Words: 2,725 (of 11,492)
Pairing/Charecter(s): Ancient!John, Rodney; John/Rodney, implicit Sam/Jack, Jeannie/Kaleb Miller
Warnings/Spoliers: Part 4 of #10 in the Ancient!John 'verse (click here for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3); takes place between "The Siege," part III, and "The Intruder," and contains spoliers for "McKay and Mrs. Miller" as well as all SG1 episodes through "Mobius." Contains mentions of DADT
Disclaimer: All characters, situations, quotes et al are properties of their respective owners and I am merely using them under Title 17 of the US Code, § 107, aka the Fair Use Doctrine, without intents to infringe upon or defame anyone's legal rights.
Summary: Iohannes and Rodney take a drive.
Notes: So, this one brings us right up to "Fratres et Sorores," and everythign after will occur, well, after that point. This one was a hard one to write, mostly because of RL issues that hopefully will cool down over the next few days but probably won't. (Reveiws always help though.) Anyway, nuetronorange knew that Sausilito, CA is the home of the Vulcan Compound in ENT, so they won the fic-prize challenge, which will be coming in the next couple of days...
An Ancient!John Story
"I was right," John says when they stop for gas on the other side of the Wyoming border, apropos of nothing. They've been driving in fairly comfortable silence since leaving the restaurant, John alternating between watching the towns they pass with vague interest, watching him drive with barely contained amusement and staring up at the stars with unrestrained joy. It's been ages since he's seen John properly happy about anything and Rodney hadn't been able to bring himself to say anything that might break the spell, not even to ask how he's liking Earth now that he's out from under Cheyenne Mountain or had he seen O'Neill's face when Carson mentioned his idea about most Tau'ri with the Ancient gene being descended from John's father?
"About what?" he asks, rolling his eyes as John climbs out of the car without bothering to open the door (or maybe without realizing there is one; Rodney can't be sure) as they pull up to the pump. Just in case it's the latter, he makes a show of opening the driver's side door before getting out which earns him his own eye roll before-
"About General O'Neill and Colonel Carter."
"They tell you about their transfers earlier then?" At the dinner O'Neill had announced that, as General Hammond was retiring, he'd be taking over his position, which is about as close as one could say to I'm being placed in charge of Homeworld Security while outside the SGC. Then Sam had gone on to say she was being transferred to Area 51 to take over R&D there, although again not in so many words, and Doctor Jackson had been so distracted by the knowledge that his team was going their separate ways that he hadn't been able to continue interrogating John about the Ancients which Rodney had rather assumed had been their plan. It was possible that Sam had told John about it – the possible plan, that is, not the actual transfers – earlier, but Rodney rather doubted it.
"No. Not that."
Frowning, he starts the pump and turns back towards John, who he discovers has divested himself of his medal-laden jacket and is now trying to open the trunk. Unsuccessfully, Rodney might add. He leans over, presses the release on the dash and asks, "What then?" as John tosses his jacket inside.
"About them being together."
"Oh," he says around a yawn, wondering if John can be trusted to get him coffee on his own, then blinks as the statement sinks in. "Wait. What? You mean like together together?"
"I think so. I kinda remembered it while Carter was making me go over," he gestures at what of his dress blues he's still wearing as if to say my fake identity. "Or, at least I thought I remembered it, but you saw them at dinner."
Rodney had seen them at dinner and nothing had seemed out of the ordinary, at least not where Sam and General O'Neill were concerned. He tells John this, as well as, "They'd be breaking all sorts of fraternization rules if they were, and they're both too professional for that." It's not that he's still pining for Sam – it's really, really not, – but she could do so much better than Jack O'Neill of all people, particularly when doing so would be so detrimental to her career. "And what do you mean you remembered it? You'd never even met them until a week ago."
Ignoring the last, "Apparently we break all sorts of rules being together, and that's not stopped us," John points out, closing the trunk lid.
"Because the rules we're breaking are stupid, backwards, and generally at odds with the whole life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness thing this country claims to aspire towards."
John raises an eyebrow. "And Canada's better, I take it?"
"Marginally, I'll admit but at least our military is enlightened enough not to care who you sleep with so long as you get the job done, unlike the one you've just joined. All the militaries in the world to choose from – literally, all of them – and you choose one where they already have a reason to kick you out if they ever get it into their head that's what they want to do."
