Title: Unexpected Reinforcements
Author: Keira Marcos
Series: The Vanguard
Series Order: 2
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: 10,739
Author Note: See the series page for casting.
Summary: Rodney comes to Virginia, Jack O’Neill gets an ascended visitor, and Daniel Jackson is recruited to the SGC months ahead of schedule.
* * * *
June 19, 1996
West brought him into Cheyenne Mountain several weeks early, but Jack was fine with that as it allowed him to do a bit of empire building and figure out where all the key players were. A browse through various projects netted him a lot of good results; Sam Carter was in a DOD lab in California. Jack had added her to the list of people to bring back to the mountain before the Abydos mission. He wasn’t sure if he’d take her, but having her on her hand to deal with gate questions was paramount.
Rodney McKay was stationed at Area 51 but had been on leave for over a week. The reason why was not listed, and no one was all that fussed to ask. Apparently, he’d already gained himself a reputation as being difficult to work with. Once he had McKay in the mountain and briefed on the genuine circumstances, he’d put the man in charge of collecting scientific assets as he didn’t remember a lot of names and wasn’t certain of the best choices to make.
That decided, he made a list of military personnel that joined the Trust, added vulnerable civilians that had fallen prey to the organization one way or another that he could remember. Then he made a list of undesirables. Frank Simmons and Robert Kinsey were at the top of that list. Rogue NID agents, Harry Maybourne, Adrian Conrad, and various problematic scientists who were more dangerous than smart rounded out that list. Finally, he made a list of Goa’uld already on the planet—Hathor, Seth, Sekhmet, and Osiris. He’d deal with the other alien visitors at some point, but none of them were dangerous. He figured if Martin Loyd kept his head down that he’d let the little asshole live his best life.
The lights flickered in his office, and Jack wasn’t all that surprised to look up and find Oma Desala sitting in his guest chair. He had no defense against her and wondered if the ancient’s non-interference policy would protect him and John. She stared for a long moment, then glanced around the office.
“You had a better office the last time,” she pointed out.
“This one is temporary,” Jack said. “The project is…in flux, as I’m sure you know. Are you going to send me back?”
“I couldn’t even if I wanted to,” Oma admitted with a small smile. “It would be a violation of our founding principles. I’m glad that you and John Sheppard chose to use the Praeventores. When I visited you, I would’ve suggested it if I thought you’d take such a drastic step.”
“You remember the other…future,” Jack said and frowned. “How do you remember? Do the others remember?”
“I traveled with you and John.” She paused. “And Rodney.”
“McKay was dead,” Jack protested, but already his thoughts started spinning off. Future-McKay was ten times the asset the younger version would be, and it was a great development.
“He’d used the Praeventores several times. When the two of you activated the device, John’s grief made his subconscious cling to the last impression that Dr. McKay left behind. I briefly considered removing it as we traveled, but I’ve come to understand that the two of you work better if you aren’t alone. I helped Daniel Jackson ascend, as you know. I also handled his deascensenion to prevent the others from removing his memories wholesale and leaving him as helpless as a child on an alien world. They wished to punish him for his rebellion. I couldn’t allow that.” She paused. “I’ve been watching Daniel over the last two weeks and waited for a point when he would be alone for an extended period of time to give him his memories of the other timeline. It’s not a perfect solution as I had not interacted with him since I deascended him. So his memories stop almost two years before yours.”
“It’s better than…nothing,” Jack murmured and was relieved even though he and Daniel weren’t lovers at that point. “Do the other ancients know you’ve time-traveled?”
“No, in fact, I am invisible to them. I suspect they will not see me unless I wish them to, and I’m uncertain as to what will happen to me once the timeline settles. I’ve already shared all of my memories with the other version of myself just in case.”
“What will make it settle?”
“Once you make a decision that solidifies the quantum path, the other timeline will dissipate, and we will go forward to a new future.”
“So we haven’t created an alternate universe?” Jack questioned.
“Ah, I do hope you forgo pretending to be a dumbass this time around,” Oma said dryly. “No, such a thing would require physical time travel, and none of us did that. John and Rodney will be reunited shortly. Daniel is waiting to be recruited. He’s been very patient. I explained to him what happened—shared with him events that I believed were important and told him who he could trust with his future knowledge.”
“I can’t thank you enough,” Jack said quietly. “I didn’t know how I was going to create an honest connection with Daniel when there was such a disparity between us. I fully intended to tell him everything, but experience teaches us lessons that nothing else can.”
“I agree,” Oma said. “I will do my part to make sure you make the connections you need off-world. Teal’c must leave the service of Apophis—his betrayal is instrumental in the freedom of his people and breaking the control the Goa’uld have over this galaxy.” She stood and walked around the office. “Since I exist in a dual form now—my kind do not know to keep an eye on us both.”
Jack snorted. “Have you spent a lot of time with the other you?”
“Of course, we’ve been chatting. I am my own best company,” Oma declared. “She’s playing defense while I handle the offense. You boys will have to carry the ball.” She paused. “Was that an accurate sports ball metaphor?”
“It worked,” Jack said with a grin.
“I will also keep an eye on your Charlie,” she said and turned to focus on him. “He is very special. I regret that I did not know about him before, or I would’ve never allowed his death to occur.”
“Thank you,” Jack said and swallowed hard. “I really appreciate it.”
“Be well, Jack O’Neill, and do not hesitate to go to Abydos. Ra must die. His death caused the System Lord’s entire hierarchy to fracture. If he lives, Earth will fall.”
“I’ll take him out,” Jack promised. “And having my Daniel with me will make that all that much easier.”
* * * *
John bounced a little on the balls of his feet as he watched the rental car move through the gate. Security had called ahead to let him know that McKay had arrived. He really didn’t know how he would explain everything he’d done, but deep down, he knew that McKay wasn’t going to be completely furious with him for the time travel.
Fortunately, the house was empty at the moment. His father had taken Matt to tour some universities. It was really too late for admission for the fall semester, but money paved the way on that front. John figured that Matt would get into his choice with no problems at all. He had the grades, and the rest was a matter of money. John opened the door as soon McKay parked the car and walked out onto the large veranda on the front of the house.
McKay, at twenty-eight, was a lot more on the lanky side, with a head full of dark brown curls. It was a little shocking actually because his best friend was precariously close to twink territory. It must have shown on his face because he was getting a dirty look as McKay started up the steps.
