(A little holiday Epilogue for Between the Whiskers)
By Bane Huntress
John tried to keep his blushes to a minimum as he came out of the woman’s bathroom with some of the women in the queue giving him dirty looks, some had knowing smiles, while the rest looked as harried as he felt. But Kitty only wanted to go in bathrooms with women on the door when they were Earth side and being four and a Shifter, she wasn’t allowed to go anywhere by herself, so this time, it had been John’s turn to take her.
“Come on Papa!” Kitty bounced as she tugged him towards the main halls of the mall they were now in.
“I’m coming.” He assured her.
Three day’s ago they had come through the gate to spend the holidays with Jeannie and family. And till tonight, Mary and her kids had also come up to spend some time with them. Dave had to work, then they would be spending time with Mary’s folks.
So, Christmas eve… They were shopping in an over crowded Mall with six, over exited, kids.
It didn’t help that the damn civilian flight they had had to take from Colorado Springs had lost John and Rodney’s luggage somewhere in New York. They had also forgotten their wallets with their cards and drivers licences back on Atlantis. So they only had an old credit card of Rodney’s they he had found in his locker back at the mountain.
So they had done some clothes shopping when they got to the huge mall. And they had promised to take all the kids to the cinema while Jeannie and Mary offered to go buy Kitty some more Christmas presents as the rest were currently still stuck at the other side of the states in their bags and would probably never see again.
When he pushed the doors open to the main part of the mall. He found Rodney stood off to the side looking annoyed.
“You okay?” John asked his Mate, putting a question through their Bond. He hadn’t felt his Mates mood.
“We have been abandoned.” Rodney growled as he pulled Bradley up and rested the four year old on his hip while Robbie, Brad’s twin, tried crawling up Rodney’s leg too.
“But the cinema is at the other side of the mall.” John breathed out as he turned his head to watch the ocean of people trying to get past each other, all loaded down with bags and bad moods.
“I know.” Rodney snapped as he put his free arm around Jane’s shoulders as she pressed closed to his side. “At least the took they bags with them.”
John guessed that was better than nothing. “What time does this film start then?” he asked as he just managed to grab Maddy’s hand and pulled her out of the way of a gaggle of women on their way to the bathroom. “Tom, take Maddy or your sisters hand, I don’t care if they are girls.” He told the nine year old as he started to pull a face. Satisfied when Maddy grabbed his hand.
“I’m big enough to walk by myself.” Tom muttered moodily.
“Fine.” Rodney said to the boy, “If you get lost in the crowd, Santa Clause won’t know where to deliver your presents, so wont leave you any.”
John tried not to grin as the boy’s eyes went wide, then narrowed, and in that split second John knew the little guy didn’t believe anymore, and he was wondering how Rodney was going to twig this one out as he just shoved smugness through their Bond. But he should have known, Rodney was way ahead.
“I…” Tomas was about to snap.
“Humn… Just think about WHO tells Santa what he can give you…” Rodney replied back quickly as he eye balled the kid.
“We write lists!” Maddy protested. “Then post them to Santa!”
“That is true. But who tells Santa what you actually want?” Rodney answered.
All the kids blinked up at the Shifter, before he rolled his eyes.
“He never gives me a pony.” Maddy muttered.
“That’s because he cant wrap ponies up in paper… they don’t like it.” John told his niece. Luckily this answer seemed to placate the little girl as the look of realisation on her face was comical.
“Oh…” She said. “Is that why I never get a kitten or a dog?”
“Yup, it’s to cold on Santa’s sled.” John nodded. He was gonna tell Jeannie about this, and maybe they could get some beef on the Christmas dinner table. “So… time we have to be at the cinema?” he asked his Mate. Hoping to have changed the subject enough to start moving.
“Err… one thirty.” Rodney replied.
“Can we get something to eat first?” Jane asked, then all the other kids chimed in with McDonalds.
“It’s Burger King or KFC!” Rodney snapped.
“But I want a happy meal!” Maddy demanded.
“Fine… lets get going… and you do NOT let go of either of us… got it!” He told the kids as they all began to move out into the throng of last minute shoppers.
* * * * * * * * *
One Disney store avoided, 6 McHappy-meals, 2 double whopper meals and finding a cramped table later… Everyone was happily fed. The kids had played with the toys from their happy-meals, something to do with the movie they were about to see. Toy Story add-number-here. John had only seen the first one, and Rodney had fallen asleep during that one. So John wasn’t looking forwards to the god knows what sequel this was. But the kids were all hyped up now to see it.
