Mar. 23rd, 2008 09:17 am
Series: Highschool Heroes
Characters: John, Rodney, the Sheppards, Teyla, Carson
Warnings: Uh, pre-slash? Married people being affectionate?
Disclaimer: Not mine!
Summary: Time for Rodney to have a birthday! Set somewhere in the middle of part five of SS.
Author's Note: So sherriaisling was all like, we need to see Rodney's birthday in the SS 'verse. I'm a whore, you know that right? So, of course I wrote it. I've noticed that a lot of my notes are in this format. [so and so] said [various brilliant ideas] and so I [wrote/obsessed/fixated] about it.
Marion is digging through the freezer looking for the ice cream that Regan swore he picked up from the store when John slides up beside her and starts fidgeting. He doesn't say anything, just bounces nervously for a long moment before she closes the freezer and turns to face him. She asks, "Everything alright?"
John shushes her, and Marion tries to keep her mouth from twitching up in the corners without really succeeding. John looks over his shoulder, towards the living room where Marion can hear Rodney and Regan loudly discussing the virtues of football versus hockey. John leans closer, motioning for her to lean in and whispers into her ear, "Rodney's birthday is next week."
The tone of his voice implies that this is some kind of state secret. Marion bites her tongue to stop her grin, says, "Really?" in a normal voice just to watch John's eyes bug out. He casts another tense look towards the living room and she takes pity on him, "What day next week, John?"
John manages one more paranoid look towards the doorway before leaning back towards her, "Friday. I know it's not a lot of, um, a lot of notice. But Teyla only told me today. Rodney is—it's one of the things he's weird about. I was hoping we could—" John runs out of words, floundering and looking hopefully at her.
Marion reaches out, messes up his hair and grins when he bats at her hands, still keeping his protests muffled. When he finally manages to dodge out of her reach he's still looking at her with nakedly hopeful eyes, like there's a chance she's going to refuse.
She leans against the counter, "We could. Of course we could."
John's smile is immediate and huge, for a half second she even thinks he'll go in for a hug before he catches himself. She's amused that apparently John decided he was too old to hug her the same time Rodney came along to force John into regular displays of physical affection anyway. John says, "So I was thinking—"
Rodney interrupts, pushing past John into the kitchen, sliding up next to the freezer and reaching in to pull out two cartons of ice cream. Rodney only looks up when he pulls down four bowls, blinking up at John and Marion with a puzzled expression on his face when he notices them staring. He says, "What?"
Later that night, curled up against Regan in their bed, Marion replays the conversation. He's muffling laughter in the pillow by the time she's done, tall body shaking against hers. She hides her own grin against his shoulder.
When he finally subsides, sliding a heavy arm over her waist and tugging her closer, he says, "When do you think he's planning on letting us know that he's married?" There's nothing but good humored affection in Regan's voice, and Marion takes a moment to appreciate how good of a man she married.
She shrugs, still grinning into his shoulder, "Probably when he figures it out himself."
Regan snorts, reaching his hand up and running his fingers through her hair. She's never been able to figure out his fascination with her hair, but it seems to be a family trait. More and more often she's catching John touching Rodney's fair hair, pushing it out of the boy's face as it grows out, leaning his cheeks against it when the boys inevitably fall asleep on the couch. It's adorable, not least because she can see so much of Regan in the gesture.
For a long moment they just relax against each other, and then Regan's murmuring into the still air, "As long as they hold off for a while on the grandkids."
Marion rolls her eyes, pushing up onto an elbow and leaning over Regan, her hair falling like a curtain around them. "Your side of the family always were prudes." His lips are soft and welcoming, and he tightens his grip on her waist, hand flattening across her back.
He growls, voice rough and thick, "I'll show you a prude."
Marion isn't sure how John plans to get any time away from Rodney to shop for presents or bake the cake—which he insists on being a part of—but her son is nothing if not resourceful. Rodney stays late with Teyla and Carson several nights that week, John staying out nearly as late at the mall, coming home frustrated each night.
Thursday finds John pacing around and around the couch, hands shoved in his back pockets, mouth turned down in a frown. Marion leans in the doorway, unnoticed, watching him. John doesn't look up from the floor until Regan gets home, the door closing loudly enough that he can't ignore it. John looks guiltily at her, the tips of his eyes staining pink.
