Summary: John and Rodney find themselves on a lecture/publicity tour for the Stargate program to shore up support for the Atlantis mission. What they find a long the way is everything they could have wanted and one thing they didn’t even realize they needed.
Author’s Note: This story takes place the day after the end of “Keep Me Awake”.
Warnings: Emotional angst, very bad language, explicit sex, unexpected new family members, secondary pairings, Las Vegas, snotty scientists, and roller blades
Categories: Slash, Established Relationship, Alternate Universe, Contemporary
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended, seriously. I don’t own them. I don’t pretend to. This is just for fun. Don’t sue me—it would be a waste of your money. But, hey, these words are mine so don’t steal them and say they are yours.
* * * *
“So, how is Jonas?”
Rodney finished stripping and slid into the bed. “Bitchy. He hates being confined to a bed. Maggie says he’s eating well though and the nurse is taking good care of him.” He sighed and glanced around the hotel room. Day one of his appearance in LA and he was ready to murder someone. “Did I tell you how much I hate California?”
“No.” John laughed. “I spent a year here. It wasn’t a bad place to be stationed—good surfing. We can fly out as soon as you are done with the presentation tomorrow.”
“I shouldn’t have to even be here. We canceled Berkley, so I thought I was done with this too hot place completely. But no, the DOD wanted you on Larry King which meant they could add another appearance to my schedule while they were at it. Sean was pissed in case you missed it.”
“I didn’t miss it. We’ll be in plenty of time for the Vegas thing.” He relaxed on his pillow. “So, now that you’ve seen Jonas again. Do you wish you’d gone with him when he left Earth?”
“No.” Rodney shook his head. “If I had loved him enough I would have followed him. I didn’t—so obviously what we had wasn’t enough for either of us.”
“How can you know that for sure?”
“Because I’d follow you anywhere,” Rodney answered softly.
“Why don’t you follow me over to this side of the bed.” John pulled him closer and then sighed when there was a knock on their bedroom door. “Come in.”
Rodney demanded. “Yes, Major?”
Major Evan Lorne flushed. “I apologize, but we have an intruder on the floor that got past the hotel security measures. It’s… sir… I think this is something you should take care of personally.”
John slipped from the bed and ran one hand over his head. “What’s the threat level, Major?”
“Zero.” Evan averted his gaze while his CO pulled on a pair of sleep pants and a t-shirt. “I apologize for the interruption but this is…”
“I believe the correct term for this circumstance is a cock block,” Rodney muttered from the bed before he went searching for his own clothes.
Evan sighed. “You suck, Dr. McKay.”
“Yes, that might have been on the agenda.”
John laughed and Evan blushed. “Rodney, stop picking on the major. He’s just doing his job.”
The living area of the suite was full when he left the bedroom. And at the center of it was a kid who looked to be about ten years old. He stared for a few seconds, stunned by the unbelievable resemblance and then looked towards David who was shaking his head.
He walked across the room and sat down in front of the kid. “Hi.”
“Colonel.” Shrewd green eyes met his and it was like a punch in the gut.
“I understand you managed to get past the hotel security people.”
“The security around this place is for shit. I didn’t get caught until I got on the floor. They don’t even have a guard on the staff elevator.”
“John Sebastian Reilly.”
“And your mother would be Karen Reilly.”
“She was, yes.”
“She died six months ago in a car accident. Since I didn’t have a birth father listed on my birth certificate they put me in foster care.” His jaw tightened. “And they called me a liar when I told them who my father was.”
“And your tenth birthday will be on?”
“Do you go by John?”
“No, she always called me Sebastian.” His gaze flicked around the room in such a Sheppard way that several people took deep breaths. Then his gaze centered on McKay. “Is he going to have a problem with this?”
“Right now this is between you and me,” John responded neutrally.
“I’m surprised you remember my mother.”
John raised an eyebrow. “There have been three women in my life, Sebastian.” He looked at Rodney. “Why does everyone assume I’m whore? Seriously?”
“Because you’re beautiful,” Rodney responded dryly. “And practically anyone would want to f…” He glanced towards the kid. “Be interested in you.”
John sighed and then focused on the kid. “Okay, I’m sort of at a loss as to what to do…” He bit down on his bottom lip. “Foster care? What happened to your grandmother?”
“Breast cancer, last year.”
“Sorry to hear that—she was a great lady.”
“I think blood tests are in order,” Sebastian said. “Because I’ve pretty much had it with people calling me a liar.”
“Jennifer,” John finally said. He thought it was unnecessary, really. The kid… was a Sheppard and Karen was a part of John’s past. A big part of his past.
Keller glanced between John and Sebastian then nodded. “Well, there is a quick way to find out, while I find a lab to do the work in.” She opened her field kit and rummaged through it carefully. Then pulled out a device and unceremoniously tossed it to the kid. Sebastian caught it easily. The scanner lit up in his hand and practically hummed with happiness. She smirked. “That’s the Sheppard gene.”
“What does it do?” he asked. He frowned. “Wait, it… hmm… it’s a scanner. You use it for health diagnostics but it had to be programmed for that. It was designed for maintenance… mechanical maintenance.”
Rodney picked up his cell phone and started dialing. “Get me a list.”
“Of what?” Sebastian asked with a frown.
“All the people that called you a liar.” He walked away muttering in French. “Wilson, yes, I realize it’s 2AM. I am a fucking genius—I’ve been able to tell time since I was a year old. I pay you a ridiculous retainer so I can call you at 2AM. I need you on a plane to Los Angeles. We’ll charter you a private flight.” He pointed a finger at Sean who nodded and went searching for his own phone. “No, I want you on the ground as soon as possible.”
“What is he doing?” Sebastian asked.
John laughed. “Being McKay.” He looked toward Jennifer who was preparing to take blood. “How long on this?”
“After McKay finishes bullying his lawyer—I’ll make him find me a lab to run the blood work in.” Jennifer motioned towards Sebastian. “Okay, you’ll need to take off your jacket.”
