A/N: Reworking this story. Part of (maybe most of) this chapter has changed from the original chapter. I had been stalled on this story for while, writing myself into corner that I was not happy with. A Thanks goes out to Shadows-Of-Realm for planting the seeds of where to take this tale and for the beta.
Spoilers: Season Five: Takes place after EatG. Sequel to 14 Days on Earth
Life in the Milky Way
Chapter 1- Surprise
Atlantis had been back on Earth for five weeks and it was exactly twenty days, ten hours and thirty-nine minutes since Jennifer had last seen her fiancé. Two weeks after their return to Earth Rodney had been pulled to work on a top-secret project somewhere in the Milky Way. For now, Jennifer sat in the mess hall poking at her Salisbury Steak with a French fry. She did not notice the tall figure approach her.
"Whatcha thinking, doc?" John asked as he approached the woman who looked more interested in playing with then eating her food.
The sullen woman sighed, "That my food is getting cold." Jennifer looked up and shrugged.
"You miss him, don't you?" John asked with a smirk.
She smirked, "Yeah. It's been too quiet. I miss having my pillow at night."
Sheppard shook his head, "Pillow? Do I even want to know? McKay does seem like the soft and cuddly type once the fangs are retracted. Does Rodney giggle like the Pillsbury Doughboy when you poke his stomach?" Without having McKay around to poke fun at, his other half was the next best target.
Jennifer rolled her eyes, "Funny, John. You're just jealous that he isn't around to play games with you as much as before." If he could tease her, she could give it right back.
John laughed, "Maybe a little, but all that matters is that you and Rodney are happy. That's what I'm supposed to say, right?" He knew it was true and he never saw two people happier then when the lovebirds were together. "Have you heard from your pillow?" he wanted to see if Rodney contacted his fiancé as well yesterday. The two line email had been very direct, but he did not know how to execute Rodney's demands without making Jennifer suspicious.
Jennifer frowned, "I got one email from him two weeks ago but nothing since. I'm worried too. His shoulder still bothers him some days. Especially when it gets damp."
"Any idea when my dear friend is coming back? I'm all that is left of my team." John was upset that the IOA had forced Ronon and Teyla to return to the Pegasus Galaxy. It made it seem as if Atlantis was not leaving the Milky Way any time soon. The Pegasus natives had been forced out earlier in the day and they had been only been given a few hours to say goodbye. Not nearly enough time in his opinion. He had tried to convince Woolsey to let them stay, but he said there was nothing he could do. He felt as if the IOA had it out for this team, which could also explain Rodney's temporary assignment.
She shrugged, "I don't know. Rodney said in his email that it could be as much as two months." Jennifer was clearly not happy about the idea of her fiancé being gone that long. "I know I missed getting to say goodbye to them. I had an emergency surgery this morning. I wished they would have been given more time."
The military commander nodded, "How is Lorne feeling? After everything that happened his appendix ruptures."
"He will be fine. A couple weeks of rest... though that won't be hard with things as they are."
John nodded, "They asked me to say good bye to you and Rodney. Teyla wanted me pass on some blessing to you and Rodney in case she doesn't get to see you two before the wedding. Something about having many years of happiness and many children. You two want children, right?" The subject never came up with Rodney and Sheppard was not sure if his position on children had changed.
Jennifer nodded, "We do. Started trying recently, actually." She was upset that their attempt to get pregnant would have to be put on hold.
That was a surprise to hear, "Really? Wow. You'll make great parents." John knew that would be the truth, but the idea of Rodney being a father was still a little difficult to imagine.
"Thanks," she smiled. "Of course you'll be available for uncle duties? You know babysitting and changing diapers?"
John scrunched his face up in disgust, "Eww. That is just wrong. I draw the line a diapers. As I see it, if you are the one bringing the life into the world, you are the one to change its diapers."
She gave a dramatic roll of her eyes, "Fine if you are so insistent on it."
"I am," John pointed at her. He could see Jennifer was still upset about something and it was obvious that it had to do with McKay's absence. "Listen I know tomorrow is Valentine's Day and Rodney is still off on who knows what planet and this is supposed to be your first Valentine's together and he probably won't be back by then. I was thinking that I could take you out to dinner tomorrow so you won't be alone." He'll be back tomorrow and this his idea not mine.
Jennifer made a face, "I kinda want to be alone." She really was not in the mood to do anything and she had made plans to curl up with a bowl of popcorn, a sappy movie and a pair of Rodney's pajamas.
"I insist," he had a serious expression. "Rodney would be very mad at me if he knew I left you alone, pouting and missing him." Not to mention pissed if I don't hold up my end of his plan.
