True North

Reading Time: 4 Minutes

Title: True North
Author: Keira Marcos
Big Short Prompt: Thursday Vignettes – November 1, 2018
Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis
Relationship: McKay/Sheppard
Genre: Pre-slash, science fiction
Word Count: 943 (Complete)
Warnings: No beta
Summary: John is worried about finding his bearings in Pegasus.

* * * *

“What are you doing?”

John turned his head slightly and found Dr. Rodney McKay standing a few feet away from his blanket, arms crossed. “Stargazing.”

“The MPs think you’re nuts. They called the Mountain, and somehow I got volunteered to come out here and get you.” McKay frowned at him. “You’re laying on a blanket in the middle of the woods.”

“There wasn’t a good spot at the SGC,” John pointed out reasonably. “Too much light pollution. And this is a field, not the woods.” He waved an arm toward a stand of trees. “The woods are that way. Stop being a spoilsport, McKay. Come look at the stars with me.”

Rodney huffed dramatically but joined him on the blanket when John made room. He settled down on his back. “Is this some kind of meditation thing? I’m terrible at that.”

John snorted. “No. Just stars.” He rubbed his stomach absently. “We’re going to another planet, McKay. I realize this whole thing with the SGC is old hand for you, but I’ve only had a few weeks to get used to it.”

“Freaked out about aliens?”

“No, I mean…well.” John sighed. “I’ve never been self-centered enough to think we were the only intelligent life in the universe. The fact that an alien parasite stole people from our planet to populate worlds as slave labor is appalling. I’d like to go out and kill a whole bunch of Goa’uld, so if the gate doesn’t open to Atlantis, I told O’Neill I want to stay with the SGC if it’s possible.”

“You have the ATA gene, Sheppard, you can write your own ticket at the SGC if you’re play your cards right.”

John didn’t know about that. “Sumner doesn’t like me.”

“Sumner doesn’t like himself,” McKay returned. “He’s not fond of Elizabeth either and thinks scientists are a waste of space. He’d rather the whole expedition be made up entirely of Marines. I guess we all have our work cut out for us when it comes to him. I’m too old to prove my worth, by the way.”

John laughed reluctantly. “I get it.”

“Is this cold feet?” McKay questioned.

“No.” John returned his attention to the sky. “If all goes according to plan, tomorrow night we’ll be living under different stars. The sky will be so alien, McKay. We aren’t taking aircraft with us, but it’s kind of freaking me out that even if we did, I wouldn’t be able to navigate without instrumentation. That is some disconcerting shit.”

“Well.” Rodney took a deep breath. “Yeah, I mean. Shit, now I’m weirded out.”

“Sorry.” John laughed. “Not my intention. My granddad taught me to fly. He insisted I learn all of the old school techniques—including the use of a sextant. I’ve carried his lessons with me throughout my adult life and tomorrow I feel like they might be useless.”


John looked over and found McKay looking confused. “What?”

“I have no idea what to say to that. My grandparents were all dead before I was born and my father is a waste of space so he never taught me anything either. Everything I learned about the stars, I learned from books and personal observation.” McKay focused on the sky. “Perhaps we can learn about our new sky together.”

John’s stomach tightened slightly as he considered that. He’d been ignoring his physical attraction to McKay because of legal issues but also because the man was an asshole, but then the scientist had to go and say something like that. It was annoying as hell.

“How much of your assholery is for show?”

McKay laughed. “It’s easier to work when people are more than willing to leave you alone.”

“If you’re alone too much it turns into lonely,” John observed.

“Did you get that out of a fortune cookie?” Rodney demanded with a glare.

“Nah, got that from experience.” John nudged McKay’s foot with his own. “I’m surprised Weir didn’t come out here herself. She’s pretty invested in keeping me on the mission.”

“Maybe I volunteered before she could,” McKay admitted roughly. “She’s got a boner for you in more than one way. I figured you left the mountain to avoid that anyways.”

John made a face.

“I think her gaydar is broken beyond all repair.”

“Accusing me of such could ruin my life, ya know,” John said dryly.