Regan leans around her shoulder, looking into the room and taking in the scene silently. It's Marion that speaks, "Everything okay, John?"
John scuffs his toe against the floor, shrugging and looking the very picture of frustration. He leans back against the couch, "Nothing works. Nothing is—" he trails off with a frustrated sigh, "Nothing I got is good enough."
Regan takes a deep breath, hand sliding down Marion's back when he steps around her into the room. Marion makes her way into the kitchen, listening to the soft rise and fall of her husband and son's voices. John is all frustration, edged with panic and upset that Rodney won't like what he gets him. It's so silly and sad that Marion has to cover her mouth, not sure if she should laugh or cry.
There are so many people that never find someone to love, much less someone that loves them back just as strongly, and she's so happy that John has found his someone so young. He's grown so much in the months that he's known Rodney. She's seen him at his happiest, but also torn apart, hurting and angry, more furious than he should ever have to be.
Marion had worried at first that it was too much for John, that he was too young to deal with the level of emotional commitment he had thrown himself in to. But by the time she'd thought about bringing it up the two boys had already started living in each other's pockets, John had already adopted all of Rodney's problems as his own without even a thought spared for the consequences.
In the living room she hears Regan say, "Best get started on that cake."
It has to be love. Marion doesn't know any other thing that would have gotten John willingly volunteering to cook. John had shown a sudden spark of interest in the kitchen since Rodney ate his pancakes. It's so painfully sweet Marion's teeth ache.
By the time Rodney gets home, his raincoat dripping water all over the floor, Regan and John have the cake hidden in the darkest depths of the refrigerator. Rodney is bubbling happily about the project he was helping Teyla with immediately, and Marion isn't sure how she feels about the fact that the boy doesn't seem concerned at all that everyone has apparently forgotten his birthday. Mostly, she settles on anger.
If Marion ever meets Rodney McKay's parents she's going to kick their asses, status as international heroes be damned.
John and Rodney come through the front door snorting with laughter on Friday. That makes it even more noticeable when they reach the living room and Rodney just goes silent. Regan elbows Marion in the ribs from where they're standing beside the couch, and she steps on his foot.
Rodney is staring at the boxes of wrapped presents on the couch, his mouth open from where his voice failed him mid-word. His eyes are huge, and he reaches out for John. Marion doesn't think he even realizes that he's doing it, curling his fingers up in John's sleeve and holding on.
John has fallen silent as well, his entire body held tense and waiting, eyes focused on Rodney's expression like his whole world hangs on whether or not Rodney likes this. Rodney blinks, rapidly, before taking a half step into the room and freezing, turning to look back at John. He sounds confused, "What's...did I miss something?"
John's smile is soft, "C'mon, Rodney. It is your birthday."
Rodney looks back at the presents, then back to John, his expression lost before he just starts smiling. Marion had never seen someone smile with their whole body before Rodney. She can see John's eyes go wide when Rodney beams up at him, the surprised breath her son sucks in when Rodney darts forward to hug him quickly before pulling John into the living room.
Rodney is saying, words going a thousand miles a minute, "They're mine? You got them—they're for me? Can I open them? I'd like to open them now. Which one did you get, John?"
Rodney is already touching the presents, sliding a hand over them, expression gleeful and reverent. He can't seem to touch one for more than an instant at a time, skipping over them and circling back while John eases up behind him, hovering over Rodney's shoulder.
John clears his throat, and then clears it again; too busy staring at Rodney to form words. Marion takes pity on him, steps forward and points to John's present which Rodney grabs for immediately. Wrapping paper goes flying and a half second later Rodney says, "Oh. Oh," and flails a hand backwards to grab the front of John's shirt, apparently for balance.
There's silence for a moment as Rodney pulls the present out of the box, holding it in his palm and smoothing his thumb across it. John looks like he's holding his breath, blurts out in a rush, "Do you like it?"
Marion is fairly sure that she's never seen anyone look so shell shocked by a watch, digital or not, before. Rodney looks like someone just tilted his world view on end, slowly shifting his eyes up to John with the start of a wobbly smile on his lips.
Regan nudges Marion in the back, leans down to whisper in her ear, "Three...two...one, and we have lift off," right as Rodney throws himself at John. Like clockwork John does the cheek-lean and Rodney bounces away from him after a moment, sliding his watch on and raising it to his ear to listen to it not tick with a gleeful expression on his face.
