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04 September 2008 @ 01:51 am
And a Roost for Every Bird  
And a Roost for Every Bird
John/Rodney | ~11,000 words | AU | Loosely based on the movie Jack and Sarah. Pure candyfloss of absolutely no redemptive value, this fic was enabled by the bamboozling triad of amberlynne, dogeared and trinityofone. Fiends, all. Happy birthday, Cate; you are totally my bestest of all Cates. ♥ ♥

The thing about London, John had quickly realised, was that it was a city. Kind of obvious, yeah, and it wasn't like he'd never been in a city before—he'd grown up splitting his time between the farm in Virginia and the ranch in Nevada, not the back of beyond, and the city was only ever a couple hours by car from his folks' place; besides, he'd been at CalTech a while now. But London was a such a sprawl of momentum made visible in concrete and stone, such a gathering of people and buildings and age that it felt like a city concentrated; even after a couple of days there, he still felt unsettled, excited, eyes drawn always upwards to a skyline that seemed to renew itself with every corner he turned.

And maybe that was why, John thought ruefully, he'd ended up completely turned around, aiming for the British Museum and finding himself instead inside what seemed like an endless tangle of well-tended streets lined with neat Victorian townhouses. He came to a halt on the corner of a street that was all but deserted at this hour of a Tuesday morning, admitted to himself that he probably wasn't going to find the Rosetta Stone anywhere near here, and dug a rather battered guidebook out of his backpack.

Its fold-out map promised ease of use in large font, but after five minutes turning it this way and that, John was still none the wiser as to how to get from where he was back to Great Russell Street. Maybe if he just doubled back... but no, there was no guarantee that he'd be able to remember which turn he took where, no guarantee that he wouldn't end up lost completely in some far-flung part of London, having to use up the last of his spare change phoning Teyla so that she could pointedly not make any mention of his complete inability to read a map while telling him that it was just back down this road, second on the left. Clearly.

John sighed, and decided to cut his losses, swallow his manly, I-can-track-a-deer-through-the-woods-using-only-the-sun-as-my-guide self-esteem and ask for directions. Couldn't hurt his testosterone levels, at any rate. He loped up the nearest set of steps and rapped at the door, a solid-looking thing painted bright blue, with a heavy door knocker that looked like it had come from the set of an adaptation of A Christmas Carol. Ronon would've gotten a kick out of it.

No answer. John knocked for a second time, heard no reply, figured that the occupants were all out at work, and was just about to try his luck at the next house over when he heard the sound of rapid footsteps and a muffled cry of "Coming, coming!"

John turned as the door opened and plastered his most charming smile on his face, the one that was sure to wheedle directions out of even the most belligerent of strangers; but he'd barely even had time to draw breath when one warm hand reached out to grab him by the wrist and tug him across the threshold and all his prepared niceties were swept away by the torrent of words in an unexpectedly non-British accent which greeted him: "Finally! You were supposed to be here thirty minutes ago, I'm going to be late for my meeting", and "All the numbers are taped to the front of the fridge; hit one to speed dial my cell number on the house phone", and "Huh, the agency didn't mention you'd be... well, I suppose the age of gender stereotyping is behind us, hmm?"

John just about managed to get out an "Umm" before he was left standing in the hallway, getting a brief, tight smile from a brown-haired guy in a suit before he clattered down the steps and along the street—leaving John gingerly holding a warm, blonde bundle of baby. The little girl looked up at him contemplatively for a moment, before letting out a startlingly deep, milk-scented burp.

John wrinkled his nose. "Umm," he said again.

***


"Teyla!" he hissed, "this is not funny! Would you... would... stop laughing!" He was standing in the kitchen, phone tucked between ear and shoulder while he eyed the baby. John had found one of those portable baby carrier things and had strapped her gingerly into it; she seemed fine, had accepted his handling her with equanimity, and hadn't produced any more curious smells. Now she was gnawing on one little fist and eyeing him with a curiosity which seemed too mature for a kid that young.

John would have been proud of how well he was coping with his freak-out, if it weren't for the fact that he was freaking out.

"I'm sorry, John," Teyla said, the laughter in her voice audible even over the crackle of the trans-atlantic connection. "But you have to admit that the situation has a funny side."

"No," John said, licking nervously at his lower lip. "I really don't. Some stranger just abandoned his kid with me, in a house I don't know, in a city I've only been in two days. I don't want to spend my summer in an English prison... or Christ, what if I'm deported? Child endangerment or kidnapping or—"

"John," Teyla interrupted, "Breathe. This man thought you were from some kind of agency, most likely one which provides childminders. You showed up at the wrong time, he thought you were the new nanny" — her voice quavered suspiciously; John's hate was pure — "which is certainly an... inconvenience, and one which I'm sure you can rectify as soon as the real one turns up. I doubt it can be much longer."

***


He didn't want to keep Teyla up too long; it was two in the morning where she was, and it wasn't like she could do much to help him an ocean's distance away, save maybe argue on his behalf in court if he really did get arrested over this.

"You think they let American lawyers defend you in British courts?" John asked the baby. "They'd probably make Teyla wear one of those funny wigs." He considered, then shook his head; the thought of always-composed Teyla in a fright wig was just too weird.

The kid gurgled, high-pitched and happy, before wrinkling her nose in fierce concentration; a moment or two later, John was wrinkling his own nose. "Oh my god, that cannot be healthy."

He figured he couldn't leave the kid sitting in what had to be two pounds of toxic waste while he waited for the actual nanny to arrive, so he toted her up the stairs in search of changing equipment. John had never had any kid brothers or sisters, but Laura, his on-off-on-off girlfriend in high school, had been the oldest of a healthy Catholic brood, and she'd never had any qualms about passing off diaper-changing duty to him when he was over at the Cadmans.

He poked his head around a couple of doors in search for the kid's room, finding one bedroom after another, all filled with big, old wooden furniture and painted in pale colours. He'd just found the master bedroom and was about to retreat from it—the only one which really looked lived in—when he heard the answering machine on the bedside table click on. An upper-class English voice boomed forth, resonant enough that the speaker would no doubt have felt at home commanding an army into battle, and John could feel his spine straighten instinctively: "Mr McKay, as reassuring as I find your faith that one of our nannies would be with you this morning, need I remind you that my resolution of last Friday holds firm, no matter how large the cheque you send to our offices or how much you berate my assistants. Not one of our girls will consent to return to your employment, and I am afraid Miss Naismith and I cannot blame them. There are many fine agencies in London which I have no doubt are willing to provide you with a nanny, but I am afraid Lloyd and Naismith is not one of them. Good day."

There followed a click, like a phone being placed rather heavily back onto its cradle. John blinked down at the kid, who seemed much more interested in the play of light on the ceiling. "So," he said, "Sounds like your dad's kind of an angry guy. Great."

***


Mr McKay liked to work late, it seemed. By six in the evening, John had gone through another three diaper changes, two jars of baby food, an incident with some mashed banana that left a clump of his hair sticking together, and one bout of crying which could only be soothed by him carrying the baby up and down the hallway, bouncing her on his hip while singing off-key versions of Beach Boy songs, and there was still no sign of the kid's father.

John was sitting on the couch, the little girl dozing in his lap, wondering if maybe he should just call whatever passed for Child Protective Services over here and hand the baby over to them, when he finally heard a key turn in the lock. He braced himself for fire and flood and fury, but it seemed this McKay knew all the best ways to wrong-foot him.

He stood up to head McKay off before he could speak, telling him who he was and where he came from—that he was just John Sheppard, a student on vacation in Europe, who had managed to get turned around looking for the sprawl of the British Museum, and really, he was not here to do any harm to the kid, so if Mr McKay wanted to take his daughter back now, that would be great. Really.