The doctor shook her head and bit her lip, "Or he would accuse you of putting the moves on me." It was a lame attempt at a joke.
John frowned as his charm did not work and thought a different approach was needed, "He would not think that. Come with me. We can make fun of the pathetic people trying to impress their dates."
"You realize that would be me and Rodney if he was here?" Jennifer pointed out.
Sheppard shook his head, "You would be making fun of them with him. McKay doesn't need to impress you anymore. You are already under his spell and he's under yours."
"You have a point," she smirked.
"How about a few drinks then? Just to get off base for a while. See the sights of San Francisco," John put his most charming smile on.
"Okay fine," Jennifer gave in reluctantly.
Jennifer sat at the bar, staring into a full glass of beer. She regretted coming out with John knowing she was not good company, "Look, I'm sure you had plenty of offers to go out tonight. You don't need to be here babysitting depressed little ole me."
John knew she was right and he did have plans for later in the evening. Where the hell are you, Rodney? You're a half hour late. "I'm right where I want to be. Rodney will just owe me big time when he gets back. Couples shouldn't be separated on Valentine's Day especially if it's supposed to be their first."
"Tell that to the people in charge. What was so important that they needed my fiancé to go?" she pouted and pushed at the glass in front of her.
"You'll have him back in no time and you can get back to trying to start that family you want so bad," John felt his phone vibrate in his back pocket. This better be him. He was relieved when he saw the textfrom Rodney, asking what bar they were at. Sheppard typed a quick response and stood up. "I got to take this. I'll be back ten minutes tops."
Jennifer pouted, "You're kidding me, right? You have a date, don't you?"
John shrugged, "Kind of. But someone will be right here to take my place."
The physician saw red, "Don't you dare leave me here!" She was furious that she was about abandoned in this way.
Maybe this was the wrong way to make the transition for Rodney coming. "I'm sorry. This is something I can't pass up." If she hits me, you are going to owe me, Rodney.
"How can you do this to me? You're the one who wanted to take me out so I wouldn't be alone. That that is exactly what you are doing. Then passing me off to someone else. What am I a piece of meat? I should just go back to my room and keep with my original plans. You really are something else. I thought you were better than this. And what exactly can't you pass up?" Jennifer fumed and ranted.
John smiled at how much Jennifer was starting to sound like Rodney and as if on cue the man finally showed up and stood behind his fiancée, unnoticed. "Helping him with this," he pointed behind her. "Enjoy your evening. Blame him for being late."
"Blame who?" Jennifer was confused until she turned around and got the surprise of the day.
"Hey," Rodney said with a small wave. Her quick change from ranting to shock amused the man greatly.
"For this you are forgiven, Sheppard," she did not take her eyes off the man she had missed greatly. Jennifer leapt off the stool and wrapped her arms around Rodney, pulling him in for a long kiss.
John cleared his throat, wondering if the couple was going to come up for air anytime soon, "I can leave now that my replacement is here." He did not want to disturb the lovebirds and made a hasty exit.
After the kiss Rodney's face was flushed, "That was some hello."
"And you are a very nice replacement for John. Not that that there could ever be a replacement for you," Jennifer could not stop smiling. "I thought you weren't coming back for another month," she refused to let go of him and her fingers laced behind his neck.
"We finished the project earlier than expected. It helps that I had a great incentive to finish as soon as possible," Rodney gave his fiancée a quick peck on the lips.
"You better be talking about me," she teased, not able to take her eyes off the man of her dreams.
"Who else would it be? Come," he jerked his head toward the door. "I have plans for you. Will you join me for a night you aren't soon going to forget?"
That got Jennifer's attention, "And what are your plans?"
Rodney grinned and pressed his lips to her ear, "Room service and then not leaving the room until morning."
"Sounds like a perfect evening. I really missed you. Don't go away for that long again without taking me," she rested her head on Rodney's chest.
"I missed you too. Come my sexy one and let our evening begin," he slipped his hand into hers.
"And where are you taking me?" Jennifer assumed they were not going back to Atlantis since he mentioned room service.
"I got us a hotel room a few blocks from here," Rodney enjoyed the quiet as they walked hand in hand toward the hotel.
Once in the lobby of the hotel, Rodney pulled out the key to the room, "Room 2312. I've got to pick up a few things from the gift shop."
"Just don't take too long. I'll order us some food. How does finger foods sounds? That way we can feed each other," Jennifer slid her arms around his shoulder.
"Ten minutes tops."
"I'll hold you to that," the physician gave him a preview of what the evening was going to be like.
"Might be less after a kiss like that," Rodney smirked as he headed toward the gift shop with the uncomfortable feeling that he was being watched.