Spring and summer flowered sudden and fragile on the northern islands. The ceaseless sea winds eased until they only rippled the grass like the water. Tiny, delicate pink flowers dotted the rock faces where stubborn plants poked from the crevices their roots gripped. Stalks of blue and purple and yellow reached for the warmth of the returning sun where only snow and rocky, frozen earth had endured only a month before.

They took a day to explore one of the two islands within sight of Hæmírfara. Torren ran ahead up a low rise and stumbled to stop to peer down at something.

"Makke!" he shouted. "Makke, come look!"

Rodney huffed his way up the rise after the entirely too quick child. Since he learned to run – Torren hadn't bothered with walking first, he'd gone from hands and knees to streaking everywhere – someone always had to have an eye on him.

Torren pointed down and Rodney frowned at the curve of bronze hull where the wind had eroded thin earth away.

"It's like home," Torren declared.

He set aside the knowledge that for Torren, Athos and Atlantis were just places in stories; Ljósver was his world, Hæmírfara his home. Kauko Bay was the largest town he remembered and the most exciting place he could imagine. The curve of Ancient alloy was familiar to Torren from the Ancient tower they occupied. Rodney crouched and let his fingers drift over the smooth metal as he contemplated how long it must have been there, for the thin dirt to settle around and cover it in a grass covered mound.

He recognized the curve of a jumper hull, but it must have left behind sometime around the abandonment of Atlantis. How long would it take to dig it free and would it be worth it? He knew John missed flying, but they couldn't afford to draw attention to themselves here. Living in the Ancient tower was enough of a risk.

Rodney rubbed his fingertips over the metal. It was warm. Maybe it still had some power. If it couldn't fly, they might still salvage something from it. The crystals the Ancients used were rare and often cracked and burnt out. A few spares wouldn't go amiss.

Ronon could help dig. It might burn off some of the excess energy that set him to doing all sorts of repairs around the Tower and its buildings.

"Makke?" Torren asked.

"Yes," Rodney said, glancing up with a sad smile for the boy, "you're right. It's like home."

John and Teyla came over the last rise, followed by Kanaan carrying the picnic basket they'd brought with them, the sky pale and cloudless blue behind them. Rodney lifted his hand and waved.

John waved back, then turned and called something to wherever Ronon was dawdling.

Torren jumped back to his feet and raced back toward the rest of the family.

"Jouni, Jouni, I found something, come see!"

Rodney watched as Torren reached them and John swept the boy up into his arms, and felt an ache under his breastbone like the sound the seabirds made as they wheeled and called over the beach. "Come see," he whispered to himself, "come see."

The jumper wouldn't fly again, he already guessed that, and John would go on watching the gulls when he was alone. It was too late to say nothing, with Torren babbling in John's ear and pointing back to Rodney. Rodney wouldn't have kept it to himself in any case; curiosity would have brought him back, no doubt with John in tow eventually.

The breeze kicked up, suddenly cold and wet, and he looked to the horizon, searching for any sign of a storm. Autumn often arrived before it was looked for in the north. He had adapted the short spring and summer faster than any of the others, who had all grown up in more equatorial climes.

The sky was clear, though, and Rodney mustered a smile as John came up the slope.

"What is it?" John asked. His hair tossed like the long grass when he reached the top and the wind caught its fingers in it.

"A jumper, probably," Rodney answered.

Hazel eyes lit for an instant, then he set Torren back down and looked out to the deep water, where they could just pick out several members of the Kauko Bay fishing fleet.

"A sailboat would be more useful."

Rodney shuddered. He didn't want to be at the mercy of the wind. Maybe a boat with a real engine, though. It would be better than relying on the fisherfolk to bring their supplies out when they had time and good weather – good weather usually meant they were putting out their traps and nets after all. John's pragmatic wish for a boat instead of something to fly touched him, though; John was committed to the life they were building on Hæmírfara.

Teyla knelt next to Torren and traced her fingers over the bit of hull the wind had revealed. She spoke softly and Torren listened intently.

"Looks like a good place to sit down and eat," Kanaan said.

Rodney's stomach grumbled.

"Seconded," John said with a grin that dismissed all nostalgia for another place and life.

"Fine, let's eat, before the incredible Eating Monster gets here," Rodney answered, raising his voice at the end for Torren's benefit as he spotted Ronon loping toward them. Ronon heard, of course, and made roaring noises as he sped up.

"Me first, me first," Torren yelled, tearing away from Teyla to tackle Kanaan's leg and grab for the picnic basket.

"Worth digging up?" John asked quietly.

"Probably not," Rodney admitted, "but – "

"We will anyway."

He gave John a sly, sidewise glance. "What else have we got to do all summer?"

John smiled back, slow and sweet, obviously thinking of the long winter nights they spent in bed together and missing them. Summer was for work, with the exception of a few days like this one.

They ate and threw the leftovers to the gulls and made plans to return with digging implements and a tent. Kanaan gathered the tiny pink flowers and plaited them into Teyla's braids. Ronon took Torren down to the far beach that was invisible from the Tower and they hunted shells and rocks between bouts of playing tag. Rodney leaned against John's warm shoulder for a moment and only startled awake  when John tapped his nose.

"Huh? What?"

John nodded to a cloud that occluded the sun for an instant.

"Time to head home."

Rodney got up and stretched the stiffness from his joints. John was tucking the last odds and ends back in the picnic basket. He followed John back to the beach where they'd left the long boat quietly while Kanaan carried Torren and Teyla and Ronon went ahead of them.

John raised his eyebrows at him as they scrambled into the boat.

"Everything all right?" he asked.

Rodney picked a blade of grass off John's shirt.

"Everything's fine," Rodney said as he picked up his paddle and meant it.


  • Summary: Torren makes a discovery that reminds Rodney of what they've given up.
  • Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
  • Rating: G
  • Warnings: None
  • Author Notes: for murron, in the Green Sea 'verse
  • Date: 4.1.10
  • Length: 1180 words
  • Genre: m/m
  • Category: vignette
  • Cast: Rodney McKay,John Sheppard, Torren Emmagan, Teyla Emmagan, Kanaan
  • Betas: eretria and dossier
  • Disclaimer: Not for profit. Transformative work written for private entertainment.

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