Pairing: Rodney McKay/John Sheppard (pre-slash), John Sheppard/OC (implied)
Disclaimer: The characters and concepts of Rodney McKay, John Sheppard, and various supporting characters are the property of creators and production companies for Stargate: Atlantis and Warehouse 13.
Author's Notes: SGA Vegas 'verse/Warehouse 13 AU inspired by the character Jeff Weaver in Episode 1.5 'Elements'.
Summary: John wasn't doing anything he felt was wrong, but then McKay started stalking him and changed everything.
John reached to touch the distinctly lackluster, palm-sized brooch labeled 'Lot 42,' ignoring all of the other glittering baubles in the display case. When he felt nothing beyond the fizzy tingle of his cloak intersecting with the ugly piece of jewelry, he sighed in disappointment and turned to leave the auction warehouse. He knew he'd still show for the bidding in two days, but only in order to drive the price up. Sticking Kinsey and his cronies with the fakes and broken gadgets provided John with a perverse sense of satisfaction.
Unfortunately, a man mountain barred what should have been John's undetected exit; his sizable hand pointing something John had to believe was some sort of weapon in John's general direction.
A matter-of-fact voice spoke from the shadows to John's right. "You might as well think 'Off' because Ronon has that thing set to wide dispersal and, once you're stunned, it will be an easy matter to find you on the floor and remove your cloak."
Regretting once again that he'd been unable to find the protective shield he'd been hoping for, John complied, catching the deactivated device as it dropped from his lapel before raising his hands in surrender. "Okay, now what, McKay?" John asked the irritating man who'd emerged from concealment. "You threaten to charge me with breaking and entering and then offer me a deal?"
"Nah." Ronon flashed very white teeth and shook his dreads back before lowering his weapon. "Not how we work."
"We just wanted to see you in action." McKay waved a device that looked similar to one John called a people-finder and rolled his eyes. "Now, if we could wrap up this episode of The Thomas Crown…, oh, excuse me, The John Sheppard Affair, before one of the security guards decides to earn his pay?"
"Not going to argue that." John knew exactly what the two men wanted from him, but he wasn't going to make it easy for them. "You do realize we're all on Candid Camera right now?"
There were a few bleeps from the small oblong in McKay's hand then he lookrd up with a crooked grin that John refused to admit was appealing. "Not when there's a genius in the warehouse." He tapped a bulge in his black leather jacket and asked, "I don't suppose you'd reconsider signing that non-disclosure agreement we discussed yesterday?"
"My answer hasn't changed." John knew he was on shaky ground, but he wasn't handing the government another chance to screw him over, in writing no less. "I'll take my chances since I haven't stolen anything and any evidence that I was here compromises you, too. I have very good lawyers on retainer. The case would never make it to the grand jury."
"Pretty damn confident, aren't you?" McKay appeared to be more than a little annoyed with his eyes narrowed and his crooked lips thinned. "Considering the fact that you never escort the same person to your fundraisers and other events, I'm assuming your latest alibi is blissfully asleep?"
John glanced down at his watch and shrugged. "For another half hour or so, then it gets a little dicey."
"Yes, I imagine that if he woke up early, the doubt wouldn't be quite as reasonable in a jury's eyes." McKay's smirk seemed to hold amusement rather than disdain at John's choice of bed partner, so John marked that as a point in his favor.
Ronon left his post by the door to stand next to McKay. "You two done talking yet? We've been here too long already."
McKay frowned at John then tucked his device into a side pocket of his BDUs. "I suppose we're not going to get any cooperation from him tonight." McKay stepped into John's personal space before tapping the tiny comm looped over his ear. "Daedalus? Three to transport."
White light shimmered around John and he felt as thought his every nerve tingled. When the light cleared, he and the other two men stood in a grey, featureless room with a single bulkhead door. It reminded John of the few times he'd been below deck on a carrier, but he didn't get much time to investigate. Ronon and McKay stepped back to the nearest wall, McKay tapped his radio again, and white enveloped John a few seconds after McKay said, "One to transport. Second set of coordinates."
Seeing the soft beige walls of his living room replace the grey didn't shock John as much as he thought it might have five years earlier. He'd found and used a lot a strange devices since the first time in Afghanistan, so he supposed being 'transported' was just the next step. Surprising or not, it did, however, make McKay's offer seem a little more interesting. Glancing at his watch, John noted that he was a few minutes ahead of schedule, so he detoured into the kitchen to make up a little snack before peeling out of his cat burglar black. He figured it would make waking up Ethan or Ian - whoever his alibi was that night because John couldn't remember - a little more memorable than simply pointing toward the clock by the bed and mentioning how late it was.
"Maybe we'll this again sometime?"
"Sounds great. I'll give you a call."
John closed the door behind the very tall, very blond Jan with a grateful sigh. He never felt comfortable using someone for nothing more than sex and an alibi, but it wasn't as though they didn't know the score. A night out and some fun after was all John ever offered, absolutely zero strings attached. He hadn't had any complaints - male or female - although they left John feeling empty inside. Only the chance he'd find another device made any of the many encounters for alibis worthwhile.
