Warnings: Non-main Character Death
Spoilers: McKay and Mrs. Miller, The Tao of Rodney
Characters/Pairing: John Sheppard, Elizabeth Weir, Teyla Emmagen, Ronon Dex, Jeannie McKay, and Rodney McKay, none
Disclaimers: Nope. I wish.
Notes: You'll either cry, laugh your butt off, or roll your eyes. Or possibly a combination thereof. Dedicated to beloved kittypets everywhere.
Summary: When Rodney gets a message from home about a death that hits him harder than some might expect, his team rallies around him and helps him see that life goes on.
Normal routine and time differences had them all up at six despite the long day and little sleep the night before.
All except Rodney, who, Jeanie informed them as she served breakfast, was still asleep.
She got her husband and daughter off to work and school and then rejoined them at the table with a mug of coffee.
“It's really nice of you to be here for Mer,” she said, then half smiled. “Not that I'm surprised,” she added garnering smiles from the rest of them as they recalled her visit to Atlantis. Her smile faded and she took another sip. “You know he doesn't tell me details of what's going on. Security and all.”
They nodded when she glanced up and she continued after a moment.
“I understand that. Really I do. But he sent me an email a couple of months ago and . . .” She shrugged. “I could tell something had happened. Something bad.”
Now she looked up again.
“I don't need details. I probably don't want them honestly, I just . . . How bad was it?”
Sheppard knew exactly what she was referring to and thought about lying to reassure her, but decided not to. She deserved more than that.
“It was bad. We almost lost him,” he admitted.
She looked down after a moment of shock and exhaled shakily. “I guess I asked for that.”
“We almost lost him,” Sheppard repeated. “But we didn't.”
“Not this time,” she said softly. Teyla reached out a hand and Jeanie waved it away. “I'm sorry. I know it's his choice and he loves it and he belongs there and he's needed and all that I just . . .”
“It's hard not knowing,” Ronon said.
Jeanie looked up in surprise, then nodded. “It's very hard.” Then she smiled as she wiped at her tears with the Kleenex Teyla had retrieved.
“But knowing all of you are there, watching out for him. It helps.” She took another breath, then continued, her voice steadier. “I don't know if I made it clear while I was . . . visiting . . . you guys so I wanted to repeat it now: Thank you for taking care of him.”
“It is an honor to work with your brother,” Teyla said sincerely.
“Not that we tell him that too often,” Sheppard reassured her. “You know how big that ego of his is.”
“Well he does deserve some of it,” Jeanie pointed out.
Sheppard shrugged. “Most of it,” he agreed. “But as his team it's our job to make sure it doesn't get too big.”
She smiled again, then the sound of a door opening and closing caught everyone's attention and she rose and disappeared into the hallway.
She returned a few minutes later, alone still.
“He said he's going to take a shower before he makes an appearance.”
Sheppard had thought about the circumstances that brought them here now and decided that while Rodney was preoccupied and elsewhere, now what the best time to get some information.
“How long did he have . . .” He trailed off to prompt Jeanie.
Sheppard arched an eyebrow and even Teyla looked surprised.
“Trixie?” Ronon repeated. He wasn't an expert on human culture by any means but even he could tell that the name somehow seemed out of character for the scientist to use even for a pet.
Jeanie just nodded. “It's short for Beatrix, the name of our paternal grandmother. She was the one who gave him the little fluff ball when he graduated that summer with his doctorate in astrophysics. She was one of the only people he genuinely liked in our family. When Grammy Bea died a year later he came to the funeral with Trixie in his arms and boy they made a pair. The two of them were inseparable from the first day they met until he went to Antarctica.” Tears welled up but she sniffed to keep them from falling.
“He would have taken her with him but she'd hadn't done too well with the Russian winters when he was assigned there and she was getting old. We still weren't talking then so he left her with a neighbor. He did the same thing when he left for Atlantis. She came here after I went there.” She smiled and laughed a little. “That was how I knew he'd really forgiven me. He didn't trust just anyone to look after his beloved Trixie.” She sniffed and took a sip of coffee to fortify herself. “Until he met you she was his best and only real friend,” she said, meeting Sheppard's eyes.
Then she blew out a breath and looked away. “I don't know if you guys want to—I'm sure he'd understand if you don't—but . . . there's going to be a funeral this afternoon and-”
“We'll be there,” Sheppard said. Teyla and Ronon both nodded they're agreement and she smiled and leaned back, relaxing now that the matter was settled.
“What time is it?”
Sheppard glanced at his watch, then back at Jeanie. “In the meantime, can we borrow a car and get directions to the, uh, cemetery? Just in case we're not back in time,” he explained at her questioning look.
She looked surprised, but agreed readily enough, handing over the keys.
Teyla and Ronon both followed him without question to the car.
“I am not familiar with the customs of your people in this situation,” Teyla admitted as she buckled her seat belt.
“Well, to be honest, I'm not really familiar with them either. My pets were mostly goldfish and that's nothing more elaborate or complex than flushing them down the toilet.”
Ronon arched an eyebrow and shared a look with Teyla who shrugged. She'd long ago learned not to ask questions in certain cases.
“Then what are we doing?” the big Setadan asked.
“We're going to break some rules.”
Now Teyla arched an eyebrow while Ronon grinned and settled more comfortably in his seat.
“Cool,” he said, using one of the expressions he'd picked up from his Earth friends.
John smiled. “Exactly.”