No, it's not done yet. Boy this thing is getting away from me. I think there are about 2 parts maybe, but then I'm not even sure about that. It's all very confusing. This was supposed to be short and it's already 13,099 words and getting bigger.
So this is the third part and I still want to write more and I'll probably get done with part 4 soon. Anyway I've got Jurassic Park III to watch tonight because it's on TBS and then we're starting Justin on his first episode of Queer as Folk and House comes on at eleven. TV freaking runs my life. Title:
Big Leaps, Part 3Fandom:
Rodney/Lorne with John/Carson, Teyla, Ronon, Radek, Laura, Elizabeth and RJ (OMC)Prompt:
R, let's be safe hereSummary:
It takes a village to raise a child... or maybe just a lost Ancient cityAuthor's Notes:
So I left it kind of cliffhanger-y last time. It's not exactly cliff-y this time, but it is sad. And happy as well.
“One of us is going to have to talk sooner or later.” Lorne says.
He’s sitting a bit uncomfortably in the chair next to Rodney’s bed, his cane resting against the arm and Rodney really hates that cane.
“No we don’t. Just… go back through the wormhole.”
“I can’t. Not until the Daedelus comes back with the ZPM Sheppard brought through to drag me here. Dr. Weir says there’s not enough power. Zelenka was nodding so I figured she wasn’t bullshitting me.”
“Oh she was totally bullshitting you. She just got Radek to play along.”
“Look it’s not like I wanted to come back here.”
“So then why are you here. If you didn’t want to come back. John drag you at gunpoint.”
Though it sounds outrageous, it’s totally likely that John did so Rodney tries not to think about it to hard. Lorne sighs and runs his hand over his face.
He looks older to Rodney, blue eyes dull and faded and his skin is a weird color that’s between pale and grey. His hair is longer and looks a bit unwashed. He’s in plain clothes, a shirt and some khaki pants and Rodney wonders how the hell John convinced the SGC to go through with this harebrained scheme without asking a few things up front.
But John’s persuasive like that and he doesn’t put it past him.
“He said you had a heart attack.”
“Well at least he didn’t lie about it.”
“He said it was my fault. Heart attack Marcus he called it.”
Rodney laughs at that and, despite how serious the whole thing is, it’s still pretty funny.
“Yeah, I know.”
“So then why are you here?”
“Flimsy excuse to see you again?”
He says it likes it’s a question and Rodney knows that comes from years of living together. Hedging his bets just in case Rodney call that ridiculous too so he can make it a joke and say he wasn’t serious about it.
But Lorne always opens with the truth, most times, and Rodney knows that.
“Don’t think a heart attack could be considered flimsy.”
“You were right.”
“I’m always right. When are you going to learn that.”
Lorne smiles a little at that and Rodney feels himself smiling too.
It’s stupid because Rodney should be pissed. Should be furious with him, sitting there looking like shit as he tries to explain his behavior and make amends, but Rodney is so tired of being furious.
It doesn’t make him a doormat. It just makes him a man in love and Lorne scared about meaning so much to someone that he had to run. Rodney’s been that scared before. Thought about escaping when Lorne was hurt and just running through to Stargate and becoming the guy he was before Lorne came around with his good looks and caring attitude.
It doesn’t make Rodney a better man or Lorne a lesser man or anything like that.
“It doesn’t change it though. Doesn’t change the fact that I left you.”
“I know that. I was the one who got left behind remember.”
“I just… everything on Earth… it wasn’t…”
“Hey, I get it okay. I do. You undoubtedly missed me and no one could blame you because I’m quite the catch. You were miserable, it didn’t work out like you thought it would. You tired to forget about me. Tried to convince yourself that you and I were both better off without each other, but you were wrong and it’s all very soap opera-ish that it makes me want to gag just a little.”
“And you realized that being apart is stupid, which it is, and you want me to take you back, but at the same time you think I shouldn’t because you were a jerk and there’s still some things we have to work out, but you know that we’re the only people for each other and really we’re too old to be searching around anyway.”
Lorne smiles softly and Rodney and tries to keep from laughing.
“Something like that.”
They see Kate Heightmeyer every Tuesday after that for couples counseling.
