Spoilers: Season 5
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters or Stargate: Atlantis
Please leave reviews. They are always welcome. Being away for a week gave me the time to finish up this story.
Chapter 16- The Way it Should be
After a few moments Jennifer pulled herself together and decided she would try to find Rodney. She had put off telling the truth long enough. She reached up and tapped her ear piece. "Rodney come in." She figured he should have his radio on knowing he was allowed to return to light duty today. Jennifer tried unsuccessfully several more times and then tried his other partner in crime. "Sheppard, come in."
John was still playing around in the jumper, "Yes, Keller. What is it?" He swore she was picking up more and more of Rodney's habits every day.
"I'm looking for Rodney. Have you seen him?" She asked.
"Why is it every time you are looking for him you call me?"
"Because you are his best friend and he is not answering on the radio"
"Good point. Actually I saw him about a half hour ago. He went looking for you."
Jennifer sighed. "I will try him again. Thanks." She tried again to raise him on the radio but was still unsuccessful. Jennifer headed toward Rodney's lab, hoping he would be there. The lab was deserted and she found that odd. She started to become worried that something could be wrong and headed to the infirmary if Rodney were to show up there.
After several hours and no sign of Rodney, Jennifer picked her son up from the control room where Amelia was showing the boy the finer points of the control room. "Thanks." She said as she took her son back from the technician. "You haven't seen Rodney recently?" The doctor was wondering where he disappeared to.
Amelia shook her head. "Not since this morning."
Jennifer shook her head as she left the control room, her concern growing. She was worried that Rodney was actively avoiding her because he had left John hours ago to find her and no one has seen him in hours. "You haven't seen him, have you? Jennifer asked her son. Not as if she would get an answer from him. The mother and son were headed to the mess hall when she heard her radio crackle.
It had taken a better part of the day, but Rodney had finally put the finishing touches on his plans for his evening with Jennifer. He had been relying on instincts to figure out some of Jennifer's favorites things. He hoped he had gotten things right and time would only tell. Rodney knew he could never fully make up for messing up their wedding day, but hoped his plan could at least make her smile. McKay had watched as she headed to the mess hall and chose this to be the time put his plan into motion. "Jennifer come in."
She was relieved when his voice came over the radio. Finally. Jennifer wanted to yell at him for having her worried, but that urge vanished as soon as she heard his voice. "Rodney! Everything okay?"
Rodney wondered if that was worry he heard in her voice. "Everything is fine."
"Where are you? I was about to get some dinner with Arthur. Do you want to join us?"
"Turn around." Rodney peeked out from where he was hiding.
Jennifer did as she told and wondered what state he was going to be in. She smirked as saw him trying to keep a straight face as his lip twitched. He was fighting not to smile. He's up to something.
"What?" He tried not to laugh.
"Nothing," She shook her head as she walked toward him. "Joining us for dinner?"
Rodney shook his head. "Can't." He was trying his best not to smile.
Jennifer frowned. "Okay." She felt hurt. "If you have other plans."
"I do." He let a smile crack. "But they entail you joining me for dinner." Semantics could be a tricky thing.
Teasing me. That's a good sign. "Are you asking me out on a date?" The woman's mood suddenly changed. She figured this is why he probably disappeared for a good part of the day and wondered what he had planned.
"Can we still go on dates?" Rodney asked before kissing the top of his son's head. "Aren't we a little past dating?"
Jennifer pouted. So much for his romantic side still being one of the things he remembered. "Come on. What do you have planned for me?" She decided it was not best to push him too much. She still had a few things to talk to him about.
"That is my secret. You are just going to have to wait." He offered his hand to her. "Shall we?" Rodney flashed one of his special grins.
"If you insist." She slipped her free hand into his. That grin of his was infectious and she had missed it very much. "Come on Rodney. Can I have one little hint? Please."
Rodney shook his head. "Your mommy was never one to be very patient. You will have to get used it. We just tease her when she gets like this. Just stick with me and I'll teach you want to do."
Jennifer glared at Rodney. She wanted to be mad at him for teasing her, but he was sounding like his old self. She had sorely missed their bantering. "Sure go ahead and corrupt my son. I'll teach him to hide your coffee when you get cranky."
"You wouldn't?" He looked shocked that she could ever suggest that.
"Just try me." She held a straight face for about ten seconds before she broke down laughing. It felt wonderful to laugh again.
Rodney stopped at the door to their quarters, a serious expression on his face. "I've been trying the best I can. To remember, I mean."
"I know you have." Jennifer squeezed his hand reassuringly.
He waved his hand in front of the door panel and the door slide open. "I am going to take Teyla up on her offer of meditation. Maybe it will help."
