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: Five-year-old John, Rodney, mentions of others.
Spoilers: Season Three.
Feedback: Is a gift. It’s nice to give :)
Notes: Okay, so this is likely the last snippet before I buckle down and write the main fic. It seemed only right to let wee!John himself have the final say…
| Five Ancient Devices Rodney McKay Wishes He’d Never Discovered (number three) | Just an Ordinary Day | Christmas with the Millers | Nap Time | Maybe (same post as Nap Time) | Show Me How Tight You Can Cuddle | Sniffles | Little Troublemaker | Paternal Instinct | Replacement |
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There are some days when Atlantis doesn’t quite sing to him in the same way. When he was little, he didn’t understand it properly and he’s still not entirely sure he gets it now, but Atlantis is worried and busy and talking to other people. Whatever it is, John’s come to the conclusion that it must be important and he really doesn’t mind when she talks to Evan and he likes that sometimes she’ll whisper to Jennifer and make her eyes light up and her smile get bigger, as he watches her bounce on the tips of her toes.
It makes him sad to know that she can’t talk to Rodney that way.
John doesn’t know, exactly, when it was that he figured out that he wasn’t quite right. Just knows that, sometimes, he remembers things that don’t make sense; like flying in planes and playing football and drinking beer. He used to think that it was someone else he dreamed of, someone that Atlantis was mixing up inside his head, but then she sang something to him, showed him where to look and what to find and he realised that she was trying to help.
John’s been getting bigger for nearly three years now – he’s almost six and soon he’ll be big enough that Ronon won’t glare at him when John asks if he can use his gun – and he knows that the older he gets, the sadder it makes Rodney. He knows what it’s like to feel sad, because he remembers Carson’s smiles and laughter, remembers the gruff cadence of his voice that tickled inside John’s ears and made him feel safe and happy and he hates that he makes Rodney sad. Wishes there was something he could do to make it all go away, make it all better and be fixed.
He doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with him, knows only what Atlantis sings to him in his sleep and the things he overhears that he isn’t meant to. He knows Elizabeth is sad and tries not to be mad at her, because he knows that she tried to take him away from Rodney, knows that she doesn’t speak to Evan much anymore because he made her let John stay. He tried to tell her it would be okay once, but she looked like she was going to cry and he hadn’t quite known what to do, so he’d handed over his toy and told her to look after it for a bit; he doesn’t even like it that much anymore, but he thinks it’s funny to watch Rodney’s eyes bug out of his head and his face get all red every time he sees it. He hasn’t told Evan that he knows what the man did to keep him here, hasn’t told anyone but Elizabeth that he knows, but he smiles brighter every time Evan plays with him and he tries really hard to let the man know that he wants to be just like him when he’s big again.
John sighs, feeling put-out that Atlantis is still ignoring him and Rodney’s off being all worried somewhere, and tries to ignore the feeling that he should be doing something to help. He knows that Atlantis will tell him if there’s something they need to know that they can’t quite work out, but the waiting is so boring.
He was supposed to be with Jen this afternoon, but she’s busy helping Jason and Carrie, who both got hurt when they were off-world (John remembers being off-world; remembers running and shooting and exploring and laughing and being scared for Teyla, Ronon and Rodney and thinks that he can’t wait until he’s fixed and everything’s more exciting and back to the way it was meant to be) and, instead, he’s being babysat by Miko.
John likes Miko. Not as much as he likes Sam or Vala or Jen, but he thinks she's pretty and nice to him. Although she sometimes giggles at him and coos the way the other women do, she always talks to him like he’s a big boy. John knows he doesn’t always talk properly, that he drops letters and misses out words, but his head is always so busy trying to keep up with everything Atlantis is telling him that it doesn’t really bother him much. But he likes that Miko will ask him questions about the maths that Rodney’s teaching him and likes that she shows him letters that look like houses and words made of pictures that all spell out things in a language he thinks sounds kind of magical.
She’s talking on her headpiece now – Rodney still won’t let him have one of his own – and he can hear the tremble in her voice; the short staccato that tells him she’s worried and wishing she could babble in her own language, but can’t, because he understands more than the rest of the science team combined.