The kid hesitated and then shrugged out of it with a little wince. There were bruises littered over his lower and upper arms. Some old and some new. “Just be careful, Doc.”
“What the fuck is this?” John demanded before he could help himself.
Sebastian’s mouth fell into a thin line. “Foster care isn’t exactly a picnic, sir.”
“Your foster parents?”
“No.” He shook his head. “Other kids. I live in a group home. I’ve never been to a prison but I think a comparison could be drawn.”
“A group home.”
“Yeah, for problem kids or ones with psychological problems.”
“Anyone touch you?” John asked without preamble.
“One of the older kids tried.” Sebastian winced when Jennifer put the needle in. “In the first group home I was in. It’s why I’m in the one I’m in now.”
“Because you fought back or told?”
“Because I cracked his jaw while he was asleep,” Sebastian responded carefully. “I told him to leave me alone—that everyone had to sleep eventually and he’d pay for it. He chose not to believe me.”
“How old was he?”
“Good for you,” Lorne muttered. “Sir, you should know that hotel security has called the LAPD and that Social Services are probably on their way.”
John nodded. “Full team deployment. No one comes onto this floor without my permission. If the locals argue the point tell them I’ve locked down the floor for McKay’s security since the hotel can’t even be trusted to keep a ten year old at bay.”
“So,” Sebastian pressed the cotton when Jennifer silently indicated he should. “What if these tests say I’m not yours?”
“Did your mother tell you that I’m your father?”
“If the tests says no, what do you want?” John asked.
Sebastian paused and swallowed. “I just want to be safe.”
“Then I think Karen would prefer that you be with me than with strangers who can’t even keep a pedophile away from you in their own home.” John sucked in a breath. “Besides, your Ancient gene just made you practically priceless to the United States government. Natural genes are very rare—one in ten thousand. Genes that are as strong as yours and mine? One in billions.”
“How did you know about the…” He trailed off.
John shrugged. “It’s not easy being an attractive kid and I don’t imagine the foster care system offers you the kind of protection my brothers and I had.”
“She isn’t taking your blood.”
“She doesn’t need to,” Jennifer responded as she packed away her field kit. “I know your father’s DNA like the back of my hand.”
“He doesn’t know that for sure.”
Jennifer looked over his face and then offered a gentle smile. “Didn’t he just say he was keeping you regardless?”
* * * *
“He’s like a hurricane,” Sebastian whispered as he watched Rodney move around the room.
John laughed softly and relaxed on the couch beside the kid. It had been nearly six hours since his world had been turned upside down by a nine year old. “Yeah, that’s why I keep him around. So, huh, is the gay thing going to bother you?”
“Well, I’d prefer not walk in on the two of you fucking.”
“Pardon me.” Sebastian finished off his coke. “I’d prefer not witness an act of sexual congress.”
Sean snorted from his place across the room. “I’ll send one of the men to collect your stuff.”
“I have everything I own in my backpack. One of those soldier guys took it when I came off the elevator. They don’t let you keep your life when they throw you in foster care. I got to pack one bag when they took custody of me. My mom’s house wasn’t paid for so it got auctioned off by the state and everything went with it. They supposedly boxed pictures and stuff for me—but I’ve never seen them.” Sebastian reached out and grabbed another coke off the table in front of him.
“Why didn’t you call me?”
“Tried a few times. I got knocked around to different government agencies and none of them took me seriously. One woman from the Department of Defense reported me for prank phone calls. They restricted me after that—no unsupervised phone calls, no Internet. Not even at school.” Sebastian shrugged. “I can’t be the only kid to claim that you’re their father.”
John groaned. “Yeah, probably so.”
Sebastian laughed then. “You’re going to find the other two and make sure I’m the only one right?”
“The other two…” John shook his head. “One is my ex-wife and she has no children. The other was a woman from another planet—she died before I came home from Atlantis. Then there was this Ancient woman—but it wasn’t—let’s just say that no kid could have come out of that.”
“Yeah, that was just glowy touching,” Rodney retorted as he sat down on the coffee table in front of the two of them. “Okay, here’s the deal. I’ve had my lawyer file emergency custody papers citing an imminent threat in your current living situation and my belief that you’re a national security asset.”
“Yeah. I’ll have you know I’ve woken up two Senators, a Congressmen, and the President of the United States. All of which are looking forward to meeting you.” He looked at John. “There is a will on file with the state giving you custody of and in fact naming you the biological father. Her lawyer died in the same car accident she was in and the state of California has a very lazy or corrupt social services department. I’ve gotten his case worker, and six people who work in her department fired. And every foster care home he’s been at in the past six months will be investigated by the Attorney General’s office.”
“She was dating the lawyer.” Sebastian shrugged. “Decent guy. I figured I could live with him because he made her laugh and stuff.”
“Is custody enough?”
“No. I’ve got Wilson filing emergency adoption papers as well.” Rodney paused. “And that is something you and I need a private conversation for.”
John nodded. “Stay with Sean and watch the coke—you don’t need that much caffeine.”
Sebastian shrugged. “I’m only nine you know—caffeine doesn’t do to me what it does to you.”
“Sure doesn’t,” Rodney assured. “But hey—if you’re currently happy with the size of your penis and then don’t worry about it stunting your growth.”
“That’s a myth!”
“Sure, sure. Do you really want to risk your dick on that assumption?”
John laughed as he prodded Rodney out of the room. “You’ll give him nightmares.” He closed the door and groaned softly. “I can not fucking believe my life.”
Rodney pulled him over to a chair and sat down on the ottoman in front of him. “Okay, decision time.”
“Yeah.” John rubbed his face. “You and I both know what the DNA test is going to reveal. The likelihood that he isn’t mine is like a negative two hundred.”
“So, I just became a package deal.”
Rodney laughed softly. “You always were, you know. What’s one more Sheppard in my house stealing my coffee?”
John bit down on his lip and then sighed. “Yeah, but this is not what you signed up for.”
