three years struggling to get work, Rodney jumps at an offer from a man
named Baines. But all is not as it seems…
was written over a year ago and was left languishing on the computer
while due to various reasons. Although I have added to it and
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.
Thank you to Jayne Perry for
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
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
“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.”
“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
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
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
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
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
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
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
“Someone has sabotaged the hyper-drive engine.
Unless you want your daughter dead, you will repair it. NOW,”
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
But stopped when faced by Dr Zelenka, who was holding a gun on
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
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
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
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
“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
“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
“You do? You…you believe me?”
“Jeannie, my sister, she could be in danger…I
thought they’d be okay now.” Panic gripped his
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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.”
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
“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
“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
“Dr McKay, please slow down.”
“Um, okay. And, ah, you may as well call me
“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
“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
“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
“Wednesday will be fine. Do you need
“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.”
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.
“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
“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
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
“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.”
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
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
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
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
But no, it wasn’t guilt, it was love. Stupid and
unpredictable, the woman he should hate was still the woman that he
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
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
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
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.
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.