My Brother Can Kick Your Brother's Ass
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Characters: David Sheppard and Jeannie McKay
Genre: Gen, Character Study
Cliché: Relative Values: Families
Rating: PG (for language)
Word Count: over 3000
AN: First time dipping my toes in the SGA Fandom. Hopefully this will bring my writing muses back. Didn't get as much ass-kicking as I wanted but I'm happy with where it went. Set after Season 4. For Cliché Bingo on LJ.
Summary: "Why my brother can kick your brother's ass" or "If Dave and Jeannie would meet".
He wasn't exactly sure how long they had kept him in the locked room.
Time was fluid sitting inside the oversized, windowless box. The room wasn't all that big and was composed of four blandly painted walls, an almost featureless ceiling several feet above his head and a cold concrete floor, the only decorations a camera pointed down at the room and two metal frame beds bolted to the floor.
Unfortunately the only thing it lacked besides a way out was soundproofing.
"When my brother finds you, he's going to kick your ass, then his friends will kick your ass and then he's going to blow your little complex up. He has a thing for bombs. He built one in Grade Five and he has had years since to practice."
The woman was pushed into his tiny, tiny room. She whirled around, curly blond hair creating a halo around her head.
"You are going to be sorry!" she yelled at the closing door before she spun back around in a huff. She froze; her blue eyes seemed to get bigger and she moved back towards the locked door.
"Umm…who are you," she asked suspiciously. "Because, seriously, I'm kinda sick of the whole 'kidnapping' thing and being trapped in a small room with a strange man would totally be the highlight of my month."
She was shorter than he was, a mass of curly blond hair and blue eyes. Her clothes must have seen better days, shirt dirty and her skirt torn halfway up from the hem, not that his appearance was any better. Seeing how impatient she looked, arms crossed and glaring, he felt it polite to at least give her his first name.
"I'm David and you are?"
And that led to more hostile staring and silence. Finally his new roommate huffed and turned away, hands outstretched and feeling around the doorframe behind her, searching for a way out. Fingers dug into the doorframe as she ignored him. Dave watched her knowing that it would not work. He had tried a while ago to find some way out of the cell. She struggled for a time before giving up and turning her attention back to him.
"So what are you in for?" she asked bluntly, her eyes trying to pierce him.
Dave sighed and sat on one of the beds. She watched him as he settled down on the thin foam mattress. He did some staring of his own before he answered her question.
"I have no idea why I'm here. I fell asleep in my hotel room in Houston on a Thursday night and woke up here." He made a broad gesture to the room surrounding them.
"Well, that explains the snazzy pajamas," he could practically taste the sarcasm as she continued to interrogate him. "And that was it? You got downgraded from the penthouse suite and have been hanging around in here ever since?"
"How do you figure that?" he asked suspiciously.
"Please, I'm a stay at home mom, not stupid. You have your initials monogrammed on the front pocket. If that doesn't rate some high-end room," she trailed off meaningfully. He looked down at the white letters standing out on the dark blue silk of his pajama shirt and couldn't say anything.
For a long time nothing was said. The woman fidgeted back and forth, pacing in the small open space between the beds. It wasn't exactly quiet. Jeannie mutter to herself, hands twitching at random moments. Finally she dropped to the unused bed and focused on him.
"So…What's your degree in?" she asked, making small talk in their prison.
"Business" he asked. She cut in before he could ask her anything.
"So they didn't kidnap you for your brain."
"Hey," he reflexively snapped, flashing back to the days when John would let one of those sly remarks drawl out while out on the golf course.
"So why kidnap us?" came out of the blue. Dave startled, not expecting the question. He had started his own pacing when Jeannie had flopped onto the bed. She was now sitting up and studying him.
"My brains and your…" she trailed off again and stared at him. "Yeah, still have no idea why they want you. Have they asked you anything since they brought you here?"
"No," he admitted and he lay down on his cot. "I woke up strapped to a gurney, they did a bunch of tests, took blood and finally shoved me in here."
She studied him, humming and staring before shrugging. She stayed perched on the unused bed, fingers playing with the tear in her skirt. She fidgeted as he waited, unconsciously doing the breathing exercises his therapist had suggested, the same thing he did during stressful board meetings.
"Well , this is a lot less exciting than the last time I was kidnapped," she said conversationally as she jumped up and returned to prodding the locked door. "Which is probably better in the long run. My brother was a little more hysterical than you are during that time."
"My brother would have been the opposite" he admitted. "I swear nothing fazes him."
She perked up, sensing a topic that they could maybe talk about. "You have a brother? Younger or older?"
"Older by a couple of years," he answered succinctly. He really didn't want to talk about John but given the choice talking about the black sheep of the family or hostile staring, he'd talk.
"Not me and my brother," she volunteered. "My parents spread us out. Mer is about ten years older than I am so I had a built in babysitter growing up until he ran off to Northwestern. He was always a drama queen when growing up, carrying on and on whenever my parents made him watch me." Dave could sympathize.