“You know what—he appears to be a great kid and he’s yours which means that I’ll move heaven and Earth to give him the safety he wants and deserves.” He cleared his throat. “Wilson wants to know if both of our names go on the papers.”
“Yes,” John said immediately. “Unless you don’t…”
“He’s part of you,” Rodney responded.
“I don’t want him to face uncertainty again, Rodney. So, yes, your name on the papers and then we need to make sure he’s taken care of in every way when it comes to wills and future guardians if we…”
“Right. He won’t have a shortage of family if that happens again. He’s about to go from being an orphan to having a very large family.”
John grimaced. “Did you hear what he said? About not getting to keep his life?”
“Yeah,” Rodney sighed. “We’ll fix that. You can take him shopping for clothes and whatever crap he wants while I’m at the conference today.”
John frowned. “I don’t want to split…”
“Look, we used to be two and now we’re three. I can’t skip the afternoon lecture and he doesn’t deserve to be tossed off on a security team for this.”
“Yeah, okay.” John rubbed his face. “My dad will be pleased.”
“Yeah, we need to call your dad before he hears it on the news. I’ve made enough waves in the past five hours that it isn’t going to stay a secret long.”
“When will Jennifer be back from the lab?”
“She has her own analysis equipment—so not long. She just needed access to a centrifuge.”
* * * *
“Congratulations, it’s a boy.” Jennifer handed John the scanner and offered a smile. “A nine year old smart ass boy.”
John laughed softly. “Okay. Get official paperwork on this so we can include it in the papers. I have a social worker outside demanding access to him.”
Jennifer frowned. “Should I stay?”
“No, this is… this should just be the three of us and the social worker.”
“Understood.” Jennifer patted his arm. “So, huh, wow!”
“I know.” He glanced towards Sebastian and found him in a very quiet conversation with Rodney. From the relief on the kid’s face he knew Rodney was telling them the full extent of their plans. “He was worried that I would toss him back if Rodney didn’t want any part of him.”
“Your family presents a very united front to the world,” Jennifer admitted. “It could be intimidating for someone who is about to inject themselves in your lives.”
“Speaking of yourself?” John asked, amused. “I always thought David had good taste.”
* * * *
“Dr. McKay we have rules and neither one of you currently qualify has foster parents in the state of California. I’m afraid that he’ll have to come with me until a judge signs off…” She trailed off when she cautioned a glance at John’s face. “Colonel, surely you must understand we have laws in place for a reason. It’s for the protection of children.”
“Because you’ve done such a good job of protecting him so far,” John let his arm drop over the back of the couch. “I’ve killed people for less than what has been done to my son in the last six months. Threats of sexual molestation, abuse at the hands of older children, and disrespect from the people, like you, who were supposed to be seeing to his interests. Failure on the part of your office to fully investigate his mother’s estate—which would have revealed a will, which incidentally gave me custody of the him. You’ll be lucky if I don’t sue the state. McKay has a lawyer on retainer who gets off on suing people. When I leave California later this afternoon Sebastian is coming with me. You can make this easy or you can make this difficult but either way it’s happening.”
“The fact is that there are circumstances in your life that make me leery of approving any custody arrangement and his foster parents are downstairs ready to take custody of him.” Her mouth pressed into a thin line. “Your lifestyle choice is hardly appropriate and you have a dangerous job.”
“I take it you’re referring to the fact that I’m gay?” John asked with a raised eyebrow. “I thought California was a little more forward thinking than that.”
“Enough.” Rodney snapped his fingers. “Get the fuck out of here and do not come back. I’ve already had half the people you work with fired and you’re next if you aren’t out of my sight in the next thirty seconds. John’s son is coming with us when we leave and you’ll have all the paper work you need within the hour to satisfy your small, inferior mind.”
“I’m not leaving without…”
“Lady, I’m not going with you.” Sebastian stood up from the couch and left the room with a glare.
“Look, this has already been released to the press.” Rodney glared at her when she started to speak again. “I’m one of the richest men in your stupid country which makes him one of the wealthiest children in your stupid country. So when someone in your office talked to a reporter this morning instead of keeping their mouth shut—they put a big neon sign on his back that says ‘kidnap me for money’. And even if I wasn’t as amazing as I am—his father is a fucking hero and there are people all over this planet and several others that would saw off their left arm to have an advantage over him—having physical custody of his son would be enough.” Rodney stood and walked away from the couch. “You can leave of on your own or you can be escorted out by security.”
* * * *
“You know we can go over to the conference center.” Sebastian flipped through the video games in the rack in front of him. “I know you’re worried about him.”
“He’s fine. I can hear the team organizing and running the event over my radio.” John picked up a copy of Halo 3. “We should get this. We can kick Rodney’s ass at it—he’s never good at first person shooters but he insists on playing.”
Sebastian laughed. “Awesome.” He watched the game get passed down to the concierge that had been following them around for the past hour, and taking care of sending their purchases to the SUV. “Can I ask a rude question?”
“It’s about money.”
John laughed. “There is nothing in this mall that you could want to buy that would break me and probably very little on the planet that you could want that would break Rodney. I get paid very well for the job I do and Rodney is a billionaire.”
“Yeah, I read about him. I just… I’m not sure how that stuff works between the two of you.”
“We had a huge fight over it a few months back and the end result was all of our money going into one account and me sucking it up. I had to stop and I quote ‘being a big fucking girl’. We have money market stuff, stocks, bonds, and a multitude of stupid things that the financial advisor handles.”
“Is he really cool about adopting me, too? Or is he doing it because of you?”
John paused in his browsing. “Well, I doubt it would have crossed his mind to adopt you if I wasn’t in the picture but if he didn’t want to do it the subject of his name going on the papers would have never come up, and for the record he asked. I have a dangerous job and he wanted to make sure he wouldn’t have a problem keeping you if something happens to me.”
“Okay.” He held out a pile of games. “They are all rated Teen.”
“You’d be honest with me about anything freaking you out right? I don’t want you having nightmares if I let you stay up and play Doom III for a couple of hours.”
