must have been so excited. And I’m sure canon Rodney would adore him just as much as WMHB Rodney.

    OMG, the only kid on the city, he’d be so spoiled.

  19. Sabastiannnnnnnnn…does the awesome dance (badly)…..snickers at Uncle Randolph….thanks

  20. I can’t stop smiling! I love that Sebastian was well cared for, and that there were adults behaving in an ethical and responsible manner. Also, O’Neill being willing to take on John’s kid was perfect, as was Rodney’s reaction. Thank you, what a great way to start the week.

  21. This was utterly charming. I was smitten with Sebastian from the moment I first read WMHB years ago, and this alternate glimpse of him was adorable. Thank you so much for sharing this with your readers. These small fics you’ve put out lately have been a delight.

  22. ❤️❤️ Thank you!

  23. Ohhh – this is SPLENDID! Thanks for posting this.

  24. Well, I knew i was in love with Sebastian before but now I know I am. Atlantis will never be the same.

  25. Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, can’t stop smiling. Loved it.

  26. Thank you for making me laugh tonight.

  27. OMG, I adore this! I’ve always loved John and Sebastian together. Thank you for the fanfic of your fic!

  28. My imagination is revving up thinking about all the possibilities…I’ve been missing the original version of this verse something shocking.
    Thank you for giving us all something new to obsess over.

  29. So much LOVE for this! Seriously.

  30. This is adorable. Even if my brain *is* shorting out a bit at TTB’s Randolph and WMHB’s Sebastian meeting. Because my brain went there. Or tried to. It’s off in a corner whimpering in confusion now.

    • You’re saying that like Randolph Rampart doesn’t already exist in the WMHB universe. He made an appearance in SOA, you know. I tend to move my OCs around to all of my ‘verses.

      • Oh, I know he exists in WMHB. Just, for whatever weird-ass reason my brain decided to put the TTB version in this. Don’t ask me why. My brain sometimes does *strange* things.

        This is possibly because the TTB version was the first I read, and he’s … rather memorable. For all the best reasons. *snerk*.

  31. *heart eyes*

  32. Lovely, lovely.

  33. Oh I loved that idea of him having Sebastian in a more canon Atlantis. (Obviously not completely canon since John seems to be with or could be with Rodney.) In WMHB he has his family back before he meets Sebastian, so I could see this being much harder for him emotionally in this verse. Thank you so much for posting this. I have loved the other shorts as well, especially the Tony one you posted just before this.

  34. I am picturing the looks on Rodney’s face when he hears the kid call John ‘Daddy,’ and it is GLORIOUS.

  35. Totally delightful. This has me grinning like a fool.

  36. Loved this thank you!

  37. Awesome… this makes me want to go read WMHB again…

  38. Great

  39. aw, man. you do such a great job of John in that helpless, vulnerable, new dad mode. and Jack is such a great defender. <3 welcome to Atlantis, Sebastian!

  40. Not going to lie, i smile a lot, a bit like a fool.
    It’s so great, thankd to share.

  41. delightful! Love it!!

  42. I’m late for the dentist but I had to finish this. I grinned like a muppet all the way through!

    Thank you!!!

  43. Very cool!!

  44. Great. As I read I started smiling and wound up with a huge grin on my face. Great story. Thank you.

  45. So full of win!

  46. Awesome! Thanks for sharing.

  47. Fabulous! The way you write SGA is my favorite. Oh, who am I kidding? The way you write EVERYTHING is my favorite!

  48. What a lovely treat. Thank you so much. I do so love Sebastian.

  49. What a lovely surprise to find in my email when I sat down for a cuppa 🙂
    Thank you Keira, much appreciated.
    I love the details and the interactions between the characters that you write. Really fleshes them out. I can almost hear O’Neill’s voice nipping at JS, and I can see the expression on JS’s face when he realises just whose god-daughter he got pregnant too.
    I think I want to go and read WMHB again as well.
    Kind regards,
    Mary

  50. Well isn’t that a kick in the pants. Well done. Thanks.

  51. I like this alternate reality for them, too. Sebastian on Atlantis would be awesome! Thanks for sharing it!

  52. Atlantis is totally going to adopt the kid the moment he sets foot on deck. (Both the City and the inhabitants.) I know and accept there’s not going to be any more of this, but a gal can dream, can’t she?

  53. greywolfthewanderer

    yisss!!!

    *very* kewl! I love Sebastian anyway, and this is delightful. I can just see the look on John’s face, heh heh heh.

    lovely breakfast treat, ta for that!

  54. Awesome 😀 I love this so much! As with everyone else, I’m feeling the need to re-read WMHB… followed by everything else. Thank you so much for writing & sharing 🙂

  55. I swear – I think you could post your grocery list and I would read and love it!

    • Okay, my current grocery list:

      1 quart freezer bags
      Garbage bags
      Center cut pork chops
      Green beans
      Sweet potatoes
      Loaf of rosemary and olive oil bread
      Dreamfield Angel Hair pasta
      butter
      whole fat cream
      smoked gouda cheese
      sara lee butter bread
      😉

  56. This was adorable.

  57. you are easily one of the best writers i have found online. i love reading and rereading your stories

  58. <3 Love <3 It always makes my day so see something new from you in my inbox. I now have the urge to re-read WMHB again (like I *don't * have the entire thing memorized from the countless readings I've already done). Sebastian and Matt are my favourite of your OCs, so I always love seeing more! ^_^

    Also, your grocery list is intriguing and now you have me curious what you're making ~_^

  59. Barely seen the kid but he already has my heart melting.
    The story also reminded me why I like Jack…

    Thank you.

