Pairing: John/Rodney, Dave Sheppard/OFC
Warnings: post-"Enemy at the Gate," set c. early 2012
Summary: You can't give up on your family.
Notes: Because lilyoftheval5 was a dear and gave me a prompt to cure my boredom: John Sheppard, post-revelation, some of his old buddies discuss. Same could go for Rodney. Hey, they run an intergalactic city, that IS awesome. IDK if this is exactly what she had in mind, but... ::shrugs:: it's what happened.
A Stargate: Atlantis Story
"My dear young cousin, if there's one thing I've learned over the eons, it's that you can't give up on your family, no matter how tempting they make it."
Rick Riordan, The Sea of Monsters
Dave is asleep when his phone rings. He seriously considers ignoring it – a quick glance at the clock shows that it's barely four in the morning and he'd been out late wining and dining the CEOs of KSI Enterprises as part of Sheppard Industries' latest multimillion dollar business deal – but part of that deal mean's he's in a hotel room in Tokyo rather than his bed back at the Estate, meaning that there could be an emergency Lisa needs to get a hold of him for.
"Sheppard," he mutters sleepily into the phone as soon as he's managed to figure out how to answer it in the dark.
Lisa's voice, sharp and somewhat panicked sounding, comes down the line. He's immediately awake at her tone, his mind going to the worst places – Sarah or Timothy in the hospital, Lisa in the hospital – before his brain processes what she's saying. "Dave, turn on the news. Now."
"What channel?" he asks, fumbling for the remote. It's an international hotel; they should have at least CNN."
"Doesn't matter. I think it's on all of them."
"What's on all of them?"
"I- I really don't know how to put it. I'd call it a hoax, only it's the UN and there's like two dozen heads of state on stage with them."
Dave doesn't have to ask, "With who?" because by this time he's got the TV on and he can see all too well what his wife is going on about. Because the news camera is focused on a man in wire-rimmed glasses who is talking very seriously about Egyptian gods and space travel, while the news ticker keeps repeating things like United States Declassifies Top Secret Deep Space Program and We Are Not Alone.
"It gets better."
"Better?" Dave chokes, scrambling out of bed in search of pants and a stiff drink – possibly not in that order.
"Wait for them to zoom out. I'm not entirely sure – the conference has only just started, so they've not put his name up on screen yet – but I'm fairly certain the colonel on the far left is-"
As if the news station had heard her words, the camera zooms out, showing a collection Air Force officers and civilians on the stage of the UN's General Assembly. It tracks the colonel on the far left as he leans in to talk to whisper something to the nearest civilian before moving away, but it's enough, Dave would know that face anywhere, even it's been almost four years since he's seen it. "Johnny."
Johnny is almost impossible to get a hold of. Dave has to use all of his influence and persuasion to cut his way through the layers of military obfuscation long enough even to get his brother on the phone. It takes almost a week, and Dave is man enough to admit that he's a little hurt his brother didn't try reaching out first while he's (God) been on Earth.
He and Johnny aren't real full-brothers – Dave's mother was Wife Number Two, Johnny's Number Four, and there were almost twelve years between them – but that never mattered in the past. They'd been close when they were younger, but then Dave had gone off to college and business school and an internship at the LA office, and by the time he'd come back Johnny had been a surly teenager, too smart for his own good and too used to being ignored to take any sort of attention – positive or negative – well. Dave is the first to admit he should have done more, but he'll also admit he was a little short-sighted when he was younger and when Dad had said, "Leave Johnny be," he'd left Johnny be, and when he'd said, "Johnny's no longer part of this family," he'd not asked any questions, he'd just proceeded to disown his brother as thoroughly as their father had.
But he'd gotten better after Dad died, or so he'd thought. After seeing Johnny at the funeral, he'd tried to keep in touch. He'd written letters that would take months to even get a few quick lines in reply – the consequences of (fuck) intergalactic communication, Dave supposes. He'd sent packages for Christmas and Johnny's birthday – well, Lisa had, because she thinks of those things and he doesn't, but it's the thought that counts.
"Hey Dave," is all he says once he finally manages to get him on the phone, sounding all too much like the little brother he'd taught to ride a bike and nothing at all like the Air Force colonel who'd stood in front of a hundred cameras and announced to the world that he was the commanding officer of the Lost City of Atlantis (which hadn't been lost, or even in this galaxy, for quite some time).
Johnny chuckles softly on the other end of the line. "Been a while since anybody's called me that."
"Older brother's privilege."
"Speaking of privilege, I hear you called half the Pentagon trying to track me down."
Dave's glad they're on the phone so that Johnny doesn't see his embarrassment. "Can you blame me? You're a hard man to reach."
"Yeah, well, that's what you get when you live in a different galaxy."
"I've seen the pictures. Atlantis looks..." He searches for a word that's even close to adequate, "amazing."
"She is. We're actually supposed to Gate back tomorrow – Rodney and me, that is."
"Neither of us like being away for too long. You've no idea what kind of trouble can crop up on a moment's notice, and Rodney's convinced we're the only ones who can solve most of them."
"Sounds true enough, from what I've heard."
Johnny laughs again, darkly this time. "Yeah, don't believe all the media hype."
"Still, I wish I could've gotten a hold of you sooner, so you could come by the house for a couple of days. The kids are dying to see their uncle, the space hero."
"Me too," Johnny says and he sounds earnest enough that Dave wants to imagine all the troubles between them have been erased, or, at least, papered over enough for them not to matter any longer. "If you want, I can try arranging a visitor's pass for you in a couple of months..."
"That would be wonderful, if you could manage it."
"Well, the pass itself shouldn't be a problem," Johnny says, a hint of uncertainty creeping into his voice, "I mean, Rodney's sister already has access, so getting you on the list shouldn't be a problem, but..."
"It's dangerous?" Dave offers.
"No. Well, yes, but that's not-" He sighs and then, seeming to gather his courage, spits out. "I'm getting married in May."
Dave almost drops the phone, he's so surprised. "I didn't know you were seeing anyone."
"We'll, we were trying to keep it quiet... I mean, we had an Athosian ceremony a couple years back, but that doesn't really count on Earth, but now that they've changed the rules..."
"Who is she? Anyone I've seen on TV?"
There's a long pause before Johnny answers. "Yeah, you've seen him. Or should've. Rodney's the head of the R&D department back on Atlantis, so he's been giving a lot of interviews."
"I... Wow." Dave says intelligently. Then, even more intelligently, "Is this why you and Dad had that falling out?"
"You didn't know?"
"Dad didn't exactly tell me much..."
"...and you never asked," Johnny finishes, not angry or upset or even surprised, just tired, as if he should've known to expect that answer.
"Why don't you tell me about this husband," (he almost stumbles over the word), "of yours now? If you have time, that is."
Dave can almost hear the smile on the other end of the line. "I've got some."