“Yeah, I’m cool with stuff like that.”
“So, Rodney got your transcripts emailed to him shortly before we left.” John handed the games off. “Let’s get some accessories. We’ll want to get at least three more controllers for the Xbox. There are too many gamers on this trip to share one controller.”
“Yeah,” Sebastian agreed. “I had a hard time last semester. Moving around made stuff hard and with twenty kids in the same house. Also, to be honest, they bored the shit out of me.”
“Language and I get it,” John assured. “It’s going to be difficult for you. I can’t let you go to public school any more and I’m not even sure I’m okay with private school. We’ll have to check when we get back to Colorado. You might end up being home schooled.”
“My mom always wanted to do that but she couldn’t afford not to work. She was hoping that when she married Kenneth that she could stay home with me and just do pure research.”
“We’ll both probably have to endure the fact that Rodney is going to rule over your education with an iron fist.”
Sebastian laughed. “Well, he is the smartest man on Earth.”
John grinned. “Okay, so clothes and luggage. You’ll need luggage.”
“And the Apple Store.”
“Definitely. I probably need to get a few iPhones as back up. I meant to get some before. Rodney… goes through them when he’s frustrated. He’s the Naomi Campbell of physics.”
“Can I get a phone?”
“Yeah, we’ll set you up with one.” John led him out of the store, and sighed when a camera flashed in face. “Good afternoon, everyone.”
“Colonel.” Three camera crews and six reporters all responded.
“This is my son Sebastian. We’re not answering questions today and it would be great if you would allow security to escort you from the premises.”
“Oh, come on Colonel! This is the story of the year!”
“No, I’m sorry. He’s off-limits.” He prodded Sebastian behind Ian Wilkes and Rico Morales from their personal security team. “I haven’t shoved a gun in a reporter’s face for months, people, don’t make me start today.”
The next three stores locked the doors behind them as soon as they entered and pulled the blinds so pictures couldn’t be taken through the windows. As a thank you—John spent stupid amounts of money.
* * * *
“Dr. McKay, when do you think the SGC will start releasing technical specs on Asgard beaming technology?”
“Asgard beaming technology is a huge security risk for governments and banking institutions all over the planet. We’ve been asked to keep the logistics of the beaming technology top secret for the forcible future. Once we’ve worked on ways to prevent beaming into places like bank vaults, military institutions, and I don’t know — the White House we might consider releasing that information. In the mean time, I am pleased to announce that within the next ten years we’ll be building beaming centers for global travel.”
“Recently a major car company announced a concept car using a naquadah generator for power. When do you think we’ll see cars like that in mass production?”
“For the sake of our economy, I hope within the next five years. I know several engineers within the SGC are working on kits that would allow us to retrofit vehicles currently on the road.” Rodney signaled for the next question.
“Do you have anything to say about the news that Colonel Sheppard has a bastard child?”
Rodney paused. “First, terminology like that is disgusting and medieval. Second, I’m going to ask you to leave this room. I made it clear that reporters were not welcome for this discussion.” He gaze connected with his personal security. “Declan, remove him.”
* * * *
“Yeah, Dad.” John wandered through the suite, his phone pressed hard against his ear. “I’m sure. Jennifer confirmed with DNA. I’ve been trying to get a hold of you all day. I’m sorry you had to hear it from O’Neill instead of me.”
“Do you want to send him back to Colorado?”
“No. He’s been tossed around enough I think. If the trip gets to be too much; we’ll cancel any appearances left and bring him home.” John walked out on a balcony. “He didn’t have a particularly great time in foster care. There are bruises and at least one person tried to get…” He paused and his jaw tightened. “Sexual with him. As far as he said, nothing happened beyond the guy getting his face bashed in after he went to sleep.”
“How is Rodney taking this?”
“With an army of lawyers,” John responded ruefully. “It’s his element and I think it makes him feel better to bully and intimidate people. Neither one of us really know what to do with a kid especially one that lost his mother and then had to fend for himself when he should have had… he should have had me. His mother had a will but the state didn’t bother to look it up. They just sold all off everything and threw him in foster care.”
“I think Rodney has a pretty good grasp what it’s like to be on his own at a young age.” Patrick finally responded. “He’s a good looking kid. I can’t meet you guys in Vegas, I’ve got a meeting on Saturday and then I’m due at the SGC for an off-world trade agreement. You’ll be at Northwestern on Monday, right?”
“I’ll catch up with you guys there.”
“Good deal. Bring Matt.”
John put his phone away and leaned on the railing of the balcony. He had a few fond memories of Karen Riley but nothing very solid. Nothing that fit with the fact that she was the mother of his child. She’d loved to surf, had a great laugh, and amazing legs. He’d spent the summer fooling himself into believing that he could stay with her, that she would be enough to make him forget about urges best left forgotten. Yet, in end she hadn’t been any more of a distraction than Nancy. He turned his head slightly when the door to the balcony opened.
“Your dad mad about me?”
“That you exist, no. That he didn’t know that you existed—yes. Very much so.” John turned and looked at him. “He’s been harping on me for six months to get on with some kids—you know surrogacy or adoption.”
“I was looking at the papers.”
“The section where my new name should be is blank.”
“Yeah, I wanted to talk to you about that.”
“Okay.” Sebastian dropped onto the bench by the door and looked out over the city. “You know I’ve always thought LA was ugly. I like the ocean but… the rest is just dirty.”
John laughed. “Yeah, agreed. I met your mom in Santa Barbara. Best surfer on the beach besides me.”
“She taught me.” Sebastian pulled his legs up on the bench. “So, I’d like to be John Sebastian Sheppard, Jr. It’s what she would have done if she’d thought you wouldn’t freak out.”
“The two of you talked about me?” John asked around the lump in his throat.
“Yeah, she told me who you were. I have some pictures. She said she didn’t tell you about me because she figured you’d give up trying to be yourself and suffer through whatever life you thought she would want. Which would have sucked for all of us.”
