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Meet the Family

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>"So, what's she like?"

Rodney blinked at John. "Uh. You'll...uh, she's interesting."

"Anything like you?"

"Nonononononono! NO."

"Jeez, all right." John shoved his hands in his pockets. "So why am I meeting her anyway?"

Rodney looked resignedly at the doorbell and pressed it. "Because. She'd have my balls in a vise if I didn't."

"Now there's an image," John said as the door opened.

A thin woman was standing behind it, about John's mother's age, with sensible white hair and glasses. "Rodney! Welcome. Come in." She stood back. The Canadian in her voice was more obvious than in Rodney's, though it wasn't the parody John had often heard in the U.S. "Who's your friend?"

"Aunt Sue, this is John Sheppard."

"Pleasure to meet you, ma'am," John said, turning the charm up as high as it would go.

"Do you work with Rodney?" she asked, turning to lead them into another room. The house was cozy, warm. But not too kitsch; John had been afraid she'd have moose memorabilia everywhere or something, the way Rodney was scared to introduce her. Or stupid, though she didn't seem stupid.

"Yeah. I'm in charge of, uh, security."

"Mmm." She looked at him--well, over the top of her glasses wasn't exactly right. If she'd had pince-nez, though... "I hope you're more than just a grunt. Rodney deserves better."

"Sue," Rodney said. He had been, John noticed, uncharacteristically quiet.

"Some of Rodney's boyfriends have been a little, oh, you know, stupid," Sue said. "Rodney, a pretty face is no substitute for a good relationship."

"Boyfriends?" John said.

"Rodney!" Sue said.

"Sorry, I'm not used to...uh, how did you know?"

"Good." Sue smiled. "He's dated some idiots, let me tell you, but they've all known they were dating him." Sue sat down at the table in the room they'd reached; Rodney followed suit, so John did as well. The food was already on the plates--aha, she knew Rodney's appetite, John thought.

He'd just taken a big bite of peas when Sue said, "So, how is he in bed?"

John choked.

"Nothing to compla--"

"I wasn't talking to you, Rodney, I know you can take care of yourself."

"Thanks," Rodney mumbled.

John swallowed. "Fine, thanks, ma'am."

"I left a gift for you upstairs, a little extra from some of the things they send me for the show, you know."

John thought idly that Rodney's hair looked very odd when mixed with mashed potatoes. "Thank you, ma'am," he said, just to be polite.

"This is Hell," Rodney said, somewhat muffled by the tabletop.

"Nonsense," Sue said. "I'm just happy that you're happy." She looked over at John, critical. "And happy that the man making you happy doesn't weigh more in the groin than he does in the head."

Rodney lifted his head back up. "I've told you, I do not need you to interfere in my love life!"

"You're the one who brought him here."

"Yeeees." Rodney's mouth twisted, which John liked, a lot. "Because otherwise it would have been even more embarrassing when you met him later!"

"Embarrassing?" Sue gave him an icy glare and took a large bite of peas.

John smirked.

"I--ye--n--oh, whatever," Rodney said, waving one hand. "I'm a genius, the least you could do is trust my judgment."

"Well, what else is family for?" Sue said.

It was amazing, John reflected, how so much of Rodney's character was suddenly explained.