John is staring at Rodney like he's the only thing in the room, and Marion almost regrets it when someone knocks on the front door and interrupts the moment. Still, a minute later, seeing Rodney's face when Teyla and Carson step into the room makes it all worth it.
Marion is frankly both shocked and awed that John manages to keep the cake a secret all through dinner. Rodney is all happy energy, fairly vibrating in his seat through the entire meal, smiling nonstop, constantly reaching out to fiddle with his digital watch or to touch John's arm. On second consideration, Marion is fairly certain that John can't actually talk.
Regan meets her eyes over the table, grinning and she smiles back. It's nice to have an infusion of happiness after all the stress. It's nice to see Rodney relaxed and giggling, snorting soda through his nose at something Teyla said. Marion tilts her head towards the fridge and Regan nods, sliding out of his chair.
Rodney isn't paying any attention at all to what's going on behind him; too busy just being a kid for once.
When Regan sets the cake in front of him, candles flickering merrily, Rodney looks so perfectly dumbstruck that Marion barely gets the camera up in time to capture the moment. Rodney looks around the table at all of them, eyes wide and surprised, and John blurts out, "I made it. For you. I mean. Dad helped. But I made it. Yesterday."
Rodney turns to look at him, grinning so wide it looks in danger of splitting his face. The candle light is flickering across his skin, glinting in his eyes. Marion can hear the deep breath John sucks in from across the table, the way he leans incrementally closer to the other boy.
Rodney's expression sweetens, softens, and he says, "Thank you," so earnestly Marion's chest aches.
For a long moment the two just stare at each other, and then John looks away, blushing. He says, voice cracking, "Make a wish, Rodney." Rodney keeps looking at him for another moment, and then turns back to his cake, rubbing his hands together gleefully.
Rodney squeezes his eyes shut before doing anything, expression momentarily settling into something surprisingly serious after the silliness of the rest of the evening. When he leans forward he looks determined, and he blows out all the candles in a long rush while John stares at him adoringly. Marion leans back in her chair, snapping pictures left and right.
And then she freezes, because John is shifting forward in his chair. The brush of John's lips across Rodney's cheek can't be more than a whisper of pressure. John barely lingers a second before jerking back to his own chair, watching Rodney's response out of the corner of his eye, ears crimson.
Rodney lacks John's darker coloration, and turns completely crimson. He raises a hand slowly, touching his cheek where John's lips had been, grinning dopily. That is, unfortunately, the moment that Carson chooses to reach across and start cutting the cake. The moment breaks, shifts, changes, and Marion would have to be blind to miss the soft disappointment momentarily on the faces of her boys.
After everyone is finally gone, after John and Rodney have retreated up to their room to probably play sugar fueled video games for hours, Marion and Regan settle into their own bed. Marion is feeling rather sugar fueled herself, giggles as she nips along the edge of Regan's jaw.
He pulls her up into a kiss, still tasting like chocolate and peanut butter. His big hands frame her face and she grins against his mouth, kissing light and teasing. After a long moment the giggling interrupts further kissing and he smile at her, says, "We're so much better than our in-laws ever were."
She rolls her eyes, "Please, Rodney is a much better son-in-law than you ever were." That gets him laughing, loud and booming in their room. Marion tries poking him and then gives up on stopping him, adding her own quieter laughter to his.
They all sleep in the next morning, but by the time eleven rolls around it's time for all the snoozing boys and girls to be out of bed. Regan is busy with the sausage and biscuits, so it's Marion that goes to wake the boys, knocking softly before nudging the door open.
She pauses, leaning against the doorframe and watching them sleep. They're not curled up the way they usually are, and she thinks that's probably a good thing. She has no problems with how they want to sleep, but the way John had taken to sleeping holding onto Rodney, expression stiff and tight even in dreams, had been more sad than anything else.
This, this is better. Rodney has his head pillowed on John's shoulder, an arm slung across her son, one of John's arms curled up over his back. John has his head tilted down and to the side, face mashed up against Rodney's hair, what little of his mouth that's visible curling up into a smile.
Marion grins, pulls the door shut and knocks loudly, shouts, "Up and at 'em, boys!" before wandering back downstairs to goose Regan.
::go to 'Dog Days' —>::
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