Word Count: 7,679
Rating: PG
Category: AU. Angst.
Story Status: Complete
Summary: After nearly three years struggling to get work, Rodney jumps at an offer from a man named Baines.  But all is not as it seems…

Author's Note:
This was written over a year ago and was left languishing on the computer for a while due to various reasons.  Although I have added to it and tried to improve it, and my beta has definitely helped me in this endeavour, it may not be up to my the standards of my later fic.

Beta: Thank you to Jayne Perry for the beta-reading.


By Leesa Perrie

Rodney McKay had been involved in research at Area 51 for a short time, about a year, before he found himself dismissed, through no fault of his own.  Well, maybe he was partially to blame, but not to the extent that he should have been fired.

The field of research had closed its doors to him to such an extent that he’d ended up taking a teaching post at a university.  That had lasted less than a year.
He wasn’t teacher material, they’d told him, and they would have to ‘let him go’.  It hadn’t come as a big surprise to him, he hated his job.  Hated teaching idiots and fools.

Of course, that left him with very few options.  He applied to jobs in research projects, but he never got as far as an interview.  It would seem his name had been flagged as ‘unemployable’ by someone…presumably the US government.  Even jobs in his own country, Canada, were blocked from him.

Fortunately, he had some money saved up, so could manage for a couple of years, maybe three if he was frugal, before needing employment.  Time for him to do his own research; theoretical, of course, as he didn’t have access to any labs.

He managed to get some on his work published, but even that had proved difficult.  None of the mainstream science journals would print his work, no matter how brilliant it was, so he was published in obscure magazines.

One mistake had cost him more than he could ever have believed.  One stupid mistake.  He’d trusted the wrong person; had even fallen in love with her.  And then she’d betrayed him.

When a businessman approached him with an offer after nearly three years unemployed, he was more than ready to listen to his job offer.  Research into building a space tourist craft sounded like a waste of his time, and yet it came with a reasonable pay package and his money was running out.  It might not be ground breaking in the way that the Stargate Programme was, it might be a waste of his intellect, but it would be research and it would be better than nothing.  It might open up other doors for him in the future, maybe even re-start his career.

He accepted the offer.


The research was based in a specially built complex in the middle of nowhere, and would require the staff to live onsite, in small apartments.  McKay could put up with the small living area, it wasn’t like he would spend a lot of time there.  He intended to work hard at this project and bring about success early on, so that he could hopefully move onto something more worthwhile.

Mr Baines, the multi-million dollar businessman behind this facility, was there to greet McKay after he had arrived and been allowed time to settle into his apartment, and showed him into the control room overlooking the main hangar area.

“I’m sorry to say that you have been brought here under false pretences,” Baines stated calmly.

“What?  What do you mean?”  McKay asked, fear and tension creeping into his voice.

“You worked within the so called ‘Stargate Programme’ for a short time before falling out of grace with the US government.” Baines held up a hand to cut off McKay’s denial.  “Do not bother with denying it, I have my sources.”

There was a steel shutter covering the window that overlooked the hangar and Baines gestured for someone to raise it.  McKay’s eyes widened when he saw a Goa’uld Al’kesh in the hangar.  Admittedly, a very battered and old looking Al’kesh, but one nonetheless.

“Oh crap,” McKay muttered.  “Where did you find one of those?”

“It was buried in Egypt, as was I.” And McKay shivered in fear, backing away as Baines’ eyes glowed and his voice changed timbre.  “I was imprisoned, held in stasis for thousands of years, but six years ago the jar that held me was found and opened by an archaeologist.  Since then, I have been building my business empire, until I was able to pay for a dig in Egypt.  My ship was found, but of course, I had to eliminate the ones who had found it.  A simple accident.”

McKay had continued to back away, but two guards that were in the control room grabbed him by his arms, stopping his retreat.

“No, no, no, no, this is not happening…”

“Everyone here is loyal to me, Dr McKay, have no doubt of that.  I have promised my people great rewards when I leave this miserable planet and reclaim that which is mine.  Work for me willingly and I will offer you the same rewards.  Power and wealth, Dr McKay.”

“No!  I don’t want your rewards.  I don’t believe for a minute that you’ll share power or wealth, and even if I did, the price would be too high.”

“I feared you would be stubborn on this.” Baines removed two photos from his jacket pocket, giving them to McKay, who took them cautiously.

The first one was of Jeannie and her new husband and child, the second…his daughter and her mother, the bitch that had betrayed him and refused him access to his child.  He closed his eyes, suspecting what was to come and not being disappointed.

