Burning Bridges

Title: Burning Bridges
Author: Keira Marcos
Series: The Vanguard
Series Order: 1
Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis, Stargate: SG1
Relationship: John Sheppard/Rodney McKay, Jack O’Neill/Daniel Jackson
Genre:  Time Travel, Romance, First Time, Alternate Universe
Warnings:  Canon Level Violence, Temporary Character Death, Discussion-Cheating (not within my pairings), Grammarly Beta
Word Count: 9,220
Author Note: See the series page for casting.
Summary:  John Sheppard and Jack O’Neill make the decision to time travel after they’ve each suffered one loss too many.

* * * *

May 3, 2006

Maybe if those in power on Earth had understood what John Sheppard was capable of, they’d have tread more carefully. John didn’t know, and he was beyond caring. It had been a slow build for him—he’d gone along, played the part until the very day that the Elizabeth Weir’s machinations got Rodney McKay killed.

The woman had been trying to get rid of McKay since Doranda and John had fought her at every single turn. Even the SGC had come down on McKay’s side because, in the end, all of McKay’s work on the project had been on point. It had infuriated Weir, who’d wanted to use the incident as cause to get Rodney removed from the program. But McKay was a peerless scientific asset, and Weir was never going to succeed in getting him fired. So, she’d gotten him killed, and John was alone in a way he hadn’t been in years.

“I’ve made mistakes.”

John glanced toward Jack O’Neill, who’d eased down onto the pier beside him a few minutes after the sun had set and stolen a beer from his cooler. The older man had been quiet company since his arrival two days before. John appreciated it and had allowed the general to guide him through the process of returning Rodney’s body to Earth for a funeral he couldn’t bring himself to attend. No one had questioned him, and for that, he was grateful.

“Yeah,” John said and took a deep breath as he focused on the stars above him. “One of the worst things about living here was adjusting to the night sky. I mean, it’s bad enough the sun sets in the east, but the stars…not being able to navigate without instrumentation was extremely stressful.”

“I can see it,” O’Neill murmured. “I’m going to tell you something that has been classified at the highest levels.”

“Okay.” John took a deep breath.

“Daniel Jackson is dead.”

John jerked like he’d been shot and turned to stare at O’Neill in horror. “We were told he ascended, sir.”

“That’s the story that POTUS insisted I tell,” Jack said. “Though many would’ve preferred differently, Daniel was the glue that held the program and the IOA together. It was decided that the IOA would react very badly to Jackson’s permanent death, and the US might lose control of the gate. Now, Weir’s gotten McKay killed, and the IOA is questioning…everything.”

“I suppose they should,” John said. “But they’re the ones that put Weir in charge out here. I don’t know what role they played in Jackson’s death, but it could probably be followed all the way back to one of their decisions.”

“He was assassinated within the SGC by a member of the Trust,” Jack said. “The cover-up was happening almost immediately. By the time I got to the mountain…his body had been destroyed.”

“Son of a bitch,” John muttered. “Carter allowed that?”

Jack took a deep breath. “Carter did it. She used a zat—Landry’s orders. I’ve never been so angry with her in my entire life. I trusted her, and she…I didn’t even get to say goodbye.”

“Rodney drowned,” John said. “His worst nightmare come true. Elizabeth argued with me for hours about the rescue operation. Her opinion mattered more than the science and more than McKay’s life. She tried to console me.”

“And by console, you mean screw you,” O’Neill said.

“Yeah,” John grimaced. “And since all of my give a fuck’s are broken, sir, I’m gay. I’ve never touched a woman because I wanted to in my life. I forced myself to marry a woman to protect my career and please my father. I’ll never be able to apologize enough for it, really, because she figured out eventually that I couldn’t even go to bed with her without overtly thinking about a man.”

Jack exhaled. “Bi.” He waved at himself. “Daniel’s the only man I’ve ever taken to bed.” He knocked his boots against the pier. “Weir asked me to come out here to manage you.”

“Today or from the start?” John questioned.

“From the start, and she has no clue how much you hate her. I don’t get it because it’s obvious.”

“She’s been trying to manage me with sex since the ancient outpost,” John said. “I’ve never told her I was gay because I figured she’d use it against me.”

“Certainly,” Jack said. “What are you planning?”

“There’s a device on the city,” John began. “When Rodney found it—he realized immediately that it’d been designed to transfer memories.”

“Transfer memories?”

“Send memories back in time,” John clarified. “It was some kind of thought experiment based on the research notes, but we know it works because we’ve both used it. I’ve tried to use it three times to save McKay’s life, but I can’t go back far enough on my own.”

“Why?”

“The longest stretch we managed was because McKay and I used the device together,” John said. “So, I’ve been considering forcing you to do it with me.” He glanced toward the older man. “One way or another.”

“Would my memories go, too, or just yours?” Jack questioned.

“You’d get a choice.”

O’Neill nodded and took a deep breath. “How far could we go together?”

“With McKay’s artificial ATA gene, we only ever managed a month,” John admitted. “But you and I are the strongest gene carriers in the program. I can’t guarantee much of anything, but the sooner we do it, the better our position will be in the past.”

“What’s the device called?”

“The Praeventores.” John opened up another beer for himself and grabbed O’Neill a second one. “The Vanguard.”

“Vanguard.” O’Neill accepted the beer.

“When I first realized what it was—I didn’t get why the scientist working on it had named it that way. Because surely it was the last line of defense. But then we used it, and I understood.”

“It puts you in a position of defense,” O’Neill said and drank deeply from the bottle. “An army of two.” He took a deep breath and focused on the dark ocean in front of them. “If we could go back years—we could prevent a lot of bullshit.”

“We’d probably have to do some pretty shady shit,” John warned.

“I’m willing to do a lot of shady shit to get Daniel back.” Jack cleared his throat. “I can live with the consequences if you can.”

“McKay’s the love of my life,” John admitted. “He left me a letter, O’Neill. It was delivered to my email an hour after he was declared dead. I didn’t go back to Earth for his funeral because I figured I’d out myself, and there’s no need to give anyone more ammunition to use against me.”

“Good letter?” Jack asked quietly.

“Beautiful.” John took in a ragged breath. “The only love letter I’ve ever gotten, and it ruined me because until I read it—I had no idea he felt the same. Now I’m sitting here with nothing, and I’m willing to do anything to get him back. That included forcing you to help me activate the device and murdering you, by the way.”

Jack shrugged. “I can’t even resent you for it. Daniel’s been dead for six months, and he left a hole in my life that no one is going to fill. Can we go back that far?”

“McKay believed it was designed to go back as far a hundred years. The ancient scientist who made it said in her notes that often they made mistakes that weren’t clearly the wrong choice until decades after the fact. I wonder how many times she went back trying to fix the situation with the wraith before she gave up.”

“Maybe they stopped her,” Jack said. “Or maybe there are some mistakes that are insurmountable.”

“McKay believed there were fixed points and the limits of technology as it related to time mechanics. There’s this theory—that everything is happening at once and that time is merely a construct built on the human experience,” John said. “The device provides a linear path which Rodney found frustrating because it was constraining. He liked science and technology to fully expand his options. Restrictions pissed him off. Maybe that’s why he never said anything about his feelings. He didn’t want to be a dirty secret.”

Jack exhaled sharply. “It wasn’t easy, and I hurt Daniel repeatedly with it. Sometimes, I felt like DADT was a…weapon, and it was being wielded against us both. The damage it caused was worse than any bullet I ever took. My son died in 1996.”

“That’s a decade,” John murmured. “I don’t know if we’re ancient enough for that.”

Jack nodded. “I tried to save him once. We got thrown back in time via the stargate and a solar flare. I wrote myself a letter and left it with someone. She promised to send it for me when the time was right.”

“But she didn’t?” John questioned.

“Carter confessed recently that she took the letter from the girl to preserve the timeline,” Jack said flatly. “She said my son’s life wasn’t more important than the integrity of the events that led to the defense of Earth against the galaxy at large. Maybe she’s right, but I’ll never forget the look on her face when she said it. She looked at me like I was an idiot for wanting to save my only child.”

“In 1996, I was in my second tour in the Air Force,” John said. “They recruited you to the stargate program because of your son’s death, right? Would they even tap you for what they considered a potential one-way mission if you had a family?”

