Notes: Set between Cart Wars and Rodneyís Revenge. We donít usually backtrack, but we realized weíd forgotten to fix the way the SG1 writers dealt with our guys in the SG1 season 10 episode "The Pegasus Project".

The World According to Rover XXIVa
When Life Hands You a Lemon... Shoot It!

Orithain and Rina

January 2008

Disclaimers: We only wish they were ours. Sadly, this is as close as weíre going to get.

"Are you actively self-destructive?" John demanded of the two Marines who stood at attention in front of his desk. "I donít care if it is rubber; if Dr. McKay had seen you with this, cold water and backed up toilets would have been the least of your problems. You can spend the next two weeks assisting the scientists who are trying to clean up the lower levels." He caught sight of the time. "Crap! Dismissed!"

John shoved the fake lemon into his pocket as he jumped up from his desk and jogged toward the transporter to get to the staff meeting. SG-1 had arrived on the Odyssey that morning, and they were going to find out why.

The last to arrive, John frowned when he saw his usual seat was taken, but he slid into the vacant one next to Col. Mitchell without comment as Col. Carter began speaking.

As Sam outlined the situation, Rodney frowned, then spoke up, wanting to clarify the impossibility of comparing a standard stargate to the Ori supergate. John tried not laugh as Rodney and Vala got into the discussion of St. Bernards and Chihuahuas, but his amusement quickly vanished when Sam soundly slapped Rodney down verbally. Rover shifted uneasily at Rodneyís side, and the scientist rested a hand on the cart, not wanting him to go after any of the members of SG-1. John was just as annoyed as Rover, and he gritted his teeth when Mitchell kept interrupting Rodney condescendingly, forcing himself not to say anything, but he knew Elizabeth picked up on his anger.

Rodney sighed as his accomplishments were belittled by several of the members of SG-1, but then Vala piped up with the fact that they needed his help, and he smirked, stroking a hand over Roverís sensor array. "You canít figure it out on your own, can you?"

"Vala!" Sam exclaimed. "We werenít going to tell him that."

"And you people wonder why Rodneyís always so grouchy around you?" John exclaimed incredulously. "You want his help, but you donít want to admit it?"

"Itís just easier..." Sam began before Elizabeth cut in smoothly.

"I think we need to get back on topic here, namely, exactly how you need Rodneyís and our help."

Johnís frown deepened as the explanation went on. He was clearly unhappy with the idea of Rodney going on a mission with SG-1, and Daniel kept darting glances toward the colonel. Jackson tried several times to defuse the tension, but Mitchell seemed oblivious, making comments that only increased Johnís annoyance.

"So, are we going to go do this thing or sit here babbling?" Rodney asked some time later.

"Make sure you return him in the same condition you got him," John said to Mitchell. "Though Iím sure Rover will make sure of that."

"Any advice on how to keep him under control?"

John regarded him coldly. "Rover listens to Rodney, and Rodney is a senior member of this expedition, so I know you canít mean him."

Mitchell opened his mouth, then seemed to think better of it and simply nodded.

Elizabeth and Daniel both watched the interaction warily, relaxing when John didnít comment further. The rest of the briefing passed without incident, and John moved quickly to Rodneyís side as the meeting broke up, looking surprised when the lemon heíd forgotten about fell out of his pocket.

"What the hell is that?!" Rodney nearly shrieked, his nerves on edge from the long hours of deflecting the snide comments from certain members of SG-1. Rover darted forward and snatched up the offending fruit as it rolled nearer to him.

"Itís just rubber," John assured him as Mitchell peered at the fake fruit as if trying to figure out why McKay had reacted so violently. "Must have been included in a shipment by mistake."

"By accident on purpose by some vindictive person trying to give me a heart attack!" Rodney sniffed.

"Itís a lemon," Mitchell said, looking from it to the two men in bewilderment.

"Rodneyís violently allergic to citrus," John explained.

"A fact everyone here knows," Rodney sniffed before smirking as Loki sped up to Rover, waving his flamethrower.