Jennifer looked around their room and saw nothing different and was wondering what his plans were. "Don't push yourself too hard." She planned on waiting until later to tell him the why she thought he was blocking out his memories.
Rodney turned to Jennifer and smiled. "I overheard Sheppard and Lorne talking earlier. I know what today was supposed to be . There is nothing I can do to make it up to you, but I wanted to do something to let you know how much you mean to me."
"Oh, Rodney." Jennifer sighed. "You didn't have to do anything." She was touched that he tried to do something for her. His heart is in the right place.
"Let me take Arthur. I'll put him to sleep and you can go take a bath. There is a surprise in there for you. Dinner should be served by the time you are done."
She handed her son off to his father. "I look forward to it." Jennifer said with a slight smile before she headed to the bathroom. Things are finally looking up. She was pleasantly surprised when she saw that Rodney had brought in her favorite bubble bath. The couple had taken many baths together using that bubble bath.
It took almost a half hour to get Arthur to sleep and Rodney saw that Jennifer was still in the bathroom. He knocked on the door. "Are you okay in there?"
Jennifer must have fallen asleep and the knock on the door woke her up. "Fine."
"You sure?" Rodney opened the door and poked his head in. "You've been in here a while."
She nodded. "Come in." Jennifer waved him into the bathroom. "I must have fallen asleep."
He smiled as he moved to sit on the edge of the tub. She really was beautiful. "I have to go pick up the food in a few minutes. Arthur finally fell asleep. You enjoying the bath?"
Jennifer nodded. "Very much." She reached for his hand. "Thank you. What are you getting us to eat?"
Rodney gave her a sly grin. "Not so fast. You are not going to get that out of me."
"No fair." She splashed him with some water.
"Hey." McKay laughed as the water splashed on his pants. "Everyone is going to think I went my pants."
"Oh well." Jennifer said innocently. This was just like old times. "You are just going to have to change."
"Are you just trying to get me out of my clothes?" Rodney teased.
"Funny." She bit her lip. "It is not like I haven't seen it all before. " Jennifer was not sure if she should be teasing him, but it came naturally when he started teasing her.
He was enjoying the bantering between them. It felt very natural as if they did this often. "I still think you just want to get me out of my clothes." Rodney got up and headed for the door.
"I love the scar on your ass." Jennifer called after him.
Once she was alone Jennifer got out of the tub and then changed into a low cut green dress. She rarely got a chance to dress up while on base and she only had one person to impress and he was getting their food now.
It took Rodney only five minutes to make the round trip from the mess hall to their quarters. With his hands full from the food he had to knock on the door with his foot. When Jennifer opened the Rodney was stunned by the sight in front of him. "Wow. You look hot." His mouth hung open.
"Glad you like it." Jennifer spun around to show off the dress.
He could not keep his eyes off of her as he entered the room to put the food on the table.
"Now you can tell me what you got us?" Jennifer tried to peek at the trays of food.
"Are you always this impatient?" Rodney made a face as he put the trays on the table.
"Only when you get like this." She pouted.
"Sit." McKay pulled out the chair for his fiancée.
Jennifer did as she was told and Rodney took the chair across from her. "Smells good." She lifted the cover to the tray. "Good choice." She pointed to the steak and french fries on the plate. "I don't think your memories are as lost as you think they are."
Rodney looked confused. "What do you mean?"
"It is the small things. Things you probably don't even realize."
"Really? Like what?" He was clueless and needed to have things pointed out to him.
Jennifer smiled. "Our favorite meal, the bubble bath and the way you've been acting."
"They way I've been acting?" Rodney was not sure what she was meaning. Was it a good or a bad thing?
She shook her head. "Like you haven't lost your memory at all. It took almost two years for either of us to admit there was something between us. It has only been a little over a week since your accident and you are acting like you have been since we've been together and before you ask, yes that is a good thing. A very good thing." She paused for a second before continuing. "There is a part you that wants you to forget what happened with Elizabeth, but the other part of you won't let you forget what Arthur and I mean to you."
Rodney laid his fork on his plate. "Why is it everyone, you included, freezes up when I ask what happens? Is it so horrible what happened that everyone refuses to tell me?"
Jennifer sighed and rubbed the back of her neck. "It is more of the what happened after."
"And?" There had to be a reason he was blocking all this out. "Just tell me." This was not exactly how he had planned the evening to go.
