Disclaimer: Stargate Atlantis and all related items do not belong to me, only the stories and their related original ideas and characters are mine. No copyright infringement intended.
Characters: Rodney McKay, John Sheppard, Ronon Dex, Elizabeth Weir, Telya Emmagan, Radek Zelenka
Pairings: Gen. Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.
Spoilers: There are spoilers for season three. Not the last two episodes, as I haven’t seen them yet, but I won’t name specific episodes, as that’ll kinda spoil what’s coming.
Feedback: Is a gift. It’s nice to give :)
One: The Little Bundle of
“Get it off! Get it off! Get it off!”
He does a little dance to the side, but he can’t get it to move. It’s wrapped its sticky little claws around his finger and will not let go! He moves towards Sheppard, who takes a quick step back, his eyes bugging out of his head in a way that would actually be amusing if he wasn’t currently trying to escape from a Vulcan death grip.
“Teyla!” he cries, holding the thing out to her.
Somehow, Teyla looks a little more alarmed than John does (her face practically screams ‘come near me and I will kill you with my little finger’) and how dare she, because she’s a woman and has woman parts and should be instinctively better at this than he is, because he’s a man and…wow…it’s really kind of cute.
He frowns and takes a better look, pulling it into him and cradling it to his chest. It’s not so bad, really. Rodney’s had cats his whole life; how much harder could it be? He’s always appreciated cats. They have the best idea; it’s all about them and you’re meant to cater to their every whim and, yeah, they like to be left alone for a lot of the time. He could do this.
Not that he wants to. Of course he doesn’t.
He glances up and looks at Ronon and is very surprised to see a smile on the big guy’s face. Ronon seems pretty entranced and, well, yeah, he can see why. Really. How hard could it be?
And that’s when it starts to scream.
Rodney’s eyes decide to do an impersonation of Sheppard and he thrusts the thing at Ronon, whimpering, “Get it off! Get it off! Get it off!”
Ronon rolls his eyes and reaches out to take it, gently picking it up and making a goofy face as he cradles it and starts to sway, humming under his breath until it stops making the noise of doom. Which would be fine, but it still has its Vulcan death grip on Rodney’s finger, so he’s being pulled along with whatever motion Ronon decides is best.
“So…” Sheppard says, clearing his throat. “How do we put it back?”
Ronon glares and Rodney finds himself doing the same.
“Rodney, we can’t keep it.”
“Why not?” he huffs, despite the fact that his brain is screaming ‘Oh God, get rid of it!’
“Because it’s…because we can’t.” Sheppard’s voice tries to emulate a definite ‘so there’, but Ronon’s glaring and Rodney’s rather attached to his finger, which now seems to come complete with a…thing…okay, baby. He can say it. Baby. His baby. That was made in a lab.
And, oh God, he’s a father.
He almost falls over (he does not faint), but junior (and he has got to come up with a name that isn’t junior and definitely isn’t his) has a strong grip and Ronon’s kind of sturdy, so he leans instead. Sheppard looks at him curiously, but the baby’s still attached to him and John clearly wants to not get anywhere near it.
There must have been something in his voice, because John lets out a resigned sigh and nods. “Okay. But you’re explaining the whole thing to Elizabeth.”
Now that it’s decided, they all seem to relax a notch and Sheppard regards it curiously. And when John finally rolls his eyes and reaches out for (Albert? Michael? Elliot? Christopher? …wait, is it even a boy? He should really have checked that before wrapping it up…) it, Rodney’s finger is dropped like a hot coal. He stares almost forlornly as John suddenly smiles and Rodney’s baby gurgles happily.
He wonders if, staring at the goofy grin on John’s face, the almost-(but I’m still not getting near it yet) smile from Teyla and Ronon’s pleased look, he hasn’t just made a big mistake. What the hell does he know about taking care of a baby?
They make their way to the exit, leaving the Ancient Baby Maker behind. Rodney stops and looks back, not quite sure he hasn’t just made the biggest mistake of his life, when Sheppard comes back around the corner with it still in his arms. John grins at him and he feels like he’s been sucker punched. One step forward and two steps back, because he’s looking at the most perfect image he’s ever seen…and only half of it’s his.
Two: The Inferno Machine
Rodney’s still staring when the rescue team arrives, still staring and not moving. He’s been frozen since the moment it happened and he’s not even aware that he managed to withstand both Ronon and Teyla as they tried to get him to move, to go back to Atlantis; doesn’t know, because he’s not really there. He’s still frozen in the moment, still remembering the cheeky grin and the eye roll sent Teyla’s way right before Rodney insisted…
And suddenly he can focus. He can see and he can smell…oh, God, he can smell and that’s when he moves, because he has to throw up and it will not be on…
Outside it’s dry and still and sunny and there are birds, for fucks sake, and they don’t seem to know, don’t seem to care and there’s an injustice in that that makes him so angry that he can’t form words. He can’t scream and shout, because he’s got something lodged in his throat that won’t move and if he tries it might escape. Instead he finds himself hyperventilating.
