And Then There Was Quark

Title: And Then There Was Quark
Author: Keira Marcos
Series: What Might Have Been
Series Order: 2.5
Banner Art: FanArts Series
Pairing: Sheppard/McKay
Rating: PG (I have a very foul mouth)
Categories: Slash, Established Relationship, Alternate Universe, Contemporary

Summary: John comes home to an alien cat-thing invasion.


– – – –

John jiggled his keys in his pocket as he walked up the sidewalk. There was a Marine on the front porch of McKay’s house with a handful of tissue and red eyes. Sheppard suppressed a grin as he came up the stairs. “Please tell me he didn’t make you cry too, Corporal.”

The Marine sneezed loudly and took a big deep wet breath that made John grimace. “No, sir. Your… Dr. McKay found a cat on the side of the road on the way home and insisted we stop and pick it up. It’s… huge, sir. I tried to convince him that it could have diseases or maybe it isn’t even a cat but he wouldn’t listen to me.” The Marine sniffled again. “I came out here because I’m allergic. Drake is inside.”

“A cat?” John repeated. “You let him pick up a stray animal off the side of the road?”

The Marine blushed. “I tried to drive past it, sir but he threatened to maim me for life if I didn’t turn around for the animal.”

John swallowed back a laugh and shook his head. “Yeah, okay. I’ll send Drake out and you two can head back to the base.”

“Thank you, sir.”

He found McKay on the second floor in the hall bathroom. He was sitting on the floor with a lapful of wet, furious orange cat-thing. The animal was actually growling and John hadn’t thought cats even did that. His fingers clenched on his thigh and he flushed when he realized he’d actually reached for the weapon he kept holstered there off world.


Rodney looked up from his task. “He needed a bath. He’s not happy with me right now but he’ll get over it.”

John leaned on the doorframe. “That’s… what the hell is that?”

“A cat,” Rodney said with a sincere frown. “You’re the fourth person to ask me that.”


“Yeah, I made the Marines take me to that pet store downtown that has the twenty-four emergency vet. I don’t have a regular vet here because I haven’t had a cat in years. She says he’s healthy but he’s probably been on his own for a few weeks. I had him chipped and got a referral for a regular vet.” Rodney patted the cat’s gianormous head gently before he started briskly drying him with the towel.

John huffed a little. “You got his shots right?”

“Yeah, just to be safe. I figure that someone bought him for their kid for Christmas and didn’t realize what his breed was.” The cat rolled over in Rodney’s lap when prodded and allowed his belly to be dried. “He’s still a baby. Maybe not even six months old.”

John’s eyes widened in shock. “McKay, that thing has to weigh fifteen pounds.”

“Sixteen pounds, four ounces,” Rodney corrected as he reached into a basket John hadn’t even noticed until that moment and pulled out a comb. “Main Coone cats have been known to grow as large as thirty-five pounds but that’s pretty rare. I think he’ll be close to breed standard by the time he’s five years old. Which is about twenty-five pounds and sixteen inches tall.”

John frowned. “What if he belongs to someone? You shouldn’t get attached.”

Rodney offered him a mild glare. “He does belong to someone. Me. Who ever had him before left him to fend for himself in the winter in Colorado for weeks so they’d better hope I never find out who they are.” He plucked a leather collar out of the basket and fastened it around the cat’s neck with another glare in John’s direction. “His name is Quark.”

John figured that worked because the cat definitely looked like an alien who might attend bar and rob you blind if you turned your back on him. “Okay. Quark it is.”  The cat looked at him from his place in Rodney’s lap and leaned his big body back against his owner. He glared at John and Sheppard glared back at him. “Did you set up his litter box?”

“Yes, he’s all squared away.” Rodney sat the cat down in front of him on the rug and dropped the comb in the basket. “Did you have a good day?”

“Better than expected,” John admitted and offered him a hand.

Rodney accepted the offer and gratefully pulled himself up off the floor. “I should’ve made the vet bathe him. I just figured he would be more comfortable with me. He didn’t like her much.”

John urged McKay close him and kissed his mouth. “Was she mean?”

“She suggested that I drop him off at the Humane Society,” Rodney admitted and leaned in for another kiss. “Right in front of him.” He looped his arms around John’s neck. “Sorry I didn’t wait until you were done to leave today—I just had to get out of that place. Those people were driving me fucking insane.”

John grinned. “I heard you sent six people home in tears in an hour. Radek said it was a record for you.” He let one hand drift to rest on Rodney’s hip and sighed. “What do you want for dinner?”