"Alright." She swallowed hard. "Your team and I were supposed to on a mission, but during the briefing Radek called in and said there was a problem with power surges in one of the labs. You stayed behind to fix the problem. When you were done you went to pick Arthur and Elizabeth up from Marie. When you got back here Elizabeth was falling asleep so you put her down in her crib, but Arthur wasn't ready to be put down yet. You stayed with him for a while and when you went to put him down that is when you noticed Elizabeth wasn't breathing." By this time Jennifer's voice was shaking. She wiped a few tears from her eyes. It was not easy to talk about Elizabeth and she was sure that it would never become easy.
Rodney listened to the story and could feel the knots form in his stomach. "I was supposed to be watching her."
Jennifer shook her head. "It wasn't your fault. There was nothing that could have been done."
He could not look at her in the eyes. "Oh, god." He sighed. "I saw her." Rodney felt a lump in his throat. "She said things to me."
"I know." She said quietly.
"She said horrible things to me." There was a look of sheer terror on his face. "They are all true aren't they?"
Jennifer shook her head, afraid that this was going to happen "Rodney, look at me." She reached across the table to take his hands.
Rodney was not listening as it felt like a dam had broken and everything was rushing back. The memory of contestant mental assault from his hallucination made it feel as someone had stabbed him in the stomach with a knife. He stood up quickly, knocking his chair back. He looked at the door as if he was ready to bolt. I'm a monster.
She followed where his eyes went, "Rodney, don't. Those things she said to you aren't true." Jennifer had to get through him somehow. He remembered something and she had to know what. "What did you remember?"
His eyes darted around nervously. "Everything." Rodney could feel a panic attack coming on, his heart was beating rapidly and he was sweating.
Jennifer stood in front of Rodney and raised her hands to take his face in her hands. She had to get him to look at her in the eyes. She sighed as he seemed so lost. "Look at me." She could feel his pulse racing and him fighting to break her gaze. "You are not anything she said you were. That was your mind playing games with you."
"Jennifer, how can you say that? " Rodney could not understand why she did not blame him for killing their daughter. "It was only a matter of time before I screw this up and got you to hate me."
"Because it is the truth. I am not letting you go down this path again. You did not kill Elizabeth and you are not a monster. How can you honestly think that I would ever hate you? You may be frustrating at times, but you are the other half of me." She cracked a small smile. "There is nobody else I could imagine spending the rest of my life with. I am never going to leave you and never take our son away from you."
Rodney was not sure if it was the way she looked at him or her words, but they were having an effect on him like they always did. "We can't let you go around with only as half a person." Even after almost two years he was still amazed that he had someone who loved him unconditionally and put up with all his quirks . Rodney knew this was the kind of love that people search their whole lives for and that only a lucky few find. That is if you listen to those sentimental types and being around Jennifer brought that side out in him. Some days he wondered if he would wake up and find out that she was just a dream and he would be alone.
"That is more like it." Jennifer circled her arms around his waist. It was hard on her sometimes to watch Rodney question that he deserved her. She knew the whispers were still there; people questioning why she was with him, but they didn't know the man she knew. The man who with one smile could lift her out of the worst mood. The man who made her laugh even at his corny jokes. The way he looked at her and made her feel as if she was only woman in the room. The man who held her all night as he cried the night her father died and was the one who made all the funeral arrangements because she couldn't handle it and did not complain once.
"I miss her." Rodney rested her head on top of hers, a few tears escaping his eyes.
"I do too." She whispered as she buried her head in his chest. "Please don't leave me this time. I need you."
He bit his lip and nodded. "I won't." Rodney hugged her tightly. "I need you too. I feel like an idiot."
"Why?" Jennifer asked, playing with the buttons of his shirt.
"For forgetting you and our children." He kissed her forehead.
Keller sighed. It stung that he had forgot her. She knew it had stemmed from his self-esteem issues. She thought he gotten past it when he put the ring on her finger. Losing Elizabeth had to reopen some of those old wounds. "Just don't forget your family again." She looked into his blue eyes and leaned into kiss him, their first kiss in over a month.
Rodney smiled as he pulled away from the kiss. Family, he smiled to himself. His family growing up was a joke and being a in another galaxy made any meaningful relationship with his sister difficult, the surrogate family he had with John and the others was something but it wasn't the kind of family he had always yearned for growing up and that is what he had with Jennifer and Arthur. "How did I ever get so lucky?"
She tilted her head and traced the outline of his jaw with her finger. "Luck has nothing to do with it. We are meant to be."
He smiled at her comment, still thinking luck did play a part in it. "We have a wedding that needs to be rescheduled …that is if you still want me."
Jennifer gave a playful smirk. " To marry the man of my dreams or not? That is such a difficult decision." As to give her answer, she pulled him in for a passionate kiss.