blue flamingos

4 ways Dave Sheppard didn't find out about the stargate

and 1 way he did

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis, Stargate SG1

Category/Rated:

Year/Length: 2009/ ~1300 words

Pairing: some John/Cam

Spoilers: spoilers up to 519 Vegas

Disclaimer: No, I don't own them, for which I should think they're profoundly grateful.

Author's Notes: originally written for [info]sg1_five_things

Feedback: Yes please. Even if it's bad. Especially if it's bad.

hr

1.

John thinks, after he finishes telling Colonel Sumner's family how much they need him, about recording something to send to his brother and his dad. He actually records, "This is for Patrick and David Sheppard," but when he takes a breath to go on, he can't think of anything to say. He doesn't have the words to explain away years of absence, to get past his father's disapproval and his brother's distance, and that's before he thinks about trying to explain the stargate and Atlantis and how it feels to finally fit somewhere.

He's interrupted by Elizabeth on his radio before he gets any further, and then he forgets about it. When he remembers, it's too late, the files are about to be sent, and he figures it's the universe's way of telling him not to do it. Dave and his dad have managed perfectly well without him for years; what's the point of getting in touch just to tell them that he's probably dead?

 

2.

Dave is not an idiot, and neither is he unobservant – you don't get far running a Fortune 500 company by not seeing things. He may not have seen John for years, but even while he's pissed at John for leaving, he can tell there's more to John's this is work-related than having to go back for a conference call. Not that he expects to ever find out. John's always been secretive.

It's a surprise when John comes back, though not, in the end, entirely unwelcome. Dad's house feels strange without him, too empty, and John might not be Dave's first choice for company, but there's something about funerals that makes him want to be around family. It's obvious that John's in pain even before he turns down Dave's offer of a drink with an awkward, "Painkillers."

Dave knows better than to ask, so he can't explain why he hears himself say, "The work-related thing?"

John looks up, mouth open like he's about to speak, and it's all there on his face: how big this is, whatever he's doing, how huge a secret it is. How he wants, for that moment anyway, to actually tell Dave. It's more than Dave ever expected from his brother, and he knows what it must cost John to let him see it. Almost as much as it would cost John to know that he broke the trust placed in him.

"Don't," Dave says softly. John looks at him for a long moment, then blinks, looks down, shaking his head. Dave sits down next to him on the couch, nudges his arm till John looks at him from the corner of damp, red eyes. "Thank you," he adds.

 

3.

Rodney's not really sure what makes him look up John's brother when they're thrown out of Atlantis, after Ronon and Carter are killed trying to stop Michael. Maybe it's that, with his team gone and Atlantis abandoned, John's brother is the closest thing he has to John now. Maybe it's wanting to know something about a part of his life that John never talked about. Maybe it's just wanting something to distract him from everything he's lost, even with Jennifer.

Dave Sheppard's contact details are not difficult to find. A few clicks through the corporate website, a few minutes hacking their database – apparently Sheppard Utilities aren't fluffy enough to have one of those 'contact our CO' links – and he's got Sheppard's email address looking at him from the to line of his gmail.

He leaves the subject line blank and starts typing: Dear Mr Sheppard, You don't know me, but I was a close friend and colleague of your brother's. We worked together for four years on a project with the United States Air Force, for a subdivision called Stargate Command, on a base called Atlantis, in the Pegasus Galaxy...

He doesn't send the email, just leaves it open on his laptop when Jennifer comes home.

When he gets up the next morning, she's closed down the window. Rodney logs back into his email client, checks the sent items and the drafts folder. The email's gone, like he kind of knew it would be.

He doesn't type it up again.

 

4.

Exactly a year to the day after his father dies, Phyllis comes into Dave's office and says, "There are two men from the Air Force wanting to see you. I tried to tell them they needed to make an appointment, but they said it was important."

Men from the Air Force are just about the last thing Dave wants to deal with. He's tempted to send them away, but he's not sure they'd actually go, and he's not having Sheppard Utilities on the front page for an argument between two Air Force officers and his security people. "Send them in, Phyllis, thanks."

They turn out to be one man from the Air Force – "Lieutenant Colonel Cameron Mitchell, sir," – and one man connected to the Air Force – "Dr Rodney McKay." Mitchell's in his dress uniform and McKay is in a dark suit, and neither on them smiles as they sit down.

"Your brother is John Sheppard," McKay says, not really a question. Dave nods, looks at Mitchell, whose face isn't quite as locked down as McKay's and thinks, No, please, not today, like hearing what they're about to say would be any better in a week, or a couple of months.

"I'm sorry to have to tell you this, Mr Sheppard," Mitchell says, soft southern voice that reminds Dave of his mom. "But your brother was killed two days ago."

"He's not even in the Air Force any more," Dave says stupidly. "He's a detective."

"He was working with us," Mitchell says. "You should know that he died doing something important, that he saved a lot of lives."

Dave nods, not sure if he believes Mitchell or not. He hasn't spoken to John since well before Dad's funeral, other than to leave an angry voicemail asking what the fuck John had been doing instead of coming to the wake. Even so, he knows that John fucked up badly when he was in the Air Force, hasn't done much better as a cop. But the Air Force wouldn't want him back if they didn't really need him, so maybe it is true. "Can I have his body?" he asks.

McKay and Mitchell talk him through getting John's body back from them, offer their condolences again, and leave. It's only when Phyllis is showing them out of the building that Dave realizes he never asked exactly what John was doing.

 

5.

And one way he did:
"Hey," Cam says, leaning close as he and John wait for the SGC's publicity officer to finish talking them up to the gathered press. "What did your brother say when you told him what you've been doing for the last six years?"

John turns round, close enough that his hand brushed against Cam's, making him grin until he catches the guilty look on John's face. "You didn't call him?" he demands. "You said you'd do it last night!"

"Yeah, well, you distracted me," John points out, which, okay, it was Cam who started things, but it was John who passed out afterwards and nearly made them late by forgetting to set the alarm.

"I can't believe you forgot to tell your own brother," he says, though, really, this is John and his family. It's the least surprising thing he's heard in months.

The airman on the door leans in and says, "Colonels, they're about ready for you."

John steps away from Cam, straightens his dress uniform jacket. "Pretty sure he's going to find out now," he says, and follows the airman out to the conference room to stand with O'Neill and Landry while they tell the world about the stargate program.


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