When he joined the Stargate program it hadn't taken long to figure out the Pack Alpha was Jack O'Neill, and despite getting off to a bad start over the whole Teal'c caught in the Stargate buffer incident, O'Neill had come across as quite reasonable. Admittedly he had merely tolerated Rodney for the longest time but he guessed O'Neill was used to dealing with scientists as he never made his life in the Pack miserable. When Rodney chose to come to Atlantis with the first expedition on what could be a one-way mission, O'Neill had recognized a need to split the Pack and he selected Sergeant Markham as Alpha, probably because he didn't know or trust Major John Sheppard at the time, and although Rodney was an alpha, he really wasn't interested in the role.
In those early days John was a lone wolf without a pack, licking wounds from where he failed to save the life of his USAF pack alpha, Captain Holland, but after Markham was killed no one objected to John taking over as Alpha. The Pack had already started to look to him even before Markham's death, not that Markham was a bad alpha. They simply recognized a higher alpha in their midst, and Markham had been more than happy to share the mantel of responsibility with his commanding officer, already preparing to hand over the Pack to John just before his death.
They'd mourned the loss of Markham in a private ceremony, each of the pack transforming and howling their loss within the sound-proofed sector close to the east pier.
The first law of the Pack had always been 'Pack Come First'. Protecting the Pack from outsiders had been essential for their continued existence due to the bad press handed down through the centuries. Of course no one had ever expected their existence to be outed to the entire planet, but once it was out in the open Rodney had a new headache to deal with on Atlantis. Perhaps not so amazingly the humans on Atlantis - both military and scientist - had accepted the Lycan hidden among them after an admittedly shaky start. The people on Atlantis had been chosen because they were not just the best and brightest but also the ones who were open-minded, willing to accept alien life forms and customs. There was no room for bigotry in the Stargate program, but Rodney knew the same could not apply to Earth as a whole.
Over a year had past since the existence of the Lycan was broadcast and the situation on Earth was getting worse with regular reports of humans hunting down and destroying Lycan, especially the lone wolves. He had heard of some trouble just south of the Canadian border with the U.S., and though Canadians tended to be more tolerant overall than most countries, he worried about Jeannie, Madison and, yes, even Kaleb.
Personally he didn't give a damn about the rest of his old 'home' pack as they'd never really accepted him. He'd been a late bloomer, having his first transformation far later than anyone else in the Pack's history, and he had actually feared for his life for a short time. It wasn't unknown for the Pack to kill to protect their secret from humans, and as he had shown no sign of being Lycan despite both his parents being Lycan, the Pack alpha might easily have ordered his death. Likely, he owed his continued existence to his mother as he couldn't see his father begging the Pack to spare him.
He did care about his sister and her family, and as her older brother he felt the need to protect her.
Rodney knew he wasn't the only one in the Atlantis Pack to feel the same fear for loved ones left behind on Earth. He'd found Miko in tears only a few days earlier, eventually coaxing out the reason and discovering she had just heard news of her brother's death and was now sick with worry for her sister-in-law and nephews. Her brother had been forced to transform and then killed as a wolf, his pelt displayed like some hunter's trophy. She feared it was only a matter of time before the same sick bastards went after the rest of her home pack.
He knew some far less tolerant countries had reacted badly to the news, with Lycan fleeing from incarceration in 'special camps' or death squads, and he knew even tolerant countries had humans whose bigotry and fear ran too deep. Miko's terrible news merely added to his own fears and that of others in the Pack.
"Run with me," John asked softly, and Rodney blinked up almost stupidly.
He was tired, unable to sleep because of his fear for Jeannie. Every time he closed his eyes he imagined her golden pelt hanging up on someone's wall or her head mounted like a trophy. He imagined them holding onto Maddie, deciding to keep her alive in a pen so they could have her pelt too after her first transformation. She was already eight years old and Kaleb's family line had a tendency to transform before their tenth birthdays.
"Rodney. Run with me."
Rodney sighed and nodded. Perhaps he needed to feel the cool breeze rippling through his fur, feel the ground beneath his paws as he ran and ran and ran. He wasn't surprised when John selected the east pier in the transporter. Parrish and his botanists had done an amazing amount of work over the past two years, turning the whole of the east pier into a huge natural park. He had chosen a mixture of slow and fast-growing pine trees, and some of them were now over five feet high in places. In another couple of years the fast-growing ones would be approaching ten feet. Parrish had a long term plan to farm and harvest the pines, thinning them out occasionally and utilizing the wood and sap, though the first real 'harvest' was at least another 20 years in the future. Rodney loved the smell pine though, reminding him of days when he could clear his head by running through the forest close to home, mostly alone but sometimes with the home pack.
However, when he reached the east pier with John he was momentarily surprised to find most of the pack already there. The majority had transformed, but they waited patiently while those remaining stripped down and triggered the transformation into wolf form. John padded out in front and Rodney followed just behind him at his right shoulder, and from one step to the next John bounded forward and the Pack followed. They ran for at least an hour before John brought them full circle back to the city end of the east pier. He transformed and grabbed his clothing, dressing quickly while the others did the same, and once they were all back in human form, he called a Pack meeting.
