Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Category/Rated: Gen, PG
Year/Length: 2008/ ~560 words
Disclaimer: Not mine, no profit, only having fun.
Prompt: Grace story, Kid Rodney meets John's relatives, is brilliant, gets into trouble, gets out, and charms everyone in the process while worrying John.
John's praying for something to get him out of his conversation with great-uncle Ed when the kids start screaming. He spares a half-second to think that he should be more careful about what he wishes for, and then he's on his feet, running towards the shouts and cries for help.
Distantly, John's aware that Dave is right beside him, his brother's expression a mask of fear as they run full out towards the stables. They leave everyone else in the dust, the heavy food weighing them all down. John can feel his own stomach protesting. He just doesn't care.
John's nieces and nephews had taken to Meredith right away, just like the rest of the family had, which is odd in ways that John really hasn't had a chance to process yet. He hadn't thought anything about it when they asked to show Meredith the horses. John had grown up around the animals, and Meredith was more than old enough to be around them, even if John thought that more likely than not they'd spook him.
But, oh God, he'd been wrong. He must have been wrong, because the kids are still screaming for help, and John can hear crashes and bangs. He makes his burning legs move faster, finally cresting the hill that leads to the stables, Dave still by his side.
One of the stable doors is open, but John ignores it. His gaze is drawn back, instead, to the practice rings, where the movement and screaming are actually coming from. John doesn't know the horse that's in the ring, but the fine, tall animal is really not a happy camper.
And neither is the little dark-haired girl cowering against the fence, screaming her head off while the horse snorts and stomps far too close to her for John's comfort.
Dave gasps, "Juney," in a ragged, choked tone, and starts moving again. It takes John a moment longer, because he's hung up on the rest of the scene, on Meredith climbing up the outside of the fence, bending over at the top and reaching a hand down for June, yelling for her above the clamor the horse is making and her own screams.
John doesn't manage to scream or shout or anything. His heart is blocking his throat and all he can do is run, praying Meredith won't overbalance, praying the horse backs off, just praying. And then June is looking up, reaching for Meredith with her skinny little arms and John is sure that they're both going to fall back into the pen.
Dave reaches them then, grabs Meredith and just lifts him, June pulled up with him. The three of them end up in a pile on the ground, and John throws himself down beside them, pulling and shoving until he manages to grab Meredith, holding him tight and rocking back and forth.
Inside the pen the horse is still snorting and pacing, but John doesn't care. The rest of the family is finally coming up the hill as well, and John is sure they're going to have questions, but he doesn't care. Meredith is squirming around in his arms, alive and fine and hale, and God, every bit as stupidly brave as Rodney. John should have known that. He should have known.
John presses his face down against Meredith hair and squeezes his eyes closed.
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