“You will work for me, or they will die.  Your daughter will be first.  I’ll be sure to instruct my agent to make it slow and painful for her.”

Horror gripped him, the photos in his hand shaking, fear for Katrina etched onto his face even as his shoulders slumped in defeat.

“Why do you need me?” he asked, resignation heavy in his voice.

“Because, as good as my people are, they are taking a lot longer to understand and repair my ship than I would like.  I know that you could speed that process up.”

“I see.” Rodney looked at the photos of the only people in this world he truly cared about, even though he was estranged from them all.  “Fine.  I’ll do what you want, just leave them alone.”

Baines smiled.

“Take him to his office,” he ordered the guards, before turning his attention back to McKay.  “You will find reports and schematics to look through.  Familiarise yourself with the technology.  I expect great things from you.”


He’d worked hard that day, trying to catch up with what had been achieved so far.  That evening he was shown to his quarters, and although his rooms were not under surveillance - a thorough search had proved that to be the case - there were guards on his door.


After eating an evening meal, he sat down on the couch and took the two photos from his pocket.

Jeannie.  He’d argued with her when he’d found out she was pregnant.  Told her to not let it ruin her promising career.  She could be a mom and still finish her degree.  She could still have a career, a lot of other women did.  But Jeannie wanted to stay at home with the baby, put her career on hold for who knew how many years, maybe even forever.  He’d disagreed, and the argument had brought up many past hurts, each throwing them at the other.

In the end, she’d dropped out, married the father, whose degree was in English. English!  Of all the useless degrees out there…

That was over a year now, and his sister and himself hadn’t spoken in all that time.  He’d never seen her daughter…Maddy…no, Madison.  Stupid name.  Stupid brother, too, he realised.  He didn’t agree with Jeannie’s choices, but she was still his little sister and he should have tried to stay in contact.

She looked happy, in the photograph.  Happy and content.  He envied her that.

And then there was Katrina, his daughter, and that bitch, Louisa.  He closed his eyes, the pain in his heart threatening to overtake him, as it always did when he thought of them.

Louisa Nicholson.  Bright, pretty and, he’d thought, interested in him.  She’d worked in the Stargate Programme at the same time that he did.  Still did, in fact.

He’d been involved in various projects there and Louisa had been assigned to work with him on a lot of them.  She’d made him feel…loved.  It had been so easy for her, he was flattered that this pretty redhead was interested in him, and had soon fallen for her, completely and utterly.  They’d been together maybe two months in all, and they had been two of the best months of his life, until she’d turned on him.

The naquadah generator problem, and it was a problem, had been assigned to other people to look into, but it had intrigued him and so he had started working on how to make the generator work in his spare time.  He hadn’t told anyone he was working on it, except Louisa, as he was working without official sanction.  Eventually, he’d made the breakthrough that the other scientists were looking for, and in his excitement, had told Louisa all about it.

The next day, all his work on the generator was missing.  There was nothing left to prove he had ever been working on it, and when he’d gone into work, everyone was buzzing about how Louisa had made a breakthrough on the naquadah generator research, and that she had done it in her spare time.  The accolades that should have been his where thrown over Louisa, and he couldn’t prove that she’d stolen the work from him.

He’d been angry, hurt and betrayed.  He tried to make people believe that she had stolen from him, but he was the obnoxious bastard that no one liked, and she was the friendly, charming and beloved one.  No one believed him and he was labelled as a jealous, petty, untrustworthy person, one who would try to claim work as his own when it wasn’t.

It hadn’t been fair.  The dismissal had been unduly harsh.  His name being blocked from other research projects, from the mainstream journals was vindictive and out of proportion to his supposed crime.

But then, Louisa had started to date with someone very high up in the Programme, and Rodney had no doubt she had used the guy to blacklist him.  It had hurt, oh crap, had it hurt.  Even more so when he found out she was pregnant with his child, an unexpected problem for Louisa, an accident.  She rose to the occasion though and the guy she dated took it in his stride.

Rodney wasn’t allowed near his daughter, Louisa and her lawyers had made that clear.  And with her powerful boyfriend, he didn’t stand much chance of changing that.  Louisa’s parents had taken pity on him, sending him updates on his daughter along with photographs two or three times a year, without their daughter’s knowledge.  He had sent birthday and Christmas presents for Katrina, with Mr and Mrs Nicholson making out that they were from them.  They said that when Katrina was old enough to understand and keep it secret, that they would tell her the truth about the presents.  Tell her that her father had not abandoned her, even when he had been kept away.

Until then, she would never know her natural father cared about her, and that hurt more than he could say.

