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Fic: Home (McKay/Sheppard, PG)

Title: Home
Author: shaddyr
Recipient: spikespet7
Pairing: McKay/Sheppard
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Author's Notes: The request was: McShep, pre-slash, slash, break-up with the make-up, Holiday fic, or some good hurt/comfort. I hope this fits the bill – enjoy!
Summary: Sometimes when you leave home you find it.

---

John paced across the room. "It's between the two of us! Why do we have to tell anyone?"

Rodney crossed his arms and glared. "We've been over this so many times! If you can't admit it to anyone, not even our closest friends, then what have we got here?"

"Is it really that important?"

"Yes, it is!"

"I just - I can't."

"Why not? Could you just give me a good reason? Hell, give me any reason! At least try to explain, something!"

John didn't respond, and Rodney felt like someone had punched through his chest, grabbed his guts and pulled them all out, leaving him hollow inside.

"Fine. You can't. Well, I'm tired of this. I'm tired of excuses, and I can't do this either. I'm leaving."


***

Six hours later, Woolsey's voice sounded in Sheppard's ear. "Colonel Sheppard?"

"Sheppard here."

"Colonel, did you know about this?" Woolsey's crisp voice demanded.

"Know about what?" he asked, but he had a horrible, sick feeling about what Woolsey's next words would be.

"Dr. McKay's resignation appeared in my inbox approximately 5 minutes ago. That was 10 minutes after the scheduled dial-out to the SGC, which Dr. McKay utilized to go back to Earth." There was a moment of silence. "I take it this is as much of a surprise to you as it is to me."

Sheppard swallowed. "Sir, I think we need to talk."


***



"Daddy, can we have cocoa now?"

Kaleb smiled as he surveyed the front room. There were dozens of Christmas themed clings scattered across the front window, arranged in festive scenes from dancing candy canes to elves painting toys while Santa and his reindeer were riding overhead. One section was still a little bare.

"Let's put a couple more over here first," he said, pointing to the area.

Madison studied the remaining vinyl clings. "These ones," she declared, selecting a tree festooned with lights and sticking it to the window. She added a few clings that looked like presents underneath the tree. "All done!"

"That's beautiful, honey," Kaleb said, and she beamed up at him. "Time for cocoa and some of your Eggnog cookies."

"Yay!" Madison jumped up and down before running into the kitchen and clambering up onto a stool at the kitchen counter. Kaleb followed her into the kitchen, took out a Pyrex measuring cup and poured in 2 cups of milk. He got that started in the microwave, then mixed a few tablespoons of cocoa powder and sugar in a cup with just enough water to make a paste. As he stirred, he watched Madison looking over the plate of decorated cookies covered on the counter.

"I want the red and orange one that Uncle Mer made," she said, pointing at the one that kind of looked like a jagged crystal with one flat end.

"Okay," Kaleb nodded, then took the Pyrex measuring cup out of the microwave when it beeped. He carefully blended the paste into the hot milk, stirring so it was evenly blended. The rich smell of dark chocolate filled the air.

"Mmmmm," Madison hummed, fidgeting on the stool. "That smells so good daddy!" she said. "Is there enough for mommy and Uncle Mer when they come home?"

"I'll make them more," he promised as he got down mugs for both of them. Just then he heard the doorbell. "Hold on a minute, honey," he said and headed for the front door. He peered through the spyhole and his jaw dropped slightly, then unlocked the door and pulled it open.

"Colonel Sheppard? What are you doing here?"

Sheppard looked decidedly uncomfortable, eyes skittering away, and clutching a file folder in his hands with a white knuckled grip. He took a deep breath and brought his gaze back up to meet Kaleb's. "Is Rodney here?"

Kaleb shook his head. "No." As he watched, Sheppard's whole body just slumped, head falling forward, shoulders sagging, as if the weight of the world had just settled on him and he'd lost the will to live. "I mean, he's not right now," Kaleb hastily explained. "He showed up a couple days ago when I was at work. Jeannie dragged him out shopping earlier this afternoon – they'll probably be back soon." He was very relieved to see some life return to Sheppard's expression, hope warring with the gaunt misery on his face.

"Would it be okay – I mean, can I come in? And wait for him?"

Kaleb moved back, pulling the door open wide. "Yes, of course," he invited, shutting the door behind Sheppard after he entered. Sheppard stopped short, clearly conflicted between the desire to say something and the wish to keep silent, and Kaleb waited quietly for the other man to decide. It only took a few seconds.