So as they sat talking amongst themselves, John finally had a moment to put an arm around his Mate and just enjoy the feel of him against his side.
“We should get going.” Rodney muttered against his shoulder, but John could feel how reluctant his Mate was to start moving through the ever increasing angry shoppers.
“Um-hm.” John agreed. As he closed his eyes for a moment and rested his cheek against Rodney’s head. He felt the stiffness in his shoulders start to ease a little when Rodney suddenly tensed.
“Hey!” Rodney barked angrily. “Watch where you put your hands!”
“Oh, sorry.” Came a strangers voice and John opened his eyes to glare at some woman trying to get past their table.
“Kitty, come here.” Rodney said as he stood, and literally picked Kitty up from the other side of the table and cuddled her into his arms. She looked like she was about to cry. “Shh.. it’s okay puddin’. It’ll pass in a sec.” He was whispering into their daughters ear.
John put a hand on Kitty’s back as the woman’s eyes widened and blushing she turned and fled. He figured once she got over her shock and realised she had just touched a Shifter, she would probably be back. “Come on guy.” He said as he kissed the side of Kitty’s head as he stood. “Grab your stuff and lets get moving… the movie wont wait for us to get there.”
“I can get Kitty’s!” Maddy said as she swept her and Kitty’s stuff into her little carry box.
“Thanks monkey.” John said as he helped Rodney get to his feet. Kitty would be out of it for a while yet. It had only happened once so far, and she was shocked for about tem minutes. Rodney had assured him it was normal, that it just felt horrible and the shock would pass. “Ok… everyone, keep a hold of us and lets get going again. What happens if you loose us?”
“Go to nearest wall and yell till you find us.” They all chimed in at once.
“Okay men and ladies… lets move out!” He said reaching his hand out to begin herding them all out of the food hall.
* * * * * * * * *
Another ten minutes later and they were finally outside the movie theatre inside the mall.
They had dodged two toy stores, one Man-Cave that Rodney had tried veering off too and a donut shop.
But at least at this end of the sprawling mall, the shopping crowds had thinned out considerably. So there was just a trickle towards the theatre and bar opposite.
“Six kids and two reluctant parents for Toy story, please.” John joked at the teller for his tickets.
The young woman, who looked like she wanted to be anywhere else but working, looked over his shoulder. “Seven.” She said as she began ringing up the tickers. “Where do you wana sit?” she asked.
“There’s eight of us.” John frowned at her.
She looked at him as if he was stupid, and he tried not to get mad. “two adults and seven children.” Then she pointed over his shoulder. “That is your party right?”
John looked over his shoulder. Rodney still had Kitty in his arms, both men knowing she was now milking her sympathy. Tom had hold of both Brad and Rob. Maddy was holding Rodney’s free had, with Jane holding her other hand, and Jane… Jane was holding hands with another little girl. “What the…”
“That will be $87.93.” The young woman said. unfortunately it was loud enough for Rodney to hear.
“HOW MUCH!” he yelled at the top of his lungs.
“We have a more pressing matter Rodney.” John tried to asure his Mate as he walked over to the little girl who was looking up at Rodney with a frown.
“Like what?!” Rodney snapped. “Going poor!”
“Canadian dollars Rodney, remember the exchange rate?” He said as he gave a look around the local vicinity, to see if he could spy any worried looking women.
“That’s still eighty seven…” the young woman was droning out.
“Cancel it.” John said tersely to her. “You have other customers.”
The woman just shrugged as he called “next!”
“It’s still $63.63 US” Rodney seethed.
John chose to ignore his Mate as he bobbed down in front of the new child they found themselves with. She was a little shorted than Maddy and looked about the same age, seven or eight. “Hey there.” He smiled at her. “So… are you lost?”
The girl blinked at him before shrugging her shoulders.
“What’s your name?” He asked.
“She’s a Shifter.” Rodney suddenly said.
“What?” John asked giving his Mate a quick look, before looking back at the little girl with long brown hair and green eyes. “Is he right?” he asked her.
“Okay, so we really need to know your name, so we can find your mummy or daddy.”
She just blinked at him some more.
“Oh, for…” Rodney growled as John found one of his hands come down and grab the girls wrist. “Tell him your name.”