“Yeah, probably. I’m still kind of pissed.”
“She figured you would be.”
“Your picture is all over the news, by the way.”
“Yeah, that’s going to suck… being the kid of an intergalactic hero.” Sebastian rolled his eyes.
John laughed. “You may look like me but Christ you’re just like you’re mother.”
“Yeah, very. She was an amazing person.” John pushed away from the balcony. “Let’s go finish the papers so Rodney can get them taken care of.”
* * * *
Patrick Sheppard had stopped pacing in Jack O’Neill’s office and now was just staring at a wall. “So, huh.”
“Yeah.” Jack chuckled and glanced towards the door as Carolyn Lam entered. “Hey, Doc.”
Carrie offered a folder. “Jennifer sent me Sebastian’s DNA results.”
“Verdict?” Jack asked with a small glance towards Patrick Sheppard.
“There is no doubt that Colonel Sheppard fathered him. None at all. Genetically he’s quite perfect – no predispositions to diseases, that the Ancient equipment can locate. His ATA gene is identical to John’s. I’ve locked the file but the genetics team does have the results. Another genome in the Sheppard family to analyze is like a Christmas present around here.”
“Isn’t it more likely that they have the gene from their mother and not me? I don’t have it.”
Carrie turned and looked at him. “Actually, you do. It’s just dormant. I can’t know for sure if their mother had the gene as there are no markers that would tell me that. It’s entirely possible that she had an active gene and your dormant gene—came together to create exceptionally powerful children in regards to Ancient technology. David’s gene is just as strong as Matt’s but isn’t natural.” She inclined her head. “You should let me do the gene therapy on you. Wouldn’t you like to fly a jumper?”
Patrick offered her a smile. “Do you seduce all pilots into gene therapy with a jumper, Dr. Lam?”
She blinked briefly and then shrugged. “It works.”
“I’ll think about it,” Patrick responded and then watched her leave. “How the hell did Hank Landry father that woman?”
“His ex-wife had bad taste apparently.” Jack O’Neill grinned when the Admiral turned to look at him. “Don’t get me wrong… Landry is a decent guy if something of a… tight ass. He was pissed at me for recruiting his daughter.”
“Why did you?”
“She responded to the gene therapy beautifully. Doctors with the gene are worth their weight in naquadah around here. They can work scanners and Ancient equipment that we’d never be able to access without them.”
Patrick nodded. “Did Maybourne release the Wraith tape?”
“Not sure. He had access to it. It was a mistake if his idea was to undermine John’s place at the SGC or make the public doubt the validity of our mission. Hell after that—there are people on this planet that would clean out their personal bank accounts to fund the program. Anything to keep those things at bay. We’ve had six different engineering firms volunteer their time and resources in the past week.”
“What kind of threat level is John’s son looking at?”
“As high, if not higher than Rodney’s,” Jack admitted honestly. “He’s a gene carrier—so we’ll have to play that fact very close to our vests. John was taken for his gene and there have been quite a few worlds who have tried to force him to breed or try to keep him outright on a mission. As far as most of this galaxy is concerned—he’s one of the few gene carriers we have. We’d like to keep it that way.”
“It’s a lot to take in.”
Patrick laughed, almost helpless. “You could say that. Six months ago I never thought I’d have John back in my life and now…”
“Makes you lucky.”
“We could rearrange your meeting off world.”
“No.” Patrick shook his head. “John deserves some time alone with the kid—as much as they can get with all the crap they are dealing with this lecture tour. I don’t want to interfere with that. There will be time for me later.”
* * * *
“What’s the deal with the social worker?”
“I called the governor on my lunch break.” Rodney looked up from the laptop he had in his lap. “Everything is taken care of.”
“You called the Terminator.” John grinned. “Did you ask him about an autograph?”
“No,” Rodney sighed. “But, I did have to agree to a tour of the SGC, a ride in a puddle jumper, and a tour of the Apollo. He drives a hard bargain.”
“He’s a Republican.” Sebastian said around a mouthful of candy bar. “It’s what they are good for.”
“At least you haven’t been brainwashed,” Rodney closed the laptop and put it on the table. “So, did you get everything you wanted at the mall today?”
“No.” Sebastian shook his head. “But, I can get roller blades in Vegas.”
“Oh, I think we can all get some roller blades there.” Rodney propped his feet up on the table in front of him. “Do you ice skate, too?”
“Yeah, played hockey in my old school.” He raised one eyebrow when John groaned and Rodney laughed. “What?”
“Your father thinks that football is the only real sport.”
“Hockey is the only sport where you can knock the hell out of someone and they only stick you in a box for a minute or two,” Sebastian shrugged. “Some people just need it.”
“Crap?” Sebastian questioned with a grin.
“Messy. I would hope that would get you more than a minute in the penalty box.” John set aside his Blackberry. “Tell me about the kid that touched you.”
Sebastian schooled his face. “It wasn’t… he really just kept asking me to play games and touch him. I always refused. The last time he asked me to shower with him.”
“You never have to lie to me.”
“I’m not.” Sebastian frowned. “If it had gotten any further than that I would expect you to kick his ass. That’s your job, right?”
“Right.” John looked over his face in silence and then nodded. “I’ve had your cell phone programmed with all the numbers you might need in an emergency. Do not give the number out to anyone because they could sell it to the press. You can call anyone you want within reason—they won’t be able to get the number from a caller ID system. It’s been encrypted. Keep it on you at all times and never let anyone borrow it.”
He nodded. “Okay.”
“When we get to Northwestern, your Granddad is going to meet us. He’ll bring a subcutaneous transmitter that Jennifer will put under your skin. We all have them.”
Sebastian inclined his head. “Is that how Rodney found you when you were missing?”
“Yes, but that’s a secret.”
“I can keep secrets.”
“You’ll have to. There are things that happen around me and Rodney that no one can know. It would be dangerous for him.”
“Yeah, no problem.” Sebastian opened his laptop. “Can I have an email account?”
