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by The Grrrl

Title: Home

Author: The Grrrl

Author's email: thegrrrl2002@gmail.com

Author's URL: http://thegrrrl2002.slashcity.org/

Archive: Ask first.

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis

Pairing: Sheppard/McKay

Summary: "Outcast" (4.15) episode tag.

When John finally steps back through the gate it's late afternoon in Atlantis, and the sun is streaming in. The control room is awash in glowing blues and greens and golds and at last he releases the breath he's been holding forever.

"Colonel," Carter greets him gently. "How are you?" She asks with intent, eyes searching his face for a clue.

John shrugs. "I'm fine," he answers, because he is, things aren't any different. He and his father are still not on speaking terms, and hey, no danger of that changing now.

Carter nods and John suspects she doesn't believe him. "Take a few days before coming back on duty, okay?"

John shakes his head. "If it's all the same, I'd rather not."

He feels her eyes on him as he leaves the gateroom, as he nods in response to the murmured condolences of the gateroom techs, and it's all very nice but all he wants to do is get back to work . It's been the longest week of his life and he just wants it to be over, to be suited up on a mission, traveling through some heavily forested planet looking for the bad guys.

"John."

John turns to find Teyla hurrying down the corridor to catch up with him. "Are you all right?" she asks quietly. "I heard what happened--there was a replicator on earth?"

She's all breasts and belly now, and John tries not to stare but it's actually pretty fascinating. "Yeah," John says with a wave of his hand, fixing his gaze on the floor. "I'm okay. It's all taken care of."

"And you met with your brother?" she prompts carefully.

Ronon returned only an hour or so before him, and but clearly he's been busy. "We talked. It was…fine. We're…okay, I guess. Hey, how are you feeling? Baby still kicking up a storm?"

Teyla immediately smiles, then ducks her head as if it's an inappropriate moment for her to be so happy. "Yes. Very much so. I believe he will be a great fighter." Her hand goes to her stomach, resting there.

"Just like his mom," John says, then frowns, worried that maybe said the wrong thing, bringing to mind the baby's missing father by comparing possible contributions.

But Teyla only nods and looks pleased. "I am glad you are back," she says, and takes a step toward him. "And again, I am sorry for your loss."

John panics, because he has no idea how to hug her with that whole pregnant thing going on, not to mention the breasts but Teyla only puts her hands on his shoulders and bows her head, waiting.

With great relief John ducks his head and touches his forehead to hers.

It's nice custom. He likes it.

"Be well, John," she says softly.

He nods, and continues on.

When he finally reaches his room, the doors close behind him and he drops his bag, closing his eyes with a deep sigh.

He's home.

He kicks off his boots and collapses on the bed, grunting as he stretches his hands out over his head, bruised ribs complaining. It's not any fun being tossed around by a replicator, but it's a hundred times better than funerals and brothers and ex-wives. He stares at the ceiling and the familiar patterns in the tile, listening to the sounds of the ocean lapping at the edge of the city and thinks about the report he has to write, and his email--he really needs to check his email and see what's been happening while he's gone, plus missions to be rescheduled and the least he could do is unpack but the bed is comfortable and maybe it's more than just his ribs that hurt and if his father was truly sorry for what happened between them, why the hell couldn't he just say so?

A quick knock on his door distracts him.

"You're back," Rodney says as the door slides open.

John turns to gaze at Rodney, whose shoulders fill the doorway. "Yes, Rodney. I'm back."

"I heard--the replicators and all." Rodney looks disgusted. "You'd think we were finally done with them."

"Yeah." John thinks about getting up, but the thought of moving is overwhelming at the moment.

Rodney's eyes narrow. "You okay?"

"I'm fine." John lifts a hand, then lets it fall back down on the mattress. "Just tired."

"How did things go with your brother?"

John sighs. He is going to kick Ronon's ass next time they spar.

Well, maybe not. But if he could, he would.

"I don't know. We talked. That's more than we've done in a long time."

'Yes, well." Rodney shifts on the balls of his feet. "Families," he says, like it explains everything.

"Hell yeah," John agrees. "Hey, so how are things on M7G-677?"

"All fixed. The EM field is back up and running. By the way, Keras sends his regards."

"How's he doing?"

"Great. Making kids. They all are. The planet is infested with babies." Rodney lifts his hands and waggles his fingers. "It's--nightmarish."

"I'm sorry I missed it."

Rodney wrinkles his nose in disgust. "Yes, well, next time you're welcome to go in my place." He falls silent, looks at his hands, then drops them down to his sides. "Well," he says again, glancing up at John with mournful eyes. "I should let you rest?"

"No," John says, reaching a hand out.

In an instant, Rodney is there, hand is clasped in John's. "I'm sorry I couldn't come," Rodney whispers. He hesitates as if still uncertain of his welcome, but John tugs him down on the bed.

"I know, Rodney."

This thing between them is new and maybe they haven't figured everything out but the way Rodney hurts for him makes John's throat tighten and his breath catch in his chest, especially when Rodney leans down kisses him, achingly tender and delicate.

John touches his fingertips to Rodney's cheek and kisses him back, then cups a hand around Rodney's neck and pulls him in, making the kiss rougher, more like they're used to and finally, he can breathe again.

"It sucks," Rodney says moving to kiss John's cheek. "Your family. All of it." He kisses John's forehead, then stretches out on the bed beside him.

John nods in agreement, rolling to lay half on top of Rodney, face pressed into Rodney's chest. He breathes deep, flushing the smell of stables and pine oil and funereal flower arrangements out of his system. "I'm out of the will, you know."

"Hmm?" Rodney rubs John's back. "What?"

"I was written out of my father's will. So if you're looking for a sugar daddy, you're just going to have to go elsewhere." John raises his head at Rodney's indignant squawk and grins for the first time in a week.

"Oh, ha ha. Very funny." Rodney gently cuffs the side of John's head.

John drops his head back down on Rodney's chest, and Rodney's hand follows, fingers sliding through John's hair, drawing aimless patterns. It's hypnotic and John's eyes close of their own accord.

Then Rodney's hand goes still.

"You're the best person I've ever known," Rodney says, and there's anger in his voice. "Do they know that? Any of them? Do they really know who you are? Because they should."

"Rodney," John sighs. "It really doesn't matter anymore what they think. And no-- you can't go and talk to them."

Rodney huffs and falls silent.

"But I appreciate the thought." And John honestly does, to an extent that surprises him and he's not used to any of this, god, all of them but especially Rodney and he's not sure what to do so he squeezes his eyes shut and nudges Rodney's arm, once, twice.

After a moment, Rodney starts moving his hand again, running it through John's hair.

John presses his cheek against Rodney's chest and breathes, deeply.

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