John was about to protest Rodney couldn’t just do what he wanted because he was a Shifter too, they may do it with Kitty when she needed discipline, but to do it to a strangers child?... But the girl just smiled a little.
“Tia.” She said happily.
“Tia what?” Rodney demanded.
She shrugged again.
“What’s your mother’s name?” Rodney asked. After all, he doubted Maddy or her brother’s knew their last name.
“Mum.” Tia answered with a smile.
John resisted rolling his eyes as Rodney let go of her wrist and she went back to holding Jane’s hand.
“Jane, can you remember where we were when she held your hand?”
Jane just shrugged. “Sorry, uncle, but I don’t remember, she was just there. But it was before we got here.”
“That’s okay.” He reassured her before she thought she did something wrong.
“Well it had to be somewhere between here and the food hall.” Rodney answered. “Get that twit to phone security.” He said angling his chin at the cashier. “What the hell are you looking at me like that for!”
“I’ve already called security!” The woman said snidely as she looked at Rodney with revulsion.
“What for?” John asked in bafflement. As he then looked at the people still in the queue. Some were also looking at them with disapproval and disgust.
“Holding a child like that!” She snapped. “It’s abuse, and on Christmas Eve you should be ashamed of yourselves.”
There was a murmur of agreement through the crowd.
“How dare you…” Rodney’s anger was hot as he took a step towards the counter. But John held out his arm and projected calm through their Bond.
“They don’t know.” John said softly. And they both didn’t need the attention if they found three Shifters in their presence. Then he turned back to the woman. “Can you call security back and ask them to look for a frantic parent? This little girl is lost.”
“I’m not lost.” Tia chimed up loudly. “I’m right here.”
“Comedian this one.” Rodney muttered with a ting of approval.
“Oh my god! You kidnapped her too!?” The woman gasped in horror. And some men in the line of movie goers started to edge towards them, no doubt about to be ‘have a go hero’s’.
“Look.” John said as he held his arms out, in a non threatening manoeuvre as he moved in front of his Mate and the children. “This girl is separated from her family and we all need to keep calm so we can get her back with her family as soon as possible.” He saw some of the group ease off in understanding, but others seemed hell bent on trying to get behind them. “So, while security gets here, can some of you go out and try and find her mother? When we left the food hall not long ago, we didn’t have her. So I need some volunteers to go out and find anyone calling out this girl’s name. It’s Tia. So… Volunteers?”
Two woman raised their hands a little and were about to step forwards, when some very neat looking guy in a suit stepped out. “You just want to thin us out so you can kidnap that little girl while abusing her!”
“Are you stupid!” Rodney snapped. “Who kidnaps a child to watch a movie, when we have six already! They don’t give discounts the more brats you have!”
John tried not to bite the inside of his cheek, wishing Rodney would just shush. They might not be offworld and facing down hostile aliens… but that didn’t mean humans couldn’t be hostile either. And some of these people thought they were about to save a child from bad men. But he could see the confusion in some of the harder headed individuals.
“So you not gonna take me to see Buzz?” Tia asked sulkily.
“No.” Rodney snapped, “I think your mother wants to see you more than you want to see a film!”
John saw his Mate holding Kitty a little tighter than he really needed too, and Kitty wasn’t looking to happy about something either.
“You left your Dada?” Kitty asked the other girl.
“My mum’s here somewhere.” Tia answered, looking glum. “I fink dads at home making food.”
“Well tell Papa where your Dada is so we can see Buzz!” Kitty snapped as she tightened her fists in Rodney’s shirt.
“My Dad isn’t…”
“She means your mum.” Maddy snapped. And John would have smirked if his nerves weren’t on edge. Kitty associated the word Dada with mom or mother in her head. And it didn’t help that Rodney had been adamant on not being called mom. Even when he and Ronan had tried convincing the little girl the moment she could speak. But the moment Rodney had almost shed a tear about the teasing, John had put a stop to it and they settled on Dada. It helped that that was the first thing she had ever said, and John just couldn’t take that away from his Mate. Especially not when it made the Shifter so happy.
“Oh.” Tia replied. “But shopping is boring and I don’t like all the people touching me…”
John groaned as the little girl started crying but before he could do anything, Rodney had leaned down and scooped her up in his free arm and hugged her to him, even Kitty was patting her shoulder. John could feel Rodney’s empathy for her plight coming through their Bond.
“Shh… it’s okay. We’ll find her and tell her to take you home, okay?” Rodney was comforting her, something he was actually good at.