“Yes, Rodney will set you up one on the puddlejumper domain. You’ll have to submit email addresses to Sean for approval before people can be allowed to email you. It will be monitored.” He paused. “And you are absolutely not allowed to go to the forum on Rodney’s website or read anything on line about us having sex.”
Sebastian laughed. “I promise. Can I have an Amazon Kindle for ebooks?”
“Yeah, get Sean to order you one.”
“Can I have a car?”
“When you’re sixteen,” John responded without looking over at him. “And you’ve passed a driving class with a professional teacher.”
“Cool.” He plugged his iPod into the computer. “What’s my budget on iTunes?”
Rodney snorted. “You can buy everything on iTunes. No explicit stuff because I had Sean limit your access.”
Sebastian sighed. “That means I can’t get the good version of Gold Digger.”
“It sucks to be you,” Rodney said with a little smile.
“Yeah, I totally feel like Little Orphan Annie.”
John laughed in spite of his good intentions. “You’re Daddy Warbucks, McKay.”
“Which makes you the pretty and fairly useless love interest?” Rodney asked with a raised eyebrow. He looked towards Sebastian. “No Buckcherry. Your Dad hates them.”
* * * *
“I’m saying that I think it’s obscene for a child to be put into the middle of an amoral relationship like the one between Colonel Sheppard and Dr. McKay. It’s bad enough the child has lost his mother. Now he’s being exposed to a profane homosexual relationship. It’s disgusting.”
Sebastian relaxed back against the couch and frowned at the TV and didn’t say anything when he was joined by David Sheppard.
“Your dad wouldn’t want you watching stuff like that.”
Sebastian shrugged. “I’ve seen a lot of this. I mean, tons of people think he’s the second coming, Superman, and Wolverine all rolled up into one and put in an Air Force uniform. Others think he’s evil for being gay. I don’t like them using me as a weapon against them. They already face enough bullshit… crap.”
“Dad, Matt and I have already been pretty much front and center for the past few months. Why didn’t you try to reach out to one of us?”
Sebastian shrugged. “I felt like it had to be him and also it probably wouldn’t have been easy to get a hold of one of you either. Trust me—the FBI sent an agent to my school to complain after the last time I called.”
“Did you tell your dad that?”
“No, I figured he’d berated enough FBI agents over the past year to last him a while. They talk about that a LOT on television. How he threatened to kill a bunch of them over McKay.”
David laughed. “Yeah.”
“What’s going to happen to me when they go to Atlantis?”
“Well, kid, you’re lousy with family at this point.”
“But I can stay with you and Jennifer?”
“Well, Jennifer will go on the mission. Your Uncle Matt is going but your Granddad and I are staying here. The man Matt is involved with, Colonel Cameron Mitchell; he’ll be staying here as well.”
“You’re going to marry her, right?”
“Yeah, I think so. I’m sort of stupid over her.”
“She’s hot,” Sebastian confided. “Like should be in magazines hot.” He turned the channel. “Is the Admiral going to like me?
“Are you kidding?” David laughed. “You’re like John reborn and don’t let on that I know this but John was always his favorite. I think that’s why things were so painful between them for so long.” He took the remote and turned off the TV. “Say, have you seen the Wraith thing?”
“Yeah. One of the kids in the foster home thought it would be funny to show me. They all made me fun of me because I told one of them that he was my dad. None of them believed me.”
“Good thing about him being famous is that all those assholes that didn’t believe you—saw him introduce you on camera as his son.”
“Yeah, that was pretty awesome,” Sebastian confided. “But the Wraith thing was fucked.. I mean messed up.”
“You’ve got a foul mouth, kid.” David laughed. “But you’re right—it was fucked up. My dad has had nightmares for the last two three weeks because of it. Hell, I haven’t been sleeping well either. I just try to remind myself that he’s okay and he survived it.”
* * * *
“Okay.” John squatted down in front of the chair Sebastian was sitting in. “The front of the hotel is pretty much a mad house and the back entrance is no better. We’ve had the LAPD clear the way for us but once we hit the lobby we’re going have to move very fast.”
“Why is Rodney in a bullet proof vest?”
“Because head shots are difficult on a moving target and a sniper is more likely to aim for his heart,” John responded honestly. “He wears one in situations like this because of what happened in Chicago.”
“I saw that on TV.”
John winced. “I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of crap on TV that you shouldn’t have.”
“Yeah, but my mom taught me how to filter the truth out of the crap.”
“Good.” John looked over his face closely. “Because of our situation and how fast we’re going to move—Declan is going to take care of you when we are moving. It’s his job to get you in the car and if that means he might have to take a hold of you physically, he will. You are not to fight him.”
“Understood.” He reached out and poked at John’s chest. “You’ve got on a vest, right?”
“Yeah. I do.”
“Good. Let’s roll.”
John laughed. “Yeah. Reporters might call out your name—just keep your gaze focused in front of you and don’t look at them.”
“Stop freaking out. I can do this. A bunch of reporters are nothing compared to twenty kids who have spent the last five years in foster care. I’ve practically got a black belt in putting up with bullshit.”
“Language,” John chided as he stood.
* * * *
They were almost to the SUV when an eager photographer made a grab for Sebastian. John reacted immediately and everyone scattered as the guy was slammed unceremoniously into the ground, his camera shattering on the pavement. John shoved his foot deep into the guy’s throat and shot the rest a look. Several took another step back.
“Clear!” Declan shouted and John released the photographer and allowed himself to be ushered into the vehicle by Major Lorne.
“He’s so going to try to sue,” Rodney muttered.
“Let him try,” John responded before he glanced at Sebastian who was sitting wide eyed between them. “So, still have a black belt in putting up with bullshit?”
“Yeah, but obviously I need another kind. Can you teach me that?”
“Yeah, we’ll see about getting you into some self-defense classes. Can’t hurt with your smart ass mouth.” He ruffled his hair and pulled him close for a second. “Not scared?”
“Nah, reporters aren’t scary. Nuns are scary.”