He didn’t like kids, generally speaking.  They were noisy, irritating and asked stupid questions.  He didn’t have the time or patience for them.  Yet he felt he’d be able to find the time and patience for Katrina, if he ever had the chance.  But it was unlikely he’d ever have the chance until she was much older, if at all.

It sucked.  Totally and royally sucked.

And now he’d walked into another trap and that Goa’uld bastard was threatening the lives of his daughter, his sister, her husband and her kid.

It took suckiness to a whole new height of suckiness, and on top of that he was so very, very screwed.  He had no doubt that as soon as his usefulness was over, he’d either be dead or turned into a slave.  Or, even worse, infested by a Goa’uld. 

Just wonderful.

His sister would never know that he was sorry.

His daughter would never know that he loved her.

It was all that he could do not to lie down and cry, but he wouldn’t give into his emotions.  He’d never done that as a teenager and he was damned if he was going to now.  He’d walked into this situation and he would just have to live with the consequences.  But at least he could keep his family safe, by doing as he was told.


Several weeks passed and the Al’kesh was now space-worthy.  McKay estimated that it would still be another six to eight weeks before the weapons and hyper-drive would be functional, not to mention repairing the damage to the ring platforms and a few other vital little repairs that needed to be done if the ship was going to be taken into battle and survive.

Baines visited occasionally, with new photos of Jeannie and Katrina, proving that he had people close to them if McKay stopped cooperating.

But McKay was cooperating.  He was working hard on getting the ship fully functional, afraid to stall in case it was discovered and his family suffered for it.  Security was tight at the complex and McKay was constantly guarded and his work watched.  There was little chance of escape, even if he wasn’t being blackmailed into staying put.

He’d talked to some of the other scientists, telling them they were idiots if they believed Baines’ talk of power and wealth, but he was ignored.  In the end, he gave up and left them to their foolish beliefs.

Surely someone would find out about this place, or what Baines was doing, or even that Baines was a Goa’uld?  What he’d give for someone, anyone, from the SGC, or NID, or any other government agency to find this place and shut it down.  It might mean he’d end up in prison for his involvement with this, but at least his family would be safe and Baines would be stopped.

But no one knew and no one came.


Four weeks from completion, a new scientist joined Baines and his group.  Dr Radek Zelenka, a Czech who had been working in the states for some years and a brilliant engineer.  He’d joined willingly, obviously looking forward to his rewards.

McKay had heard of the guy.  The powers that be at Area 51 had been thinking of recruiting him, despite his nationality.  But then, if they could employ a Canadian, why not a Czech?  He’d never met the guy and didn’t know if he’d ever been approached in the end, but judging by the guy’s apparent familiarity with the technology, he figured he must have been.

He wondered why this Zelenka guy thought a Goa’uld would keep its promises?  Surely anyone involved in the Stargate Programme for any amount of time would be disabused of that notion quickly?  But then, who knew the levels of stupidity that people were capable of.

He spent the next couple of days after Zelenka’s arrival trying to avoid him.  He didn’t feel comfortable in his presence, knowing that Zelenka would have heard all about his reputation and dismissal from Area 51.

That evening, lying in his bed, he found that he was unable to sleep, his mind too active; thinking about his past, his fears, the job he was doing, what still needed completing and what would happen after that.  Would his family be safe and would he be alive to know that they were?

Suddenly, he heard the sound of gunfire in the distance, jerking him out of his thoughts and out of his bed.  He dressed quickly and then paused, for once in his life hit by indecision.  Should he stay in his room or try to escape?  The thought of being shot held no appeal, and if he did escape he could end up finding himself captured by a rival group wanting to get their hands on the ship; rogue NID or worse.  Not to mention the very real threat that Baines held over Jeannie and Katrina, should he manage to allude capture as well.

While still trying to weigh up the pros and cons of inaction or flight, it became a moot point as Baines rushed into his room, a gun in his hand.  He forced Rodney down to the hangar, pulling him onto the Al’kesh and practically throwing Rodney into the engine room.

“Someone has sabotaged the hyper-drive engine.  Unless you want your daughter dead, you will repair it. NOW,” Baines growled.

He nodded, and working quickly, despite shaking hands that tried to hinder him, he soon repaired the sabotage to the hyper-drive while adding in some less obvious sabotage of his own.

“Done,” he informed Baines, who immediately headed up to the flight deck, pulling Rodney with him.