“The only person on the team that went to Abydos who didn’t have a family was Daniel,” Jack said roughly. “Yes, they would’ve still recruited me. I was the protegee of the General West, the man in charge of the original project, and he trusted me to get the job done no matter the cost.” He looked at John. “Can we try?”

“Of course,” John said simply and ignored the small voice in his head that reminded him that his little brother had died in a car accident in 1997. “It’ll be a long haul, but it’ll give me room to make changes in my career—advance myself so by the time you get me into the SGC, I’ll have the record necessary to be useful.”

Jack nodded. “I’ll let Abydos play out as much as I can. Daniel, unfortunately, needs to stay behind because what he learns in that year is instrumental to the development of the program Carter used to dial the gate on Earth.”

“Or, you could steal the data crystals from the DHD on your way out. I mean, seducing Jackson wouldn’t be hard, right? Wouldn’t it be better if he never fell in love with that woman on Abydos? That situation hurt him a lot. Maybe their gate should be buried and stay buried.”

“If I were a better man, I’d let him fall in love with her and make sure she lived.” O’Neill exhaled. “Apophis would still dial the gate on Earth—which would increase the threat profile for Earth and likely activate the stargate program. Hammond took over from West shortly after I came home. But I know, already, that George Hammond recognized me and knew that we’d be working together. Since he met SG1 when we time-traveled to 1969 through the gate.” He paused. “This could give me a headache, Sheppard.”

“McKay always told me I should plan instead of just throwing myself at a problem and hoping for the best,” John admitted. “But we have a goal and a mutual purpose that we’ll both be working toward. How much control would you have over recruitment at the SGC?”

“If I read George Hammond into the situation, it’ll give me all the power I need to make changes for the better. I could recruit you as soon as the SGC is formed.” Jack paused. “But does that serve your career? We need to broaden your appeal as an officer, not narrow it.”

“I’m going to refocus a bit,” John said. “I finished my master’s in political science in the spring of 1995 and married Nancy in 1997. It’ll be good to prevent that—she deserved better. Of course, I only got a degree in political science because she encouraged it. My BS is in theoretical math.”

“A Ph.D. in strategic security would make you a rock star when combined with your talent as a pilot, your history of service, and your gene status. It would also take you out of the circumstances that led to you disobeying orders in the field—which ruined your career. You’re lucky to be sitting here with the rank you have.”

“I know it was all Weir’s political maneuvering.”

Jack snorted. “Is that what she told you?”

John focused on O’Neill. “It’s not true?”

“McKay is the reason you stayed on the city and got promoted,” Jack said shortly. “He made it clear to everyone that removing you from Atlantis would be catastrophic for the expedition due to your supergene and how the city clearly favors you. He said I was the only viable replacement in the program. At that point, Weir stopped trying to get you replaced with Abraham Ellis.”

“Why did she want Ellis?” John asked curiously. “He doesn’t have the gene.”

“Thus, making it harder for him to act against her using city resources,” Jack pointed out. “Weir doesn’t trust you, John, and would’ve already gotten rid of you if not for your gene status. She can’t control you, and that must drive her nuts. Daniel said that Elizabeth Weir was the worst possible choice that could’ve been made for the expedition. I’ll work hard to make sure she never gets near the SGC.” He set aside his beer. “If we’re going to time travel, we might want to knock off the beer.”

John grinned. “It’s barely alcoholic, sir.”

Jack picked it back up and turned the bottle in his hand. “Where did you get this?”

“The Athosians make it—short fermentation process, rich in a lot of nutrients. It’s got a comforting flavor, but I’ve never made a habit of drinking to excess, so it’s my preference when I can get it.” He finished off his own beer and set aside the bottle. “The city is too dangerous for me to get drunk on the regular.” John cleared his throat. “What happens if you get yourself killed before I can be recruited? We won’t be able to control what changes around us in response to our actions.”

“I’ll put your name down for future recruitment with General Hammond as soon as I get settled. I’ll make sure he understands exactly how important it is that you go to Atlantis when the time comes.”

“And if you realize you can’t trust him with all the mission?” John asked.

“I’ll do what I must,” Jack said neutrally. “It’s not just about the people we’ve personally lost, John. Doing this is about preventing the deaths of people who didn’t deserve to die. We can tighten the security of our planet, take a different path to creating allies with the other races. Shore up those we know will fail without intervention. We can create an alliance to fight against the goa’uld and whatever else will come our way.”

John nodded. “Weir has security following me around the city. I haven’t been able to go to the device for a few days. I don’t know what she thinks I’m doing. In the last meeting she got me to attend, she told me that I had a limited time to get over my unreasonable and immature grief for a co-worker.”

“I dismissed the security,” Jack said. “Teal’c and Ronon are on the door leading out here. Ronon’s worried you’re going to do something dumb.”

“He asked me if I was considering ascending,” John said. “And I could, easily. But that doesn’t appeal—not unless Rodney comes with me.”

“Let’s go,” Jack said quietly.

“Just like that?”

“There’s nothing left for me either, John.” He cleared his throat. “I turned down the opportunity to ascend a week ago.”

“You actually got an invitation?” John questioned as he stood and offered the older man a hand up.

“Oma apparently figured out to defeat Anubis permanently, and she came to Earth to speak to Daniel,” Jack explained as he took John’s hand and stood. “I had to tell her the truth, and she offered me…the embrace of eternity as if that would be a comfort. Maybe to her, it was. I can’t see how I’d want such an existence…by myself.” He huffed and dusted off his ass. “We can’t ever tell either one of them how lame we both ended up being without them.”

“There would be no living it down,” John agreed. “So, I think we should agree to limit who knows about what’ve done—no matter where we land.”

“Hammond, Daniel, and McKay,” Jack suggested.

“Not Carter?”

“No—she has her place, and I won’t kick her to the curb, but I no longer trust her the way I once did.”

“Understood.”

* * * *

John took a deep breath as he focused on the Vanguard. It was a deceptively simple device, tucked away in a room not far from the place where he and Rodney had accidentally ruled over two different civilizations through the use of ancient tech. Teal’c and Ronon had gamely followed them across the city, both armed and clearly prepared to do whatever had to be done.

He focused on Ronon. “This device is going to allow me to send my memories back in time. You won’t remember this promise—but I will. I will work on finding you as soon as I come to Pegasus to get that tracker out of you as soon as possible. I don’t know how far we can go back or if we’ll have the resources to come here earlier than we did the first time.”

“Could you take me with you?” Ronon questioned.

“You don’t have the ATA gene,” John said and shook his head. “Rodney believed it would be very dangerous for a non-gene carrier to try to use it. We can’t risk the Vanguard going into a defensive mode and refusing to work. This might take some time, so I need you to watch our backs while it happens.” He glanced toward the door and sent a firm order for it to lock.

Ronon nodded. “You’ll do everything you can to make things right.” He paused. “My father’s name was Ewen—it is not something you could learn from anyone but me.”

“I understand,” John said and took a deep breath before focusing on O’Neill. “Sir?”

“Teal’c,” Jack said quietly. “Is there anything you would do differently?”

“I would’ve taken my son when I left Apophis’ service to go to Earth,” Teal’c said. “My wife…she would refuse to come, but my boy needn’t have suffered as he did because of my actions. If we cannot take him at the time, going back for him as soon as possible would be my preference.”

Jack nodded. “I’ll get it done.”

“Telling me about my son will convince me that you know more than you possibly should,” Teal’c said. “Confide in me regarding the time travel if you wish, or not. The moment I met you, I knew that I could trust you. I knew that you would be the one to help me break the chains of slavery that bound my people.”

“We’ll do a better job this time around,” Jack said quietly and focused on John. “If you’re ready, John?”

“I am,” John agreed and took a deep breath. “I didn’t expect this to be so easy. I don’t…want grief to lead us both around the nose, Jack.” The general’s eyes widened slightly at the use of his given name. “If I’m honest, you aren’t the person I’d have chosen to have as a partner in this.”

“No, I agree,” Jack said. “We don’t know nearly enough about each other. There’s nothing we can do about that now.”

“No, the longer we wait, the more time will slip away from us,” John said.

“Jack O’Neill is the best man I’ve ever known, John Sheppard,” Teal’c said gravely. “He hides his heart more than he should, buries his desires for the sake of others, and would pay any price to defend his people. He’s carried a deep, relentless grief in him the whole time I have known him, but he’s never let it lead him down a path of destruction. Over time, I watched him grow and change as a man and as a leader. He is a brother to me. As you have no trust of your own to offer him—take mine and know it will never be a mistake.”

