Title: Complicated Choices
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis, Stargate SG1
Pairing: Jack/Daniel, John/Rodney, mentions of Jon/Daniel
A/N: Parts of the next chapter of An Uncomplicated Choice
“So, eight years.”
“Eight years and a lot of crisis’s. The planet is still here and we have a logical plan in place to bring the SGC into the public eye,” Jack agreed.
Both men were sitting in the Oval Office, listening to the radio report on the inauguration. The new President had been VP under the exiting President, so he knew the score and Baqer could tell that the General wasn’t worried about policies changing radically.
“Before I leave here, and my authority is totally gone, I wanted to get one last update… Have we heard anything from Atlantis?” Baqer asked softly. The soon to be former President stood up and started walking around his (former) office. He was going to miss sitting at that desk.
O’Neill answered promptly, like always. “No. Not a word. Not from them at least, but we have heard from some of the natives. The last group we sent out to Pegasus said that Atlantis was well known and thriving. We still haven’t gotten a letter to them, but they have to know we are making an effort. That some of us are leaving a light on for them if they ever want to come home.”
Baqer nodded, satisfied with the news. Going back to being a private citizen was looking like it would be a tough sell. He had gotten used to being the one in charge, the one making the calls. The now former President knew that he was used to getting the news as it happened, about everything and the delay that he would have as an ‘ordinary’ citizen listening to CNN was going to drive him wild. Unless he wrangled a job with the IOA, he was going to be out of the loop for the news from beyond the Gate. “Gonna miss keeping up with the news of our allies out there.” he said as he checked the drawers of his desk. Nothing left behind.
Jack only nodded and settled further into the couch he normally sat on. So many changes… Baqer sighed and dropped at the opposite couch. “So now what? Do I forget all that I learned about the SGC? Atlantis? The Ori? How did you not go mad when you were retired?”
Baqer watched the brown eyes of the man before him get hard and brittle of for a moment before they went carefully blank again. Even after all these years, that time was a very touchy subject. Taking a deep breath, he and held that gaze and said nothing, and didn’t let his eyes fall.
Jack snorted softly. “You’ll do,” he allowed. “So you know what we’ve been up to. You know who the threats are and how we handle things. You even know where some of the bodies are buried and in what backyards. Be the public face of the SGC. Give us the legitimacy and clout that we will need to make this transition easier.”
Baqer tilted his head in thought and stared out the window. Stay in the loop and be a part of the defense of the planet versus retiring and forgetting the wonders and horrors that were out there among the stars? It was the easiest decision of his career. “When do I start?”
“Tomorrow if you can, sir.” There was no triumph in Jack’s tone and for that Baqer was grateful. “The Jaffa Nation is sending dignitaries to study on Earth. From what Teal’ u said, they want to learn economics.”
“Economics? Like national level economics? And how to manage them? Why?” Baqer asked carefully.
Waggling his head from side to side in a considering gesture, Jack looked out the windows of the Oval Office, obviously thinking things over. “I would say that the Jaffa nation is growing quickly. Maybe in that, with a side of microeconomics, and related fields. I mean, Jaffa as a whole, have a very good and practical understanding of polite politics. They don’t need our help with that.”
Baqer thought about the men and women he had met from that newborn nation. Politically savvy was only one aspect of them and they wore it well. “No, they really don’t. So there are things for me to do to stay involved?”
“Oh yeah. lots of things,” Jack agreed.
Baqer Omidifar, former President of the United States of America sat back against the couch in the bare Oval Office and nodded. “Good.”
“So Sam thinks that the site will match up with the records we have of the last face hugger and she wants to have a few ATA positive people go molest the walls until the thing pops out. Then she wants to get some of her engineers over there to see if we can remove it to allow us to study it under controlled conditions,” Daniel reported as he finished pouring his umpteenth cup of coffee that day.
Jack eyed the cup in askance and looked at his partner carefully. The return from the mission from hell had lead to a number of changes.
One of the biggest was how much caffeine Daniel could handle without shaking like a leaf. The coffee he was drinking contained roughly a quarter of what a normal pot would. Any stronger and Lam had informed Jack that the world would have to end to keep her from killing him for letting the archeologist have it. Excessive caffeine and Daniel no longer mixed well.
“Relax, Jack. It’s the blend that we had made just for me,” Daniel said reassured him quietly before taking another sip. “And I had a bottle of plain water this afternoon too. If you worry over my health any more I will sic Teal’c on you.”
Jack snorted at that. Teal’c had regularly been able to kick his ass when he was on SG1. Now that he was running the Mountain and Homeworld, the Jaffa didn’t even bother to try and hide how much their sparring amused him. “Let’s be real, Danny, I’m old. And Teal’c laughs at both of us when it comes to sparring nowadays. Now as far as it goes with Carter’s plan… do we have any ATA carriers who can go molest a wall or two? And are the engineers non-ATA’s who can handle the equipment safely?”
“Yes to both,” Daniel confirmed. Flipping through the paperwork he held, the archeologist juggled his coffee cup and papers with ease. Long practice had given him an enviable grace to his actions. “Also, my teams reported back that there has been no activity on the planet for at least one hundred years, possibly more. Sam has a group looking at what the DHD can tell us, but I am not holding out much hope for that.”