"John was always trying to ditch me to run off with his friends whenever I was around. He'd rather do his own thing instead of playing with his 'little brother'."
"My brother always was in the basement working on his 'experiments'," she said, employing finger quotes at the last word. "It was an excuse to set things on fire in my opinion."
Dave couldn't suppress a laugh. "My brother at least didn't get into anything like that."
"So a perfect little angel then?" she asked, seeming envious of a brother who didn't like to set things on fire.
"Hardly," and Dave continued to chuckle. "He was getting into trouble more often than not and he had a tendency to get hurt, falling off his horse one month, crashing his bike the next. It drove my dad up the wall."
"Yeah, sounds nothing like Mer then. Heaven forbid he get a paper cut. What I couldn't understand how he could tinker on things that would shock him and it didn't faze him but if I kicked him he acted like his leg was broken and would say things like the bruising would cause a blood clot and how that would kill him."
"What would you tell him?" he asked curiously.
"He was being a crybaby."
"So a bit of a whimp then?" he asked, realizing he sounded condescending when she called him on it.
"Hey!" she objected. "I thought so growing up but I don't think he his anymore. I bet my brother could kick your brother's ass at this point."
He snorted, thinking of John 'I am going to do this even though I will probably break my arm' Sheppard. Some basement pyro didn't stand a chance against his brother. He settled against the wall before putting forth his own opinion.
"How would he?" he had to ask. "My brother's military. Your brother probably sits on his ass in his parents' basement watching reruns of Star Trek. Hard to do ass kicking that way."
"For you information Mer can…" she trailed off and stared at the camera bolted to the wall. "Well, it's classified but he definitely is not some overweight geek still living at home. I'm betting your brother is just an Army Grunt anyways."
"Air Force officer actually."
She seemed to pause for a second. "Okay, so I may be wrong. But I still think my brother can kick his ass. Mer fights dirty when he wants to."
"Can't tell you if John would fight dirty or not. All he cared about in high school was fast cars and flying lessons. I lost touch with him after he joined the air force. I didn't see him until our father's funeral and he didn't even stay for that."
"How come?" she asked inquisitively. Dave stayed silent for a long time. He didn't like to think about his brother after he left for college. John had a promising future, running the family business, full scholarship at Dartmouth. Instead he went to MIT, joined the ROTC and then told his father to go to hell and take all his plans with him, leaving Dave behind permanently.
"He and my father had a huge fight," Dave finally told her, knowing he had to give her something. "John just wanted to fly and Dad wanted him to take over the business. He left and never came home after that. "
She let silence overtake the room. He didn't know why he told her, an absolute stranger, but it felt good telling someone else. John's abandonment bothered him, especially after all those old feelings were dredged up at the funeral. He was startled when she broke the silence.
"Mer was so angry that I got pregnant." He looked up at her but she was staring off at the corner. "I got pregnant, dropped out of grad school and told him it was my life, I could do what I wanted even if it meant giving up my doctorate and 'playing mommy'. He was so angry that I was giving up the life he thought I should have. Sounds like your brother and me have something in common then."
"Why the hell are we talking about our brothers?" he deflected, not wanting to think that John felt the same way as this woman because Jeannie looked hurt.
"Well, should we talk about how we were both kidnapped? What they are planning to do with us? Cause I have a pretty good imagination and one too many stories from my brother and his friends about what can happen to prisoners. And how is anyone going to find us?" Tears welled up and she turned away.
Dave moved to sit next to her on the bed and after hesitating put a comforting hand on her shoulder. She turned around and socked him in the arm. Before he could do more than yelp she was crying on his shoulder.
"My brother could kick your brother's ass because he took tae kwon do for three years." Jeannie snorted out a laugh at his pronouncement. It took a while for her to calm down, long enough that they each were able to get an escorted bathroom break and supper. Now they both lay on their respective beds, Dave's attention on the ceiling as they tossed random facts back and forth about their respective brothers. And of course heckling the other one's brothers at the same time.
"Well, my brother had an unhealthy love of eighties action flicks. I bet he picked up a couple moves before he deemed himself above such things."
"I'll take your word for it. So what else can Mer do?"
"My brother can hotwire a car in about two minutes."
"There's no way he could do that," he said, not believing her.
"I've seen him do that. He had lost the keys to my parents' Gremlin and had to get me to ballet practice because we were running late. I bet your John couldn't do that."
"No, I don't think John would ever take ballet." Jeannie snorted at the dry response. "Well my brother," he was cut off by a distant sound. Jeannie shot up, eyes wide and alert. Dave followed her lead, standing up and backing away from the door.
"What was that?"
"It sounded like gunfire," she sounded almost hopeful as they listened to the noises draw closer. He pushed Jeannie behind him, some shred of chivalry compelling him to put himself in harm's way instead of her.