“John’s reckless with his own life and brave beyond the telling of it,” Ronon said roughly. “He doesn’t know how to give up, and that’s so rare in Pegasus some would consider it a myth. He loves without reserve—gives himself over entirely to it in a way that scares the hell out of me. When I met him, I knew I could follow him, and I hadn’t had that kind of certainty in my life since the wraith culled my homeworld. I’ve seen him make one sacrifice after another. Many would say he’s suicidal, but he’s not. If there is a fundamental truth about John Sheppard, O’Neill, it is that he understands that there are some things worth giving everything you have to. If I were walking the path you are about to walk, I’d have no other but him at my side.”

John focused on O’Neill, who looked shaken. “He’s been breaking my heart since I met him. The trauma the ancients delivered on this galaxy with their carelessness seems to know no bounds.”

“Then I guess we’ll be fixing their fuck-ups, too,” Jack said grimly.

John figured that was the story of his life. He put his hand on the glowing surface of the Vanguard, and O’Neill followed suit. He allowed his eyes to close as the device took the full measure of his circumstances. There was a small echo of other versions of himself—copies of memories made during previous transfers. He pushed those away to make room for the newer memories. He didn’t want to lose anything on the backward trip.

The device thrummed with power and embraced O’Neill eagerly. John’s reach into the past doubled, tripled, then flew outward beyond his own birth. He knew they couldn’t go back that far. He prodded mentally for Jack O’Neill to pick the exact date—the date that would allow him to save his son from a terrible accident. There was a fleeting moment when he considered what Carter had told Jack about the timeline and protecting the planet, but he dismissed it. Working together, they would make all the sacrifices they need to compensate for the life of Charlie O’Neill.

“John?”

“I’m here,” John assured mentally as the room around them started to fade. “Focus on your son, O’Neill. Contact me when you can. We’ll be better prepared to make a plan when we get our bearings in the past and can come to terms with the resources we have.”

* * * *

May 23, 1996

John accepted the drink his father had poured him and ignored the pointed looks from both of his brothers. It was rare that he came home and even more rare that he asked for a family meeting. In fact, he’d gone out of his way to avoid family meetings since he was a teenager.

“Has something unfortunate happened?” Patrick asked.

John shook his head. “No, sir, I was promoted to captain last year.” He took a sip of whiskey and exhaled sharply. “I broke up with Nancy.”

“That’s not…what I expected to hear,” David admitted. “The last time we spoke, the two of you were precariously close to eloping.”

John shed his jacket and cleared his throat. He tossed the garment on the chair he’d originally been sitting in and walked across the room to stand in the large window that looked out over the estate. He’d basically landed a week ago in the past, and he hadn’t heard anything from O’Neill yet, but he knew the mission to Abydos was going to happen within the next six months if there were no changes made.

He focused on his father. “I’ve never used my connections with you to make way for myself.”

“Not even when you should’ve,” Patrick agreed. “There have been times, John, when I felt as if you outright disdained the idea of being my son.”

“No.” John shook his head and leaned on the window sill. “I just wanted to do it on my own. I realized, recently, that I was going about it the wrong way.” He set aside the drink he hadn’t really wanted and rubbed his damp hands against his jeans. “I’m gay.”

Patrick’s mouth dropped open. “You’re active duty military.”

John snorted. “God, Dad, I’m aware of my career choices.”

“Why would you….” Patrick exhaled. “Why would you sign years of your life away to serve an organization—any fucking organization—that would see you put in prison for being who you are?”

“I always wanted it—I thought I wanted it enough that I could fake whatever needed to have it.” He winced at the thunderous look of disapproval that earned him. “Nancy was browsing through a wedding magazine—talking about what sort of dress would be the right choice for a courthouse ceremony. I knew she wanted more. When we first met, she had a whole damn scrapbook dedicated to her wedding day.” He ran a hand through his hair, still surprised by the shortness. “I realized that marrying her would be the single worst thing I could ever do to her, so I broke up with her. I think she hates my guts. I don’t think she’ll ever get over how much she hates me, and I feel like shit. But it would’ve certainly been worse if I’d married her.”

“Yeah,” Matthew interjected. “I mean, that would be douche bag territory.”

John nodded and shoved his hands into his pockets. “So, Dad, I don’t want to leave the Air Force.”

Patrick raised an eyebrow and checked his watch. “Would you rather I put pressure on the DOD or POTUS himself to get rid of DADT?”

“Why not both?” John asked seriously, and Patrick blinked. “David has been trying to get you to move into defense contract work for ages. I think it’s time you do so. Just stick your foot in the whole damned thing.”

Patrick raised an eyebrow. “You know something I don’t?”

“Yes.”

Patrick sat down at his desk. “Where should I start?”

“Power is the obvious road—there are projects on the horizon that are going to use an immense amount of power and weapons. Information technology—computer tablets, laptops, smartphones, wireless communication systems. Broadening SI’s reach across the board will give you opportunities that other companies can’t compete with for DOD contracts. The investment upfront might seem daunting, but the payout will be astronomical. If you could buy an aeronautics company to fold in—that would be ideal. Engineering wouldn’t be a bad move, either. If you make it known you want the work, your own service record with the Navy will make you a very attractive option for those in highly classified projects.”

“Are you about to disappear into a black site?” Patrick demanded.

John considered lying, but he’d gone that road with his father the first time, and the results had been horrible. “The very first chance I get.”

“Is this some save the country shit?” Matt questioned.

“It’s some save the world shit,” John corrected and turned to focus on the estate grounds in the silence that followed. It was hard to look at Matt; his youngest brother had died in a car accident with his college roommate a few months after John had gotten married in the first timeline. “Don’t go to Boston, Matt.”

“Pre-med awaits no man,” Matt said flippantly.

He turned and focused on him. “Mattie, don’t go to Boston. You don’t want it and never have. Trust me when I say trying to live someone else’s dream is a misery.” He glanced only briefly at their father as he spoke. “You deserve better.”

“He’s been talking about going to medical school since he was in the fifth grade,” Patrick interjected.

“Yeah, because of mom,” John said shortly, and he watched his father’s expression shutter. “We never talk about her, and it’s a problem, Dad. Matt wants to be an aeronautical engineer. David wanted to be a lawyer but got his MBA because he decided to make sure you didn’t work yourself to death, keeping mom’s dream alive. I wanted to join the Marines, like granddad, but you pitched a fit over it.”

Patrick huffed. “I didn’t want you serving at all!”

“I know!” John took a deep calming breath. “I know, but we can’t live our lives for you, Dad. And we certainly can’t live them for Mom. It’s not healthy—what you’ve done. You’ll work yourself into an early grave, and she wouldn’t have wanted that. We need to do better for ourselves and for our family because above everything else, Mom would’ve wanted us to be happy.” He waved a hand. “Hell, when’s the last time you had a physical?”

Patrick frowned. “It’s been…a while.”

“How long’s a while?” Matt demanded.

“A few years,” Patrick said, and John snorted. “Maybe five?”

“For fuck’s sake,” David muttered. “I didn’t even notice.”

“I’m the parent around here,” Patrick muttered and picked up his pen. “Smartphones, huh? The ones on the market are clunky, expensive messes.” He started to make notes.

“David, get on the phone and make Dad an appointment with his GP for a physical,” John ordered and checked his watch. “Matt, why don’t you start considering your real options?”

Matt huffed a little and set his mouth in a pout only a teenager could accomplish. “When did you get so bossy?”

“The more rank they throw on him, the worse he’ll be,” Patrick interjected.

“As you say, Vice Admiral,” John responded evenly, and his dad blushed.

* * * *

June 1, 1996

It took far more work than he’d anticipated, but he came home a whole week early—unannounced while Sarah was at work and Charlie was at her parents. The handgun was missing from the gun safe. He found it tucked under his own pillow and realized that Sarah must have removed it from the safe for protection. The first time around, she’d claimed to not know how Charlie had gotten the gun safe open. Jack tried to push the resentment aside because, for years, he’d blamed himself—thinking he’d left the safe unlocked and gotten his boy killed.

By the time Sarah returned home with Charlie, he’d searched the whole house to make sure there were no other stashed weapons and moved the contents of the gun safe to his truck for transport to the cabin where he had a more robust gun safe. His son was thrilled to see him—his wife not so much. Once he’d thought them fairly content in their marriage, but hindsight was a real bastard.