There are insistent hands on his arms and he fights them all off with a strength he didn’t know he possessed and doesn’t fucking care, because he can’t believe it’s real. Doesn’t want to believe that it’s real, because it was his fault. He starts to run, because he has to get away and he can’t, because the image is burned behind his eyelids and won’t go away.
Blue flames, because yellow was too normal for the Ancients, too cold to burn to a crisp in three seconds flat. Too…stoppable. Too…
“Yes, Colonel, because it would kill you to be useful…”
“Just turn it on, will you.”
“Fine. And don’t say I never do what you ask.”
“Why you pwetending?”
“I’m not pretending. I’m doing very important mathematics and you, as usual, are getting in the way.”
“But you said it was ‘magin’y.”
“Yes, an imaginary number, not make believe.”
“But ‘magin’y is make pwetend.”
Rodney smacks his head off his desk.
“’Lizbet says you get bain damage.”
“Yes, well, Elizabeth could help save the future of humanity by protecting my brain if she would look after you herself!”
“You don’t like me anymo’?”
“Oh, no, please, don’t cry!” Rodney flails for a moment, before reaching out to pick up the four year old, gently petting him like he would his cat and saying, “there, there” impatiently. Internally, he’s scowling at the fact that he’s been left with babysitting duties again (‘But, Rodney, he trusts you more than anyone else’) and trying to figure out which member of SG1 had managed to find the miniature cargo pants and black top to fit the four year old John Sheppard. His money's on Mitchell. Or possibly Sam Carter. Hell, given the way Jeannie had fawned over John on their last visit to earth, it might even have been her.
And, God, why had he introduced mini-John to Jeannie again? Oh, yes, because Elizabeth thought it would be a good idea to get him acclimated to the idea that his best friend was suddenly three years old! And it had looked like it might stay that way. And it had for over a year.
Seriously, the Ancients had a lot to answer for. They’d created so many useless machines. Not to mention the millions that just didn’t work properly and then proceeded to leave them lying around their decrepit old city for stupid Air Force Colonels to play with!
He counts slowly to ten and tries to remind himself of the list of reasons Elizabeth gave him that states how he isn’t allowed to kill his mini team mate.
“Remember how we practiced the letter ‘r’ yesterday?” John nods and Rodney takes another breath. “Now try again.”
“Twy what ‘gain?”
“No. Again. Rrrrr-odney.”
John frowns, then grins cheekily. “Mewdif.”
Rodney runs through Elizabeth’s list again and adds one more reason to his own list: ‘Reasons the Ancients SUCK’.
(This 'verse is continued here, with more adventures of wee!John...)
Four: The Photocopier
“We still have no idea what it is,” Radek says forlornly and Rodney huffs, his eyes scanning the screen again. The Ancient words make no sense and he has no idea why he’s so determined this time, but there’s something telling him he has to work this one out. Has to know what it does.
“It is late, Rodney.”
“Hmm,” he says, frowning as another pattern forms in his mind, one that links together a code that might just… “You go, I’m going to stay a little longer,” he says, his mind already dismissing his friend and getting back to the problem at hand.
He knows he’s almost there…
* * *
“Where the hell is he then?” John asks Radek impatiently and the scientist shrugs.
Elizabeth scans the page with a frown, muttering syllables that don’t make sense to John under her breath. She’s forming words that he doesn’t understand, but the more she reads, the more her eyes widen, the more she frowns…the more John’s stomach tightens in dread.
“What does it do?” he asks, thankful that Rodney at least had the sense to leave the key to the code on his open laptop. John knows it’s more likely that Rodney had a ‘Eureka’ moment and ran off without even remembering he had a laptop, let alone anything on it.
“It’s a…” she frowns and lets out a breath. “If I’m right, then it’s-” she stops and taps her ear, standing up straight. “Yes, Doctor, what can I do for you?”
John frowns as Elizabeth’s eyes widen and her eyes dart to the screen. His instinctive need to reach for his sidearm is almost impossible to resist, so he doesn’t, instead tracing the trigger with his fingertip.
“What did he take?” Elizabeth asks and he almost stands to attention, glancing briefly at the confused scientist on his left.
When Elizabeth mutters, “Oh, God,” he doesn’t even wait for her instructions, instead he’s out the door in a sprint, almost begging Atlantis to lead him to where he needs to be.
