Fandoms: SGA/ER/SG1/Eureka/Lost/Grey's Anatomy
Summary: Dr. John Sheppard likes Chicago; he likes the snow and the architecture and the food and the museums. He likes isolation, thrives on loneliness, excels at seclusion. He even likes the Cook County ER where he works, day after day, saving lives, the same routine. Then he accepts a colleague's invitation to Christmas dinner, and his private little world is invaded by an arrogant Canadian astrophysicist. Life will never be the same.
A/N: I wrote a fic that featured Derek Shepherd of Grey's Anatomy and Jack Shephard of Lost as John Sheppard's first cousins. Now I've decided to pretty much go all out and write a cracktastic crossover series featuring as many different characters from different shows as I could think of (who make some level of sense in this universe). In addition to the extreme number of Sheppards in modern television, I couldn't help noticing an extreme number of Carters...
Basically, this is an AU of Sheppard Family Reunion where John did decide to pursue a career in medicine just like his cousins.
Dr. John Sheppard likes Chicago; he likes the snow and the architecture and the food and the museums. He's lived all over the world, but thinks if he's ever going to really settle down, then the Windy City might be just the place. There's something about the city that really speaks to him; maybe it's the way this amazing metropolis takes up so much space in the world, but hardly any on a map. Or its history of rule-breaking and fires and hot dogs and skyscrapers. It could be the way the wind echoes his own restless spirit, or maybe it's just that no one in Chicago tries to get too close.
Whatever it is, John thinks it'll do. For now.
It's snowing when Carter asks him if he'd like to come over for Christmas Eve dinner.
'I know your family's scattered across the country, so if you don't have any other plans, why don't you come to my place? We kind of go all out, there'll be plenty of food.'
John adds his hasty scrawl to the bottom of his last chart before the end of his shift, winking at the old woman suffering from pneumonia, and considers the offer. Family dinner is a step further than he's usually willing to go, but all that's waiting for him back at his apartment is a frozen turkey dinner and a broken heater. He usually flies out to Seattle or L.A. for Christmas with his cousins, but a morning rotation on Christmas Day foiled that plan.
'All right,' says John, a creature of comfort when possible. 'You're on.'
They take the 'L' around the corner from the ER, something John suspects Carter only does as a way to prove he isn't a spoiled little rich boy. Their stop isn't really any where near Casa de Carter, so they trudge through the slush the rest of the way and wipe their boots on the sterling silver boot-scraper just outside the front door.
Carter tried to hide it through the first month of their friendship, but John doesn't really care if he has money. He's not a big fan of ostentatious displays of wealth, but he really likes Carter, so for the man's sake he holds his tongue as a butler takes his coat.
'Gamma,' says Carter as a frail-looking older woman with silver hair comes into the hall, 'this is John Sheppard. He works with me at the ER. Shep, this is my grandmother, Millicent.'
'Someone as cute as you can call me Millie,' she says, dimpling as she takes John's hand. 'Welcome to our home, John. Merry Christmas. You're not the only guest we're hosting tonight; it's a bit of a full house. Come on in.'
John hears the man before he sees him, and his life is forever changed.
'I'm telling you, Carter, no matter how many ways you look at it, it's impossible to build a radio out of coconuts!'
John forgets that he accepted Carter's invitation as part of a four month-long plan to provoke his romantic interest, the longest he's ever spent in pursuit. He forgets that as an ER resident he has just enough time for food and sleep if he doesn't mind occasionally going without either. And he forgets his resolution to never, ever, fall in love at first sight again.
He forgets because that's when Rodney McKay steps into the hall.
His immediate competition, Carter's cousin Samantha, is beautiful, blonde, and brilliant - John's worst nightmare. He wants to hate her, but finds it impossible, especially when she explains that she invited Dr. McKay for dinner. They are apparently working on some hush-hush government project, and she didn't feel comfortable leaving the Canadian astrophysicist all alone on Christmas Eve just so she could visit her family. McKay immediately protests that he invited himself, and 'Sam' didn't have much say in the matter.
He looks straight through John as he talks, and John shivers.
John finds himself sandwiched between Carter and another cousin, Jack, at dinner, across from McKay and Samantha. There's an odd tension at the table, and the feeling that there are several empty seats, even though all the chairs are filled.
McKay talks while he eats everything in sight and assumes everyone must be as interested in self-sustaining fusion as he is. He and Samantha start to debate the structural merit (or lack thereof) of Chicago's skyscrapers, and John decides he must have been crazy for believing there was an attraction, turning his attention to Jack Carter, a U.S. Marshal whose idea of good dinner conversation (football and law enforcement anecdotes) suits John just fine.