“Not at the SGC—they have too much going to worry about where you put your dick. Also, O’Neill has been banging Daniel Jackson for years. If they started throwing DADT around, O’Neill would take a hit, too, and Hammond will do a hell of a lot to make sure that doesn’t happen.” McKay’s hand brushed against his. “I really will help you find your way on our new world. You won’t get lost.”

John sighed. “Thinking you were a total asshole was making things really easy for me, McKay. Why’d you go and ruin it?”

Rodney laughed.

John hooked his pinky with McKay’s briefly and squeezed. He got a little squeeze in return, so he released the scientist’s fingers and focused on the sky. “I think I’ve been under surveillance twenty-four/seven since I landed in Colorado. That’s annoying. There is probably a report at the Pentagon detailing my purchase of boxer briefs. Not to mention the fact that I would like to get laid before I fuck off to another planet in another galaxy.”

“There are no cameras or listening devices in my quarters,” Rodney said and offered John a grin when Sheppard looked his way. “I double checked.”

John laughed. Maybe finding his bearings on a new world wouldn’t be so hard after all.

The End

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 do like that John and Rodney were so compatible right from start,

  2. Only you could write mcshep like that and make me melt.
    It’s lovely.

  3. Very good

  4. This was sweet. A great glimpse of the boys starting to find each other before they even reach Atlantis 🙂

  5. Reading this, it felt amazingly like I was right there when John tipped over into falling in love with Rodney (and I in turn got so many fuzzy feelings for those two, I’m going right over to my fav Stargate fic on your site and start re-reading).
    Thanks for your constant work on your craft and for sharing!

  6. Outstanding.
    “How much of your assholery is for show?”
    I love how easily they connect here. They each see passed the masks. Rodney’s comment about Wier’s gaydar being broken was hilarious.
    Thank you

  7. Very good

  8. This is a lovely little nugget and very insightful as well. Sometimes it’s odd things that hit you when you least expect it that really shake you. Aliens, blah, blah, another planet, blah blah. Wait, the stars are wrong. What? The Stars are Wrong. I’d probably freak if I ever made it to the Southern Hemisphere (much less another planet) because the Big Dipper wasn’t where it was supposed to be. This was really neat, Keira. Thanks for posting.

  9. This is gorgeous! I love that you always find something new to tell me about these characters and their world, like a pilot worrying how to navigate.
    This story is so beautiful and the line about hooking pinkies made me fill with warm glee. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  10. I needed that smile. Thanks for sharing this!

  11. Haha yes! Thanks for sharing!

  12. SQUEAL and HAPPY FLAIL! Loved this! Thanks for the FEELS!

  13. Loved this. 🙂

    Thanks so much!

  14. Lovely night watching the stars and a nice start to a new relationship.

  15. greywolfthewanderer

    awwww, *boys*…

    thanks, this was great!

  16. LOL. ‘You asshole, why did you have to turn out to be secretly likeable AND attractive…’ I love the casual reveal that Jack has been ‘banging’ Daniel for years like ‘oh, you’re new, but everybody knows.’

  17. This made me smile.

  18. I love all of your McShep works. This one is especially cute. I like that they find a connection and comfort with each other so easily and so soon. Thanks for sharing.

  19. I do love your John and Rodney, no matter what ‘verse you put them in…

    I have a week off in March. I think it’s time to re-read WMHB. Again.

    *doing an exhausted version of the geriatric fangirl chairdance of glee*

  20. I loved John linking pinkies with Rodney. So understated, but such a great image of the desired intimacy.

  21. I can totally see this so clearly: taking the stars away from a pilot is a cardinal sin…but the two of them leaning on each other from the start just seems right, especially with Rodney orienting John on the sitch at the SGC and John seeing through Rodney’s bluff right away and offering friendship and something more. Thanks for the great read.

  22. Would be intresting with them on the same side from the beginning!

  23. Reading your stories will never be a hardship. Thank you for being willing to share your time and talents. In spite of the assholes

  24. Cute. Somehow never saw McKay as soothing someone’s angst. They’ll be just fine together!

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