McKay peered at him while he dropped his briefcase onto one of the coffee tables and shrugged off his heavy wool coat. "It is ridiculous the amount of free time they give undergraduates. Sloth rots brain cells, induces gallivanting, and leads to innocent private citizens having their infant daughters hijacked by, by..." He gestured with one hand, in the direction of John's hair, as if a couple of cow-licks badly tamed with a comb were something entirely surprising to him. "The hair suggests drama major. Fashion designer. Something."

John blinked, nonplussed, and said, "I am not. I'm a physics grad student. On sabbatical."

That got him a sharper look, and McKay tilted his chin and rattled off, "Thesis subject, school, supervisor?"

John raised an eyebrow, and shifted the baby to his other hip. "Application of fluid dynamics in flight, CalTech, Zhang," he said, just as tersely. He didn't know what line of work this guy was in, but he was willing to bet that that getting into the PhD programme there had got to carry a little more weight than being a finalist in Project Runway.

McKay blinked consideringly at him a couple of times, then hummed a little in the back of his throat. Finally he said, "Right! Well, you're not entirely stupid then, and you're the only nanny I've had so far who's lasted the entire day, hasn't called me in tears, wrecked my study and/or turned out to be engaged in industrial espionage."

He waved a hand at the expression on John's face. "Yes, yes, I'm actually very important, trust me on this, many people are very jealous of that fact, and I really don't have time to go looking for someone else. We'll count today as your trial-run. Do you want the job?"

It actually seemed like he was serious, and like he wasn't considering calling the cops any time soon. John scratched behind his ear and thought, well, his money was going to run out soon, and he'd already seen a lot of Europe that he wanted to see—Greece (the beaches), Italy (the sky), France (the French)—and been lonely and homesick in most of it. Really, he could do a lot worse than stick around in London for a couple of months; it wasn't like it would be permanent or anything, and Teyla would always be a phone-call away if he did manage to mess something up. He looked down at the dozing, blonde weight in his arm, thought she wasn't such a bad thing to take care of, shrugged one-shouldered, and said "Sure, Mr McKay."

McKay said great and right and okay and it's Dr McKay, actually, but you can call me Rodney. He took off his suit jacket and his tie and undid the top two buttons of his shirt; straight away, he looked like he was breathing more freely, a little bit less intimidating. He came across the room to pick the child out of John's arm, and nestled her into the crook of his elbow with an air that was practised and fond, if slightly distracted. "Hey, lady Sara," he mumbled, soft enough not to wake her, kissing her blonde hair.

Sara settled in his arms, he headed into the kitchen, talking over his shoulder like he expected John to follow him. John didn't figure he'd get any greater entertainment back at the youth hostel that evening, so went in after him, sat at one of the high stools that circled the kitchen's centre island, and listened.

Rodney, it seemed, liked to talk a lot: about what he expected and what he wanted done, and what he couldn't care less about. About his work, how important it was, and how Sara had had all her vaccines so far and he'd expect John to make sure she got the rest at the appropriate times. How he knew Sara was very advanced for her age (here she shifted and blew a spit bubble in her sleep), and Rodney wanted that to be taken into account, but that there was to be absolutely no Oprah-style special flower coddling for his daughter, thank you so much. That he wanted John's CV and a copy of his work so far—no point in him taking foolish chances on someone who subscribed whole-heartedly to the idiotic pie-in-the-sky fancy that was string theory—and that there was a spare bedroom on the top floor if John wanted to take it; that he had very early starts on some mornings and he frequently went to the States and staying here might be more convenient for travel? Rodney wouldn't know because, he declared with some pride, he never ever took the Tube.

Then there was the declaration that on no account, ever, was there to be citrus of any variety brought into the house; that he was deathly allergic, or at least he had it on good authority that it could be classified as a strong food sensitivity, it was just the kind of thing that could be passed onto his daughter and he couldn't stand it if—well, it was just a no-no. That there were phone numbers taped up next to the fridge, written out in a mixture of big, blocky script and a smaller, more rounded hand: numbers for anything and everything, Sara's GP and Rodney's father-in-law, the office, his lab, his mobile number, his other mobile number (for days when it was urgent but Rodney was too grumpy to answer his main mobile). That if John would just give him his bank details, Rodney could set up payment with the first month in advance, and that he was sure John would find it more than generous, the nannies generally did.

By about halfway through this, John's mouth was hanging open, because he wasn't even sure Rodney had taken the time to breathe; he couldn't remember seeing a physical feat that impressive since back in his undergrad days, when Ronon had dabbled in sword swallowing for a while. Not only that, but Rodney was moving constantly around the kitchen as he talked, holding the baby with one hand while he alternately gestured with the other and hunted through the fridge to get the fixings for what looked to be a truly enormous sandwich.

When Rodney actually did pause for a moment, needing his concentration for the construction of alternating layers of sliced turkey, mayo, ham, pickles, lettuce, onion, and cheese, John was already a little dazed. He still wasn't quite sure how he'd managed to end up here. "Uh," he said, "Won't your wife want to, you know, interview me or something? Vet me?"

Rodney went very still at that; John could see the line of his back stiffen, the tension that crept along his shoulders and hardened the crooked line of his mouth. "Sam died," he said shortly, and if the ground could have opened up beneath John right then, swallowed him and his backpack and the stool he was sitting on whole, he would have welcomed it.

"I'm sorry," John said softly, and meant it.

"Me, too," Rodney said, and John could see that he meant it more. The two of them sat and ate sandwiches in a silence that was almost companionable until the big, old-fashioned clock on the wall ticked around to seven thirty, and Sara woke up and demanded feeding.

***
**

John lugged his stuff over from the hostel early the next morning—his big old duffle that had once belonged to his Uncle George, his laptop case, the plastic bag full of cheap and tacky souvenirs he'd bought to amuse Ronon—and dumped everything into the bedroom that Rodney have given him. Though that might be a rather strong way of putting it; Rodney'd just waved a hand in the general direction of the second floor, distracted by whoever he was currently yelling at over the phone, and said 'pick one.'

So John got a room that looked like no-one had set foot in it since the day the decorators had left. Very neatly and tastefully decorated, of course, but John thought that all it would need was a Gideon Bible in the bedside table to make it really feel like a hotel room. The walls were bright blue, though, like a summer's day in California, pierced with two big windows, the middle of the room was taken up with a soft, wide bed, and probably most importantly, it was only two doors down from Sara's room.

When he padded back downstairs with a cooing Sara, fed and dressed and dry, after his third and ultimately successful attempt to make the diaper stay on her, Rodney was still there. He informed John, between phone calls, that he'd taken the day off work to make sure he got settled in okay, and to pull some strings to get John's work visa sorted. John shrugged, and said okay; he put Sara down on the floor on a big, padded play-mat and settled down next to her for what turned out to be a pretty intense game of peek-a-boo.

"You really had me going there for a while, little girl," he said in his most serious voice, stroking her rounded cheeks while she clapped her hands and gurgled in delight, "Thought you'd vanished on me for good."

Rodney stood in the doorway and watched John kid around with his daughter, but he didn't join in; the phone seemed permanently glued to his ear, there were always two laptops close to hand, and his fingers were smudged with ink; if this was a day off, John was kind of afraid to spend a day in Rodney's workplace.