"Ah, but they won't do that."
"I'm the Americans' ticket to Atlantis," he says smugly, leaning against the side of the car and crossing his arms. "They see her primarily as a military research base. Once they realize that Atlantis won't turn over her secrets if she's not happy and that I'm an integral part of that happiness, they'll not only never kick me out, they'll fight to keep me.
"'Sides, they're the only ones with the means to get us back to Pegasus."
Rodney hums non-committally, still not convinced that John's not just made a huge mistake by joining the American Air Force. But that's not the important bit. The important bit's, "And, again, what do you mean by remember?"
"I spent three-minutes Ascended. I've been remembering random things since, like Everett's team coming through the gate and now this. I can only guess they were talking about it while I was," he points skyward, the way some people do when talking about visitors from outer space.
That is... oddly troubling, to say the least. "Remember anything else?"
"Not yet but it's not like I have much control over it. It's mostly annoying at this point. Lamest superpower ever..." He glances up at the pump which has clicked off, then at the car. "Hey, can I drive?"
"You don't even know how to drive," Rodney points out before yawing in spite of himself. He's still not entirely over the week he went without sleep during the siege and the gate-lag certainly isn't helping, particularly when there are four fewer hours to contend with here.
"I've been watching you. Doesn't look that hard."
"Look being the key word in that sentence."
The pout John gives him in return should probably be physically impossible for a man in uniform to do but, then again, John's very existence was impossible so the odds are probably on his side.
"Fine," he says. "But I need coffee first."
John only stalls once, as they're leaving the filling station. After that it's smooth sailing all the way to the I-80.
Rodney, who still can barely manage a puddle jumper, thinks it's patently unfair.
If he's still awake when they pass through Laramie, it's only because it's hard to fall asleep in a car when it's being driven by someone who'd not seen one outside of the movies until that afternoon. Still, it's hard to deny that John's an embarrassingly good driver, even if the needle on the dash keeps twitching uncomfortably close to the triple digits and his tiredness is starting to really sink in, so that Rodney's whole body is heavy with it. He's stopped watching the road nervously, as if John might veer off if he doesn't and has instead sunk down into his seat, falling into some kind of half-conscious state that neither qualifies as sleeping or waking. John's kept the roof down and every time Rodney's eyes drift upward he can't help but think how strange the stars he once knew so well suddenly appear.
"Why do you care," he asks at some point during this stretch, "if Sam and General O'Neill are together or not?" It's the only safe thing he can really ask. John won't talk about his Ascension, not if Rodney brings it up first and talking about their respective meetings with the IOA will only piss both of them off.
"I dunno," John says at length. "It's kinda weird having a nephew that old. At least if its true there's a chance there might one day be a kid I could be a proper uncle to."
Rodney considers pointing out exactly how related to him a niece or nephew four hundred or so generations removed is likely to be, or the likelihood that he could play any significant part in said child's life from the Pegasus galaxy but decides against it. Instead he says, "My sister has a kid."
"A daughter, I think."
"What's she like?"
"Like any three-year-old, I guess. I dunno, I've never exactly met her."
With a laugh, "I mean your sister. Jeannie, right?"
"Yeah," Rodney says, somewhat surprised and absurdly pleased John's remembered her name. "I'm probably not the best person to answer that question."
"She's your sister."
"And I've not talked to her since before her kid was born. Hell, I'm not even sure what the kid's name is, only that she said something about naming it Madison, since it was Mom's maiden name which is ridiculous way to name a kid." Marginally better than Meredith, Rodney has to admit, but equally ridiculous for a boy or a girl.
"You have no idea what I'm talking about, do you?"
"Not a clue," John admits.
Sighing, "Just trust me, Jeannie may seem like the normal one but she's just as messed up as the rest of us." Rodney can practically hear John's eyebrow lift at that and continues before he can think better of it, "Well... First, I should say our family life wasn't exactly the greatest. Dad was an automotive engineer – not a very good one, I might add – and was always on the road for one thing or another. Mom was one of those Sixties flower children who ended up selling her soul to Big Business – which, yes, I know means nothing to you and remind me later to get you some history books. Anyway, their marriage was rocky at the best of times; lots of shouting, lots of tears. I pretty much spent my entire childhood wishing I was some place else. I think I only went home twice after I left for university, and only then because I didn't have any other choice in the matter.
