Rating: T

Spoilers: Season 5

Disclaimer: I don't own the characters or Stargate: Atlantis

Please leave reviews. They are always welcome.

Chapter 1- Problem Child

"Rodney, we need to get out of here," John yelled, trying to pull his friend from the fireball that engulfed the building in front of them.

Rodney was pulling as hard as he could to get out of Sheppard's grasp, "No, I have to go back." He was almost free when another set of hands pulled him further away. "I've got to find her." On a normal day John, himself would have had no problem keeping McKay back, but now both John and Ronon were fighting to hold him from breaking free.

"There is nothing we can do," Ronon was careful not to grasp too tightly around Rodney's broken left wrist.

"Don't say that." McKay hissed. He finally escaped the tight hold of his friends and raced toward the burning outpost. He could not get within five feet of the fire as the intense heat from the blaze caused him to stumble back. There was no way he could go any further and he collapsed to his knees, yelling in agony and despair.

John looked as he heard a beep from the radiation detector on his belt, "Now we really got to get out of here." He tried to pulled Rodney up, but the man would not budge.

Rodney could feel John pulling at him, but he did not care. "Leave me here. She can still make it out."

"We are not leaving you. It's not safe. Jennifer could not have survived that explosion." Ronon stated.

The Canadian looked at the Satedan with hatred in his eyes. "Don't you say that." Rodney got up again to make his way back to the outpost despite the heat.

John looked over at Ronon and shook his head. He did not know what to say to his friend as he was in shock too. "McKay, the radiation levels are rising. If we don't get out of here soon we all are going to be dead."

Rodney shook his head, "Then just leave me here. There is still a chance." He refused to believe his wife was dead.

Sheppard screamed, "Rodney, we are not leaving you here. We've got to go. Don't let your children loose both their parents today."

McKay turned to John and slowly started to get up. He knew know was right, "Abigail's birthday is in three days." Everything around him was spinning and he was not sure if he had a concussion or if it was the shock from watching the love of his life die.

Ronon took Rodney by the arm, "That's right. You wouldn't want to miss it and Christmas is in two days. Zoe's first Christmas." He looked to John for help as Rodney passed out in his arms.

When Rodney finally regained consciousness he knew was in Atlantis' infirmary. He wondered if it all had been a dream, but he saw the cast of his left arm and knew it wasn't. He also wasn't alone in the bed. A set of brown eyes looked up at him and smiled. "Abigail," he smiled back at the girl curled up on his right side.

"Daddy no sleep," the girl ordered of her father.

McKay looked over and saw his son, Arthur, sleeping at the foot of the bed and turning his head to the left; Rodney saw John sleeping in a chair next to the bed.

John started to stir when he heard Rodney was awake, "Hey."


"How are you feeling?"

"My arm is killing me. How long was I out for?" The injured man asked.

"About a day and a half. I think Carson went a little overboard on the sedatives," Sheppard explained. Rodney had been agitated when Beckett had tried to set his broken wrist and he had to be sedated so he wouldn't hurt himself or any of the medical staff.

"It wasn't a dream? She really gone?" Rodney's face showed no emotion. Whatever drugs Carson had given him had numbed the emotional pain he knew he should be feeling, but it was not doing much for the physical pain.

John nodded, "I'm sorry. We tried to go back, but the radiation levels are still too high." John reached into his shirt pocket. "I thought you would want this back," he handed Rodney his wedding band. "They had to take it off to set your wrist."

"Thank you," Rodney closed his hand around the ring. "Where's Zoe?" The man asked of his youngest child.

"Teyla has her. These two refused to leave you and both threw quite the tantrum when I tried to get them to leave." Sheppard looked between Arthur, who was still sleeping and Abigail who had her arms wrapped around her father's good arm.

"No leave daddy." Abigail made a face at John. She was mad at her 'uncle' for trying to make her leave. "Mean. Bad," the girl scowled and pointed at Sheppard.

Rodney woke up with a start and stared up at the ceiling of his bedroom, taking a moment to catch his breath. It had been a few weeks since he had the dream of the day that changed his life. The day that made him a widow. The day that made him a single father of three. The day that would make him and John leave Atlantis forever.

For the first year the dream plagued him nightly and now three and half years later the dream came only once or twice a month. Every time he woke from the nightmare it felt as if someone had stuck their hand in his chest and squeezed tightly.

He reached over and turned on the lamp next to the bed. Rodney groaned when the clock told him that it was one in the morning. He grabbed his glasses from the table and put them on and knowing he was not going to go back to sleep, Rodney got out of bed and headed down stairs.

On his way to the kitchen Rodney nearly tripped over something, "Damn it." He cursed as he bent down to pick the backpack and several papers fell out. From the size of the bag he knew it was Abigail's. Rodney went to put the papers back when he noticed the letter from school addressed to him, "What now?"

He dreaded reading what the letter said. The girl may look like her mother, but the personality was his. Rodney imagined it was some kind of divine payback that he was raising a miniature version of himself, "What has my little devil done this time?"

Opening the letter, the father let out a loud sigh, "Pushing a boy into the dirt! What am I going to do with her?" He rubbed the back of his neck. Rodney found himself out on the patio, looking out over the mountain that was visible from the back of the house. He looked down at the wedding band that had only been taken off once in the six and half years since it was put on. There were days Rodney wondered how he got through it all and wondered how much of it was because of the twice monthly therapy sessions and antidepressants. "I miss you so much," he sighed as he stared up at the clear night sky.

A noise from the kitchen drew Rodney back to reality. He wondered which of his children he would be busting for sneaking downstairs for a late night snack.

"I don't think so," the father pulled the bag of Oreos from his oldest daughter's hand. Just the one I need to speak to.

