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TITLE: Bearing Fruit
FANDOM: Stargate Atlantis, sheafrotherdon's Iowa 'verse
PAIRING: John Sheppard/Rodney McKay
CHARACTERS: John Sheppard, Rodney McKay, Finn McKay, Merrie
WORDS: 1,367
NOTES: The initial quote listed is, for me, one of the most beautiful sentences of all SGA fandom.  It's inspiring, and I love it dearly; that's no secret.  If it weren't for sheafrotherdon's Iowa 'verse (and elderwitty's insistence that I read it), I wouldn't be in the SGA fandom.  Much love to sheafrotherdon, elderwitty, esteefee, and many, many others who have inspired me, and keep inspiring me every day.
SUMMARY: Reflections on a tree planted on the Iowa farm, and how it affects the family.
NOTES THE SECOND:  Now with an epilogue, posted here: 


"They make little adjustments – John stops buying orange juice, and Rodney starts drinking his coffee without cream – and touch by touch they learn just where to press and stroke and nip to make one another fall apart." - sheafrotherdon, from her Iowa-verse fic, "And Then There Was Finn"


The summer after Rodney moves to Iowa, it doesn't take long for John to get used to the happy reality of sharing the house, and his bed, with the man.  He smiles when he realizes he can't fill up the pickup truck without grabbing a set of Hostess cupcakes, or finish a chore at Ada's house without her stuffing brownies into his pockets.  And while Rodney loves the sweet treats, John's notices Rodney's also taken quite a shine to what John manages to salvage out of the garden before the rabbits get away with too many of the vegetables.

John realizes early on that if they picks up apples at the store, Rodney will snack on them (along with a handful of Cheetos, because - well - what doesn't go with the flavor of artificial orange-colored treats?), so when he's at Paul's picking up some varnish, a new wax o-ring for the toilet, and some finishing nails, he can't help but walk past the fruit trees that Paul's has lining the fence of their makeshift garden center.  After a quick call to Maggie Brenneman to check on all he needs, John loads up his purchased goods, including two Fuji apple tree yearlings, into the back of the truck, and then heads back to the farm.

Pulling up the drive, John finds Rodney's car gone, and a note on the kitchen table that he'd had to go into the lab for "Saving humanity from certain doom at the hands of my moronic soon to be ex-assistants.  Back before dinner."  He crumples the paper and tosses it into the composting bin, then heads back outside to take his purchases into the garage.  Noticing the darkening sky, he grabs a shovel and decides to plant the trees before the rain comes, choosing a small hill a hundred feet or so behind the farmhouse as the spot to plant.  Digging the holes - "Three feet across and two feet deep - no less" (he can still hear Maggie's voice) takes some time, but he appreciates the warm stretch of his muscles in the rapidly-hiding sun, the sheen of sweat on his arms and chest quickly drifting away on a light breeze.

Tamping down the last of the fresh dirt, John inserts a long-acting fertilizing spike into the ground just as dark clouds finally envelop the sun and the rain starts to trickle down from the heavens.  He nods at the trees, as if to say "I've done my part; now it's your turn," then heads back to the barn to put up his shovel just as Rodney's car pulls into the driveway.

Rodney steps out into the rain, pulling his briefcase over his head and makes quick work of getting from the lane to the porch, while John takes his time, letting the rain soak through his t-shirt and jeans.  "Are you crazy?" Rodney calls to John just after a lightning strike a few miles away lights up the area.  John just smiles, finishing his saunter up the stairs, then pulls Rodney against him.  Though Rodney balks at first, John shuts him up with a deep, 'welcome home' kiss.


Seasons come and go faster and faster, it seems - especially after Finn is born.  John's not sure if it's his general lack of sleep, or if it's just the nature of having kids that causes time to distort.  And then comes Merrie, and if John thought he was sleep deprived before, he's really impaired for the entire first year of her life.  Finally, once they're done with the bottle feeding and the teething, things seem to enter a nice equilibrium where he and Rodney can sleep in on some weekends, while others they're up at dawn dealing with some issue or another (from fevers to fights over which cartoon to watch).

Once Merrie starts toddling on her own, Finn starts taking his big-brother title seriously, and goes about teaching Merrie all he can about the farm.  One perfect fall afternoon, as Finn takes Merrie on yet another round of the farm, John and Rodney laze on the porch, John reading a book Ada lent him from her list of "100 books to read before I finally kick the bucket" (which was expanded to now 485 books, Ada telling John she was "Just too stubborn to die, I guess.") while Rodney thumbs through a physics journal.