Jack rubbed his hands over his face as he thought about what he wanted his teams on P3H-496 to do. This was the second big change. Daniel had always been eager to go through the gate, to see what was out there and make new friends. Or if not new friends, to discover what had happened to the descendants to Earth’s involuntary Diaspora.
Now he was content to stay home and direct the exploration. It still weirded Jack out on a regular basis, but it also made him a lot happier. Daniel wasn’t running around getting shot at on a weekly basis and that was a good thing. Turning his attention back to the issue at hand, O’Neill got back to work. He could contemplate the changes later. They had things to do.
“Jamie McKay-Sheppard! Come back here this instance!” called John, one of the little giggling boy’s fathers.
Bath time in the McKay-Sheppard household was invariably fun and he had no idea why his water-loving son had gotten out of the bath to run around their quarters, heading for the living room. “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!” Jamie chanted from the spot in front of the apartment door, dancing from foot to foot.
John grabbed a towel from the rack and followed the wet footprints to where his son was waiting. He had no clue what was going on with his mini genus, but he was not willing to let the kid be wet and naked while waiting. Jamie was staring intently at the closed door leading outside when John wrapped him in his towel.
They (meaning the parents of the new Atlantis baby boom) had managed to convince Atlantis that allowing an ATA positive child free access to every door in the city, was a bad idea. The adjustment to the city’s Nanny program (What McKay called the health and comfort subroutines) had gone through before Jamie had learned to crawl. And John was duly grateful for it.
The havoc his kid could get into with free access to the City was too horrifying to contemplate.
Instead of getting bored, Jamie wrapped the towel tighter around himself and shifted from foot to foot. John sent a mental command at the bathtub, reinforcing the initial command to keep the water warm, before going into the kitchen to grab some juice for them. Bituu was still popular with their household and Jamie adored it, just like his daddy.
One sippy cup of juice for the child and a glass of the juice for him and they were both watching the door for something. John figured he would give Jamie another five minutes before he got him back in the bath.
(O’Neill-Jackson twins- Christopher Liam, Ian George )
The clock showed four minutes had passed when their front door opened and Rodney stepped in.”Daddy!” Jamie dropped the towel and Sippy cup to wrap himself around his daddy’s legs. “Daddy! Hi!”
John smiled smugly as Rodney hid a wince. Jamie was a very strong little boy and had latched on to his parent’s thigh with a grip like iron. The only way to get the little boy to let go was to either distract him or give him a new spot to grip. When Rodney dropped his gear to the side and picked their son up, John felt his grin get even bigger.
Rodney was grandly ignoring the smug grin his partner was wearing while listening intently to his son babble. Each new bit of the boy’s life was being shared with him and he treasured it. Plus the information was fun to know. At three years old, Jamie was learning at the level of most ten year olds, but neither he nor John were pushing it. The education system his scientists had put together was self-paced, and most of the kids enrolled in it adored it.
“… and Chris and Ian found the play dough and made a huge Jumper with it! It was this big!” Jamie leaned back in his father’s arms and spread his hands wide, trying to show how big the twins creation was. At just under nine months younger than his son, the O’Neill-Jackson twins were unholy terrors to any toy they could get a hold of.
Rodney was impressed. If only that they had enough play dough on hand for that. “Wow. Did you get a picture of it?”
Jamie nodded quickly,” Uh-huh. And Charin is trying to walk and Torren got his bantos rods for his naming day. Can I learn that?”
Rodney considered that. There was no way that Teyla would let the kids be hurt while they learned, so he thought it would be okay. He looked at his partner for the final word. Physical education was totally John’s and they shared the rest.
John just nodded back. It looked like their son would be learning self-defense before he was out of official toddlerhood.
Turning back to the little face before him, McKay smiled. He was biased and he knew it, but his son was very cute. A perfect mix of John and himself, and he even had the Sheppard ears. Currently his son’s green eyes were trying to do a credible puppy dog look, and he felt his heart give an extra beat at how much he loved the little menace. ”It looks like you can, little man. Now, why are you here all nekkid?”
“Papa was given’ me a bath and ‘Lantis said you were home and I wanted to meet you before bed!” Jamie said quickly. “Now l gots to get my bath finished. Come with me?” he asked before he wriggled to be let down.
Rodney felt his heart melt a little at the trust his son showed him. “Sure Jamie. Lemme kiss your papa hello first.”
Jamie squealed and danced in place as Rodney leaned over to place a warm kiss on John’s lips. When his son laughed and requested a kiss of his own, Rodney pulled back to smile at his spouse before leaning down to drop a loud smooch against Jamie’s forehead. “Bath, kiddo. Then story-time.”
“Yeah!” Jamie crowed loudly and ran towards the bathroom. From the splashes that followed, he had climbed into the tub and was getting back to the serious business of water, soap and bubbles.
“I’ll take care of our merman and be back soon for some adult time,” Rodney murmured softly to John. After the personal welcome he had been mentally planning for several days, they needed to talk. There was so much he needed to tell him about his recent tour on the Junkyard Dog. So much to decide…
“That’s fine. You go listen to the munchkin babble. He’s been wanting to share some stuff with you too,” John agreed.” Hungry?” Rodney snorted as he started towards the bathroom.
“Not for food.”