Once there, Baines took the pilot’s chair and started to prepare for flight.  Seeing that Baines was distracted with his preparations, Rodney took the opportunity to slip off the flight deck and, unhindered by the passing handful of men and women who were boarding the Al’kesh, who were presumably far more interested in getting themselves to safety than with trying to recapture him, he was able to leave the ship.

Gunfire could still be heard, but not as frequently as before.  The attackers were obviously still encountering pockets of resistance, which meant Rodney would be able to reach the main lab unhindered, where he suspected that Baines would have started a program to delete all of the data from the computers, or even possibly a self destruct. 

Reaching the lab easily, he slipped into the chair and quickly hacked the computer system, ordering it to stop the deletion of the files.  He then started a program to retrieve as much deleted data as possible.  Fortunately, there didn’t appear to be a self destruct, which worried McKay.  Why would Baines leave the complex undamaged?

He wouldn’t, he was sure of it, and he stood quickly, swearing under his breath and turning to head for the power generation centre.

But stopped when faced by Dr Zelenka, who was holding a gun on him. 

“If you don’t want this place to explode, taking us all with it, then I suggest you get out of my way and let me save our collective asses…”

“I know about the naquadah bomb in the power centre.  Have already disabled it.”

“Oh, good.” McKay slumped visibly.  “I, er, cancelled the program to delete the data from the computer system, started one to try and retrieve some of what had already been deleted.”

“Why would you do that?” Radek seemed genuinely interested.

“Because…because I’m not one of his stupid groupies, looking for promised rewards!  Those idiots really believe he’ll keep his promises, but I know better.”

“Yet you work for him.”

“Yes, well, when someone threatens to kill your family, you do tend to cooperate.”

“Ah, I see.   But do not necessarily believe.”


“Yes, yes, fine,” Rodney sighed, watching warily as three more people entered the computer room, his shoulders slumping in defeat.  “I guess this is where you arrest me, throw me in prison and throw away the key, then.”

He didn’t resist when he was cuffed and read his rights, but before he was led away, he called back to Zelenka, who was checking the computer system.

“I fixed your sabotage on the Al’kesh, but put in some of my own.”

“What did you do?” Zelenka asked.

“If Baines manages to get away in the ship, the moment he enters hyperspace, the ship will explode.  I thought you should know.”

Zelenka gave him an odd look, and then nodded.

“I will inform those that need to know.”

Rodney was led away, glad that Baines would not escape, one way or another, and that his family would now be safe, though a part of him felt guilty for the deaths of the others that had gone with Baines.  Only the fact that they had chosen to join with the Goa’uld for reasons of greed and power made him feel less guilty than he perhaps should.

As for himself; he was alive, and that was something at least.


His interview was difficult; accusations of willingly working for Baines along with threats of a long-term prison sentence.  He told them the truth, how he’d been fooled and his family threatened.  He didn’t think they believed him, but that was nothing new.  It didn’t help that he couldn’t keep his irritation under control and snapped at his interviewers several times, not exactly endearing himself to them.


After a long time, going over and over the same questions and answers, they changed tactics, asking him about the deletion program, why he had stopped it and why he had instigated a retrieval of the deleted data.

He explained he was trying to help, but they didn’t seem very convinced of it.  Suggested it was a ruse to convince them of his innocence and nothing more.  He denied that, much good it seemed to do him.

They then moved onto why he had fixed the hyper-drive engines so that Baines and some of his people were able to leave.  He referred to the threats against him and the uncertainty that they would stop Baines before his sister or daughter were hurt if he had refused to help.  Pointed out that he had done his own sabotage and that the ship must have been destroyed.

A fact they confirmed, though they turned it around on him.  Saying it was in his own interests that Baines and the others were dead, that there was no chance of them being captured in the future and therefore no chance of them discrediting his lies about working under duress.

He denied their accusations, stuck to the truth, but knew they didn’t believe him.  Knew he was headed for prison.  It scared him, the thought of that.  The thought of other prisoners, possibly violent, and what could happen.  He’d always been the one the bullies headed for, and in prison he was sure it was going to be a lot worse than taunts and pranks and the occasional beating.

When it was over, he was returned to his dull and boring cell.  Damn, he didn’t need to worry about other prisoners; the boredom would turn him into a blubbering idiot within a few weeks anyway.  Just get the padded cell ready for him now. 

That night he slept for a few hours and dreamed of running, of hiding, of being chased by shadows, and of Katrina, a knife in her little chest, blood pooling onto the floor…

He awoke with tears running down his face and didn’t sleep again that night.


The next day he asked the guard that brought him food if he could have something to write on.  He didn’t know if it would be allowed, but it couldn’t hurt to ask.