"What exactly is it you do?" John asked dubiously around lunchtime, when Rodney stopped briefly to roll his eyes at the news headlines on Radio 4, snort at the more reactionary callers on a programme called You and Yours, and to heat up some soup for himself. They were sitting back at the island in the kitchen, the point in the house which seemed to be where Rodney gravitated; perhaps as loathe as Rodney to mess up a living room and sitting room which seemed to have been carefully designed by someone and then scarcely lived in at all.

Rodney raised an eyebrow and snapped, "I'm Rodney McKay? No? C'mon, you have to have heard of me. CEO of a Fortune 500 company, contractor for no less than three major world governments, predicted by many to be a shoo-in for the Nobel Prize within the next decade? Cover of Time, cover of Newsweek, ha, twice?"

John just shrugged, crumbling a bit of bread between his fingers. He'd never really paid much attention to the business world—felt too constrained, too irritated with his father's and Dave's ambitions to want to ever be involved with it. Rodney didn't seem to notice his discomfort, though, bustling off into the ground floor study and returning in a moment with a dogeared copy of Newsweek.

He was on the front cover, all right, broad-shouldered in a business suit and tie, hands in his pockets and chin tilted upwards. His eyes were very blue, and the font was bold and blocky, talking about...

"Wait," John said, looking up sharply. He mightn't exactly subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, but even he'd heard of the company that everyone was touting as the next Microsoft—maybe better than the next Microsoft, because their products tended to work. "You're part of MC Industries?"

Rodney rolled his eyes. "I founded it. Well, co-founded it. McKay-Carter Industries. Sam and I—we founded it." He broke off and went back to his soup, seemingly unwilling to talk about it any further; but he didn't object when John flicked through to the main article and read about M. Rodney McKay, 29, born in Toronto and raised in Vancouver: the Canadian child music prodigy, who'd become a teenage genius with a PhD at the age of nineteen, who'd become a firebrand of a multi-millionaire, thanks to his pioneering work in marrying advanced quantum physics with cutting edge electronics.

He read about a Rodney who'd moved over here for the sake of working on Ministry of Defence contracts a couple of years ago, and for the sake of his British-born wife and company co-founder, Dr Samantha Carter who—John flicked to the front cover, hurriedly checked the date—who, Jesus, who at the time of writing was expecting their first child.

There was a picture of her with Rodney, spread out across two glossy pages, taken at some awards ceremony. Sam was all wide smile and glowing skin and blonde hair pinned into a messy up-do, her red dress skimming over a baby bump that was just starting to be visible; she had that glowing look about her some women got when they were pregnant, the one that always made John a little nervous because it was based on a confidence he could never aspire to. Next to her, Rodney stood in his tux, and even with the awkward set of his shoulders, even with his eyes hidden behind his gold-rimmed glasses, John could tell just how happy he was at the moment when the photographer snapped them.

John cleared his throat awkwardly. He never knew what to say about stuff like this. "Sara looks a lot like her. She was, uh—she was very pretty."

Rodney looked up at him from beneath long eyelashes, huffed out something that might have been a laugh, and then returned to studying his soup bowl. "I'm glad you never said that around her. She didn't like being told she was pretty, almost as much as she didn't like being patronised, my Sam." His lips quirked up. "I learned that, oh, maybe shortly after the fiftieth time she said McKay, go suck on a lemon."

He stood up to go put his empty bowl in the dishwasher, and to check on Sara, who was sleeping peacefully in a bassinet over by the window. John closed the magazine carefully. "How did she," he said, tongue darting out to swipe nervously at his lower lip. He probably shouldn't ask, but if he was going to live here, it seemed like something he should know. "Was it sudden?"

Because John remembered all too well what that felt like: coming home from school on a Thursday afternoon, dashing from the car to the house through the rain that had been making the roads slick and wet since early morning; seeing his father and Dave waiting in the hallway for him, his father's eyes red and Dave's jaw set and no sign of his mother anywhere; and knowing what had happened right then, in the sudden, fragile moment between one beat of his heart and the next.

"She, uh," Rodney said, clearing his throat. "It was a haemorrhage. I got the call to tell me she'd gone into labour, and I got to the hospital as fast as I could, I did, but—they said there was too much bleeding. Congenital artery weakness. There was nothing anyone could have done. But they tried."

"Yeah," John said, shifting a little uncomfortably on his stool; he'd not grown any better with platitudes since having to listen to a couple of hundred of them on the day of his mom's wake. "These things, they try their—"

"Yes, yes, I know," Rodney said dismissively, flapping a hand at John and sounding a little bit more like himself. "If they hadn't tried their best, you can be sure I'd have long ago hit them with a malpractice suit large enough to make John Wayne weep."

John cocked an eyebrow. "John Wayne doesn't cry," he said, mock affable. "That's the whole point of him being John Wayne. He's the Duke! Manly, you know..." He waved one hand, searching through his vocabulary for some word which could sum up the sheer, manly awesome of the man who shot Liberty Valance. "Heroic."

Rodney just rolled his eyes. "I hope that you are not planning on inflicting any of that gender stereotyping on my daughter. Men can cry—exhibit A, Kavanagh, when I underbid him for that last contract, and oh, how sweet the taste of victory—and women are absolutely capable of kicking ass and delivering keynote speeches even while suffering from disgustingly awful morning sickness." He reached into the basket to rub Sara's round little belly with the tip of one finger. "Isn't that right, Sara? You're going to grow up to be just like your mommy and your Aunt Jeannie. Only no English majors, please, lady. Spare me that shame."

Sara seemed to have ideas as strong as her father's on her future, however, and ones that were just as independent-minded; because a couple of minutes later, she started to wail and kick up her legs, demanding food and attention in equal measure. Rodney's face shifted, anxiety drawing deep grooves around his down-slanted mouth; he hurried over to pick her up, but John stopped him with a touch to his arm.

"Hey," he said gently. "This is what I'm supposed to be here for. You go do... whatever it is you have to do to make sure I can stay in the country and you can go on beating the snot out of that Kavanagh guy or whoever, I'll feed Sara. Deal?"

"Um, okay," Rodney said, his hands twisting together nervously. "It's just that, after Sam went away, I got kind of... possibly I over-reacted some, to be honest, Radek may have used the words certifiable and lunatic, and I've not really left her with anyone since then, and this is generally around the point where the other nannies have walked out, and though you don't seem to be—"

"Rodney," John said firmly, tugging him over to the door. "Breathe. And go." He pushed Rodney through the kitchen door and closed it behind him. He could hear Rodney huff in the hallway for a moment, then the sounds of him snagging the cordless phone from its cradle and calling back whichever government agency he'd been berating on and off all morning (what do you mean, what skills does he have that a British citizen doesn't? doesn't not seeming to be an inbred moron count, or does that fall under another visa classification? No, that is not being rude, have you seen what you've got sitting in Buckingham Palace, I—what? Yes, yes, having it by Monday will be fine, thank you kindly.), and he laughed to himself before turning back to Sara.

She was red in the face, mouth working like she wanted feeding, though she didn't seem overly enthused with the bottle John offered her. When he tried to reason with her, she spat milky white all over his favourite Patriots t-shirt. "I will not call Teyla," he chanted to himself, as he walked up and down the kitchen, bouncing Sara gently against his hip in a move that had always worked on little Tommy Cadman, but which didn't seem to translate well across the Atlantic, "I will not call Teyla, I will not."

Then Sara peed all over him while he was in the middle of extricating her from what proved to be an exceedingly stinky diaper. John started to reconsider whether or not the loss of his dignity in Teyla's eyes—and in the eyes of whoever she told around Stanford's campus—might not be worth it.