Rodney never thought he’d be the type of guy to go to couples counseling, but he goes every Tuesday like clockwork and they sit and talk about their issues and lay everything out clearly. They’ve got a lot of them, most revolving around their parents and growing up and they’re too old to think about changing those things, but it feels good to talk about them.
And Kate listens, offers her advice and Rodney only calls her totally ignorant once or twice a month.
And it’s at RJ’s eleventh birthday party, RJ ripping through the wrapping paper of all his presents and Lorne’s hand tangled in his own, that they decide it’s okay to go back to living together.
“It’s gross.” RJ says and Rodney flinches at the vocabulary.
RJ may only be twelve, but he’s had some of the best teachers that money can buy for free and Rodney knows that he knows better words to describe his total distress over the situation before them.
“It is not gross. Your parents love each other very much and they want to express that love in front of their friends and family.” Teyla says.
“Isn’t necking in the hall a public enough expression for the both of them?” RJ asks.
“It’s not like you have any friends to be embarrassed in front of.” Lorne says.
Ronon grunts at that.
“That’s so not true. They want to do this… thing on the mainland and I have friends on the mainland.” RJ complains.
Rodney nods at that because he’s right. There are more kids on the mainland than on Atlantis, despite the fact that, with the Wraith threat down for the first time in a decade, many people have gotten married and actually had kids in Atlantis.
They’re all much younger than RJ and he usually avoids them at all costs.
“Perhaps you should stop whining and be happy for your parents.” Teyla says.
Rodney can see that she’s getting annoyed by RJ’s attitude, but Rodney can’t really blame the kid.
He’s happy for John and Carson, he really is, but do they have to get married just because the military decided that their love is not an illegal one?
Rodney has a feeling this whole idea has Carson written all over it, some sort of guilty conscious with the fact that he couldn’t get married when his mother was alive.
The news came in four days after RJ’s birthday in the weekly data burst from the SGC. Elizabeth had passed it to John who shared it with Carson and then passed it on to Lorne who then shared it with Rodney. If Lorne had been expecting a reaction from Rodney, then he was sadly mistake. “So?” Rodney had said.
Lorne had looked at him for just a second before crumpling up the paper and tossing it into the trash.
And that was how the news was met with by most of the Atlantis personnel. No one really paid any attention to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ when it was around. They were in another galaxy and Rodney really wondered if the American military actually thought that people were still going to live by their archaic rules.
People were worried about the rules in the beginning. But with the influence of the IOA and the fact that Elizabeth usually distract Caldwell long enough for him not to even care about it, the rules did get broken and Rodney likes to think that he was the one who started the trend.
“It’s just wrong. Everybody thinks they’re married anyway. Why do they have to have a ceremony for it? And Papa says he’s going to wear a skirt because it’s tradition. That’s a silly tradition.” RJ says as he starts to pick at his food.
“Hey, they want to do it, let them. The only thing you’re whining is going to do is cut off your jumper and lab time.” Rodney says.
RJ shuts up after that.
“How do you feel about everyone making plans to get married?” Kate asks at the next session.
Rodney and Lorne share a look and Rodney decides to speak.
“Doesn’t bother us. I just hope everyone doesn’t expect us to by the wedding presents.” Rodney says.
“Under the rules of the IOA treaty, personnel are allowed to get married if it’s allowed in one persons land of origin.”
They share another look and Rodney lets Lorne answer that one.
“We think it’s better if we don’t get married.” Lorne says.
Lorne looks over at Rodney and he knows it’s his turn.
“Look, I’ve been with Lorne for a lot longer than everyone who’s starting to get married has been with their other person. We’re practically married already. I mean we’ve signed all the papers and changed the wills. It’s just another piece of paper.” Rodney says.
“So it’s not important to you. To share something like this with your friends?”
It’s Lorne’s turn to answer and he clears his throat.
“I think us sitting in the mess hall holding hands is enough sharing for us.”
“You want us to what?” Lorne says, incredulous tone in his voice and he’s staring at John and Carson like they’ve grown extra heads.
“We want you to stand up there with us. You know, like our best men.” John says.
“Would there be kilts involved. Because if there are kilts involved I am so not doing this.” Rodney says.
“Well…” Carson starts.
“No… no, not just no… more like hell no.” Rodney says waving his arms around a bit.
