Author's Note: So I watched 'The Road Not Taken'and the moment I found out that Sam and Rodney had been married, I was jumping up and down (in my mind, of course). It was very exciting! I didn't even know David Hewlett was going to be in that episode, so it was of course quite the bonus.
Anyhow, this came to mind spontaneously and I wrote it in like twenty minutes. So I hope you guys enjoy it!
Summary: Sam takes a look at what her life could have been in 'The Road Not Taken'. Sam/Rodney themed.
A Wall of Memories
Pulling at her finger, she thought, had been a bad habit that she had abolished right along with twirling her hair and biting her nails in the ninth grade. But there she was, standing awkwardly in the middle of some foreign living room, his voice just loud enough in the other room to make out that a heated conversation was underway, as she pulled at her little finger.
Sam couldn't help but let her eyes stray over the objects around her. A model plane that he had probably gotten as a gift from someone- or maybe it was an old hobby of his, something he did out of boredom in his spare time. Files, binders, and other books lined his miniature library along the far wall. Some kind of metallic art was set off to the side. A childish picture- a finger painting of something- was set on the table- his niece's maybe.
And then there was a wall of pictures. She couldn't help but feel compelled towards it. Maybe it was a mixture of curiosity about the differences in his world compared to hers. Or maybe- more likely- it was a curiosity about who this McKay- or even either McKay- was.
Her eyes skimmed them all over, looking for something old. A young McKay. A baby picture. Something that he would never willingly show her. But they were all rather recent- probably all taken within the last five years.
And then she spotted herself. There were quite a few of her up there but the one stuck out. Dead centre. She was smiling up at the camera, blue eyes sparkling with some foreign emotion. It was just her, a close up shot of her face. She could just make out the background- someone's backyard, a beer bottle and the leg of a grill stood out. A barbeque maybe. A picnic of some kind. She imagined that the photographer was McKay and that she was smiling up at him with a love that Sam couldn't understand. Something in those eyes told her that there was a story there that she had never had the time, interest, or pleasure to discover for herself.
Framed in an elegant, white wood, their wedding picture hung just above that one. Her dress was rather plain- a sleek, white elegance that she imagined she would have worn to her wedding, had she in fact went through with it. McKay was at her side, holding her hands in his, and he was smiling. A true smile that parted his lips and made his eyes glow with a wonderful gaiety. She realized then that she had never seen McKay do anything more than smirk. She wondered if her McKay had the same capacity to have his eyes light up that stunning grey colour that she was looking at in the picture. She shook off the thought, turning her mind instead to their location. It was on a beach (she noted absently that neither of them were wearing shoes). Two suns were setting behind them, lowering themselves beneath the glimmering ocean that was lapping the shores not far behind them. She wondered if the photographer had noticed the obvious give away that they were on another planet. Or maybe they hadn't gotten married until after the Stargate had gone public. She wondered even more how they had gotten permission to do such a thing off world.
But her curiosity slowly abated and her eyes were drawn to the picture just to the left. Once again it seemed that they were at some kind of picnic and, if the two houses behind them were an indication, it was at her uncle's house. The annual Carter reunion- a party she hadn't attended since long before she had joined the Stargate program. But, in this universe, she obviously had better connections to her family. She sat on the grass, her jean-clad legs sprawled out in front of her with a small child sitting between them and leaning against her chest. Both she and the little girl were smiling up at the cameraman- probably McKay- as a group of men behind them stood over the grill and a gathering of woman sat off to the side in their lawn chairs and a couple of kids ran amuck playing freezbe and, if the camera had tilted just a little bit more to the side, she was sure a good number of kids were swimming in her uncle's pool. The shadow of a smile faltered over Sam's face as she looked closer, dismayed to find that it had taken her so long to identify her own niece. Had it really been that long since she had seen her brother and his children?
She sighed as her eyes strayed over to the next picture. A crocked smile twisted her lips as she tried to figure out where they were. She and McKay were standing in front of a row of apple trees, both focused on the apples that they were throwing into the air. A juggling contest. Sam would admit that she could, in fact, not juggle. Perhaps it was something that she had learned from McKay. She wondered briefly who the photographer was- maybe Daniel or someone else from the team or even some other friend that she had never met. She imagined that they had spent an outing together picking apples- it was something she and her brother had once enjoyed doing with her mother. She hadn't been in a long time.