The second encounter with McKay had made his latest one-night-stand even more bitter, reminding John of his preference for blue eyes and broad shoulders. Jan had definitely met those requirements, but failed to fulfill John's desire for a smart mouth with the brain to back it up. Rubbing the back of his neck, he shrugged away the depressing thoughts and headed for the kitchen to grab a refill for his coffee mug, dreading another long day in his high-rise office.
Mug filled with a strong Brazilian brew, John decided to make a detour before his shower. Yawning widely as he walked down the hallway, it wasn't until he reached out to the Auguste sculpture that he realized it was already turned and the supposedly hidden door behind the display alcove was slightly ajar. Reversing direction, John headed into his study and traded his mug for the Glock he kept in the top drawer of his desk, grabbing his silver letter opener on his way out the door. Returning to the hallway, he carefully eased the door open, wishing he'd kept the cloak instead of returning it to its case. Keeping back out of sight, he used the reflection in the letter opener to check the vault for intruders, resolving to install a camera inside to avoid being blindsided in the future. When he recognized the trespassers, he gritted his teeth in frustration, slipped the safety back on, and stepped inside.
Leaning casually against one of the display cases, Ronon nodded a greeting, too busy chewing what looked like an enormous cinnamon roll to talk.
Seated at John's worktable, McKay failed to show the same compunction, treating John to a disgustingly impressive display of chomping and slurping from a grande paper cup. "Took you long enough. Decide to go for a morning quickie?"
The amused glint in blue eyes forestalled John's impulse to play into McKay's hand and exchange insults. Instead, John decided to focus on the more important issues. "You and your bodyguard doing a little breaking and entering of your own? Maybe I should send the government a bill for a new lock. They don't come cheap."
"Ronon's not my bodyguard, he's my teammate. Teyla would be here too, but she's…out of town." John was glad the grande had a lid; McKay's expansive gesture would have decorated the wall with coffee. "And, it's not broken. If Ronon hadn't been able to figure out your code in less than five minutes, I would have used one of the many tools I have at my disposal."
John couldn't help letting his surprise show when Ronon swallowed and explained with a shrug. "Hail Mary DVD was the only one out of the rack. Date of the game and Flutie's number - easy when you know what to look for."
Setting his gun and letter opener down on the nearest case, John propped one hand on his pajama-clad hip and ran the other back through his hair. "Okay, you seem to know an awful lot about me. That's really annoying since I haven't been able to find out much about you, Dr. M. Rodney McKay, beyond your degrees and your disappearance from the scientific community about seven years ago."
"Well, a thorough background check is required before we go around offering to let you in on the good secrets." McKay reached inside his leather jacket, pulled out a familiar bundle of paper, and dropped it on the table. "Basically, we were trying to decide if you've been following in your father's footsteps."
"He wasn't exactly a good guy," Ronon added. "And your record isn't exactly clean. A dishonorable discharge is hard to ignore."
McKay made a rude noise. "Like we always follow orders when we think they're stupid."
John took a deep breath, trying to banish the wave of anger that rose at the reminder of the past. He was pleased that his voice remained steady when he answered the implication. "I know I'm not perfect, but I'm trying to erase my father's footsteps."
"Yes, yes, the charitable foundations and Children's Hospital and the rest are all in your favor, but your father seemed pretty benevolent on the surface, too." McKay waved a dismissive hand, which only fanned John's rising anger.
"I didn't know about any of it, although I've heard the rumors. He kicked me out over twenty years ago, after he caught me with a guy." John clenched his fists as he began to pace, feeling as though the walls of the vault were closing in. "Hell, I wouldn't have gotten a penny if my brother hadn't been killed too. The only thing I've been guilty of is checking out certain things before buying." John wasn't going to bring up the disposal of compromising information collected by his father or the offshore bank accounts closed to donate the funds anonymously.
"Yeah, we know you picked these up legally…" Ronon pointed to the cases. "…but if the wrong person had 'em…."
"We definitely wouldn't want this one out there, if it was working." McKay licked frosting off the side of his index finger before shoving the papers aside and poking at the pieces of a weapon John had dismantled for investigation. The elongated dual polyhedron barrel rattled in an arc, coming to rest against what John believed was a drained power cell. McKay picked up the cylindrical crystal and examined it closely. "I see you're missing the…."
Ronon straightened up and growled a warning. "McKay."
"Oh, right." McKay dropped the piece on the table, looking a little sheepish. "You need to understand, Sheppard. We're not bad guys. We just want to keep the planet safe."
"And I'm just supposed to believe that."
Ronon crossed his arms and scowled at John. "If you'd sign the damn papers, we'd prove it."
"I told you, I'm not interested." John ignored the little voice inside that insisted that was a lie and pointed toward the door. "Now, why don't you both leave?"