  60. This is great! I got warm, happy feelings while reading it. Thank you!

  61. I love this so much! Sebastian is probably one of my favorite OCs. I absolutely adore this take on their first meeting! 🙂

  62. The kid says Daddy and John turns to mush. Love it. And a mini John interacting with Rodney. Oh, the possibilities. 🙂

  63. Sebastian is an amazing character and it was delightful to read a different version of his story.

  64. This was fantastic. I love every part of this but especially John’s fear and Jack’s kindness. This is such a good little snippet and my brain is filling in all sorts of possible futures, which is one of the signs of a great short story in my opinion. Thanks for this story.

  65. Sebastian is my favorite character, cannon or fannon, in SGA. He reminds me of my kid. This was a perfect little read for a Monday afternoon.

  66. This was a great surprise. I’m entirely certain I like your original characters better than a lot of canon characters and I’d definitely rather read your fic than anyone else’s. And I have a sudden desire for pork chops…

  67. Love it. Thank you!

  68. What a wonderful way to start the day! Thank you for such a well crafted, captivating story with characters from a universe I adore.

  69. So lovely ! Thank you !

  70. I grinned the whole time I was reading this. I love that you’re even doing fanfic of your own fanfic. Not sure which line made me snerk more; they were all just so delightful. Thanks for sharing!

  71. That was amazing! What a wonderful way to finish off a Monday! Thank you so much for writing! It makes my day that much brighter!

  72. Love! So happy to see Sebastian again. He’s my favourite character you’ve created ever.

  73. One Quart freezer bags are sooo useful.
    I love John and Rodney with Sebastian. Jack was great too.
    I still have a big grin. Thank you.

  74. An AU of an AU? How intriguing!

    Just proves that Keira can take anything and twist it into something bright and shiny and new!

    Thank you!

  75. *sighs happily*

    Reading this was like being wrapped firmly in a pre-heated feather comforter while hearing a bass note played, probably by Yo Yo Ma.

    The which I was in dire need of.

    Thank you.

  76. OMG I adore you.

    Squee for Sebastian! He (and his Daddy!) rock in any ‘verse.

  77. Love, Love, Loved it. Thanks so much for making me smile today. Best, The Nut.

  78. As always Sebastian rocks (as do you, of course!). This just made me grin for about five minutes. Thank-you!

  79. Thanks for sharing. I’ve enjoyed all the responses for the Big Short you’ve posted so far; they are like a mini treat at the end of the day. Take care and I hope you have a great week!

  80. thank you for this, cheered me up, bad week, family funeral tomorrow.
    really needed something to help give me a boost and this did the trick.

  81. Awesome sauce. Sebastian is adorable. Thanks for sharing!

  82. OMG, I **love** this!!
    Thank you, Keira, for posting! (yes, it IS 04:13. I earned the joy of reading this). 😉 😉

  83. Thank you for sharing your writing with us. It’s a great story.

  84. I was only reading What Might Have Been yesterday! I love this ‘verse especially Sebastian. Wonderful surprise this morning, thank you.

  85. Love it! Any chance you will turn this into a longer fic? Pretty please??
    I absolutely love your writing and can’t wait for your next update.
    As always, thanks for sharing your amazing talent with the rest of us! 🙂

  86. This is a lovely twist on a fantastic story – like Jilly, you do excellent fanfiction of your fanfiction! 😀

  87. Cool little story, loved it.
    I really miss Jack O’Neill and you do him so well.

  88. Love Sebastian and this story. Very meta!

  89. lol I love the idea of a fan fiction of your fan fiction.

  90. This was amazing. Sebastian has always been one of my favorite of your characters so this was a wonderful read.

  91. So cute! Looks like Rodney might have someone to keep him on his toes. Loved it.
    Kathie

  92. These shorts are like perfectly crafted food that you can get in one single, spectacular bite. You should know it’s just one bite, the chef said so, so you have to savor the experience and linger over the finish. But don’t badger the chef or you won’t get any other different, perfect bites.

    Thank you for sharing. I came to your site with a recommendation for good Harry Potter fic. I stay for everything you have written, because it is all beautiful.

  93. Imaging all the ways Atlantis would dote on Sebastian makes me smile. Keira, your Big Short fills are truffles of fic, it’s -glorious-.

  94. Ok that was just and pure love!

  95. Love. All the love. This is GLORIOUS.

  96. Sigh. This was lovely. I’m feeling very happy.

  97. Look, I know there’s a kid involved and all, but let’s face some truths here. Today’s kids have filthy mouths on them, and if I remember correctly from your original story the youngest Sheppard is no exception.

    So, having said all of that, I just have this to say: fucking awesome!

  98. OMT The feels! I love it~

    Thank you!

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