John looks up first as Finn and Merrie round the side of the farmhouse, coming back from an adventure somewhere in the back 40, Finn taking Merrie's elbow and leading her up the stairs.  John smiles at the pair as he notices Merrie clutching something tight at her chest.

"Baffa," Merrie says, then thrusts out a hand, waiting for John to take the offering.  Though Finn was more oft to hand he and Rodney rocks or clumps of dirt, or even the innards of some poor insect, Merrie hadn't (thankfully) picked up that habit yet.  When John reaches out, Merrie drops a perfectly formed, albeit smallish, apple into his hand before she pulls on Rodney's sleeve, giving him one as well.

"Where'd you get this?" Rodney asks, tossing a querying look at the kids.

"From Johnny," Finn says, as Merrie says, "Johnny," while leaning over and taking a bite out of John's apple, scrunching up her face at the sour taste a second later.

Rodney looks at John, then back to the kids.  "Who's Johnny?"

"I think I know," John says, then stands up, Rodney giving him a curious look.

He waits a second for Rodney to join him, then envelopes his fingers with Rodney's and asks, "Can you show me and Dad where Johnny is?"

Finn rolls his eyes (something John knows the kid learned from Rodney), and then takes off from the porch at full speed.  John lets go of Rodney's hand just long enough to pick Merrie up and put her on his shoulders, then grabs one of Merrie's legs with a hand, and recaptures Rodney's hand with the other.

They round the corner of the farmhouse, John spotting Finn running at full speed towards the remote hill he'd almost forgotten about, near the rented-out pastures.  He and Rodney take their time, Merrie babbling about the sights they're passing and telling John and Rodney - in her own way - about her adventures with Finn.  They finally come up to the pair of apple trees a few minutes later, John amazed at the now twenty-plus feet high and fruit-bearing trees that dominate the area.

"This is Johnny," Finn says, pointing to one tree, "and Isaac," he says, pointing to the other.  Merrie agrees with him a second later, pulling at John's hair and saying, "Johnny 'n Isaac," while pointing at the trees with her free hand.

"I didn't know we had apple trees," Rodney says.  "I remember the cherry tree you planted last year."

"George," Finn says plainly.

"George?" John and Rodney ask in unison.

"Pres'dent George Washington," Finn says, as if John and Rodney are the slowest fathers on the planet.  "Chopped down da cherry tree?"

John smiles, finally 'getting it'.  "So this is Johnny Appleseed and Isaac Newton?" he asks as Rodney wonders out loud, "They named the trees?", John finishing with, "You're really smart, 'jumper!"

"Smart like daddy," he adds, beaming at his fathers.

John walks to the tree, reaching up and grabbing some of the larger apples from higher up in the branches - one for each of them, which will make for a nice snack later on that night.  Winking at Rodney, John says, "How 'bout you take us all on a hike around the farm and show us to all the other cool stuff, okay 'jumper?"

Finn just smiles, taking Rodney's free hand in his and pulling Rodney towards a new area to explore.  Merrie squeals her acceptance of the plan, then steers John by pulling his hair to keep up with Finn.


( 55 comments — Leave a comment )
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Sep. 24th, 2012 04:52 am (UTC)
I *love* this 'verse and this is a beautiful addition to it. Perfectly in keeping with the tone of the original. Lovely way to start a very wet Monday morning! Thank you :-)
Sep. 24th, 2012 06:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you!!!! I've written in the Iowa 'verse before, but this is the first time that I personally feel I've gotten the tone close to what sheafrotherdon has written. And the inspiration from this came last Friday, as I walked into the front yard to grab an apple from my very own pair of apple trees that my Boo got me for my birthday a few years back...
Sep. 24th, 2012 06:12 am (UTC)
Its feels really good to read a story of this verse...Nice reminder :) good to see more of Finn and Merrie as kids.
Sep. 24th, 2012 06:07 pm (UTC)
I have to say that I truly adore Finn and Merrie, and how they have John & Rodney wrapped around their little fingers... Thank you!
Sep. 24th, 2012 07:35 am (UTC)
Charming. I like the trees. It's great that John planted them the first year with Rodney. The trees will probably feed their grandchildren and more.
Sep. 24th, 2012 06:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you and an epilogue
Thank you! And I agree about the future of the trees. This is actually a little scene that I've still got running around my head, though it didn't fit. Sharing it here:



Finn hears his father calling from the porch of the farmhouse, so he hollers, "Back here, Baffa." After finally graduating from college and grad school at UC Berkley, Finn had decided to move back to be near his fathers, and lately spends more time out at the farm than not. It's one of the only places he feels "right", after spending so many years in the city for school.