“Put her down!” one of the busy bodies snapped at Rodney. “Pervert!”
John whipped around to face the man in the suit who had spoken earlier. “Are you seriously thinking that!?” he snarled at the man. “And you… I wouldn’t get any closer than that.” he said pointing at a man who had edged around to the back of Rodney. John could tell he was a marine by the way he moved, but he was sure this jar head knew nothing about the SGC. “You!” he turned to the cashier again. “Where the hell is security?” He needed them here so he could start flashing his creds and telling them why it was all going to hell in a hand-basket.
“They are busy.” She said, at least now she was sounding unsure of her earlier accusations. “I can…”
“Tell them it’s urgent, people might get hurt.”
“Yeah, you guys if you try anything else!” the suit guy growled.
John snorted at that and cocked half a smile. He might not be as active off world as he used to be, but he was still battle hardened and ready to take these idiots out.
John turned to see a short woman rush into their part of the mall. “Hey!” John called her back, he got her attention before he turned to Rodney who had already move so he could get a hold of her.
“Move to the wall, get your back to it.” He told his Mate as he rested Tia on his hip then turned and began walking towards the woman with a tear streaked face.
“Tia!” the woman was chanting as she held her arms out to take the girl from John’s arms, but he quickly blocked her from doing so. And he was suddenly looking into hard calculating eyes. “Give her to me.” She said to him, her voice calm, but hard.
“One moment.” John said, he wasn’t about to be understanding towards her right now. “I’m an Alpha,” he told her straight out. “And that is my Bond Mate over there.” He said turning a little so he could point Rodney out to her. “And he’s with our daughter, who’s also a Shifter.”
“So.” She said flatly, which just made John sigh.
“She tagged along at some point, holding my nieces hand.”
“I want to go see Buzz.” Tia said sulkily as she kept her grip on John, seeming quite happy to stay where she was, even though her mother was right there.
“Look, I don’t mean to interfere…” John started to say, but the mother cut him off.
“Then don’t, please hand me my daughter.”
John bit down on his frustration. “Please, just take her home. She doesn’t like crowds, and with all the people here touching her, she’s hating it… I think that’s why she latched on to us.” He held up his hand to stop her interrupting him again. “My own daughter got touched on the back of her neck not half an hour ago, and she’s got all her cousins keeping her safe…” he finally pulled Tia away, so her mother could take her. Which she did readily, hugging the little girl tightly.
“Are you okay? Did these men hurt you?” The woman demanded, giving John an evil eye.
“I wana go home if I cant see Buzz.” Her face crumpled in unhappiness.
“Hey, your mom was really worried about you, you shouldn’t wander off.” John told her.
Tia finally looked at her mother, reaching out to touch the tears on her cheeks. “Sorry mum.” She said in a small voice.
Tia’s mom once again pulled her into a hug.
“But they are like me, so they arnt strangers…” Tia said against her mom’s neck.
“Doesn’t mean you can come with us without telling your mom first.” John said reaching out and rubbing her back reassuringly. He noticed too late that Tia’s mom was going to pull Tia away from his hand. But he also saw the look in her eyes when she realised her child didn’t mind him touching her.
“You really are an Alpha?” She asked, a little surprised.
John smiled at her. “The moment I Bonded with my Shifter.” He said proudly. “So I wouldn’t blame this little one to much. I tend to make Shifter’s feel comfortable around me… I’m not entirely sure why.” He shrugged. “Lets just thank god she’s okay and you can take her home. Just keep in mind, Shifters hate to be touched by strangers.” He gave her a slight smile, “It took me some time to figure it out.”
That at least got him a smile. “I have to find my shopping first.”
“I can’t help you with that.” He smiled back. “We are on babysitting duty for our assorted nieces and nephews.”
She gave him another smile. “Well, Merry Christmas.” She said as she began turning away. “And thank you for keeping her safe.”
“Not a problem.” He said. “And stop scaring your mom.” He told Tia as she gave him a smile as they waved at each other.
John watched them disappear back into the crowd and was just turning back to his charges when he got a shot of panic from Rodney. When he looked over to his Mate he started running.
At some point Rodney had put Kitty down, and he was bent over and it looked like he was handing out sweets. Probably to keep them happy as they had no doubt missed the start of their movie.
But John saw the suit guy pointing at Rodney, and two mall security guards were walking towards his family, their truncheons already out.
