Despite those four years of estrangement Rodney had never lost his love or his trust in his sister. He could simply not accept her decision to waste her brilliance on home-making and finger paints. She was as smart as him, if not smarter. He winced as he admitted this, if only to himself. She had proved that when she worked on the intergalactic gate bridge, solving an equation that had him and the rest of his team flummoxed. Except he was certain he would have been able to solve it alone if not for the constant demands of life (and death) on Atlantis; jumping from project to project, from one maintenance headache to the next, and fitting in off-world missions on top.
Rodney realized his thoughts were moving off on a tangent and he quickly corralled them.
Yes, he trusted Jeannie implicitly, so he had no reason to rebuff her latest theory, especially as it blended mathematics almost seamlessly with emotion.
No one had ever accused his sister of being out of touch with her emotions. Thinking of their emotionally distant parents he had to admit Jeannie was the exception to the McKay legacy of High IQ, Low EQ. He had relied on her to guide him through the misery of public school before his superior intellect was recognized and he was advanced beyond his age-peer's educational level.
He read through her theory again, not quite understanding the convoluted logic yet still able to follow it to its natural conclusion and its 'irrefutable proof' that Jennifer was not his 'soulmate'. Instead it was a certain Flyboy with gravity-defying hair.
"Huh!" he exclaimed softly, and now the theory was laid out bare in front of him he could hardly carry on in oblivion.
Yet like every good scientist, what he needed now was hard proof, which would mean testing out Jeannie's theory, but he hadn't the first clue on how to go about it. He read Jeannie's letter for a third time, hoping she might have taken pity on him and given him a starting point but all it said was, 'Be Yourself'.
"Be myself? What's that supposed to mean?"
Perhaps his sister wasn't so smart after all, he thought sourly.
His stomach growled and all thoughts fled to food, realizing he should have met up with John for lunch twenty minutes earlier. Rodney raced along the corridors, scaring a few people who were not used to seeing him move so fast unless Atlantis was under imminent threat of destruction. He moved through the food line quickly, dismayed when the only desserts left were either uninteresting or lethal. Rodney found John seated at their usual table engaged in a conversation with some random person on the next table but John ended it and smiled as Rodney sat down. Before Rodney could moan about the dessert choices, John pushed over a fruit cup.
"Dr. Z said you'd be late."
Rodney was too excited by the small gift to register the words at first. "Huh?"
"Mail day." John licked his lips, and he looked a little nervous. "Zelenka said you got a letter from Jeannie." Rodney flushed as he recalled the contents of the letter, drawing an intrigued look from John. "I'm sure we can cope with two McKays if she's changed her mind about joining the expedition," he added.
"What? God no!" Rodney replied, horrified at the thought of having Jeannie here putting her own theory into practice. He loved his sister dearly, but she was a monster once she had set her mind on something, especially if it meant meddling in Rodney's love life.
He managed to steer the conversation away from Jeannie with ease as John was just as bad as him, shying away from all the touchy-feely stuff.
Lunch ended and Rodney returned to his laboratory to ponder over the latest issue with the water purification system. Hours later, dirty, hungry, and tired after climbing through some of the most disgusting parts of the city, Rodney was relaxing under the spray of crystal-clear, clean water in his shower when he heard someone at his door. Annoyed at the interruption, especially as the caller didn't seem to get the message and kept on buzzing for entry, Rodney stalked out of the shower wrapped in a towel and scowled as the door opened.
"I've been waiting for the past 20 minutes."
"I thought I messaged to say I'd be late."
"Ten minutes, Rodney. You said you'd be ten minutes late."
He dressed quickly and scurried after her. By halfway through the evening he was exhausted from having to watch his manners, and apologize for being insensitive when he insulted the intelligence of one of the linguists who had caused the problem with the purification process by mis-labeling the system control panel. His attention wandered while Jennifer talked about her day.
"Are you listening to me?"
"What? Yes. I'm-" He was trying to be a better person for her, and started to apologize again, and that was when Jeannie's words came back to him.
"Petrie's ingrowing toenail is hardly a scintillating topic of conversation."
Strangely, he felt a lot better afterwards, as if a weight had lifted off his shoulders. He was upset for a few days after he realized he and Jennifer were no longer 'together' but he found he was working better, as if stifling his personality had also stifled his intellectual abilities. His staff grumbled and Radek shouted more, calling him a 'horrible little man' but productivity improved, changing the atmosphere in the laboratories as they started to see progress in areas that had stalled. So despite the grumbles, his staff seemed happier overall.
He still met up with John for lunch, and nothing much had changed there. Rodney still ranted on about the work and people, and John just nodded and threw in one-liners just to rile Rodney, but that always made him think outside of the box.
The next letter from Jeannie was more of the same. Be yourself. Jeannie also reminded him that he had told 'everyone' he loved them when the parasite was destroying his brain, but the person he trusted and loved the most had been John.
That day at lunch John seemed squirrelly again, asking about his letter from Jeannie, and suddenly it clicked.
"Oh My God! That woman really is a monster!" he stabbed a finger at John. "She's sent you the same letter. She's setting us up together." Rodney saw the fight or flight instincts race across John's face and grabbed his hand before he could make some excuse and run away. "She's a monster... but she's right. Isn't she?"
He felt his heart leap into his throat and sink at the same time; the weirdest sensation.
"She is right!" Rodney crowed when John made no denial.
One Month Later
Jeannie opened her letter from Mer and laughed.
"John and I are now together. You are a monster... but we love you."
It signed by both her brother and John.