Jack focused entirely on his son, listened to one story after another of the boy’s adventures while he’d been gone. The eight-year-old had no shortage of information to share, and Jack just followed him around the house while he did it. They chatted through bath time, and Jack read two chapters of a book he’d never seen before as his son had nodded off. He stayed in a chair beside Charlie’s bed for a very long time. He had a million things to do, but the gift of his living child was all he had room for.

Finally, near midnight, he stood and left the boy’s room in favor of finding his wife. He hadn’t spoken to Sarah in years, and he really wasn’t looking forward to it after what he’d discovered. He found her in the den, curled up reading a book. Jack poured himself a finger of bourbon, dropped down in the chair near her, and she slowly closed the book.

“You’re home early.”

Jack nodded. “I found one of my guns in the bedroom.”

“There was a break-in down the street.”

“You left a loaded weapon, with no safety, under a pillow, Sarah. Also, the gun safe wasn’t locked.”

“Is that why you emptied it?” She focused on him, clearly confused. “Charlie knows better than to touch a gun.”

Jack had once thought that, too. “It was a reckless and foolish thing to do,” he said flatly and stared at his bourbon. “I’m going to put the guns in storage at the cabin since you can’t be trusted to handle them properly.” He ignored her intake of breath. “We can’t depend on Charlie knowing better. Kids die in gun accidents regularly in this country because their parents think they know better. He’s not mature enough to understand the consequences of picking up a loaded weapon.”

“And neither am I?” Sarah challenged.

“You didn’t even choose one with a safety,” Jack snapped in exasperation and rubbed his face. “Sorry—this last deployment was rough.”

“You look like you went through a war,” Sarah said, a frown drifting over her mouth.

“Yeah, sounds about right,” he admitted and drank the bourbon. “I’ve some options on the table—ones that would keep me local. I think something else will pop up soon as well because General West is back in the area.” He focused on her. “I guess that really doesn’t mesh well with the lifestyle you’ve become accustomed to.”

“What?” she asked.

“I don’t need his name,” Jack continued. “But you must know that I’m not going to tolerate a man in my son’s life that would sleep with a married woman. He’s a dishonorable piece of shit, so I hope you’ve not gone and fallen in love with him.” He watched her pale. “I get it—you’ve been lonely, and part of me realized a long time ago that you really weren’t cut out to be a career officer’s wife.”

“I’m sorry,” she whispered hoarsely.

That was a better response than the last time they’d had the conversation about her affair. She’d been angry, grieving, and stubbornly unrepentant. Jack hadn’t really blamed her the first time around, but he had been unspeakably hurt over it. Years of experience and the love he carried for Daniel made being furious with her impossible.

“Has he been in the house?”

“No, of course not,” Sarah whispered. “It’s not anything serious—just—I was lonely, as you said.” She took a deep breath. “Have you…gotten lonely as well?”

“I’ve never cheated on you,” Jack said. “There was an opportunity last year—government contractor who didn’t know how to keep her hands to herself, but it wasn’t worth the risk to my career or the way I’d feel afterward.”

“I don’t have room to be angry with you about it if you had,” Sarah pointed out.

“I almost wish I could say I had—maybe you’d feel better about what you’ve done,” Jack murmured and winced when her breath caught. “But, no, I’ve honored my marriage vows.”

“It would make me feel better,” she agreed. “But your honor is one thing I’ve never questioned, Jack. I wish I could be angry with you or feel justified, but I just feel like crap.”

“We haven’t been honest with one another,” Jack said. “Clearly, our marriage has been over for you for some time, and that’s…I can live with it. You can keep this house, and I’ll take the cabin. We’ll split custody legally, but I think he should spend most of his time here due to my work and school. I want all the weekends that I can swing, and I’ll save up leave to have him a lot during the summer. Does that work?”

“Yes, I…of course.” Sarah rubbed her face with both hands and took in a ragged breath that sounded like a sob. “Jack.”

“This doesn’t have to be a hostile, cruel mess,” Jack said gently. “I won’t bring up the infidelity in the divorce if you don’t protest the split custody. We can’t be husband and wife anymore, Sarah, because I don’t…trust you with that kind of intimacy, but I’d like us to remain friends.”

It was the truth, and there was no need to add the emotional element. Jack hadn’t been in love with Sarah for a long time, but there was no need to hurt her with it. He figured he should ask about getting tested, though he knew already that she hadn’t given him anything. “Should I get an STD screening? How long has the affair been going on?”

She blanched. “I…for fuck’s…oh, gawd, Jack. On and off for a year, and we used condoms, but I haven’t used them with you…obviously. We should probably both get tested, to be sure. I’m so sorry.”

“I know,” Jack said quietly. “Me, too.”

“He’s the only one, and I don’t know why I did it,” Sarah confessed in a rush. “He’s not even a good lay.”

“Now that’s a fucking travesty,” Jack muttered. “Maybe I do want his name—he probably needs his ass kicked.”

Sarah snorted and started to cry. “Jack, please don’t make me laugh over this!”

Jack stood and joined her on the sofa. He just relaxed as she all but crawled into his lap and buried her face against his chest to cry. The last time they’d been in such a position was the day they’d buried their son. He wanted to throw all of those memories away because they wouldn’t happen now, but he owed everyone around him more than that.

“I think…I should tell you.”

“Why?” Jack questioned.

“Because…” Sarah trailed off. “I met him at Peterson when I was doing some shopping in the commissary.”

Jack slouched down on the sofa. “Sarah, please tell me you’re not banging some enlisted jerkoff that could end up in my command.”

“You’ll probably prefer that,” Sarah admitted. “Colonel Hank Landry.”

Jack had already planned to derail Hank Landry’s path to the SGC because he hadn’t been good for the program, and now he wanted to ruin the man’s whole entire life. “He’s not even hot. What’s wrong with you?”

Sarah huffed. “Jack.”

“Seriously—I’m a ten, and he’s a two on a good day.”

She laughed, which was his goal, and slumped down with him on the sofa. “Well, you’re not wrong. I don’t know…why it happened.”

Jack had a feeling he did, and that was infuriating. Men like Landry got promoted on schedule and rarely on merit. Jack had the kind of career men dreamt about, and he knew it. Hank had probably been highly amused to bang Jack O’Neill’s wife. He wondered if the asshole had enjoyed befriending him later in life and keeping that secret. He’d been chosen to lead the SGC after him because he was ordinary, and most of the higher-ups had trusted him to do exactly as ordered and never, ever go beyond the call of duty. They’d wanted that kind of predictability after O’Neill.

“He isn’t allowed around Charlie.”

“I won’t see him again,” Sarah said quietly. “I don’t know why…I just…”

“Acted out?” Jack questioned. “Hoped I’d be furious and jealous? I’m sorry I can’t fight for you on this, sweetheart. I’m sorry that any single part of you thought this was a good way to get my attention.”

“What will we tell Charlie?”

“That we love him, but that our marriage isn’t working and it’s not his fault,” Jack said. “He’ll be upset, but we can work through it if we present a united front and avoid trying to blame each other.”

She nodded silently and leaned into him, so he wrapped an arm around her and took a deep breath against her hair. Briefly, his mind drifted to the last time they’d gone to bed together. It had been just before the Abydos mission, and he’d already planned to die, so he’d taken his wife to bed and fucked her half the night. After he’d returned from that mission, she’d admitted that she thought that night meant their marriage might survive the loss of their child. He hadn’t heart to tell her that it had been a goodbye for him.

In the end, she’d figured that out for herself. Their divorce had been final for months before the SGC had formed to explore the galaxy in their efforts to defend Earth from the goa’uld.

* * * *

John finished off his stretches and snagged a towel from the railing as he entered the house. His leave was almost finished, and his next assignment was in flux. He figured Jack O’Neill was to blame. Because he’d gone from his next post being in Afghanistan to a simple pending status shortly before he was due to report for duty. There were some decisions in play that he wasn’t a part of. John was doing his best to work with it, but it was disconcerting.

“John, you have a visitor.”

John turned and found his father standing in the doorway of the formal salon. “Civilian or?”

“Two-star,” Patrick said shortly. “William West, if that helps.”

It did. General West had been in charge of Project Giza before George Hammond had formed Stargate Command. He looked down at his sweat-drenched clothes and winced. “I’m a mess.”