“You live on a plantation.”
“I do not,” John protested immediately. “First, this house is only like 30 years old, so it was never a plantation, and second, it’s clearly a Victorian.” He caught Rodney’s hand the moment he got close and tugged him into the house. “No one else is home for the weekend.”
“Did they clear out because of me?” Rodney questioned. “I wanted to meet your father.”
“He and Matt are touring a few universities this weekend, and David is California buying an engineering firm,” John reported. “Everyone will be back on Monday. When are you due back at work?”
“I have a full month left—I had leave built up from a previous project that I carried over into the new contract,” Rodney said quietly as John led him through a foyer and up a set of stairs. “Have you checked this house for listening devices?”
“First thing I did,” John assured. “My father isn’t in a position, currently, where anyone would be all that interested in what happens in his house. I’ve suggested that he and David audit the company for issues. They’ve agreed to do it. In fact, they’ve been very open to all of my suggestions regarding the future of the company, which is weird because they never were before.”
John shut the door on his suite, locked it, and tugged McKay toward the couch. “What’s the last thing you remember?”
“We were setting up the Praeventores for our third test,” Rodney said. “We were supposed to go back a month, John, not a decade. What did you do?”
John took a deep breath and looked down at their hands. He was relieved that McKay hadn’t tugged free. “That experiment went fine. In fact, we did a fourth test trying to push past a month, but that failed. You realized that we simply weren’t ancient enough together to get more out of it than that.” He watched Rodney absorb that, then took a deep breath. “About a month after that fourth test, you were doing some maintenance work in the jumper bay and took a jumper out with Captain Griffin. It crashed into the ocean. Griffin died when the cockpit windshield gave way, but you lived longer.
“Elizabeth argued over the rescue operation for hours, delaying every single step. Eventually, with Caldwell’s back-up, I overruled her and went down to get you. But…it was too late. Radek figured that you probably drowned about 30 minutes before I got to you. I blamed her, and things quickly got very hostile between us. She asked Jack O’Neill to come to Atlantis to deal with me. I think she figured he could set me to rights and….”
“John.” Rodney cleared his throat and clenched his fingers. “I died? Did you….”
“Get that email you set up to be delivered if you were declared dead?” John demanded. “Yes, I did, you complete fucker.” He huffed when Rodney frowned at him. “Do you have any idea what that did to me? To be…told I could’ve had everything I ever wanted after you were dead?”
“I just…” Rodney trailed off and sighed. “I wanted you to know that I love you so that you’d live—so that you’d know that you’re important.” He waved his free hand. “What did you do?”
“I talked O’Neill into using the Praeventores with me,” John said quietly. “He asked how far we could go back, and I said I wasn’t sure but that I was willing to try because his son died in 1996 in a gun accident.”
“I know about Charlie O’Neill’s accident,” Rodney admitted. “It didn’t happen, by the way. The moment I realized that I was not, in fact, losing my mind. I started going through the events that I remembered. When I remembered that he died this year, I started trying to find O’Neill’s contact information. I didn’t get that in time for it to matter, but there was no report of a gun accident involving a small child in Denver during the time period it should’ve happened.”
John relaxed, and he nodded. “I hoped he’d get to where he needed to be in time. It was the only thing he asked of me, Rodney, and how could I say no when he, alone, was the one who could help me get you back?”
“Did you try to use the Praeventores by yourself?”
“Yes, and it barely worked. The most I could work back was a few hours,” John said. “And the moments that I needed the most were already out of my reach by the time we surfaced in that jumper with your body.”
“I’m sorry for that,” Rodney said. “I can’t say how I would’ve reacted in your shoes.” He paused. “Though I’m not sure that solution would’ve involved time traveling back a decade with Jack O’Neill.”
“I considered killing him after he activated the device with me,” John admitted. “I mean before he agreed to do it. I was going to force him.” He winced when Rodney’s mouth dropped open. “Nothing was the same or right after you were gone, Rodney. I didn’t know how I was going to make it through. Moreover, I was precariously close to straight-up murdering Elizabeth. We have a chance now—to make a thousand things right.”
“Or make a thousand things worse,” Rodney said sourly.
“What’s worse?” John asked. “Worse than you in a body bag and the….” He looked away. “Daniel Jackson wasn’t ascended, Rodney. He was dead, and I think it was part of a larger conspiracy, but I didn’t know if we had time to figure it out. He was assassinated, then Weir basically delayed your rescue to the point where it got you killed. It was all going to fall apart, and I don’t know if Earth would’ve survived the fallout. The war with the ori was picking up. The wraith were going to push harder and harder to get to the Milky Way. Please don’t be angry.”
“I’m not angry,” Rodney said quietly. “I was confused, and even now, I don’t know how I’m here if I was dead when you and O’Neill activated the Praeventores.”
“When we turned it on, I saw versions of myself in the device,” John said. “I pushed them back to make room for the newest version of myself. Maybe, the last complete version of yourself was there, too, and I didn’t realize. If I’d known you were there—I would’ve certainly tried to bring you with me.”
“The gap in my memory makes sense if that’s the case,” Rodney said and took a deep breath. “It’s overwhelming, John.”
“Which part?” John asked.
“All of it,” Rodney muttered and released his hand. He stood and started to pace. “There are too many moving parts to control the timeline in any single way. Every change we make will alter the path of our entire world because of the stargate and the threats that are heading our way. The Abydos mission will happen soon. I noted that O’Neill has already gotten himself assigned to Project Giza. I don’t think that happened so soon the first time around.”
“How much hacking have you done? Are you going to get caught? We can’t afford that, Rodney.”
“I’ve hacked everything, and there isn’t a single scrap of evidence. Network security is in its infancy right now, John. They don’t have the ability to really combat a threat like me and won’t for years. Hell, even in the future, there wasn’t much on this planet that I couldn’t get into if I needed. Miko is better, so I guess we’re lucky you didn’t ask her to try to help you go back with you. She was kind of jaded, deep down, and could go black hat in a heartbeat.
“I considered it,” John admitted. “But one conversation about time travel a few days after your death confirmed that she’d never been on board. She spoke to me about grief and acceptance. Honestly, it was a very comforting conversation, but I came away with the knowledge that she wouldn’t have helped me of her own free will. I might have been willing to force Jack O’Neill to do what I want, but I’d have never done such a thing to Miko.”
“It’s…” Rodney took a deep breath. “I’m sorry I died, John, but what you’ve done is hard to comprehend.”