The next picture required one to tilt their head just slightly to the side to see it properly. McKay had wrapped his arm around her and she had absently bent her head closer to his as she smiled for the camera. Just in the corner, she could see his arm reaching forward- he was obviously the one attempting to take a picture of the two of them. She noticed then that he was only wearing glasses in a couple of the pictures- maybe the more recent ones- but it was in that picture that she realized that she liked him with glasses. It added something to his face- she wasn't exactly sure what. In the background, he had somehow managed to capture a small portion of what looked like the Eiffel Tower. She wondered if they had vacationed there. A short trip abroad just for the hell of it. Or maybe it was business and they were taking a small amount of time out of their busy schedules to do a little sight seeing.
The strip of pictures awkwardly tucked into the corner of one of the frames had not escaped her notice but she had forced herself to ignore it for no real reason. Finally she reached out to it, gently- cautiously- plucking it away. She held onto it loosely, cupping it from behind so that she could see the few captured moments of their lives without interruption. A soft smile played on her lips as she looked at the first one. He seemed tense, nervous about playing for a camera in a small box; but she was sitting up close to him, her arm wrapped around him and her face pushed against his as she smiled. She was punching him in the next one and Sam grinned, knowing that look- he said something stupid. And in the next one he was kissing her and there was something about the way her one hand gently caressed his jaw and throat that made her shuttered. It was like looking at one of those adorable couples and wishing you could have that, and yet this one was perverted in the strangest of senses. He was much calmer in the fourth picture and both were looking at the camera with the goofiest of smiles plastered on their faces. In the fifth one he was making bunny ears behind her head and she was just starting to turn to playfully slap him for it. But the last one was her favourite. Her arms had come to wrap around his waist and his arms were around her shoulders and the two had smushed their cheeks together and neither seemed to be able to control their laughter. Just as carefully, she reached back up to put the strip back into its place.
Her gaze settled on the picture in that frame and she couldn't help but smile. There the two of them stood, looking small against the backdrop of Disney World's Tower of Terror behind them. The place looked deserted and she wondered how early they had gotten up to be there before the masses had swarmed the place. They were smiling, a goofy sort of looking on their faces as they struck up odd poses. They didn't seem to have a shred of self-consciousness when they were around each other. She had never been to Disney World, she thought absently. She had never really considered going before- maybe when she was younger. She wondered which of them had brought up the place as a vacation spot. Probably McKay, she decided. She wondered if she would like the Tower of Terror- after all she had been through, it couldn't possibly scare her. She wondered if McKay had screamed when the ghosts appeared.
There were a few scattered ones of Daniel and General O'Neill and Teal'c and Janet and even Major Lorne. There was one or two with her father in it- in the one he even seemed to like McKay, or maybe that was just the lighting. Even her brother Mark made the occasional appearance, usually accompanied by his two youngsters.
But it was the last one- the one that seemed to be placed deliberately off in the top corner where most people didn't look because they had grown wary of the whole process- that made her laugh openly. McKay looked up at the camera with a look of half-confusion as his eyes drooped dangerously closed. His face was still slack with sleep and his hair was sticking up at awkward angles. He was still wearing only his boxers and a slightly too large t-shirt. He stood with a cup of coffee steaming his hand with wrapped presents littered at his feet and a Christmas tree decorated with tinsel behind him. She could only imagine that the other her had taken that picture by surprising him on Christmas morning. She wondered if he normally looked that disjointed in the morning or if it was a special occasion just for the holiday. She wondered why he hadn't taken it down yet.
"Oddly enough, that was one of her favourite pictures of me."
His voice startled her; she jumped just noticeably, her head twisted a little too quick to find him standing a few feet behind her. He just shrugged as he stood there, his hands in his pockets, his gaze steadily focused on her.
"You two seemed to have had a nice life together."
He just shrugged again. "Yeah."
He looked away then, his eyes drawn to one of the pictures. She imagined that it was the centre one, the first one of her that had caught her eye. She wondered if that was the face that he imagined when he closed his eyes and thought of her. "Life. Money. The stargate. Me. The normal stuff."
"The stargate's normal divorce material?"
He chuckled, but it was the same flat sound that she had always associated with Rodney McKay. "Well, for us it was a constant source of arguments." He sighed then, pulling his eyes away from the collage of pictures. "Well, we should get started, eh?"
"Oh, um, yeah. We probably should." She nodded absently as he turned away. She looked back over her shoulder, her eyes drifting over each memory one last time before following him back to his computer.
Hope you enjoyed! Tell me what you think!