“It’s fine, Captain Sheppard, you’re off duty, and I’m uninvited,” West called from the salon. “Your jacket already made your first impression for you.”

John forced himself to relax and gave his father a nod as he stepped into the salon. He was relieved when the door was shut behind him as he hadn’t known how he was going to kick his father out of his own salon with any sort of grace.

“General West, it’s an honor to meet you.”

West inclined his head. “Jack O’Neill speaks highly of you, Captain.”

John fell into parade rest for lack of a better option. He had no idea what O’Neill had told West about him. “I’m at a loss for words, sir.”

West grinned. “Yes, I see. The thing is, Captain, that I’m intimately familiar with Jack O’Neill’s career. He doesn’t have a single professional secret from me, and you’ve never once served in the same command with him. When I questioned that, he told me he couldn’t speak of the details. Would you say the same?”

“I would, sir.”

“I trust Jack O’Neill,” West said simply. “If O’Neill told me the world was in jeopardy of being set aflame, I would organize every single firefighter on the planet to fight that fire.”

“I would have no reason to question him, either, sir,” John admitted.

“Jack’s asked me to take a special interest in your career. If you knew what I’m in charge of these days, that’d probably give you significant pause,” West said. “Mostly because it’s boring as hell, but also because it reveals something about our place in the universe that most would prefer to never know.”

“I understand, sir.”

West hummed under his breath. “I think you do, and that’s concerning all on its own. Your last CO tells me that you’re reckless and could become a discipline problem in the right circumstances. What do you think?”

“It would be inappropriate to say, sir,” John said neutrally.

“Say it anyway,” West ordered.

“General Daily is prone to valuing equipment over people. He doesn’t understand or appreciate what it means to be at the mercy of an enemy without the prospect of rescue. I requested a transfer out of his command because I don’t trust him.” The first time around, he’d stayed in Daily’s command until the very day he disobeyed direct orders, ruined his career, and gotten demoted in the process.

“It might interest you to know that you’re one of seven officers of your rank or higher that have done the same with General Daily over the last five years,” West said. “He’s under investigation as of yesterday by the DOD, but that’s above your pay grade, so I expect you to keep it to yourself.”

“Of course, sir.”

West nodded. “You’ve asked to go to the Air Force Institute of Technology to pursue your Ph.D.”

“I need a year of course work at AFIT, then I can write my dissertation in my off hours in my next post.”

“You’ve been promoted often, Captain. Officers of your talent often are—combat sets you apart from your peers when it comes to such things. Currently, you’re on track to be promoted to major the very day it is legally possible to do so. Taking yourself out of the field for a year will slow you down on the career front even if a Ph.D. will open your opportunities up.”

“I understand, sir. I believe that I’ve earned every single advancement in rank that I’ve been awarded, but General Daily is not the first officer to not take me seriously because of my age. He assumed that my father’s wealth played a part in my career advancement. He wouldn’t be the first or the last to think such a thing. A small pause for education isn’t going to hurt my career in the long-term, and it might make things easier going forward when it comes to how superior officers see me.”

“Agreed, and it’s done. Your orders are being cut as we sit here. O’Neill has asked me to keep an eye on you, Captain Sheppard, and ensure you’re given the opportunities you need to excel. He didn’t give me an explicit reason, but I’ve been led to believe that he considers you a lynchpin player in the security of our country.” West paused. “And O’Neill’s opinion matters to me a lot. I expect you meet and exceed his expectations, Captain.”

“I won’t be a disappointment, sir.”

West nodded. “He assured me the same.”

* * * *

“It’s not often I find myself hosting a two-star of any branch of service,” Patrick said mildly as John slid onto a stool in the kitchen.

“Well, that’ll probably change a lot if you get the contracts SI should get going forward.”

“The government work is important to you,” Patrick pointed out. “Why?”

“I trust you to do the right thing,” John said simply. “There are others out there that might get tapped for projects that would bloat the cost, short change the product, and risk lives along the way. We can’t afford that kind of selfish behavior when it comes to the security of the…country.”

Patrick nodded. “What did West want?”

“I’m heading to Ohio for grad school,” John said. “I’ll get a year of deferment to get my course work done, then I’ll be assigned as needed while I write my dissertation.”

“Subject?”

“Strategic Security, at the moment. We’ll see what works best when I get there, but that’s where I’m wanted.”

“Intelligence operations then,” Patrick said. “Not quite the work I was expecting, considering your current PT. I served alongside special forces, John. I know what’s expected from those kinds of assets in the field, and you’re clearly working your way toward that level of physical readiness.”

John couldn’t deny it. He wasn’t out of shape, but he needed to increase his stamina and strength to work at peak performance once he got to the SGC. Neither he nor O’Neill could afford for anyone to question his ability in the field.

“You’re skirting toward an area that I can’t speak to, Dad,” John said quietly. “For a variety of reasons.”

Patrick nodded. “Matt contacted Johns Hopkins and withdrew. How did you know? He said he’s never mentioned it to you.”

“Not directly, but he clearly invested himself in some subjects over others.” John shrugged. “The most excited I ever saw him was the day of his first solo flight, Dad. He almost cried; he was so happy.”

“I remember,” Patrick murmured. “David tells me he doesn’t regret his choices, but I feel like I’ve taken something from him that I can’t return.”

“He’s his own man,” John pointed out. “It was his decision, in the end, and neither of our opinions was a factor for him. He loves you, and he made a choice he could live with. Just let him have the life he wants, and if he brings home a woman you can’t stand—pretend otherwise.”

“Is that likely?” Patrick questioned with a frown.

David’s first wife had been a straight-up nightmare, and John didn’t see how that was avoidable unless he got in his brother’s business in a way that would ruin their own relationship permanently. The second wife was a dream come true, and they had some cute kids, so at least John had something to look forward to.

“He lets his dick make decisions for him,” John pointed out and stood. He really needed a shower. “And honestly, he gets that from you.”

Patrick huffed.

“I’m serious.” John waved a hand and sighed when his father opened the fridge and stared at the contents. “Don’t avoid me.”

“I’m going to start avoiding all of you,” Patrick muttered. “Mattie lectured me for a half-hour yesterday about my blood pressure, and frankly, that was the last thing I needed after enduring a two-hour medical appointment.”

“It was clearly needed,” John retorted. “You’re a mess and on the road to a fucking heart attack if you don’t start taking better care of yourself.”

David entered the kitchen carrying the house phone. “Hey, John, you’ve got a phone call.”

John took the portable phone and tucked it against his ear. He didn’t think O’Neill would be calling him, and no one but Nancy knew where he was as far as personal connections went. He didn’t expect to hear from her ever again. “Hello.”

“John.”

He went weak in the knees and barely braced himself on the counter. His brother jerked forward and caught his elbow, which made denying his reaction a no-go. “I…Rodney?”

“Yeah, we need to meet. Pick a time and place. I’ll be there.”

“You know where I am.”

“Yes.”

“Then come here,” John demanded hoarsely. “Immediately.”

I’ll have a plane in the air within the hour,” Rodney promised, and the connection ended with a click.

John carefully put the phone on the counter and let his brother guide him back to the stool. He took one breath and then another because he hadn’t expected to reunite Rodney for months or maybe even as much as a year. He hadn’t wanted to manipulate his best friend nor create a false circumstance for them to meet that would cause speculation. He figured that O’Neill would be working on getting McKay permanently assigned to the SGC as soon as he could, and it was certainly something he would’ve asked for if it wasn’t on the older man’s agenda. But it was a year or more in the making if they waited for Apophis to dial Earth’s gate.

“John?” Patrick asked gently. “Who is Rodney?” He put a glass of water down in front of him. “Drink this—you’re pale.”

“I…” John picked up the water and drank the whole glass to avoid the question. He really couldn’t say much of anything, and lying to his father had always made him uncomfortable. “He’s…a friend.”

“A friend?” David asked, clearly skeptical.

“I can’t say more,” John admitted.

David huffed and grabbed the phone. “Right.” He stalked off.

“Where are you going?”

“To start planning my hostile take over of the Department of Defense’s contract office,” David said shortly. “I need a higher security clearance, obviously.”

John winced as the door swung shut on his brother and shifted the glass around.

“Do you need more?”

“No.” John exhaled sharply. “Rodney’s…very important to me. You’ve not said much about the gay thing.”

