Word Count: 2524
Summary: John had orders. Rodney disagreed with them.
“Why are you planning on leaving Atlantis?”
John looked up at his best friend an raised an eyebrow at his question. “I know you think the military are a bunch of overgrown morons, but even you have to remember that people get reassigned on a regular basis.”
“I know that,” Rodney seemed upset. “But the SGC doesn’t operate that way. You get into the program and they keep you for as long as they can.”
“And I’ll still be a part of the SGC, I just won’t be here on Atlantis,” John told him, voice even.
Rodney looked faintly gutted. “And what will happen to Atlantis?”
“She’ll keep ticking over just like she always has,” John reminded him. “There are plenty of ATA carriers to keep the city running and I’ll be wherever they need me to be.”
“Why aren’t you upset?” Rodney asked. He looked bewildered at how calm John was being. He didn’t have the heart to tell the other man that he had thrown an absolute fit when he had gotten the news.
“I always knew that my time here was temporary,” John admitted. “The fact that I’ve been able to stay for five years has been a miracle. If I’m able to come back, that will be awesome. But I can’t expect that.”
“Well this is bullshit,” Rodney said. He looked more pissed off than when he had bulled his way in, but John didn’t take it personally. “I’m going to be doing some research. You don’t go anywhere until I say so!”
John snorted softly as Rodney stormed out. He had six weeks until his orders went into effect and he wished his friend luck. He had no idea what he thought he could do, but he had his fingers crossed.
“Miko! When is the next data burst?” Rodney called as he walked into his lab.
“Two days,” Miko called. “Why?”
“Sheppard got orders,” Rodney explained, voice grim. “He’s being sent back to the SGC so they can reassign him to some position in the military over there.”
“Say what?” Miko asked. She shared a glance with Radek before glancing around the rest of the lab. Everyone in it looked horrified at the thought of Sheppard leaving Atlantis. “Who thought this was a good idea?”
“The new General in charge, General Balock,” Rodney snapped. He had his computer open and was accessing the message that had contained John’s orders. “The fucker states that ‘Your worth to the program is such that we aren’t willing to leave you in place. You will be seconded to the Antarctic facility to take your place in the command chair as needed and then Area 51 to help with research’.”
“Well that’s just so much bullshit,” Radek said. “The Colonel does all of that and more here. Why are they really taking him away?”
“No idea,” Rodney admitted. “But we need to find out. We have six weeks until he’s being shipped out.”
“So what are you doing?” Miko asked as she walked over to look over his shoulder.
“I’m reaching out to Carter, O’Neill, and Jackson,” Rodney admitted. “Can you reach out to them as well?”
“I can also write a program to data mine the SGC to find out why he’s being recalled,” Miko confirmed.
“I hate to be the person to play devil’s advocate, but he might be being recalled for perfectly normal reasons,” Graham Simmons chimed in. He had resigned his commission almost two years before to devote his time to getting his doctorate. Rodney had snapped him up as soon as he had graduated. He hadn’t regretted the decision. “You know the military moves people around all the time. We see it here every time Daedalus comes in.”
“Well there’s a problem with that idea,” Rodney looked up to stare at his minion. “And that problem is Sheppard was assigned to the original Expedition and we all signed on to the damn thing for as long as there was an expedition. As far as I know, the Atlantis Charter hasn’t been revoked.”
“Huh,” Simmons stared at the ceiling. “So is that why so many of the first year people are still here?”
“Well, short of death, we all are planning on staying,” Radek admitted. “We made that decision when Daedalus showed up the first time.”
“And that’s well known?” Simmons asked. “Would the General have known?”
“Which General?” Rodney asked. He was busy typing his email to Carter. He needed to sound concerned, but not like an arrogant ass. It was going to be a struggle to not be demanding. “Can someone get me a power/use history for when Sheppard is off Atlantis? I want to see if she reacts to his gene in any way.”
“We’ve already got that,” Simmons admitted. “We can update it so we show a comparison between him and all the other gene holders. Because there’s a definite change when he’s been off the city for more than a week. And I meant O’Neill.”