John happens to mention that his father is in the Air Force, his mother was a math teacher, and he chose medicine over a job in a government think tank. McKay pauses mid-rant, and stares across the table.
'Why would anyone pick a dodgy pseudo-profession like medicine over a chance to exercise his intelligence?'
Next to John, Carter stiffens, and John recalls something one of the nurses told him in confidence, namely that Carter's family was not supportive of his decision to become a doctor.
'Why would anyone choose to spend their days with the government's hand up their ass, dancing to someone else's tune just because he's given a cookie every time a bell rings?' John retorts, feeling flushed, exhilarated.
Everyone stares, but John doesn't notice because McKay has been stunned into speechlessness, bright blue eyes filled with awe. Samantha tries to break the ice by commenting on the rarity of that reaction, and Carter offers a whispered thanks.
John's too busy thinking, Oh boy, here we go again.
Christmas morning's mercifully quiet in the ER, and John's due to get out before the rush of holiday-related injuries. He checks the temp on the homeless man in curtain 3, signs the suicide-attempt up for a psych consult, and passes the head wound onto a helpless med student. He turns when he hears shouting.
Rodney McKay is standing in the waiting room, berating one of the nurses.
'John Sheppard!' he yells through the bullet proof glass. 'Just tell him that I'm here!'
'Sir,' says the nurse, 'if you'll just take a seat, I'll make sure that a doctor can see you as soon as possible.'
'I don't want a doctor, you simpleton,' McKay sneers. 'I'm looking for a specific doctor. I'm not a patient! You couldn't pay me to seek treatment in this viral petrie dish.'
John holds his breath, then stumbles towards the front desk.
'It's okay, Chuny,' he says, nodding without looking up at the irritated and abrasive scientist, an omission designed to annoy. 'I've got this.'
McKay goes out of his way to make it clear that the only reason he's here is that Samantha is enjoying the holiday with her family, and he doesn't want to intrude further. Then he says he remembered John worked at the same hospital as Carter, figures he's alone for the holiday too, and they should get a cup of coffee, or something, because McKay is hypoglycemic, and surely John the voodoo practitioner must know what that means. He tosses in a few more insults about County, then stares at his feet.
It takes John a minute of watching McKay shift his weight from one foot to the other, bright red in color, before he realizes the man is asking him out.
'I don't really like coffee,' John says, prodding the man's prickly shell for fun, 'but I could go for some lunch.'
As a doctor, John knows food allergies are nothing to sneeze at, but he can't suppress a grin when McKay starts a litany of the things he's allergic to. Finally, deciding that no restaurant within walking distance is going to satisfy both the man's appetite and his specifications, John drags him through the snow to a hot dog vendor and gets them each one with everything on it.
McKay complains about frostbite, but John notices the color flood back into his cheeks when he takes his first bite.
It's McKay's idea to go ice-skating because none of the museums he'd grace with his presence are open Christmas Day.
John thinks the man's never planned a proper date in his life, and is simply too Canadian for his own good.
He says, 'Great idea, McKay.'
They rent their skates and slide onto the ice, or, in John's case, onto his ass. McKay chuckles and offers a hand, but John repays his kindness by tugging hard and dragging McKay down on top of him. They are nose to nose and eye to eye and snow falls lightly all around them. McKay ruins the moment by opening his mouth.
'Call me Rodney.'
John closes Rodney's mouth with his own.
'Your apartment is freezing,' Rodney grumbles, managing to look both ridiculous and adorable wrapped head to toe in John's polar fleece White Sox blanket. His blue eyes are the only visible part of him as he glares at John. 'Where'd you go anyway? I thought maybe you ducked out on me.'
'I live here,' John points out, crawling back into bed and tugging the covers away from Rodney's selfish hands. 'Besides, I come bearing donuts.'
Rodney's lazy smile is worth the four-block hike through the snow to the Krispy Kreme.
'What time's your flight?' John murmurs, soaking in the warmth.
'Not for another three hours. What, no coffee?'
John turns onto his side and grins. 'I didn't want it getting cold.'
Rodney says, 'It's been fun.'
John says, 'Yeah, it sure was.'
Rodney says, 'Maybe I'll see you again some day.'
John says, 'Yeah, I hope so.'
Then Rodney and Samantha fly out of O'Hare, back to where ever it is they came from, and at work Carter asks, 'What's up with you and that McKay guy?'
John shrugs. 'I'll probably never see him again. It doesn't matter.'
'Oh, too bad,' says Carter, grinning. 'Because Sam told me to give you his number.'
John takes the scrap of paper with some hastily scrawled digits, and tries to decipher the crude sentence below them.
I'm going to be out of the country for awhile, but, uh, maybe the next time I'm in town...
John smiles. He loves Chicago.