"After all," he told Sara confidentially as he pulled a new pair of yellow trousers up over her squirming legs, "I'm pretty sure your Aunt Teyla already thinks me and your Uncle Ronon hit our heads a couple times too many when we were out skateboarding. This won't be anything new to her. You know about skateboarding yet? No? Trust me, it's very cool. Maybe I'll show you when you get a bit older. Long as you don't tell your daddy."

***


"That is definitely a character flaw," Rodney said, arms folded across his chest, "This is something I should have been told about before I let you into my house."

"Hmm?" John didn't look up from the TV screen—he didn't have much of a clue who these people were, and the little woman with the blonde hair was kind of frightening, but the screaming had just started, and that was generally a good sign.

"Eastenders?" Rodney snapped. "I would never have let you set foot inside my house if I'd known you watched Eastenders. It's, it's, it's unhygienic."

John swivelled his head against the recliner's headrest and looked up at Rodney. Very slowly, he arched an eyebrow.

Rodney flushed, the high points of his cheekbones reddening and his eyes narrowing as he tried to inject some disdain into his voice despite his obvious embarrassment. "I meant mentally unhygienic. It's a, a thing. Metaphor."

"Well, duh," John drawled, turning his attention back to the screen. Ooh, screaming retribution; excellent. "But I need me my soaps."

Out of the corner of his eye, John could see Rodney near quivering with the urge to yell, and John had to try his best not to laugh—Rodney was some of the best fun he'd had in years. "And you got into CalTech how, exactly? Thanks to your groundbreaking undergraduate dissertation on illogical plot-points in Passions?"

"As The World Turns, actually," John said, letting his spine relax into the soft leather of the chair a little further with each degree that Rodney's indignation ratcheted up. Just when Rodney was raising one index finger in a gesture which John had come to realise heralded a hissy-fit of stupendous proportions, "That and the full ride they gave me for winning the Newton-Anderson Prize."

Rodney's jaw dropped for a long and satisfying moment, before snapping shut with an audible click. John couldn't stop himself from grinning, broad and cocky, the kind that had been known to make Ronon threaten to drop him off the end of Santa Monica pier. "Were you fucking with me, weren't you?" Rodney said, voice as high-pitched as if John had done him an actual wrong.

John made a show of regaining his composure. "Would I do that?" He looked up at Rodney from under his lashes, the kind of look which Teyla had always declared made him a truly disturbing mixture of pouting man and dorky kid.

Rodney hurled the couch cushions at him. John's laughter woke Sara up.

***


The next couple of days, John learned the rhythms of this new house, figured out how to rearrange his life to match the schedule of a sometimes cranky baby and her often cranky father and the quirks of a new country. Rodney went in to work a little bit earlier each day, and came back a little later each evening. John figured that kind of schedule must be par for the course with him; it wasn't far off the kind of hours his own father kept, though he hoped for Sara's sake that Rodney would be a little bit better about being there when he was needed.

There were two women, Debbie and Sandra, both blessed with dangling plastic earrings and east London accents so strong John could barely understand them, who came around in the mornings three times a week. Their job was to clean the bedrooms no-one slept in, and to tidy up the rooms downstairs, where John was slowly letting brightly coloured children's toys encroach into the too-sterile atmosphere of the living room. Still, if John charmed them right, ducked his head a little and broke out a little of that Nevada drawl he picked up when he'd lived there as a kid, they'd cook lunch for him as well, and leave leftovers in the fridge, all while clucking about the mess of his hair and saying how hard it must be to be so far away from home.

John found himself becoming an expert at how to change diapers, learning just the technique needed to wind a fretful baby McKay, and figured out how to manoeuvre his way around London with a baby in a sling against his chest and a big diaper bag slung over his shoulder. They were none of them things that he had expected to pick up on his trip to Europe—no foreign languages rolled off his tongue, his digital camera was almost empty of pictures of the Mediterranean's bright blue or Rome's ruins—but as the days went by, he found that he didn't really mind so much. He'd been travelling to get away, not to go anywhere, really; London, it turned out, was as good a place as anything to try out something new, something no one would ever have expected from him.

By the end of the week, he'd learned how to get from Rodney's front door to the nearest Tube station or the bus stop without missing a turn, and set out for them most mornings when the weather was fine—he thought that Sara was just as much of a newcomer to the city as he was, and didn't think it could hurt to bring her to see the sights. He brought her to the British Museum, finally found, and read to her from his guide book while he showed her reconstructed temples and the great, shattered heads of Egyptian pharaohs; the unimaginable delicacy of glassware that had stayed unbroken for two thousand years. John even found out what kind of an incredible superpower it was to have a six-month-old baby strapped to you, because the crowds around the case housing the Rosetta Stone parted in front of him without a murmur, letting him get close enough to the glass that Sara could smack her tiny hands against it.

"Pretty cool, huh?" he asked her as she wondered at her own reflection, letting his own eyes roam over three kinds of script carefully carved into the dark stone—all different, all incomprehensible to him, and all meaning the same thing—let them mean all the things John'd been thinking about of late.

***


John learned the joys of tea brewed so strong the spoon stood up in it as a preservative against the demands of over-tired children; wondered how he'd gone through life before discovering the joys of Jaffa Cakes and their pure sugar boost.

"Why don't we have these back home?" he asked at Rodney one night, when Sara had wilfully decided to get her first head cold, and neither of them had slept. John was pretty sure he'd eaten almost the entire pack himself, and his stomach was uncomfortably, queasily full; his lips were smeared with melted chocolate-orange sweetness when he licked them.

"Speak fo' y'self," Rodney mumbled around a mouthful of Battenburg cake, his own particular vice. "Import whole box of 'em ever'time I'm back in Canada. Jeannie's addicted."

"I think I'm going to be sick," John announced, staring down at the kitchen table; at Rodney's square, strong-seeming hands curled around the warm blue of his coffee mug; at his own hands playing with the rim of his cup of tea.

"Can I have the last of the biscuits then?" Rodney said, perking up and sounding nowhere near so perturbed as he really should be by the prospect of yet more bodily fluids on his kitchen floor. Bastard.

"No," John said, and placed one hand protectively over the crinkling cellophane wrapper.

***



John was vaguely surprised at how quickly he picked up the ins and outs of how to keep a baby alive, though he didn't think that between him as a nanny and Rodney as a dad, that he could vouch there'd be no lasting trauma. Sara was a cute little thing, liked to sleep in the crook of his arm, and John thought there was no way he could ever have tried to do anything but his best for her: not when the weight of her trust in him was heavier than she was. The kid even slept all the way through the one phone call he'd had with his dad in months, which had swiftly descended from tense civility ("So, how's Dave?") to curt anger ("Yeah, I do kind of remember that you paid for the PhD, Dad, it's not like you ever let me forget.") to full on yelling ("Well, maybe I don't want to work for R&D! Maybe I want to say working as a nanny! Yeah, you heard right, a nanny.")

When John finally hung up, he'd sighed, looked down at Sara, let his eyebrows crinkle up in consternation that was half real, half mock, and said, "That was kind of ridiculous of me, wasn't it?"

Sara blew a spit bubble at him, which John took to mean that she agreed.

***


John found that he didn't mind when he was referred to as the childminder, or the au pair, or even as the nanny (though the appraising looks that slid from him, to Rodney, and back to him again—those he could have done without), but he swiftly found that the term 'manny' made him grind his teeth while a vein throbbed in his neck.

"It's not even a word," he whined at Rodney while they wrestled Sara's carrycot, nappy bag, large stuffed duck called Ted, small stuffed teddy called Duck, a fretful Sara and themselves into the taxi which was supposed to take them to the health clinic for Sara's check-up. Rodney insisted that he go with them because he was quite certain that with John's terrible sense of direction, he'd take a wrong turn and end up on the other side of the Thames.