“What’s to say?” Patrick questioned. “You prefer dick.” He shrugged. “I’ve already had a conversation with the POTUS about the outdated military policies and how it makes me hesitant to work with the government. Some of those boys that work for me in R&D will fuck anything that will agree to it. I need to know they’re safe working on military installations and that there are rules in place to protect them from discrimination.”

“It’s an interesting spin,” John said.

“So, Rodney?”

“Dr. Rodney McKay,” John said and pressed a hand against his chest because just saying the man’s name was making him choke up. The last time he’d set eyes on his best friend had been when they’d zipped the body bag shut. “I…he’s the love of my life.”

“And you gave him up to marry Nancy?” Patrick asked curiously.

The judgment was real, so John huffed. “He has no idea. I’ve never had the first clue how to tell him.”

“Well, since you ordered the man to come to the house immediately, I suggest you figure yourself out,” Patrick said and walked away.

John went to his suite of rooms, shut the door, locked it, and slid down to the floor as he braced against it. He pressed his hands to his face and took a deep, shuddery breath as he tried to figure out what had happened. Using the Praeventores had been the only choice for him, and having O’Neill use it with him had given him opportunities in the past that he’d never expected to have. Now, his Rodney was with him, and he really had no idea how it had happened. He figured he should let O’Neill know as it might make things easier.

He got up, went to his office, and booted up the computer. It was state of the art for the period, but it looked like a dinosaur to John. Fortunately, living on Atlantis meant he wasn’t dependent on the Internet or smartphones to make his life work, but the old ass computer was frustrating. At least his dad had DSL because John figured he might lose his mind if he had to deal with a dial-up connection in his current state. He wasn’t sure when he’d gotten an email account through the Air Force; moreover, he vaguely remembered getting a new one in the mid-2000s, which meant it was unlikely that Jack O’Neill had the same email he’d had in the future.

Frustrated, John sat back and stared at the computer screen. He’d have to wait for Rodney since he figured McKay was already working for Area 51 and would have better access to O’Neill. Or at least he could get access. He stood up and left the computer in favor of a shower. His world was new, and Rodney was on his way to him. Nothing else really mattered at the moment.

The End

Series Page: The Vanguard

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.

145 Comments:

  1. Oh man, this is SO FUN! I love your time travel stories and this is such a cool concept – John and Jack giving no fucks to maintaining the timeline. And RODNEY! He remembers! I’m so excited to see this is a series too. Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. Yeah. Just… Holy shit! What a ride and there’s more to come. WOW.

  3. LOVED IT!!!!!!

  4. Amazing Story. Thank you for sharing

  5. I swear every time I get an email with your name on it I squeal like a child on Christmas day. You never ever disappoint. I can’t wait to read more of this series, no one spins a tale quite like Queen Keira. Finding your website has been one of the few good things to happen to me this year. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Wonderful story! Can’t wait for more of the series (wherever you are I hope you heard my wail of “NOOOOO” when I read ‘The End’ :D) <3

  7. I started to cry when Teal’c & Ronon were talking about what Jack & John were like from their POV. Such beautiful words!
    I love this, everything about it. I can’t quite believe you’re giving us TWO new series to follow, as well as NANO coming up & all your other stories; so generous!

    Thanks so much.

  8. Your stories make my day! I will come back and reread them over and over ! Love your work

  9. Ooh hello! This is awesome already. Thanks Keira

  10. Ooops…..Forgot that Rodney’s mind was in the Vanguard!!! That’s gotta be a twist! Loving this!! Really loving this story!!

  11. This is STUPENDOUS!

  12. LOVE. THIS. I can’t wait to see if you post more of this series in the future. I always love your time travel fix-it fics in the Star Gate Series as well as Harry Potter.

  13. Oof! This is gonna be one helluva ride and I can’t wait!

  14. Holy Buckets! This is great.

  15. Holy Shit this is good I hope you continue with it. It has the flavor of Iterum but with a little more soul I guess I would call it. For a suggestion have the boys find some Destiny style tech maybe a grounded Seed ship in Antarctician as the tech will give Earth a boost but not enough that the Gould aren’t a problem.

    • This series is already plotted — completely. I don’t take reader suggestions. It wouldn’t ever really work for me since I write so far in advance and plot through a zero draft process before I write a word. So, this series has been plotted for the better part of a year. I’ve 50k of this series already written. But, thanks for reading 🙂

  16. I love it! That Jack and John get to save the people close to them is perfect.

  17. Oh, my heart. I just started rereading TTTB yesterday, and when I saw you had posted this bit of WONDERFUL, I put that on hold. I love it. I can’t wait to see what John and Jack will do. Thank you!

  18. Ahhhj I am so excited, that was awesome. I was so shocked when Rodney called :)) I love Stories that feature Johns Family. You are such a talented writer <3

  19. Man. That kinda just ripped my heart out.

  20. Wow, what a great story! I love time-travel stories and this one was a doozy! Love it!

  21. Great start for the series! I love the whole concept and look forward to seeing where you take everything. Also, why do I allow you and Jilly to pull me into new fandoms??? I have too many as it is, but this one shows up in so many crossovers that I jumped on board. Looking forward to catching up on the older stuff now.

  22. Great as always. Thanks for sharing your wonderful work with us.

  23. Guau!! A beginning so good.

    I love your SGA stories!!!

    Thanks a lot for a new one

  24. This is amazing! I love time-travel fix-its. I can’t wait for more <3

  25. Damn. I cried through that first part. Ronon and T’ealc’s testimonials nearly killed me. I love where you’re going. Just running around making Epic changes. I love it. I love Patrick telling John about himself. Awesome!!
    Thank you so much. I love when you do time travel. You make every minute count.
    Thank you

  26. OMG!!! Time travel and the guys and doing it all over again! This is so awesome! Thank you for thinking these wonderful thoughts.

  27. I love all of your time travel fics and in this one how John and Jack are like screw the timeline we’ll make a new one. Lol.

    Can’t wait till the next installment.

    Thanks for all your hard work on your stories because it always shows in all the tiny details.

  28. okay, you made me wibble with Teal’c and Ronon’s speeches. Thanks a LOT. 😀 I loved that both John and Jack fixed their predominate problems with one swift come-to-Jesus family meeting. lol.

    this was utterly fantastic. <3

  29. I love this. I am so excited to see the Sheppard family again, and so happy for Jack that he got to save Charlie. It will be great to see what happened with Rodney!

  30. Nimue of the North

    Seeing that you posted something new has a habit of completely derailing whatever I’m doing at the time. I have no regrets.
    This promises so much awesome – I already love it!
    I adore the declarations of trust from Teal’c and Ronon. Coming from those two they read more heartfelt and sincere than most wedding vows. John and Jack better work hard to be worthy of that again.

  31. WineandStrongCoffee

    Oh gosh. The way you write these two (John and Rodney if it wasn’t clear from context) just breaks my heart and puts it back together at the same time.
    While it would be tons of fun seeing future John romancing the hell out of past Rodney, I’m just so glad that some version of future Rodney is back in time too!
    Gorgeous and thanks for writing.

  32. How great!!

  33. That ist so awesome!
    Thank you for sharing!

  34. Oh, this was a wonderful start. I gasped so loud that my cat jump on the other side of the room when Rodney called John.

  35. There were two loud noises here… one when I got the story notification, and the second when Rodney called John and the story ended. Love the story – strip is wonderful. John and Jack together to save the universe! But Rodney calling was a shock. And leads to questions I hopefully await answers to in future stories!

  36. This is beautiful! I love it so much that I think I need to read it again already. What a thrill to find a new story from you today and exciting to see that it is part of a series, and even more so because this is so very good! Thanks for sharing it with us!

  37. This was fantastic on so many levels. Made me a little teary eyed at the start but Im super excited to see where it goes!

  38. Oh, this was just amazing! So touching when Teal’c and Ronon described John and Jack, like they could see into the heart of each man. I especially loved the scene where Jack spent time with his son. I got a little teary as it unfolded. So many other changes that make so much sense when you write them. Loved this… I’m always blown away by the places your mind goes, and this is no exception. Thanks for sharing!

