Words: 1,773 (of 11,492)
Pairing/Charecter(s): Ancient!John, Rodney, Jeannie Miller; John/Rodney, Jeannie/Kaleb Miller
Warnings/Spoliers: Part 5 of #10 in the Ancient!John 'verse (Part 1, 2, 3, 4); 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."
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: Rodney and Jeannie have a talk. A very loud, McKay-like talk.
Notes: Takes place shortly after "Fratres et Sorores." I had intended this to be longer but felt the burning need to post what I already had. Real Life is kinda sucky at the moment, so reveiws are even more welcome than usual. Though I am reading Area 51 by Annie Jacobson as "research" for this series, and it's quite interesting so far, and almost makes things better. Almost.
An Ancient!John Story
Jeannie Miller is both exactly like and unlike her brother. If Iohannes had not been told the same thing about himself and Father he would not have thought such a thing possible – that two people could be so alike and so different at the same time. She's clearly Rodney's sister (Iohannes knows that the moment he steps onto her porch) but it's more than just genetics. It's how she holds herself, standing in the door obstinately, not so much as to stop Rodney's progress as to protest it. It's in the tilt of her head, questioning, examining, judging Iohannes as he walks up the path to the porch, before he's even near enough to say a word. And, when he reaches the porch, it's in how she's the first one to speak, saying in such a McKay-tone, "So you're the reason Mer's decided to visit."
"Just one of them," he tells her, thinking of Carson and Teyla and Elizabeta and Ford, who is dead and gone and will one day be forgotten because he killed him and no one likes to remember that their military commander, their friend, killed a boy barely a man because it was the only thing he could do to save the city he loves. That he can smile at her even as his stomach clenches at the memory probably means something. Probably what Atlantis is always saying about his mental health.
(Iohannes doesn't like Terra, despite its sunrises and its doughnuts and its cars. It leaves him too alone with his thoughts.)
Rodney snorts, as if his answer is somehow funny.
Jeannie gives them both a look that's part amusement and part you're wasting my time. It's different, softer and less abrasive, than Rodney's but it's still very much the same; this thought seems to encompass everything about Rodney's sister that there is to say.
It's sort of fascinating really.
"Jeannie, John Sheppard. John, my sister Jeannie," Rodney says impatiently. "Now, can we go inside? As I said, this probably isn't a porch conversation. Unless you want to have it out in the open where the all the neighbours can overhear?"
She flushes at this (enough to make Iohannes wonder if there's a story behind this comment and, if so, what it might be) and she suddenly looks less like an imposing off-world chieftainess wearily granting them access to her people's sacred places and more like, well, someone's sister being teased by her elder brother. "Yes. Sorry. Come on in," she says, waving them inside. "It's a little messy but we weren't exactly expecting visitors today." She ushers them into the living room, practically forcing the pair of them to sit on the couch while she took the chair nearest. "I'd offer coffee or tea or something but I'm half afraid you'll both disappear if I do. So. Explain."
"Now you're just being ridiculous. We drove fifteen hundred miles to see you; we're hardly going leave if you go off and make coffee."
"Well, the Air Force wouldn't loan us a plane and John gets all antsy when someone else flies – can't say I blame him, with the state of public transportation being what it is these days, so-"
"No, not why did you drive, you idiot. Why are you here? Though, now that you mention it..." she turns sharply towards Iohannes, who is doing what he usually does during negotiations with the locals, which is to say, trying to stay out of the way, "Why would you think the Air Force would lend you an airplane?"
He raises a hand in greeting. "Major John Sheppard, United States Air Force."
"Oh my God," Jeannie says, suddenly standing, her skirt swirling about her as she turns towards the windows worriedly. "You're defecting, aren't you? Or whatever it is you call it when you stop working for the government of a country you don't belong to. That's why you didn't want to talk outside. How much trouble are you in, exactly? Do you need money? No, of course not," she walks over to the nearest window and closes the curtains though not before glancing suspiciously out. "What do you need me to tell the police-?"
"Jeannie-" Rodney says loudly, clearly not having expected this reaction and darting his eyes towards Iohannes as if to say well, do something.
Iohannes raises an eyebrow at him.
"You'll need to get out of the country. Somewhere the States don't have an extradition treaty with. Like Russia. I'm pretty sure they don't have a treaty with Russia. You took Russian in college, didn't you?"