“I love you,” John said simply. “Maybe you wouldn’t have done the same thing…but I’ve never loved anyone the way I love you, and I felt like I could’ve set the whole fucking universe on fire. I don’t know how to do any of this without you!”
“Obviously, I feel the same.” Rodney walked to the French doors and huffed a little. “You’ve got your own balcony.”
John laughed a little. “Stop judging me because my father married a rich woman.” He walked across the room and stood next to him. “I missed you like a limb. I thought…I’d spend years without you in the past, and I wasn’t sure how I was ever going to get back what we had, Rodney. That you lived was what mattered most at the moment.”
“I meant everything I said in the letter—every single word.”
“Why didn’t you ever say anything?” John asked.
“I didn’t think…so. Look, the only thing really missing our relationship was sex, and as much as I enjoy sex—it wasn’t worth giving up everything else if you didn’t feel the same.”
John considered that and really couldn’t disagree. His friendship with McKay was the most rewarding and intimate he’d ever known. He caught Rodney’s hand in his and took a deep breath. “Rodney.”
McKay turned toward him, and John just pulled him in and sealed their mouths together. He was rewarded with a soft, shocked gasp before Rodney completely invaded his space. John shuddered a little as McKay manhandled him against a wall and clamped big, capable hands on his hips. It was a mixture of new and familiar.
“God, you’re such a twink right now,” Rodney muttered.
“Me?” John huffed. “You’re a pair of tight jeans away from rent boy.”
Rodney laughed and brushed a soft kiss against his mouth. “Fortunately, I had an education fund from my paternal grandparents and didn’t have to resort to selling my own ass to pay for school. I mean, I would’ve because school always meant that much to me.”’
“Where are you on the education front?” John questioned and pulled McKay to the sofa. “Where are you working? I figured Area 51.”
“I finished my second Ph.D. four years ago, and I’ve been working at various government installations since. Mostly in the US and some Canadian. I started at Area 51 about six weeks ago,” Rodney said. “I’m working on what will eventually become the X-302. It’s very early days for that project since they don’t have anything alien to add to the design right now, and mostly they’re just trying to keep me busy while they figure out if I can be trusted with what they’re really working on, which is the stargate. Originally, I worked there for nearly a year before I was given access to any information on the stargate. I expect the changes that O’Neill is making will impact that.”
“Certainly, he’ll want you in the mountain.”
Rodney paused and then laughed a little. “I was just about to say that Carter wouldn’t like that, but she hasn’t met me. I probably already have a reputation for being difficult to work with. I can’t see that changing. There are a lot of stupid people, and I shouldn’t have to tolerate them.” He took a deep breath. “You? Are you heading overseas? Can we prevent that?”
“I’m going to Ohio to attend AFIT for a year, then I’ll be shifted into the combat position of someone else’s choice. O’Neill has put me on General West’s radar, and we know he doesn’t stay in charge of Project Giza. I’m honestly not sure where he went after that. I need to get some experience under my belt to advance my rank, and the best way to do that is the Middle East.” He winced when McKay glared. “I’ll be as careful as I can be, Rodney. But this is the road we have to take going forward. I’m just a captain right now, and I need to be a full bird before the Atlantis mission hits the planning stages so O’Neill won’t be questioned about my assignment.”
“Well, if the stargate program lifts off quickly, then you could earn that combat experience in the mountain, and I would be there to watch your back,” Rodney said. “Carter advanced quickly in the SGC. She started out as a captain. You could do the same.”
“I’m certainly open to it. I’m getting my doctorate in Strategic Security at O’Neill’s suggestion.”
“Then he plans to put you in charge of the whole thing—not just the military,” Rodney said. “With your military career and that degree, no one would think twice, and Weir would be grossly underqualified in comparison.” He frowned a bit and snagged John’s hand in his own. “It’s a good plan. Why do you suppose she wanted me dead?”
“She couldn’t control you and barely understood your work,” John said flatly. “She barely understood any of the science going on in the city, and that was just dumb as fuck. How could she provide any sort of oversight? She also tried to sleep with me shortly afterward—to comfort me.”
“How she never noticed your super gayness is beyond me,” Rodney muttered. “I mean, you could’ve gotten laid left, right, and center if you were straight. It was clear you weren’t sleeping with anyone on the city.”
“Elizabeth saw what she wanted to see, and her view was very narrow,” John said. “I didn’t really consider her a threat until the moment I realized she was purposefully delaying your rescue. Then I realized the mirror event.”
“Mirror event?” Rodney asked in confusion.
“She did the same thing with Marshall Sumner,” John said quietly. “He was a threat to her power base on the city, and she delayed the rescue operation to such a degree that I had no time to do much of anything. Maybe she did it on purpose, or maybe she realized after the fact that such behavior netted her very satisfying results. Remember how she fought me on the nanite outbreak? I wonder if that was her first attempt at trying to kill you.”
Rodney huffed. “For fuck’s sake, John.” He raked one hand through his hair then made a face. “I need a haircut.”
“I like it,” John admitted. “Even if the curls do give you a surprisingly innocent look. I suppose it must be quite a shock to your coworkers. You look so sweet and, yet, you’re a hell beast.”
Rodney grinned. “Shut up.”
John relaxed back on the sofa and stared. “No matter what happens—no matter what we face in the future, I regret nothing that brought me right here to this moment. It’s selfish, really, but you mean more to me than anything or anyone.”
“I don’t know how I inspired that in you,” Rodney admitted ruefully. “But let’s rein it in, please. I’d rather you not set the universe on fire while we’re living in it.”
* * * *
Jack dropped his keys into a bowl on the narrow table in front of the door. Charlie bounded down the stairs.
“Daddy! You’re home early!”
He’d taken half a day because after the visit from Oma, he hadn’t been able to concentrate at all. General West accepted the request easily enough, and Jack had found himself at a loss of what to do since he really didn’t want to go home and spend time with Sarah. Yet, his son was there, and that was enough. They hadn’t told their son about the pending divorce, but he was sleeping in the guest room, so Jack figured that Charlie knew something was up.
“It’s Friday,” Jack said. “And I have the weekend off. I thought we might go to the cabin. Unless you have something else going on?”
“The cabin sounds great.” Charlie laughed when Jack picked him up and swung him around a little before setting him down. “Mom’s got her book club, though.”
