Spoilers: McKay and Mrs. Miller

Notes: Though parts were changed to fit our Rover-verse, some scenes and dialogue are straight out of the episode.

The World According to Rover XXVII
Anything Else Is Just an Imitation

Orithain and Rina

October 2006

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

"I have to go to Earth." With that announcement, Rodney dropped into the chair across from John, leaned in to grab his cup of coffee, and slugged it down.

"What?" John stared. "What do you mean you have to go to Earth? Youíre not going anywhere without me." Rover thumped the table leg in agreement.

"Do you think I want to?" Rodney exclaimed. "Trust me, both of you, this is the last thing I do, but I have to."

"Why donít you explain it to us then? And try to convince me why you should go without me?"

Rodney sighed and reached out a hand to pat Rover when the cart nudged his chair. "Itís my sister."

"Is something wrong with her?" John asked, immediately concerned.

"Other than the fact that the mind that can do this is a stay-at-home mother spending her time cleaning house and wiping runny noses? Not a thing!" Rodney scoffed, tossing his datapad on the desk and pointing at the rows of complex mathematical formulae.

Johnís eyes ran over the math, widening as he worked through it. The theories were esoteric, but the math... He wanted to talk to the person whoíd done this. "Iím going with you."

"And leave Rover by himself?"

"Shit." John slumped in his chair. "Youíre bringing her back here, right?"

"Iím going to do my damnedest," Rodney nodded, continuing to stroke Rover as he spoke. "It may not be that easy though..."

"Rodney, I have every confidence in your stubbornness."

"Why, thank you, Colonel; the only issue is that itís geneticóshe has it too."

John shuddered. "On second thought, I think Iím glad I wonít be there to see it."

Rodney sniffed at that. "Your lack of support is touching."

"Rodney, I love you, but you fighting you is my idea of Armageddon."

"Hah, if there were two of me, the magnitude of our brilliance would outshine the sun. Now, Iíve got to go pack. Do you want to come help, or do you have more reports to write?"

"Iíll help so that you finish sooner and have some free time before you go. I need to remind you what you have to come back to."

The smile Rodney gave in answer to that was predatory. "And to remind you to keep your legs shut if you go on any missions." He chuckled then when Rover banged the desk with his pincer.

John laughed. "No one else is after me, you nut, but Iím willing to lie back and let you have your way if itíll make you feel better."

"After I pack, I will and it will." Rodney stood and gathered up his datapad. "And if youíre really good, Iíll let you take guesses at just what this proof will do."

"Iím always good," John retorted, grinning as he stood up as well.

Rodney chuckled, waiting until John walked around his desk to catch him by the shirt and pull him in for a kiss. "Good? Youíre amazing, Colonel."

John beamed at him. "Itís nice to be appreciated. And for the record, so are you."

"Well, of course I am, and yes, Rover, so are you," Rodney added before the cart could pinch either of them.

"Thatís why we work so well together." John slung an arm around Rodneyís shoulders as they stepped into the transporter.

"We all improve each other exponentially," Rodney nodded, following Rover to their door then into their room, where the cart immediately began rummaging through Rodneyís belongings.

"I think Roverís planning to do your packing for you. I guess he wants to make sure I have enough time to convince you to hurry back."

"Rover, I need something other than uniforms," Rodney called before glancing at the equations on his datapad again and shaking his head.

"Just remember that youíre there to get your sister, not go out for dinner with Carter."

"Is that an order, Colonel?" Rodney asked, his eyebrows rising.

"Damn right. Remember youíre not available!"

Rodney raised his hand, showing John the ring he wore. "Taken, claimed, and glad of it," he promised, looking at John then at Rover, who was rummaging through his clothes.

"Good, no getting distracted by blondes." John went to help Rover, intent on getting the packing done so they could get to the fun part.

"Iím going to see my sister!" Rodney protested before squawking. "Not that shirt!"

"Definitely not that shirt," John agreed, trying to retrieve it from Rover. "You only wear that shirt for me."

"And somehow I never manage to wear it long..."

Rover waved the shirt like a flag before thrusting it at John.

"Exactly. No wearing it on Earth without me!" John tucked the shirt back into the drawer.

"Fine, then, Rover, donít let him wear this while Iím gone," Rodney ordered, grabbing a black t-shirt from Johnís drawer and handing it to the cart.

"Iíll wear that the day you come back," John retorted.

"Good." Rodney nodded tightly, bending over Rover as he folded clothes into a duffle bag.

"So youíd better hurry back." John moved over to the bed, undressing, and stretched out on top of it, lazily stroking himself.

"Oh hell," Rodney groaned, straightening up and staring at John, hoping he wasnít drooling. "Rover, go see the girls, why donít you; I promise I wonít leave without saying goodbye."

"And he wonít be leaving any time soon," John promised.

Rover zipped up the bag and spun, rubbing against Rodneyís leg as he headed out of the room. "Well then," Rodney murmured, pulling off his shirt and sitting down to unlace his boots.

"Got something in mind?" John asked, sitting up to press against Rodneyís back.

"You. Me. Getting horizontal as quickly as possible," Rodney suggested, twisting to kiss John on the jaw.

"I like that plan." John slid a hand down to stroke Rodney, making him groan and arch back against him.

"Itís a good one, like all of my plans," Rodney groaned.

