In continuity with What I Keep and What I Carry, sga, eight years later.
They told Rodney that the gate wouldn't engage and Atlantis was lost to them, an Air Force officer hovering in the door, black vans outside, and John with his books scattered around his feet, looking at them with disbelieving eyes.
The bleedover of who he was and the teenager he is and the way those two things can never quite cross. He's a thirty-nine year old man and a seventeen year old kid, and he knows the first earth he grew up on, the wars he fought and lost and won on foreign soil, the glittering city and the people that took him in and took him apart nad put him back together into something new, something better, ripped apart and a child again in an alien galaxy that's home, and back on earth in a place he'll never have context again. He's seventeen and thirty nine; a college student working on his first master's and a soldier who's taken more lives than he can count and a pilot who dreams about the sky and ships that he can touch with his mind.
He's Rodney McKay's son and special project and center of his universe, and the only thing that links it all together is this place in his head that's cracking around the edges and bleeding a different reality into him, creating this person whose hands know how to field strip a P-90 and touched the controls of a helicopter.
John's met this guy before, who follows him in his dreams and pushes to the surface of his thoughts with memories he shouldn't have. He doesn't want to see him again.
As you seek, so shall you find, or so they say.
Rodney tracks him to Philadelphia, loses him between Memphis and New Orleans, where John slept under bridges and shot up with hookers in the French Quarter that still smells of a city that nearly fell into the sea. He surfaces somewhere in rural Wisconsin with a commune that preached of aliens and end times, vanished into Des Moines with sixteen kids who wore foil hats waiting for the end of the world.
Someone finds him in Phoenix and loses him when he burns down three warehouses, slipping into LA where he's the prettiest rent boy on the party circuit, selling laboratory quality ecstasy out of a trailer in San Fransciso, raving in San Diego before he vanishes into Mexico for three endless weeks. Rodney maps his life in police reports and unexplained bombings, SGC sightings that last the time it takes for John to run again, arrests in ten states under fourteen different names. Black hair, red, bleached blonde when he hits New York, back to black in Chicago beside a debutante with a trust fund they burn through like money's made of air.
For John, it is. There are banks across the country whose security systems fell apart when John stayed sober long enough to hack them.
Rodney looks for him everywhere he's not, in the street kids who try to pick his pockets, among the ultrarich in Palm Springs, working his way through the middle class kids that John gets high with and drunk with and runs from every time they get too close. He's Jonathan Emagen, a teenage hooker, Johnny Dex, son of a soldier from a long lost war, John Weir, who says his mother's a diplomat and his father stole him away. He cuts the throat of a pimp in Nashville and turns up in an ER in Minnesota as an OD that vanishes before morning. He's good with a gun, good with a knife, good with a computer, sells his mouth in back alleys for drugs with Rodney's credit card in his back pocket, never used.
John lives every cliche like he never got a chance to the first time around.
The SGC doesn't sleep, and neither does Rodney, who's still screaming into the phone with Sam when he draws up to a broken down warehouse in the middle of fucking nowhere, where thousands of kids burn out their minds on methamphetamines and unsafe sex. Getting out, he turns off the phone, shoving it into his pocket while he goes to the warped back door, music pounding out like an earthquake that shakes the ground beneath Rodney's feet.
He's tired--Jesus, so tired, something inside him burned to dull embers and the bitter remains of adrenaline as he pushes inside, shimmering sound hitting him like a hammer, slamming into his brain like a plane at Mach-3. He shakes it off, eyes adjusting to the sparkling dark, neon points like Christmas lights strung around the remains of the metal catwalks, huge speakers sparking from badly-patched plugs. Strobe lights turn the room surreal, painting the bodies in various greens and reds and blues; the room smells of alcohol and vomit, mildew and rotting wood, endorphins and sex.
Somewhere over the roof is an Asgard cruiser with a warning written into the sky. If Rodney doesn't get him back, the SGC will.
After Something More and Catch Your Breath, sga.
There's technically no such thing as gatelag, but that's because medical professionals are idiots. Rodney pulls the last drink from John's hand and slides an arm beneath his shoulder, shaking his head at Ronon's silent question. "Got him. Come on, flyboy."
"That's Dr. Flyboy to you," John says a little blearily, smiling up at Rodney for a blinding moment, and Rodney's heart skips a beat. Then he stands up, almost as steady as a person a hell of a lot more sober than John is right now.
Everyone's a little high tonight, Elizabeth brushing disbelieving fingers against John's shoulder, eyes still misty-wet, Teyla leaning against Ronon as they track John like he'll vanish if they look away. He knows exactly how they feel; he hasn't been able to stop touching John since they stepped through the wormhole and back into the real life that Rodney's marked time for three years to get back.
John's easy, loose with alcohol and something else, something that Rodney can't quite define, wrapped up in the people they left in the messhall and the city around them. Rodney doesn't even bother trying to get to his own quarters; he hasn't seen them since he got back and doesn't anticipate seeing them anytime soon. Tonight, he watches the city follow John like a lost child now found, leans into the doorway to see John's eyes close for a moment, tension rolling off him like water.
Home, Rodney sees him mouth before he turns around, smiling mouth and brilliant eyes, luminescent even in the faint light from the balcony.