"What the hell?!" Mitchell exclaimed, springing back.

"Meet Loki. I think he and Rover are planning to deal with the offending citrus," John said, trying not to laugh.

"You may want to hold your nose," Rodney advised before Rover held out the lemon and Loki shot a blast of fire at it just as Analisa Lindstrom raced into the control room.

"Loki, no!"

"Itís okay, Lieutenant," John reassured her, making a face as the smell of burning rubber filled the air before Atlantisí systems purified the air. "Rover and Loki are just looking out for Rodney."

Lisa frowned in confusion, and he explained, "Someone brought a rubber lemon to the city."

"Idiots," Lisa said, instantly relaxing as she understood what the carts were doing.

"You all are insane," Mitchell said, shaking his head in wonder.

"Thank you for the concern, Lieutenant," Rodney smiled before glaring at Mitchell.

"Lieutenant?" Lisa repeated, eyeing Rodney. "Am I supposed to start calling you doctor now?"

"Donít undermine my efforts, Lieutenant," John begged. "Iím just starting to impress military protocol on him."

"Why?" she wanted to know, blonde eyebrows rising in surprise until John tilted his head slightly at Mitchell.

"Rover and I are going to be solving the problems that the members of SG-1 couldnít," Rodney explained, puffing up slightly with pride.

Mitchell gawked at him while John chuckled and Lisa smirked. "Sounds about right. Loki! Enough with the flame!"

The cart turned off his flamethrower and made a noise like a sigh as he rubbed up against a console, causing Rover to reach out and pat him on the sensor housing with a pincer.

"Good job, Loki, thanks," Rodney offered, giving a crooked grin, and the cart immediately perked up, relighting the flamethrower hopefully.

"No!" Lisa said emphatically, trying not to laugh, and he reluctantly extinguished it again.

"Weíll have a barbecue next free day," John promised him, "and you can roast the dogs and smores."

Loki spun in a circle at that, and Mitchell shook his head. "You people are nuts."

"You said that already," John pointed out, looking up from patting Loki before he and Lindstrom left to get back to whatever theyíd been doing before the great lemon burning.

"And I stand by both iterations."

"From what Iíve heardóand seenóthe SGC and SG-1 in particular arenít exactly models of sanity," John pointed out.

"True," Mitchell nodded before chuckling.

"Youíre just jealous because you donít have carts," John said, patting Rover as the cart edged between Mitchell and them.

"Of course he is!" Rodney sniffed.

Cam looked from the cart to the two men, and his eyebrows rose. "Nuts," he emphasized.

"Better than citrus," Rodney sniffed.

Rover offered him a peanut butter Powerbar, and Mitchell shook his head. "You know, we do have work to do here..."

"Yes, yes, and it canít be done without me," Rodney smirked.

"After which I expect him returned in the same condition you got him," John added, and Rover bobbed up and down in agreement.

"You know, I got this same lecture from Gen. OíNeillówithout the cart threats," Cam mused.

"Give it time," John said. "Heís planning to retire here, and I give it about five minutes after he gets here for him to have a cart."

"And hopefully it wonít be as jealous of Daniel as Rover was of you," Rodney snickered.

"Ha ha," John grumbled. "His cart wonít be as smart or independent as Rover."

"Remind me to stay away from this place when that happens," Mitchell groaned.

John eyed him. "I wasnít aware you were planning to make Atlantis a regular stop on your tour, Colonel."

"I donít expect it to be; I meant in a figurative sense," Mitchell said easily.

"Uh huh." John shrugged, and he and Rodney left Mitchell so Rodney could pack his gear.

"Is it my imagination, or has the SGC gotten stranger recently?" Rodney asked, glancing back over his shoulder.

"I think Mitchellís weirder than Jack ever dreamed of being," John agreed.

"Maybe he needs to get laid."

"Could be, but heís not getting you."

"As if I was offering!" Rodney sputtered. "Thereís Vala or Sam..."

"Yes, he should hook up with Sam!"

Rodney glanced over at him and snickered. "Please tell me you arenít jealous of her any longer."