The food was…not that bad, really.  But then, he’d always liked institutional food, which others just thought was weird.  Perhaps it was.  He’d told them of his citrus allergy, of course, not wanting to go out of this world to something as pathetic as a severe allergic reaction.

Sometime later, the guard brought him a pencil and a notepad and he spent the next few hours scribbling down some of his ideas about integrating Goa’uld technology into Earth technology, and starting a basic design for a ship based on his ideas.  It was something to occupy his mind and maybe to prove he was still useful to them.  Maybe he could work on things for them even while in prison.  Not like he would be in a position to betray them, being stuck in a cell.  He really didn’t think they’d let him go free.  He knew too much and would be considered a security risk.  No, the rest of his life would be in one prison or another, but if he could still work on projects, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.  At least he wouldn’t end up in a padded cell, driven mad by boredom.

No one came to see him that day, just the guards that brought him his food and further pencils and notepads when he asked.  They were probably interviewing Baines’ security guards and the handful of other scientists that they had captured.

He threw himself into his designs, only stopping when the lights went out.  Though his mind continued to mull things over even then.

Another nightmare, both Jeannie and Katrina this time, bleeding and dying, woke him shortly after falling asleep.  He didn’t sleep again that night either, and threw himself back into his project as soon as the lights came on.

It was late morning when he was taken to another interview.  It was a pretty much a repeat of the previous one; lots of accusations and disbelief.  Telling him that the others they had interviewed discredited his claims, saying that he was there of his own free will.  He told them they were lying, but wasn’t believed.  He was tired and fed up of all of this, but instead of anger, he just felt…defeated.

“What do you want me to tell you?” he asked.  “You want me to lie?  Fine, I’ll lie then.  I was there because I was promised great rewards.  Does that satisfy you?” He put his head in his hands, elbows resting on the table.  “Will you leave me alone now, please?”

“Are you admitting to being there willingly?” one of the NID agents pressed.

“Maybe I should.  You don’t believe me, you’ve already decided that I’m guilty, so I guess it doesn’t really matter what I say.” He rubbed his eyes, despair and fatigue pulling at him.  “Just lock me up and throw away the key, it’s what you think I deserve.  Maybe it is.  Maybe I shouldn’t have cooperated. Maybe I should have let him kill the people I care about.  Maybe I should have blown that place up, me with it.”

There was a knock at the door and the interview was suspended.  Rodney lay his head on the table, calming his breathing down.  He realised he must have drifted for a bit, not asleep as such, but dozing instead as a hand on his shoulder startled him.  There was a new person in the room, Air Force by the looks of her.

“Dr McKay, I’ve been looking over your notes from the last day or so, and I have to admit to being impressed by your work.”

“So,” he muttered darkly.  She sighed, taking a seat on the other side of the table from him.

“We picked up one of Baines’ men a few hours ago.  He made an attempt on your daughter’s life.”

“Oh no, oh crap, is she…”

“She’s fine.  Her mother, however, was killed.  I’m sorry.”

“Louisa?” He should feel relieved that she was gone, but all he felt was pain.  He thought he hated her, despised her for everything she’d done to him, but it would seem he was still in love with her, as stupid as that was.  “Katrina is okay?”

“Yes, she’s fine.  Her grandparents have been informed and are making arrangements to collect her.”

“Good, good.  They’ll look after her.  She’ll be okay,” he said distractedly, still coming to terms with Louisa’s death.

“The hit man has given a full confession as part of a deal.  We know you were coerced into working for Baines.”

“You do?  You…you believe me?”


“Jeannie, my sister, she could be in danger…I thought they’d be okay now.” Panic gripped his heart.

“It’s okay.  There was only one hit man and he went for your daughter first.  Your sister and her family are safe.”

“You’re sure of that?”


“Oh thank goodness.” A wave of relief hit him.

“We’d like to offer you a job back at Area 51, Dr McKay.”

“What?  No, no, I don’t think I could work there, not with what they all think about me.  They think I tried to get credit for Louisa’s work, but she stole it from me.” He looked at his hands.  “No one there will want to work with me.”

“Dr Lockhart, the man Louisa dated after you, came forward two months ago with proof that Louisa had stolen the work on the naquadah generator from you.  She was discredited and dismissed.  I think he had known for some time, but only acted after she had dumped him.  Still, you’ve been exonerated.” The woman smiled.  “In fact, I think you’ll find a lot of embarrassed and apologetic people there.”

“I…” He closed his eyes.  “It doesn’t seem true.”