"Is he – do you know, will he still talk to me?"

"I don't really know what's going on in his head" Kaleb replied carefully. "Meredith has been talking to Jeannie and Jeannie tells me what she thinks, but I can't really tell you how Meredith feels or how he's going to react."

"It's just - I just need to tell him-"

"Look, Colonel," Kaleb cut him off. "You need to talk to him, not me. Now, Madison and I were just going to have some cocoa," he said as he ushered Sheppard through the house. "Would you like to join us?"

Madison sat swinging her legs on the stool as they walked into the kitchen. She glanced over at them and her face lit up with a brilliant smile when she spotted Sheppard.

"Uncle John!" she yelled as she hopped down to run across the room, arms outstretched. He staggered slightly as he caught her, knocked a bit off balance by her exuberant greeting. "I'm so glad you're here!" she said as she wrapped her arms tightly around his middle, cheek pressed against his abdomen. "Uncle Mer said you weren't coming, and I told him I was sad, and he looked sad too, and I asked him why you weren't coming and why he was sad, but mommy said I needed to stop asking so many questions." She turned her head to look up at him, chin digging into his belly. "Why did he say that, Uncle John? Why is Uncle Mer so sad?"

Sheppard looked up at Kaleb, distress pouring off him, and Kaleb stepped forward to disengage Madison's tight embrace.

"Come on, Mads, back up on the stool and you can have your cocoa." She reluctantly let go and climbed back up, motioning for Sheppard to sit down beside her. Kaleb walked back into the kitchen to pour her cocoa. He took out a side plate and placed her cookie on it before setting the plate and the cocoa in front of her. "Be careful, Madison, the cocoa is still hot," he cautioned.

She nodded and grabbed the cup as he watched. When he was satisfied she was being sufficiently careful to sip and wasn't going to burn her mouth, he looked up and caught Sheppard staring at the cookie in bemusement, a ghost of a smile shadowing his lips.

"Rodney made that one." It wasn't a question.

Kaleb nodded slowly. "Madison begged him to help, and he agreed on the condition he didn't have to make Christmas shapes. He made a couple of unique ones, but he and Madison ate most of them already." Kaleb reached into the cupboard and retrieved another mug. "I don't have enough cocoa for two mugs, but Meredith made fresh coffee shortly before Jeannie dragged him out. The coffee machine hasn't timed off yet, so it's still hot. Would you like a mocha?"

Sheppard nodded. Kaleb poured half the cocoa in each of their mugs before topping them off with hot coffee and pushed one toward Sheppard. "There's cream in the fridge if you want," he offered, but Sheppard just shook his head. He placed the folder he'd been holding on the counter and picked up the mug, cradling it in both hands.

Madison put her mug down and grabbed the large plate of cookies.

"Hey, young lady, you already have a cookie," Kaleb began, but Madison gave a very McKay snort as she set the plate in front of Sheppard with a thud. "Uncle John, would you like a cookie? I mostly made them by myself! Mommy and Uncle Mer helped a little. They're really yummy!" she reached out to dig a cookie from underneath the snowman and star shapes. It was yellow, with an oval head and what looked like tentacles coming off the bottom. "Have the squid one!" she insisted, holding it out to him. "Uncle Mer it said it's not a squid but I think it looks like one."

Sheppard took the proffered cookie. "It's not actually a squid, but you're right - it does kind of look like one." He took a bite and gave Madison a small smile. "These are good."

"I know," she replied seriously, then took a sip of her cocoa before launching into a lecture about cephalopods, and how not just squid made ink, but many octopuses as well, and did he know that it was octopuses not octopi, and all about the Vancouver Aquarium "Spotlight on Octopus" program. Kaleb watched Sheppard sip his drink and slowly relax as he asked Madison questions about cephalopods, whales and marine life in general. About 15 minutes later they were laughing over a silly story from the aquarium when they heard the garage door activate, and Sheppard's face suddenly went bleak and pale.

"Are you okay, Uncle John?" Madison asked, her face crinkled into a worried frown.

He gave a terse nod. "I'm fine."

"Hey, Maddie," Kaleb interrupted as he collected her plate and empty mug, "Go brush your teeth and then you can go downstairs and watch My Little Pony."

"Yay!" she cried, jumping off her stool and running out of the kitchen. A few seconds later, she ran back to envelope Sheppard in another hug. "I'm so glad you're here, Uncle John!" she whispered, and he slipped an arm around her and hugged back.