"Yes, yes," Rodney said distractedly, waving a rattle in Sara's face in a hopeless attempt to keep her distracted while he buckled her into the hated carrycot, "I'll bear your preferred methods of self-identification in mind the next time you get offended by an article in the Guardian, in fact, I'm drafting a particularly scathing letter to the editor in my head at the moment, now get in, sit down and shut up, Mary Poppins."

John got in, sat down, and glowered over at Rodney, but didn't shut up—though, it had to be said, neither the taxi driver nor Rodney seemed to be particularly appreciative of his imitation of a certain cheerful Cock-er-ney chimney sweep.

"I never thought I'd say this," Rodney said before they'd reached the first set of traffic lights, "but come back, Dick van Dyke, all is forgiven."

"Too fucking right, mate," said the taxi driver.

***


Rodney ate at home with them some evenings, sitting with John and Sara in the kitchen or sprawling out on the sofa in the living room with Sara resting on his belly while he introduced her to what he told John was the vital socio-cultural information provided by the Star Wars trilogy. John was surprised to find more and more that, beneath the bluster and the arrogance and the social skills that could be, frankly, kind of piss-poor, Rodney was capable of being funny and disarmingly honest, and even a little shy when the mood took him.

Once, they were sitting together in the kitchen after John had finally got Sara bathed and down for the night. Rodney had taken his business jacket off and rolled up his shirt sleeves so that they bunched just beneath the surprising swell of his biceps, but didn't seem to be inclined to make any further concessions to relaxation this evening, for all that he looked tired and drawn. John knew that whatever contract he was working on, it was a big one; there had been dark circles under Rodney's eyes for days, not helped, John knew, by the calendar on the kitchen wall, where the twenty-second of the month was ringed in red, with 'Sam's B-day' scribbled on it in Rodney's hand.

John didn't feel much more energetic himself; babies, it turned out, were hard work. There were days, when he struggled to keep Sara entertained or to soothe upsets he didn't understand, that he was all the more awed at how many kids Mrs Cadman had managed to wrangle while holding down a job outside the house. (She had to have been popping pills or something, he had decided once in the small hours of the morning, throwing another pair of jeans soaked in baby pee into the washing machine.) He just had his thesis to work on at nights, or in the moments when Sara was napping or happily amusing herself by trying to gnaw on her own foot, but it was still enough to leave him a little overwhelmed. Much as he'd felt the same thing in grad school before now, he was realising that that was nothing compared to trying to make your brain work coherently while running on a sleep deficit that was heading into the double digits, and hadn't even had the benefit of a party the night before to compensate slightly for it.

John could have gone to Hawaii with Ronon, spent his days surfing and his night in one of those dive bars Ronon seemed to love, the kind with live music where the air was blue-thick with cigarette smoke and the beer was cold in the glass.

He sat down heavily next to Rodney, snagging his container of beef and broccoli from the paper bag and dumping it out onto his plate. Rodney was poking at a mound of rice with his chopsticks and didn't look up, but John had learned quickly that no matter how wiped Rodney appeared, if you talked to him for long enough, you'd spark off something in him to get that flow of words going again, get that mobile mouth moving. John swallowed a chunk of meat and said, "You ever feel like you don't know where to start with something?"

"No," Rodney snorted, "I am a genius." Then his shoulders slumped a little, and he said, "Well, yes. You've met Sara, right? I didn't exactly have much experience with kids before she came along, and I thought hey, I could cope, I'd have Sam. And then I didn't any more, I had this tiny little thing, all red-faced and bald like my grandfather, and I didn't have a clue. You know, I didn't even know you could get diapers in different sizes?"

"You can?" John said, all mock surprise.

"Yeah," Rodney said, mouth pulling down at the corners. "I ordered a bunch of them online from Tesco, and then when they arrived... well, at least there's a stockpile for when she gets a little bigger. Not that it did me much good that morning, I was already late for her first check-up at the health clinic."

John quirked an eyebrow. "And?"

"Well," Rodney said expansively, pointing at John with the tips of his chopsticks, "That's where the genius part comes in. I improvised."

"You improvised a diaper," John said dubiously. He had visions of Rodney duct-taping the poor kid into a diaper three times bigger than she was.

"It's not that difficult! People have been doing it for thousands of years before Pampers were invented. All sorts of people—goat herders, even. All I needed was some cotton wool and one of those linen napkins we got as a house-warming gift." The timbre of his voice dropped a little on those last words, as if even Rodney could somehow sense the absurdity of what he'd said.

"You tied her into a diaper. Made out of a napkin."

"Yes?" Rodney sounded a little exasperated, as if he was quite sure that John was trying to find a fault with him, but he didn't know what that fault was. "And then I put her inside one of those Jiffy envelopes, you know, the bubble wrap ones? For greater absorbency in case of an accident in the back of the taxi. Also, in case I dropped her. Are you gonna eat that?"

"Nah," John said, "I'm good," though Rodney had already appropriated about half of what was on his plate, adding cooling beef and broccoli to semi-congealed sweet and sour chicken. They stole food from one another's plates until they were empty, slumped in front of a Monty Python marathon on TV in a digestion-induced coma, and when John woke up, some time on the far side of eleven o'clock, Rodney was slumped against him, asleep, his breathing warm and damp against John's shoulder.

***


If Dora the Explorer were a real person, John decided, he'd shake her hand and thank her. Thirty minutes of near silence was not to be underrated.

***


John brought Sara on picnics to Hyde Park to show her the ducks while she grizzled and dribbled around her teething ring; they shared one of the striped deck chairs, Sara ignoring the birds while she gripped the soother with both hands and worked on producing her first tooth with a kind of ferocious determination that made John grin. Rodney came with them once or twice at the weekends, John's goading enough to make him overcome that reserve that sometimes came over him with Sara—because of Sam, John had realised, because the daughter was displaying all of her mother's swift brightness, her flashing smile—and crawl around the flattened grass with her, pretending he was a monster.

John explored London with her, got to know the city with her in a way he'd scarcely gotten to know Washington or even San Francisco—he had all day with her most days, plenty of time to see and to do, his range of vision widened by the requirements of having to see the world twice over: once marvelling at the strength of walls that had stood for a thousand years, twice wondering at a flock of mangy old city-pigeons taking to the wing in perfect unison. The zoo fascinated Sara, the London Eye John, and he paid for another ticket just so they could spend another half hour up there, floating free. They wandered around the markets in Camden Town on weekdays, and made the mistake of trekking down Oxford Street one weekend—an overcrowded experience that left Sara red-faced and yelling, and John kind of wishing he could indulge in the same behaviour on the cab trip home.

Summer shaded into autumn, rain washing the streets clean, summer's lassitude fading away as the new snap to the air made people walk faster, the click of boots on the pavement echoing beneath newly appearing canopies of multi-coloured umbrellas. Sara disdained the newly required woollen hat, the scarf and the mittens, with all the decisiveness that her father was capable of, and delighted in throwing them out of her pushchair at the most awkward of moments.

The third time one of her mittens vanished down a storm drain, John rolled his eyes and gave serious thought to buying her a set of those dorky mittens-on-a-string. He could probably get a pair in the BHS around the corner—and that Wednesday-morning sort of thought gave him pause, because when had he gone from a guy who couldn't find his way to a major tourist attraction with a map to the sort of person who knew the best walks to keep a teething baby interested and distracted, who knew where were the best places to buy kids' clothes and second-hand books and fruit-filled smoothies? At some point he'd not noticed, the city had become his in that indefinable, can't-describe way that meant he could walk its streets and know what ground lay beneath his feet; could orient himself by the buildings which soared and sprawled and were its brick-and-stone bones; could find his way to the heart of it and never miss a beat. It was a home.

