Pairing: Mckay/Sheppard pre-slash
Rating: R, for language
Sequel/Series: Part 10 of the Remedial Leadership series. I'll be done when you're tired of reading 'em.
Summary: Back on Earth after the Seige, Rodney deals with the SGC and IOC with interesting results.
"And you are fucking morons." Without waiting for any response from the SGC and IOC representatives around the table, Dr. Rodney McKay stood, picked up the papers he had brought with him, and calmly walked out of the room. He strolled through the SGC to the room he had been assigned during his stay.
After the Wraith ships had been destroyed and the stray Wraith in Atlantis were largely rounded up, Rodney had been directed to bring himself, Major Sheppard and Dr. Beckett through the Stargate to Earth. It wasn't a request. The Daedalus would meet them on Earth in three weeks and bring them back to Atlantis on its next trip. If there is another trip for me, Rodney thought to himself. He wasn't so sure about his immediate future anymore.
He walked into his room, laid the papers on the desk and dropped to the bed. He rubbed the back of his neck with one hand and hoped to hell he knew what he was doing. Since Dr. Elizabeth Weir had died, he had been responsible for running the expedition on Atlantis. After a rough start and only with the help of Major Sheppard – John in his head – Rodney had come to realize he wanted to keep doing the job. Never in a million years had he ever thought he'd want a position like this. He was as surprised as anyone that he not only liked it, he was pretty good at it. He was really good at it with John's help. Now he had to fight to keep it.
Looking around the room, he decided there was no good reason to stay in the SGC. He grabbed a bag, threw a few things in it and walked out. His previous work at the SGC made him familiar enough with base protocols and he soon found himself at the last check point. The Sergeant on duty looked up from his phone call and handed Rodney the phone. "For you, sir."
Rodney took the phone and really wasn't surprised to hear General O'Neill say, "Don't blame you, McKay. Where you headed?"
Rodney really hadn't thought that far ahead. He had just wanted to get out… and away. "I need a real bed, and good food. Where would you go?" he countered.
O'Neill gave a short laugh. "The Hilton is okay but too obvious. There's a bed-and-breakfast on the east side of town that you'll like better," O'Neill told him and proceeded to give Rodney directions. "Go to Joey's for dinner and tell them I sent you. It's just down the street from the b-n-b."
"Thanks," Rodney said. "I'll be back day after tomorrow. After lunch." That would give him time to decompress and give that damned committee time to start sweating.
"Good. Put the Sergeant back on the phone," O'Neill directed. After a short conversation, the Sergeant handed Rodney keys to a vehicle and he pointed to a generic sedan parked in the lot. Rodney took the keys gratefully and headed out.
The physical act of driving a car brought Rodney back to reality. He was on Earth. He never really thought he'd be back on Earth again and here he was driving a car. He had to pull over before he passed out from hyperventilating. It took a good fifteen minutes before he could pull back out into traffic.
O'Neill must have called the b-n-b because they were waiting for him. The proprietor took him up to a room with a private bath and told Rodney, "Breakfast starts at 7 but since you're the only one here we can make breakfast almost any time you want. Sleep in."
Rodney walked down to Joey's and had Italian food like he hadn't had in over a year. A couple of glasses of good wine with dinner and espresso with dessert, ice cream with chocolate sauce, and Rodney felt almost human. If something was missing, Rodney couldn't think too hard about it for the moment.
The slow walk back to the b-n-b let Rodney look up at the night sky. The stars looked odd from this side of the galaxy now that he had gotten used to the view from Atlantis. The light pollution from the city meant he really only saw the brightest stars from here. He missed the clear Atlantis sky. He suddenly wished he wasn't alone….
Rodney slept like he hadn't in months. It was after nine before he wandered down for breakfast and the proprietor rustled up coffee and muffins to start. Eggs, bacon and toast followed and Rodney ate his way through all of it. The proprietor kept him company but it wasn't the same as eating in the mess.
By the next day, Rodney was as ready as he was going to be. He drove leisurely to the SGC and checked in mid-afternoon. The same Sergeant was on duty and Rodney returned the keys to the car. "You can tell General O'Neill I'm back," he said with a smile.
Rodney dropped his bag in his room and wandered to the briefing room. He didn't wonder too much that he hadn't been assigned a military escort. He had enough security clearance to be able to go most anywhere, and if they hadn't wanted him here, he would have been stopped at the front gate.