The sound of a trunk being closed and voices having a heated discussion could be heard from the garage. A moment later the back door opened and Jeannie stepped inside while looking over her shoulder, still in mid-conversation. "Look, Meredith, if you back down now, he'll think he can get away with this, and I'll be damned if I'm going to watch someone else do that to you!"

Madison's head whipped around. "Mommy!" she exclaimed, scandalized. "That's a bad word! You gotta put money in the jar!"

Jeannie turned to look at her daughter, and she suddenly froze in place, causing Rodney to bump into her. The both stumbled forward a few steps.

"Jeeze, Jeannie!" Rodney grumbled. "Are you trying to make me break my-" his complaint was cut short as he looked up and saw Sheppard sitting there. "John," he stammered, voice choked.

Kaleb saw a brief flicker of guilt and chagrin cross Jeannie's face before she zeroed in on Sheppard and her expression morphed into anger.

"You're right, Maddie. I'll put money in the jar later." She stepped into the kitchen and placed two bags of groceries on the counter. "Can you go up to your room right now please?"

"Daddy said I could watch My Little Pony if I brushed my teeth!"

"That's fine if daddy said you could. Please go do that now, because the grown-ups need to have an adult discussion."

"Okay, mommy." She turned to give Sheppard one more squeeze. "I love you, Uncle John!" she said, then scampered off.

There was a moment of intensely awkward silence, then Kaleb spoke. "I'm just going to go and make sure that Maddie remembers to floss."

Jeannie was still staring at Sheppard as she replied. "Could you make sure she doesn't get distracted on her way to the family room when she's done?"

Kaleb nodded and put his cup on the counter. "Sure can." He casually draped an arm around her shoulders and dropped a kiss on her head. "He's pretty freaked out," he whispered into her hair. "So give him a chance before you go for the jugular, ok?"

She finally looked up at him, and he could see the struggle in her eyes – the ardent desire to kick John Sheppard's ass down the street for hurting her brother at war with the admonishment to be fair. She took a deep breath and let it out, before nodding. "I'll try."

He gave her a quick kiss then glanced behind her at Meredith. He looked far worse than he had when he'd shown up two days ago, and Kaleb wondered briefly if he should grab him a bucket from under the sink, just in case. He opted to reach out and clasp Meredith's shoulder, earning a startled look from his brother-in-law. "I think you should at least hear him out," he said.

Mer swallowed. "Yeah, I will."

Kaleb nodded, then turned to walk out of the kitchen. He nodded at Sheppard as he went by. "You've got your chance - good luck."

Jeannie crossed her arms. "You've got two minutes, Colonel Sheppard," she said, and the vitriol was back full force. "Say what you have to say."

Sheppard took a deep breath and shifted his gaze to Rodney. "Rodney, can we talk privately?"

"Oh, no you don't!" Jeannie interrupted furiously, stepping in between them. "You are not going to sweet talk him into accepting your pathetic excuses any longer!"

"Hey!" came simultaneous objections from both men, but she ignored them and got right up in Sheppard's face. "You know, I liked you. I respected you! You actually seemed to care about Mer, you didn't act like any of those other assholes he dated through the years who treated him like he was some dirty little secret."

"Jeannie, stop-" Rodney began desperately, but Jeannie ignored him, reaching out to poke Sheppard in the chest. He pulled back from her, lifting a hand to rub at the spot where she'd jabbed him.

"You need to make a choice, Colonel John Sheppard of the United States Air Force! Even your homophobic military finally joined the 21st century and got rid of that stupid DADT regulation! And if you can't man up to the fact that you're having sex with my brother because it's too gay, because it makes you less of a man, well then you have no place in Mer's life and family, and you are no longer welcome in my home!"

Rodney was right behind her, hands on her shoulders. "Jeannie, please! Let me talk to him!"

She whirled around and stamped her foot. "No, Mer! Not again! I saw Isaac do this to you in high school-"

Rodney's jaw dropped and his face went red. Jeannie let out a bark of bitter laughter.

"What, you thought your little sister was too stupid to notice that the boy down the street came to visit late at night when you were babysitting? You thought I didn't see the marks on your neck? I *saw* him kissing you when you left your bedroom door open one time, and I never understood why you let the boy who called you fag in front of his friends kiss you when no one was around!"

"I just - I didn't realize you saw, Jeannie," Rodney said, staring at the floor. "I didn't think you were stupid, I just didn't want anyone to know."