"Huh," he thought, and then turned the pushchair around to head back to the house. This was the kind of thing that needed to be considered over a large cup of coffee while Sara was down for her nap—and possibly, when Rodney got back, over a big glass of one of those English lagers Rodney liked so much.

***


He called Teyla that night, transatlantic phone charges be damned, let the sounds of early afternoon by the blue-green stretch of the Pacific fill his ear; pretended that the static of the phone line was really the sound of the ocean waves, though he knew Teyla couldn't possibly have heard them in her Santa Monica apartment. She told him about the frustrations of her newest case, the suspicions she had about the defending lawyer, Michael Kenmore; Ronon's attempt to learn juggling to impress his latest girlfriend, a doctor with a shy smile from Wisconsin; how she and Elizabeth had found a wonderful Mexican restaurant the other day, hidden down a side street, the taste of its food rich and citrus-strong.

"I can't eat citrus any more," he heard himself say; he wasn't quite sure why.

Teyla paused for a long moment; John could hear the quiet, even sounds of her breath while she thought. "Are you well, John?" she asked.

John knew what the answer to that was: Things are okay or I'm fine or I'm good. Instead he found himself saying, "I think I'm home."

He didn't have to see Teyla to know that she was smiling.

***


John swore he got his first grey hair the day he realised that a baby who could crawl, and who possessed a certain McKay disregard for personal safety only on those occasions when it meant that they could satisfy their knowledge, was a baby which would end up scaling the heady heights of the next floor up before John knew what was going on.

Once rescued, John ended up lying on his back on the landing with a blithely unconcerned Sara lying on his chest—he'd stand up any moment, he would, when he'd gotten rid of the mental image of a baby trying to test out the theory of gravity by leaping from the bannisters and his legs could support him again—and was still there when Rodney got home.

Rodney shot him a look when he stepped over John and a now-napping Sara on his way to the bedroom, but he didn't say anything. Coming from Rodney, that was almost worse.

"Hey," John called after him, "this parenting stuff is hard work!"

"Yes, yes," Rodney yelled back through his bedroom door; John could catch glimpses of him from the corner of his eye, the sturdy line of his back, flashes of pale skin as he stripped off his shirt. "And yet somehow I'm not the one lying supine in the hallway."

"I hate you," John said without any heat in his voice.

"Uh huh," Rodney called, and John could hear the thumping of drawers opening and closing as Rodney embarked on what would surely be a futile search for a pair of clean sweatpants. "Hate you, too."

John stayed there, staring at the ceiling, long after the late evening shadows had slanted across it and his vision had grown dim.

***


The better John got at the whole pseudo-dad thing, the more anxious Rodney seemed to become about being the real deal. He wasn't sure if simply the government contract Rodney was working on, the long hours he was working, was aggravating it—sometimes John would come downstairs at three in the morning to find Rodney sacked out on the couch in the living room, laptop still crunching through calculations on the floor and re-runs of Doctor Who flickering in primary colours on the TV screen—or if the fact that Sara and John were getting to be comfortable with one another in the way of family was what was freaking Rodney out.

Or maybe, John thought, maybe Rodney was just a complete asshole.

"She's your kid, Rodney," he hissed, when the fight had escalated from the terse, uh, exchange of opinions that John was an old hand at from countless dinners back at his dad's house, to the kind of yelling you practised when you were a parent and the width of a door was all you could rely on to keep your anger shielded from your child.

"I am perfectly aware of that," Rodney said, his face bright red and his hair rumpled from where he'd scrubbed at it with impatient hands, "Since I do seem to recall, oh, I don't know, being there at her conception."

"Jesus, McKay, I don't want details!"

"You're not going to get them!" Rodney's voice, high-pitched and outraged, bore a startling resemblance to Sara's when she was required to wait more than thirty seconds for her next meal. "I just mean that I'm perfectly aware that I am her father and I don't need proof of that, I don't need to sit here and make a, a scrapbook commemorating an extra special bowel movement—"

"Hey, she's starting to crawl, Rodney. That's something you should be here for, that's something you should notice. I don't care how much money you're going to earn from that damn deal, it's your job to care." John jabbed a finger at Rodney for emphasis, letting it punctuate his words, because dammit, he was right, he was. Rodney had hardly been at the house for much more than a shower and a change of clothes for the past two weeks, and when he'd picked Sara up, the old easy familiarity had changed to something awkward, diffident. He couldn't let Rodney be like—

Rodney paled, suddenly and spectacularly, and he fumbled for a chair, sat down hard. "You think I—you think I don't love her?" His voice shook, trembling on the edge of some emotion John was almost ashamed to think he'd caused. "You think I don't—she's my Sara, she—"

John sighed, all his anger-adrenaline suddenly gone, and he felt sick with the lack of it. He pulled out another chair and sat down, splayed his hands across the familiar warm wood of the kitchen table. "Never said that, Rodney. Would never say that. But I don't want you to look back in a couple years and think you could have—that you should have—" I don't want Sara to feel like I did, John thought, but couldn't say. I don't ever want her to be lonely.

"Jacob wants visitation rights," Rodney blurted out, cutting across John's words.

John blinked at him.

"Sam's—Sara's grandfather," Rodney said. "He lives all over—consultancy work, mostly, he was always very busy. He wasn't here when Sam. Went. And he sent a letter a little while ago, and mostly I've been... afraid?" He looked up at John at that, tongue darting out to swipe at his lower lip, as if he was worried that those were not the right words; as if those were not words he was allowed to speak. "She looks so much like Sam, I don't think you realise how much because there are photos, but she—their smile is the same, and sometimes I think, I think I tried so hard with Sam, she fought so hard to stay, and she couldn't and—what if Jacob takes Sara away? What if I'm not good enough for this, for her. I couldn't, I couldn't bear it."

Rodney's voice cracked, embarrassingly, and he ducked his head, staring down at the table. For a moment, John looked at him—his bowed head, the brown disorder of his hair, the familiar, pale nape of his neck where it met the ragged edge of his tattered old t-shirt—and he couldn't quite breathe, because John knew it had all been twisted around in his head, all his feelings on the wrong side of knowing because he'd never had but the straight lines of his father's back, had confused the mingling of Rodney's fear and love with Patrick Sheppard's distance.

John shrugged a little, one shouldered, the movements of his body jerky beneath the sudden weight of his realisation, the always-awkward impulse to provide comfort—because he recognised Rodney's fear, the fear that came from losing the place you'd tried to make for yourself in the world; knew it as kin to the fear that came from realising that what you'd thought was uncertain ground beneath your feet was the stepping stone you were searching for. All he could do was shrug and say, "She's your kid, Rodney, she's—she loves you."

Rodney flicked a sideways glance at him from under his eyelashes. "You're the one who keeps a scrapbook about the first time she—"

John rolled his eyes, cutting him off. "I stuck a note on the fridge to tell you about that time she peed on the nurse during her check up. You're the one who—you love her enough to want to be sure you're doing it right. That matters."

Rodney's fingers fidgeted against one another for a long moment. "That doesn't mean it'll always be okay," he said finally, words curling up at the edge with the traces of his doubt.

"No," John admitted. "But Sara's gonna know you love her. That you tried."

"That'll be enough?" Rodney sounded tired; there were dark circles under his eyes.

