Painted Blind

Title: Painted Blind
Words: 3,154
Pairing/Charecter(s): John/Rodney, Jeannie/Kaleb, Madison
Warnings/Spoliers: Post-S5, DADT repeal
Disclaimer: Title 17 of the US Code, § 107, aka the Fair Use Doctrine.
Summary: John rather thinks he would know if he and Rodney were dating.
Notes: Title comes from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream: "Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind; and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind." My contriubtion to the McShep Match 2012, prompt fools rush in.

Painted Blind

A Stargate: Atlantis Story

It's only by accident that they're on Earth when DADT is repealed.

Well, it's only by accident that John is on Earth. Kinda. Sorta. Not really. But his story is that the SGC has been making noise about him actually taking some of his accrued leave and that it just so happened to have come to a head at the same time that Jeannie had ordered Rodney to Vancouver to see his newborn nephew and he's sticking with it.

So the accident isn't so much that they're on Earth at the same time or even that John is able to wrangle an invitation to visit the Miller clan as well so much as the timing itself. Which happens to be the day the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell goes into effect.

General Carter herself is standing at the bottom of the ramp when they gate to the SGC, which should've been John's first sign that something strange is going on. They've had the new Intergalactic Gate Bridge in place for over two years now, ever since they took Atlantis back to Pegasus; traveling from one galaxy to another isn't really that big of a deal anymore. It's not even that big of a deal for the two of them to be the ones gating to Earth, having each been recalled for one reason or another half-a-dozen times over the last few years.

But still, Sam's standing at the end of the ramp when they gate in and smiling like the cat that caught a whole flock of canaries. "Hey guys," she says. "Long time, no see."

"Good to see you too, General," John says. "How's life on solid ground treating you?"

"Well enough," she says, her grin growing - if possible - wider. "I still miss the Hammond, but life on-world definitely has it's perks."

And by perks, he thinks, she means General O'Neill, before vowing never to think about that again. There are just some things one doesn't need to know about one's commanding officers.

Rodney, however, waves his hands about impatiently, snapping, "Yes, yes," as if this were only to be assumed, before continuing, "Who's in orbit? Or are we going to have to catch a flight up to Vancouver? Because you've no idea how Sheppard gets when we're forced to fly commercial and I've only got a finite capacity for dealing with other people's stupidity, which is strained enough as it is by Jeannie's insistence we go to her."

"She wants you to see your nephew. The one she named after you, Meredith."

"First of all, he's three weeks old," Rodney counters, making a face, "he won't remember me being here. And, secondly, if you ever call me that again, I'll make sure you'll have cold showers for the rest of your life."

John smirks at this. "Like you'd do that to yourself." The last time Rodney'd tried that threat, John had made sure Rodney's name got put in the rotation to check up on Keras and the rest of the kids on M7G-677. His shower had been back to normal almost before Rodney had gotten back to Atlantis.

Positively beaming now, "The Ark Royal is in orbit and ready to beam you to the Millers' whenever you're ready."

"Now would be good. The sooner we get there the sooner we can get back to Atlantis."

"Okay, but remember I want pictures," Carter says, hand going to her earwig. "Ark? Doctor McKay and Colonel Sheppard are ready to be beamed aboard."

"John, Mer," Jeannie yawns tiredly, not so much as blinking when he and Rodney beam into the Miller's living room. "It's great to see you. I only just managed to get Mer - baby Mer - down for a nap and will murder you both in your sleep if you do anything to wake him up."

John snorts. "Nice to see your McKay homicidal tendencies are alive and well, even if you look like death warmed over."

"I know right?" she says around another yawn, either closing her eyes or allowing her eyelids to droop so much they're lost in the shadows under her eyes. "I don't know where he gets it from. Madison was such a quiet baby."

"Channeling his uncle already, I guess."