"Have I mentioned how hot I think it is when you get all arrogant?"

"Do you want me to start listing my degrees?"

"Can you do that with your mouth on me?"

Rodney twisted around and pushed John to the bed, straddling him. "Do you have any doubt?"

"I think I need a demonstration."

Chuckling, Rodney slid off the bed to push off his pants, then crawled back toward John, settling himself between his long legs to lean in over him. "I can do that," he murmured, licking his way up Johnís chest, offering a degree name with each kiss or nip. John shivered, squirming under Rodneyís weight and wrapping his legs around Rodneyís waist.

Rodney reached Johnís collarbone and reversed his progress, sliding his way downward until his chin bumped Johnís erection. John buried his fingers in Rodneyís hair, holding him in place while John writhed until his cock slid into Rodneyís mouth and he started sucking.

"Oh fuck," John groaned, staring down at Rodneyís lips wrapped around him.

"Soon," Rodney murmured, licking at the drop of precome that oozed down the head of Johnís cock.

"Oh good. I need to stock up." John grinned at him while Rodney chuckled and swallowed him down again. John arched up, his fingers combing through Rodneyís hair as he fought his urge to pull Rodney closer.

When he felt John shudder beneath him, Rodney pulled off and shifted upward to kiss him again. "I want you to come when Iím in you," he murmured, rocking against the cradle of Johnís hips.

"So get in me!"

"Slut," Rodney chuckled, leaning to the side to grab the lube from the beside table, flipping it open and smearing the gel on his fingers, at the same time pushing to his knees to push one into Johnís ass.

"You know you love it," John gasped, rising up to take Rodneyís finger deeper.

"Damn right," Rodney nodded, adding another finger and crooking them to rub over Johnís prostate, making John groan and squirm.

"Please!"

"Slick me up, then."

John grabbed for the lube, fumbling it briefly before managing to squeeze some out and stroke it onto Rodney, who groaned and thrust into the tight grip. "Oh fuck, I need to be in you now," he gasped, pulling back and positioning himself before thrusting in.

"God yes," John rasped, holding on to Rodneyís arms. "Feels so good."

Rodney groaned and nodded, dipping his head to nip at Johnís lower lip as they started to rock together.

"Iíll be waiting here like this for you when I hear the Daedalus is arriving," John whispered, smiling against Rodneyís lips.

"You are an evil, evil man, Colonel."

"Thatís why you love me."

"One of the reasons anyway."

John grinned at him. "Iím just so lovable."

"Only to me!"

"Just the way I like it." John bit lightly on Rodneyís chin, making him shudder and drive forward, starting a faster rhythm. John groaned and arched up to meet each thrust, kissing Rodney again.

"John..." Rodney gasped, shuddering as his climax caught him by surprise.

John groaned and clenched down on him and reached between them for his cock, desperate for his own climax while Rodney tried to keep moving, catching Johnís mouth with his own and delving inside with his tongue, swallowing Johnís moans. It was only moments before John tensed and came as well, his semen smearing their bellies.

"Damn, you feel good," Rodney sighed some time later.

"Right back atcha," John murmured, nuzzling Rodneyís throat.

"You do realize Iím not going to sleep well the entire time Iím gone?"

"Good. Because I wonít either, and Roverís going to miss you too."

Rodney sighed and shifted enough so that John could be comfortable. "You know if I didnít have to go, I wouldnít."

"Of course I do, but that doesnít mean I have to like it," John replied, sounding a little sulky.

"Iím sorry!"

"You can make it up to me when you get back." John managed a smile.

"Damn right I will; Iím heading to a grocery store and finding some Ben and Jerryís for you."

John beamed at him. "My hero. Just mark it as something else so no one on the Daedalus eats it."

Rodney raised his head at that, his expression incredulous. "Who do you think youíre talking to here, Colonel?"

"Good point." John chuckled and kissed him. "Just donít take too long."

"Tell your buddy Caldwell that," Rodney snorted. "Iím going to be haranguing Hermiod when Iím not dealing with Jeannie."

"Rodney, donít ever use the words buddy and Caldwell in the same sentence." John pretended to shudder. "Heís a necessary evil. And why haranguing Hermiod?"

"Because Iím sure there are ways he can make that bucket go faster."

John burst into laughter. "I think I feel sorry for him."

Rodney sniffed. "Of course you should."

"But if it gets you back here faster, I donít care. Torture him."

"Mmm, works for me," Rodney sighed, shifting until he was half on top of John and stroking a hand over his chest.

"We should probably get up. The sooner you leave, the sooner youíll come back." But John tightened his grip on Rodney.

"Yeah, I should get going, need to shower and check what Rover packed for me." Rodney didnít move at all as he spoke.

"Eventually one of us is going to have to actually move," John said.

"Since when are you the practical one?"

"Notice Iím not actually moving," John pointed out.

"Hrmm, true."

"And I really donít want to."

"Neither do I but..." Rodney sighed, kissing Johnís shoulder and sitting up. "Like you said, the faster Iím gone, the faster I come back."

John sighed and folded his arms behind his head. "If I lie here like this the whole time youíre getting ready, will it inspire you more?"

"To jump back in bed with you!"

John laughed and sat up. "Much as I like the sound of that, Iíll be good."

Rodney stood and stretched, shaking his head. "You good? Ha! But thatís the way I like you, so it works for me." He leaned in to kiss John then headed for the bathroom.