John started walking faster.

"You are!"

"You polished test tubes last time she came," John grumbled.

"Should I mention ascended beings and how they wanted in your pants?"

John finally looked at Rodney, a somewhat sheepish smile curving his lips. "Look, I know itís nuts, but I still hate having her anywhere around you, okay?"

"Is it going to get me mauled later?í Rodney asked, grinning slightly.

"Damn right!"

"Then I can live with it."

"So make the mission quick. Iíll be waiting for you."

"How hard can it be," Rodney snorted before jumping when Rover pinched his thigh.

"Donít get overconfident," John warned him. "I want you back in one piece."

"Fine, fine. You just keep our Jack and Daniel apartówe donít need Laura getting jealous."

Johnís eyes widened. "I never thought of that."

"Well, thatís why Iím the genius, isnít it?"

"And so modest too," John snorted. "Once youíre on your way, Iíll track down Jack."

"Good luck with that," Rodney mused as they reached their room.

"Maybe I should send him on a mission."

"Do you really think heís going to jump Daniel?" Rodney snorted.

"No, but itís not what I think that matters; itís what Cadman thinks."

"Do you think sheís going to think heís trying to jump Daniel? Jaffa would kill him."

"Rodney, youíve just had proof that jealousy isnít rational. Why would you think that sheíd be more reasonable than I am?"

"Urmmm... because sheís a Marine?" Rodney offered.

John glared at him.

"Fine, fine, maybe sheíll try to blow him up, which will get Gen. Jack pissed at all of us."

"I think weíll avoid that," John said. "Actually, Iím pretty sure Jack can handle Cadman."

"I wouldnít suggest mentioning that where she could hear it," Rodney commented as they walked into their room and he grabbed a bag to begin packing, only to have Rover nudge him out of the way.

"Iím not that crazy," John agreed. "I think Iíll just mind my own business... aside from reminding Daniel that Jackís here and in a relationship."

"I doubt Daniel would go and jump a younger version of Jack," Rodney snorted.

"So do I, but Iím not sure he knows Jackís here, and it would be a bit of a shock to walk around a corner and run into him."

"Good point, and itíll give you something to do while Iím out saving the cosmos."

"Weíre never going to hear the end of that, are we?"

"They sold me to the Russians; damn right Iím holding it over their heads," Rodney snorted.

John laughed. "Well, youíre back from exile, and youíre the senior scientist in Atlantis. Iíd say you came out ahead."

"I have you and Rover, so Iíd have to agree with that."

John pulled him in for a quick, hard kiss. "I wish we had time for more."

"Save it for when we come back."

"Iíll even accumulate interest."

"I hope itís at an exorbitantly high rate."

"And compounded hourly."

Rodney grinned at that. "Thatís one debt Iíll look forward to paying."

"I had a feeling you might." John returned the grin. "Now go before I decide to lock you in here and keep you as my sex slave."

"I think Rover might have a problem with that," Rodney chuckled before kissing John againóat the same time the cart rolled over and poked him in the leg.

John chuckled into the kiss before looking down at Rover. "Itís a wonder Iím not permanently black and blue."

"Consider them love taps," Rodney murmured, kissing him a final time before stepping back. "Now take care of yourself."

"Likewise. Youíre the one going to face Ori."

"Not if Iím luckyóoh hell, Iím going to face them," Rodney groaned, leaning his head against Johnís shoulder.

"Donít start getting heroic now. Thatís what SG-1ís for."

"So I should throw Sam and Mitchell to the wolves?"

"To save yourself? Yes!"

"So youíre saying theyíre more heroic than we are?"

"No, Iím saying theyíre more expendable than you are, at least in my book."

"Oh." Rodney gave John a final kiss before backing up. "Well, you do the same; donít let them drag you into some insane adventure."

"My only plans today are to read another chapter of War and Peace."

"Iíd suggest you keep an eye on that Vala," Rodney said dryly, "but not too close of one."

"Not my type. Not enough between the ears, too much in the chest area and not enough down below."