"Speaking of his uncle, where is he?" Blearily, Jeannie raises her head off the couch and casts her eyes about the room. She blinks owlishly a couple of times, head drifting lower and lower until it sinks back onto the overstuffed armrest.

He points to the kitchen, from which Rodney is emerging with three coffee cups and a box of May Wests under his arm.

"No, I can't. I'm breastfeeding and-"

Rodney shoves a coffee cup into her hand. "Drink. I did not come three million light years to sit in your living room and watch you sleep." He passes another cup John's way. It's prepared exactly the way John likes it - which is to say, with as much cream and sugar as it takes to mask the taste of the actual coffee - and one of these days he's going to stop himself from reading more into that than he should. Because that way dragons be. "Where's that deadbeat husband of yours and why isn't he doing anything to help?"

"Mer!" she exclaims, waking enough to slap her brother on the arm. Hard. "He's at work. And, for your information, he's been doing plenty to help, thank you very much, he just couldn't get anymore time off. Madison should be home from school any minute now, so if you want to help out so much, you can make sure she does her homework while I go upstairs and take a nap."

The thing about Madison is that she's genuinely a good kid. John's seen Marine Sergeant Majors less with it than she is. So, naturally, she's already finished all her homework by the time the bus drops her off in front of the Millers' house. She then spends first few minutes after her arrival chattering about how happy she is to see her Uncle John and Uncle Mer and how spectacularly boring it has been having a baby in the house before dragging them into the garage to show off her science project.

Which turns out to be a particle accelerator.

"It's a working model," she explains proudly. "Or would be if I could get may hands on anything I could accelerate."

"You know, I could-"

John cuts Rodney off right there. "No. Just no."

"It wouldn't have to even be anything dangerous, just a couple ounces of that military-grade-"

"Not in your sister's garage."

"We could carry it outside," Madison points out, which causes Rodney to do that snapping thing he does sometimes in agreement.


"But Uncle John, you want me to win the science fair, don't you?"

"You don't need to be questioned by the CIA to do that."

Madison frowns, then sighs, sounding incredibly put upon for a kid her age. "Yeah. Mom probably wouldn't be too happy if that happened. Can Uncle Mer at least look it over? You know, make sure everything's right and all that? I really want to get first place."

"I dunno, Uncle Mer. Can you?"

Rodney gives him a glare that clearly and distinctly promises to end John in any number of painfully thorough ways, none of which could be traced back to him. "Please. This is - quite literally - child's-play."

John eventually gets bored of watching the science geekery and goes in search of food. A quick glance at the microwave clock shows that its getting close to dinnertime anyway, so he digs out a telephone book and orders a couple of pizzas, as it's been ages since he's been in an Earth-style kitchen and he doesn't quite trust himself not to burn it down.

So he grabs a beer and nurses it in front of the TV for a while, just because he's on Earth and no chance of an emergency cropping up in the next hour, and waits.

Kaleb gets to the house before the pizzas do and, to his credit, doesn't look the least bit surprised to see John on his couch, drinking his microbrew, with none of his actual family members in sight.

(Then again, John figures the guy has to be a pretty mellow person to have married into the McKay family and lasted this long without suffering some sort of nervous breakdown. Goodness knows the one time John had brought Rodney with him to visit Dave's family, his brother had knocked back the good whiskey like it was water - though that might not have been entirely Rodney's doing.)

"Jeannie and Meredith are asleep. Madison and Rodney are in the garage, doing something that will probably earn you a visit from Homeworld Security." John tells him without preamble. "I ordered pizza."

"Thank God," Kaleb sighs, sinking onto the couch next to him. "I was beginning to wonder if that child would ever sleep."

"He's been out like a light since we've been here. I'm going to get myself another beer. You want one?"

"Yes, please. You watching this, or do you mind if I switch it over to the news?"

"Whatever you want. It's your TV."

It only takes a second to get the beers, but Kaleb's already flipped the channel to the tail end of some local news program by the time he rejoins him on the couch. "So how long are you and Rodney in town for?"