Jack wondered if there was actually a book club. She’d promised she wouldn’t see Landry again, but he wasn’t sure he trusted it. Not that it mattered, really, since he’d pushed his luck a little with West and suggested that Hank Landry be reassigned as far from Project Giza as it was possible. Shortly, the asshole would have orders cut that would send him to Alaska. Jack planned to make that assignment permanent.
“Just us, bud,” Jack said easily, and Charlie nodded slowly.
“Are you and mom fighting?”
They weren’t, which was weird enough. Neither one of them was heartbroken over the pending divorce, and Jack was long past being angry with her for the cheating. Even in the past, he’d been more hurt than angry. He’d used that hurt to shield himself for years—shying away from one relationship opportunity after another until Daniel got in his face and made him deal with their mutual feelings.
“We’re not fighting,” Jack said and looked up to find Sarah lingering in the doorway of the living room. She inclined her head. “But we do need to talk to you.”
“Okay.” Charlie frowned but let himself be guided into the room and to the sofa.
Sarah sat down beside him, and Jack sat down on the coffee table directly in front of his son to make sure they got good eye contact during the conversation.
“So, listen,” Jack began and took a deep breath. “Your mom and I love you so much—we’d do almost anything for you.” He paused when Charlie quirked an eyebrow at the language. His kid was so smart, and Jack felt a momentary pang of grief at all the time he’d lost in the present and in the other timeline. “But we’re no longer happy together as a couple, so we’re going to get a divorce.”
Charlie’s eyes widened and went wet with tears. “But…why? Is it my fault?”
“No, baby, it’s not your fault at all,” Sarah rushed to say and wrapped an arm around their son. “Your dad and I just aren’t the same people we were when we got married.”
“It’s no one’s fault,” Jack said, and Sarah’s shoulders relaxed minutely. “We spend a lot of time apart because of my job, and we just want different things going forward. You’ll live with mom most of the time, and I’ll see you on any weekend I can get free. Also, I’m going to try to arrange my leave in the summers so you can spend time with me at the cabin. That’s where I’m going to live from now on.”
“And you can go spend the night with your dad on any night he’s free,” Sarah said when tears spilled down Charlie’s cheeks. “You’ll stay in the same school, and you won’t lose any of your friends.”
“But Daddy won’t live here with us,” Charlie said, and his breath hitched. “Can’t you just keep staying in the guest room?”
Jack smiled. “Well, it is a very nice guest room, but no. It’s better for your mom and me if I don’t. We’re not fighting or angry with each other, okay? We just need to live separately—it’s what we both need to be happy.”
“I want you guys to be happy,” Charlie declared and started to cry in earnest. “Is this about the man that mom talks to on the phone?”
Jack exchanged a shocked look with Sarah, who blanched. “Your mom has lots of friends, but none of them are the reason.” He picked Charlie up, and the boy buried his face against Jack’s neck. “It’s just adult stuff. Okay? There’s no one to blame.”
“I hate adult stuff,” Charlie muttered against Jack’s t-shirt. “This is awful.”
Jack laughed. “Yeah, adult stuff is awful.” He looked at Sarah and found her in tears. “But it’ll be okay.” She nodded and brushed her cheeks with trembling fingers. “We’re going to be fine—we’ll still be family. We’ll just live in two houses now instead of one.”
“You do like the cabin,” Charlie said and slouch against him with a huff. “I’m glad grandpa gave it to you when he passed away.”
“Me, too,” Jack said. “I was a little worried he might give it to my cousin Greg.”
Charlie laughed. “Grandpa couldn’t stand Greg.” He sat back on Jack’s leg and sighed. “Sorry I cried.”
“It’s okay to cry,” Jack said. “Sometimes, it even helps to cry.” He paused. “But you need to go blow your nose and pack a bag if you want to go to the cabin.”
Charlie hopped up and darted away, leaving Jack alone with Sarah for the first time in days.
“Did you get settled in your new office?” Sarah questioned.
“I have temporary space while there is some rearrangement going on,” Jack said. “It’s fine for now. Nothing too complicated beyond the computer which they’re forcing me to use. I’m lucky it has Windows, apparently. At any rate, General West is doing some reorganization, and since that kind of duty rolls downhill—I’ll be neck-deep in logistics for the next month or so.” He paused. “Did you tell your mom?”
“Yeah, she was…not kind,” Sarah admitted. “I told her about…the affair since she started off blaming you, and you don’t deserve that.”
“You didn’t have to do that, Sarah,” Jack said wearily. “I’d have taken the blame with your mom. She’s never liked me much anyway.”
“No, I did have to do it.” Sarah frowned at her hands. “I made a foolish, immature decision, and while it’s clearly not the only reason our marriage is over—it was certainly the deciding factor for you.” She sighed. “I didn’t know he’d heard me talking to Hank on the phone. I have no idea what he’s heard, and I’m afraid to ask him.”
“I’ll talk to him this weekend about it,” Jack said, and she nodded quickly. “What’s the worst he could’ve heard?”
“Arranging to meet—for dinner. I always called it dinner.” She flushed. “Do you think…does Hank know you?”
“He knows of me,” Jack said mildly. “Do I think he seduced you to get one over on me? Not directly, but he’s a desk jockey, and it probably thrilled him to bang the wife of another officer. Especially one of who’s widely known as General West’s favorite. That you were lonely and angry probably made it all the easier for him.”
“I’m not angry,” Sarah protested.
“Sarah, I’ve probably spent a grand total of forty-five nights in bed beside you for the last two years due to my assignments,” Jack said gently. “How could you not be a little angry over that?”
“I knew what I was signing up for.”
“Knowing it and living are two entirely different things,” Jack said. “I’m not an innocent party in this whole mess, and I won’t pretend to be. I neglected you and our marriage to a damn near criminal degree. Your affair was just another…consequence of that. You’d have never cheated if you were still in love with me.” Her mouth trembled. “And I forgive you, okay?”
“I don’t deserve it, and….” She trailed off and huffed. “When did you get so damn open about your emotions?”
Jack had no answer to give as it involved falling in love with a man who never allowed him to get away with repressing his feelings. Daniel was just emoted all over the place, and he expected honest, bone-deep communication in private. Jack had adjusted to that because he’d wanted to keep his lover as long as he could.
“I’m trying to be as mature about this as possible for all of our sakes,” Jack said wryly. “Charlie doesn’t need to see me throw a fit and brood for a year because my girl stopped liking me.”
