Author: Sealie jimandblair
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis/Traders xo [voyage par mer segment]
Betas: thanks to LKY and Lisa.
Uhmm, let’s see. I started reading Skein’s “do not go gentle”-- haven’t finished that yet – but surfed over to Skein’s site once to pick up an episode and saw pictures of Rodney cocooned (!!!???!!!), which introduced me to ‘Traders’. So I went hunting, ‘cos, well: *Rodney* cocooned. And I found Perian’s livejournal and *look* snippets with Rodney’s bits to watch and Ooooh, Grant… Spent an extraordinarily enjoyable weekend watching Grant and that inspired a fic (‘cos that’s what happens when I watch tele).
So Perian, Skein and Spike21 thanks for introducing me to a new fandom and community.
ETA: This series is a work in progress (WIP). So if you don’t like WIPs, I suggest you bail with all due alacrity.
ETA II:However, the first section 'Voyage par Mer', consisting of ten parts, is now complete. Another story continues after 'Voyage par Mer', which is currently on going.
"McKay, I know that you're in there," John yelled through the door. He consulted the wadded up piece of paper on which he had written down the private home address that he had wheedled out of Elizabeth.
No one answered but the house didn’t feel empty.
"I've got Brut, chocolate and the long winded version of 'Return of the King'," he cajoled. “We deserve a celebration; we survived... Hey, it’s even imported chocolate."
A small voice asked, "What kind?"
"Lindt – the good stuff."
The door opened a crack and a single blue eye peered out. John wiggled the bar enticingly. He was rewarded by a clinking of the security chain and the door opened. Rodney looked more rumpled than usual; nervous blue eyes catalogued him before fixing firmly on the bar of chocolate. His hand came up and he nibbled on his index finger.
"Hi, Rodney," John said.
"Your right ear is more pointy than your left ear by a factor of 7.3 percent," he said around his fingers.
He shuffled nervously in his blue and white tennis shoes.
"You're not Rodney," John said unnecessarily. The stranger seemed a little bit shorter, somehow diminished.
"No." The doppelganger dropped his gaze to the floor. "I'm Grant. Grant Jansky, Rodney's cousin. My mother and Rodney's mother were twins and they were born 92.5 minutes apart on the twelfth and thirteenth of December 1942. So they had separate birthdays even though they were twins." He lifted his head a fraction and peered out under long eyelashes. "Who are you?"
"I'm John. John Sheppard," John said gently. "I work with Rodney at Cheyenne Mountain."
"Flyboy!" Grant flung his arms around John and hugged.
Automatically, John twitched to defend, but caught himself and settled for gingerly patting the stranger's back.
"Flyboy?" John drawled.
"Flyboy, pain in the ass, hero and best friend." Grant pulled away, pursed his lips tightly together and smiled.
"Really? Flyboy?" John smiled back at the man. "Is Rodney in?"
Grant shook his head emphatically. "He went out for Doritos and dips, and cheese in a tube, proper beer, and cherry flavoured coca cola and popcorn for the Flyboy – you!"
"Does that mean that I can come in?"
Suddenly discomforted, Grant rocked from foot to foot and the fingers bobbed back in his mouth. He shook his head rapidly from side to side.
"It's okay, I don't have to come in," John said gently.
"Rodney said not to let any strangers in," Grant explained earnestly.
"I'll sit on the step," John said easily.
The door slammed in his face, and then, unexpectedly, popped back open. Faster than a pilot's reflexes, a hand snatched out and grabbed the chocolate and then the door slammed shut again. John froze for a breath, shell-shocked by a McKay on speed. Letting out a long, slow sigh, he pulled the second chocolate bar from his pocket and settled down on the step to wait.
John leaned back against the door, stretched his legs out across the sidewalk and basked in the afternoon sunlight. It sounded like Rodney had just stepped out for snacks so he probably wouldn't be long and, to be frank, leaving his cousin alone for a long time seemed like a bad idea.