“I bought some food for Quark but I want to order some good stuff from this online place. I didn’t like the selection at the pet store and your Marines were giving me a hard time about my impromptu shopping trip being a security risk. They’re a genuine pain in the ass.” Rodney leaned on John with a frown. “Can’t I get rid of them or something?”

“You got kidnapped and thrown in a hole,” John reminded with a frown. “So, no, you can’t get rid of them. In fact, I wanted to talk to you about the trip to Chicago.” He sighed when Rodney stepped back. “Don’t be that way. You know you can’t travel without security.”

“So, I have to travel with strangers instead? That sucks, John.”

“You know Jimmy Martinson.” John followed him when Rodney slid completely out of the bedroom and walked down the hall. “And… well… you know that kid that tried to hit you? Ian Wilkes?”

Rodney stopped, turned, and quirked one eyebrow at him. “It would be difficult to forget someone that pretty that wanted to knock my head off.”

John laughed. “Well, he volunteered today for the Chicago trip.”

“Huh.” Rodney plucked Quark up off the floor as they reached the stairs. “Is my big baby hungry?” He rubbed the cat’s head as he walked down the stairs. “I bet you are.”

John frowned after the two of them for a few seconds before he followed. “That thing isn’t sleeping with us, McKay.”

“Of course he isn’t,” Rodney agreed as they entered the kitchen. “You might roll over in your sleep and hurt him.”

John watched flabbergasted and a little jealous as Rodney puttered around the kitchen all in an effort to feed the newest member of his household. The cat got a can of tuna with a little dry food mixed in. There was already a little water fountain bowl bustling in the corner. He felt really unnecessary and if he were honest he’d sort of gotten used to being the center of Rodney’s attention when they were at home.

Rodney sat cat, bowl down by the water fountain, and turned to look at John. “I ordered us some pizza. After the shopping and stuff—I just didn’t feel like pulling anything out to cook.”

“That’s cool.” John rubbed the back of his head. “We could’ve gone out.”

“No,” Rodney glanced at Quark. “I’d rather not leave him alone so soon. I figured I’d work from home tomorrow and Teyla is going to come by the afternoon to go over the books for the bar.” He traced a pattern on the counter. “I’m thinking about giving her the bar after her baby is born. What do you think?”

“I think she’d probably like to buy it but she’d try to refuse if you just try to give it to her.”

“Oh,” Rodney started with a wave of his hand. “I have no intention of asking her in advance. I’m just going to give it to her.”

John snorted. “Warn me in advance and I’ll double your security for that conversation.”

Rodney grinned and walked toward him. “The cat is freaking you out, right?”

“I’m sort of a dog person,” John admitted roughly. “But if you’re obviously already very attached to him and I’m not allergic or anything.”

Rodney grinned and leaned in to kiss him. “Good because I should’ve asked because that would’ve sucked.” He brushed their mouths together and moved closer for another kiss. “Pizza will be here soon. Why don’t we take it upstairs and watch some TV in bed?”

“Sounds good,” John agreed and pulled him close. “And then we can take off all of our clothes and scare the cat.”

Rodney laughed and they both turned to look at Quark who was standing by his bowl starring at them with dark, serious eyes. His whiskers twitching a little in left over ire from his bath. “Something tells me that might take some work on our parts.”

John just laughed and went to answer the door. “You need a new door bell.”

“No, I don’t.”

“It barely dings,” John complained as he approached the front door.

“Because I fixed it when I moved in. Would you believe the people before me had that damn thing playing the fight song for the Denver Broncos?”

“Actually, I totally would.” John shrugged. “White house, navy blue shutters, and a big cast iron horse on top of the mail box?”

Rodney glared. “I was going to take it down until I realized I was using that damn horse as a geographic marker. I’d probably miss my own drive way every single time I came home if I took the fucker down at this date.” He snapped his fingers suddenly. “Wait, is that why all of the flowers in the flower beds are orange?”

John just snickered as he accepted the pizza and passed the delivery guy some money. “They’re all orange?”

“Yeah, I called a landscaper last year about digging the whole mess up and doing something different and he told it would be sacrilegious and refused to touch a single one. I never got around to calling another one.” Rodney frowned at him. “That’s just sick.”

John grinned and shrugged. “So says the man who just adopted a fat orange cat.”

“That’s just not funny,” Rodney hissed and glanced towards the kitchen. “And don’t talk about his weight like that you’ll give him a complex.” He took the pizza. “Get us some beer.”

John watched Rodney stomp up the stairs with a grin. “Hey McKay!”