John got up, about to follow, but then he realized that would delay them even more, so he busied himself instead getting them clean clothes.

After a quick shower, Rodney returned, a towel slung around his neck and another around his waist. "Where areóoh, thanks."

John stole a kiss before going to take a quick shower of his own. When he came out, he cast an unhappy glance at Rodneyís suitcase, but he forced a smile as he dressed. "Stay away from Carter."

"I love you, John. And you stay away from any priestesses, got it?"

John laughed and hugged him. "Promise."

"Good, now letís find Rover so I can get going."

"I think he might be hiding to keep you from leaving."

"Well, itíll work!"

John grinned. "Except that would upset you, so heíll show up."

"Well, I guess we should start for the gate; heíll find us." Rodney glanced around their room and nodded to himself before picking up his bag.

"Youíll be back before we know youíre gone." It wasnít clear which of them John was trying to convince.

"Just think of all the paperwork youíll get done."

John snorted. "Ten bucks says your harem decides to keep me from getting lonely."

Rodney had to chuckle at that. "If I come back and you have a pedicure, Iím going to kill themóand you!"

"Aww, Lindstrom said sheíd paint rainbows on my toes."

"Dead man, Colonel! Dead man and Rover will help me do it, right?" Rodney asked as the cart scooted up to them and pressed against his leg.

"I think Rover would be too busy laughing at me," John chuckled.

"I think the whole base would be too busy laughing at you."

"Thanks so much for the support."

"Any time," Rodney chuckled as they walked, and he stroked Roverís casing.

"Remind me why I love you?"

"I just did!"

John burst into laughter, as did Lisa Lindstrom, who had been coming up to say goodbye to Rodney.

"Yes? Did I say something amusing?" Rodney sniffed.

"Go get your sister and hurry home." John hugged him hard.

"I will." Rodney buried his face against Johnís neck as he hugged him back, inhaling deeply before letting go and dropping to his knees beside Rover. "You two take care of each other, all right?" He hugged the cart as well, then stood. "All right."

John and Rover stood watching Rodney walk through the gate, and when it closed, they both slumped only to then jump when Ronon clapped a hand on each of them. "Youíre coming to dinner with Teyla and me tonight."

Looking amused, John eyed him. "Weíre not exactly likely to jump off a pier, you know. But yeah, that would be nice."

Ronon shrugged. "Didnít think so, but this way you wonít mope. Cadman made a schedule."

Johnís eyebrow rose. "Clearly Iím going to have to have a chat with the lieutenant about chain of command."

"Good luck with that," Jack OíNeill snorted.

"Are you going to argue with her?" Chuck Bryan laughed, looking down at them from the gate console.

"Isnít that supposed to be a benefit of being the senior officer?"

Rover rubbed against the console, making a rude noise.

"And thank you for the support." John shook his head. "No respect."

The cart seemed to shrug at that and patted Johnís leg, making everyone chuckle.

"I think caringís better than respect," Lisa said quietly. "For the man, and the officer is respected and you know it."

"Donít deny it, Sheppard," Ronon cautioned.

John opened his mouth, then shut it again when Rover waved a pincer menacingly, making everyone laugh again.

"All right Jeannie, the Daedalus is just going to transport us down..."

"And will I finally find out why youíve been so anxious to get back here?"

"Whyóoh, umm, about that..."

"Activating transport," Hermiod commented over the intercom before sending them down to the city.

"Rodney!" John and Rover both pounced on him, causing him to stagger into Jeannie and almost knock her over as he hugged them both.

Blonde eyebrows rose as Jeannie observed the reunion. "I take it this is that reason we were just talking about it?"

Rodney flushed and nodded though he kept an arm around John and a hand on Rover. "Yesóummóyes, it is. Jeannie, this is Lt. Col. John Sheppard, and this is Rover." The pincer that wasnít clinging to Rodney waved in her direction. "John, Rover, this is my sister, Jeannie."

John smiled and nodded without moving away from Rodney. "I take it Rodney forgot to mention a few things?"

"Why does this not surprise me?" she sighed.

"What does that mean?!"

"She means youíre not so good at sharing the personal stuff."

"Oh, he does know you, Meredith."

There was a moment of dead silence as John stared at Jeannie.

"Meredith?"

"Jeannie..." Rodney growled, trying to ignore the sniggers from around the control room.

"Thatís his name. Meredith Rodney McKay. Right, Mer?"

"Oh, Iím going to have to rethink this whole relationship!" John laughed.

"Very amusing, Colonel!" Rodney snapped.

"Welcome back, Rodney," Paul cut in smoothly as he and Elizabeth joined the group.

"I wouldnít worry too much, Rodney," Elizabeth chuckled. "He still has a death grip on you. And welcome to Atlantis, Mrs. Miller."

"You must be Dr. Weir," Jeannie smiled, ignoring her brotherís death glare in her direction. "This place is simply amazing."

"Yes, amazing, and perhaps we should get to work?"

John made a soft sound of protest, though he managed not to say anything.

Hearing that, Rodney glanced at him and flushed again. "Unless perhaps you and Paul would like to show Jeannie around the city, Elizabeth?"

Chuckling softly, Elizabeth said, "It would be my pleasure. And perhaps we can all have dinner later?"

"Of course, of course," Rodney muttered.