“You are sure?” She glances at John out of the corner of her eyes and he frowns.
She holds up a finger to stall him and waits until she’s finished her conversation. “John, I must go to help Radek. I have to take you to Kate now.”
John scrunches up his nose. “I can stay hew’ and be good. I’m a big boy now, Miko, I’m nea’ly six,” he says, rolling his eyes, but he can see by the slight smirk on her face that she’s on to him. It’s not that he doesn’t like Kate, but she keeps asking John how he’s feeling and what he remembers and asks him about his parents and all the things he doesn’t want to talk about because he has Rodney and wants to keep him and Evan and Teyla and Jen and Ronon and everyone else on Atlantis. And she never believes him when he shrugs and tells her he’s thinking about chocolate and feeling hungry. Even when he is thinking about chocolate and feeling hungry. Which he sometimes is.
“P’ease, Miko,” he whines and she glances at her watch and relents.
“Okay, but you must stay here.”
John nods and at least has the courtesy to wait until she runs completely out of the room before letting Atlantis sweep him away in a beam of blue light.
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When the emergency is over and Rodney’s given him a row for disappearing on them and toying with danger (he was only playing and he had no intention of jumping off the pier, he’s not stupid), John finds himself curled up in the corner of the lab with some logic problems Rodney found in Atlantis’ computers. He’s done five of them and he’s already bored, so he glances around the lab to see if what’s going on around him is more interesting than what he’s doing.
Rodney and Radek are busy with reports; Erin and Rajesh are smirking at their screens, so he knows that they’re actually playing cards with each other, but trying not to let Radek and Rodney find out; Irina and Paul are both working with ancient devices, plugged into their laptops (he would tell them that Irina’s is a toy and Paul’s is a bomb, but both are broken and he thinks it’s kind of funny to see what they come up with and more funny to correct them if they get it wrong); and Kavanagh…well, now that looks like fun.
He crosses the room slowly, taking the time to read all of the numbers and symbols, turning them around in his head until they start to make sense. There are some bits he doesn’t know, so he asks Atlantis, his eyes widening when she seems only too happy to help him. She sometimes doesn’t let him know things and he thinks it’s because she wants him to find them out himself. But then John’s pretty sure that even she doesn’t like the nasty scientist John’s fast approaching. He smirks as he walks past Kavanagh, hands tucked into his pockets.
"That's wong," he says casually, eyes bright with laughter. He says it loud enough that everyone's watching and he has to try not to laugh when he sees Rodney turn and look at him gleefully.
"What would you know," Kavanagh says disdainfully, looking down on him and John just cocks an eyebrow and has to resist the urge to kick the man in the shin. Instead, he reaches out for the spare red marker for the white board and stands on the pile of books on the floor, his hands moving quickly, crossing out the symbols he can reach, correcting decimals and finishing the equation to it’s conclusion (one that Kavanagh was miles away from getting himself).
Without another word, he steps down, puts the marker back and smirks at the scientist once more before crossing the room to Rodney's desk. Radek chuckles, walking past him and squeezing his shoulder, but he’s more interested in the way Rodney’s looking at him, a mixture of pride and love and friendship and a small undercurrent of recognition that John knows he doesn’t really understand, but it makes him feel like the most amazing thing in the universe.
Sometimes, John thinks that he’d learn anything Rodney wanted if the man would just promise to always look at him like that.
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John wakes up slowly, listens to the inflection in Atlantis’ voice, listens to the sounds she’s making and wonders what’s different. He frowns and rolls over, slipping his feet into the blue Spiderman slippers Jeannie, Kaleb and Maddie got him for Christmas. He glances over at the bed, sees that Teyla is sound asleep and heads for the door, willing it open. He knows, realistically, that the sound of the door swishing open and closed is louder than the ‘transporter beam’ (as Rodney calls it), but Teyla reacts very quickly to light, but the sounds of Atlantis are not enough to wake her unless the city wants them to.
When he’s outside the door, he glances either way, making sure that none of the marines on duty (Mark and Jamie – he remembers from the rota he watched Evan making up on Thursday) are nearby.
When he’s sure he’s alone, he closes his eyes and lets Atlantis take him where she thinks he should be.