“What?” Rodney demanded from the top of the stairs.

John looked him over with an unrepentant grin. “I wouldn’t trade you for anything in the universe. You know that, right?”

McKay’s gaze narrowed even as he blushed. “Of course you wouldn’t.”

John shook his head and went into the kitchen for beer and napkins. The cat was batting at his water fountain intently when he entered. He retrieved the beer, opened both bottles with an opener from a hook on the frig and grabbed a fist full of napkins. “You know, he has a habit of picking up strays and keeping them.” John leaned on the counter. “He picked me up first so, ya know, I can understand how you might think you’re a pretty lucky bastard right now.”

Quark stopped batting at his water and turned his head slightly to look at John.

“Just don’t get out and run away or anything. It would hurt his feelings and he’d probably make me send out the Marines to find you. You don’t want those big guys running you to ground in the woods. It wouldn’t be pretty.” John inclined his head. “Come on then. He won’t be able to enjoy his food if he was worried about what you’re doing down here.”

The cat gamely trotted through the open the kitchen door ahead of John.

The End

Return to the series page!

Keira Marcos

In my spare time, I write fanfiction and lead a cult of cock worshippers on the Internet. It's not the usual kind of hobby for a 40ish "domestic engineer" but we live in a modern world and I like fucking with people's expectations.


  1. I could so see Rodney sending the Marines to find Quark. And maybe the dogs too. love these little stories from the What Might Have Been
    series. Still waiting hopefully patiently for
    Ring of Fire.

  2. Eeeeeeeeeee! Quark!fic!

    You made my whole week.

    *staggers off to sleep*

  3. got home from my holiday and what do I find? two new stories … Christmas came early. Hope you are feeling a little better after your encounter with the flu virus.

    I love Quark and I sort of missed him in the later stories, but the cast is already so big and I love every single one of them so I’ll always want more of every one … but these little side stories would maybe a good way to inject some of that. Maybe Matt could visit the Mitchells for Thanksgiving 🙂

    Alternatively I shall wait about as patient as everyone else for a new installment of Ties That Bind and by that I mean checking obsessivly.

  4. Hahahaha! (And I thought my Birman cat at 13 pounds was a big cat) Lovely little interlude

  5. :: Grin :: As a devoted servant to my furry kids, I so can see this! And yeah, if anyone every figures out that kidnapping Quark is like kidnapping the human child… Oops!

    Love it.


  6. I absolutely love Quark! He’s so fits them; a little odd and feisty… he’s so loveable. Thanks for the little reprieve from my WMHB withdrawls! Can’t wait for Ring of Fire!

  7. *smiles*

    Thank you for this, it totally made my day. What a great way to wake up! This fits in perfectly with the series and I’m so happy you are still writing (even quick pieces) in WMHB. I loved the bit about the Broncos, and the orange flowers. That cracked me up.

    Anyway have a great Thanksgiving, I hope it’s not to crazy, and thanks again for surprising me with cuteness!

  8. Diva0789(Michelle)


  9. Oh my, it’s so funny !

    I want to be a cat, john and rodney’s cat, imagine the live of this pet, in rodney’s lap, best idea forever lol !

    Thanks keira, i miss this universe so much.

  10. this is like an early christmas!!!!! stories from two different series in one week. thank you so much. i love all your series and look forward to more. Annie

  11. I love that cat!

    And Rodney is just so smushy! Sweet!

  12. Cool, a cat-that-is-probably-not-a-alien origins fic. Love it.

  13. Thanks so much for this sweetness. A little Quark!fic was just what the doctor ordered. You could write WMHB stories until the end of time, and there still wouldn’t be enough of them. *sigh*


  14. I just finished reading and commenting on the last main story in this series when I realized you had posted this so I was pretty excited. I like how Rodney totally fell in love with Quark as soon as he saw him and that he and John have always talked to Quark like he was a human being.

  15. So very sweet. Totally cheered up my evening.

  16. Oh, this one is fun. It took me a couple of minutes to place it in the timeline, but it is a perfect story of Acquiring Quark.

    And what a lovely, lovely cat he is.

    Thank you!

  17. This is utterly adorable. I loved the leaking Marine, laughs, and the picture of Rodney bathing a disgruntled Quark is so funny. Poor John has a flash of baby jealousy. This is wonderful. Thank you. -SB

  18. yay!! go quark!