"Good." Rodney leaned in, then drew himself up. "Right, off to save the Milky Way."

John dropped into a chair across the table from Laura Cadman and Jack OíNeill. "Hi."

"Colonel," Laura said as she looked at him closely, "is something wrong?"

"So much for inscrutable," John muttered. "I thought you should know Dr. Jacksonís here in Atlantis. Heíll be here for a couple of days at least."

Laura looked over at Jack at that.

Jack looked back. "What? Different lifetime. Heís with the other me; Iím with you, and I like it that way."

Jaffa reached up and patted Jackís knee approvingly with a closed pincer, and Laura grinned. "I thought thatís what you would say but didnít want to put words in your mouth."

"Smart as well as beautiful," Jack praised, leaning over to kiss her even as she laughed at his comment.

"Damn right, and donít you forget it."

"SG-1 took mine away," John grumbled, and Jack grinned at him.

"Iím sure Dr. McKay will make it up to you when he gets back," he laughed.

"As long as you donít let Vala get you alone."

John snorted at Lauraís comment. "So not my type."

That comment had Jaffa patting Johnís thigh as well before the colonel excused himself and left, joining Lorne on the way out of the mess hall.

"Itís kind of weird knowing Danielís here," Jack mused. "Not in a romantic way, of course, but I havenít seen any of them since it happened."

"Do you want to talk to him?" Laura asked. "If anyone would understand weird, I would think it would be him."

Jack shrugged. "Iím not going to run away if I see him, but I donít feel any need to go looking for him."

"Donít avoid him because you think I might have a problem with it." Laura looked away before continuing, "I know youíre different people."

"And thatís why I love you." Jack smiled. "Like I said, if I run into him, Iíll talk to him, but I donít need to."

"Just so long as he doesnít jump you," Laura grinned.

"I have you and Jaffa to protect me if heís overwhelmed by my manly charms."

"Count on Jaffa," she laughed, "Iím not getting in the middle of that!"

"Ha! Proof that Marines are less heroic than the Air Force!"

"In your dreams, Flyboy," she snorted.

"My dreams feature a gorgeous redheaded harem girl."

"Living out a Princess Leia fantasy?"

Jack eyed her. "It could work."

"Planning on being my Han Solo?" she asked with a slight smile.

"Damn right. No one else is getting his hands on you. Luke can go rescue someone else."

"Incest? Gross!" she laughed.

Jack burst into laughter. "Only you. And youíre all mine."

"And youíre all mine, Lieutenant; donít you forget it." Laura leaned over and kissed him again before standing. "And I need to go see if my teamís ready for our mission tomorrow. You sure the two of you can stay out of trouble?" she asked, patting Jaffa on the sensor array as she spoke.

"I think weíll manage. Take care of yourself."

"And Iíll see if I can find a harem girl outfit to keep you interested," she grinned, waving over her shoulder as she headed out of the mess.

Jack groaned and reached down to adjust himself discreetly. "Evil woman," he muttered.

 

 

"We are so retiring here," Daniel murmured to himself as he wandered through the hallways of Atlantis, having managed to lose Vala and the cadre of soldiers and scientists who had been around him for most of the day. "Just a minor issue of getting rid of the Ori." He sighed at that, wondering what threat would pop up once they did that, then looked up, distracted, when he almost ran into someone coming the other way down the corridor.

Jack reached out to steady the other man. "Hi, Daniel."

"Sorry, but, Ió" Daniel began before he focused on the younger man in front of him. "Jack?" He broke into a wide smile. "How are you?"

"Iím good." He gave a quick smile. "Coming to Atlantis was the right thing for me. And this is Jaffa," he added as the cart poked Daniel curiously. "Donít mind him; I think he actually likes Laura better than me."

"Make your own way, hmm?" Daniel gave a quick smile before crouching down to offer the cart his hand. "Good to meet you, Jaffa; Iím sure that once Jack and I get here permanently, Iíll be getting to know one of your cousins better."

"I didnít make it half an hour," Jack laughed. "Iím sure Jack Sr. will be the same once you guys are here to stay. Hmm, maybe I should call him dad," he added with a snicker.