“Oh. My. God.” Rodney shuddered. “You’re Catholic?”
“My mom was. She tried to make me go to Catholic school but the nuns asked her to stop because they were tired of having to explain their ridiculous religion to me. I was eight years old, but I knew that it was statistically impossible that both Jesus and Mary were created through human parthenogesis. And even if I allow that—seriously—if Mary remained a virgin all those years shouldn’t Joseph have been the Saint instead?” He pulled out his iPod and started to set up a play list. “Interesting though—I wonder if Jesus was an Ancient.”
“Oh my god.” Rodney groaned. “You’re going to grow up and be an anthropologist.”
“If it helps I’m a member of Mensa,” Sebastian offered.
“It helps,” Rodney assured.
“I joined when I found out Dad was a member.”
Rodney turned and glared at John. “You’re a member of Mensa?”
“Yeah, so? It’s in my public bio, Rodney.”
“You know I don’t read that crap.”
* * * *
The hotel was like a miniature city and Sebastian had promptly requested a visit to the Barnes and Noble – which McKay was totally on board with because it had a Starbucks. Sean was happily browsing business books, McKay was ordering another coffee having finished off two since they’d entered the store and Declan Frost, Ian Wilkes, and two store employees were following Sebastian around while he found books that he knew he couldn’t get digitally. He’d apparently made a list on the plane.
John had insisted he get the Lord of the Rings trilogy because they should be read in print and not on a computer screen. Sebastian had relented but John had gotten quite a few looks that clearly said he was being humored.
“So, I’m thinking the kid might be McKay’s instead of yours,” David leaned on the shelf where John was browsing. “He’s berated two store cashiers, informed one customer service person that they should really consider electroconvulsive shock therapy in an effort to retrieve their missing personality and he’s bought more non-fiction books than fiction.”
John smirked. “Rodney insists being an asshole is a Sheppard trait.” He looked over and watched Rodney hand Sebastian a frappachino, he could only hope it was decaf, before they launched into a discussion about whatever book the kid was looking at. “This is crazy, you know. It’s like my life is just completely out of my control.”
“Not a bad life to have though.”
“No.” John admitted. “Not at all. Instant fatherhood. How the fuck did Dad ever cope with three of us?”
“I guess you just do the best you can. He’s a great kid, John. You lucked out in that department.” He laughed. “But, God he has a foul mouth.”
“Well, finding out he went to Catholic school helped figure that one. Those kids are always the worst.”
They were at check out when a newspaper caught Sebastian’s eye. He frowned at the headline and glanced towards the rest of the adults who had all stopped what they were doing to check his reaction. It was a picture of him leaving the hotel in Los Angeles. The headline questioned his physical and emotional safety in the hands of a high profile gay couple.
“Apparently, I would be better off if I lived with a closed minded, barely literate, heterosexual couple in a hovel in Nebraska.”
Rodney snorted. “They’d never be able to keep you in the style you’ve obviously chosen to grow accustomed to.”
“Adaptation is key to the survival of our species. I’m just doing my part.” Sebastian shoved his ear buds in and stocked up on chocolate while the books were being rung up. He dropped fifty dollars in Godiva on the counter; Rodney praised his choices, and asked for more chocolate covered graham crackers.
* * * *
They had a formal dinner for the conference so John had spent the afternoon with a tailor getting Sebastian fitted. The kid had found the process tedious and had insisted on wearing his iPod through out most of it.
By the time Rodney joined them they’d fitted two suits and had managed to plow through dress shoes as well. Rodney picked out several ties because John couldn’t be trusted not to get something with cartoon characters or planes on it. Hotel security and Major Lorne stayed with them the entire time they were in the tailor’s shop and then the security team followed along, while they all three bought rollerblades from a sports shop next door. Rodney had insisted on safety equipment which earned him the ‘humoring you’ look from Sebastian.
Nearly two hours before dinner John was dragging himself into a shower while Sebastian took a nap and Rodney fussed over something with Sean. He was almost done when Rodney slipped into the large stall with him.
“Hey.” Rodney ran one hand up his back and grinned when John immediately turned and pulled him close. “Miss me?”
“It feels like weeks,” John admitted. He nuzzled against his neck. “I haven’t even gotten a chance to ask you how you really feel about getting married.”
Rodney laughed softly and wrapped his hand around John’s rapidly hardening dick. “If I hadn’t wanted it I would have cut you off before you got to the part where you even asked. You know that. You gave me plenty of chances to turn the conversation away from it.” He pressed his own cock against John’s thigh as he moved them around the stall and rested his back against the wall. “I want you to fuck me.”
John pressed closer. “No lube.”
“I took care of that before I came in.”
“Jesus. Rodney.” John lifted his head and found his mouth in a hard kiss. He pulled free and sat down on the bench in the wall and brought McKay close. “Sit on my cock. Ride me.”
“Yeah.” Rodney straddled him easily and with John’s help impaled himself without hesitation. The hot, slick glide of a cock into him forced a groan from his lips. “I love you, John.”
John leaned back against the wall and wrapped his fingers around McKay’s leaking cock and started to stroke him with long firm pulls. “That’s it, baby. Christ you look so fucking sexy like this.”
“Yes. Just like that.” Rodney clenched his hands on John’s shoulders. “Fuck.”
John bit down on his bottom lip. “God, you’re going to have sound proof our bedroom.”
McKay clenched down on John as he pushed back his own orgasm. “We’ll give him the big room in the middle on the second floor. Not too close to Sean and not too close to us.” He leaned in and brushed his lips over John’s. “Soon, John.”
“Yeah.” John nodded. “Soon. So soon. Come on me.”
“Now.” Rodney groaned and came all over his stomach.
* * * *
It was like an Armani store threw up in the suite, Sebastian thought as he left his room and went in search of someone to tie his tie. The military guys were in dress uniform but the civilians were all in Armani. Sean had said something about it being McKay’s preference that all of his staff appear in the very best. Jennifer was wearing an evening gown that was practically backless and was probably way too tight. He figured his Uncle wouldn’t be letting her out of his sight any time soon. They’d tried to be sneaky around him but it was so obvious they were sharing a room.