"Weíll see you then. Nice to meet you, Jeannie." John started backing toward the transporter, drawing Rodney with him.

"Just let me get my bags," Rodney protested even as Rover scooped them up and carried them off.

"Roverís got them." Behind them, John could hear Jeannie asking about Rover.

"Good boy, Rover," Rodney commented as they all crowded into a transporter.

"He always is." John grabbed a fistful of Rodneyís shirt and yanked him into a kiss.

Rodney groaned and dragged John closer, devouring his mouth while trying to get his hands under his shirt. Neither man noticed when the transporter door opened, so after a minute, Rover started pushing them out, almost running over Laura Cadman in the process.

"Yup, things are back to normal," she laughed, stepping out of the way.

"Go bother OíNeill," John muttered. "Weíre busy."

"Yes, sir!" Laura snickered as she watched them grope each other down the hall before she finally activated the transporter.

"Sheís laughing at us," John muttered into the side of Rodneyís neck, "and I donít care. Welcome home." He nudged Rodney through the door and locked it behind them with a thought.

"Fuck, I missed you," Rodney groaned, shoving Johnís shirt up so that he could run his hands over Johnís chest.

"I donít think Iíve slept a night through since you left," John muttered, arching into Rodneyís touch. "Donít ever go anywhere again."

Rover banged on the wall in emphasis, and Rodney nodded. "Sounds good to me. I didnít sleep well either; even Sam remarked on it."

John jerked back and growled, "How the hell would she know how you were sleeping?"

"What? No! She just commented on it in the lab!"

"Tell her to comment about her own lover. No, on second thought, donít talk to her!" John grabbed Rodneyís ass and yanked him close, kissing him possessively.

"Just you, only you," Rodney gasped when he could breathe again, before smirking slightly. "Of course, you could prove it to me..."

"I intend to. Several times. Roverís going to have to carry you to the morning briefing."

"And you think this is a problem other thanóoh shit, Jeannie will be there."

John stilled, staring at him. "If you think Iím not fucking you till after she leaves, youíre nuts and Iím calling Carson to find out what they drugged you with!"

"Did I say that?!" Rodney yelped.

"Good!" John backed him toward the bed, pulling at Rodneyís clothes as they moved.

"You do realize Iím going to get in you at least once tonight, donít you?"

"You think Iím going to complain about that? Youíve been gone too long!"

Rodney chuckled at that and tumbled back onto the bed, squirming and sighing in pleasure. "Oh god, this feels good."

John raised an eyebrow at him. "I think Iíd be happier if you had that reaction after I was there too." An instant later he was stretched out on top of Rodney, naked bodies pressed together.

"Trust me, this reaction is even better," Rodney moaned, arching up under John and wrapping his arms and legs around the colonel, pulling him even closer as Rodney sucked and bit at Johnís throat.

"Oh fuck yeah," John groaned, grabbing for the lube.

Rodney nodded, squirming even more as John pulled away to stretch him. "Hurry up!"

"I am! But Iím not going to hurt you!" John distracted him momentarily by biting a nipple, making Rodney whimper and thrash around under him. "God, I love that sound," John rasped, turning his head to catch the other nipple between his teeth.

"I kind of guessed that since you make me make itóoh fuck!--so often!"

John grinned up at him, biting again at the same time as he pushed a finger into Rodney.

"Bastard, if you make me come, Iímmm..." Rodneyís words trailed off into a deep moan.

"Nope, no coming till Iím in you. Maybe I should get a cock ring..."

"No!"

John laughed and squeezed more lube onto his cock, then shifted into position. Rodney lurched up and grabbed him, yanking him inward and making John cry out. "Jesus fuck, Rodney!"

"Actually, Iíd rather John fuck Rodney if weíre getting caveman about it," Rodney chuckled before sighing as he arched upward.

"Asshole," John laughed breathlessly, pushing even deeper into him and then drawing back slowly, gasping as he felt Rodney clench down on him.

"And you love it."

"Damn right. Good thing you love me too."

Rodney slid his hands up Johnís back and nipped at his upper lip. "A very, very good thing."

"You feel perfect," John rasped, sliding a hand down to stroke Rodneyís cock.

"Missed you so much," Rodney whispered.

"Me too." John raised a hand to brush Rodneyís hair back, meeting the vivid blue of his eyes. "I love you," he whispered as the first spasm of his climax ripped through him, the ripples echoing through Rodney as well as he shuddered beneath John, the tight grip on his cock sending him over as well.

John collapsed on top of Rodney, feeling the semen smear between them and not caring in the least. "Now I know youíre back."

"Shh, enjoying the afterglow," Rodney murmured as he lazily stroked Johnís back.

"Me too," John said, turning his head slightly to kiss Rodneyís chest.

"Anything interesting happen while I was gone?"

"How exactly am I supposed to answer you and sh at the same time?"

Rodney chuckled quietly at that. "You mean you canít? I thought you could do anything, Colonel."

"Naw, I used up my superpower quota getting you, Rover and Atlantis."

"And having fantastic sex."

"That comes with having you. Or being had by you." John raised his head to grin at Rodney.

"Both very good things." Rodney sighed, nuzzling Johnís forehead. "And did I mention that one of those cases Rover has is a cooler?"

John sat up abruptly. "Ice cream?"