"Hrmm, youíre younger, but he still has more experience," Daniel chuckled as he straightened up. "Iíd have to bet on him."

"Ah, but I have Laura and Jaffa," Jack pointed out laughingly.

"And heíd have the nameless cart and meówe may bring the city down around us."

"And then the colonel, McKay and Rover would kill us all. I guess Iíd better skip the dad comments."

"Good idea, besides, Iíd really like to have the chance to explore the city under less time constraints." Daniel paused and grinned. "So, who is this Laura you keep mentioning?"

"Lt. Laura Cadman, a gorgeous redheaded Marine explosives expert." Jack grinned at him. "I always had good taste."

"I hope you donít think Iím going to argue with that," Daniel chuckled. "Iím glad youíre happy here; I know how hard it was in the beginning."

"Weird and difficult are part of the SGC," Jack replied easily. "And Iím happy with where I am now. Like the original expedition members, I donít ever intend to go back. This is home now."

"Iím looking forward to the day we can retire here as well."

"Picked out your real estate yet?"

"Supposedly Rodney and John have a chain of islands theyíre leasing out."

"No supposedly about it. Itís mostly original expedition members, but they make a few exceptions, usually for people with carts. All of them seem to end up with the same kind of people, the ones who are going to stick here."

"Can you blame them?" Daniel looked down at Jaffa. "Theyíre smarter than most people Iíve met at the IOA."

"I hope you arenít expecting me to deny that," John snorted. "Iíve met them too, remember."

"And argued with them," Daniel chuckled. "If we have time while Iím here, Iíd really like to have dinner with you and Laura if it wouldnít be a problem. Iíd enjoy getting to meet her."

"Iíd like that. Sheís off on a mission right now, but sheís due back later today. Iíll talk to her when she gets here."

"That sounds great, and hopefully by then Iíll have the answers I came after."

Jack nodded. "Good luck with that."

"We need it, thatís for certain," Daniel nodded before smiling ruefully.

"So come by our room around seven. Weíll have dinner waiting." Jack waved briefly as he headed away.

"Just make sure you arenít having dessert early," Daniel called over his shoulder as he headed away as well.

Jack was waiting in the gateroom when Laura and her team returned later that day, and he moved to her side, greeting her with a hug.

"Hey, handsome," she smiled, hugging him back before reaching up to push some loose hair out of her face. "How was your day?"

"Good. I hope you donít mind, but we have a guest for dinner." He tucked the strand of hair behind her ear.

She blinked at that, then eyed him. "Dr. Jackson, I presume?"

"Yeah, I ran into him, literally, and he wanted to meet you."

"I hope I have time to clean up before heís due," she commented wryly.

"Yeah, I made sure of that. We even have time for me to wash your back." Jack slid an arm around her waist, drawing a snicker from Dr. Kavanagh, who had been chatting with the other team members.

"Jealousy will get you nowhere, Calvin," Laura laughed.

"Especially not with her; sheís taken," Jack added, grinning.

"And she hits harder than any of us," Sgt. Harrison laughed.

"Thatís my lady." Jack beamed proudly.

"Oh, go make dinner," Laura laughed, giving Jack a push, "Iíll be there once we debrief."

"Donít be long or Iíll drink all the beer," he called back, grinning over his shoulder.

"Do it and you can bunk with Dr. Jackson!" she called after him before turning to her team and scowling, though her eyes were bright with laughter. "Chop, chop, gentlemen!"

"Sending him back to the ex?" Kavanagh asked. "Bad idea, lieutenant."

"Dr. Jackson isnít his ex, Calvin," she said mildly. "Plus, I trust Jack."

"If you say so." He shrugged and followed her into the conference room for the debriefing.

"Well, according to Dr. Kavanagh, youíre going to leave me for Dr. Jackson the moment he crooks his little finger at you," Laura announced as she walked into the rooms she shared with Jack and dropped her pack by the door before beginning to strip out of her uniform.