"Yeah, well I know. I know about Isaac, and Russell and Eric. I know about the asshole in college whose name you never mentioned, the one you let mom and dad think was a girl, the one who would take you to a seedy hotel but would never be seen with you on campus. I know, Mer, because I found that nasty letter he wrote you, the one you thought you threw away, except it fell behind the trash can."

Rodney swayed on his feet, looking white as a sheet, and Sheppard was afraid he might pass out. He shoved past Jeannie to grab Rodney's arm. "C'mon, buddy, sit down before you fall down."

Rodney didn't argue; just let himself be manhandled into a chair before slumping forward, elbows on the table in front of him, letting his head fall into his hands.

"Jesus, Jeannie," he said, voice shaking. "You never said - I never had any idea you knew about *any* of this!" He looked up, absolutely gutted. "I've been talking to you about this thing with John for three days and *now*, when he's right here, this is when you decide to air all my dirty laundry? I didn't realize you hated me so much that you wanted humiliate me like this."

Jeannie's jaw dropped. "Hate you? Why the hell would you say that? I love you! I'm tired of watching assholes who don't deserve you treat you like dirt!"

"Goddammit Jeannie!" Rodney yelled, slamming both fists down on the table, eyes bright with unshed tears. "I didn't want John to know about any of that! I never told him about any of those people! I didn't want him to make any decisions because he felt sorry for me, or felt guilted into it!"

Sheppard cleared his throat, catching both of their attention.

"Look," he said, trying to communicate the depth of his desperation, "I'm not good at this, so I need you both to listen and let me say some things. And I'm sorry if I make a mess of it. Because I probably will."

He looked at Rodney. "I'm glad Jeannie said all this. God, Rodney, I would want to know, and not because I'll pity you or feel guilty somehow. I care about you. I - I love you. And I'm sorry I wasn't ready to come out when you wanted to. That I didn't want anyone to know. That I couldn't explain why."

His gaze travelled over to Jeannie. "I don't think having sex with Rodney makes me less of a man. He's not my dirty secret." He stopped for a second, took a breath, and continued. "I'm career Air Force. It's hard to get past 20 years of living with secrecy every day of my life. It's hard to not be afraid someone might want to hurt Rodney because of it. I just needed some time, and I didn't know how to say it. So I just didn't say anything."

He stood up and walked over to the counter and retrieved the folder he'd left there. He dropped it on the table in front of Rodney.

"What's this?" Rodney asked, eyeing the folder before looking back up at Sheppard.

Sheppard sat down in the chair beside Rodney. "Look, Rodney, I'm just not the guy who says stuff. I don't do PDAs. I wasn't even like that with Nancy when we were married. But - they know, ok?"

Rodney stared at him for a moment then slowly turned his gaze to the folder. He opened it to find various pieces of paperwork. At the top was a copy of the SGCs medical proxy form, duly initialed by Lam. Under that, there were spousal benefit forms, with Rodney's info filled in, and a little sticky note beside the empty signature line. There was also a copy of Sheppard's will, dated yesterday morning, with several little orange sticky notes on it, showing Rodney was not only just named as a beneficiary but was the executor as well. Finally, there was a room assignment confirmation for Sheppard, J and McKay, M. R. for larger, shared quarters in the North tower. One large living room, a balcony, a bathroom (with Jacuzzi tub) an office - and one bedroom. Rodney looked up at John, speechless.

John quietly slipped a hand across the table to grasp Rodney's free one. "The brass knows, Rodney. It's a matter of record - no more secrets, okay? Come home."

Jeannie let out a noisy breath. "Well. I'm glad to have it confirmed that you're not a homophobic asshole," she said. "That being said, you two better get some fucking couples therapy, because if you ever put me through this again, I'm going to kill you both." She glared at each of them before finally turning away to hang up her coat on the hook by the door.

"I have no idea what your plans are, but I am exercising sisterly override. I am making up the guest room. You are both going to sleep in said room and be there to greet your niece in the morning with happiness and joy so she will stop asking why everyone is so sad." She turned back to them. "I would also strongly encourage you to contact the SGC and get the OK to stay through Christmas since that's only two days away, because if you leave before that, it will make Madison miserable, and I will find a way to make you both pay. Are we clear?"

"Crystal," Rodney said as John nodded. "I'm sure that General Landry will be happy to approve a few extra days leave."

"Great! I'm so glad that we had this little chat."

With that, she walked out, leaving them alone in the kitchen.

John looked at Rodney. "Your sister is kinda scary."

Rodney nodded. "Yeah."

John nodded down at the folder. "You good with all this?"

Rodney smiled. "Yeah."