“Can’t you two get married like normal people. Tuxedos. Normal people get married in tuxedos. Also normal people get married in their thirties, not fifties.” Rodney says.
“What about widowers?” John asks.
Rodney glares at him.
“It would really mean a lot to us if you did.” Carson says.
“We’ll think about it.”
“Well at least you didn’t have to wear a kilt.” Lorne whispers into Rodney’s ear as they dance together.
The wedding was pleasant enough, few people along with the Athosians and Caldwell did the honors of making John and Carson man and man. He didn’t look at all twitchy either. After the ceremony on the mainland, everyone headed back to Atlantis for the reception, which included cake and dancing and singing and music and much silliness.
Carson and John hadn’t stopped smiling at each other since and RJ even smiled a little bit at the whole thing when he wasn’t rolling his eyes.
“Yeah, thank god for that.” Rodney says as they sway to the music.
“You know, people were expecting us to pull a double ceremony.” Lorne says.
“Doesn’t surprise me.” Rodney says.
They’re the oldest couple in Atlantis and everyone knows it.
“Yeah, but like we’d steal their thunder like that.”
references are sometimes scary.”
“And so is the fact that you can quote episodes of Dr. Who
“Yeah and yet we’re still together. Funny.”
“The old not married couple of Atlantis. Has a nice ring to it.” Rodney says as he buries his face in Lorne’s chest.
“Yeah, it does.”
And it is because they may not have had the fancy ceremony like John and Carson and the certainly don’t have a kid like John and Carson, but they’ve got each other. And later, after the reception is over and Carson and John head to the mainland for their weeklong honeymoon after pawning RJ off on Teyla and Ronon, Rodney and Lorne’ll go home together.
They’ll go home and undoubtedly have sex because Rodney likes the way Lorne looks in his dress blues and Lorne likes the way Rodney looks in a tux. And after that they’ll whisper to each other how funny it was that John said damn in the middle of his vows and Carson almost started crying at least have a dozen times.
And that’ll be enough for both of them.
“I had a fight with dad and now him and Pops are fighting.” RJ says as he barrels his way through the open door of Rodney and Lorne’s apartment.
At sixteen, he stands at an impressive height of at least six feet. His hair is as messy as ever, but he’s started getting into Carson and John’s hair gel so now it’s that way on purpose. He’s a good looking kid by all accounts.
“So you came to your home away from home.” Rodney says.
“Yeah, I guess, what’s for dinner.”
Lorne cocks an eyebrow at that, but says nothing as he fixes his reading glasses and gets back to his mission reports.
Rodney sighs and throws his hands up into the air. It’s no use trying to talk RJ back to his room. The kid will not go back to the quarters he shares with his parents. Rodney’s been through this enough times to know that and there’s even a room made up just for these special occasions.
So instead of whining and complaining about it like he would have done a year ago he merely states that they’re having chicken for dinner that Lorne is going to so helpfully get from the mess hall because Rodney’s tired from the jumper diagnostics he took that day.
“I swear they fight more now that they’re married then when they weren’t. I told them that the whole marriage business was going to break them.” RJ says as he gobbles up his chicken.
“Yes, such great advice for a twelve year old. I’m surprised they didn’t take it.” Rodney says.
“I was still right.”
“You said that John started yelling at you first. Can I ask why.” Lorne says.
“He found out I went off world with Lieutenant Samuel’s team when I was supposed to be learning about English or something like that.” RJ says.
Lorne rolls his eyes.
“You’re really trying your dad’s patience here, RJ.” Lorne says.
“Yeah, I know, he tells me that all the time.” RJ says.
“It’s dangerous off-world. Also, you probably got Lieutenant Samuel and his team grounded for the next month. That’s not very nice of you.”
“Yeah, but they were going to P3X-812. You know that’s the planet with the blast-o weapon. It’s so cool, Uncle Lorne. You should see it in action.”
Rodney watches the exchange with amusement and a little sadness because Lorne’s eyes light up just a bit at the thought of going off-world before the light goes out and he’s looking sad.
“I can’t.” Lorne says.
RJ looks confused for a second and then realization dawns in his eyes and he looks apologetic.
“I’m sorry, Uncle Lorne. I forget sometimes because you can still do lots of cool things and… I just forgot.” RJ says.