"And here I thought Kavanagh preferred women," Jack replied, watching her with enjoyment while Jaffa retrieved the dirty uniform as quickly as she discarded it.

"Maybe heís looking for the chance to tape people again," she chuckled, patting the cart on his sensor array as he grabbed her t-shirt and her pants, leaving her clad in only her sports bra and panties.

"I donít think heíd survive a second excursion into filmmaking. From what I heard, Bates nearly killed him the first time, and if Rover or Loki got hold of him..." Jack stood up, coming over to pull her into his arms.

"What? Jaffa wouldnít jump to your rescue?" she murmured before kissing him tenderly.

"More like yours," Jack chuckled when they drew back. "Heís very protective of you, gene or no gene."

"I think he gets that from you. Now come on, if we want to have a little fun in the shower, we need to get in there now."

"If?" Jack leered at her. "How quickly you forget." He swept her up into his arms and carried her into the shower.

"I was beginning to wonder if I had the wrong room," Daniel said easily when Jack finally opened the door, his hair wet and slicked back.

"We were just getting ready," Jack replied easily, waving Daniel in.

"You forget, I know that version of getting ready." Daniel smiled as he walked inside. "You must be Lt. Cadman, Daniel Jackson, pleased to meet you."

"Itís Laura, please, Dr. Jackson," she said quickly before correcting herself at his arched eyebrows. "Daniel."

Jack smiled. "I knew you two would like each other."

"Well, we do have something in common," they said at the same time, causing Laura to stare at Daniel in shock, then grin. "We both have good taste," she finished.

"Well, I knew that," Jack said with a smug grin, accepting a beer from Jaffa.

"You do realize heís going to be impossible to live with now, donít you?" Daniel chuckled, accepting the bottle the cart offered him.

"Not a problem, Iíll just offer to spar with him; thatíll knock some of that ego out."

"On second thought, introducing the two of you may not have been one of my better ideas."

"Too late now," Laura laughed, taking a drink from her own beer before motioning toward the sofa. "Care to have a seat, DocóDaniel?"

"Donít mind if I do." He took the seat, and a beer, and grinned at her. "So, care to compare stories?"

"No!" Jack exclaimed.

"Theyíd only be good ones," Laura pouted.

"Ha!" Jack snorted.

"Youíd rather they were bad ones?" Daniel asked innocently.

"I know both of you. Iíd be praying to sink through the floor before the second story!"

"Heís scared," Laura tsked.

"Sad really."

Jack shook his head stubbornly, and Laura finally relented, reaching out to squeeze his hand. He turned and grinned at her. "So what should we talk about instead?"

"Anything except the Ori," Daniel said fervently.

Jack suddenly grinned. "Tell us about Vala."

"Vala?"

"You know, the slinky brunette who looks like she wants to eat you like a chocolate?"

"Looks donít mean anything," Daniel shrugged easily. "She looks at most everyone that way."

"And Jack hasnít killed her yet, so she must be keeping her hands to herself."

"Heís come close a few times, but weíre all used to her now."

"Good thing for her," Laura commented.

"A new perspective can be good for the team," Jack remarked.

"Donít offer him Calvin."

"I wouldnít dream of messing with your team," Jack assured her.

"Calvin? You mean Calvin Kavanagh?"

"Sadly yes. But donít mention that to the colonel or McKay, or theyíd gift wrap him for you," Jack said.

"Thatís quite all right," Daniel chuckled before taking a sip of his beer.

"How sad is it that Iím the only one that can handle the man," Laura said, shaking her head in mock sympathy.

"Who, Kavanagh?" Jack asked. "Hon, no one else wants to handle him."

"I didnít mean it that way, you idiot!" she protested laughingly while Daniel chuckled as well.

"Neither did I!" Jack exclaimed. "Or Iíd have to kill him."

"Gee, that sounds familiar," Daniel said.

"Should I ask who you and the general were referring to?"

Daniel grinned. "Nope. Letís just say we narrowly averted interstellar war."

"Why does this not surprise me?" Laura asked, looking at Jack archly.

