Please see first chapter for disclaimer, rating, warnings, pairings, etc.
After her initial shock wore off, Mika pulled back her fist and punched JJ in the nose as hard as she could. He tumbled to his rear in the mud, hand clasping the injured appendage. "Hey!" he protested. "What was that for?"
Mika grabbed him by his lapels and dragged him to his feet so she could hug him tightly. "For – for – being so enigmatic and stupid and wonderful and here!" she exclaimed.
"Okay. Y'know, Mimi, you've got a weird way of showing your gratitude." Pulling away, JJ gingerly touched his nose and winced.
"Stop calling me Mimi. We're adults now." Mika turned and hurried toward the Stargate, anxious to show her parents who she'd discovered.
JJ followed. "Okay," he said agreeably. "But it's going to be hard, you know. For all these years, I remembered you as the little girl I knew on Atlantis. Seeing you now – all grown up. . ." He shook his head.
"Look at you. You're sixteen now, right?" Mika quickly checked the immediate area to make sure no one was around to see her dial. It was an unfortunate precaution they all had to take.
"Yeah. And you're. . ." JJ squinted at her. "You're sixteen, too. Aren't you?"
Mika's lips curled up in a reluctant smile. "Not yet," she sighed. "Still fifteen. For another two months, anyway." She pressed the center dome of the DHD and watched the Stargate activate. "Want to come with me?" she offered.
JJ eyed her nervously. "Where are we going?"
"Athos. Well – not the Athos you and I were familiar with when we were little. Since my parents are the head of the Rebellion and all that, we have to move around a lot. It's hard to keep our cover, to keep our people safe." Mika paused halfway to the Gate, eyes wide under her hood. "Wait – you did contact me because you wanted to join the Rebellion – right?"
Her childhood friend grinned. "I certainly didn't look you up just 'cause I wanted to catch up. Seemed a little pointless." JJ motioned toward the Gate. "Ladies first."
Mika shoved his shoulder. "You're just afraid to see my parents again," she mocked. Over the years, they'd all learned to use humor. It kept things light – for a while – in the face of the darkness they were all fighting.
JJ grinned sheepishly. "Am I that obvious?" he asked.
Laughing, she grabbed his hand and pulled him toward the Stargate. "Come on."
"She'll be fine."
Teyla absently rubbed her hands up and down her arms, though she was not cold. "I know," she said. "But I cannot help but feel – concerned. That this person asked only for Mika, and for a meeting on a world with such a bad reputation. . ."
Ronon looked up from the map he'd been mulling over carefully. "She's fifteen," he said quietly. "As little as we like to admit it, she is old enough to take care of herself."
"You are worried, too," Teyla said. She didn't turn around, but sensed Ronon's rueful smile.
"I am," he agreed.
She turned away from the door of the tent to join him by the table. "The things we have to do sometimes, for the Rebellion. . ." She trailed off.
"It's hard. But, in the end, it'll be worth it." Ronon rapped his fingers against the tabletop once. "I'm tempted to go check on her."
Teyla caught his arm. "We will give her a while longer," she said. "We have to trust her, and her decisions."
"I know you're right." He sighed and rolled his eyes. "I just wonder if there may be just one more thing we should have taught her, or told her, or made her do before we sent her out on her own."
She rested her head against her husband's arm. "She will be back soon. I am certain of that."
The tent flap suddenly slapped open, and a small figure burst inside. "She's back, she's back!" Alaka'i, Ronon and Teyla's eleven-year-old son, turned and ran back outside.
His parents rushed behind him. As they exited the tent, Teyla was relieved to see Mika strolling casually toward them, the hood of her cloak tossed back, her posture relaxed and vaguely triumphant. Walking beside and slightly behind her, a young man looked around nervously at his surroundings.
"Mika, Mika!" Kai ran to his big sister and threw his arms around her waist. "You're back, you're back!"
Michaela laughed, ruffling her little brother's hair. "What, did you expect me to stay out there all day? It was raining. Ugh." She pretended to shudder. "You know how much I hate the rain."
Kai ducked away from her hand. "What'd you learn?" he demanded. "Did you have to fight anyone?" Apparently his sparkling brown eyes hadn't spotted the boy next to her.
With a wave of her hand, Teyla dismissed the curious people who had gathered around. Disappointed sighs met her ears as they reluctantly departed. "I am assuming your mission was a success?" she asked.
Mika looked up to grin at them. "What do you think?" she asked. She tipped her head toward her companion.
Teyla glanced up at Ronon, who was looking at the boy curiously. She followed his gaze, noting the young man's hair, eyes, height, and facial features in one swift glance. He seemed vaguely familiar, but she couldn't place a name with the face. "Welcome to New Athos," she said.
Mika nudged the boy with her shoulder. "C'mon," she growled. "Don't be shy." Without waiting for a response, she turned back to her parents. "Don't you recognize him? He's JJ – John Jared Sheppard." Her face glowed smugly.
"Well, you've grown up." Ronon stood rocked back on his heels, eyebrows raised. "Quite a bit, actually." He had the protective father look on his face.
Teyla sighed inwardly. "JJ, it is wonderful to see you again." She shook hands with him, and he looked subtly relieved. "How are your parents?"
"Please, call me Jared." As he released her hand, his expression darkened. "Actually – that's part of why I'm here." Jared glanced around swiftly, strongly reminding her of his father in military mode. "I don't suppose there's anywhere we can, uh – talk quietly?"