"Just a week. Rodney doesn't trust his minions not to blow the city up if we're gone any longer than that."

For some reason, this makes Kaleb frown. "That seems a bit dull. I'd have thought Rodney would've insisted on you going somewhere warm and exotic for your honeymoon."

It's only because John's spent the last seven years in Pegasus, exploring strange new worlds and all that jazz that he manages not to choke on his beer at this. It is, however, a very close thing.

Setting his bottle on the end table to avoid any further mishaps, he very carefully asks, "Where did you get that idea?"

Kaleb gestures at the TV. "Your military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell rule was repealed today. I assumed because of the timing of your visit that you two were planning on getting married while you were here."

"We're not..." John says faintly, not sure where to start.

"I can understand that," Kaleb continues, nodding sagely. "Just because they've gotten rid of the law doesn't mean it won't make waves for you, a man of your rank marrying another man. Plus, it's not exactly like you need a piece of paper to know you're committed to each other, right?"

True, but... "Kaleb, Rodney and I aren't together."

There's a beat, then-

"You're not?"

"We're not."

There's another beat.

"Are you sure?"

"I think I'd know," John says dryly, "if Rodney and I were dating."

With a disbelieving look, "John, why are you here?"

"Because Jeannie wanted Rodney to see your guys' new baby."

"Yes. That's why Rodney's here. Why are you here?"

Danger, danger Will Robinson. Reverse engines, military thrust. "Moral support."


"Look, Kaleb," he sighs resignedly, "I know you're only trying to help, but I came to terms with the situation a long time ago. Regardless of whatever my feelings are on the matter, Rodney's straight as an arrow, so it's just never going to happen." John may not like it, but all the not liking in the universe isn't ever going to make Rodney attracted to him. The universe, in his experience, just doesn't work like that.

"Double bullshit."

"Excuse me?"

"I may be out of line with this-"

"You are," John mutters.

"-but I think you're too close to it to see the matter clearly. You've convinced yourself for so long that you can't have him - whatever your reasons - that you can't see that Rodney looks at you like you hung the moon and stars."

"We're just good friends."

"Who just so happen to be in love with each other and, apparently, too much of cowards to admit it. Not what I'd expect from guys who apparently save the universe on a regular basis, I tell you. But that's just my opinion."

The pizza arrives before John can think of a retort for that.

"What's going on?"


Rodney gives him an exasperated look and continues changing into his pajamas. "You've been distracted all evening. What's going on?"

"Nothing," John says quickly, shucking his own shirt. The Millers only have the one guest room, but both of them are getting of the age where sleeping on the couch just isn't a valid option anymore. Besides, it's not like they've not shared smaller spaces - or even smaller beds - on missions before.

"No, seriously, is something wrong with Atlantis? Or at the SGC? 'Cause Jeannie'll understand if we need to leave to go save the world or something."

"No, nothing like that."

Frowning as he pulls on a shirt (which says One Does Not Simply Telnet Into Mordor and is slightly too tight in the shoulders, neither of which does much for the embarrassing fondness John feels for him at moments like this, when Rodney's being so unintentionally selfless that it's all John can do not to do something about the attraction he's been feeling for his best friend for years), "Then what?"

The what is that John's been thinking about what Kaleb said all evening.

John cannot remember the moment he fell in love with Rodney McKay, the self-proclaimed smartest man in two galaxies and, unofficially, the most arrogant man in the known universe. But he does remember the exact moment he realized he had:

It was their fourth week back on Earth after the Ancients had retaken the city, when the truth of their exile had really started to sink in. Unable to bear the dark, windowless rooms in the SGC any longer and no longer believing that he'd ever get to return to Atlantis, John had gotten an apartment not far from the mountain. It was tiny and lacked an ocean view, but at least it was above ground, which was all that really mattered.

