Characters: Ancient!John/Rodney, Jeannie/Kaleb Miller
Warnings: part 2 of #24 in the Ancient!John 'Verse (part 1); "McKay and Mrs. Miller
Summary: Jeannie learns some more about her brother's life
Notes: This is it. This is the end - for now. I leave for Basic tomorrow morning (see here for details) and must leave this story until I get back, sometime around mid-May. I really wanted to finish this fic before I left, but RL issues (and Jeannie herself) prevented that. So, this is the natural place to stop with what I have, and, with luck, I'll be back soon to finish it (and the rest of the series) off.
Thank you for all your love, support, and reviews for the journey so far.
An Ancient!John Story
"So," Rodney says, gesturing tiredly at the Gate Room as the wormhole disconnects behind his sister, "this is Atlantis. Welcome. Salutations. Pleasantries, et cetera, and so on and so forth. I know you've probably got a million questions, which is only to be expected, but I've not slept in like two days and it's got to be about midnight your time, so how about we find out where your guest quarters are and pick the explanations up in a couple hours or so?"
Jeannie nods silently beside him, her eyes almost as big as her yawn.
"Good," he tells her, yawning himself, and drags her up the Gate Room stairs to find out where John's decided they're putting his sister up for the month or so she'll be here. With any luck, it'll be somewhere far, far from their new suite and, with even greater luck, somewhere she can keep out of trouble until he's had time to explain to her all the things she needs to know about the Pegasus galaxy. That's all he asks.
Jeannie wakes up slowly, in the lazy Sunday morning way. The bed is soft and the blankets are just the right kind of warm, and if it wasn't for the lemon-coloured light pouring through the gauzy white curtains, she'd gladly drift back to sleep. As it is, it's a small miracle she's been allowed to sleep in this long. It may be the weekend and Kaleb may have the day off, but-
It's not the weekend, she remembers. It's only Thursday, meaning Kaleb has his early class to teach. So unless by some hereto unheard of miracle she's managed to sleep through him getting ready for the day 'and' Madison's demands for breakfast, something strange is going on.
She opens her eyes.
Make that something seriously strange.
She's in a long, narrow room she doesn't recognise. Dark bookshelves completely line the opposite wall and most of the upper portion of the one her bed is pushed flush against. What free wall space there is is painted a cheery cream that goes well the floorboards, as is the ceiling. An ocean breeze is drifts through the open windows. She can just make out a pair of low, male voices talking in the next room.
"...for five hours. You'll never fall asleep tonight if you don't get up now," presses the first, his voice just side of familiar.
"Who says I 'want' to sleep tonight?" the second asks suggestively and- and- God, it's 'Mer'. It's her 'brother'. And she thinks she could've gone her whole life without ever hearing him use that tone, thank you very much, and-
Jeannie remembers where she is now. She's in her brother's guest room in the Lost City of Atlantis, which hasn't been as lost as it's been made out to be for several years now. It's just been on another planet. In another galaxy. Which apparently is possible.
The first - John - laughs, deeply and warmly. "That's up to you, buddy. But I figure you'll want dinner either way and they start serving in half-an-hour, so..."
"Alright, alright, I'm up." Mer groans. "You wake Jeannie yet?"
"She's the next McKay on my list."
Taking this as her cue, Jeannie slides out of bed - more of an oversized daybed built into the wall, really - and pulls on her robe. Now that she thinks about it, she's starving. She's not had anything since those cupcakes this afternoon. Yesterday. Several hours ago. God, what time is it here anyway? How does timekeeping even work on an alien planet? Do they still use a twenty-four hour clock or...?
There's a weird chime at her door and a hesitant, "Jeannie?"
"Come in," she calls.
John does just that, smiling charmingly at her. "Hey. You're awake. Good. It's almost dinnertime, if you're hungry. I'm not sure how much of it vegetarian, but
I'm sure we can rustle you up something."
"What time is it?"
"1907," he tells her without even looking at his watch, choosing instead to use his hands to spin around the chair from the desk tucked into one corner and sit it it, backwards. "Lantea - that's the name of the planet, by the way - has a twenty-eight hour rotation on it's axis. It's got a three hundred thirteen day rotation around it's sun, Igerna, though, so our calendar and Terra's match up fairly closely. Though it is spring here now; I understand that throws some people."
"I see," Jeannie says faintly, sitting back down on the bed. "I'm having a hard time believing this is real."
"I'm told that it's a lot to take in all at once. I've never understood why the SGC doesn't just come out and tell people about it myself, but that's not my decision to make. Unfortunately."
"Exactly! Something like this, it must be almost impossible to keep secret."
"You'd think, but what do I know?"
"How'd you take it, when you found out? I'm assuming they didn't just throw you through the Stargate and expect you to pick it up as you went along like they've done for me."
John's eyebrows lift almost comically in surprise. "You mean nobody told you?"
Curious, "Tell me what?"
"I'm just saying, it's usually the first thing they mention. Normally it's like they can't shut up about it. Drives me up a wall, really, but it's not like I can do anything to stop them, so..."
"John, in the last twenty-four hours I've learned out that the Lost City of Atlantis is real, that it was built by aliens, that those aliens also made space travel by artificial wormhole possible, and that my brother has been living in a different galaxy for two plus years. I don't think there's much you could say at this point that could surprise me."