"It'll be a start," John said, and thought of how often he'd tried with his own dad, even if he'd failed, and meant it; his fingers brushed briefly against Rodney's on the table, the tips of his fingers meeting the worn skin and the smooth.

***


Next day, John glared at Rodney until he agreed to feed Sara her lunch.

"This is what I'm paying you to do," Rodney grumbled, "Rather handsomely, if I do say so."

"No," John said, sticking a plastic spork into Rodney's hand, enjoying the way indignation made colour flood into Rodney's cheeks, "You're paying me to make sure you can take care of your kid. Now feed her the damn peas."

John wandered back into the living room and started throwing the worst of the toy debris back into the big plastic toy crate, keeping half an eye on an old football (proper football) game that he'd found on one of the hundreds of channels Rodney subscribed to but rarely watched. He decided he'd give it twenty minutes, but barely fifteen had passed when the kitchen door swung open and Rodney walked in to deposit Sara in John's arms, rather imperiously, and declare that there had been no problems at all, why would there have been problems? Chin tilted high, he declared that he was going to his office to make an important conference video call to Silicon Valley. John said sure, and watched him go, and elected not to tell him that he had mashed vegetables of an indeterminate nature stuck in his hair, kept to himself the surprisingly pleasing sight that was Rodney coming over all proudly self-aggrandising about his paternal duties.

"Your dad's kind of silly," he informed Sara, before he tickled her belly, and one of her happily flailing hands caught him in the eye. John rubbed at his stinging eyelid, and heard a muffled yelp come from across the hallway which meant either that Rodney had caught sight of himself in a mirror, or one of those very important business associates had mentioned the fact that he was wearing a sizeable chunk of his daughter's dinner.

Sara gurgled at him, babbling away in the private little language she had begun to use, mimicking others around her as she began to learn how to answer him. John liked to think he knew what she meant though—kissed her on the temple and said, "Yeah. Yeah, I don't think he's so bad, either."

Real family rarely was.

***


"So," John said, keeping an eye on Sara as she tottered across the grass, struggling to keep up with the momentum of her own thrilled-toddler walk. She was in full pursuit of the pigeons which, though land-ungainly and running in circles, were still able to keep well ahead of her. "I was doing some thinking."

"This," Rodney said, digging at the bottom of his messenger bag for the last packet of Walker's cheese and onion, "bodes."

"Haha," John said, and reached over to cuff him upside the head. "No, it was just—my sabbatical's almost up, and CalTech's going to want me to—"

"Oh. Oh. Well, if you want to, that is if you have to, I'm sure Sara and I can find—and of course your, your PhD comes first." Rodney aimed for a smile, but fell far short of it; the line of his mouth did something complicated, and he couldn't quite meet John's eyes. "I'm sure your father will be happy to have you back."

John sighed, and hit him again, and resolutely didn't laugh at the outraged expression on Rodney's face. "For a very smart man, you're very stupid," he told Rodney. "CalTech wants me back, but that doesn't mean I want to go back. I was thinking, maybe... I'm ABD, pretty much, and I think I could find a university in London that'd let me transfer, if I could find a willing supervisor, and—"

When Rodney smiled, it transformed his whole face. "Stay?" he asked, gaze flickering over John's face as if to make certain with his senses what his mind couldn't yet comprehend. "With me and Sara?"

"Yeah," John said, "If, you know, you'd rather not go through that whole rigourous nanny-selection process all over again."

Rodney snorted, but he didn't stop looking at John. "Are you kidding me? I'll browbeat every halfway-decent lecturer I know into taking you on, hell, I'll deal with people I don't know, I'll—"

And John couldn't help himself, because he hadn't just been thinking about dissertations and supervisors and which country and where—he'd been thinking about Sara, and how she was learning each day to put together the sounds which one day soon would mean family—he'd been thinking of something like this, the two of them sitting cross-legged on a blanket in the park under a slowly warming spring sun. He couldn't help himself, because he'd been hoping for this instead: so he leaned in, and fit his palm to the stubbled curve of Rodney's cheek, and kissed him very, very slowly. John kept his eyes open, felt his heart stop and start again at the way Rodney's eyes drifted closed, and licked carefully at Rodney's lower lip.

The touch of his tongue made Rodney shudder against him, and John whispered, voice so hoarse he could hardly recognise that he himself was speaking, "Can I stay?"

Rodney ran one hand the length of John's side, curled close enough that though they did not touch anywhere else, John knew just how they would fit together on Rodney's big bed: how Rodney's hips would press against his, how their chests would touch, what Rodney's weight would be like on top of him. "Can I stay?" he asked again, while Sara ran giggling back over to them and sprawled herself with an exhausted, contented oof across her fathers' knees.

Rodney just smiled, and kissed him, reaching up with one hand to scratch blunt fingernails across the nape of John's neck, and said home; and that, John thought, sitting in the sunlight with the people he'd found when he'd thought he was lost—that was more than good enough.
 
 
mood: excitedYAY CATE
 
 
there's nobody here but us chickensincidental_fire on September 4th, 2008 02:52 am (UTC)
Oh oh, that was just lovely. They fit into the story so well, but were still so very them. I loved seeing the changes John went through, from freaking out to finding his family. Just marvelous.
this is not in the proper spirit of rumspringa: sga - john frontalsiriaeve on September 4th, 2008 10:01 am (UTC)
Yay, I'm so glad you enjoyed it! ♥
comfortable humidities: john + rodney (kissing!)dogeared on September 4th, 2008 02:56 am (UTC)
Oh it is darling, darling!! The slow build from strangers to family, and then asd;flasdfkj the END, and kissing Rodney slowly, and fathers, and finding home!! \o/ \o/
this is not in the proper spirit of rumspringa: sga - john gloriedsiriaeve on September 4th, 2008 10:03 am (UTC)
*snorfles you in an ecstasy of snorfling!*
See the blazing you'll be sorry...: McShep THWAPdarsynia on September 4th, 2008 03:28 am (UTC)
This whole story resonates 'home' at just the perfect frequency! John's interactions with both of them made me so very happy :)
this is not in the proper spirit of rumspringa: sga - john rodney closersiriaeve on September 4th, 2008 10:05 am (UTC)
Eee, yay, I am so glad!
elandrialoreelandrialore on September 4th, 2008 03:44 am (UTC)
This is gorgeous. I love John finding home in London and then finding home with Sara and Rodney:)
this is not in the proper spirit of rumspringa: sga - john rodney embracesiriaeve on September 4th, 2008 10:06 am (UTC)
Yay, I am so happy you enjoyed it!
the creases and flecks in the map: yes i said yes i will yestropes on September 4th, 2008 04:25 am (UTC)
Oh oh oh I love this so much.
this is not in the proper spirit of rumspringa: sga - mckay sheppard bluestsiriaeve on September 4th, 2008 10:10 am (UTC)
Whee, I am so glad! :D
Catesheafrotherdon on September 4th, 2008 05:11 am (UTC)
Oh, yammy! Oh, oh, I love this so - John and Rodney and BABY \o/ And I love that John is lost and finds a home with Rodney, and that Rodney is lost and finds a home in John, and that John can already imagine fitting against Rodney in bed because all the important stuff's been worked out already, in peas and pizza and football and naps on the landing, and oh oh oh, just the most adorable bedtime story ever *sighs so happily*!!
this is not in the proper spirit of rumspringa: sga - mckay sheppard other waysiriaeve on September 4th, 2008 10:11 am (UTC)
Eeee *snorfles your wee head* I am sorry that it is not so good, but I was writing as quick as ever I could! Stupid dissertation stopping me from writing important things like fanfic :(
Hungrie Fore Draygons: pebblesunamaga on September 4th, 2008 06:00 am (UTC)
Absolutely gorgeous. I love how John gets swept up into Rodney's life, but it's Rodney who's so off-balance, and just - *happy sigh*
this is not in the proper spirit of rumspringa: sga - mckay sheppard own namesiriaeve on September 4th, 2008 10:12 am (UTC)
Eee, I am so glad you enjoyed it! ♥
Pfützenhüpfer: aawsocutemiscellanny on September 4th, 2008 08:33 am (UTC)
Oh. Oh, that was so lovely. It's set up home in my stomach and will be making me happy all day. :D
this is not in the proper spirit of rumspringa: sga - rodney hoodiesiriaeve on September 4th, 2008 10:12 am (UTC)
Eee, yay! I am so glad you enjoyed it!
n.s. - miscellanny on September 4th, 2008 10:14 am (UTC) (Expand)
n.s. - siriaeve on September 4th, 2008 10:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
this is not in the proper spirit of rumspringa: sga - team fieldsiriaeve on September 4th, 2008 11:01 am (UTC)
Oh :"> Thank you so much, I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
rinsbanerinsbane on September 4th, 2008 12:17 pm (UTC)
This is wonderful. I love all the new worlds it opens up to John. It makes me grin.
this is not in the proper spirit of rumspringa: sga - teamsiriaeve on September 4th, 2008 12:23 pm (UTC)
Eee, yay! ♥ ♥
hooker 13: [sga]rodney right hereamberlynne on September 4th, 2008 12:57 pm (UTC)
Oh oh oh boys. With the teasing and the home and can I stay?" the kissing. Loooooooooooooooooooooooove! ♥
this is not in the proper spirit of rumspringa: sga - john rodney embracesiriaeve on September 4th, 2008 01:03 pm (UTC)
*snorfles your adorable head*
crownglass39: jf-backseatcrownglass39 on September 4th, 2008 01:56 pm (UTC)
Oh this is lovely! I love Nanny!John!
this is not in the proper spirit of rumspringa: sga - mckay sheppard own namesiriaeve on September 4th, 2008 02:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
Ninja Kittybeadattitude on September 4th, 2008 02:53 pm (UTC)
::presses both hands to heart:: That was. That was. Yes. I have an extra-special kink for nanny-fic, and oh my, John and Rodney nanny fic? Pure GOLD.