"Ow! And yes, ice cream. Since you were such a good boy, I got you several pints of Cherry Garcia."

John chortled gleefully. "You are a wonderful, wonderful man."

"Well, of course I am, and if you eat my Chubby Hubby, youíre a dead man."

John opened his mouth, then chuckled. "Naw, itís just too easy."

"Yes, it is," Rodney sniffed.

"Besides, youíre not chubby." John lay back down, resting his head on Rodneyís shoulder.

Rodney chuckled and wrapped his arms around John again. "Not with the workouts I get because of you."

"Even on missions sometimes."

"I meant the missions!" Rodney laughed.

"Really? Damn, Iím going to have to try harder in bed then."

"In addition toóoh for godís sake, Colonel!"

John lost the battle against his laughter, causing Rodney to growl and push at him.

"They do say itís great exercise."

"I missed you why?"

"Because Iím the world champion at it," John chuckled. "Oh yeah, and you love me."

"Oh, go get your ice cream."

"Soon, Iím comfortable."

Rodney chuckled. "Donít you mean Iím comfortable?"

"Yup! And itís the first time Iíve been comfortable in a while, so stay!"

"Do you see me movingónot that I could with you on top of me... And donít move!"

John laughed. "Iím so glad no one can ever hear these conversations."

"They wouldnít believe them even if they did," Rodney shrugged.

"Thank God!" John laughed softly. "But I like them."

"Theyíre uniquely us," Rodney murmured.

"And thatís a very good thing to be."

"Damn right."

"Weíre going to be sappy tonight, arenít we?" John didnít sound as if he minded.

Rodney shrugged, not appearing too upset by the prospect. "Weíve been apart for a month; weíre entitled."

"Good point." John raised his head to kiss Rodney. "In case I forgot to say it earlier, welcome home."

Rodney smiled into the kiss and relaxed against the bed. "You have no idea how good it is to hear that; now I just need to get Jeannieís proof working in reality, and things are going to be golden."

"How could you fail? Two McKays are even better than one."

"Well, I didnít realize everyone started without me," Rodney commented, walking up to the table where John, Ronon, Teyla, and Jeannie were all eating breakfast and laughing.

"Jeannieís been telling us stories about you... Mer." John grinned at him.

Rodneyís theatric groan drew attention from the tightening of the skin around his eyes. "Oh really?"

"Do not worry, Rodney." Though as gentle-sounding as ever, Teyla was also laughing. "Many people have problems wetting their beds in their youth."

John laughed as well, but he was watching Rodney with concern in his eyes. "I saved you your favorite muffin," he said.

"Yeah, címon, McKay," Ronon snickered, "I remember one time these guys at school made me eat my lunch with my underwear on my headóoh wait, that was you!"

"Ha ha ha, very funny," Rodney sniped, resting his hand on Rover when the cart rolled up beside him. "Iíll just leave you all to your story-time."

"We should probably get to work," John said, getting to his feet. He was all in favor of teasing Rodney, but he didnít like the expression in the blue eyes.

"True," Jeannie said as she got up and picked up her tray, "the sooner weíre done here, the sooner we can get home."

John looked at her. "The rest of us are home, Jeannie."

"Oh yes, of course, I meant myself," she laughed, making Rodney roll his eyes.

"All McKays use the royal we, huh?" John teased.

"Well, Mer uses it talking about himself and his brain."

"Iím going to the lab now; feel free to join me when and if coffee hour is over," Rodney snapped.

"Hey, wait for me! Consider us joined at the hip for a while," John exclaimed, hastily getting to his feet.

"Donít hurry yourself, Colonel." With that, Rodney turned and left the mess hall, Rover right at his side. John chased after him, catching up only seconds later, and he caught Rodneyís arm, drawing him to a halt.

"Hey, remember me? Iím the guy whoís always on your side."

"Hrmm, and here I thought you were getting your jollies listening to stories about my oh-so-wonderful childhood."

"Rodney, youíve known me for nearly three years. You know damn well I like teasing people. And you also know thatís as far as it goes."

"Lovely. Do you mind letting go now because Iíve got a lot of work to do."

John sighed. "Itís a good thing I have a surefire way to improve your mood," he muttered as he turned away.

Rodney opened his mouth to say something, but a call from Elizabeth interrupted, and he listened, frowning at the ambiguousness of her words. "Whatís going on now?"

John stopped at Rodneyís tone and turned back. He activated his own radio, letting Elizabeth know he was there.

"I need both of you to come to the isolation unit now. Youíll understand when you get here."

As they started on their way, neither man noticed Jeannie, whoíd come after them, following curiously until they reached the transporter, but short of shoving her out bodily, there was nothing they could do about it. Elizabeth raised her eyebrows at Jeannieís presence when they arrived, but she didnít order the other woman out.

"Hello? Elizabeth? Care to explain why weíre here?" Rodney asked.

She moved aside, letting them see the video monitor, and they all frowned.

"What in the world?" Rodney said.

"Itís you." Jeannie sounded confused.

"No, that is a live closed-circuit feed of a man we have in the isolation room," Elizabeth said, walking over to the observation window with everyone following her. They all stared down at what seemed to be Rodney, in a leather jacket, who looked back up at them with a wry expression.

"What?" Jeannie said in a near whisper.

"He appeared in the containment chamber," Elizabeth explained. "Inside the force field."