She noticed him and smiled. “It’s like a little mini-John.”
He didn’t roll his eyes. It was something he figured he would have to get used to. There was no denying he looked just like John Sheppard. She took the tie and pulled him off to a mirror to help with it. He endured the lesson with good grace and tried to ignore how she smelled like candy. Good candy. She was going to be a good Aunt. Maybe even give him some cousins because she’d obviously be a great mom.
“My mom was blond like you.” He pressed his lips together at the omission. He hadn’t meant to say it.
“Really?” She turned him and started to straighten the dark green tie that Rodney had insisted on. “I bet she was beautiful.”
“Yeah, like you. Men got a little stupid around her all the time but they didn’t stick around long when they figured out they weren’t going to come first.” He frowned as she buttoned his vest; her fingers were shaking a little. “You okay?”
Jennifer offered him a bright smile but her eyes were a little wet. “Yeah, I’m perfect. What color were her eyes?”
“Blue kind of like Rodney’s. She was smart like him. Well not like him, cause who is? But very smart. She was a marine biologist. I have a lifetime pass to Sea World because she worked there once.”
“That must have been fun.”
“Yeah, I got to go down into a shark cage last year when we went to Australia. She had a research grant, so we spent the summer there.”
“You swam with sharks?” Jennifer swallowed. “Seriously?”
“Well, no. They swam—I floated in a cage and took pictures.” He smirked. “Really, who literally swims with great white sharks and lives to tell about it? Besides my mom would have never let me leave the cage. I did get to swim with dolphins in Hawaii last year during my winter break.”
“I’d love to swim with dolphins.”
“Yeah, but you probably should only swim with females. Male dolphins tend to find humans sexually attractive.” He patted her shoulder. “And you should go put on the rest of your dress.”
She laughed. “This is the whole thing.”
“I hardly think so the whole back is missing.”
“The kid has a point,” David called out from across the room.
“Bite me, Captain.”
“Remind me later, Doctor, and I will.”
* * * *
John paused at the entrance to the small living room. Sebastian was in front of his brother getting a run down on the medals David wore and why he’d been awarded them. It was simple curiosity but he could already see the wheels in the kid’s head turning as he asked each man in turn what each medal was for. He paid special attention to Major Lorne’s which wasn’t a surprise since the man had a chest full of them and they were Air Force. It was a concern, he realized, because he was wearing a chest full of evidence that he’d nearly gotten himself killed a lot just by doing his job.
John accepted the weapon that Declan offered and shoved it into an ankle holster and then the 9mm slipped into the holster under his uniform jacket. By the time he’d re-buttoned Sebastian had gotten to him. “Hey, good job with the tie.”
“Jennifer did it.” His gaze flicked over the medals, most of them were familiar John guessed because he didn’t question until he got to the top three. “What are the top three?”
“Congressional Medal of Honor, the Air Force Cross, and the Air Force Medal of Honor. The Air Force Cross is like the Navy Cross it’s awarded for extraordinary heroism during an armed conflict. The Air Force Medal of Honor was awarded last year.”
“Because of Chicago.”
“You were a prisoner of war.” His gaze dropped to the medal that represented that.
“Yes, in Afghanistan before I joined the SGC.”
John nodded. “Let’s get some food then.” Sebastian shot ahead to leave the suite with Declan and Sean. He turned to Rodney. “Did I do okay with that?”
“Yeah. No need to keep him in the dark, John. He’s a smart kid and lying to him would just be stupid. And besides he can look the different medals up on the Internet.”
Declan was waiting in the hallway, one hand on Sebastian’s shoulder to keep him in place. The entire team had carefully rearranged themselves, maneuvering so that one of them always with in reach of him. John was grateful because he could at least admit to himself that he was overwhelmed, and more than a little off his game.
Everyone was escorted to the table while he walked with Rodney to the front of the room to where he would be speaking before the dinner. Lorne and Declan took care of room security, making sure the doors were secure once Rodney had entered the room. John’s gaze flicked to Sebastian who had been seated between Jennifer and David.
“Good evening, I am Dr. Rodney McKay.” Rodney dropped his note cards onto a podium in front of him and was silent through the applause. “I’d like to thank Dr. Elise Millhouse for inviting me to play with all of you this weekend. As you know, the SGC has sent several scientific teams and booths for the conference and we’ll be on hand on the convention floor throughout the weekend. A great many of you are here to get a look at a Puddle Jumper and you won’t be disappointed. It will arrive mid-morning and Colonel Sheppard will be available to give many of you an in-depth course on it’s uses and functions. I would remind you that he’s not a test subject so please don’t treat him like one. He never leaves the house unarmed.”
He grinned at the laughs it earned him. “Dr. Zelenka will be on hand in the morning to answer questions about the X-302 which will also arrive mid-morning. There are no demonstrations tomorrow but all of you will be invited out to an airfield on Sunday to watch the X-302 and the Jumper in action. I promise you that you won’t be disappointed.
“One of the most amazing things about working with the Stargate program over the years is the advancements we’ve made both with manned flight, unmanned flight, and space craft. Granted, our achievement were often on the backs of races so old and so advanced that their technology was difficult to understand at first, much less use. We are at a time in our history when the universe is literally at our feet. We are capable of travel between galaxies for the first time in our history and as far as I’m concerned—no matter what we might accomplish in the future this is a very good place to be in time and space.
“I look forward to meeting with you tomorrow and please keep in mind that while I’m not actively recruiting for the SGC during this conference I am easily seduced by brilliance and shiny ideas.” He picked up his cards. “Now, let’s get the food on the tables because I was lead to believe this meal was going to end with chocolate cake.”
“You’re getting better at that,” John murmured as he walked with him through the crowd to their table, his hand at the small of his back.
“I still see a gun every time I look out into the crowd,” he admitted in a near whisper. “But it helps that I can see you.”