(it makes me also want to go find a baby and smell her little head oooh! My baby niece is just around the corner!)
this is not in the proper spirit of rumspringa: sga - john all tied upsiriaeve on September 4th, 2008 03:01 pm (UTC)
Heee, I'm so glad you enjoyed it! :D
n.s. - beadattitude on September 4th, 2008 03:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Gaffsie: Head-pinchgaffsie on September 4th, 2008 04:09 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is lovely. My thought processes when reading this looked something like 'Baby! John and baby! John and Rodney and baby!' :)
this is not in the proper spirit of rumspringa: sga - mckay sheppard other waysiriaeve on September 4th, 2008 04:46 pm (UTC)
Hahaha, and what delightful thought processes those are! \o/
Anonymity as a Refugemirabile_dictu on September 4th, 2008 04:15 pm (UTC)
Awww, this was darling! *happy sigh*
this is not in the proper spirit of rumspringa: sga - rodney hoodiesiriaeve on September 4th, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC)
Eeee, yay!
Gnine: SGA McShep Morning kissgnine on September 4th, 2008 04:37 pm (UTC)
Oh oh OH! Yes, yes! and oh! a;lkdjfa SO. CUTE. Oh boys! And added baby fun for the win! This was wonderful!
this is not in the proper spirit of rumspringa: sga - teamsiriaeve on September 4th, 2008 04:48 pm (UTC)
Hee, yay! ♥ I'm so glad you liked it!
Loriel Eris: john/rodney just a kiss adrift // sgaloriel_eris on September 4th, 2008 08:28 pm (UTC)
Oh god. *INCOHERENT GLEEEEEE*
this is not in the proper spirit of rumspringa: sga - mckay sheppard bluestsiriaeve on September 4th, 2008 08:43 pm (UTC)
*glees back at you!* :D
Kass: John/Rodney chesskassrachel on September 4th, 2008 08:51 pm (UTC)
asdjfadskfjasdlkfjsafaskfj

::happy flailing::

Oh, this is MARVELOUS, I am so happy right now I can't even tell you!
this is not in the proper spirit of rumspringa: sga - teamsiriaeve on September 4th, 2008 09:05 pm (UTC)
:"> *squeaks!*
beachlass: smartbeachlass on September 4th, 2008 10:35 pm (UTC)
oh - lovely!!

You've used a lush descriptiveness - and everything became so real - the rooms, the travels around London, Sara, the boys. What a lovely, lovely story.
this is not in the proper spirit of rumspringa: sga - team fieldsiriaeve on September 5th, 2008 05:21 am (UTC)
Yay, thank you so much!
toomuchplortoomuchplor on September 4th, 2008 11:16 pm (UTC)
D'awww... I have a six month old niece and now I feel the need to RUN AND SEE HER.
this is not in the proper spirit of rumspringa: sga - rodney hoodiesiriaeve on September 5th, 2008 05:24 am (UTC)
Hee! My youngest cousin has just started to teeth, so she is very McKay-like right now—so cute and yet grumpy :D
Rogaroga on September 4th, 2008 11:48 pm (UTC)
Oh, this was so beautiful. I love the backstory you built for Rodney, with John's entry into his life not coming at Sam's expense; John's growing levels of comfort, both with being a pseudo-dad and with he city; John and Rodney's dynamic throughout the whole thing, from strangers who get along to friends who still have this degree of distance between them, until the end. And your descriptions of life in London, from the weather to the sounds to the food to Eastenders. I love London, and you really captured the atmosphere of the city.
this is not in the proper spirit of rumspringa: sga - john all tied upsiriaeve on September 5th, 2008 05:35 am (UTC)
Thank you so very much! I've only really been in London twice, and I wrote this over two very hurried days, so I'm so glad that it all fit together okay :D
Shrewkateshrewreader on September 5th, 2008 12:35 am (UTC)
Talk about spirit of Iowa!!! OMG yay! Wow! Paul Gross Arms! \o/!!
this is not in the proper spirit of rumspringa: sga - john biddensiriaeve on September 5th, 2008 05:36 am (UTC)
Hee, thank you so much!
sffan: SGA - Rodneysmugsffan on September 5th, 2008 02:01 am (UTC)
*wail* You have me reading kid-fic and LIKING it! The world is askew! It's the power of McShep! It's the power of awesome! It's...I have no idea ;)

Great story. Very sweet without being cloying. And that kiss, wow, that kiss.
this is not in the proper spirit of rumspringa: sga - john frontalsiriaeve on September 5th, 2008 05:37 am (UTC)
Hee, thank you so very much, duck!
skeddy_katskeddy_kat on September 5th, 2008 02:11 am (UTC)
This was lovely. I think you fit them into the story very nicely.
this is not in the proper spirit of rumspringa: sga - john frontalsiriaeve on September 5th, 2008 05:37 am (UTC)
Thank you so much, hon!
master betarenenet on September 5th, 2008 02:54 am (UTC)
Oh, how lovely! Finding family! Finding home! Finding them both in a pair of cranky McKays with a hole in their lives! ::beams at you and clutches story to chest!::
this is not in the proper spirit of rumspringa: sga - john gloriedsiriaeve on September 5th, 2008 05:38 am (UTC)
Yay, I'm so glad you liked it!