“It’s okay. I forget sometimes too.”
They’re quiet for a few seconds before RJ starts talking again.
“How come you guys never had kids. I’m sure you would have made awesome parents.” RJ says.
“No we wouldn’t have.” Rodney says.
“Sure you would have. You’d have made better parents than mine.”
“You’re just saying that because they’re yours. You’ll learn to appreciate them over time.”
“I don’t know. They used to be so cool.”
“It’s not their job to be cool. It’s their job to be your parents.”
When RJ decides that he wants to go to college on Earth, Rodney couldn’t be prouder. He makes the arrangements and makes sure RJ passes all the tests, which he does, with flying colors because he’s just as brilliant as Rodney always said he was.
He gets as many pamphlets to different colleges that he can manage to get through the data burst and shows them to RJ, who’s eyes glaze over at the possibilities. He picks a few, Northwestern being his first choice and Rodney just beams at that.
John pretends like it’s not happening. Doesn’t even acknowledge that it’s happening and whenever anyone asks him where RJ’s planning to go for college, John tells them that RJ isn’t going to college and he doesn’t know where they heard that idea.
Carson knows better and he acknowledges that RJ could be leaving, very soon. Brings RJ his dinner in his room and helps him with the harder scientific stuff that has a little something to do with medicine. Tries his best with the math and usually pushes RJ to ask John about it.
At that point John asks why RJ’s even worried about that stuff and goes to his room.
For a year solid, Carson blubbers at the sight of his son sitting at the lab, answering Rodney’s questions as fast as he can without hesitating.
“Why does he do that?” RJ asks.
“Because he’s loosing his little boy.” Lorne tells him.
Rodney just asks another question.
It’s a few days before RJ’s eighteenth birthday when he gets the news that Northwestern accepted him and he’ll be able to attend in the fall.
RJ jumps up and down at the news and hugs Rodney tight and Lorne too because Lorne helped. He shows Carson his acceptance letter and Carson starts to cry and hugs him close and RJ allows him.
Carson demands a picture with RJ holding his acceptance letter and two rolls of film later, he’s got pictures with RJ, the acceptance letter and everyone from Elizabeth to Rodney to Lorne to Teyla to Ronon to Radek to Laura and himself.
John is noticeably absent from all the pictures.
And John denies it all up until the point where RJ’s got all his clothes and valuable necessities packed up and he’s getting ready to go through the wormhole.
Carson cries and Teyla cries and Elizabeth cries and Laura cries. Ronon actually hugs him and RJ looks a little scared by that, but then he hugs Ronon back.
“You have a good time on Earth. Show them just how smart and talented you really are.” Elizabeth says.
“May the Ancients be with you in everything you do. And may you remember your home fondly.” Teyla says.
“You kick ass out there kid.” Laura says.
“Don’t take any crap from anyone. Remember what I taught you.” Ronon says.
“You are truly gifted. Smarter than most. You will do just fine and then you will come back and make even Rodney feel stupid.” Radek says.
“Hey.” Rodney says indignantly.
RJ laughs at that.
“I don’t know if anyone can be smarter than Uncle Rodney.” RJ says hugging Rodney again.
“Please don’t pander to the already huge ego. I’m surprised we both fit in our apartment.” Lorne says.
RJ smiles at that and pulls away from Rodney.
“I’m going to miss the two of you. You guys kept me sane. You all kept me sane, but… thank you. For everything.” RJ says to Rodney and Lorne.
“You’re really trying to make us cry, aren’t you kid.” Lorne says, his voice a little hitched and Rodney doesn’t even trust himself to speak.
RJ laughs nervously.
“I’m sorry. I’m not trying to. It’s just… you guys are like my best friends. No body in Atlantis or on Earth is as lucky as I am.” RJ says.
Rodney takes a deep breath and smiles.
“You have to come back because Radek’s right. You’re going to be brilliant and Atlantis needs you. Just… live a little first.” Rodney says.
“I will.” RJ says and he turns to Carson who’s still crying uncontrollably.
Rodney’s suddenly very glad that the gate room is clear.
Carson grabs him and holds him in a death grip.
