“Fly safe,” said John, leaning in to kiss Rodney, careful of one-year-old Isaac in the carrier on his chest and almost-eight-year-old Zoe bouncing between them.
When they broke for air, Rodney darted in immediately for another, before John could step back. “I notice you didn’t say ‘fly straight’,” he grumbled.
“Some things are just too much to ask,” John laughed, and kissed him again.
“Dad, Dad, Dad, c’mon!” said Zoe. “You said I could fly the ‘jumper.”
“I did not!” Rodney protested.
“Not until you’re ten,” said John, mostly to see Rodney splutter – and he was not disappointed.
“Not until you’re twenty-five,” his husband said. “And there will be rigorous testing beforehand.”
“Yeah, sure, okay,” said Zoe. “Can we go now?”
“You really should,” said John, leaning in for another quick kiss. “You need to get to the pole and back before it’s dark.”
Atlantis’s new home was a temperate planet – the city floated near the equator, enjoying warm weather year-round, but several small continents dotted the rest of the large ocean, including one northern island with earth-like trees and a foot of snow.
“Yes, we’re going,” said Rodney. “Zoe, do you have everything? Scarf, mittens, hand warmer, extra socks…?”
“Yes, everything!” she insisted. “Are you sure you can’t come with us this year, Mom?”
John smiled. “Not until your brother’s a little older.”
“You just want to stay here where it’s nice and warm,” Rodney huffed.
“It is your heritage you’re teaching her,” John pointed out. “After she turned five and you freaked out that she had no idea what it was like to be Canadian.”
Rodney scowled. “I expressed justifiable concern. And since we live on a military base, she’d already had ample exposure to the American pastimes of junk food and gratuitous explosions.”
“Like you aren’t the one who builds all the really good bombs,” teased John.
Zoe sighed, the long dramatic sigh that only kids could really manage. “Mo-o-om,” she whined, “stop flirting so we can go. I want maple candy!”
“Maple candy?” repeated Rodney. “I… I’ll try, Zoe, but it’s been a long time since I’ve made it and—”
“I know how!” she interrupted. “Aunt Jeannie showed me.”
“Of course she did,” Rodney muttered.
John laughed, and leaned in to kiss him again. “Okay, seriously, go. I’ll have the mess put on a pot of hot chocolate for when you get back.”
“Love you,” Rodney said, softly.
“Same here,” said John.
“I’m leaving without you!” Zoe yelled, from the hatch of the ‘jumper, and Rodney broke off their last kiss to yell back, “You will not!”
“Have fun, you two!” John called after them. He watched the ‘jumper take off, then looked down at baby Isaac, who blinked sleepily back at him. “Looks like it’s just you and me, kiddo. What do you say we watch the Hail Mary tape again? I’m suddenly in the mood for some American football.”
Isaac burbled happily, and John grinned. “I knew I could count on you, Ike.”