  19. Now that was a fun additional scene! I love John just talking to Quark like he’s another housemate at the end.

  20. You make me smile. Quark’s tail is fluffier than his head ^_^. I want to cuddle him.

  21. I loved this story. I missed Quark in the last one. I love how you have John talk to him. And Quark understands every work he says. I fully expect him to answer back one day.

  22. Okay I was just doing my daily check and then I see QUARK!!! I haven’t read it yet but I know I’ll love it, and have to say PLEASE MORE QUARK!!!

  23. Dear lady Keira,

    I totally yell with joy when I saw Quark!Thank you so much for this delicious story. I love that Rodney is in love with this cat. Is there a chance of another cat story ? Please ?

    Also, while waiting for the sequel to What might have been, at the end of 2010, as you wrote, it is nice that you give us, your readers, those small amazing stories, those ” interludes ”. It helps with the waiting.


  24. Quarkfic!!! I love you right you know that! I have my own little 25 lbs of black and white maine coon and his name is Beau. Quark gives me chills because Beau is just like him…that makes him awesome!!

  25. More! More! More! This was so great. I’d been hoping for more Quark in this series (which by the way I adore), and I’m so happy you wrote this. Hope to see more Quark in the future.

  26. Quark rocks.

    So do you, by the way.

    Am I hallucinating, or was there mention – once upon a time – of another AU featuring a feline companion, or an AU!Quark?

    Yeah, vague, I know. We’ve had temperatures of 109 in the shade for several days. I think I melted my brain.

    *waves my Official Geriatric Fangirl Pom Poms – somewhat wilted, but still enthused*

    I adore how John is almost jealous, and I love how McKay and Quark are with each other.

    I can’t wait until Ring of Fire is posted, but in the meantime, this is a lovely little patch on my addiction to WMHB, as was the Iris March interview.

    *sighs happily*

    Just lovely. Now all I need is a dose of Ties That Bind!

    *looks hopeful*

    • There is a cat in one of my WIPs but you know I don’t post those. You’d all hate me if I did. I can leave a fic for months on my hard drive and maybe write five hundred words on it and then just finish it in a single night. It’s not the kind of thing you’d like to see on a website.

  27. I am a sucker for cats, despite the fact that my whole family is almost deathly allergic. *g*
    We just make sure to have really fanatic cleaning tendencies to be able to live around our wonderful cat.

    This makes Quark extra special to me and I love this look into the side stories that make up the universe. Quark!fic is the best thing in the whole wide world! Thank you for sharing. :>)

  28. This was very cute. I love the little backwards glimpse of them,’s a great filler for some stuff, like what happened to Teyla and the bar, and I’m still convinced Quark is an alien. He just jumped ship before they took off again.

    • “…Quark is an alien. He just jumped ship before they took off again…”

      Absolutely. Either that, or he descended from one of Loki’s early experiments on Terran genetics (working out ways to increase brain capacity).

      He’s definitely my favorite OC in this series!

  29. I love any story with a kitty in it, and Quark is just such a person that I can’t stand it. We’ve got a 20 pound cat – not a Maine Coone, just a big old domestic shorthair – who is not fat. So, having Quark be the fixture that he is in this verse is fantastic. Although, our 8 pound extremely girly Bengal Cat has Quark’s attitude, while our big boy is like Ronon. They run the world; if you don’t realize that, don’t have a cat! We’re simply their staff and they allow us to serve them. Thanks for the intro to Quark!

  30. As the only one in my family not allergic to cats(which is why I own them every now and then) I fell in love with Quark. He is definately a Rodney!cat. This story was wonderful and I look forward to more.

  31. EEEEEEEEEE! Quark backstory! *loves his fuzzy head*

  32. I totally love this series, and enjoyed this little (for you) piece as well.

    just one little thing that bothered me a little: I’ve had cats of my own, and for all of them, the overwhelming urge after a bath is to spend >1hr licking their fur to at least semi-dry… Not sure if this is intentional on your part or not (you know, Quark being an alien, not a cat, and whatnot 😀 ), but the last half of the story, I couldn’t help but thinking that Quark should really be licking its own hair instead of eating and drinking and playing the fountain.

    • I’ve had several cats and most of them do in fact spend a great deal of licking themselves after a bath. However, the cat I sort of patterned Quark after– her name was Dax and after a bath if I didn’t dry her thoroughly and comb her she would be furious with me for days. The one and only time she licked herself after a bath she hissed at me for a full day– apparently she hated the way her cat shampoo tasted. She’d go as long as two days after a bath without licking to avoid that taste there after. I really miss that diva cat!

    • Oh, she also refused to bathe herself in front of strangers. She was such a odd thing.