  39. All the awesome was this. Must go re-read

  40. So. Fucking. Brilliant.

  41. Loved every bit of this and can’t wait for more. Thank you!

  42. Loved this!!!! The premise is amazing, and I’m very excited to see it’s in a series! ❤️

  43. I was totally thrilled to see not one, but 2 new stories in the last week. The ending of part 1 came much too soon, but knowing that it’s already plotted and partially written? Best news ever! I love time travel stories!

  44. You are a Queen! I’m so excited to see how you explore these ripples if and when you continue the series. There’s just too much amazing here to even get into! Thank you for another gem!

  45. Omg, yes, this is great!

  46. Wonderful! Terrific! And I look forward to your future postings of this!!!

  47. Oh wow! I loved this! I’m so glad to see it’s a series, it is so perfect. They’ve already managed to prevent a couple of personal tragedies, now to save the world. And Rodney remembers too! I’m guessing because he used the Vanguard in the past/future with John his mind also got sent back.

    Thank you so much for another amazing piece of writing. Looking forward to the next part whenever you post it.

  48. Damn i feel so spoiled by you lately!!! You just keep spitting out these wonderful work of art that sucks me right in.

  49. Love It! Love It! Love It! This was a great start to what i know will be a great series!

  50. Nooo! A cliffhanger! Must meditate and find the strength to wait patiently for the next installment. I love your SGA universes. Thank You.

  51. Wow! What an exciting start. Can’t wait to see where you’re going with this. I’m so looking forward to reading the next part. Thanks for sharing.

  52. I love notifications that you have posted a new story! SGA is one of my favorite Fandoms I am looking forward to seeing where this goes. Great story!

  53. Absolutely awesome thanks!

  54. Damn, Girl! You pulled the Rodney card. I thought the Landry connection was the big bomb, but no. McKay for the win.

  55. Brilliant! I don’t even have words for how much I love this. I’m on the edge of my seat to see how John’s Rodney came back with him. So exciting! Thanks so much!

  56. Great story, Keira. I love reading about John & Jack getting up to shananigans. Can’t wait for the next part. Dxx

  57. Like, I know you’re probably not a licensed crack dealer because I’ve heard the certification process for that is a bureaucratic nightmare, but this unlicensed joy dispensary you have going is really lighting up life for me. Between the series that seem to be queuing here AND the upcoming round of RoughTrade, I’m in awe.

    Specific to this story, looking forward to what these “two reckless assholes” will do. Undoubtedly it’ll be a hoot!

  58. Barbara+S+Gillespie

    There are so many things I love about your writing but I think one of the most prominent is your ability to used dialogue to give each character their proper “voice“. It’s like I can hear them in my head and not in a scary way… LolThis is awesome as ever thanks for sharing your work which has the ability to make me laugh, cry and think about so many things I don’t think there’s a higher compliment as far as I’m concerned for me.

  59. I felt like doing the Snoopy dance when I saw this in my email! omg! You have totally disrupted the time line and I LOVE IT! No more Landry(I really didn’t like him on SG) and Charlie LIVES! And then Rodney came back too! YAYYYY!

  60. Aaaahhhh! That was great! I love the time travel premise you have built here and O’Neil and Sheppard are just made of win!

  61. Love this! Thank you for writing and sharing!

  62. Wow! Time travel – fix it fics are my favorite and this one was full of awesomeness. Thank you so much for sharing!

  63. I adore your version of John’s family, so much so that when reading other writer’s fanfic I keep wondering where David and Mattie are. This story is gonna rawk.

  64. This was totally awesome. Rodney’s appearance was a delightful surprise. These guys are going to kick so much ass.

  65. OhMyGAWD! I love love LOVE this! Your John and Rodney are ALWAYS spectacular and dynamic and just plain amazing! Can’t wait for the next installment!

  66. Amazing! Love this!

  67. I can’t even with this, Keira. I was so excited to see this story because time travel has kind of become a favorite trope of mine and I dove right in, But lord, you kind of broke my heart with the Jack and John comparing of loss on the pier (Tho I do love a story that let’s me hate on Elizabeth, so thank you for that). And then there was that exquisite squeezing pain in my chest at Teal’c and Ronan’s heartfelt tributes to John and Jack. The trust those two damaged men have in them, gah, I totally choked up. And then Patrick’s matter of fact acceptance of John’s coming out was stunning and I gasped when Rodney called John. I wasn’t expecting that at all. And now I can’t wait to find out how Rodney is in the know and if Daniel will be, too.
    Whelp, this is a long-winded way of saying that you are truly a master of your craft. You started this series off with a bang and fit so much in this first episode that I am suffering from emotional whiplash. And yet I am bouncing on my toes in excitement that you may share another episode with us. Kudos and Thanks.

  68. I feel so spoiled by you lately! Every time I turn around you post these amazing work of art!

  69. Love it, love it, love it!
    Love John and Jack stories! So much fixing already. Thanks for sharing.
    Can’t wait to read more.

  70. I love everything about this. So much pain causing them to start down this path, but there’s so much potential for them to change things. The way you brought Rodney back was brilliant.

  71. Keira, I love this so much! Time travel is always so fun to read and in your hands, my downright favorite trope. I was so excited to learn they could save Charlie– and now thanks to the chat topics of late, I’m about to go to bed daydreaming about Charlie and Chris Diaz being friends. What a wonderful fic!!!

  72. That was very lovely to wake up to this morning.

    Thank you for sharing.

  73. Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god this was amazing. I can’t wait for the rest xxx

  74. Thank you, thank you,thank you. I really needed this well timed pick me up.
    I’m looking forward to more of this series and what happens between John and Rodney.

  75. Very good story, thanks for sharing it

  76. Oh my god … this is amazing. I’m sitting here wide-eyed and stunned and I’m absolutely in love with this story.
    Thank you for sharing it with us.

  77. I love your time travel fixits! Looking forward to what Jack and John get up to. Thanks for saving Charlie!!!!

  78. This was AMAZING!
    As always you deliver such fantastic stories. Excited to see where you take us next.
    Echoing a lot of people here, I adored the declarations of trust from Teal’c and Ronan. Also Patrick’s acceptance of John coming out was just so simple and great. And then Rodney calling just blew my mind!
    Thank you for sharing this!

  79. So amazing! I have a weakness for time travel stories and this hit all my buttons and then some!

  80. I have no words to articulate just how awesome this is. Thank you for sharing it.

  81. can’t wait to read the rest!!!

  82. This is phenomenal! I love Sheppard and O’Neill going to to kick booty and take names.

  83. So very awesome! Thanks for sharing this it’s brilliant and so unique to see Jack and John being the ones to go back is fantastic.

  84. Whoa…beautiful.

  85. OMG this is a FABULOUS beginning. I absolutely love it! I can’t wait to see how it plays out! <3

    • I removed that thing to avoid others following along (you know what I mean) but thanks. I’m pretty sure I knew that, but Grammarly might have been evil to me. 😉

  86. This was fantastic! What an great idea. I was not expecting that ending. Thanks.
    Wow I didn’t realize how much I missed Stargate until now.
    Thanks for sharing it with us!

  87. This is freaking awesome! Thank you!

  88. I love when you write time travel but I’m never prepared for the heartbreak and desperation that facilitates it. I really loved those last moments with Teal’c and Ronon because they both understood exactly why Jack and John needed to do this and trusted them unconditionally to do their best by them and everyone else.

  89. Time travel fix its are so much fun!

    Teal’c and Ronan vouching for their COs for each other was unexpected but perfect and touching.

    Such a hopeful restart.

  90. Loved it. total treat during lockdown and to have something new… love your Stargate stories. only comment is please don’t wait too long before the next installment.

    • Well, “too long” is subjective. I waited a decade for a book sequel and felt like it was worth it.

      • I miss watching SG1 and Atlantis. It’s hard to believe it’s been off the air so long. I won’t nag, post when you can. Thank you for putting your heart and soul out where we can enjoy it.

      • Il wait however long you want on any givens project you’ve got …as long as I know you’re still writting and we will maybe get to see it one day I’m good with re reading anything you have here lol

  91. Thank you !!!!! It was amazing, i love thé way they dont hesitate

  92. OH MY GOSH.
    I have no words about how much I loved reading this. 🙂
    Thank you for making my day. X

  93. WOW! I such a great start. I love all your writing. There were so many things to love. To see that Landry was already screwing around, literally, John was able to help his family, Jack saved Charlie and RODNEY! Hearing Teal’c and Ronan’s comments was such a wonderful thing. I’m already hooked. Thank you so much for the wonderful bonus! KUDOS and hugs!