“I still like you,” Sarah said with a huff and blushed when he laughed. “Probably more than you deserve!”
“Well, that’s always been the case,” Jack said and stood. “Let me go make sure he’s packing more than toys. We can have dinner before your book club.”
“It’s not a book club,” Sarah said, and he focused on her. “I’ve been attending a support group on the base for partners of heavily deployed service members. I didn’t want Charlie to worry, so I started calling it book club. I should probably stop going.”
“Don’t,” Jack said. “Not until you have another option set up. Our divorce is a private matter, Sarah, and won’t be final for months. You probably need it for job stress alone, much less whatever I’ve been throwing on top for the last few years.”
“It was clear you were doing special operations work if that’s what you’re implying,” Sarah said. “And it worried the shit out of me. I never know where you are or what you’re doing, Jack. Weeks would pass without a word, then you’d breeze into town, all fake smiles and dark, sad eyes. I don’t know what you did in your previous assignment, and I’m not sure I’d want to know even if you could tell me, but I’m glad you’re making a move into a different job for your own sake.”
“How’s your job going?” Jack questioned. “We haven’t discussed alimony or child support. I’ll pay the mortgage on the house; your current car is paid for….”
“It’s fine. I was promoted to shift supervisor a few months ago, so I supervise six other nurses now. We’re splitting custody fifty/fifty, so no child support. We can always talk about school fees, supplies, and the like as they happen,” Sarah murmured. “No, to the alimony, but yes to the mortgage. I make more than enough to cover the bills if you take care of the house. We’ll make sure it goes to Charlie in both of our wills, so it’s…that’s good.”
Jack nodded. “I haven’t driven the car in a while; how’s it driving?”
“Fine, it’s just three years old,” Sarah said and took a deep breath. “He’s probably packed half of his toys at this point.” She waved a hand. “Dismissed.”
Jack grinned at her and trotted out of the room to see to the rescuing of Charlie’s Transformer collection from his backpack.
* * * *
June 24, 1996
Catherine Langford had started lobbying to recruit Daniel Jackson a full year before West gave in and did it. No one on the planet was really more prepared to figure out the stargate than Jackson, and she knew it. Jack could tell that Carter was only agreeing to avoid arguing with Langford whom she personally admired. She’d come and gone from the mountain several times, and their second introduction hadn’t gone any smoother than their first. However, he had refrained from being an asshole, and she hadn’t discussed her sexual organs, so Jack had taken that for a win.
“You look irritated.”
Jack looked up and found George Hammond standing in the doorway. A quick flash of relief jolted through him because he knew that West wasn’t the man to lead the SGC, and the quicker the transition happened, the better. He stood. “General Hammond. Welcome to Cheyenne Mountain.”
“Colonel,” Hammond said and looked around the dismal office. “Did you piss William off?”
Jack grinned. “It’s temporary, sir. We’re still carving out space and defining what we need. NORAD has been moving and downsizing to make room for us over the last six months.”
Hammond nodded. “I’ve been putting off this reassignment for months, Colonel. Then William came to my house and told me point blank that I needed to haul my ass to Colorado immediately.” He paused. “And he mentioned you by name, so I looked you up and saw a face I never expected to see again.”
Jack stared at him. “And you realized we’d met once before.”
“Yes, we have,” George said with a nod. “Did you know that the entire base had a complete staff turnover in 1970? We were all reassigned—scattered across the world. I’ve not seen a single one of them since.”
“I didn’t know, but I’m not surprised.”
“You haven’t aged a day,” Hammond said. “Colonel.”
“I’m actually several years younger, sir.” Jack watched the older man process that and give a slow nod.
“You’ve done it again, then,” Hammond said. “Do I want to know the circumstances?”
“I think that conversation is best left until after General West moves on. I wouldn’t want to have a secret between you and me directly in his face.”
“I see.” Hammond nodded. “Well, that’s going to happen sooner rather than later. He’s already making noise about returning to Washington. Does that suit our needs?”
“It’s faster than I anticipated, but I’m not unduly disturbed by it,” Jack said. “I’d be more inclined toward happiness if this meant an early recruitment for Daniel Jackson.”
“That’s the man from the first time—the one with the glasses. His file was included in my briefing,” Hammond said. “Did he do the thing, too?” He waved a hand.
“Yeah,” Jack admitted. “There are two others, but again, that’s information that’s best left for later. Sir, I promise I will do a full debrief with you at some point. You need to know what’s coming, and I need your support to make sure things don’t go as badly as they did the first time around.”
“Like that is it?” Hammond sighed. “Maybe it’s best if that thing never works.”
“Well, we’d have about ten years before we faced a large-scale alien invasion.” He watched Hammond’s mouth drop open. “Maybe less—but based on previous experiences and reports from alternate universes—it would not go well.”
“Alternate universes,” Hammond said flatly. “I wish I thought you were insane. Right, well, pardon me while I go kick my old friend, William, out of his chair. Find that Jackson fellow and get him here. Then, O’Neill, sort yourself mentally for the longest conversation you and I are likely to ever have.”
That felt like a threat, but Jack decided to set it aside so he could do as instructed. He planned to structure the explanation around the fall out of Jackson and McKay’s death rather than admit that he and Sheppard had both made extremely emotional decisions with little care for anything else. That was best left as a private matter, and he figured that Sheppard would agree.
A knock on his door caught his attention, and Jack focused on a very young Evan Lorne. He paused, gaze flicking over the man’s rank. “Lieutenant.”
“Good morning, sir, you have a package. It’s been cleared through security—it’s from a government contractor who works at Area 51.” Lorne stepped into the room and put it on the desk.
“Stay for a moment,” Jack said and picked up the box. McKay’s name and a return address from Virginia put him at ease a bit. “I’m new in this command, and I need an admin.” He looked up and found the younger man struggling to look neutral. “I’m going to assume such a job isn’t in your career plans.”
Lorne flushed. “I serve where I’m needed, sir.”
“It would be temporary,” Jack continued. “The project is very fluid right now, and things are up in the air when it comes to how it will eventually be run. We’re in the midst of getting a new CO.”
“I heard, sir,” Lorne said. “General West is heading to Washington?”
“He likes the politics,” Jack said. “And we need someone who can play hardball in our corner in that arena. It will be more necessary in the years to come if this project goes in the direction some believe. That being said, I need an admin for the next few months.”