"I can't believe you're not the least bit curious why all this stuff works for you and no one else." With a sound of disgust, McKay shoved back from the table and stood. "Fine. I'll just leave the paperwork for you to look over." Stepping next to Ronon, he tapped the radio he never seemed to be without. "Daedalus, two to transport."
John surveyed the paper cups, napkins, and scattered pages left behind and sighed in exasperation. "I guess walking out the front door was too much to ask."
"Mr. Sheppard. They're waiting for you in conference room 7C."
John looked up from the papers spread across his desk, frowned at his assistant for a moment, and then shook his head. "Tell them to go ahead without me, Kelly. I'm unavailable for the rest of the day." He didn't bother to give a reason, depending on her to cover for him, just as she always did whenever he decided he needed a break. She nodded and closed the door behind her, leaving John to prop his cowboy boots up on the desk and look out over the city, drowsing in the late afternoon sun.
Reaching out absently, he picked up the paperweight he kept next to his monitor and toyed with it, thinking how tired he was of the endless meetings trapped behind glass and steel. He looked down at silver oval cradled in his palm, traced the blue-green crystal inlays, and thought 'On.'" A shimmering city bloomed above his hand, a hologram of soaring towers with elegant curves unlike anything that existed on Earth. A little fuzzy from lack of sleep, John mused about the bits and pieces he found, that called to him and whispered stories too fantastic even though John wanted to believe.
"I see you've discovered Atlantis. It's even more beautiful when you see it in person."
Startled from his daydream, John jerked and his feet hit the carpet with a muted thump. "Jesus, McKay! How did you…?" John glared at his intruder, realizing exactly how McKay had arrived. "Never mind." A little of John's irritation faded when he noticed that despite McKay's change into a nicely tailored suit it didn't look as though he'd gotten any more sleep than John had. He couldn't help being a little impressed at the man's dedication. "I haven't changed my mind in the last…" John checked his watch. "…seven hours."
"Nice setup." McKay ignored John's statement, strolling over to the floor-to-ceiling window to look out, although John noted he kept a decided distance back from the glass. "I suppose I should understand why you wouldn't want to give it up." He turned back to John and leveled an index finger at him. "Except I don't understand! You're being a moron and I know you're better than that!"
John dropped the paperweight on his desk and rose to his feet. He leaned forward with his hands on the desk, not caring that he was disrupting the projected spires, too furious at the assumptions, the innuendos, and the demand that he fall back into the government's line. "You don't know anything about me, so shut the fuck up!"
McKay dropped his hand and took a step back, his eyes wide at John's reaction. He didn't say anything for a few moments then he straightened his shoulders and lifted his chin, as though getting ready to charge into battle. "Forget the damn paperwork. This is too important to just let you walk away." McKay began to pace across John's office, his hands flying as he began to explain. "You've already seen things that should give you an idea we're working with more than most people realize is possible. It's huge. What I'm talking about is wormhole travel though a device called a Stargate, aliens, ancient races of humans, exploring a flying city in another galaxy, other dimensions in space and time."
John slowly straightened up as he listened to what finally felt like the truth.
McKay halted in front of the desk, but he never stopped talking. "As far as knowing you, a while back we accidentally opened a rift and went through to one of those alternate versions of reality. It was very similar to ours, and we spent some time with a team like ours, only you were the leader. Not just the leader; you were a hero, even saved the world several times over."
John huffed in disbelief, his disclaimer bitter in his mouth. "Doesn't sound much like me."
"You're so very wrong." McKay leveled a finger at John, his expression intent. "There's not much difference between you and that other John Sheppard I met. You certainly have the same strength of character, which is a nice way of saying you're being a stubborn pain in my ass. Anyway, he's why I've told you at least part of the truth." Lowering his gaze, he reached out toward the paperweight, his fingers stopping just short of the shimmer. "You belong out there with us, in Pegasus, living in Atlantis."
John looked down, mirroring McKay's gesture, a sudden yearning for something more flooding through him. Raising his eyes, he met McKay's cool blue gaze and began to consider the possiblity. "I don't…what do you want me to say?"
"Personally, I'd be happy with 'Okay, I'll sign. When do we leave?'" McKay's crooked grin was rueful. "But I'll settle for a handshake and a 'Maybe' for now."
John scrubbed his suddenly damp palms on his jeans before extending a hand to meet McKay's. "Maybe."
"Good. Now all we have to do is seal the deal." McKay's broad hand felt good clasped around John's, and he was a little sorry when McKay dropped it to tap his radio in a now familiar sequence. "Daedalus. Two to transport."
When the tingling white dissipated, John stood in another grey-walled room with one very significant difference. Entranced by the view he'd dreamed of when he hung models of space shuttles from his bedroom ceiling, all John could say was, "Cool."
McKay stood next to him, the warmth of his body reaching across the chill space between. "I'll make sure you won't regret it, Sheppard." His voice carried a quiet promise that made John smile even wider.
"Okay, I'll sign. When do we leave?"