Teacher's Pet snippet. Just--random. Set after Madelyn's next one (10) but before my next one (11).
"Oh my God," Rodney hears himself say, voice faint. From his seat on Lorne's shoulder, John's eyes narrow slightly. "You--what have you *done* to him?" Pushing the grinning Marines aside, Rodney reaches for John, who comes down with a slight frown, coiling one arm around Rodney's neck, legs wrapping tightly around Rodney's waist before unleashing his less powerful frown.
"I like it," John says, staring into Rodney's eyes with sincere, wide-eyed innocence while one bony knee digs into Rodney's stomach. Rodney darts an accusing look at Lorne.
"You allowed this." Lorne will never enjoy another hot shower.
Lorne shrugs, like this is all a complete mystery. "The Marines were running him through some ground drills," Lorne says placatingly, but his eyes are way too amused. Reaching up, Rodney runs a disbelieving hand over John's quarter inch long hair, pale scalp shining through.
The tiny Marine uniform is just the lemon icing on the nightmare cake. How the hell did they even *find* one in impossibly small? "You--" But Rodney has no words, and Lorne and the Marines look way too amused. "Never again," he says, thinking of how he'll barricade the labs the next time the Marines say they want a playdate. "You--"
"*I* like it," John says, voice beginning to wobble uncertainly into whining territory.
"You've been *shaved*," Rodney says severely, blinking at how much older John looks without the softening frame of hair, cheekbones sharper, hazel eyes darker than he remembers. The slowly shortening pants are bad enough, but this is an entirely new experience. "You *don't* like it."
John's lower lip begins to droop with a subtle emphasis on the downturned corners of his mouth. It's a good look, well-practiced because Rodney's caught him in front of the mirror before doing just that.
Lorne makes the mistake of murmuring something probably not terribly complimentary, and Rodney drags his atttention from John's pout. "You. No more unsupervised playdates." Setting John down before his back gives out, Rodney takes him firmly in hand, carefully ignoring how John seems to have put on another inch at least since they woke up this morning. The not-as-small hand is faintly damp from a mid-morning shower, and the uniform, while newly cleaned, shows signs of John wear-and-tear already. "You. Lab."
Because it's almost lunch, Rodney doesn't bother to do more than check his email while Simpson so forgets herself as to *leave her computer* to come and coo over John's head, running small, gentle fingers over his scalp and staring into his eyes like she can't quite believe this isn't a hallucination.
Rodney can't even blame her. Every time he looks, he's struck anew, mentally projecting a different face, baby fat making way for fine, hard bones, stubble, hazel eyes alive with humor, the man slowly pushing free of the child's skin. When John's head turns, one eyebrow raised in almost painful familiarity, Rodney forces himself to stare at his email, ignoring how John's managed, somehow, to get into Simpson's lap, leaning back contentedly against her chest to watch her type something into her computer as she makes soft noises involving harmonics and wave theory.
And if that little maneuver has nothing to do with John's newfound awareness of the difference between a boy and a girl, Rodney will eat the minijumper. With lemon sauce.
Shutting down his computer, Rodney sighs. John will spend the afternoon in the jumper bay with Zelenka on maintenance, after dinner with Teyla on the mainland, hunting in the evening with Ronon and the Athosians, burning out the bright energy that maks a ZPM look like a nine volt battery. And come morning, he'll be up again before the sun, training with Marines, studying with Elizabeth, but one inch taller or one pound heavier, clothes not quite right once again.
He'll miss this, he thinks in surprise, crossing the lab to pull John reluctantly from Simpson's lap, trusting fingers warm in his hand.
When John starts to talk, telling him about obstacle courses and water traps and something Rodney doesn't want to think about involving sharp objects, Rodney simply listens.