"Well, howíd he get in there?" John asked, stunned.

"He claims to be from a parallel universe."

"You said the odds against this were astronomical," Jeannie said accusingly, turning to Rodney.

"You saw the math!"

"Yeah, well, we got it wrong!"

"Well, heís here now, so the question is what does he want?"

"To talk to you," Elizabeth said very dryly.

"All right, you want shared credit? Youíre coming in with me."

After an abortive protest, Jeannie followed her brother.

When the door to the isolation room slid open, Rodney walked slowly inside, Jeannie trailing after him, both of them staring at the other him.

"Wow," the other Rodney said, "I always figured youíd be here, but Jeannie? I always hoped weíd work together on Atlantis."

"Itís a first for me too," Jeannie murmured.

At the other Rodneyís Ďhuhí, Rover darted forward and pinched him, causing the other man to take a step back and stare down at the cart. "What the hell is that?"

"That," Rodney said proudly, "is Rover. You mean he didnít find you in your universe?"

"I think Iíd have remembered an abusive cart appearing... I presume you go by..."

"Rodney."

"Ah, Rod."

Rodney turned to look back at Jeannie. "I could never get anyone to call me that."

Rodney and Rod sat down facing each other, and he felt his stomach plummet as the other man described just how his and Jeannieís experiment was causing havoc in Rodís universe.

From the viewing balcony John muttered, "This is weird," and Elizabeth just looked at him. He grinned broadly when Rover pinched the other Rodney. "I knew I could count on him," he murmured.

Frowning as he listened to Rod and Jeannie bond, Rodney turned to see John watching him. "What are we going to do with him?"

"Weíll assign him guest quarters till we find something more permanent," John said, purposely misunderstanding since he had no idea how they were going to fix this.

"Something more permanent? Weíre not keeping him!" Rodney exclaimed.

"Well, he canít go back," John pointed out.

"But it doesnít mean he has to stay here!" Rover banged into Johnís calves in support of Rodneyís statement, making John move to Rodneyís other side.

"Heíd rather be on Atlantis than Earth."

Rodneyís tone turned petulant. "Oh, so he gets his way and I donít."

"How can you not want to be with him? Heís you." John had a momentarily glazed look in his eyes before focusing again.

"Heís not me, Iím me! The real me," Rodney trailed off, noticing Johnís expression and gagging. "Oh my god, youíre disgusting!"

"Oh, like you wouldnít think about it if there were two of me!" John retorted. "Itís not like I was planning to do anything about it. And I suppose itís all relative. To Rod, his reality is every bit as valid as ours. To him, weíre the imposters."

"I want you, not some imposter from another space-time continuum," Rodney sniffed. "And what does Elizabeth have to say about all of this?"

"Two McKays are better than one." John grinned.

"There arenít two McKays! Thereís one McKay and him," Rodney turned and pointed down the hall as they reached a transporter.

"Whatever you say." John considered calling him Meredith for the reaction, but since he didnít want to spend the rest of his life sleeping on the couch, being pinched by Rover, he kissed Rodney instead before stepping into the transporter.

"What the hell is this?" The sight of Rod sitting with John, Jeannie, Ronon and Teyla, all of them laughing like the best of friends, made Rodneyís stomach ache, and he felt his blood pressure rise as he approached the table.

"Hey, sleepyhead." John smiled.

"I was having breakfast with Jeannie," Rod explained. "I guess it just kind of ballooned into a group affair. Sit down. Weíre tracing back our lives, trying to find the little differences between our pasts."

"Rod is an honorary member of the Athosian Council," Teyla put in.

"And godfather to his niece and nephews," Jeannie added with more than a hint of smugness.

"Yes, how wonderful for him."

Rod chuckled. "Itís easier for me. Our Earth has a ZPM too, so it makes the back and forth a lot easier."

"Drs. McKay, please report to the containment chamber." The announcement cut into Rodneyís comeback.

"Excuse me," he muttered, clenching his jaw when Rod echoed the statement, then paused to confirm a sparring date with Ronon later.

After Rodney, Jeannie and Rod left, trailed by Rover, John glared at Ronon. "Thanks so much! Heís going to be in a foul mood for days now."

"Whatíd I say?" Ronon protested. "Iím not the one who went golfing with his double before he was even awake."

"You didnít need to make a point of confirming with Rod. Do you think Rodneyís an idiot? He knows perfectly well when heís being made fun of or excluded from things."

"Then maybe he should have been the one having breakfast with his sister."

John shook his head, getting to his feet. "Before Rod showed up, everyone knew exactly how Rodney was. So why are you all pointing out the differences now and expecting him to turn into Rod? I happen to like Rodney."

"Weíre not trying to change Rodney, John," Teyla interjected. "We like him as well."

"Maybe you should try telling him that," John said before leaving.

"Heís slowing me down," Rodney stated flatly when he returned to his and Johnís rooms to find the colonel cleaning his golf clubs.

"Really? I would have thought two of you wouldíve sped things up." Toothbrush in hand, John concentrated on inspecting his club for any dirt that had missed his first cleaning.

"Heís not me!" Hearing John comparing the two of them sent Rodney into a spiel of suppositions regarding how Rod was such a fuck-up in his universe that they sent him to theirs as a way of putting out the garbage.

John sighed, setting aside his club. "I know what this is about. You think Jeannie likes him more than you." And possibly Ronon and Teyla as well, but John wasnít about to get sidetracked.