“And it was while trying to find and contact you, to offer you your job back, that we discovered Baines.  There was something off about his project, so we decided to investigate, and eventually asked Dr Zelenka to infiltrate.  Not his normal sort of things, but we needed someone with his technical skills and someone who Baines would believe might join him, which ruled me out.  Zelenka rose to the occasion, though, and did a good job.  I believe he is even looking forward to working with you.”

“Oh.  Um, who are you?  You didn’t introduce yourself.”

“Sorry.  I’m Major Samantha Carter,” she said, holding out her hand.  He stared at her in surprise and then realised he should shake her hand, doing so awkwardly.

“Of SG1 fame?”


“Hmm…you designed the interface for the stargate, didn’t you?  You do realise that it is full of flaws…” he stopped, belatedly thinking that criticising the person who had just righted his world wasn’t the smartest thing to do.

“It’s not perfect,” Carter admitted.  “But I’m not sure I’d call it ‘full of flaws’.”

“No, no, I think that term fits, actually,” he couldn’t stop himself from responding.

Carter scowled at him and shook her head.

“Well, I was warned that you lacked any tact or diplomacy.”

“Yes, yes, I’m an arrogant bastard, and everyone hates me.  I know what I am, Major.  Right now, though, what I most am…is tired.  And grateful.”

“Well, once the paperwork’s been sorted, you have a room booked in a local hotel.”

“Oh, good.  I’ll take the job offer, by the way, but I need a little while to…sort some things out.  A month should do it.”

“Someone will bring the contract and sort that side of things out,” Carter said, standing.  “I have some things to attend to myself.  Someone should be down in a few minutes to organise your release.”

“Thank you.”


He was released an hour after Major Carter had left, and he retired to the hotel, to rest.  The following day he made a phone call to Louisa’s parents, not sure if it was the right thing to do so soon after her death, but knowing he had to make contact at some point.  He wanted to put their minds at ease about Katrina’s future.

“Hello,” a man’s voice answered the phone.

“Hi, um, this is Rodney McKay,” he said nervously. “Is that George Nicholson?”

“Yes.  I was hoping that you’d ring, Dr McKay.”

“Oh. Oh right.  I heard about Louisa.  I’m really sorry and I know this probably isn’t a good time to call but I wanted you to know that I, er, that I won’t be trying to gain custody of Katrina.  That is, unless you want me to, but I was thinking that she’d be better off with people she knew, like her grandparents, than with a stranger, especially as I really don’t know much about kids or how to look after them, let alone when they are grieving…”

“Dr McKay, please slow down.”

“Um, okay.  And, ah, you may as well call me Rodney.”

“And you must call me George.  Mary-Ann and myself were wondering if you’d want custody of Kat.  I have to be honest and say that we were hoping to be able to bring her up ourselves, though we wouldn’t have fought you on this if you’d decided otherwise.”

“Oh, well then, I’m glad that I rang and put your minds at ease about it.  I, uh, I really don’t get on with kids normally, which means I don’t have a clue about how to look after one, and I, well, I think Katrina would be a lot better off with people who did.   Though I hope you’ll let me visit.”

“Of course we will, you’re her father.  You know we never agreed with…with Louisa cutting you out of Kat’s life.”  Sadness tinged George’s voice at the mention of his daughter.  “I know that things were bad between you.”

“Yeah, they were.  I, um, I thought that I hated her for a long time for what she had done to me, but…but when I heard about her death I realised that…that I never really stopped loving her.” Although it hurt to admit to it, he believed he owed Louisa’s parents the truth.

“Thank you for telling me that,” George answered, voice cracking slightly, causing him to clear his throat.  “The funeral is next Monday at 2pm at the Howland Cemetery.”

“Oh, okay.  I, um, I don’t think it would be a good idea for me to come.  I don’t want to intrude on your grief, or Katrina’s.”

“I understand, but know that you’re welcome if you change your mind.”

“Okay, that’s…that’s good of you.”

“When would you like to see Kat?”

“I don’t know.  When do you think would be best?  Should I wait for a while, let her come to terms with her mom’s death or something? I really don’t want to upset her…”

“Children are more resilient than you might think, Rodney.  I would suggest the sooner the better.”

“Oh, right, well I need to visit my sister…and I think I should wait until after Louisa’s funeral…so maybe next Wednesday?  Or is that too soon?”

“Wednesday will be fine.  Do you need directions?”

“No, no, I can find it.  So, afternoon?”

“Come for lunch, say 1 o’clock?”

“Okay, that’s sounds good.  And I really am sorry for your loss.”

“I know.”

Bringing the conversation to a close, he hung up.