He found General O'Neill and one of those IOC morons – what was his name? right, Woolsey -- in the briefing room he walked out of two days ago. John's lessons in paying attention to who he was dealing with made it easier to remember names. The Rodney McKay that had left for Atlantis would never had known who this other man was.
They were the only ones there now and looked up from the papers they were reading. "You certainly know how to make a mess of things," O'Neill said conversationally. Rodney shrugged as he sat across the table from the General. At this point he figured he didn't have a lot more to lose… Well, there was one thing – person – he didn't want to lose, but he had to work that carefully.
O'Neill picked up the piece of paper he had been reading. "You've made friends, McKay. Don't know how you managed that," O'Neill continued. Woolsey didn't say anything, but Rodney knew he was watching closely.
Rodney raised an eyebrow at that. Friends? He wasn't so sure about that. He shied away from the thought that John might be considered a friend. "Do tell," Rodney replied casually.
"We have a message – guess you could call it a petition -- from the folk on Atlantis and, well, they want you back," O'Neill informed him with a grin.
Rodney was stunned. "I…. I…" He swallowed. "I don't know what to say," he stammered. Deep breath to steady himself.
"Surprised the hell out of us, too," O'Neill said. "Don't tell them I said so, but serves the IOC right." O'Neill went on, ignoring Woolsey. "The bottom line is that you're the golden boy of the moment. Don't screw it up."
"The IOC has been persuaded, to, ummm, go along with the General's recommendations," Woolsey said, giving O'Neill a black look.
Rodney's mind whirled. After a moment, he started thinking furiously and precisely about how he could use this. His eyes narrowed in thought. "I get oversight," he said calmly.
"Knew you were bright," O'Neill replied calmly. "Good place to start."
Woolsey nodded, reluctantly, taking notes.
"Sheppard and Beckett go back with me," Rodney added.
"Figured you'd want them," O'Neill agreed.
Rodney knew he had to do this next part carefully. O'Neill was an old hand at this game -- Woolsey was an unknown and had to be treated as the enemy. O'Neill was the reason Rodney has been sent to Russia at one point, and if he got O'Neill to approve what he wanted…. "I need Sheppard officially put in charge of the military on Atlantis."
"You sure about that?" O'Neill asked neutrally. Woolsey glanced at O'Neill but kept silent.
"Besides the ATA gene factor, he's been there. Sumner got himself killed," Rodney held up a hand to stop O'Neill, "yeah, I know Sheppard had to do it, but Sumner fucked up inside the first week. Everett didn't last a week either. Sheppard's already faced down the Wraith, he's been through some of the worst things Pegasus can throw at us and he's survived. He's kept us safe and he's respected by both the military and the scientists. He's earned the job."
O'Neill offered, "Should be someone higher ranking than a Major running an operation like you have."
"So promote him," Rodney replied casually. Your problem, not mine. "You really don't want him on Earth and he's doing a good job on Atlantis."
"You're right, unfortunately, that we don't want him here," O'Neill surprised Rodney by agreeing on that point. Rodney wondered what John had done to piss off the Air Force quite so much – maybe he'd ask someday. "You're sure you want him in charge?"
Rodney debated. O'Neill was about the only one who might understand and Sheppard was the only non-negotiable part of this entire discussion, not that Rodney would have told anyone that. "Major Sheppard, well, he and I make a good team. I wouldn't be looking to keep this job if it weren't for him. Trite as it may sound, we've saved each other's lives -- I'd like to think that's worth something," Rodney tried to explain. "We're still missing some good people after that last attack," he went on, thinking of Bates and Ford, "and we have to go back for them."
"He's unreliable," Woolsey said flatly.
John, what did you do? "That's my problem and not yours," Rodney shot back.
O'Neill looked Rodney in the eye and Rodney didn't flinch. As much as he wanted John to return to Atlantis personally, he needed John. He had been failing spectacularly right from the beginning, and he knew they'd more than likely all be dead if it hadn't been for John's help and friendship. Rodney held O'Neill's eyes steadily. He already knew he was dealing from a position of strength, that gave him what he needed to make sure he got John back.
"Relax," O'Neill told him. "I've already started the paperwork. Sheppard'll have his promotion before the Daedalus gets here to take you back. What else?"
Rodney grinned, "Put the three of us up in that bed-and-breakfast until we have to go back. After a year in Atlantis, we need to live someplace that isn't the SGC. No reason to live here for the duration." Having Carson there would make sure Rodney didn't make a fool of himself. He just wanted to get them all out from under this mountain.
Woolsey opened his mouth to object but was beaten to it as O'Neill laughed. "Deal."