Decisions and Choices

Second Childhood 8/11.

Jeannie sat in Kate Heightmeyer office, the red headed woman sat across from her smiling kindly. Shifting nervously Jeannie looked down at her hands. "I'm not sure where to start, Dr. Weir suggested this but I'm not sure it will help. I have to go home tomorrow and I would like this all decided before I go, but John and I have reached an impasse."

Kate looked over at John. "Colonel Sheppard, how do you feel about this?"

John looked as Jeannie as he shoved his hands into his hair sending the few calm strands up into the air. "Well, I uh Jeannie I mean no disrespect to you but I think Rodney needs to stay here. We're the only people he knows and remembers. He's still feeling lost and alone. If you drag him back to Earth, he'll have to live a normal life, go to school and try to interact with children far below his level. That just won't work. He's not an average child, heck he's not even an above average. He remembers things no child shouldn't have to deal with-"

"Are you saying I can't understand, Mer? He is my brother! Granted up until a few months ago I hadn't seem him in four years, but I grew up with him and gone through anything you have, Colonel Sheppard. I know him better than anyone."

Slapping his palms on the wooden surface of the desk, John got to his feet towering over Jeannie. "No, you don't! The man I know now is nothing like the Rodney I met two years ago. Here in Atlantis, he's grown more than anyone else here. When I first met him, he was... quite conceited. Well, he still is but he's much quieter about it."

Jeannie laughed and John joined her. "I can't fault your logic on that one."

Sobering, John continued. "My point is if you take him away from this and there's a chance he'll go back to his old ways-"

Heightmeyer broke in. "John, Rodney is no longer that man either."

John looked startled. "I know he's not. There are things that Jeannie just can't understand about Rodney's life here. Last night Rodney woke up. He dreamed about the time he was taken prisoner by Kolya in that storm. He wanted to know if I could keep him safe from the bad man even if he was on Earth. I told him the truth. If he was on Earth and I'm here, I can't watch over him and protect him, that would be up to you Jeannie. Then Rodney rolled away from me and pretended to go back to sleep. About an hour later I heard him crying."

Pushing away from the desk, John began to pace making a mess of his already crazy hair. "I went to him and we talked some more. He's afraid that if he goes to Earth someone will take him and that's a good possibility."

Turning to Jeannie, he demanded,"Do you understand the danger he's in? There are some nasty people back on Earth, that would love to get their paws on Rodney. Do you really want to bring that danger into your house and family. Not to mention the fact that a eight year old just might forget about national security and well you can guess..."

Jeannie slumped slightly, but didn't back down. "Meredith, is still just a boy, he needs love and security. I can offer him that. I can't make him feel safe but I can love him. Maddy, my daughter would love to have a big brother. In my home, he would have a mother and father, stability. John, can you do all that?"

"No, I can't give him everything you can, but I can love him and help him through the scary nights because I have them too. Nightmares and fears are part of this job, Rodney has faced a lot of his and become a better man. That's what I see when I look at even little Rodney. He has the potential to be that man again or an even better one. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but it's there and sending him to Earth may destroy all he's done."

Jeannie took in all John Sheppard words. This man loved her brother just as much as she did, if not more. He understood and accepted the side of Rodney she never could.

Suddenly a panicked feeling came over her and she got to her feet. "I'm sorry but I have to pack." She looked at Kate. "Thank you, I have some things to think about." She nodded to Kate and John. "I'll let you know what I have decided tonight."

Getting to her feet Jeannie left the room. Her decision was even harder now.

Kate watched Rodney's short little legs swing back and forth as they dangled from the chair. There had been silence for almost fifteen minutes now and she wondered how much longer she would have to wait?

Finally Rodney stopped picking at his fingernails and asked, "Does it matter what I want? Jeannie has the final say and I have to do what she wants. She's my only relative. She wants me to come home with her to Earth and I don't want to go." Rodney looked up over at Kate. "I do love her, but I need to stay here. This is my home now, I can't go back to Earth not like this. There are bad men who might take me, I can't remember who they are and that is what scares me the most. How can I stay safe when I don't know who I'm hiding from?"

Kate sighed, talking to Rodney at the best of times wasn't a joy. "I need to know how you feel and if there's anything you'd like to say."

"Well, I already told you, I want to stay here, but I'm not sure John wants me to stay. I want-" Rodney stopped biting his lips, to keep in his secret. "I have no power here, so what else is there to say." Rodney crossed his arms and almost pouted.

"Why do you want to stay here? What does Atlantis have that Earth doesn't?"

Rodney looked directly at her. "John. If I go back to Earth, I won't have John. He's my best friend and I only feel safe knowing he's there. Please don't take me from him."

Getting down off the chair, Rodney headed for the door. Kate caught his arm. "Stay for a few more minutes. Colonel Sheppard will be here soon."

"I don't have anything else to say. I don't want to talk anymore." When Rodney looked up at her, he had tears in his eyes, but looked away as they fell, rubbing them away with his free hand.

Kate sighed once again. "All right then, but you do have to stay here. Would you like some paper to draw? I'll contact the Colonel and let him know he can come early."

Rodney brightened as she held out a stack of paper and a bright green highlighter.

Each of them worked in silence. Kate reading over her files and Rodney drawing a picture, when John contacted Kate.

"I'm just outside your office. Is Rodney ready to go?"

Keying her own radio, Kate replied, "Yes, he is."

A the sound of John's voice, Rodney bolted leaving his picture behind. As the door banged shut behind him, Kate picked it up as she too headed for the door to say goodbye.

Kate studied the stickmen. There was Rodney and John holding hands standing on what might be the east pier of Atlantis. She only knew it was John due to the childish letters written beside the taller of the two. They spelled John and then had been crossed out and replaced with Dad.

Folding up the piece of paper she only hoped Rodney would get his wish.

As always there are more two chapters up on my site you can find it by Googling my pen name. I love to hear from my readers and drop me a line. I love to hear from you whether you liked it or loved it. :0P

Also I have published two original pieces of work on Kindle you can find a link to them on my website as well.