  33. This Quark!fic is made of awesome.
    I love Maine Coons. They’re beautiful cats. Quark reminds me of my own cat. She’s little even for a cat but rules my life with an Iron Paw. I swear if my cat could talk she would be telling me to bow down and show her the respect she deserves.
    Love these little interludes. Coolest.
    😉 Rosie.

  34. Love Quark, loved this and laughed out loud at te mention of aliens, bars and being robbed blind. They’re the same colour as well.

  35. Once again, made of awesomeness! I could plead you for more of anything, but really, anything you touch is priceless. And if there’s a lull, I just go back and re-read. It never grows old! Thanks for all your universes.

  36. John frowned after the two of them for a few seconds before he followed. “That thing isn’t sleeping with us, McKay.”

    “Of course he isn’t,” Rodney agreed as they entered the kitchen. “You might roll over in your sleep and hurt him.”

    This makes me LOL every time I read it.

  37. Despite being allergic I have seven cats (and live on antihistamines when I go to bed as most of them sleep with me). I positively adore Quark. I had a cat with his attitude. She was the smallest, yet most intimidating cat I’ve ever had. The vets were terrified of her and so were my other cats, including my 17 pound male. I am so glad you wrote a story about how Rodney aquired him. He’s a wonderful character in your WMHB universe. Are you going to let him appear in any of your other series?

  38. LOL! I have a friend with a Grey Maine Coon who’s huge and looks just like this cat except for color.

    Cute story of Rodney rescuing the cat and terrifying Marines! I’ve rescued dogs from the side of the road and my friend has rescued cats. I would be just like Rodney and treaten bodily harm for not stopping 🙂

  39. I love Quark! And I too, have a Maine Coon kitty (a tabby stripped female) who is Queen of the house. lol She also growls, hisses, yowls, scratches and bites when bath time comes around. The funniest thing is when she chases our dog (a Pit Bull mix) around the house. Anyways, I love your stories, and I’d love to see more What Might Have Been stories..and more Quark!

  40. Love Quark and the back-story off how Rodney got him, Quark totally deserves some love and affection after have been a stray. Got myself a orange and whit stay thats big for his breed and he rules the house, so Quark is just awesome 🙂

  41. Maybe the “cat” is part kneezle…?

  42. I love this interlude. Being owned by six of the little tyrants, I understand McKay completely. I’m disabled and one of them thinks she’s my live in nurse, yelling if I don’t go to bed when she thinks I should etc. They are great owners, especially if they let you use the computer and the tv remote. Thanks for the fun glimpse. Barb

  43. awwww…just found this. Very cute.

  44. Hee! I had a Maine Coon Cat (he passed away last year), they are huge. He was a sweetie though. Rodney would totally send out the marines. (I would too to find my cats.)

  45. I love Quark so much, I wish I could take him home! *sigh* Of course I have horrible allergies so that really wouldn’t work out so well.

    It’s so cute how John is a little jealous of Rodney’s big baby and Quark definitely seems resigned that he has to share. And it’s always amusing when Rodney bullies the Marines.

  46. Awwwww. That’s similar to how I ended up with my last two cats. Neither are maine coons, but the last one pretty much runs my life.

    Such a sweet story. Thank you!

  47. I love this story, and am completely on Rodney’s side as I’m a cat person and have my own 20+ pound cat, although he’s black and white, and long and tall enough that he could probably reach the elevator buttons to Rodney’s office. My Mom took him to the vet once and the vet took his carrier, hefted it, and asked “is that a cat in there”? My Mom said yes and the vet said “that’s a whole lot of cat”. I can’t decide if I enjoy Rodney bullying the marines or his fellow scientists more. Glad I don’t have to choose 🙂

  48. Once upon a time we had both a Norweigen and a Maine Coon. The Norie weighed 17 pounds and the Coon over 20. Amazing animals. They opened doors, played tag and catch…acted like small children all thru their long lives.

    I miss them both. Quark was a joy to read, bringing a little of my freinds back to me.

  49. I know it has been a while since this was posted but I love this story. Rodney babying Quark warms my old, dried up heart.

  50. greywolfthewanderer

    Maine Coons rock!  I’ve got one old guy right now still weighs about 14 pounds, and he’s *old*.  smart, too!!

    loving not only rereading all these, but being able to comment now too!  w00t!!

    I share my house with 7 different cats and adore them all.  yay for Quark!!

  51. quark is adorable

  52. fellowshipofthegay

    i would like everyone to know that i would die for Quark. I love that cat. Excellent series!!

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