"What?! Thatís crazy! Thatís, thatís..." Rodney flashed back to the conversation heíd had with Jeannie earlier. "Thatís possibly true." Ignoring Johnís smug nod, he continued. "Jeannie and Iíve drifted apart. I mean that happens; it wasnít done maliciously. Do I have regrets? Of course I do, but who doesnít? I wish Iíd have told her about us before we got here, but thereís nothing to be done about that.

"You know, Iím not very good at saying Iím sorry or that Iím wrong. Possibly because it happens so rarely, as you know."

John eyed him with amusement, simply making a noncommittal sound as he picked up his club again only to have Rover snatch it from him and carry it away.

"So I didnít call or write, and when I realized four years had gone by, it was just..." Rodney paused, his eyes widening. "Youíre right. Of course, youíre right. She has every reason to hate me." Something broke inside Rodney at the admission, and Rover thrust the club back at John before scooting to his side and pressing against him. Ignoring the club, John stood up and pulled Rodney into a tight hug.

"I wouldnít say hate, Rodney."

"Well, she should!"

"Sheís your sister; she loves you. Thatís why sheís so pissed at you. Trust me, I know," John said wryly.

"What do you mean byó" Once again Rodney was interrupted by Radekís call, then he hugged John back distractedly. "Good talk, thanks."

John watched him go, sank back down onto the bed and picked up his club to give it an experimental swing.

Discovering that the problem was only getting worse didnít improve any of the scientistsí moods. The people in Rodís reality managed to get a message through, explaining that the rip in the fabric of their universe was expanding much more rapidly than anticipated. They had come up with a solution, but when Rod reviewed it, he found that it would destroy his Atlantis and rip a hole in the reality of this universe.

Fortunately, Jeannie had an idea, but it was going to nearly deplete the ZPM, a fact that was consuming Rodneyís thoughts as he worked on the mock-up, trying to ignore Radekís questions as to whether Elizabeth had given the okay for the power burst.

"Youíd rather the universe was destroyed?" Even to his own ears, his voice sounded tired.

"Not really." Radek got back to work, and Rod came to join them.

"Rodney, talk to you for a second?" Once they were alone, he continued, "The Daedalus is still in orbit. I thought..."

Rodney nodded sharply. "I know what youíre going to say." Of course, Rod had to say it anyway, explaining facts he already understood about how Rodís beaming into the energy stream protected by his own personal force field would solve both the problem of the energy cascade and his being stuck in Rodneyís Atlantis.

"But everyone loves you here." Rodney bit his tongue to keep from mentioning Rod and Johnís golf Ďdateí.

"But itís not home." Rod smiled crookedly. "Look, my Sheppard is a know-it-all. My Teyla is hard to talk to, and my Ronon is... Well, actually those two are pretty similar. I guess what Iím trying to say is that for all their faults, theyíre my team. My place is with them.

"Besides, theyíre not looking for another McKay around here. They already have one."

"Yes, a lesser model." Rodney lifted his chin, ignoring the way his voice broke on the last words.

Rod laughed softly. "I envy you. You say exactly whatís on your mind, no matter how it makes you look. I can only imagine the freedom you must have, not caring if people like you."

"People donít like me?"

"Trust me, youíve got it great here." And without giving Rodney a chance to reply, Rod returned to the issue of getting him home, leaving Rodney to watch the heartfelt goodbyes with Radek and his sister, trying to ignore his own jealousy at their closeness.

John came in just then and moved to Rodneyís side, sliding an arm around him. "Hey, just think, tonight we wonít have to worry about any interruptions. And no missions for a few days so I donít need to be able to walk tomorrow," he murmured, leaning in for a kiss.

"What? Oh." Rodney smiled slightly and wrapped his arm around Johnís waist as well, unable to keep from smirking when Rod glanced over at them and his eyes widened.

John noticed as well and chuckled. "Another difference between our realities? Your Sheppard really is an idiot."

"Or I am," Rod mused before nodding. "Well, I guess thereís nothing left to say but Ďthereís no place like home.í" With that, he vanished in a bright light as the Daedalus beamed him away.

Rodney, Radek and Jeannie began the process, Rodney letting Jeannie push the button this time. The experiment worked, but they had to maintain the bridge for longer than expected in order to let Rod have enough time to get across safely.

"Oh, I am so fired," Rodney groaned, staring at the large double zeros that marked the depletion of the ZPMóat least before the lights went out until the generators powered them up again.

"More time for sex then," John said cheerfully.

"I really did not need to hear that when youíre talking about my brother!" Jeannie exclaimed.

"Be grateful thatís all you heard," Radek muttered.

While Rodney and Radek went off to explain what had happened to Elizabeth, John followed Jeannie back to her quarters with his laptop... and showed her the message Rodney had made that first year when they thought they were going to be killed by the Wraith.

"When did he record this?" Jeannie asked after pausing the recording.

"A couple of years back when we thought the bad guys were going to get us."

"Were the two of you... together then?"

John nodded. "It was still fairly recent, but yeah. Rover still hated me then," he added with a chuckle.

"Why was that?" she asked.

"Heíd just been activated, pretty much around the same time Rodney and I got together, and we had a bit of a jealousy thing going on over Rodney," John admitted.