It also didn’t help that the Marine had gotten behind Rodney and now had Rodney’s arm up his back.
Kitty had started screaming and the other kids looked horrified.
And something in John’s mind dropped away as his world got very focused. It was something he had experience before, but not to such an extent. And not since Kitty had entered his life.
First, he was shoving his elbow into the marine’s throat and throwing him away from his Mate and child.
Second, he took a leap at the nearest guard and disarmed him, putting a boot into the side of his knee, hearing something snap, but he used the leverage to launch himself at the second guard who had his truncheon up and ready to strike in John’s direction. But a second later, the second guard was also down and screaming as he clutched his broken arm.
John growled as he looked over at the man in the suit. He was also aware that his Mate had Shifted behind him, and was now stood protecting their children, keeping everyone else away.
So John picked up the guards sticks and threw them into a bottle recycling bin, so they would not be easily retrieved, the last thing they needed was to be struck by some trigger happy cop. Especially as their holiday had been so full off stuff going wrong.
“You violent thug!” The suited man shouted at him. “You need locking up!”
John didn’t even think as he walked up to the man, who stood his ground defiantly, right up until John thumped him in the nose and he crumpled to his knees, holding his nose as blood already seeped through his fingers.
“I suggest you shut up.” John hissed near his ear, before straightening up. “Has someone called the police and an ambulance?” he called out to the crowd who were staring at them all.
“We are.” One of the women, who were going to volunteer to look for Tia’s mother, stepped forwards. She was holding out her phone. “I called the Shifter registry for you.” She said, actually giving him a smile. “Here.”
John gave her a nod as he took the phone and put it against his ear as he backed up towards his Mate and their kids. The marine looked like he might be getting his breath back and John had a moment of regret he hadn’t crushed the mans windpipe. “Hello?”
/“Who is this?”/ A man on the other end of the phone asked.
“Who is this?” John answered back as his other hand reached down, knowing Rodney’s head would be under his hand.
/“My name is Chris Pegg, I work at the Shifter Registration in Vancouver. The young woman who just talked to me said someone has just tried attacking a Shifter?”/
“Yeah…” John kept his eyes on the crowd, more people were showing up now as word got out that there was a real life Shifter in the mall and it was in its cat form. “We had a little Shifter girl tag along with us and when we noticed we didn’t know where her mother was… They thought my Mate was abusing her when she wouldn’t answer my questions…”
/“Ah… Tia Dawson? Her mother called to say she had gone missing.”/ Chris said distractedly.
“Yeah, I just found her and gave her her daughter back.” John answered as he shoved the marine’s booted foot and waved at him to start moving away and towards the crowd. He heard Chris talking to someone else, about calling Mrs Dawson back to confirm she was reunited with her child.
/“But there was another incident?”/ Chris asked.
“Some jar-head just attacked my Mate!” John snarled as he glared at the marine who was edging towards the crowd on his ass. John was satisfied no one was making a move to help him. “I also took out the two mall security guards and disarmed them… I have five children, my Mate and my daughter, I’m not gonna let anyone threaten them!”
/“I can understand that sir, what is your name and the name of your Shifter?”/
John quickly rattled off his name, title and all. He wasn’t about to give Rodney’s name or his daughters. If this was the Registry they would have it all on file. After all, this crowd did not need to know everything.
/“Alpha John Sheppard?”/ Chris asked and he sounded a little awed.
“The very one.” John answered as calmly as he could.
/“Bonded too Doctor M, R, McKay. Pure breed and rare coat tiger?”/
John rolled his eyes. “It’s Dr Sheppard.” He growled. “And I think I know who I am and who I am Bonded too… Now I need you to start doing damage control. I have two Mall security guards that need medical attention. One dislocated knee, possibly broken and the other with a broken arm. One civilian with a broken nose and a jar-head with a saw throat.” He looked up at the ceiling of the mall. “There will be security footage to show I was provoked. And my Mate Shifted to protect our daughter and our family’s children. So we need help getting past the crowd that is forming!” John was satisfied that he could at least hear Chris furiously typing as he spoke.
/“I have someone contacting the RCMP right now. So they will get you somewhere safe. Is there nowhere you can go now that is quieter?”/ At least now Chris was sounding professional.
John looked around; the bar was now full of people gawping at them through the windows. To their right was a bank of doors that just led outside to the carpark’s. To the Left now stood a wall of people all trying to get a look at the white tiger. Behind them was the theatre where all this crap had started.