"Whoa!" The door opened and he sprawled on his back over the threshold.
A bashfully smiling Grant stood over him. "I made cocoa with marshmallows." He held a mug. "Would you like some?"
"Love to." John grinned up at him; the shy smile was infectious. Grant thrust the cocoa in his face and John barely managed to catch it without spilling as he sat up.
Grant disappeared back into the house and returned with a similarly filled mug clasped carefully between his hands. In great deliberation, he set the mug on the step and then, unexpectedly, he squeezed in beside John.
"I like the white marshmallows more than the pink ones." Grant shuffled on his bottom until he was comfortable.
John contemplated the over-filled mug and mountain of marshmallow. He scooped a fingerful of the melting confectionary and slurped.
Grant giggled. He stuck his own finger in the cocoa.
"How long are you visiting Rodney?" John asked conversationally.
Grant consulted his marshmallow covered fingers. "For five more days, then I have to go home."
"And where's home?" John asked, thinking somewhere special.
"Gardner Ross in Toronto."
"Is that a --"
"It's an investment house and I'm the derivatives department -- the entire derivative consulting department. I construct algorithms to predict the flow of money. And before I came to visit Cousin Rodney they made me get a minion – I don't need a minion – to look after my accounts. But I wrote a programme to run the derivatives instead because I don't like Mr. Badler in my office – he's very loud and he talks behind people's back. He thinks I'm strange," he finished softly.
"That doesn't sound fair."
"He's scary – he pretends to be nice but behind his eyes he's nasty. I don't understand how people can do that." Grant nibbled again at his fingers. "He hides behind a mask and most people just see the mask." Guileless blue eyes peered at him.
"Perhaps," John said slowly, "people are more comfortable with the mask."
"I don't like masks."
"Masks are scary," John admitted.
"I'm afraid of lots of things. I've got Achluophobia, Acousticophobia, Agoraphobia, Apiphobia, Brontophobia, Bufonophobia, Catoptrophobia…"
Realising that the guy was going to go through the whole alphabet, John volunteered,
"I don't like clowns. They scare the crap out of me."
"An extreme fear of clowns is known as coulrophobia." Grant shook his head wisely. "That's why you don't like masks. Clowns have masks."
"Hello." Rodney stood over them, plastic shopping bag in hand.
"Rodney!" Grant bounced to his feet, in his haste the cocoa falling and spilling to the earth.
Rodney simply opened his arms and folded the guy in. He hooked his chin over Grant's shoulder and regarded John levelly.
"We were just getting to know each other," John said responding to the weighing expression. "There's a guy at his work, Mr. Badler, who's being nasty to him."
"Really?" Rodney pulled back and tried to look in Grant's eyes. Grant tucked his chin down. "Grant?" he said, chastising.
"Yes," Grant said to his chest.
"Is D'Arby still at the firm?"
"Now he is. He came back."
"K’." Rodney pulled him in tightly. "I'll call him."
Grant sagged into him, sighing happily.
"Without Grant, I probably wouldn't be as well socialised as I am," McKay's lips twisted in a travesty of smile. "He was my role model, my big brother."
John couldn't help but look at the funny little man who was trying to entice Rodney's cat from underneath the sofa with a strip of smoked salmon.
"Well, that explains a lot." Sheppard bit his lip the second the words escaped.
"Yeah, mental illness is always hysterical."
"Look, I'm sorry, it just came out." He lowered his voice. "What's the matter with him?"
"Bipolar, obsessive-compulsive, schizophrenia, autistic – take your pick. He's been diagnosed with all of them by the voodoo community and usually at the same time," McKay said with a twist of his lips.
"And he works at an investment bank?" John checked.
Rodney took a long draw from his bottle of Molson Beer. "Yes and he's good at his job."
"But…" John couldn't finish.
"He lives and breathes patterns. He can see them in a cornfield or a projection of coffee investments correlated with the North Atlantic Oscillation. He can predict a terrorist attacks from whole grain stock movements and orchids in Brazil."