Rodney had just flown in from Area 51, having business at the SGC the next day, and had jumped at the chance to crash at his place rather than the SGC's guest quarters. John had heard him coming up the stairs, muttering loudly about the building's lack of elevator, and opened the door just as Rodney was setting to knock. And in that moment, seeing Rodney standing in his doorway with his bright blue eyes and a slightly bemused expression on his face, John had felt such a rush of home and affection - and, yes, love - that he'd known right then that if Rodney ever gave him the slightest hint he felt the same way, he'd risk everything to spend the rest of his life with this man.

But there have been no hints. No clues. Not even the barest suggestion that Rodney has ever looked at another man that way even once in his life.

There are other reasons John has never tried to make anything of his rather pathetic schoolgirl crush, of course, but the whole not-gay thing has always been the main one.

Only Kaleb seems to think Rodney is. Or, at least, not entirely straight. And if there's even the smallest chance...


He glances over at Rodney, who's grown concerned by his long silence and looks about three seconds away from waving a hand in front of John's face. "Yeah?"

"Seriously, are you alright? 'Cause you kinda zoned out on me there."

"I'm fine. I was just thinking."

"That's never a good sign."

"Very funny."

"Okay, yes, I'll give you that you've occasionally had some halfway decent ideas over the years, but, on the whole-"

"Rodney, just shut up for a second," John snaps, annoyed. "I'm trying to think of a way to tell you that I love you here."

Rodney's eyes go comically wide. John feels his own doing much the same once he realizes exactly what he's just said. "Oh."

"Oh?" he repeats.

"Well, it's just... I kinda thought you were straight."

"I'm not."

"But what about the whole Kirk routine?" Rodney accuses, waving a pointed finger.

"There is no routine. I've told you, that's all in your head," John sighs, reaching for his shirt and trying to ignore the heaviness setting in his stomach. "I can spend the night on the couch if this makes things awkward between us."

"What? No. That's not what I want at all."

Exasperated now, "Then what is it you do want, Rodney?"

"For you just to give me a second to process the fact that we could've been having what promises to be really wonderful sex for the last few years but were apparently too stupid to realize it!"


"Yes, oh."

"Well that's..."

"The most idiotic thing you've ever heard of? I completely agree. We've got to promise each other now that no one else will ever know the truth."

"Kaleb knows."

Rodney's eyes widen again. "What?"

"He asked where we were going on our honeymoon - you know," he explains, his brain finally starting to wrap itself around the idea that Rodney isn't gay and likes him back, "since the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell went into effect today."

"That's not actually a bad idea."

"Don't you think you should maybe, I dunno, kiss me before you start proposing"" John asks dryly.

Grinning, "That's not such a bad idea either," Rodney agrees and proceeds to do just that.

They make an appointment at the courthouse the next morning.

When the justice of the peace asks them how long they've been together, Rodney says, "Seven years," at the same time John says, "Two days."

Jeannie laughs so hard at this they have to delay the ceremony a full ten minutes so she can get her breath back.

Ahaha, only these two wouldn't know that they've been dating for close to seven years until someone else points it out. Oh, John, you poor oblivious man.

Also, I so would believe Jeannie would inflict Meredith on a boy, too. That poor kid.
IKR? The boys are so oblivous (and Jeannie is so mean. I mean, she named a kid Madison. Of course she'd inflict Meredith on a boy.)
Madison at least isn't so bad for a girl; Maddie at least can sound like a girl's name. Nothing about Meredith sounds like a boy's name, even if it once was. Of course, the name Ethelfried also used to be popular, so there is that for keeping up with the times rather than tradition.

Someone once said of John and Rodney 'their love is so dumbface', and I have to agree. They are so clueless, and I love that about them.
yeah. it was a boy's name as recently as 150 years ago, but it just doens't work anymore. Of course, it would probably be worse if Jeannie had a girl and named it Meredith...