"So that means you are coming home with me after Christmas, right?"

Rodney squeezed John's hand. "Yeah. I'm coming home."

Comments

( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
tarlanx
Dec. 15th, 2012 11:25 pm (UTC)
Wonderful story :)
goddess47
Dec. 16th, 2012 12:31 am (UTC)
John looked at Rodney. "Your sister is kinda scary."

I love scary Jeannie!

Lovely!
scarlettandblue
Dec. 16th, 2012 12:48 am (UTC)
totally gorgeous
Santa, you rock!!!
:-)
spikespet7
Dec. 16th, 2012 02:11 am (UTC)
I love my prezzie.....me really does.....me very very happy! Jeannie is VERY scary.....


Kimber (spikespet7)

Edited at 2012-12-16 02:11 am (UTC)
melagan
Dec. 16th, 2012 02:53 am (UTC)
When John finally gets it right, he gets it right all the way.

and yes, scary Jeannie is scary :)
taste_is_sweet
Dec. 16th, 2012 03:36 am (UTC)
Poor Rodney! And Poor Jeannie, actually--so upset and angry for her brother but unable to do anything about it because she actually respected him wanting it to be a secret.

I love how brave John was in the end. And I'm glad that Rodney understood the magnitude of John's gesture.
sexycazzy
Dec. 16th, 2012 03:49 am (UTC)
Wow...that Jeannie is scary! Just glad that it worked out well in the end! :D
popkin16
Dec. 16th, 2012 09:00 am (UTC)
Phew. I'm glad John chased after Rodney and made such a huge gesture with all that paperwork - it really said everything much more eloquently than John probably ever could (poor guy just isn't good with emotions). Poor Rodney though *hugs him* I'm so glad everything worked out ok!
sarka
Dec. 16th, 2012 01:02 pm (UTC)
Awww, poor Rodney and poor John. This was so sweet, but so sad at the beginning. I'm glad it all worked out for them.
antares04a
Dec. 16th, 2012 01:26 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad they sorted it out in the end! And yes, Jeannie can be really scary - although she means only the best for all of them.
starbuckssue
Dec. 16th, 2012 03:29 pm (UTC)
Badass Jeannie, I loved her and the way she went all out for Rodney and his happiness. Some wonderful angst all around.
chaps1870
Dec. 16th, 2012 07:01 pm (UTC)
Awww. I love breakup/makeup stories. Well done.
darkmoore
Dec. 16th, 2012 08:08 pm (UTC)
Loved this! It was angsty and sweet and just very in character. Lovely.
livejournal
Dec. 17th, 2012 03:40 am (UTC)
SGA Newsletter - December 16, 2012
User neevebrody referenced to your post from SGA Newsletter - December 16, 2012 saying: [...] : Home (McKay/Sheppard, PG) [...]
kg99
Dec. 17th, 2012 05:54 am (UTC)
That was wonderful. Loved the supportive family.
runpunkrun
Dec. 17th, 2012 07:52 am (UTC)
Yikes, Jeannie IS scary! But it's great that she's so firmly on Rodney's side, and now John will be there too, in public, even.
silver_cyanne
Dec. 17th, 2012 03:30 pm (UTC)
This is really lovely. I certainly wouldn't mess with Jeannie.
lazy_8s
Dec. 17th, 2012 07:05 pm (UTC)

Lovely! :)
squidgiepdx
Dec. 23rd, 2012 06:12 am (UTC)
I never considered John's past and being in the closet so long and so deep that it'd take him more time to adjust - but damn, it just makes sense. Well done! And the voices were spot on!
that_which
Dec. 29th, 2012 07:57 pm (UTC)
Go, steamroller Jeannie, not letting either of them hide any more. I'm glad they finally figured it out.

aqualegia
Dec. 31st, 2012 08:54 pm (UTC)
Great story. It's no wonder that John was having problems having hidden his feelings away for most of his life.
danceswithgary
Jan. 2nd, 2013 12:45 am (UTC)
So glad John came to his senses (and survived scary Jeannie). :-D
livejournal
Feb. 10th, 2013 02:24 pm (UTC)
Rec: Home by Shaddyr
User nuetronorange referenced to your post from Rec: Home by Shaddyr saying: [...] John, Kaleb, Madison, Jeannie Pairing: Rodney/John http://sga-santa.livejournal.com/402383.html [...]
rabidfan
Jul. 3rd, 2014 11:09 pm (UTC)
Ah, happy Christmas to all! Lovely.
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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