Pairing: McShep, the adorable Millers
Spoilers: All of it!
Rodney McKay thinks one of the weirdest things to come out of the whole media-frenzy-tabloids-gone-mad-Stargate-P
There’s novelizations of their mission reports that make Rodney sound like a holier-than-thou-Newton wannabe, the buttons on teenager’s backpacks that say “I believe in Aliens, and now you do too!” and even talk of reviving the X-Files just so they can do a run of Asguard episodes. There’s talk shows and press junkets and state tours and people keep asking him to sign a particularly foul photo of him from his undergrad days that John keeps calling ‘cute’.
Okay, so Rodney gets credit for the ‘freeze lightning’ and wrests away the day from Bill Nye, but Jennifer has her head turned by Michael Phelps of all people, and eventually Rodney gets called in to do the spec once-overs of the X-302 and Deadalus toy lines (though he’d be more willing if it was for the neat constructor-set Atlantis or the Puddlejummper and Orion-class figure fighters). It’s a waste of his genius and frankly embarrassing to be cashing a cheque made out to him from Matel.
Stranger than all of that, though, are the video games.
No, really. There’s the SG1 version of course, where you have to beat Ra in the first half and marry an alien princess, but it’s just a platform scroller, standard and pretty tacky in an old-school Nintendo kinda way. A few years later, SquareSoft comes out with a sort of RPG, build-a-team video game about protecting the Pegasus Galaxy, where you can choose to play Major Sheppard or Elizabeth Weir and build a team and make friends and earn diplomatic points for trade negations and blow up Wraith and fly a 'jumper and everything.
At first McKay is weirded out. No one likes to think about their life, their friend's lives, as the stuff of bloody first-person-shooter / rack-up-the-experience-points / Zelda-wanna-be games. (Although, upon reflection, they really, really are.) Then McKay is insulted, because, hey, Chief Science Officer; shouldn't Rodney McKay be a little more than a secondary team mate that Sheppard 'collects' in the first level?
(In order to woo McKay onto your team you have to find and offer him three peanut butter powerbars, beat off a Marine for the last one, correctly answer a trivia question about Back to the Future, then win a game of Prime-Not-Prime against the computer. McKay would be affronted if that wasn't pretty much exactly how he became Sheppard's friend, anyway).
McKay plays the game of course. They all do. There's a few levels where you can switch out to be Sheppard's team mates, and once you've played the game through once you unlock the McKay, Ronon, and Teyla characters and can redo most of the major battles from their POV instead. Teyla, in a vindictive streak that no one was all that surprised to see that she has, uses a SimCity modeller to make her teammate’s avatars do the Macarena to some Athosian party music and uploads it to the city’s version of YouTube.
Madison likes to run around Atlantis in a non-combat level, making the McKay character go at a quick jog that the real McKay could never maintain, throwing b-button insults at random scientists and watching them burst into digital tears. She jumps up and down on the chesterfield and says "I'm Uncle Mer! I'm Uncle Mer! Go back to Earth you stupid moron, you're going to blow up my city! Ha ha!"
Jeannie doesn't let her play Uncle Mer any more after that last outburst.
By this point, John is General Sheppard and Atlantis is back in Pegasus and the Wraith are more or less extinct (and, ooooh, is PETA pissed), and the city has sort of become a kind of high-end think tank research outpost-cum-colony-for-geeks-ala-Eureka.
On their weekends off – yes, Rodney got the Nobel for recreating a ZPM, but he had to share with Jeannie and Radek – John and Rodney can ‘gate back to Earth. They go to Jeannie and Kaleb’s and have tofudogs and duck the paparazzi (but not too much, because Rodney can’t help flaunting that the sexy, sexy Sheppard ass that makes teeny poppers all over the globe swoon is his, his, his, and thank you President Obama for repealing DADT!) and generally chill out with beer and skateboards and chuckling at Daniel Jackson getting lambasted on the Colbert Report (O’Neill held up pretty well against Colbet’s steamroller wit, but Carter just blinked and nodded a lot. It’s still up in the air about whether Teal’c or Colbert won that round.).