Jeannie had to chuckle at that. "Mer must have loved that."

"He wore a smug grin for weeks," John laughed.

She shook her head at that. "Now Iíve seen three sides of my brother."

John started to answer but was interrupted by Rodney and Rover, who both stopped short when they saw John in her room.

"What are you two up to?" Rodney groaned.

"Nothing," John said, taking the laptop that Jeannie closed and handed to him. "Just telling stories about you. You know, trying not to fall asleep."

"Oh, ha ha," Rodney grumbled while Rover scooted forward, waving a pincer.

"Oh, stop that," John snorted as he got to his feet. "Iíll leave you guys alone. Come on, Rover; letís see how much blue jello we can scare out of the cooks."

The cart spun in a circle before rolling over to Jeannie and plucking at her pants leg, then following John out, leaving Rodney feeing very uncomfortable. Finally he gave Jeannie a half wave. "Hey."

"Hey." She gave him no help.

"Hey, uh, you should be packing; the Daedalus leaves in the morning."

Jeannie reached down and picked up a small duffel bag, placing it on the bed. "Iím done. Howíd it go with Weir?"

"Oh, well, she wasnít too happy with the whole killing of the ZPM, but we did prevent the destruction of the universe, so... not fired."

"Thatís good." Jeannie smiled uncomfortably, and the moment stretched on before Rodney broke.

"Oh, I um, got this for Madison," he said, offering Jeannie a carved statue.

Jeannie took it, turning it in her hand as she looked bewildered.

"I swiped it from Weirís desk; itís not like thereís a Toys-R-Us around," Rodney admitted, looking sheepish.

Her eyes widened slightly. "Well, uh, itís the, uh, the thought that counts," Jeannie said, putting it into her bag.

There was another uncomfortable pause before Jeannie looked up, shoving her hands into her back pockets. "Iíd say see you around, but...

"Yes, about that." Rodney paused, searching for the right words. "What I wanted to umm..." He trailed off, not sure of what to say.

Jeannie watched him expectantly for a moment before smiling Rodneyís crooked smile. "Thank you for trying."

Unwilling to let it go like that, Rodney strode forward and pulled Jeannie into a hug, feeling her shock in the stiffness of her body before she hugged him back. Swallowing against his own tight throat, he forced the words out. "How are you? You happy? You okay?"

Jeannie had a tremulous smile on her face as she said, "Yeah, Mer, I am. I really am."

After tightening the hug, Rodney pulled back to see the truth of her words in her eyes, and he nodded. "The intergalactic gate network should be completed soon, so, um, maybe it wonít be four years next time?"

"This mean Iíll, uh, see you at Christmas?"

"If you can convince Caleb not to make tofurkeyóand you make enough for John as well; he loves turkey."

Jeannie laughed. "No promises!"

Rodney chuckled at that and headed out of her room, feeling better than he had in weeks.

With an uncomfortable sense of deja vu, Rodney entered the mess hall to find John, Ronon and Teyla all laughing over something.

"Am I just not getting the team e-mails any more?" he protested while Rover clacked his pincers menacingly.

"I knew you needed your sleep," John said with a comical leer. "And take it easy; we were just talking about Rod."

"Oh yes, well, of course you were," Rodney sighed.

"Do you think he made it back to his universe?" Teyla asked.

"Well, itís hard to say really, but I doubt heíll be back though."

"Thatís good," John said. "We found him a little, uh... creepy."

"What?"

Ronon shrugged. "Yeah, I canít stand people who are nice all the time; makes me feel like theyíre trying to hide something."

"Really?" Rodneyís voice and eyebrows rose.

"He kept trying to correct me on my Athosian history," Teyla said. "It grew... tiresome very quickly."

"Well, he wasnít that bad..."

"Well, letís be honest," John said. "Rod was annoying."

"Well," Rodney grinned, breathing a sigh of relief as Rover relaxed beside him, "Iíll admit, itís kind of nice to hear. Now," he grabbed a chair and pulled it over to the table. "What else has been happening?"

John, Teyla and Ronon exchanged a smiling glance while Rodney was grabbing the chair. As Rodney sat down next to John, the colonel said, "Well, one of the new Marines has got the hots for Teyla," making her kick him.

"Ow!"

"That is not true!"

"Better not be," Ronon grumbled.

"For his sake," Rodney laughed.

Teyla gave John a truly evil smile. "One of them has, however, been paying a great deal of attention to John."

"What?!" Rodney shrieked. "Who?"

"No one!" John glared at Teyla, while she and Ronon laughed. "Thereís no one but you, and you know it."

Rodney smiled at that and nodded. "Yes, I know that, and I know my um, homecoming celebration was somewhat cut off by circumstances, so perhaps youíd like to do something? Maybe play some golf?"

John beamed at him. "Youíre going to learn golf for me?"

"Yes." Rodneyís expression was as pained as his voice.

"I love you." John leaned over and kissed him. "How Ďbout we go back to our room instead, and you make sure I canít walk tomorrow?"

Rodneyís expression brightened while Ronon guffawed and Teyla chuckled quietly. "That, Colonel, sounds like the perfect plan!"

"So what are waiting for?" John demanded, getting to his feet.

"Nothing at all. Teyla, Ronon, weíll see you later," Rodney commented, catching John by the arm and pulling him from the mess hall to the sound of the other coupleís laughter.

END

 

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