"Daddy." Abigail turned around on the chair to face her father. She gave a sheepish shrug.

"Abigail," he threw the bag of cookies back in the cabinet. "What do you think you are doing?"

"I was hungry," she answered simply.

"It is one in the morning." Rodney pointed out.

"Sooooo," the girl rolled her eyes.

"It is one in the morning," the father repeated.

"But I was hungry." Abigail pouted.

"How was school today?" Rodney thought he would change the subject. He reached over for the letter that had been sent home.

"Ohhh." Abigail hoped to have gotten away with it.

"Ohhh," he mimicked his daughter. "Did you think you were going to get away with this?" His temper started to flare. "Why did you push that boy?"

"He was being stupid."

Rodney raised his finger, "What did I say about using that word?"

"But you and Uncle John use it all the time," the girl countered.

"That's not the point. Why did you push him?" Rodney demanded. "I am sick and tired of getting these letters from school."

Abigail pouted and crossed her arms over her chest, "He was making fun of me." She pushed her lower lip out as far as she could.

"That is no excuse for pushing someone..." He started but his daughter interrupted.

"But you and Uncle..." Now it was Rodney's turn to interrupt.

"Do as I say and not as I do." Rodney would have to talk to John about their behavior when he returned. They were a bad influence on his children as they acted too much like children at times.

"It's a dumb holiday anyway." Abigail sighed as she jumped off the chair.

"What is?" He was confused as to what his daughter was going on about.

"Miss Evans told us to make cards for mother's day. I don't have one to make a card for," the girl sat down on the chair.

Rodney looked down at his daughter and did not know what to say. He knew he should be mad at her for acting out, but it was difficult to do so because of the reason. McKay frowned and rubbed the back of his neck as he tried to figure out what to say to Abigail.

"Did I really ever really have a mom? You don't talk about her anymore." Abigail looked up at her father for answers.

His face fell at the question, "Of course you did." Rodney bent down to pick her up. "You look a lot like her," he said with a sad smile.

"Why don't you talk about her anymore? I liked the stories you used to tell us about her."

The father sighed as it was a difficult question to answer. It had been a little over a year since Rodney had mentioned their mother to his kids. It was a result of a fight he had with Jeannie. She had been pushing him to start dating, saying his children needed a mother figure in their life and that conversation was the last time Rodney would ever talk to his sister. "What do you want to know?"

"Do you miss her?" Abigail asked.

The father nodded, "Very much." Rodney sighed as there were some moments it hurt just as much as the moment he lost her.

"Why don't I remember her?" The girl asked, resting her head on her father's shoulder.

"You were really young when she died." Rodney rubbed his daughter's back, "She loved the three of you very much."

"Did you love her?" Abigail wanted all her questions answered.

The elder McKay bit his lip for a second. He knew it was not fair to them that he had stopped talking about their mother, but some days it was so hard not to have her around, "I still do."

"I don't remember what she looks like," she asked.

Rodney nodded, "I keep pictures up in my room." It was easier for him to keep them there. "I can show them to you tomorrow after dinner. That is if you don't get into trouble."

The girl pouted, "But…but."

"But nothing. I don't want to see any letters from school tomorrow. You understand?"

Abigail gave a dramatic eye roll, "If I must."

"You must." Rodney insisted. She was definitely the most difficult of the three to raise. "Now back to bed," he put the girl back on the floor.

"Night daddy," she ran back upstairs to her room. She thought herself to be a big girl and did not need to be tucked in.

After Abigail left Rodney shook his head. Raising his children on his own was not something he had ever expected to be doing, but they were the only thing he had left to keep him sane.

Atlantis: Control Room

Woolsey was standing behind Radek, who was checking on some power fluctuations out on the west pier, "Did you find out what is causing it?"

"No." Zelenka shook his head. Even after three years of being the head of science and research he was not used to the pressure of the job when Rodney made it seem like the job was so easy.

Then the gate alarm sounded, indicating an off-world activation. On instinct Radek raised the gate shield as he waited for an IDC to be received.

"That is not possible," Woolsey said as the system the IDC belonged to Jennifer McKay. He turned to look at Radek who was equally confused, "Lower the shield and send a security team to the gate room."

Both men raced down the stairs to the gate room and waited to see who or whatever was going to come through. A silence fell over the entire room as the figure emerged from the gate.

"Jennifer?" Radek rushed over to the woman. She looked exactly like the Jennifer McKay; a little beat up, but there was no mistaking that was her.

Jennifer was confused and quite dazed. Guns were pointed at her and the whole room was spinning. "Radek?" she tried to focus on the man holding her up. "They are gone. I woke up and they were gone. Where are they?" The world then blacked out around her.

A medical team rushed into the gate room to treat the unconscious doctor.

Woolsey looked over at his military commander, "Colonel Lorne, take your team and search the planet…"

Evan did not need him to finish, "We will see what we can find." It was a shock to see the female Dr. McKay alive.

Radek stood there in shock and he looked over at the expedition leader, "What do we do?" He wondered if the woman was the same Jennifer McKay that had supposedly died in the explosion. Strange things always did happen in the Pegasus galaxy.

Richard looked over at his chief scientist and shook his head, "Nothing until we know if this woman is really Jennifer McKay or not.

"What about Rodney?" Zelenka asked. "He should know if there is a chance that she is alive."

Woolsey thought on it for a few minutes, "But what if it is not really her. Can we put him through that again? What about their children?"

Radek nodded in understanding, "You have a point. If that woman is not the Jennifer we knew I don't think Rodney will be able to handle that." He knew what a difficult time the former chief of science had when his wife died and he knew he still was not having an easy time of it, "I am going to check on her."