Rodney fights down a smile. "Sheppard. Sit down before you fall over."
"John," he whispers, turning in a slow circle, incandescent beneath the soft lights of Atlantis that had welcomed John home. "Just John."
Rodney watches John's face, the smile fading to something serious and soft, and Rodney remembers the way John stood in the messhall, surrounded by the people that had missed him most, accepting their touch with barely hidden bewilderment, and God. God. Reaching up, he peels the uniform jacket back, running his hands up beneath the red turtleneck of Elizabeth's personal staff, pressing his lips against the hollow of John's throat. "You're hot in colors, too."
John tilts his head. "Stay here."
Rodney bites gently through the material covering his shoulder. "I'm not going anywhere."
John shakes his head, and Rodney reaches up to run his fingers through the too-long hair, silky between his fingers. "That's not what I meant."
Rodney presses his forehead against John's for a second, closing his eyes. It's not real yet he's too high, too amazed, to feel it yet, let it settle beneath his skin into familiarity. He wonders suddenly if it ever will. "I know."
John undresses slowly, all that bright energy banked, set aside for now. John's changed in more than his silences. There's a quality of thoughtfulness that's new, tempering the recklessness into something far more dangerous than impulse.
These days, Rodney thinks, John knows exactly what he's doing.
"If they'd asked if had violated DADT, I would have had to tell the truth." John drops down on the bed, heavy-lidded green eyes coming open, vivid, stealing all the light of the room. "I would have said, I hadn't, but I was going to."
God. Rodney pushes him back, hands clumsy on the button of his pants. John stretches out with a grin. "I never would have let you leave."
John leans over, pressing a smile against his mouth. "I know."
Rodney thinks of three years, long and difficult and wrong, curling a leg around John's thigh, catching his mouth in a messy kiss, remembering John's blush when Elizabeth's arms tightened around him, the way John's arms slid around Teyla, how he looked at Ronon, how he smiled at Zelenka. The way that when Rodney kissed him, John kissed back in front of that room, these people, their world.
There's a galaxy out there that Rodney's missed, planets that John will walk with him, alien skies in every color of the rainbow. They'll discover new artifacts and new civilizations and what the fuck, go where no one from Earth has ever gone before.
"I want to see everything," John murmurs. Rodney wonders if Atlantis takes requests. "Tomorrow."
"Yeah." He kisses the words from John's mouth, feeling the smile curving against his face, and can't help but smile back.
"Rodney," John says, and Rodney smiles, grinding down to see John's eyes go glazed and vague. John groans softly, pressing up against him, hard and gentle. "McKay. Rodney. I am so drunk."
"You're just happy." Rodney rolls to the side, pulling John's head onto his shoulder.
"Yeah," John whispers, and some tension bleeds out of him as the lights lower completely, engulfing them in warm darkness. "I think I am."
After Looking Glass, sv.
Clark looks over the edge of the bassinet, interested despite himself. Babies have never made up a part of his life. "He really doesn't look like anyone."
Mom had called them this morning to tell them the baby was coming home, and though it had come at a *really inconvenient* time, still. A baby.
Lex snickers, leaning down to brush a careful finger over a tiny cheek. The baby barely stirs. "He'll look like someone eventually." Lex gives him a wicked look from beneath long lashes, and Clark bites his lip to keep from giggling. From across the room, the nanny watches them warily, but Martha's already taking her to her new quarters off the nursery. "Martha says we need to be at the christening tomorrow."
"Now that will be interesting." Despite himself, Clark studies the tiny features, trying to trace a resemblance. "You know, chances are it's yours."
"Maybe." Leaning over, Lex picks him up, cradling him expertly in the crook of his arm. "So, another brother." The baby yawns, curling trustingly into the fine wool of Lex's coat. He hadn't been very big at birth, but the last few weeks have seen a truly *epic* amount of weight put on. Clark's never seen anything so small eat so much. "Martha always wanted a baby."
"True." Mom had been thrilled, despite circumstances. The Kents had been very--reluctant, but Clark figured that Mom and her lawyers had worn them down finally. Watching Lex as he sits down, careful of the baby's sleep, Clark smiles, walking over to lean against the back of the couch. He definitely looks more like Lex--the fair hair is almost reddish in this light, and Clark reaches out to touch, just lightly. Just like Lex. "David Laurence Luthor. Davy. Laurie?"
"Laurie," Lex says firmly, glancing up. "Poor kid. He's going to be teased."
"He'll survive. He's a Luthor." There's nothing of Lana except the slant of his eyes. "I'm surprised Dad took it so well, though."
Lex snickers, tilting his head back to give Clark a grin. "By now, he knows this is the only way he's going to get an heir from me." Clark kisses him for that, a brush of lips across a high cheekbone, then soft pink lips.
"Boys." Mom's voice from the door is indulgent, and Clark quickly straightens, giving his mother a bright smile. "Careful with the baby?"
"Of course," Clark says, circling the couch to brush a kiss on her cheek before sitting beside Lex. Mom comes over to take Laurie, holding him in a gentle cradle that makes Clark smile, leaning into Lex's warm body, head resting on his brother's shoulder, smiling more at the hand on his thigh, listening to his mother sing a lullaby he remembers from his own childhood.
Life, Clark Luthor thinks with sigh, will never get better than this.