“I am so… so proud of you. I love you… I know you’re going to do great things. You have to promise me that you’re coming back though because I don’t think I could deal with your father if you don’t.” Carson says.
“I promise.” RJ says and it sounds like he might be crying a little bit,
“Good… good.” Carson says pulling back a little.
“Speaking of dad…”
“I don’t know where he is, son.” Carson says a little shame faced.
RJ’s face falls.
“I told him you were leaving today.”
“It’s okay. He’s still hurt over the whole thing. I’ll… um… tell him I love him.” RJ says.
Carson nods and he looks a little pissed at that.
“Okay… okay… I should go now.” RJ says.
His bags are already set down in the Gate room and he spares one final glance before walking down those steps from the control room to the Stargate. Teyla and Elizabeth are both on Carson’s sides and it almost looks like they’re keeping him upright, which Rodney wouldn’t put it past them.
Rodney’s having a hard time stopping himself from running down there and locking RJ in the brig.
He didn’t think it would be this hard, watching RJ walk through the Stargate to a future and, admittedly, Rodney knows that college isn’t going to be as educational as spending the rest of his days on Atlantis would be. Rodney knows that it’s just something he has to do and he wants to be able to go to RJ’s college graduation and gloat and show off RJ and how smart he is.
So he doesn’t move and Lorne’s strong presence, arms still strong around his waist and a head on his shoulder, gives him comfort that this is for the best.
But he definitely gets how John feels.
RJ gathers his things and Elizabeth orders Rodney to open the gate and Carson starts crying even more.
“It’s not right. Sheppard should be here.” Ronon says.
He voices what everyone feels and Rodney nods at him.
The gate opens and the SGC radios that everything is okay on their end and RJ looks back at his family standing a bit crammed on the balcony of the control room. He waves at them and takes another look around before frowning.
The scream draws everyone’s attention and there stands John Sheppard on the steps of the gate room and he looks much older than he really is. Like he’s been going over this all in his head and it still hasn’t registered, but he’s here anyway. He takes the steps two at a time and rushes over to RJ and grabs him in a hug.
“I don’t want you to go.” John whispers, but everyone in the control room can hear it.
“I know, but I have to.” RJ says calmly.
“Why?” John asks and he’s about as close to tears as anyone has ever seen him.
“Because… I have to grow up sometime.”
“You can do that here.”
“Yeah, but here… it’s not the real world. I gotta see what it’s like.” RJ says.
John bites his lip and nods before pulling RJ into another big hug.
“You better come back.”
“Papa already told me all that.”
“Yeah well now I’m telling you.”
“I’m going to come back. Atlantis would hate me forever if I didn’t.”
John pulls away and gives RJ a sad smile before straightening out RJ’s clothes a bit and wiping the tears from his face.
“Yeah, well, we can’t have that.”
“I’ll be okay, Daddy.”
John takes in a shuddery breath and his eyes go large.
“I know you will. Now, go, before I decide to lock you in the brig and never let you out.” John says.
RJ nods and picks up his things before walking through the Stargate.
John turns around and looks at the people on the balcony and Rodney can’t remember a time where he’s seen John look that sad, but he guesses that’s what happens when you’re only son goes off to face the big bad world without you.
He turns around and Carson’s standing right there, eyes wide with tears and John takes the few steps to him before practically collapsing in Carson’s arms and Carson just holds him. Kisses his face and brushes his fingers through John’s hair and John cries about losing his little boy.
The people on the balcony watch for just a second and Rodney is the first one to turn away because it’s private. Two parents holding onto each other as their baby goes off on their own. Everyone else gets with the program, though no one really wants to get back to work.
And Atlantis dims her lights just a little.
“I’m glad we never had children.” Rodney says.
They’re quietly listening to the waves crashing against Atlantis’s walls. They should have been asleep hours ago, but the day was so draining that sleep eludes them so they just hold each other and takes solace in that.
“Couldn’t deal with that if it was a kid you were biologically connected too.” Lorne murmurs.
“Did you see John?”
“He’s a father who just watched his son go off without him after all these years of knowing exactly where he is at all times. I can imagine that must hurt… a lot.”
“I’m glad we never had children.” Rodney says again.
Lorne sighs and just shifts closer.
“In a way, I think we did. Takes a lost Ancient city remember.”