A/N: Thanks to all those who read this story. Also thank you for all the reviews. And to Shadows of Realm for helping with the beta work.
Chapter 6- Epilogue- New Beginnings
"Come on. You are walking too slowly," Aaron McKay sighed as he waited for his ten year old brother to catch up. At eighteen, the boy showed no sign of the health problems he suffered the first two years of his life as a result of being born nine weeks premature. The eldest of the next generation of McKay's was just your average teenage boy. Like many was being annoyed by his younger brother at this moment as they headed to meet their parents for dinner.
"Stop whining," Hank briefly looked up from the book was reading as he walked. The younger boy rolled his eyes and gave his brother a scowl that would make his father proud.
"You are such a nerd," the older boy yanked the book from his brother's hands.
"And you are such a jock. I know your small brain cannot comprehend the complexities of the existentialism of Nietzsche," the younger McKay growled at the dumber one.
Aaron hated when his brother threw around his smarts, especially that both of his parents were geniuses and he was just average when it came to his studies. The only thing he excelled at was soccer and it was a long running joke questioning if he was really a McKay, but he was the spitting image of his father. "Brat," he yanked the book from his brother's hand.
"Pea brain," Hank shoved his brother. The young boy did not care about the retaliation he would get for shoving the jock. "Oh, crap," the blonde boy winced as Aaron stumbled into an older man, who looked to be about the same age as his father.
Aaron growled at his brother, "You are so dead, Hank." There was a menacing edge to the teenager's voice. "He's a bit of a brat. Sometimes he needs to be caged," he tried to apologize to the dark haired stranger.
This was the first time since his retirement that John was enjoying downtime. He had been enjoying it until he was almost knocked over by some teenager. The retired Brigadier General was about to yell when he got a look at the kid and was shocked into silence. The boy in front of him was an exact replica of a young Rodney McKay. John never fully got over losing Rodney as a friend. There was always a small piece of him that yearned to have things the way before the kiss that tore his life apart. Seeing Aaron reopened long buried wounds. "It's okay. Just be careful next time," he was having a hard time taking his eyes of the boy.
The staring made Aaron very uncomfortable and made him worry that the man was a pervert that preyed on younger men.
"Aaron is a little bit of an idiot. My brother is slow to process things," Hank shook his head. "Give me my book back now."
John shook his head when he heard the teen's name, knowing that Aaron was the name Rodney and Jennifer had chosen for their son. The boy could not belong to someone else which such a strong resemblance to his former friend and since they both still worked for the SGC it would not be a stretch for them to be in a Colorado Springs mall. He had not heard about them having a second child, though he had not heard much about the couple after they left. It was obvious he had made then older boy nervous, "Sorry, you just remind me of someone I haven't seen in a really long time." Aaron had Rodney's looks and the younger boy had his personality.
Aaron glared at his brother and the odd man, "Shut it, Hank. I'm going to tell Mom and Dad what you did."
"What? That you are a klutz and stumbled into some guy. How is your incompetence my fault? Do enlighten me." Hank had his father's mannerisms down exactly.
John had to laugh as he had been on the receiving end of that exact rant a number of times. "You sounds exactly like your father," he pointed to Hank. Named him after Landry. "And you look exactly like him," his gaze fell onto Aaron.
"You know my dad?" the younger McKay said with great skepticism.
Aaron shook his head, "We never met you before." He wondered if it was some kind of line the man was putting on. "Nice try."
John frowned, "A very long time ago." He could have said he was the best man at their parent's wedding or he was set to be Aaron's godfather.
"Another lifetime ago," a stiff voice came from behind him. "It's been a while Sheppard," Rodney kept his face free of emotion.
"Rodney," John turned to face the other man who looked like he had hardly aged a day except for some greying hair. He did not know what to say as the last words that the men had exchanged were the ones when Rodney had broken his nose eighteen years ago. "You have hardly changed one bit," the retired military man figured that was the easiest conversation route to go.
Rodney's lips twitched into a smirk as he saw the years had not been so kind to John. The man had put on at least twenty pounds and had lost most of his hair. "And you have changed…a lot," the glee was clearly written on his face. The old competitiveness between the two quickly resurfaced and McKay took solace in that he won the aging gracefully award. He was also a little happy and took it that it was some kind of punishment for almost ruining his marriage. "Never thought you would have let yourself go so much," Rodney patted his midsection.
"Knee injury forced early retirement," John could not get mad at the comment because it was typical Rodney. "How's the wife?" After all the years of knowing Rodney, he knew the man wanted to comment on his weight gain. The extra pounds were a direct result of not being able to exercise as much because of the busted knee and the medication to control the pain and swelling.
"Jennifer is great. Sent me to see what was taking you two so long. You know you are late for dinner," Rodney glared at his sons and pointed to his watch.
"Sorry, Dad. Aaron was being a klutz. Do you really know this weird guy?" Hank pointed to John. "I think he was checking out Aaron?" the son whispered over to his father.
"I do. Your mom and I worked with him before your brother was born. We used to be friends," the father did not want to go into specifics.
The words stung a bit. "We lost touch after your parents moved away just before Aaron was born," John was not sure how much the children knew of Atlantis. "How old is Hank?" he asked. Sheppard thought after all the problems Jennifer had with her first pregnancy had they would not have any more children.
"I will be eleven in seventy five days," Hank replied. "You look like you could be about eighty," the young boy exaggerated a bit.
"Hank, that's not nice," Rodney admonished his youngest. But, it's funny as hell. "Do you want to join us for dinner?" Eighteen years was a long time and maybe time to put the past in the past. Not that things would be like they used to, but this could be the start of putting what happened that night eighteen years ago behind them and find new ground to form a new friendship.
"Are you sure?" John did not want to intrude on family time.
Rodney nodded, "It will be fine. It will be good to catch up. Start anew as it were." There was a smile on his face that John had not seen in a while and it was one what was present when the two men were up to no good.
"What's your secret to twenty years of marriage?" Sheppard was glad that Rodney's marriage had made it through their rough patch and seemed to be flourishing.
"It's easy when you marry the right person. I can easily go another fifty years."
Aaron rolled his eyes, "It helps that they act like someone my age. I walked in on them making out on the couch last week. I hate to think what I would have walked in on if I came home ten minutes later. It was downright gross."
"Ignore him," Rodney said to John before turning to his oldest. "That is what happens when you come home a half hour past your curfew."
"Where they like this when you knew them?" Aaron asked.
"Don't answer that," Rodney warned John. Some things just naturally fell back into old habits.
John nodded to Aaron behind Rodney's back so the eldest McKay could not see. "I could tell you both stories of your dad..."
"Hey," Rodney whined. "What did I say? They don't need to hear those." He knew there were plenty of stories that could be told.
"We want to hear," both boys said with enthusiasm.
"Relax, Rodney. I won't tell them anything too bad," John assured Rodney.
"Oh, come on Dad. You and Mom tell boring stories," Hank put his arm around his father. "Don't be such an old man."
Rodney groaned and shook his head, "Why do I think this is going to be a long night."
"It will be just like old times," John slapped Rodney's back.
"Yeah, just like it," the scientist said with an uneasy smile with a hint of fondness barely hidden.