"I canít imagine," Jack replied. "I donít have a jealous bone in my body."

Daniel snorted.

"I have to agree with Dr. Jackson on that oneóeven your cart is jealous, hun." Laura winked at Jack at that.

"Iím misunderstood," Jack bemoaned.

"And Iím Daniel or Iím going to call you Lt. Cadman."

She scowled at him but grinned as she stuck out a foot to keep Jaffa from grabbing Danielís leg with a pincer. "Fine, but if the general comes here, there is no way Iím calling him ĎJackí, got it?"

"Not only would that be confusing, heís military and appreciates the rank thing," Daniel agreed.

"As do I," she said with a slight shrug.

"I like names."

Jack sat back and watching, trying not to laugh.

"Do you recognize that expression?" Laura asked, nodding in his direction.

"Far too well," Daniel said, smiling. "I usually make Gen. Jack pay for it."

Lauraís smile widened at that. "You know, DróDaniel, I think weíre going to get along just fine."

"I think youíre right."

"I think Iím outnumbered," Jack muttered, watching them warily. "Stick with me, Jaffa; I may need reinforcements."

"Why do I think the cart may side with Laura?" Daniel laughed.

"Because heís a ladiesí man," Jack replied, chuckling. "And sheís his favorite lady."

"That would make him a smart cart."

"Damn right," Jack agreed as Jaffa whirled in pleasure, and Laura reached out to pet his sensor array.

"Has Tealíc heard his name yet?" Daniel asked.

"Not yet," Jack answered. "It should be interesting when he does." He grinned.

"Iíll let Carson know to expect you."

"Itís a compliment," Jack protested.

"And how are you going to convince him of that?í Daniel asked dryly.

"By talking really, really fast?"

"Iíll suggest Carson stockpile bandages too."

"Your confidence in me is overwhelming," he said wryly.

"Jack, honey, I love you, but you know what that man can do; Iíd give you better odds against Ronon."

"Maybe itís a good thing weíre in different galaxies."

"A very good thing," Daniel nodded.

"I guess Iím fortunate heís not likely to retire here."

"Though Iím sure heíll come to visit Jack and me," Daniel offered helpfully.

"Jaffa, can we call you Jewel when Tealíc visits?" Laura asked innocently.

If a cart could glare, Jaffa was glaring, and Jack almost choked on his beer. "Iím not having a cart named Jewel!"

"Jezebel?"

"Jakarta?" Daniel offered.

"Just shoot me," Jack groaned.

"Iíll make it up to you later," Laura promised.

"Iíll hold you to that!"

"After Iím gone!"

"So much for my fantasies for a threesome," Jack laughed.

"Keep dreaming," Laura snorted while Daniel laughed.

"He always tries."

"See, I have to live to up my reputation."

"Youíre going to be living with it out here!"

"Aw, Laura, you know youíre the only one for me." Jack pulled her over for a quick kiss.

"Next time, Jack is definitely coming," Daniel murmured.

Jack grinned at him. "A pair of Jacks is always good."

Laura groaned at that. "I think Iíll arrange to be on a mission!"

"Not exactly feeliní the love here."

"I think she said that would be later."

"Iím not going to win against you two, am I?"

Laura kissed him again. "Probably not, but youíll enjoy every minute of it."

"I always do."

"That sounds oh so familiar," Daniel murmured.

"Iím always me," Jack shrugged.

"Which is why we both love our respective versions of you."

"Lucky me."

Jaffa poked Jackís leg at that.

"Hey, youíre supposed to be on my side."

"He is. We all are."

Jack smiled. "Like I said, lucky me."

"Well?" Rodney demanded when he and Rover entered the control room.

"Um... welcome home?" John offered after exchanging baffled looks with Elizabeth.

"What? No congratulations? No Ďamazing job, Rodneyí? Iím beginning to think Iím back at the SGC!"

"Hey!" John protested, looking hurt.

"Well?"

"You all did a great job," Elizabeth said.

"And we all know they couldnít have done it without you," John added.