"I wouldn't be so sure about that," he says lightly, plucking at the laces of the strange, old-fashioned bracers he's wearing. Then, eyes turning briefly heavenwards, "Alright. Here goes nothing," John sighs,. "Y'know those 'aliens,' the ones who built Atlantis, the ones the Terrans call Ancients?"
Jeannie fails to see where this is going. "Yeah?"
"Well," he rubs the back of his neck awkwardly, "I'm kinda one of them. The last one, really. My name's not really John, it's Iohannes Ianiedus Licinus Pastor, but you can go on calling me John. Most people do. Or Sheppard, but that's more of a title actually than a real translation of my name."
"I'm sorry, what?" she baulks, trying to process this new piece of information and failing utterly.
"I'm not human. Not as you understand them, at least."
"You look human."
He shrugs. "My people seeded humanoid life throughout the universe. It was kinda a thing we did for a while. You guys evolved to look like us."
Jeannie wants to think of another reason why what John's saying is impossible. She's been emailing him for months; he slept in her house. She's certain she'd have picked up on it a long time ago if John was really an alien. But she can't. It's absolutely absurd, but then again so is everything about this situation. She has no choice but to believe.
"And how many of you are there in Atlantis?"
"Just me. Like I said, I'm the last one."
"What happened to all the others?"
"It's kinda long story."
"I'd like to hear it."
One side of John's mouth twitches upwards. "Over dinner, maybe? The mess starts serving in a couple of minutes and you're bound to be hungry, so..." He rises out of the chair. "If you wanna take a shower first, there's no rush."
Jeannie can't help but smiling back at him as she pushes herself once again off the bed. "Mer might argue otherwise."
"He'll survive somehow, I'm sure."
"You bastard!" Jeannie says, slapping his arm the moment she's within reach.
"What?" he yelps indignantly.
"You could have told me your boyfriend is an alien."
Oh. That. Rodney'd known he'd forgotten something last night. He's just glad it's nothing actually important. "Technically he's not an alien. He was born on this planet, we weren't. So, if you think about it, we're the aliens here."
She hits him again.
"Is the violence really necessary?" he asks, rubbing the spot and skulking down the hall, towards the room John's claimed as his office.
"You know what I mean," she reiterates, unapologetic.
Rodney sighs. "I couldn't tell you before. I mean, without knowing about the Stargates, would you even have believed me if I'd tried?"
"And what about last night? Maybe at some point between 'oh, by the way, space travel is real' and 'here's where you'll be staying' you could have mentioned that your live-in boyfriend is a real, live Ancient. Would that really have been so hard?"
"It kind of slipped my mind."
"How does the fact that your boyfriend isn't human 'slip your mind'?"
"I don't know, maybe because it doesn't really matter? He's still the same guy you met last year, just with a slightly different background. And," he sighs again, wishing that he'd taken the time to unpack the coffee maker last night after all, "can we not use the term 'boyfriend'? I'd rather not have my love life confused with more after-school drama than absolutely necessary."
Jeannie, naturally, continues on her own tangent, as if his own part in the conversation is only incidental. "It's not that I 'care' that he's an alien. Male, female, human, alien, robot - I don't care 'who' you date, I'd just like to know these things."
"I'm sorry, but remind me: when, exactly, did it become 'your' business who 'I' date?"
"It's not, but-"
He snaps his fingers. "Exactly. It's not."
"Jeanne, I'm thirty-eight years old. I've been sleeping with men since I was an undergrad. It wasn't your business then and it's not your business now, even if all of them were aliens." Rodney pauses. That had made a lot more sense in his head. He presses on anyway, adding. "And, seriously, you thought 'robot' was actually an option?"
She throws her hands into the air. "Well how was I supposed to know it wasn't? I only just learned aliens actually exist twelve hours ago. Forgive me for going ahead and assuming everything else vaguely 'Star Trek' is real too!" She lets her hands fall loudly to her side. "Good god, Mer, I've been arguing about values of the parameters in the Drake Equation with an alien." She slumps against the packing crate blocking the rest of the hallway. "I've been arguing with an alien for five months that his assumptions for the number of inhabitable and inhabited planets was far too high. That even the original solution was overly optimistic."
"Yeah, well..." he says somewhat awkwardly, not quite sure what to do now that his sister's stopped shouting. Rodney settles for shoving his hands into his pockets and continuing, "Drake couldn't take the Ancients' penchant for terraforming or panspermia into account, so it's not like he could get an accurate equation at all. Though I suppose that, had the Ancients not decided to interfere, the Drake Equation probably would've had it right."
Which is, naturally, when the source of all this trouble decides to poke his head out of his office. "Hey, remind me to bring that up next time Ganos decides to pop in again."
Rodney frowns. "Is that likely?" He's never met the woman, but he sincerely doubts he could ever even be civil to the person responsible for John's current Ascended state.
"She's my probation officer," John shrugs, stepping around the packing crates to join them in the hall. "Once a year check-ins are mandatory. Not sure if she counted her stunt with Doctor Jackson though. Hope so. The woman's a meretrix if there ever was one."
He can practically hear Jeannie blink. "Probation officer?"
"That's what you said earlier," she points out petulantly.
Rodney snorts. "The longest."
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