It is, isn't it? But it works so much
Rodney would probably just be glad Jeannie didn't commit the same sin his mother did if she gave Meredith to a girl--as long as she never told the kid where the name came from, which you know she would.

Oh, I would love to see your version of Dave's take on McKay. I love stories where the team meets Dave. That makes me wonder about the real Sheppard family in Ancient!John verse--do they exist?
And so the Mckay/Miller Xmas dinnes would be more terrible than usual, after tha.

And the "real" sheppard family exists in the AJ 'verse. Ianus (the 'verse's version of Patrick Sheppard) had a half-Terran son, so was named Davidus... which is the Latin form of David, for Dave Sheppard. And since there's like zero mention of his mom in the "real" SGA, that's why Trebal (the AJ verson of her) is out of the picture so early in his life...

And, yes, I actually have plans for a fic where Ianus and Davidus actually play a large role in the storyline. ::facepalm::
Eee, that's one of my favourite things ever in fic! I like the way your mind works. I was just sitting here thinking, but what if Janus had had another son after he left for Earth, would that make him Dave? Or would there be an actual Patrick and Dave Sheppard on earth now that are not related to John? ::shuts up and waits for the actual author to write her stories instead of trying to guess them:: ::lasts about two seconds::
Well, c. 8200 bc there was an actual Patrick and Dave Sheppard, but "Patrick" was really named Ianus and "Dave" was really Davidus. But John's dad name for his Terran cover story is Patrick. So....

But that's an S4 story. Le sigh. Have to finish fraking S2 first. ::seethes::
Yeah, I bet you can't wait to get to S3, can you...

I'll be interested to see what you make of The Return eps.
That is going to be a wonderful fic, I promise you.mas soon as I manage to finish this one.

Gah! I really am starting to hate "Messias"
Well, I think they're all pretty wonderful so far, so I believe you. ;)

Yeah, every time I work on some kind of writing, I hate it by the end, with very few exceptions. You just get so sick of looking at the same uncooperative words over and over. I think that's one reason I don't really write any more.
That's definately the case with this next chappie. I've tried Sriting it so many times I hate it already. Vehemently
Trying to find the right way to go about having John deal with the Taranins knowing he's an Ancient. I think I might've sorted it out, but... Le sigh.
Oh, that would be...problematic. That's the one where Norina was flirting with McKay practically the whole time, yes? Although the supervolcano was kind of a cool plot device.
Was this the one where Lorne lost the Ancient ship, or am I conflating this with another episode? Sometimes I can't keep canon straight.
this fic is a tail-end-of-"Inferno" thru "Allies" fic - which covers both the Volcano, Orion, and the hives heading for Earth.

Only, of course, right now all I've got are a bunch of Taranins about to riot because of the whole John-is-an-Ancient thing, and a hive on the way. So between episodes right now, I guess. But you're on the right track.
That's right, the Orion. Hrm, makes it awfully hard to help save people from the stupid volcano they're living on when they're about to riot because of who you happen to be. Perhaps they'll manage to hang onto the Orion this time, and it (she?) can keep Rory company.
they've already saved the people. the Taranins are on Atlantis, waiting to be resettled to a new world, and are rioting 'cause one of them caught John being all Ancienty and now it's all is-he-a-god-or-is-he-just-pretending,-why-would-he-pretend,-ah,-existential-crisis.

Orion might get to survive this time. maybe. (though, sadly, she's not sentient. She wasn't turned on all those thousands of years like Rory was.)
They're such dorks!

Everyone else knowing they're together except for John and Rodney is a fandom favorite, but I love how you've managed to fit it in with Jeannie's new baby, and that it's Kaleb who finally points it out to John.

Love how Rodney manages to propose before they even kissed!

Poor baby Meredith. John should add Jeannie to his list of people who aren't allowed to name things!
Jeannie should in no way be allowed to name anything. Blanket McKay rule.

But they're such adorable dorks, and we love them. Though using the Millers as a plot device is one of my personal favourite things to do.