That is, until Saturday afternoon and Rodney wakes from his doze on the chesterfield to find three pairs of wide child eyes staring at him.
“See?” Madison says from somewhere behind his head. “That’s the really real Doctor Rodney McKay and he’s my Uncle. Tell them you’re really my Uncle, Uncle Mer.”
“What? I’m really her Uncle. What?” Rodney scrubs at his eyes with the heel of his hand. “John!” he calls out, only very slightly panicked. He grabs at his tactical vest for chocolate to throw at the pre-pubescent hoard and then remembers that he’s on Earth and just wearing a pair of old jeans and a faded tee-shirt.
“Nuh-uh,” one of the kids says. He holds up an action figure. “He doesn’t look anything like this.”
Rodney groans and snatches the toy out of the kid’s hand. The jaw is too square, like its face is stuffed with hamburger, and the belly pudge is just insulting. Rodney likes the later figures better, where he has an impressive package highlighted by the ridiculously tight gun holster, and Rodney wonders just which demographic the toy was made for, anyway.
“This doesn’t look anything like me,” he corrects the kid. He points at the John Sheppard action figure with its permanently painted-on grey jaw smudge that Rodney thinks is supposed to be stubble. “That doesn’t look like John, either.”
Madison looks at the Sheppard figure carefully. “The hair is right,” she points out, poking at the plastic spikes, and Rodney is forced to agree.
Rodney sits up and shoos the children out of the living room and towards the backyard where he can hear voices. He rubs his hand over his hair to try to de-rumple it when he looks out of the back window above the sink and realizes there are people out there. No reporters, no uniforms, so Rodney thinks informal neighbourly spying and steels himself according for the repetitive questions (“does the city really fly?”) and the repetitive gossip (“no, I hear Ronon was like, ten feet high”) and the dumb, sometimes insulting repetitive oogling (“So, General, how fast can you go?”)
Rodney thinks it is low down and dirty, to invite over the neighbours when he’s asleep and can’t protest, but as he steps out into the sunlight, blinking and wishing he’d remembered to put on a hat, at least, he catches the tantalizing whiff of real hamburgers, so he forgives John and Jeannie a little. He can put up with a little neighbourhood barbecue meant to show off the international heroes.
John saunters up to him, aviators firmly in place, slouchy jeans sliding around slinky hips, and a rumpled purple cotton shirt that is the gayest thing ever, which is pretty much why John wears it so much around cameras. He hands Rodney a lowball glass filled with a concoction that is disturbingly neon blue.
“What the hell is this?” Rodney asks, and takes a cursory sniff. It’s not like John would deliberately hand him something with citrus in it, but it’s a lifelong habit.
“That,” John says, “is called an Atlantis.” A smile slips into the corner of his mouth and Rodney dives in to catch it before it can escape, trapping it with his own lips and letting it transfer into his own mouth.
He slips his tongue against John’s and then pulls back.
“Mm,” he says, “That’s kind of sweet. Atlantises. I like these. How many have you had?”
John waggles his eyebrows suggestively. “Enough. And the kids are out of the house, now.”
“And to think,” Rodney says, and grabs John by the belt buckle. Rodney tosses back his Atlantis. “I was against this whole ‘merchandising’ thing.” He sets down the empty glass on the porch step and drags John around the house, behind the hedge, and into the garage where they keep the massive box of trash rags with their faces on them.
Rodney’s always wanted to sully one of those.
How to make an Atlantis
(Recipe from the Polaris Convention annual Klingon Karaoke Party)
1 oz. melon liqueur
1 oz. vodka
A dash of blue curacao (but not if you’re making it for Rodney, then it’s just food colour)
Shake over ice, garnish with melon swizzle or lemon slice, depending if you want to kill someone or not.