Next on his list was Jeannie.  He needed to try and mend some fences, ones that he had broken himself when he’d stormed out of her life. 

It wasn’t going to be easy, he still didn’t agree totally with her life choices.  He still believed she should find a way to finish her degree and have a career, as well as look after her kid, like others did.  But he needed to try and get past that, accept that this was her life and her decision, not his.  And that she seemed happy.


It was four days later that he arrived outside of Jeannie’s house.  He sat in the car for several minutes, plucking up the courage to face her, scared that she would turn him away, or that he would just end up making a mess of things again.  Part of him just wanted to turn round and go, but he was tired of being all alone in this world.  Tired of being the big bad brother.  The one who had to be sent away by his own parents when he was thirteen, because they couldn’t cope with him anymore.  Who had been bounced around foster homes, because he was too difficult to handle.  Who had been a bastard to her, trying to dictate her life and then walking away when she refused to let him, cutting off contact in a fit of pettiness.

He finally got out of the car and approached the front door, hesitating for a few seconds, before taking a deep breath and ringing the bell.

When the door opened, he was relieved that Jeannie answered it and not her husband.  The guy probably wouldn’t have let him anywhere near his sister after everything that had happened.  One good thing to be said for him; he was protective of his wife.

“Hey, Jeannie,” he said awkwardly.  “I…”

“Why are you here?” Jeannie asked suspiciously, and he couldn’t blame her for that really.

“I…wanted to…” he faltered, and then took another deep breath.  “I’m sorry that I cut you out of my life.  I don’t know if you can forgive me, and I’ll understand if not.  I still don’t agree with your choices, don’t really understand, but…but I’m trying to get past that.  I don’t have any right to run your life for you and I’m sorry that I tried.  Sorry that I walked away from you.” He couldn’t look her in the eyes, too afraid of what he would see there.  “Can you forgive me, even though I don’t deserve it?”

The silence stretched for several seconds, each one like a nail in his coffin as he figured she couldn’t forgive him. 

“You’re an idiot,” she finally said tersely.


“Yes you are, Mer.  For all that flaunted genius of yours, you’re an idiot.”  Her eyes softened slightly.  “But you’re my idiot brother and I’ll forgive you on the understanding that you never, ever do this to me again.  Cutting me out of your life like that…it hurt, Mer, hurt more than you could imagine, and I don’t want to go through that again.”


“I’ll try…” he said, sighing deeply.  “I’m not good at this, you know, family, and I’m sorry about that, but I’ll try to change.” He grinned awkwardly, nervously, eyes not quite meeting hers.  “How about you promise to kick my ass, figuratively speaking, if I ever act like an…idiot again?”
“How can I resist an offer like that?” she responded, grinning wickedly.  “So, do you want to come inside?  Kaleb and Madison are out, visiting his parents while I do some work.”

He entered the house and Jeannie drew him into a hug.  He stiffened at first, before relaxing.  This was his sister after all; if anyone was allowed to hug him, she was.

“And I’m sorry too.” Jeannie pulled back, ending the hug.  “I’ve arranged to finish my degree, doing it on a part time basis.  However, Madison comes first and if I feel I’m neglecting her, I’ll stop.  And I’m not going to rush out and find a job if I finish it, I don’t want to be a career mom, but I intend to keep up to date with journals and the like until Madison is old enough for me to find some part time work, hopefully in physics,” she stated forcefully.  “You were wrong to try and interfere, but as much as I hate to admit it, you were right about finishing the degree.  Kaleb made me see that, actually, and is supporting me in it.”

“Oh.  Well, that’s…something.  I…don’t understand why you don’t want to be a career mom, lots of women do it, and the kids turn out okay…but…” he paused, stopping himself before he headed back into the argument that had separated them in the first place. “I don’t understand, but it’s your life and your choice and that is something I am trying to understand.”

“Agree to disagree, and not let it get in the way?”  Jeannie suggested.

“Yes,” he said, before looking at her seriously. “Tell me, are you happy?  Really happy?”

“Yes, Mer, I’m happy.”

“Then…then you’re doing what is right for you, even if I don’t really agree.”

“And you, are you happy?”

“Not yet, but…getting there.”

And then they talked, about Jeannie’s degree, about Madison and Kaleb.  About his time spent drifting, publishing a few articles and working on his own theories for a while.  The job that Baines offered and all that followed was, of course, classified information, but he did tell her about how Louisa had been found out for the fraud she was, that he had been exonerated and would be working at his old place of employment again soon.

