Sorry for the delay but it's Squee weekend and we're now talking about "bullet proof kinks" -- what sort of kink makes you *always* read the fic?
John turned to Rodney and repeated, "What the fuck?"
Rodney leaned in close to John. John felt the warmth of Rodney's hand on the small of his back.
"It's okay," he said softly. "Trust me?" Rodney's eyes were serious.
John took a deep breath and straightened. "Okay."
John let Rodney's hand guide him to the front of the room. John saw Jack O'Neill waiting for them, along with some of his old commanding officers.
"Dr. McKay," O'Neill said cheerfully. "Thank you for bringing our guest of honor."
"Sir," John said carefully.
"You'll have to forgive Rodney," O'Neill said. "We talked him into helping us with this little… project."
"Not so little, from my vantage," John replied.
O'Neill shrugged. "Figured we'd start some of our own traditions, now that we have some autonomy," he explained. "There's too much… paperwork, doing it the same old way."
"New traditions can be good," John agreed. "I could have given you some suggestions on who you could practice on."
"Someone that's not you, I suspect" O'Neill observed with a grin. The audience tittered, which reminded O'Neill that they were still there.
"Colonel Sheppard," O'Neill said. "If you would." He gestured to a place next to him.
John gamely moved to the spot O'Neill had indicated.
"My thanks to everyone for joining us today," O'Neill said. "Home World Security may be a relatively new department, but it comes with long honored Earth traditions from all branches of military service. We have some new traditions from allies among the Jaffa, and we're looking at others to make ensure that we honor those who fight together."
O'Neill looked at John.
"This is the first of hopefully many future ceremonies where we can recognize and reward those who have done extraordinary service on behalf of our alliance. There are times that the old procedures don't give us the opportunity to recognize a job well done."
John shifted uncomfortably for a moment and moved to parade rest to stop himself from fidgeting.
"Colonel John Sheppard has spent seven years in Atlantis, has lead the fight against the Wraith and has forged an alliance with allies in the Pegasus galaxy. While being a long way from winning the battle, Colonel Sheppard's taken the lead in that battle and, for the first time in a long time, we are optimistic about a good ending."
O'Neill lifted a small packet and turned to face John.
"In recognition for that hard work, I'm very pleased to be able to recognize that dedication by promoting you to the rank of General, and making your assignment to Atlantis permanent. Or at least for as long as you'd like to be there"
He moved over to John and stood in front of him. He took off the Colonel insignia, replacing them with the stars of the rank of General. O'Neill stepped back and saluted. "General Sheppard."
John saluted back.
The sudden swell of applause startled John.
"There's lunch going to be served in the next room," O'Neill announced to the group. "Please, join us."
Before John could take two steps, the group of his former commanding officers moved as a pack toward John. John's last commander, from Antarctica, came toward him with an outstretched hand. "Never thought I'd see this, Sheppard. When O'Neill called to invite me, I just had to come and see it. Good job."
John got variations of that from the rest. A couple of the congratulations were faintly begrudging, especially now that John now out-ranked them.
Then it was family. Jeannie threw her arms around him while Madison hugged him at the waist. John awkwardly hugged her back. He used one hand to pat Madison on the top of the head.
Caleb Milled reached in and shook his hand.
Then it was Dave's turn. Dave took his hand and then pulled him in for a hug.
"Good job," Dave said. "Congratulations." He held John close. "Dad would have been proud."
"Thanks," John said softly.
There were others, friends John had met along the way, some people he wasn't sure who exactly they were, but he accepted their congratulations. It was faintly overwhelming.
O'Neill came over after a while and said, "Don't want to break up the love fest, but lunch is ready."
He herded the group to the other room and John was grateful that he ended up seated next to Rodney.
"You had a thing on Earth," John said sarcastically.
Rodney had the grace to blush. "Well, I did. Of a sort," Rodney defended himself.
John leaned close and bumped his shoulder. "Thanks," he said.
"You're welcome," Rodney said. He nodded at the stars. "They look good on you."
"I didn't do all that stuff on Pegasus by myself," John said. "You had a big part of that."
"Well, of course," Rodney agreed, with a smile. "But this will help all if us."
John wanted to kiss him in that moment and started to lean in before he remembered where they were.
Unfortunately for him, O'Neill didn’t miss the movement. "Damn, I owe Sam and Daniel dinner out."
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