The door burst open and two men crouched in the doorway, guns pointed right at them. They had to be some sort of commandos, dressed in black with bullet proof vests and compact rifles held confidently. The two groups studied each other tensely before the man on the right spoke.
"Mrs. Miller?" one of the men asked. Jeannie startled and eased around Dave to get a better view of the commandos.
"Yes," she answered hesitantly.
"Oh, thank god," he said, relived. Both soldiers lowered their weapons as the first man stepped farther into the room. "I don't know if you remember me but I'm Major Lorne."
"Oh, you work with Mer. Is my brother here?" she asked.
"He's in a different part of the base with the rest of his team," the man answered her. "We've been looking for you since you disappeared from the convention. You have no idea how good it is to see you."
"Probably as glad as I am to see you," she said laughing. Dave could only watch as she relaxed, truly smiling for the first time. It was the first time he thought that this ordeal might be over.
The man raised a hand to his ear. "Doctor McKay, we've found your sister and another man in one of the rooms on the west side past the infirmary."
Dave couldn't hear the response but the Major nodded and gave directions. He smiled at them, telling Jeannie that her brother and a colonel would be there shortly.
It was then that Dave wondered exactly how important Jeannie was to rate a colonel coming to her rescue.
They didn't have to wait long for the sound of boots running down the hallway. The commandos tensed and then relaxed as they watched the hall outside the room. Two men rushed past the Major and both halted at the same instant just inside their small prison cell.
"Mer," Jeannie cried, throwing herself at the shorter man, heedless of the automatic rifle hanging from his vest or the blood trickling from a gash on his cheek. He immediately wrapped her in a hug, eyes squeezed shut and a hand pressed into her hair. Dave could see the resemblance immediately between Jeannie and the man had to the infamous 'Mer'.
The second man stayed frozen in place.
"Dave," he whispered. All Dave could do was gape at his own brother. Jeannie pulled away from her attempt at squeezing her brother to death. She looked between Dave and his still motionless brother, mouth opening and closing a couple of times before finding her voice.
"Your brother is John Sheppard!" That caused the other man, Mer, to stare at him with the same intense eyes as his sister. And then she laughed and Dave really wasn't sure what the joke was but somehow she knew his brother and seeing as John and her brother came rushing into the room together and were geared up identically he was willing to bet that the two know each other pretty well.
This broke John's stillness. He turned and dismissed the Major before he was caught in one of Jeannie's hugs. It was much shorter than the one she had given Mer and his brother remained awkwardly stiff during the embrace. Then she turned and grabbed her brother's arm, dragging him out of the room, voice chastising him for taking so long coming to the rescue. He could hear the other man argue back, voice equally as fast as his sister's.
Dave was left staring awkwardly at his own brother. The man who had left him alone for years, the man who had left their father's wake and who made feeble excuses afterwards. The man who was standing here right now.
"Are you okay?" John asked, voice rough with something that Dave didn't or couldn't recognize.
"Yeah," was all he could say.
"We've been looking for you," John confessed and that made Dave pause. Major Lorne had only radioed that they had found Jeannie, the Major could not have had idea who Dave was otherwise he would most likely have told him.
"You seemed to be in a rush to find Jeannie," angry and hurt and all he could do was lash out. "I doubt you were looking for me in here."
"Well, I wasn't expecting to find you here here," John motioned to the small room. "We've been looking for you and for a couple other people for days. Jeannie's abduction just gave us a lucky break."
Dave couldn't think of anything more to say. He had a hard time wrapping his mind around the idea that John was looking for him. He couldn't think of anything to say that wouldn't have led to a fight so he only said he was ready to go home and started for the door.
And then John stopped him.
A hand landed on the back of his neck, the other on his shoulder and suddenly his forehead was pressed against John's. It wasn't quite a hug but it has the same intimacy. John whispered something, too low for Dave to make out but the way the hand on his neck squeezed he doesn't know if it was some sort of prayer or curse or something else. And he let John hold on, the kid who shrugged out of hugs, the adult who avoided most contact from others, actually reached for him for the first time in over twenty years.
Then things went back to normal, if normal included the knowledge of government conspiracies, of aliens, of spaceships above Earth (and he gets why John thinks all of that was cool). If walking around with a chip/transponder in his shoulder like Jeannie had was also par for the course. David Sheppard was back to running the family business within days of his ordeal, dealing with the same old problems, of a son who wanted to run off and join the peace corps even though he is only seven, a daughter who was at an air force recruiting office when the group that had kidnapped him had gone after her, of a wife who sometimes looks like she wanted to ask what the hell happened during those lost days he can't talk about.
He was at home days later when his cell phone rang. Without looking the name, he answered, "David Sheppard."
"My brother can kick your brother's ass because during his second year of college he made his math professor cry during a lecture."
The voice startled a laugh out of him, a voice now familiar enough she didn't introduce herself anymore. Dave sat down outside by the pool and talked to Jeannie as she cooked supper up in Canada with her reluctant brother and while his own brother lounged in the chair next to him.