Trust (Fund) Me

John needs a paper signed. What Rodney sees changes his opinion of the colonel's relationship with Teyla and her son. Also: Do Ronon and Teyla get paid?

Spoilers: Takes place sometime in Season Five.

Pairing: Even though he doesn't know how to show it, Sheppard likes Teyla. Aww…

Disclaimer: I don't own the characters or the show. I am just playing with them for fun. I promise to have them home by dinner, albeit slightly whumped.

Trust (Fund) Me

"McKay, I need your help," John Sheppard called out as he jogged into the main science lab of Atlantis.

Rodney McKay rolled his eyes and put down the cup of coffee he was about to take a sip of. "What have you done now?" he asked somewhat accusingly.

"I haven't done anything," the colonel answered, acting hurt. "I just need you to sign something."

Rodney snatched the paper from the outstretched hand and began reading it.

"Come on, McKay," Sheppard said, bouncing anxiously on the balls of his toes. "I don't have all day."

"Oh, whatever. I'm not signing my name to anything until I know what it is I'm signing away," he said, not looking up.

Sheppard rolled his eyes. "I just need you to witness it. I'm sure Zelenka will do it if nothing else."

"What's the big hurry?" Rodney asked, flipping to the next page and looking for the space where he needed to sign.

"The Daedalus leaves in twenty minutes, and I really want to get this on there," the colonel answered, getting more anxious as he was reminded of the time. "Just witness it already."

"Well maybe you shouldn't have left it to the last minute," the scientist said, reaching for a pen.

"It's not my fault," Sheppard argued. "It got mixed in with some other paperwork and the Daedalus crew just found it."

With a flourish Rodney signed his name and handed it off to Sheppard, who took off like a relay runner receiving the baton. Calling a quick 'thank-you' over his shoulder as he left the lab, Sheppard sprinted toward the Daedalus' landing site on the East Pier. Only later did he wonder if Rodney had actually read enough to realize what the document was for.

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Rodney didn't actually have to read much to figure out what it was about. All he needed to see were two words and one name:

Trust fund.

Torren John Emmagen.

When he went back to his room later that evening, Rodney began to think about what that document meant.

Things had been tense between Sheppard and Teyla during her pregnancy. After Torren's birth, the tension had eased a bit, but there was still a distance that hadn't been there the first four years the team had been together. Sheppard was great with the kid and had actually surprised Rodney with his child-handling skills, considering how bad the colonel usually was with people.

But Sheppard seemed to have changed. He was quieter, more reserved, even more willing than usual to fade into the background. There was sadness in his eyes when he held Torren that seemed to keep him from enjoying the baby the same way everyone else on Atlantis did.

Rodney had once speculated on the situation to Ronon, and the Satedan had merely told him that Sheppard and Teyla would have to work it out for themselves. Both of them were stubborn, and now Teyla also carried the weight of motherhood in addition to her previous duties. Rodney knew Sheppard needed a vacation from the constant attention his job required, and he suspected there might be a broken heart mixed in there, as well.

Any worries that he had carried about Sheppard's feelings for Torren had evaporated when he had realized what the colonel had done.

Ronon had told Rodney about the Sheppard home after the funeral of John's father. The multiple large houses, the stables, the swimming pool – Rodney had to admit he hadn't seen that one coming. He knew the colonel was far smarter and much more insecure than he let on, but just when he thought he had figured out his skateboarding, Johnny Cash-listening, guitar-playing military friend, Sheppard threw him for a loop once again. In all the years he had known him, Rodney had never had the slightest clue sign that Sheppard was partly heir to a fortune made in the energy industry. In fact, the colonel hadn't even mentioned his family.

After Sheppard had seemed to be more of his old self, Rodney still didn't see the rich flyboy in his friend. He wondered what Sheppard had used the money for. Knowing the colonel, he had probably spent it on everyone but himself.