“Then I’ll sort myself an office nearby, sir.”
“Good, dismissed,” Jack said. “Pull the door shut.”
“Have a good day, sir.”
Jack opened the box as the door clicked shut and found a folded piece of paper on another smaller box.
Thought you might like to see my current project for the private sector. It’s a prototype of sorts, fully encrypted. Sheppard Industries will be putting it into development in the next six months. I’ve set up cell service that we can control. The password is the date of departure.
Jack opened the box holding the phone, and stared. It resembled the cell phone he already had, so it wouldn’t stand out in that fashion. He figured it was probably an entirely different animal on the inside. He turned it on, and it immediately buzzed in his hand. Jack input the date the expedition left Earth to find Atlantis. He checked and found he had a text message from Sheppard.
JS-McKay came with us
Jack snorted and flicked his thumb over the pad as he responded.
JO-So did Oma Desala.
JS-Jesus fucking Christ
JO-She’s been very helpful. There are two of her now—so she’s a free agent. Expect her to show up. She gave Daniel his memories from before his first ascension. How secure is this?
JS-So secure that my father immediately bought a cell phone manufactory plant and is probably arranging a hostile take over Horizon Communications since McKay took apart like ten of their phones to make three like the one you have in hand. We’ll send another for Jackson.
JS-Also, my dad likes McKay more than me. It’s awful here.
Jack laughed and set the phone aside.
* * * *
“So Rodney is sleeping in the guest room in your suite,” Patrick said.
John looked up from the manual he was reading and focused on his father. “I can keep it in my pants, Dad.” He flushed when his father laughed. “We’re still…working on stuff, but I did sort myself out and tell him how I feel. He’s working in Nevada, and I’m going to Ohio, so…there’s distance to consider and stuff.”
“He’s brilliant,” Patrick said. “One of my guys in R&D nearly stroked out while he was there. Apparently, McKay is well-known in certain circles.”
“He got his first Ph.D. at fifteen, and that was him taking his time,” John said. “His parents held him back a lot as a kid, so he emancipated himself and fled Canada to attend Northwestern.” He shrugged when his father gaped at him. “I know. At any rate, we’re on the same page and working toward something, but there’s no rush. We’re both going to make career adjustments over the next couple of years so that we end up in the same place, eventually.”
“Very mature decision,” Patrick said. “Especially for a young man, who just six months ago told me to kiss his ass.”
John had no clue why he’d said that to his father, but he didn’t doubt it. He’d been angry a lot in his twenties, and it had led him to make reckless choices. It had also caused him to be rude as fuck to anyone that he wasn’t required to offer at least public respect to.
“I don’t remember what that was about,” John said and shrugged when his father huffed. “But you were probably bossing me around and trying to make me do what you thought best versus what I wanted to do at the time. I can’t allow that kind of narrative, Dad, so I hope you can keep that to yourself going forward. I don’t want to bail on our relationship and let years pass without speaking to you.”
“And you see that as an option?” Patrick questioned.
“I see that as a consequence of us not respecting each other,” John said. “And recognize that it would be healthier for me to have no relationship with you rather than have a deeply toxic one. You know what it’s like to serve and the stress that comes with it. I’m a year out from a combat post, and when I call home—I’d rather not get lectured about my life choices.”
Patrick sighed. “I’d hoped a doctorate would take combat off the table.”
“I have a career trajectory,” John said and set aside the manual so he could focus on his father, who’d been pretending to read the paper since they’d ended up in the den together. “It requires this degree and some additional training as soon as I can arrange it. I did SERE last summer.” His father’s gaze focused entirely on him. “I made a choice early last year between pararescue and spec-recon.”
“And you chose spec-recon,” Patrick said and grimaced. “John—you’re a very young man. Direct action is heartbreaking. I’d hoped that your skills as a pilot would keep you out of theater.”
“Dad, I’ve already been in combat.” He winced when his father shifted forward. “I can’t discuss where or why.”
“I hate this,” Patrick said quietly. “Sometimes, I wish I could go back to when you were a baby, and I could tuck you into your crib at night where you were safe.”
“Been a while since anyone tucked me in,” John admitted. “I get it, you know, but I have to make the choices and decisions that I can live with.”
“Sometimes, when you speak—I feel like you’re talking from a place I could not reach if I lived a hundred years,” Patrick said. “It’s disquieting, to say the least. It’s like…the hardness I see in McKay’s eyes which makes no sense. I’ve looked him up, John. He’s a child prodigy turned very sheltered academic, but sometimes he gets this look on his face like he’s been through hell. Nothing in his background backs that up.”
“You did a background check on Rodney?” John demanded with a huff.
“Of course I did,” Patrick said. “Don’t be ridiculous. I’ve done background checks on every single person you’ve ever associated yourself with romantically. I know you don’t like to think about it, but you have a great deal of money in trust.”
John made a face. He’d had rarely ever touched his trust fund, and his father knew it. “I guess I need to get a car for Ohio.”
“You can have the Audi.”
“No.” John huffed. “I’m not driving a luxury car to AFIT. Come on, Dad, I might as well get rich asshole tattooed on my forehead!”
Patrick laughed. “There’s a Jeep in the garage as well. Mattie thought he wanted one, drove it for a year, and asked for a car instead.”
“Spoiled little shit,” John muttered. “But yeah, a Jeep sounds okay.”
“I assume you don’t want to live on campus.”
“I contacted a real estate agent about an apartment,” John said. “I’ll have three or four furnished units to look at when I arrive.”
“I can have a house purchased and furnished near Wright-Patterson.”
The privacy would be good, but he wasn’t used to letting his father handle things for him. Still, having that done while he concentrated on the more important elements of his move to Ohio would take some stress off of him.
“Nothing too big,” John cautioned. “I don’t need four or five bedrooms.”
“I’ll handle it,” Patrick said. “And thank you.”
“For what?” John questioned.
“For letting me help—it’s been a while since you’ve allowed it. The day you turned eighteen, it was like you just cut me off in a lot of ways, and I didn’t get any say in it.”
“Things were hard around here after mom died,” John said. “And you were…overbearing. It was suffocating, so I ran, and I can’t say I ever really planned to come back in any meaningful way.” He took a deep breath. “But I’m trying to do better, you know?”
“I appreciate it, John.”
“I’m gonna go find Rodney. He promised to set aside his project this afternoon so we could watch movies.” John picked up the training manual that he only vaguely remembered from the first time around. “He’s supposed to be on vacation.”