“I don’t think there is anywhere we can go…” John growled into the borrowed phone. Then he saw the cashier waving at him, she now looked abashed.
“Err, you can use the staff area.” She said waving him towards her, then pointing to behind the counter where there was a half hidden door.
“We’ll be behind the cashiers counter at the movie theatre.” John told Chris. “I’ll phone you back shortly on my own phone… I have to give this one back.” He heard Chris protesting as he hung up.
Without turning around John addressed the kids as he handed the phone back to its owner with a nod of thanks. “Okay guys, we have to move. Keep a hold of your uncle.” And quickly, Rodney was crowding the kids into a short corridor.
“The door to the left.” The young woman told him. “I’ll let the police know where you are.” She said, closing the door before John could nod his thanks.
John opened a door to find themselves in a small break room with a small kitchen area in one corner, two small sofas and a table and chairs.
“What the hell!” Rodney said as he Shifted and stood up. The slight high pitched tone make John wrap his arm around his Mate, trying to make his panic and fear disappear.
“Did he hurt you?” He asked into Rodney’s ear.
“No... Yeah… my shoulder feels saw.” Rodney said, and John could feel him calming down. Then Rodney was pulling away. “Kitty… Kitty!”
“I didn’t like the bad men!” Kitty whined as she tried to claw her way up Rodney’s side. Her face smudged with tears. John instantly picked her up and held her close.
“It’s over now, kitten.” He told her, smushing her against his chest as he nuzzled her cheek, mostly to reassure himself she was fine.
“I have your shoes…” Tom said softly.
“Oh god.” Rodney whined as he turned to the other kids. He quickly sat on one of the sofas and opened his arms, motioning with his hand for them all to come to him, which they did and Rodney hugged them all tightly. “Sorry you had to see that.” He said to them all, kissing all their heads. “Your uncle John couldn’t help hurting the bad men cos he didn’t want them hurting you all.” He explained as he sat back, pulling them all with him.
John let them get comfortable as he finally pulled out his phone and was about to call the registry back when it went off. “Your sister.” He said to Rodney spike of alarm. Then John answered the phone. “Hello…” then he was holding it away from his ear.
/“What the HELL have you two done NOW!”/ Jeannie was yelling down the line. /“Where are you and where are the kids?!”/
“The kids are fine, we’re fine…” John reassured her.
/“Then why is the whole damn mall talking about the white tiger Shifter!?”/ She demanded.
John was about to think up something that might calm her down, when there was a polite knock at the door and two Canadian mounted police came in, in full uniform. “Err. I’ll call you back, I gotta go.” He said as he hung up.
“Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard?” The first Mounty asked, as he held out a hand to John.
“Yeah.” John answered, as he shook the man’s hand, a little confused. Even though he was an Alpha protecting his Mate, he still expected to be arrested. He had used more force than was strictly necessary, he was also a trained soldier using his training against civilians, and that never went down well.
“We were informed your Mate was attacked by first lieutenant Joseph Fisher?” The Mounty asked.
“I didn’t know his name.” John said. “I just knew he was a marine.”
“The bad man grabbed my Dada!” Kitty said a little angrily.
The Mounty smiled at her. “And we have him in custody.” He told her, before moving his attention back to John. “We would like to know if you want to press charges, along with the state charge of assaulting a Shifter.”
“Are they wanting to press charges against us?” John asked. He wasn’t above playing dirty if they wanted to cause trouble. “There was also the guy’s nose I broke. And the two guards.”
The Mounty looked at a book he had been holding, then flipped through a few pages.
“They shouldn’t be able too.” Rodney said from his place under the kids. “It was an unprovoked attack against a Shifter, his Alpha Mate and Shifter child. No court will touch it… I should have bitten the lot of them!”
“Easy.” John soothed, casting a nerves look at the Mounty’s.
“I see we don’t have all the facts.” The Mounty said with a smile. “Would you mind is we take a statement now?”
John and Rodney recounted the incident, much like giving a field report as the other Mounty had gone back out, probably to find the guards truncheons and to take more statements.
“So how long will you be staying at your sister home Doctor Sheppard?” the Mounty, who’s name had turned out to be Fraser, asked.
“Till the third, before we have to go home.” Rodney replied. Home being officially a flat in the Springs that a lot of people seemed to live in currently, but no one ever saw living there. “Can we go now? I think my sister is going to kill us if we don’t get out of here soon.”