"Thank you," Rodney said, mollified before frowning. "I heard about that Ancient woman. She didnít make a pass at you, did she?"

John shook his head, laughing. "I never even saw her."

"Good, thatís good."

"Youíre such a nut," John laughed. "Do you need to do anything else, or are you ours again?"

"All yours," Rodney promised with a small smile.

"Good, in that case, come with me. I have something that needs your attention," John said.

"Iíll see you in the morning, gentlemen," Elizabeth laughed.

"If anything comes up, call Lorne and Radek," John replied, grinning over his shoulder.

"And tell them not to call us unless the city is sinking!" Rover banged a pincer on the wall to punctuate the statement.

Elizabethís laughter followed them down the hall.

"So, you look unhurt to me," John observed. "Is there any hidden damage I need to shoot Mitchell for?"

"Just to my ego, but Iíll survive," Rodney promised.

Johnís eyes narrowed. "What happened?"

Rodney shrugged. "Iíve come to the conclusion that to them it doesnít matter what I do, Iím never going to be as good as Sam, but you know what? It doesnít matter. Itís what you all think that does."

"And we know that youíre better than ten Sam Carters." John slid his arm around Rodneyís shoulders, hugging him.

"Damn right I am," Rodney murmured, sliding his arm around Johnís waist.

"Good, remember that." John pulled Rodney to a halt and kissed him, drawing a soft sigh from the scientist.

"Itís good to be home."

"Itís good to have you home," John agreed, holding him close, making Rodney sigh again and smile as Rover pressed up against Johnís opposite side.

"I was surprised Daniel hadnít discovered something to tear the place apart."

"He was too busy talking to Morgan La Fey and keeping Vala from stealing everything that wasnít nailed down," John said with a snicker.

"Including you?"

"Nah, I hid behind Lindstrom and Loki."

"My genius," Rodney grinned.

"Hey, I know when a strategic retreat is called for," John chuckled.

"At times."

"Just because I donít always do it doesnít mean Iím not aware of when it would be the sensible thing to do."

Rodney chuckled at that. "Good point, Colonel."

"It always works out in the end."

"Yes, we do."

"Itís our thing, isnít it?"

"We do it well, you, Rover, and I."

John grinned. "Itís our second best thing."

Rodney snorted out a low laugh at that. "And we know what our best thing is."

"Damn right," John said as Rover rubbed against the wall, making a groaning noise.

"That would be you, Rover," Rodney laughed, and John laughed too.

"What else?"

The cart spun in a circle, and Rodney grinned as well. "So, are we having a celebratory dinner, or do you have other plans for us?"

"I have dinner waiting for us in our quarters, and then I thought all three of us could watch a movie." John grinned at Rover. "I got I, Robot."

"Oh, heís going to love that," Rodney laughed. "And we can eat popcorn and make out while heís cheering his counterpart on."

"A perfect night."

"And the perfect company."

"Our family." They walked into their quarters, the door shutting behind them, and John pulled Rodney into a hard hug.

"What was that for?" Rodney asked, once Johnís bone-cracking hold on him had eased. "Not that I mind, of course."

"You need to stop scaring me to death. When we saw that hive ship heading toward you..." Johnís arms tightened again.

"This means itís your turn next," Rodney sighed, resting his cheek against Johnís. "Not that Iím looking forward to it."

"I can assure you that I donít enjoy it either," John said, loosening his grip so Rodney could breathe freely.

"I think Rover doesnít like it when either of us do that either," Rodney murmured, both of them jumping slightly when Rover banged on the wall loudly.

"Donít blame him," John said, reaching down to pat the cart. "We try not to do it, boy."

"And youíre the one who really died," Rodney reminded the cart before wincing as Rover shivered and pressed against him. "Sorry, bad thing to bring up."

"Yes, it was," John agreed, kneeling down to pat Rover. "But weíre all still here."

"And weíre going to stay here." Rodney dropped to his knees as well, hugging them both.

"Home, sweet home, as weird as it is." John slid an arm around Rodney as well, completing the group hug.

END

 

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