A clearing throat caught his attention, and he turned to find David standing in the doorway. “Hey.”
“Hmmm, Nancy’s here,” David said and shrugged when John groaned. “I put her in the formal salon. She gave me some attitude.”
“What kind of attitude?”
“The kind she’s always given me,” David admitted. “Nancy doesn’t like me much, John, you know that.”
John didn’t remember why. David was the oldest by three years but had never been the overbearing type. He’d been far more likely to enable both him and Matt than try to micromanage them like he’d seen other older brothers do. Later in life, John’s behavior with their father had created a deep divide between them that he didn’t think would’ve ever been truly resolved.
John sighed and went upstairs first to drop off the manual. Rodney was sitting at the desk in the front room of the suite putting together a cell phone for Daniel Jackson.
“Nancy is here.”
“I thought that situation was done,” Rodney said and looked up. He set aside the phone and stared pointedly. “Is this about to go Fatal Attraction? Because my cat doesn’t deserve that sort of treatment. Lovelace’s currently living his best life in a pet spa in Vegas.”
“Your cat is in a pet spa?” John asked and laughed a little. “And no about the Fatal Attraction part, I think. I mean, Nancy is a good person. She didn’t take the break up well, and maybe I was too abrupt with her during the whole thing. I didn’t…well, the landing was rough, actually, and I wasn’t certain it had worked properly. So by the time I made it back stateside, the last thing I wanted to deal with was a girlfriend and her not so subtle hints about marriage.”
“When did you originally get married?”
“About eight months from now. It was good timing, or so I thought. I let O’Neill pick the date so he could prevent his son’s accident, so I was prepared to deal with whatever personal situation I landed in. A divorce would’ve been a hassle, but I would’ve done it. Marrying her was one of my bigger mistakes. I don’t know why she’s here now.”
“When’s the last time you had sex with her?” Rodney asked curiously.
“About six months, I think, I had a brief leave between assignments, and we met up in California for a weekend. Why?”
“Just making sure there wasn’t a pregnancy to worry about.”
“There wasn’t before….”
“That you’re aware of,” Rodney responded. “Any number of things could’ve happened with her that you were unaware of. She might not have told you about a loss while you were in the field or, at all, if she didn’t want to talk about it.”
That made John very uncomfortable. “I’ve always practiced safe sex, so let’s go on the assumption that something like that didn’t happen. It certainly couldn’t be the case right now. I don’t know what she wants.”
“Did you tell her you were gay?”
“No, because she got really upset, and I didn’t want her to…I felt like it might be dangerous information for her to have,” John said wearily. “Especially while she was upset. I want to believe she wouldn’t try to ruin my life, but people can do terrible things when they’re hurt.”
“Yeah,” Rodney frowned and picked up one of the little screwdrivers he’d been using. “My sister got married recently. I barely made it in time to attend the wedding. I skipped it last time, and I don’t think she ever really forgave me no matter what she said. She was surprised I showed up, but I think happy.”
“I’m going to go see what Nancy wants,” John said. “I…this is frustrating because I’d sort of ticked her off the list as done and now….”
“You can’t treat human beings like that,” Rodney said. “Or so I was told. People are unpredictable and messy.”
Messy was the right word for it. John made his way downstairs and paused in the doorway of the salon to stare at his ex-girlfriend. Nancy was a beautiful young woman—smart, ambitious, and really totally out of his league. He’d always thought so. She’d been enamored by the uniform and his looks. At one time, he’d thought the money might be a factor, but she hadn’t even tried to get alimony when they divorced.
“Hey, Fancy Pants.”
She turned and stared at him, a small smile darting across her lips before she looked away with a small huff. “I wanted…I’m sorry to show up without notice, but I don’t have your father’s phone number. Realizing that I didn’t have the phone number for the home you grew up in made me see that things weren’t what I thought they were between us.” She pulled the device out of her purse and offered it. “And you left your cell phone at our apartment.”
“Ah, thanks, I have a new one for work and sort of forgot about it,” John admitted. He’d only used it when he was home at any rate, and it had been part of a plan they’d shared. “I’ll see about canceling it and pay the fee associated.” He took it and shoved it into the front pocket of his jeans.
“John, can we talk?” Nancy asked. “I…everything happened so abruptly, and I’m worried that…what did I do? I thought we were working so well and….” Tears welled. “Is there someone else?”
“Let’s sit, okay?” John led her to the stiff, deeply uncomfortable sofa, and she perched on it like a nervous bird. He hated himself for the obvious distress and pain he was causing her. “You’ve done nothing wrong, and this is, honestly, genuinely about me. I’m making some career moves that will make any sort of personal relationship difficult for a few years, and I realized that I’m just not ready to get married.”
“But…we talked about how it would benefit your career to be married—to look mature and responsible.” She looked down at her hands. “And you just changed our plans without a discussion, John. And I was too angry to express myself properly. I just need to understand. We’ve been together for three years, and I thought you loved me.”
“I do love you,” John said quietly. “But, I’m not…sweetheart, I’m so sorry, but I’m not in love with you.” He watched the color drain from her face and tears well in her eyes. “And we both deserve better than a marriage built for career politics.”
“I thought…you’re not….” She took a deep breath. “Is this about the sex?”
“What about the sex?” John questioned because he’d always made sure to take really good care of her during sex, even if he hadn’t wanted it at all, ever.
“You never initiate,” Nancy said. “I mean, you’re certainly present during, and you’re a great lover, but I’m always the one to make the first move. I thought you just preferred it that way, so I never said anything. I’m not complaining, really. The sex was awesome. You’re honestly the most attentive and affectionate partner I’ve ever had.” She frowned and looked away. “You’d have never had a relationship with me at all if I hadn’t…pushed it, right?”
“You’re a great friend, and I adore you,” John said helplessly. “It made you happy, and a few of the other officers kept asking about a wedding date….”
“Oh, you self-sacrificing asshole,” Nancy hissed and shot up off the sofa. “For the love of God, John Patrick Sheppard!”
“I’m really sorry,” John said in a dejected tone and slouched on the terrible sofa while she paced in front of him.
“You let me make all of these plans,” she snapped. “And the whole time, you didn’t want to get married at all!”
