Title: Time of Duty
Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis, The Sentinel
A/N: This is going to be the start of the latest chapter of Young Sentinels and Guides
“John? What in the world are you doing?”
John Sheppard, Lieutenant in the US Air Force and Alpha Sentinel didn’t pause as he made his way around the car he and his Guide had gotten from the airport. They had left his training command behind when he had graduated and flown out to his next duty station only hours before. John loathed flying commercial, even first-class, but there was no way he was going to subject his Guide to a military flight. He didn’t want the drama.
At any rate, they had gotten in late and had opted to take a cab to a local hotel before heading into the base. Rest, a shower and a meal had helped take care of the overstretched feeling that travel had caused. Now they were back at the airport and picking up a car. “I know they inspect these things before they put them back out on the road, but I am going to do my own inspection before I trust it.”
John held back a smile at the long-suffering sigh his Guide gave him and turned back to the car. It wasn’t the little sports car his father had bought him when he had gotten his license and he had left behind when he had bonded with Rodney, but it would do. Strong, fast and sassy, the Impala suited his personality more anyway.
For once his normally impatient Guide held his peace and let him poke and prod the car to his heart’s content. When John sat in it and turned it on, Rodney had tilted his head and listened to the engine as carefully as his Sentinel had. John hadn’t heard anything that meant problems and when he had looked at McKay, this partner had shaken his head. The car was clean. Taking a deep breath in through his nose, he confirmed that it even smelled clean.
Excellent. He was definitely going to recommend this car company to any S&G pairs traveling to their current base. And if they panned out over the rest of the country, to everyone else.
Popping the door open, he made certain to get the trunk open before he started loading their luggage. Rodney was already sitting in the passenger seat, GPS unit load with the directions to base when he slid back into the driver’s seat. “You do know that I can find my way there without that, right?”
Eyes calm but amused, Rodney smirked back at him. “You get lost way too easily on the ground. I am not interested in arriving at the base late.”
“I don’t get lost!”John argued.
“Not up in the air, true,” Rodney conceded as he pulled out an astrophysics journal. “Here on the ground, things are a bit shakier.”
“Uh-huh,” Rodney agreed before getting lost in the latest discovery to be reported.
The drive had been very relaxing and the sound on the GPS unit had been turned down until it was only a whisper. His new duty station was fairly typical of an Air Force base and John was certain he would be able to settle in without a problem. Rodney even had a lab where he could do the work he needed physical space for. Things were looking up.
They were only a few miles away from the base when Rodney put his journal away and pulled out the folder containing his orders. “You are due to report tomorrow. We have the address for where we will be spending the next few years from housing and just need to check in so we can get the keys.”
“So get on base, check-in with the housing authority and pick up the keys to the house and try to get some rest today?” John confirmed as he pulled the car into the queue to get on base. “Maybe groceries if we feel up to it?”
“Yeah,” Rodney agreed. Reaching into his back pocket, he pulled out his wallet to grab his ID. Unlike a typical military dependent ID, it was emblazoned with the seal of the S&G corps. There was no hiding his Guide or civilian status.
John grabbed his own wallet and held them in one hand as he approached the gate. Once they had gotten up to the men at the gate. Only when they had pulled up to the inspection point did he lower the window and hand out both bits of laminated cardstock,
The inspection was pro forma and over quickly. Once he had their IDs in hand John put the car back in drive, waiting for the gate to open. “Sergeant, where is the base housing authority?”
Eyes alight with understanding, the non-com pointed to their right. “Take this road to the first left sir. Turn in there and the signs should direct you there. Welcome to Paterson.”
“Thank you, Sergeant,” John said and returned the salute he was given. It was still weird to be saluted by anyone, let alone by men who were years older than him and had more time in the military. But that was why the military taught its people to respect rank, not just the individual. It cut down on the weird factor.
Rodney was quiet as they drove to their new home a half-hour later. The personal at the housing authority had been… fairly decent about dealing with a sentinel and his male Guide. Some people were just not comfortable around S&G pairs. Pulling into their driveway John stared up at the place that would be the heart of his new territory for the next three years. Two stories tall it was a fairly narrow cinderblock structure. Keys in hand John unlocked the front door and poked his bad head in and took a deep breath. The whole place smelled empty.
“John, you promised to let me go in there first,” Rodney reminded him.
Grumbling slightly at the observation, John pulled back out of the house and stood aside to allow his Guide to inspect the house. If it wasn’t clean to his standards, he knew they would be spending the next week at the hotel while an S&G cleared cleaning team got the house ready. Rather than cool his heels by the car, the sentinel took the time to look over the yard surrounding their house.
Large flat grass and a few shrubs, the yard was nothing to write home about. Boring, but easy to care for, John decided. Since they didn’t own a lawnmower, he would have to see how the other yards on the base were dealt with. If the guys taking care of the green spaces were willing to deal with theirs, great. One less chore.
Turning his attention to his Guide, John could hear Rodney talking on the phone to someone. From what he could figure out, there was going to be a cleaning crew coming out that night. Wincing at the thought, John moved back to the car. It looked as if they would be back at the hotel for dinner.
“… and they used synthetics to clean with before bug bombing the house and closing it up. I want the cleaning team to clean the length of the vents as well as scrubbing all the surfaces. I have no idea how the Housing Authority can call this mess Sentinel safe,” Rodney growled as he closed his phone down.
John winced at that. He had been damn lucky his stunt with checking out the house hadn’t bit him. Bug spray was some nasty shit. “Did they tell you how long it would take to get the house ready?”
“Seventy-two hours. At least,” Rodney reported. “Let’s get back to the housing authority. I need to talk to the moron in charge.”
John snickered quietly to himself as he drove them back to the office holding the housing authority. He would back his Guide to the hilt and more if needed, but the moron who was in charge was in for a rude surprise.
As soon as they pulled into the parking lot, Rodney had the folder with John’s orders and the emails confirming the information on where they were to be living. Including the special orders on what had needed to be done to the house before the newest Sentinel and Guide on the base could move in. John had reviewed everything in the folder while they had been at breakfast and he knew they were in the clear. The housing authority on the other hand…
Once they got inside, John took his cover off and tucked it under one arm before taking his sunglasses off. The office wasn’t busy, but there were several people making use of their services. When Rodney ignored the polite request by one of the flunkies to be of help and just started back towards the supervisor’s office, John grinned and followed his mate.
“Sir? Sir, you can’t just walk back here!” yelled one of the people sitting on the business side of a desk.
John trailed behind his Guide as the other man plowed through the resistance like a hot knife through butter. It was great. He only stopped when they reached the door leading to their quarry. “Excuse me.”
“But! You can’t do that!”
Tapping the badge that showed he was part of a bonded S&G pair, John smirked. “You will find, Madame, that yes, we can.”
Closing the door on the huff and stamped foot, John tried not to laugh.
Rodney was standing before the occupant of the office and staring down at him. A quick glance around showed a nameplate: Chris Johnson. The man had some balls at least. He hadn’t started sweating from the Guides stare.