* * *
He’s sitting statue-like in the corner of the derelict lab when John enters, coming instantly to an abrupt halt. He doesn’t move as John takes a moment to slow his breathing, all the while raking Rodney’s body with his eyes, trying to discern injuries and, God, if he’s even breathing.
Rodney shudders and John lets out a breath he didn’t even know he was holding. He knows he should alert the others to the fact that he’s found the wayward scientist, but his hands won’t move and he tells that side of his brain to just shut up, because he might be crap at this, but it’s Rodney.
Slowly, John crosses the room, taking great care to neither sneak nor make too much noise, almost like he’s crossing a graveyard. He winces at the thought and takes a deep breath, trying to dislodge the sob building in his throat at what he’s going to have to do if Rodney can’t.
“Hey,” John says hoarsely, sliding down the wall. He follows Rodney’s gaze to the box shaped object between them and gulps. He doesn’t know what to say, but the device is active, humming gently and singing the same melody he hears from all Ancient devices, crooning to be useful.
But this device, yeah, from what little he'd made out over the radio as he was frantically searching, it could be so much more than useful, but John doesn’t even want to think about where they’d draw the line if they started now. There’s a vial peeking out of Rodney’s pocket and he can’t see if it’s empty or not and, even though he already knows, he looks away, because he doesn’t want to see the words written on the side. Doesn’t want to see the familiar scrawl, because he knows that the writer would have penned his own name with the same huffing patience that was always accompanied by a familiar Scottish brogue; that mix of Edinburgh and Aberdeen -- John had never quite pointed out that he didn’t even know there was a difference. He didn’t want to see it, because Elizabeth had filled him in over the radio and it was enough to know that the machine by his side could make a carbon copy of any living matter in the universe. And if the vial really isn't empty, he doesn’t think he’ll be able to resist it himself.
“I didn’t do it,” Rodney says, his voice so hollow that John wishes there were tears. He might not know what to do with tears, but listening to his best friend sound so broken is just…so much worse.
John nods. “I know.”
Five: The Sticky Label Machine
At first he only notices it on small things; his laptop has a little neon sign, the words ‘Laptop: Property of Rodney McKay’ floating above it. Barely legible unless you’re close enough, but when Radek reaches out to move it for him (his own hands too busy moving across his datapad), the sign jumps to life, twice as large, and Radek has a red, painful welt on his hand.
He thinks that, maybe, if he knew how to turn the damn thing off, he’d think about getting rid of it; after all, who wants shiny neon signs floating around for the rest of their lives. But when he’s standing in the line in the mess and, having craned his head around the stupidly large marine in front of him, all the food he’s picked out for himself (and suspects won’t still be there when he gets to the front) have similar signs above them. And when no one can get their hands on the food he’s chosen, he begins to think it’s actually pretty cool. Despite the glares.
He spends the rest of the day in one of the labs full of Ancient tech that they’ve barely begun to discover the meaning of, not actually working, but sorting through everything that looks really cool and thinking ‘mine, mine, mine! ’ until everything’s untouchable by anyone but him.
He waltzes to his lab with a definite skip in his step and takes his seat, smugly ginning at Radek, who’s still glaring and cradling his (now bandaged) hand. He glances surreptitiously around the room, his eyes selecting the little things he wants and he gets away with it until Miko reaches for the chocolate bar he knew she had stashed in her drawer and drops it to the floor, screaming.
When everyone turns to look at him accusingly, he makes a run for it (swiping the chocolate on the way to the door, because, really, Miko’s in pain and no one else noticed it).
He’s just thinking that, maybe, this could be the best thing ever, when Elizabeth demands his presence in her office. He’s not really sure what she could want. He’s filed his daily report, kept his tirades to a minimum (if you exclude Simpson -- and Rodney usually does) and, aside from the accidents with Radek and Miko his day has been pretty boring, really. The machine is just one more positive thing to add to the list of reasons he used to get out of the standard trade negotiations with the dullest-people-ever-encountered that Sheppard, Teyla and Ronon had to attend today.
All in all, he’s a bit curious when he enters Elizabeth’s office.
He enters with a smile that quickly fades. Everyone’s looking at him. Teyla looks stern, but as serene as ever (although he thinks she might be laughing at him inside -- he often does), Elizabeth looks like she’s trying to decide if she’s furious or amused and Ronon’s already decided, because it looks like he might be crying, he’s laughing so hard.
And that’s when he spots John; red faced and glaring. Yes, Sheppard is pissed about something and…yeah…it might be the neon pink sign above his head that states, ‘Boyfriend: Property of Rodney McKay’.
He opens his mouth a few times to explain, but really…how? He does try, but what comes out instead is, “Let me guess, the Chieftan’s daughter has second degree burns?”
…yeah…he’s a dead man. Ancient machines kinda suck.