The Mounty smiled at them all as he stood. “I think we are finished. And I can see some of your party are very tired.”
“Bored.” Tomas groaned. It would seem, happy meal toy’s lost their playability after a few hours.
“We will escort you out to your vehicle.” Fraser informed them as he opened the door and gestured them all out.
* * * * * * * * *
“What the hell were you thinking!” Jeannie yelled at them as they all climbed into the small bus they had hired for the day. The back was full of shopping, and by the amount of coffee cups strew about the front seats. Both Jeannie and Mary had been there for some time.
“Can we just get going.” Rodney snapped. He had warn himself thin with all the reporters trying to take photos of them all. That the RCMP were only just managing to keep in the Mall. “I would like to go home.”
“You and me both!” Jeannie seethed. “Everyone strap in first!”
Rodney let John tell the tale again as they drove back to Jeannie’s house.
He just wanted to get home, find a large glass of brandy and sit with his family slowly getting drunk as they watched crap Christmas TV.
“I don’t know how you guys keep putting your asses in the fire!” Jeannie was at least finding it funny.
“But those poor men you hurt.” Mary said a little sadly. “I think you just ruined their Christmas.”
“I don’t care!” Rodney snapped finally. “My arm still hurts and my skin wont stop crawling!” he shivered dramatically. “Also, they never even asked us what was happening. Just assumed we were doing something bad!”
“But we were helping that girl.” Maddy fumed.
“I know honey.” Jeannie smiled at her daughter. “Sometimes people are stupid.”
“Most of the time!” Maddy laughed.
“That’s my little genius!” Jeannie chortled.
“Still, you think you broke their bones?” Mary asked.
“What?” Rodney demanded. “They didn’t seem to care that I was surrounded by kids, two of them yours, I might add. If Tom or Jane got hurt, do you think you would care so much that John hurt them?”
Mary took a deep breath before replying. “No… Thanks.” She finally looked over her shoulder to properly look at John. “I hope they hurt just a bit.”
“They will” Rodney grinned proudly at his Mate. It had been a long time since john had pulled out his protective side. And it was rather sexy.
John gave him a sideways glance, knowing full well what had just crossed Rodney’s mind. So Rodney just winked at him.
* * * * * * * * *
[24 hours later]
John stretched, pulling Rodney tighter to his side as they sat on one of Jeannie’s sofas. Kitty was nestled against Rodney’s legs that were curled up at his side, with Kitty’s head on his knee. She was still clutching the plushy white tiger, Rodney had insisted Jeannie buy, and John suspected Kitty would still be sleeping with for many years to come. If the way she hadn’t let it out of her grip since she opened it that morning.
So, all the presents (That weren’t still in suitcases somewhere) had been opened, the food had been eaten and the drinks had been flowing and the toys had all been destruction tested by four very enthusiastic children.
John had kinda missed his side of the family as they had gone home last evening to be with Dave and spend the day with Mary’s family. But he was comfortable right now with his own little family and Rodney.
It helped that the living room was comfortably decorated and the lights from the tree and real fire made the room warm and inviting.
Despite everything that had happened the day before.
John actually felt at peace.
There was no war to fight, no wraith, no goa’uld or Ori, no imminent threat of their home blowing them all to hell. Kitty wasn’t going to walk off a balcony. No one was looking for orders, and he didn’t have to give any. He knew that when he went to bed soon, all he would wake up to was Rodney drooling on him at best, or added children at worse. There would be no pressure on him or his Mate and no one cared that he was Lieutenant Colonel Sheppard, who happened to be an Alpha with a pure breed Shifter.
Right here, right now, he was just John, or dad. And he was quite content with that.
No one in the room care who or what he was, or what he had done.
They just cared that he was there, with them.
If anything, he suspected he might be feeling that ‘Christmas spirit’ the movies always talked about.
He felt warm and fuzz3y inside.
He felt his Mate move, so he glanced down at him.
Rodney smiled. “Maybe.” Was all the Shifter muttered before settling down to face the TV.
John grinned as he sent the fuzz feeling stronger though the Bond. Then feeling an echo of it coming from Rodney.
So, with a kiss to the top of Rodney’s head as he put his hand on Kitty’s shoulder. he put his head back, closed his eyes, and let himself drift off into a Christmas dinner induced nap.
The end – Of this Xmas special ^_^