"Why isn't he…?"
"Working for the government?" Rodney read his mind once again. "Grant doesn't do stress any more."
Jinx the cat had finally edged out from under the couch and was draped lovingly over Grant's lap accepting slivers of salmon as his due.
"I can hear you," Grant said singsong.
Rodney slipped off his chair, joining Grant on the floor. "I think Mr. Jinx likes you."
"I like him. He's purring." Grant pulled the cat up against his chest and, amazingly, it did not complain.
"Mr. Jinx has been staying with my next door neighbour but, you know, I think he'd be happier staying with you while I'm away."
"Really?" Grant's eyes lit up.
Rodney opened his arms again and Grant dove in for a hug. "You never used to let me hug you much. Why do you let me hug now?"
Rodney didn't answer.
Mr. Jinx and Grant were settled down for the night in Rodney's spare bedroom. Rodney and John lay sprawled on his lumpy settee, shoulders mashing together as it sagged, making decent inroads into their second six-pack of Molson.
"That was a nice thing to do."
"What?" Rodney said blurrily. Alcohol went straight to Rodney's head. John thought that it was pretty funny.
"Giving Mr. Jinx to your cousin."
"I should have last time, but there wasn't enough time. He wasn't doing too good and he was in Toronto. Everything moved too fast and then we were on Atlantis." A flush bled over Rodney’s cheekbones.
"Must have been difficult."
"What was?" Rodney snapped.
"Going away when your cousin wasn't very well," Sheppard said non-judgmentally, but Rodney didn't hear that.
The warmth at his side moved away. "Grant's not dependent – he's better when he's with his friends. I can't protect him all the time and he doesn't need it. I have a role – I'm needed on Atlantis. I didn't leave him alone. I made sure that provisions were made. Jeannie checks up on him."
"It's okay, Rodney," Sheppard said softly.
"He didn't get ill until he was about nineteen," Rodney suddenly said. He brushed tiredly at his forehead with the heel of his hand.
"He was at Queen's University -- started early like I did. He understood people; he wasn't a freak. He'd always helped me, not with math and physics, but with people. He taught me the rules: 101 of understanding Homo sapiens. They don't always work but they're mostly useful," he mused ruefully. "But he became isolated, refused to talk to people, disordered, sometimes his thoughts didn't track. It was painful to watch. He managed but then the voices started when he was writing up his Ph.D.. He was in and out of institutions. When he was good, he was very good and when he was bad, he was very bad."
Sheppard cracked another Molson and handed it over. "Here."
"I ignored him," Rodney admitted, talking mainly to the bottle. "I couldn't face it. I didn't want it to happen to me. Like it was contagious or something."
"It's okay, Rodney," John said.
He laughed nastily. "Contagious. Right, idiot. I saw me in him and I ran away."
"Rodney?" John began.
Rodney felt silent. He flopped back on the settee and lost himself in the golden fizziness of his Molson.
John hunted for something to say, something to make it right; he could argue that Grant wasn't Rodney's responsibility and that he had his own life to lead. Yet, obviously, Rodney felt that he had let his cousin down.
"He's older than you, yeah?" John questioned.
"Couple of years."
"So you were pretty young when it started."
"Major. That is an excuse not a reason." Rodney shifted round on the couch to sit with legs crossed. "That was then and this is now. And 'now' my cousin is visiting."
The unsaid message was that: this topic is now over and will never be revisited.
"I think it's very nice that you're giving your cat to your cousin."
"Yes, it is very nice of me," Rodney said patronisingly. "It's also logical, when we return from Atlantis, I can kill two birds with one stone: visit my cat and Grant and Jeannie, since she's in the same city. It's perfect. Logical. Three birds with one stone."
"Okay." John held his bottle up and clinked it against Rodney's. "Here's to logical."
"And the next year on Atlantis."
John grinned. "Things to know, things find about and things to discover."
"And," Rodney said, a bright light in his eyes, "here's to progress."