  94. Love this can’t wait for more it is going to be great
    Rodney was a surprise but then I remembered his memories were in the vanguard from past us
    Adding Rodney expands things as he has the tech knowledge to fix that side of things – even from his first appearance in the show he was unimpressed with the dialing computer and its lack of safeties so if he starts off equal footing and experience with the gate as Carter it would make him listened to more or even more experience than carter as she played that a lot over the years against Rodney
    Shaz

  95. Well! When I saw the “new from Keira Marcos” in my Inbox I thought it was going to be part 2 of Requiem, but this was certainly at least as welcome!

    Thank you, Keira! It’s great!

  96. I need about 10000000 more words of this. I can’t wait!

  97. Oh, Lordy. Two new series, and I am doing the little ‘waiting for the next part’ dance for both. (And I blame you for dragging me kicking and screaming into 9-1-1 fandom. And The Mandalorian).

    Just… don’t ever quit writing fan fiction. You would leave a lot of fans crying.

  98. Today has sucked across the board and then I see your email. Thank you giving a lousy day a brilliant ending. I really really needed it.

  99. Holy shit! This is totally and completely awesome. Jack & John back in time is brilliant! You had me gasping in surprise scene after scene after scene. I was so happy to see that Rodney remembers while at the same time feeling sad for Jack that his Daniel isn’t back with him. And I have yet another reason the hate Landry. Thank you so much for creating this world!

  100. So MUCH awesomeness!! It hurt – in a good way – and then I laughed out loud at Dave’s plotting his hostile takeover of the DoD’s contracts office (which strikes me as an entirely worthwhile endeavouor). I am extremely relieved that it the first of a series rather than a stand-alone story, because, while it is complete in itself, you have prompted so many speculations and questions, and I really, really need to know what the whole thing with Rodney is.

    Thank you for posting this, and I hope whatever you’re working on at the moment is progressing well.

  101. You know, this whole thing shows enormous promise and within this short part there is already much to be savored.

    Maybe I’m a weirdo, but while Rodney calling was obviously the best part, I think John telling Jack that he was perfectly willing to kidnap and/or kill him was the second best part. He made it clear that he meant it. I mean when he told Jack that, Jack had already made it clear he was onboard, but John was just being John—honest to a fault. It was so John.

    And Jack shrugging it off was so Jack.

    As usual, my dear, you delight me. Thank you for your hard work. Never think we don’t appreciate it.

  102. Thanks to your new post- my crappy Monday took a turn for the better!! I enjoy reading you stories and my inner fan teenager does cart wheels every time you post a new story !! Thank you for sharing your writing with the world!

  103. Oh wow, that packed a lot in.
    John and Jack sharing their stories and that great bit where Jack says that they mustn’t let the other two know how much they were affected by their loss.
    John (hopefully) stopping his brother’s death whilst also opening up his choices.
    Jack removing the guns from Charlie’s reach and Sarah with Landry of all people.
    Patrick’s acceptance and plans to deal with DADT.
    And then, most surprising of all, Rodney, a Rodney who obviously knows John and so presumably somehow came back with him.
    Fabulous start to a series.

  104. OH MY HECKING HECK

    I can’t BELIEVE you left it there!

    (I can believe it, just – GAH!)

    THIS IS AWESOME!!!

    I am so, SO looking forward to whatever comes next!!!

  105. Holy shit!! Im freaking out over Rodney’s appearance ahhhhhh. I love John and Jack being woeful widows. Ronon and Teal’c hyping up their brothers in arms was wonderful. I absolutely adore your Sheppard family. They’re basically canon to me. Thank you thank you for sharing! This new series is off with a great start!

  106. Oh, wow! Just….wow…. 🙂 😀

  107. Yes, yes, yes this was filled with awesomeness!!!

  108. I was hurting so badly for John and Jack. Then hearing what Carter did made me sick, everything she did, that self righteous bitch. I’m so happy Jack was able to save his son. That John began fixing things with his family. Then that call John recieved made me gasp. The Rollercoaster of feelings with this fic is huge but lovely. Thank you.

  109. You rock star

  110. This was fantastic,. I think I’ve read it three timesalready. SGA, John Rodney, Jack/Daniel, Time Travel, John and Jack with Broken Give-a-f**ks. Fixing the Atlantis expedition (yes I’m making assumptions). I get War Mages and Darkly Loyal vibes (maybe not the death count) but the we’re gonna fix shit attitude.

    This is like the perfect combination of things. Plus the potential for more in the future. Thank you for sharing.

  111. Just wow! Thank you!

  112. I’m so, so excited about this!!! I absolutely love your SGA stuff, and this just made my day! Thank you!!!

  113. I was so thrilled to see the notification for this. I love time travel stories and nobody writes John and Rodney quite as well as you.
    It’s fantastic, great job.
    Thank you for posting it

  114. I can’t wait to read more of this series. You already had me crying with Teal’c and Ronon’s words. I love time travel stories and I love that John and Jack had no fucks left to give. They’re going to get their guys back and make the future better. I hope the next part will be up soon! I can’t wait to read about John and Rodney’s reunion.

  115. Holy fuck, that was awesome!

  116. This was amazing. Hit me right in the feels too. So many moments that were so emotionally satisfying. John and Jack talking about their heartbreaking losses and planning to come back. Teal’c and Ronan being steadfast supporters and watching their backs. Their points of view on the two men planning to head back in time made me all misty-eyed. The conversations with various people once they got back to the past, subtly starting to fix things. And then that call from Rodney. So very satisfying. Thank you for sharing it with us. <3 <3 <3

  117. This is Amazing! Your writings are always the best, Keira.
    Looking forward to more.

  118. I was so excited to click on your page and see a new story. I have read all your work and may I say you are a wonderful writer. Thank you so much for sharing your talent. Looking forward to the next installment.

  119. wow, that was a brilliant tour de force

  120. Damn! You have such a way with words and story telling that I still cried after reading this a second time. I love these changes you have made and how the story just hits you in the chest emotionally. Thank you for your time and sharing your creativity with us.

  121. wow, just wow. Another spectacular piece of writing.

  122. I love a good time travel fix-it and this is fantastic. I WAS NOT expecting that twist at the end but I am very excited about it.

  123. Oh god oh god oh god, Keira, I AM BEGGING YOU, pleeeeease write all of this as soon as you possibly can! If you have to give up work I’ll rob as many banks as necessary to keep you in the style of your choosing, whatever you need. This new chapter is the reason I try REALLY hard not to read WIP, but I just had to make an exception for you…please, put me out of my misery ASAP, please!!!!!

    • It’s not a chapter but a complete episode so I don’t consider it a traditional work in progress. Each episode will stand as a complete short story.

      I don’t expect an update to this series until next year since we’re about to start NANO.

  124. I love this so much! Thank you!

  125. I …you fixed so much I disliked, I feel speechless. So eager,y awaiting John and Rodney meeting.

  126. God I LOVE John & Rodney, both in the TV Series and in the fan fiction. They’re the Abbott & Costello of the Stargate world. Thank You for keeping their fandom alive. You’re an artist with words and you paint the most wonderful stories.

  127. I love John and Jack going back and shaping things as they wish them to be.

  128. I’m a longtime lurker, but I’ve been completely drawn into this world you’ve created.

    I think you did a great job with the contrast between wraith-weary John and his blunt calling out of his family. And a wild Rodney!

    Thank you for another great series to look forward to.

  129. Wow! So good! There are no words.. Thank you so much, WW.

  130. I love this. I love all your stories but I especially love time travel fics. And John and Jack working together will be an interesting take on things. Can’t wait to see where this is going. Great job. 🙂

  131. Oh my word! This is phenomenal! I’m practically panting for more.

  132. YOU HAVE RUINED ME! Nobody in all of internet land can write a time travel fix it like you. And I’ve looked. Everywhere. So you’ve ruined me, and I love it.

  133. Theresa B Cummings

    Love your time-travel fix its. I have recently been on an SG binge so this was perfect timing. I love this! I can’t wait for the next one. I am completely hooked.

  134. I love the way you play with my emotions. The phone call from Rodney was so unexpected, I was unprepared and it made the scene all the more lovely and emotional for me. I was, of course, waiting for them to meet in the past, but I lost my breath with John and relived his grief with him in that brief moment. Thank you!

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