He also told her that Louisa had died in a car accident, which was the official story to cover up her murder by the Goa’uld employed hit man, and found himself crying, much to his embarrassment.  Jeannie didn’t seem bothered by his tears though and tried to comfort him.

Despite all the anger and hurt he had caused, there was the start of a healing between them.

He stayed that night, getting to know Kaleb and Madison a little, though he felt awkward around them, not comfortable in the social situation he found himself in.  He was glad to escape the next day.  He needed to leave then so as to make it to Louisa’s funeral in time, but he promised to send Jeannie his address once he was settled again.  It was a start, and he was going to try and not mess things up this time.


He timed his arrival at the graveyard carefully, not wanting to intrude on the grief of others, or deal with Louisa’s friends and family at this time.  He didn’t believe in life after death and didn’t want to end up upsetting people with his beliefs, or trying to pretend he believed things he didn’t, so he arrived after the burial, when everyone would be safely elsewhere.

Why he felt the need to go to Louisa’s grave at all, he couldn’t really explain.  Maybe that term that people liked to bandy about; closure.  Whatever that meant. 

He didn’t know what drove him, but he stood by the grave of the woman who had betrayed him, destroyed his life, borne his child and denied him access to her; the woman he should hate most of all. 

Only he didn’t hate her.  He was angry, he was hurt and those feelings were still strong even with the time that had passed, but there was more to it than that.  He still loved her.  As pathetic and stupid as that might sound, he couldn’t deny his love for her.

Some might say it was just guilt making him think that, because as much as anyone said he was not to blame, he knew he was.  Knew that she would still be alive if not for him.  He wondered if he could have saved her somehow, though how, he didn’t know. 

But no, it wasn’t guilt, it was love.  Stupid and unpredictable, the woman he should hate was still the woman that he loved. 

He had a cream coloured rose in his hand, remembering her dislike of red roses, saying they were too common, too obvious.  She preferred cream or white, pure and simple colours that meant more to her than gaudy red.

Rodney dropped the single rose into the grave and turned to leave.  It was a futile gesture and yet it had felt right somehow.  He couldn’t understand it or explain it, he just did what he felt he had to do.  Later, his rational mind could dissect it and put it down to irrational emotions, but not now.  Now, he said goodbye with a simple gesture, and walked to his car, ignoring the tears sliding down his face.

Two days from now he would meet his daughter for the first time.  He hoped she would understand why he was letting her grandparents look after her and not try to do that himself.  He hoped that she would like him and accept him for who he was.  He had no idea how a pre-schooler might react to the sudden appearance of a father she had never known, but hoped it would go well.

He knew he’d be a lousy father to her if he looked after her full time, but he might make a half-way decent father if he only saw her a few times a year; there wouldn’t be time that way for him to mess her up with his sharp tongue or impatient attitude. 

He just hoped he didn’t mess things up anyway, and that she would know that no matter what he said or did, he loved her, and that he was the one to blame if things went wrong between them; that she would learn that his awkwardness was due to his own problems, and not because he didn’t care about her.

Someone had told him he was a social reject; unable to handle any kind of social situation.  He didn’t believe he was as bad as that, but he knew he wasn’t at ease around others.  Science he could understand, but people…well, just look at what happened when he had let someone close to him, had even fallen in love.  Louisa had used him, trampled over his emotions and then discarded him when she had what she wanted.

Maybe he was a different kind of social reject; one who was rejected by most of the world and therefore made unsociable.

He drove to a motel, staying the night, thinking of Louisa and Katrina, his inadequacies and his fears.


Wednesday came all too quickly, and yet at the same time, all too slowly.

Sitting in the car outside of the Nicholson’s house, he pulled his courage together while trying to calm his racing heart.  This was it; this was the day he finally got to meet his daughter.  What would she be like?  What would she think of him?  Would he manage to mess this up somehow?

He didn’t know.  All he could do was hope for the best, something he wasn’t so good at.  But it had worked out okay with Jeannie and they were starting to mend those broken fences.  Maybe it could work out okay here as well.

He finally got out of the car, picking up the oversized teddy bear Jeannie had told him to buy, along with the Kitchen Science book he’d bought himself, and approached the front door, hesitating for a few seconds, just like he had a few days earlier, before taking a deep breath and ringing the bell.

The End

Author's Note:
The photos of David Hewlett come from David Hewlett Archive - they can be found on the screencaps page.  The first photo shown is from 'Never Let Her Go' and the second from 'The District'.  David Nykl's photo came from this page on his official site.  The other photo came from the SGA episode 'McKay and Mrs Miller', from this site here.

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