"Anyway, Jeannie's eight years younger than me so when I left for MIT she was barely in kindergarten, and it wasn't exactly like we ever tried too hard to keep in touch. Mom and Dad died right as she was finishing school though, so I was pretty much her guardian from that point on – car accident."
"I'm sorry," John says, looking over and briefly putting a hand on his knee before turning back to the road.
"Don't be. It was a long time ago now and I'd pretty much stopped talking to them after I got the military to fund my schooling. I was already working for the Air Force by the time they died. Not for the Stargate program – that really didn't start up until '94 and I didn't even get transferred in until two years later – but in some top secret stuff that kept me in Washington while Jeannie finished up school in Quebec. I ended up pretty much just throwing money her way and encouraging her to study physics.
"She was pretty good at it too. Not like me, obviously, but she could've given Sam a run for her money if she'd stuck with it. Instead she got herself knocked up by an English major, got married and dropped out of school to take care of the brat. That was about the same time I was transferred to Siberia and, admittedly, I was kinda an ass about the whole thing, so I've not talked to her since. And that was, what? Three, almost four years ago."
"So why are we going to see her now?"
"'Cause," Rodney says, "the last few months have taught me how important family really is, even the ones we're actually related to..." Desperate to change the topic before he says anything that might embarrass him further, though for the life of him he doesn't know why admitting this to John embarrasses him so much, "What about you? What was your family like?"
There's a long pause – so long in fact Rodney thinks John's ignoring the question entirely, like he does most personal questions – then, "My parents never married, which wasn't unusual for Alterans. A lot of people never married. We were a lot more open about sex and relationships than your culture seems to be and it was no big deal for amatores to live together without ever marrying. Or for people to marry and have children with people other than their spouses. Or for anything really, as long as all parties were consenting adults. Even then Father was somewhat unusual. He had so many amatores that I can't even begin to name them all, even the ones he told me about. As far as I know I'm his only child, though that probably changed after the Exodus...
"Anyway, Mother was a legata on a linter during the war and her ship was lost when I was very young. Her sister, Catalina, took care of me for a while after that but she Ascended when I was seven or so, and after that I mostly lived with Father... He used to give me equations to solve while he worked on his projects, trying to keep me out of trouble... I don't think he ever really wanted a kid or that he really knew what to do with one...
"I spent most my childhood exploring Atlantis. I've been a custodia since before I can remember and made Father let me have the nanoids when I was five so I could talk to her... She's-" John suddenly stops, as if he's just now realized he's talking about his feelings, and swallows audibly. "And, well, yeah," he finishes awkwardly.
"Radek and Teyla won't let anything happen to her," Rodney promises tiredly, shifting in his seat as they plough on through the Wyoming night, because it's the only thing he can do at the moment without making John stop the car.
He doesn't, though and John says nothing, just continues driving as if he might find whatever it is he's looking for in the action alone.
Next thing his knows he's waking up to a red-orange sunrise.
The car's parked and a minute's dazed blinking tells him that John's not in the car with him.
It takes him another minute to realize that they're not at another gas station but rather parked by the side of the road, on the crest of a hill overlooking a grey-green valley and John's leaning against the Elise, watching the sunrise as though he's never seen the like before.
It's hard to tell with his back to Rodney but John seems happy.
Next thing he knows after that, they're in the mountains and he's shaking off the last of a long sleep.
"Hey," he says as he stretches as best he can while buckled in. "Where are we?"
"Oregon, I think. I stopped a while back. Got you coffee," John says, taking a hand off the wheel to point at the cup holder and a small white bag that's balanced carefully there. "It might be cold."
It's not, he's happy to discover. Even more happily, the paper bag contains a small selection of doughnuts and he doesn't know how John managed to navigate coffee-and-doughnut buying unassisted on his first day out of the SGC, though he doesn't care because, God, it's at moments like this that John seems entirely too good to be true. But still, if they're in Oregon, "How long was I asleep?"
"Eight hours, give or take."
"How did you manage that in eight hours?"
"Science," John repeats dryly.
"That makes absolutely no sense, you know that right?"
John just shrugs.
Rodney drinks his coffee.
They make it to Vancouver five hours ahead of schedule.
Continue on to Pars Quinque