"Jeannie-" Rodney says more loudly still.
"So at least the language won't be a problem. But first we'll need to-"
"Yes, Meredith, what?"
"I'm not on the run."
"You're not?" she says, looking visibly relieved and not a little flustered as she sinks back into her chair.
"No. Of course not. Why would you think that?"
"Oh, I dunno, Mer. You suddenly show up on my door after three-and-half-years – no call, no letter, no anything – and then claim to have driven half-way across the country with your American military boyfriend complaining about public transportation and, the last time I talked to you, you were doing something beyond secret for the American military. Of course I think you're on the run."
"That's just..." Rodney huffs, trying not to look pleased that his sister apparently still cared about him enough, after three-and-a-half years of silence, to want to help him out of the country if he needed it, "Well, I can see where you might get that impression. Though I don't know what you think John being in the military has to do with that."
"Well, he's your boyfriend isn't he?"
"If you insist on labelling things then, well, yes."
"And he can't admit to such without being thrown out, so either he doesn't care any more or they're changing the laws. And since the latter would have been all over the news..."
"...you thought the most likely scenario was that we were on the run," Rodney finishes with a derisive snort, all earlier tenderness forgotten.
"It was either that or that you have terminal cancer."
If his snort had been derisive, Rodney's response to this was positively cutting. "Y'know, it's probably a good thing now that I think about it that you never finished your doctorate. You'd have been a second-rate physicist at best with the way you keep jumping to conclusions. Next thing you know you'll be trying to convince us that the world really is flat and the Earth doesn't revolve around the Sun after all."
This faintly alarms Iohannes (had the Terrans ever believed such things?) enough so that he misses the beginning of Jeannie's next outburst entirely, not really paying attention until she gets as far as, "...supposed to think? The only reason I never thought you were dead is that I assumed that those, those merchants of death you work for would bother to tell me if you went and got yourself blown up-"
Then it's as if Iohannes has no choice, as if there's a direct line between his mind and his mouth, he has to say something. And maybe at some later time he'll think about it about how everything about Rodney makes him forget the barriers he put up long ago (the ones that kept him from believing any promise Father ever said, until he stopped bothering to make them; the ones that kept him from accepting any of the advances Nicolaa ever made, until she went and married Tomas Nauta instead; the ones that would keep him now from getting involved in an argument between Rodney and his sister, until it ended on its own). But right now, none of that matters, he has to say something and what he does say is, "I'd never let that happen."
Which seems to succeed at nothing so much as turning Rodney’s ire on him, as he snaps, “Can we not talk about your self-destructive tendencies right now?"
Iohannes holds up both of his hands conciliatorily but can't help pointing out, "It needed to be done."
"Better than someone else."
Rodney looks like he wants to say something for the longest time, balling his hands into fists at his sides in visible effort to contain himself.
He's heard Rodney say he's a terrible liar but that's just not true. From what he knows about Rodney's pre-Atlantis work he's been keeping secrets as part of his job for almost half his life. And, yes, he might babble when he's afraid and say things he shouldn't about nuclear weapons but it's a different story entirely when he's angry. Rodney always knows exactly what he's saying when he's angry and exactly how to say it. It's one of the reasons why, for all he likes riling Rodney up, Iohannes tries to avoid real fights with him.
After what feels like forever Rodney suddenly forces one hand out of a ball and reaches across, grabbing one of Iohannes' hands, which he'd been awkwardly holding in his lap. It's not something they usually do, the hand-holding, but Iohannes figures that he's just as uncomfortable thinking about the final days of the siege as he is and lets him, trying to ignore the heat rising in his cheeks.
"I-" Rodney begins, looking back at his sister, who's watching them with a curious, half-fond, half-surprised look. "Well, as you've probably guessed, things were... bad for a while where we were and, yes, we very nearly got blown up – some of us," his eyes dart back towards Iohannes, who rolls his own, "more than others – and, well, I'd a lot of time to think about it and I really didn't want the last thing you ever heard from me to be a half-censored tape delivered to you by men in suit, and, well, that's why I'm here – why we're here. 'Cause I wanted you to meet John too. 'Cause I know it's stupid but I didn't want to die without telling you were right. Not about the dropping out of school thing, that was just plain stupid, what with how close you were to your doctorate even if you were pregnant. But about the whole can't help who you love, even if they're an English major thing and, well, I'm sorry."
Continue on to Pars Sex