[identity profile] sgasesa-admin.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] sga_santa
Title: Christmas
Author: [livejournal.com profile] ca_pierson
Recipient: [livejournal.com profile] squidgiepdx
Pairing:McKay/Sheppard
Rating: PG
Author's Notes: Merry Christmas! I hope you like the story. This is actually a part of a larger universe in which John loses his two best friends and gains a family. I do hope you'll enjoy this, I was aiming for fluffy and Christmas-y.
Summary: Christmas is a special time of the year, one John has more bad memories of than good. This year, though, it's different and not just because he is raising his best friends' children.

---

Christmas is a special time of the year. One John isn't overly fond of. Well, he didn't used to like Christmas. Christmas is when his mother died and when his father got married for the third time. There are more bad memories associated with that time of the year than good.

It's different, though, when there are children around. With Cathy, Toby, and Ethan, Christmas really is a magical time. This is the children's first Christmas without their parents, John's first Christmas without his best friends. He misses them even more right now than usual, especially when Cathy gets that faraway look in her eyes or Toby asks for his fourth "just one more story" about his parents.

Their mother, Alex, used to tell John how Christmas was best seen through the eyes of a kid, years and years ago, when Cathy had been a tiny little thing who mostly slept, ate, and pooped. Cathy had been awesome in her red and white Christmas dress, though. Even slept through all of Frank's awful singing. There's a picture in the photo-album with her on Alex's arm, Frank, the proud young father, beaming next to them and holding onto John. But this Christmas, Alex and Frank are dead and all Cathy, Toby and Ethan have left is John, who still feels a bit useless when it comes to being a parent.

"Do you think this needs a bow?" Rodney asks, bringing John out of his reverie. "I think this needs a bow." He's wrapping presents because he's the one who can actually do these things. John's packages always look like a six-year-old wrapped them. That's why he's holding things together instead, hands Rodney whatever tools he needs, and distracts him whenever he can.

"I think it's fine."

Rodney frowns at it. "No, this needs a bow. Get me one of the pink ones." He's wrapping Sharon's present right now, a doll she'd fallen in love with at the toy store that John doubled back to buy for her while Rodney distracted all the children with ice-cream they really shouldn't have. "There we go. I think we're done." Rodney sets the package under the tree with the others and steps back to admire their work.

John steps up to him to wrap his hands around Rodney. They've both been busy over the past few weeks, what with the children so excited they barely slept. Even Ethan, little as he is, got caught up in it all. Their house looks like one of Santa's reindeers puked Christmas all over it. There are so many decorations all over the house John thinks they rival the small corner store. He deals with it, though, because Ethan loves the lights and keeps stopping whatever he's doing to look at them, careful not to touch.

Their first Christmas with just John, he decided early on, is to be a happy one.

Cathy was the one who insisted they celebrate Christmas at Rodney's house. Not that John fought too hard, he likes being here as much as he likes Rodney to be over at theirs. Cathy had insisted, though, arms crossed and foot tapping. She kept sneaking glances to a photo of her parents as she talked him into it. Maybe there are too many memories at the house for Cathy sometimes. He'll think about that later, when it's not Christmas.

For now, the children are sleeping, giving him some precious hours of alone time with Rodney. The house is quiet right now and even outside there is no noise. Everything is swallowed up by the snow that started coming down after the children were already asleep. It's thick and heavy like John hasn't seen it in a while. He's looking forward to their faces when the children see it in the morning. Briefly he wonders if he'll get dragged outside before they open any of the presents.

"You think they'll like it? Spending Christmas here?" Rodney asks, gesturing to the Christmas tree and the room all around them. "I mean, I know at least Cathy and Toby will miss their parents, but I hope they'll have a nice Christmas anyway."

"They're fine," John says. Of course they miss their parents, just like Adam, Sharon, and Laura miss their mother. But both families fit together, the eight of them; they're a bit broken, but healing. "They like it here," John adds when Rodney doesn't say anything. "They like you a lot. And Sharon, and Laura, and Adam. You guys are good for us."

"So," Rodney says slowly, "if I were to give each of you a box with a key to the house and asked you to move in together, do you think that'd be too soon or that Cathy would be upset?" He turns around in John's arms, his blue eyes wide and apprehensive.

John doesn't quite understand why Rodney is so upset, but he has no idea how to make it better; saying nothing isn't working so well. Rodney stiffens in his arms before John has the time to make any decision on it. He makes a face and his mouth sets into a thin line.

"Because I can still keep them in the drawer, maybe wait a year if you think that'd be better. But Adam and Toby are best friends and Cathy's got her own wardrobe upstairs. There's a whole box of Ethan's toys in the corner," he gestures over at the wooden chest in question, "and you've got your own sock drawer." Rodney pauses long enough to look at John before his eyes flicker away again.

"All me giving you a key and you moving in would do is make this," he waves his free hand in the small space between them, "official. I know you don't do the whole talking thing very well because you're emotionally constipated, but I know you like me a lot, and I ... I like you right back. I want you in my life. Any way I can get. And if you don't want to take that step, I'd be perfectly alright, but I-"

John presses his lips to Rodney's, shutting him up mid-ramble. Probably the best method of doing it, certainly the most effective one. John feels Rodney relax in his arms. They both suck at the talking thing, not just John. But Rodney is braver when it comes saying what he feels, even if he's more blunt than John believes is good for people. John tells Cathy, Toby, Ethan every day how much he loves them, but when it comes to telling Rodney his insides twist and his throat closes up. So instead he's been trying to show him. He pulls back to look at Rodney, whose eyes are wide and fixed on John more intensely than normal. Rodney's put it all out there and John ... John's an idiot.

For once, John swallows all his stupid instincts, his fears and hang ups down. He runs his tongue over his lips, and tells his brain to just shut up and talk. "I love you, Rodney." The way Rodney's eyes widen and his mouth opens in surprise makes part of John want to kiss him again, but he's doing this now. No more delaying. "I think my kids love you, too. If you think you, Sharon, Laura, and Adam can live with the lot of us permanently, then my answer is yes."

"If the kids agree," Rodney says, mouth quirked into a happy little half-smile. John can't help but kiss him again.

Rodney's hands are at the small of his back then, tugging his shirt out of his trousers so he can slide warm fingers along John's spine. "If the kids agree," John repeats when they come up for air, voice rough. He licks his lips. "We should probably take this upstairs."

But Rodney hums and shakes his head. "I want to, but we can't. Not yet." There's promise both in his voice and in the heated look he gives John. "First Santa needs to eat the cookies and have the milk."

John looks at the row of cookies and milk glasses on the low living room table. Ethan and Toby had insisted that Santa needed one from each of them. Ethan especially wouldn't go to bed until he had put a glass of his own down. "Movie time?"

"Movie time," Rodney says, grinning.

They end up tangled together on the couch, cookies and milk in easy reach. John could stay like this forever, with Rodney's lips on his neck, Rodney's laugh in his ear, Rodney's hands running down his body. For now, they're here, watching a movie, quarrelling about the scientific errors and the improbability of anything like this ever happening. Tomorrow they'll wade through the chaos their family will create.

John can't imagine being anywhere else in the world.

The end.
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