This proved it. The document Sheppard had brought in was a form to set up a trust fund for one Torren John Emmagen. Apparently Sheppard wanted to make sure Torren would have the means to live in case he ever ended up on Earth. He hadn't looked at the specifics, but he was sure the amount was generous.

Given how much the expedition members made (especially head scientists) and the fact that they had no reason to spend their money while in the Pegasus Galaxy, he began thinking.

oOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOo

John sat reading an introduction to particle physics when his door chimed. Quickly shoving the book into the drawer of his bedside table and slamming it shut, he got up and opened the door.

"Hey, you have a minute?" Rodney asked.

"Sure, come in," Sheppard said, looking slightly puzzled at Rodney's nervous gestures. "What's up?"

"You know that paperwork you had me sign today?" Rodney said.

John nodded, waiting for McKay to continue.

"Well, I thought I'd like to do something like that for Madison. You know, help her pay for college or whatever."

John froze. He hadn't meant for anyone to find out about this. Hell, Teyla didn't even know yet. Dave would have kittens when he realized that John wasn't reinvesting all of the dividends from the shares he had inherited, and instead was funneling them into an account for another man's son. He wasn't doing this for accolades or public relations. He would have been perfectly happy with no one finding out about this. He probably should have found someone else to sign, but he wasn't sure if the paperwork would be legal if someone from another galaxy had signed it.

Whatever problems he and Teyla had been having, and to be honest, it was mostly him, he didn't hold against Torren. During the false quarantine, he had promised Teyla that if anything ever happened, Torren would have people to take care of him on Atlantis. But he also wanted to make sure Torren be taken care of in case he ever went to Earth, whether taken there for safety or just to go to school. He wanted to watch out for his family, no matter where they were.

John stuck his hands in his pockets and feigned nonchalance. "I suppose you'd have to talk to someone the next time you go up to Canada."

"Ah, right," Rodney said, and an awkward silence fell over them.

The scientist began walking toward the door, then turned back to John. "So why did you do it?"

"Do what?" John asked.

"You know, set up this trust fund for Torren," Rodney said.

John shrugged. "I just thought it would be a good idea…you never know when it might come in handy."

Rodney smiled. Despite outward appearances, maybe the divide between Sheppard and Teyla wasn't too wide to be bridged.

"Please, don't tell anyone," the colonel begged, snapping Rodney back to reality. "Really."

"Okay, okay, geez," Rodney said with mock impatience. He started to turn toward the door once again, until another question popped into his mind.

"Hey," he said. "What about Ronon and Teyla? Do they get paid?"

John hadn't thought about that in a while. Luckily, by the time the Atlantis expedition headed to the Pegasus Galaxy, the SGC already had a policy in place for resident aliens. Ronon and Teyla were a bit different in that they didn't actually reside on Earth, but they had contributed so much to the expedition over the years that Sheppard made sure that the compensation paperwork got done.

"Well, they get food and medical care and everything," he said. "I think there's a year's worth of pay in an account for each of them somewhere, and then the military is keeping track of what else they earn. If they ever move to Earth, they'll get backpay."

Rodney thought for a moment. "Good lord, they'll be able to afford beach-front property in Malibu!" he said. His eyes lit up.

"No, McKay, you are not coercing them into buying real estate," Sheppard said firmly, putting an end to the argument before it began.

"Well, what about passports?" Rodney asked. "We could always get them Canadian ones. It'd probably be better than American ones, anyway."

"What, and little maple leaf patches for their backpacks, too?" John asked. Then he smirked.

"Could you actually imagine either of them in Canada? Ronon would probably try to wrestle a moose. Teyla would …," he said, trying to think of something, "…I don't know, learn to have snowball fights. She'd be kind of scary, actually."

After trading a few more insults, Rodney headed back to his room for the night. Sheppard was pretty sure he had diverted the scientist's attention to something else, and he had managed to turn his own mind to other things, as well: As he crawled into bed, John couldn't help but smile as he pictured himself having a snowball fight with Teyla. Some day…