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John frowns, turning around and walking down the empty corridor. He’s not sure where he is, but Rodney’s voice is as familiar to him as his own. He takes a moment to consider where he is, asks Atlantis to show him and suddenly the map is there, inside his head. He’s in the one place Rodney asked him to never go. Not until he took John himself.
That thought makes him stop. Makes him wonder if he should really be here, but Atlantis gives him a thought that feels like a hug; a gentle gonowbecarefulbehappy and he smiles and runs towards the light shining into the corridor.
When he reaches the doorway, there’s a hum that sounds almost familiar, tugs at his mind in the same way that thoughts of Ferris Wheels and college football and home baked apple pie and red underpants do. He frowns, slowly taking his eyes of the strange humming machine in the centre of the room and his eyes lock on Rodney, sitting on the floor hugging his knees.
Rodney’s back is to him, but John can read a million things in Rodney’s eyes and his smiles and even in the way he moves and sits and walks. Right now, Rodney’s sad, so John does the only thing he can think of and crosses the room, wrapping his arms around Rodney’s neck from behind.
Rodney jerks. “John?” he asks, surprised. He turns, awkwardly in John’s tight grasp, and tugs the boy around and into his lap. “What are you doing here?”
“Lantis sent me,” John replies, frowning and looking up at deep blue eyes he knows so well. “Why a’ you sad, Wodney?”
“I’m…I’m not. Not really. I just…it’s…”
“Lantis says you fixed it, but what did you fix?”
“I…” Rodney trails off, his eyes get wet and, for a brief moment, John thinks he might cry.
“Don’t be sad.” John takes a moment to let Atlantis tell him things, takes a moment to try to understand, but isn’t really sure he ever will. Not like this. So instead he smiles up at Rodney and then hugs him.
“It’s okay, Wodney,” he says, and it really is. "You can fix me now.”
“Yes,” Rodney says softly. “Yes, I can.”
John nods and settles into the tight embrace Rodney’s offering him. “Not ‘til mo’ning,” he says with a yawn. “We need to wait for Lizbet and Evan and Jen and Teyla and Wonon and evwyone. It’s bette’ that way.”
“Yes,” Rodney says and John feels him finally relax. “Yes, we’ll wait until morning.”
Atlantis dims the lights when John asks and he’s vaguely aware of Rodney moving them back against a wall. For once his friend doesn’t complain about sitting on the floor, or needing to sleep in his own bed, or any of the things that Rodney usually has to say. Instead, Rodney just holds him, rests his chin on John’s head and doesn’t say anything for a long time.
Just as he’s falling asleep, he thinks he hears Rodney say “I’ll miss you” and has enough time to think that maybe Rodney really does think John’s most amazing thing in the universe and wonders if maybe he should have told Rodney that that’s what he thinks about him.
He can tell that things won’t be the same tomorrow, can tell that Rodney’s holding him tight now because John’s going away and he really wishes he knew where. He really doesn’t understand why things will be different and he can’t explain how he knows that things will be better. He thinks that, maybe, if he didn’t trust Rodney quite so much, he’d be a little scared by the farewell the man’s wrapping him in. But he does trust Rodney and he knows that things are going to change. He knows that they’re going to be better.
And as he falls asleep, he thinks that maybe even Atlantis is telling him goodbye.
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ETA: Okay, so I totally lied and wrote a Christmas ficled: Not a Creature Was Stirring and now back to the rest of my notes...
I’m going to be working on the main fic from here on in (feel free to prompt me every now and again to make sure I’m actually working on it!). There likely will be other snippets in this ‘verse after the main fic is finished, because the main fic is written 100% from Rodney’s PoV, so all those little scenes that he knows nothing about will need to be written separately (Yes, I will eventually let you see what happened between Elizabeth and Lorne).
Thank you so much for all your feedback and I really hope the main fic, when it’s done, lives up to expectation.
Let me know if there’s anything you really want to see in it. I can’t necessarily guarantee it’ll make it in, but it’d be nice to know what you want.
I’ll also take requests for snippets you’d like to see written after the main fic.
Hope you enjoyed the ride so far and I love the feedback you guys have left. You’re all awesome ;)
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