“I wouldn’t really know,” Rodney admitted. “Also, he’ll be finding out pretty damn quick.”
“You’re normally with him, so yeah, you get to miss how the City slows down and gets sluggish when he’s not here,” Radek admitted. “It’s cute how much city has a crush on the Colonel.”
“Wonderful,” Rodney muttered to himself as he closed one email and opened another. He was a lot less polite with Jackson. Daniel had left his ‘give a fuck’ behind the last time he had ascended and was a lot more abrupt than he had been before. It was a refreshing change.
“And useful,” Radek reminded him. “City has crush and we have data.”
Rodney looked up at him and nodded. “Point.”
“Rodney, did you hear? The Colonel is being reassigned!” Jennifer called as she practically skipped into the lab. “I hope he enjoys his new duty station. It’s beyond time he went somewhere else.”
“What did you say?” Rodney asked. He was staring at his girlfriend in horror.
“What’s the problem? The Colonel’s been here for over five years and he needs to move on,” Jennifer cocked her head at him. She seemed confused as to why he would be upset at Sheppard leaving. “This will be a good thing for his career too.”
“What did you do?” Rodney demanded. He closed his laptop and leaned his hands on the surface of his desk. “What how do you know about this?”
Jennifer stared at him and then shrugged. “General Balock asked me to asses the Colonel for the possibility of him moving on from Atlantis. He hasn’t had any issues from when he became a bug or from when he had been fed on by the Wraith, so in my opinion, it’s safe for him to reintegrate into the SGC’s military corps.”
“You didn’t report someone expressing interest in the Colonel and his medical condition?” Rodney asked carefully. He was breathing in the pattern Teyla had taught him to keep himself calm in high-stress situations. “It’s been SOP since Carson was CMO that if anyone expressed interest in any of the Expedition’s medical information that we were all to be informed. Why didn’t you follow that policy?”
“It was just the Colonel,” Jennifer protested.
“And what the fuck does that mean,” Rodney leaned forward. “Because that almost sounds like you are in favor of the Colonel being sent away.”
“He needs to move on,” Jennifer snapped. “General Balock was very happy to know that Sheppard was able to ship out. And if he really doesn’t want to go to a new duty station, he can always retire!”
“Radek,” Rodney stated. He could just see his second accessing the cameras for the room to get the recording of their conversation. “I think it would be best if you move out of our rooms. And think very hard about getting off Atlantis. Also, get the fuck out of my lab.”
“What is your problem, Rodney?” Keller asked.
“First Year Expedition members are permeant residents of the City, you twit,” Miko snapped as she got into the CMO’s space. “Your actions have helped violate the charter we all signed. When that gets out, I would expect there will be hell to pay.”
“Seriously, it’s just a move in duty stations! I don’t get what the problem is!” Keller snapped.
“You don’t think it’s serious that the man who has managed to keep the city safe is being reassigned? That the person who rescued your ditzy ass from becoming a plant isn’t going to be there the next time you get in trouble off world? That the person who has the strongest expression of the ATA genome in the whole program is being taken to work with a bunch of people who are investigating that same phenomenon? And have put in numerous requests to study him? Oh, and who’s requests got even more strident after he recovered from his bug issues?” Miko asked, her voice hard and vicious. “You don’t think that’s an issue?”
“Whether it’s an issue for her or not, it’s an issue for me,” Rodney cut in. He looked at his now former girlfriend. “Get out. Now.”
Keller looked at him and then at the rest of the room before she turned around and walked out.
“Simmons, Kusanagi, get into the medical computers and get me a list of everyone who’s been into Sheppard’s medical records,” Rodney directed. “Radek, make sure that a copy of that recording goes to O’Neill along with all the information we have. I want this situation resolved in the next two weeks.”
“And the rest of us?” one of the minions whose name he barely bothered to remember asked. “What are we to do?”
“Get a pulse of the city. Find out what our current military members think of this cluster fuck,” Rodney directed.
