Rodney stares at the white board accusingly. "You've been holding out on me."
From behind him, he can hear a muffled snicker--definitely *not Zelenka*--and turning, he watches John twisting his legs in the rungs of the stool.
It had been simple. A mission, some food, a tall blonde not-Ancient priestess, and Rodney had taken one for the team, because since coming to the Pegasus galaxy, he's learned all about self-sacrifice and unselfishness and orgasms in the name of survival. None of this is new.
A eight year old John Sheppard, however, is.
This has totally turned him off blondes for life. "You," Rodney says slowly, enunciating each word just to make sure the little brat gets it, "lied to me." About so much. Picking up the eraser, Rodney clears the board and puts up another series of equations while John unsuccessfully tries to open the door.
It had taken a while, but Atlantis finally *got* that maybe a pre-pubescent John Sheppard shouldn't be allowed to run wild in the halls.
"Didn't lie," John sulks as he stares at the door, like it took his favorite teddy bear and won't give it back.
Rodney glares at him. "Just for this? We're skipping *right over* calculus." As children go, Sheppard isn't bad. He's just frighteningly charming, and has a habit of sitting on Teyla's lap to be cuddled that's downright spooky. "And tomorrow? Astrophysics. Oh Sheppard, when I'm done with you, you will be doing this for *fun*." And never ever mock Rodney for his complete collection of Dr Who on DVD again. Ever. "Now get over here and solve. Show all work."
With a put upon sigh, John wanders over, taking the marker while Rodney grabs his laptop, wishing to God that he hadn't volunteered for John-sitting duty while Ronon and Teyla were offworld. But Ronon was teaching him things like *eating without utensils* and *unarmed combat* and *shooting*, and God help them all, *tracking*, and as long as John was this young and impressionable, then by God, it was up to Rodney to make sure he wasn't utterly ruined. Teyla's all about *meditation* and *inner peace*, and Elizabeth's been teaching him Ancient, and basically, they are all the most useless people in the universe and destroying his mind. Their shortsightedness is *appalling*.
"I want Ronon."
"I want peanut butter cups," Rodney says bitterly. "But do you see me whining?"
"Yes," John pointed out snottily. "Right now, even."
"Finish or no more puddlejumper joyrides."
Pouting, John turns around, head tilted in an eerie echo of his adult self.
It was, he was told, by the orgasm-giving blonde priestess with her tricky blue eyes and lying cleavage, a learning experience. Return to youth, discover yourself, and he hadn't *gotten* it until he stumbled back to their tent to find John sitting on Teyla's lap, small and disgustingly cute but with the same messy hair, while Teyla desperately tried to look like she wasn't melting into a puddle of ridiculous maternal goo every time John smiled up at her. Gape-toothed, no less.
Elizabeth's reaction hadn't been much better, though she'd at least controlled the instinctive need to ruffle his hair until after Rodney had stomped out of the room in disgust with the entirety of civilization.
John sighs and drops the marker. "Done. I wanna go play."
Rodney snorts, thinking of how the botany department had set up a playground and Zelenka, the moron, had gotten the engineers to build the equivalent of monkey bars. The entire medical staff *cooed* every damn time John went in for his daily exam, plying him with sugar free candy (no one had ever even *hinted* they had candy) and brushing his hair and telling him how adorable he was. "Complete work, not that shoddy outline."
There will not be permanent damage, the priestess had told them, once Rodney had stopped trying to figure out the most efficient means of yelling everyone into submission and fixing this. Six months, and he will be normal, with valuable life lessons, and something about spiritual awakening, but John had been getting cranky and fell asleep on Rodney's shoulder, drooling through his shirt three quarters of the way through the explanation.
Permanent damage, Rodney thinks snidely, watching John's small fingers wrapped around the marker, block child-letters that are mapping out the language of the universe, and John maybe didn't lie exactly, but somehow he never got around to telling Rodney just how smart he really was.
And when he's an adult again, there will be many long conversations on this.
"Elizabeth gives me cookies when I get something right," John says resentfully, erasing a line with his sleeve before rewriting it in bright green. Turning a little, he fixes a wide eyed look of pained hope in Rodney's direction, like that actually *works* or something.
Bribery. Rodney doesn't approve *at all*. But. "If you finish," Rodney says slowly, hoping to God that Zelenka doesn’t hear this or he will never, ever live it down, "we'll disassemble one of the naqada generators." John lights up--he's always better in practical application than theory anyway. "Ah ah ah--only if you finish."
With renewed energy, John goes back to work and Rodney thinks, child rearing is a *snap*, and wonders if John's still got clearance to get some C-4. A nice day outside on the mainland, where the Athosians will coo over his big green eyes, and Rodney will teach him how to build bombs.
Let Elizabeth and Teyla and Ronon and half of freaking *Atlantis* coo over John's charm, Rodney thinks grimly and tries not to melt when John rubs his hand over his forehead and leaves a vivid streak of green, hair sticking up on top in a way that's so painfully cute that Rodney almost thinks that maybe he'll give in and build John a miniature puddlejumper to ride around Atlantis in. But not yet. Rodney's going to make sure that this time around, John's brought up *right*.