"Me too?" Kai, who'd hid behind his sister when he'd noticed Jared, suddenly popped up again. "Please?"
Mika took him by the shoulders and turned him. "Nah, this is for grownups only," she said.
"You're not a grownup!" Kai complained.
"Scoot, kid," Mika said.
"Go check the tuttleroot crops for me, please," Teyla said calmly. "I have been meaning to do it all day, but have not had the time. It would be a great help to me."
Kai's sulky expression brightened considerably. He cheerfully ran off to complete his chore. Teyla motioned for the others to follow, and they all ducked into her and Ronon's tent. "Please, have a seat," she motioned, "while I fix us all some tea."
Jared nervously sat down across from Ronon. Mika followed her mother through the rest of the tent to the kitchen area, where she tossed her cloak onto a chair. "What d'you think, Mom?"
Teyla handed her daughter the container with the teabags she made by hand. "I think you did a very good job."
Mika glowed. "Thanks, Mom. Do – do you think Dad thinks so, too?"
Quickly giving her daughter a one-armed hug, Teyla went back to her tea preparations. "I know he does."
"Good." Mika looked down at the ceramic holder she cradled in her hands, her long hair nearly hiding her face. "I want to do this a lot, Mom. I want to help. I-I want to go back home."
Teyla reached for the pot of pre-warmed water sitting on the back of the little stove. "Me too. And I know you want to help, and your father and I both appreciate that. But do not try to grow up too quickly, okay? You should not expect to go on any dangerous missions. We are not ready for that yet."
Mika tucked her hair behind her ear. "Wasn't this one dangerous?"
"Yes. But not as dangerous as some others would be. What I am saying is, do not be disappointed if you are not included in some of our raids." She stepped a little closer and lowered her voice. "You are old enough to understand, Mika. If something were to happen to your father, or me, or both of us, someone must continue our fight. And, more importantly, take care of your little brother. He idolizes you, Mika. He needs you."
"He needs you guys, too." Mika sighed. "Okay, okay. I hate it when you guilt-trip me into things."
Teyla smiled, glad for her daughter's moment of levity. "Parents have no scruples," she reminded.
"Knock, knock!" a voice called from outside. Moments later, a compactly built man ducked inside.
Mika hurried toward the front of the tent. "Marcus!"
Major Lorne grinned at her. "Hey Mika." He nodded to Ronon, who nodded back briefly. "So this is who the whole village is gossiping about," he said, blue eyes on Jared.
Teyla added another cup of tea to the tray and carried it out. "Major Lorne, meet John Jared Sheppard."
"Wow!" Lorne, cup halfway to his mouth, stared in amazement. "You grew up!"
Jared made a wry face. "Yes. It seems everyone is telling me that today."
"Sorry." Lorne swallowed a drink of tea, settling into a chair close by as Teyla sat next to Ronon. "Though I must say I'm glad to see you and your parents made it out of Atlantis."
"Actually. . ." Jared trailed off.
Next to Teyla, Ronon leaned forward to plant his elbows on his knees. "'Actually'?" he repeated.
Jared stared down at his hands, clenched into fists on his lap. "That assumption is – is not entirely accurate."
Teyla felt her body go rigid. Even though it had been twelve years since they'd had to abandon Atlantis, she still remembered everything about that day vividly. She'd been sure Colonel Sheppard and his family would have had plenty of time to evacuate. . . "Then what is accurate?" she asked.
The young man's shoulders slumped. "The truth is, I didn't search for you guys to join the Rebellion proper, though that's well and good. I came to ask you to help me rescue my parents."
-To Be Continued-
Bunnylass: Wow, thank you so much! I'm very honored that you liked the beginning of this almost as much as you like Empire! I hadn't really done anything like this before, with everyone already in relationships and with children and things, except in a couple of oneshots. I decided to see what it would be like to make a whole fic out of it! I hope you continue to enjoy my fic, and thank you so much for the review!
HeartyJessica: Thank you! I'm very glad you liked the intro into my story. I had fun with the general cloak-and-dagger stuff, so I'm glad you enjoyed it, too. Thank you so much for the good luck wishes – sometimes I feel like I really need it! LOL Thank you so much for the review, and I hope you enjoy this chapter!
CanadianHalliwell: Thanks! As little kids on Atlantis, Mika and JJ were playmates, so I thought it would be natural for them to remember each other fairly easily a few years later, even as young as they were when they were originally separated. Thank you so much for the review, and I hope you enjoy this chapter!
Alexiel974: Thank you! To be truthful – I'm not sure. LOL I just grab what ideas I get, and try to run with them as best I can. Though I am ashamed to admit it does kind of mess with my updating schedule – but I do try to keep things fairly well organized! I'm glad you like Mika and JJ – there's going to be a lot of them in this story, though there will be an equal amount of the characters we're familiar with. As for your question about McKay children – I promise it will be answered very soon! Thank you so much for the review, and I hope you enjoy this chapter!
TheWelcomeStranger: Thank you! I'm glad you thought the prologue was nice. I hope you continue to enjoy the story! Thank you so much for the review!
TubaPrincess: Thank you! I'm sorry – I know I was very vague about New Atlantis, but I promise it will be explained in time – and a lot of it in the next chapter. Yes! I'm very glad you noticed Solen. I can definitely promise we'll be seeing him again! After all – he did think Mika looked familiar! I figured being a bartender would be the perfect occupation for him, especially after seeing where he seemed to spend most of his time in the episode Trinity. Thank you so much for the review, and I hope you enjoy this chapter!