Everyone took a deep breath and then scattered.
“What in the hell did you do?” John asked his best friend.
“You’re going to have to be a bit more specific,” Rodney muttered as he poked around on the tablet he reserved for his recreational reading.
“Keller’s been recalled, my orders have been canceled and the new general in charge of the SGC is now the former general in charge of the SGC and Mitchell is sending me hate mail,” John stared at McKay and tried to get the man to talk. “You had something to do with that.”
“Eh. Keller was recalled because she’s a Mengele in the making and I won’t have that on my city. She sees nothing wrong with human experimentation and I do. I’m not going to go down the road to Michael again if I can help it,” Rodney told him. He looked angry and very satisfied with himself. “And I certainly won’t associate myself with that type of person romantically.”
“Fair point,” John conceded. “And my orders?”
“You’re first wave, John. You know there were provisions in the charter that protects you from being reassigned unless you ask for it,” Rodney didn’t look up from his reading. “And Balock was informed of that when he took command of the SGC. When he went around that and pushed for you to be reassigned, he blew his wad. None of us wanted to see what else he was planning on doing. If he was willing to do this while you were active duty, I wouldn’t put it past him to try more if you had retired in protest.”
John sat back and thought about what Rodney had told him. It seemed that there had been more going on than the normal changing of command as he had been expecting. While he had been resigned to leaving the city, he hadn’t been thrilled. And he hadn’t even considered what could have happened if he had retired in protest. Having Rodney and his minions charge to his rescue had been a welcome surprise.
“Thank you,” John said after several moments. He cleared his throat. “I would never have asked you all to do this.”
“We know,” Rodney admitted. “We did this because you’re ours. And the actions of the people who tried to take you away from us needed to be dealt with firmly. Also, the shit they were trying was illegal as fuck and the bastards need to be charged with everything O’Neill can think of.”
“Does that include your girlfriend?” John asked. He had to know. Keller had been dragging ass around for the previous two weeks before she had been recalled to the SGC.
“She’s no longer my girlfriend and I could care less what happens to the faithless little twat,” Rodney snapped.
“Well that’s definite,” John said. He stared at his friend. “So you aren’t heartbroken at her being gone?”
“Not really,” Rodney admitted.
“McKay, you wanted to marry that woman. Why aren’t you more upset?” John asked.
“I wanted a family and Keller was a good person to have them with because she wasn’t entirely stupid. Well, that’s the front she presented. Her behavior has shown that not to be the case,” Rodney said.
“You said you loved her,” John protested.
“Eh,” Rodney waved that off. “I looked into when I told her that the first time. Did you know you were in the observation deck when I said that? And that from the camera angles I was talking to you not her.”
John froze. He hadn’t expected that. “You love me?”
“John, the me in another timeline invented a field of physics to allow me to stick around long enough to send you back to myself,” Rodney stared at him, eyes level and without the tells that showed he was lying. “I’ve gone to war for you, killed for you and done my best to rearrange the world for you. Yes, I love you.”
“And all the other times you said it, Keller?” John asked. He had to know. He really did.
“I said it once when I was getting blown,” Rodney admitted. “Beyond that? No, I didn’t. I liked her well enough. Fucking her was fun. But she went after you and my city. That’s unforgivable and I’m not going to miss her.”
“Right,” John muttered before he took his courage into his hands. Standing up, he walked over to where Rodney was sitting on his couch and pushed his tablet to the side before sliding into his lap. “So, if I ask you to be mine? To make a family with me and spend the rest of our lives together?”
Rodney dropped the tablet to the side before he slid his hands over his thighs. “I’ve been yours for years, I just didn’t know you wanted me back. And I’m sure the Ancients had ways for us to make a couple of kids. Chewy and Teyla are already our family.”
“I can see that,” John agreed before he leaned down and pressed a chaste kiss to the other man’s lips. “I love you,” he said after he lifted his head.
“I know,” Rodney confirmed with a smile.
The chortle that broke out was full of relief. Everything was going to be fine.