Most were surprised when the transporter began spilling humans but John simply nodded at the new arrivals, waiting for Woolsey to join him. They were even more surprised when John allowed Woolsey to address them all.
"I have it on great authority that many of our Lycan friends and colleagues are concerned about their loved ones back on Earth. The stories we hear on the weekly communication with Earth are terrible for all of us here, Lycan and human alike, so I have been pushing my concerns to the I.O.A. and Stargate Command alongside your alpha." He nodded towards John. "And we have a partial solution and that is why I wanted all of Atlantis at this meeting." He looked around the sea of faces. "The Wraith are no longer a threat. Those who did not take the gene therapy to become more human have gone back into hibernation indefinitely. This means Atlantis no longer has to remain a military base under civilian control."
The murmurs started up immediately, and Rodney finally made sense of all the inane requests to explore more of the towers close to the central spire. Even Parrish's 20-30 year plan suddenly made sense and Rodney felt he could kick himself for being so wrapped up in his own work and worries that he hadn't seen the 'big picture'. He glared across at John and got a sheepish smile in response.
John leaned over and whispered, "I didn't want to get your hopes raised over nothing."
Woolsey continued. "As of 08:00 hours this morning, Atlantis is now a civilian base with a military presence. All expedition members... human and Lycan," he stressed, "may now request the addition of family members. It's time to turn this base into a home," he added, smiling.
The first new arrivals stepped through the Stargate from the recently restored Midway on the Carter-McKay bridge just two weeks later. During those weeks Rodney had been impressed by the dedication shown by military and scientists, Lycan and human, in clearing and preparing accommodation for their families. The newly refurbished and opened tower standing next to the central spire had been called Promostofkus after some Ancient politician but even Woolsey had winced at that name.
"How about naming them after constellations seen from Earth," John had suggested.
"We are not naming everything Orion." Rodney had narrowed his eyes. "I was thinking more of mythical creatures."
"Werewolf Tower? Lycanthrope Tower?" Carson stated a little sarcastically.
"Vampire Tower," John added, and Rodney rolled his eyes.
"Griffin Tower," he said, and John smiled softly, because Griffin was also the name of a hero, a man who had sacrificed his own life to save Rodney when the Puddlejumper crashed into the Lantean Ocean.
Woolsey recognized the name too and he nodded his agreement. "Griffin Tower it is."
Rodney moved forward eagerly as he spotted Jeannie's blond hair from the mezzanine level, bounding down the stairs to greet her with John following him for once. She smiled brightly across at Rodney, hugging him as soon as he was within reach. Around him he could hear the laughter of others greeting their families - human and Lycan - and he nodded towards a happy Miko as she cuddled both her young nephews. Like most of the newcomers she had her most important possessions with her; the remainder would arrive on either the Daedalus or the Apollo in another few weeks time. John had greeted Kaleb first but Rodney reached out and shook Kaleb's hand next. Rodney's biggest fear was that Kaleb would refuse the invitation to move his family to Atlantis, especially after the Jeannie's abduction a few years back.
"I'm glad you... Well..." Rodney indicated around him.
"With all these new families arriving, I figured you'll need teachers," Kaleb stated, smiling because he already knew how Rodney felt about the soft sciences such as English Literature, but for once Rodney didn't rise to the bait, too grateful to see Jeannie and his niece safe on Atlantis.
Hours later, once the new arrivals were left to settle into their new apartments in Griffin Tower, Rodney face-planted the bed he shared with John, moaning when John poked his shoulder several times.
John shoved him harder and Rodney moaned in annoyance but shifted across to make room for John on the bed. He moaned again when John's agile fingers began to massage away the tension in his shoulders from spending too many hours hunched over a laptop or console, feeling the strong fingers digging deep to ease the knotted muscles.
John leaned over and whispered seductively into his ear. "I can do this better with you shirtless."
"Humph You just want me naked, Sheppard."
"All the time," he quipped back, pushing up the shirt material to slide his hands onto Rodney's bare skin.
Rodney moaned as John began to kiss the length of his spine starting from the small of his back. He murmured his approval when John began to work his way back down, wriggling to ease his growing erection before finally giving in to the need to touch John in return. Rolling over he sat up and dragged off his shirt. It took him barely any time at all to strip down naked and lay back down on his back this time. John stripped too, and when John straddled him, bringing him within easy reach, Rodney couldn't resist carding his fingers through the thick chest hair, always fascinated at how different it felt to John's wolf fur. He tugged on the hair, and John hissed at the sting, taking that as his cue to make sure Rodney was fully occupied in more pleasurable pursuits than pulling hair.
Later, as he lay curled up against John feeling happy and sated, with his body still thrumming from pleasure, Rodney kissed John's hairy chest almost as an apology for torturing him earlier.
Tomorrow he and John would take Jeannie and Kaleb to the east pier, and for the first time in many years, he would run with his sister beside him.