“I was just trying to do what was expected of me—everyone expected it, even you.” He watched her absorb that, and she nodded. “But I know I need to make better decisions for myself and to live as honestly as I can. I can’t do that if I’m working toward marrying you when it’s the last thing I want. You deserve better; frankly, you always have.”
“I want…I wanted…” Nancy took a deep breath. “I want you, John. I didn’t care about any of that other stuff.” She crossed her arms over her chest and took a deep breath. “But, you don’t want me.”
He figured absolutely nothing he could say would be a comfort, so he just sat watched her process. It was painful because he really did care about her, and there was nothing he could do to make things right in the moment. In time, he hoped that she’d be relieved by their breakup.
“Are you going to say something?”
“It seems like everything that comes out of my mouth just hurts you more,” John said. “And I don’t want that. I could see a future for us where we did get married. I’d spend most of my time deployed, and while you think you can handle that—you’d have quickly discovered that the Air Force doesn’t care at all about special occasions or anniversaries. There would be times when you had no idea where I was or what I was doing.”
“You make it sound like you plan a career in the Air Force.”
“I expect to stay in the Air Force until I’m forced to retire,” John said. “I told you that from the start, but you ignored it. I let you because I never intended on doing anything different, and I felt you’d been warned sufficiently. I think you believed that you could merely talk me out of it.”
“I did,” Nancy admitted and looked away. “I’ve been pushing you toward my own goals since we met, and you’ve let me.”
“Because you weren’t pushing me toward anything I couldn’t tolerate,” John said wearily.
“Until I started looking at wedding dresses,” Nancy said sourly. “I wish I could hate you, John. Honestly.” She picked up her purse. “Please do me a favor and let yourself fall in love with someone eventually.”
“I’ll walk you out,” John said quietly.
“Better you than your brother.”
“David thinks you hate him,” John said.
“He’s a stuck-up asshole,” Nancy muttered. “And the last time we went to dinner with him, he brought prenuptial agreements twice.”
“Well,” John said and sighed. “I mean…hell, Nancy, there’s a lot of money here.” He waved a hand around. “And it’s David’s job to protect it. It was our mom’s legacy, and maybe he’s blunt in ways that my dad isn’t because he plays the heavy at SI. It’ll get worse for him going forward since they’re moving into government contract work. Are you going to go ahead with your grad school plans?”
“I was going to put it off another year,” Nancy admitted. “So we could get settled, and I figured I would be moving to wherever you were stationed, and I would check out whatever university or college was closest to that posting.” She looked out over the grounds. “I guess I need to make a different plan now.”
“I’m sorry for all of this, really.”
“I need some space, and I realize you tried to give me that by hiding out in your father’s house instead of dealing with packing your stuff at the apartment.”
“I can come over and handle it,” John said. “I don’t have much.”
“It’s all in a box in my trunk,” she said and motioned toward her car, which was parked in front of the house. “I sort of raged through the apartment and packed it all up. I figured it would give me closure. But it just reminded me how little you’d invested in what was supposed to be our home. I was just going to drop it at the gate and flounce off, but when I got here, I just wanted to see you. I hoped I could make this better.”
“I wish it was that simple,” John murmured. “I regret that I hurt you, but I believe it would’ve been worse in the long run. At least, you won’t be my bitter ex-wife.”
“I guess disappointed ex-girlfriend is the better option,” Nancy said and pulled out her keys. “Come get this box, John.”
* * * *
June 28, 1996
Jack poured himself a cup of coffee and walked out onto the deck. The permanent move to the cabin had been very stressful for Charlie, so Jack had thought it best to leave his son with his mother for the weekend. It was disappointing because once the SGC got started, he wouldn’t get as much time with his son as he would want, but it was far more than he’d ever hoped to have.
“Hello, Jack.” Jack turned and found Daniel standing just at the edge of the house. “I knocked, but there was no answer.”
“Hey.” Jack cleared his throat and pushed down his emotional response to seeing his lover. The ache he’d carried since Daniel’s murder, in the future, eased away. “I’ve missed you.”
“Oma told me some asshole killed me in the SGC,” Daniel said as he rounded the deck and came up the stairs.
“Yeah, I was already working in Washington at that point. I’d been promoted…out of the mountain. On purpose, looking back on it.”
Daniel nodded toward the coffee. “Got more of that?”
“Yeah, you know where to find the cups,” Jack said quietly and swallowed hard. “I didn’t think Catherine was going to contact you until Monday.”
“She showed up at my apartment and knocked on my door,” Daniel said. “And I got on a plane with her. They set me up in a hotel in Colorado Springs and gave me a car to drive. I figured you were here.” He paused. “I hoped you were here.”
“Let’s get you some coffee,” Jack murmured and motioned him into the house. He pulled out a cup as soon as he got near a cabinet, and when he turned, Daniel was right there. “Hey.”
“Did I tell you?”
“Tell me what?” Jack asked.
“That I’m in love with you.”
Jack set aside both cups and took a deep breath. “Yeah, you did, and we were making a go of it. It wasn’t perfect because you were still working in the mountain, and I was in DC most of the time. We met here, often, and….” Jack trailed off when Daniel moved into his space and pressed their mouths together.
He leaned into the kiss, lingered over the taste of Daniel’s mouth, and after a very long moment, he pulled away.
“Jack,” Daniel murmured and sought another kiss eagerly.
“I’m…” Jack pressed his lips briefly to Daniel’s forehead and stepped back. “I’m still married.”
“Oh.” Daniel took a deep, shocked breath. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize… you have a family, Jack.” He ran a shaking hand through his hair and started to walk away.
“Sarah and I are already separated,” Jack said and caught Daniel’s arm. “So, where ever your brain is going—just stop. I came back in time for you and Charlie, Daniel. Having you both back in my life is such an immense gift.”
“You prevented his accident, Oma told me,” Daniel said quietly. “I just didn’t factor your wife into all of this. I’m sorry I kissed you.”
“I did kiss you back,” Jack responded. “And it’s fine—I just can’t take you to bed while I’m still married. I told Sarah that I had never cheated on her and I….” He took a deep breath. “And yes, basically, the marriage is over, but we haven’t filed divorce papers yet. My lawyer is still drafting a document.”
“I understand,” Daniel said gently. “Your integrity is one of the things I’ve always been able to rely on, and going forward, that will only be more important to me.” He picked up the empty cup and poured himself some coffee. “So we time-traveled with Sheppard and McKay.” He grinned. “This is gonna be interesting.”
Series Page: The Vanguard