It takes some time before John makes his way to the back of the house, Finn noticing - forcing himself not to ignore - the effect that the years have taken on his parents. John finally stops under a branch, Finn watching as he leans on his cane to reach up and grab an apple. "Still hanging out in your tree?" John asks as he takes a bite. He smiles up at Finn, saying, "Ol' Isaac's still producing some pretty good fruit..."

Finn had taken to climbing the apple trees as a kid as a place of solace; far enough away from the farmhouse to be on his own with his thoughts, but close enough for his parents comfort. "This one's Johnny, Baffa," Finn calls, smiling when John winks up at him. Gathering his thoughts, he says, "I'm coming down."

Though he's closer to 30 now, Finn still feels like a kid as he catches the nervous expressions of his father with every grasp of a branch. "I'm not gonna break my arm again, Dad," he says, John just smiling up at him.

"Your father'd probably kill me if you did," John says, grasping Finn's shoulder once he's back on firm ground. As they amble back towards the house, John asks, "Everything okay?"

"Yeah," Finn says, voice quiet and faraway. "It's just..."

Finn stops, John stopping next to him, giving his son a questioning look.

After glancing around everywhere but John's eyes, Finn finally locks his gaze with John and asks, "How did you know Dad was the one?"

John smiles, and Finn can see a bright spark in his Baffa's eyes. Putting his arm around his son, John asks, "Is this about Angelina?".

Finn beams back, and suddenly gets it, the final piece of the puzzle sliding into place. "Yeah," Finn says, leaning against John's shoulder.

The two fall into a companionable silence, Finn taking comfort in the warm feelings of love he's been immersed in all his life. He's still in awe of the immeasurable love that dances on the surface of his fathers' relationship. And he finally thinks he may have found her; found that one person that makes him feel like he thinks his fathers feel. Which makes him all that more sure of the decision he's made.

Turning the corner of the farmhouse, John and Finn spot Rodney on the front porch, standing at the railing, holding a small velvet box in his arthritic hand (Finn immediately knowing he shouldn't have left it with his keys on the kitchen table, but what's done is done). "Finn McKay," Rodney starts, with a smile on his face. Gesturing with the box, he asks, "Is there something you want to tell us?"

"Yeah," Finn says. Glancing first at Rodney, then at John, he says, "Yeah, I think I do..."

Edited at 2012-09-24 07:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Thank you and an epilogue - rissabby - Sep. 24th, 2012 09:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Thank you and an epilogue - squidgiepdx - Sep. 24th, 2012 09:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Thank you and an epilogue - popkin16 - Sep. 25th, 2012 02:23 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Thank you and an epilogue - squidgiepdx - Sep. 25th, 2012 02:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Thank you and an epilogue - melagan - Sep. 25th, 2012 02:48 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Thank you and an epilogue - squidgiepdx - Sep. 25th, 2012 02:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Thank you and an epilogue - esteefee - Oct. 1st, 2012 05:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Thank you and an epilogue - squidgiepdx - Oct. 3rd, 2012 06:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 24th, 2012 08:23 am (UTC)
This verse never fails to give me a warm feeling ♥ I love how light and happy it is, how John planted the tree in the early days of his relationship with Rodney :D Finn and Merrie are adorable, and they named the trees - and after famous people too!
Sep. 24th, 2012 07:01 pm (UTC)
and they named the trees - and after famous people too!

Finn is Rodney's son! Of course there was a discussion sometime after this, where Rodney had to break it to Finn and Merrie that Sir Isaac Newton wasn't really hit in the head with an apple when he "discovered" gravity, which Finn shook off, but Merrie took quite hard, John carrying her off to the kitchen for an oatmeal cookie to distract her, Rodney calling from the living room, "What? What'd I do?"

Sep. 24th, 2012 12:02 pm (UTC)
Oh, this fits in perfectly! Apple trees and Ada Gunderson, Rodney snacking on anything to hand, John's reluctant green thumb, and the kids naming the trees! Perfect way to start the day. \o/
Sep. 24th, 2012 07:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you!!!! I truly love this 'verse, and this felt so right, that I just had to write it! Have an awesome week!
Sep. 24th, 2012 12:50 pm (UTC)
A lovely addition to the Iowa verse!!
Sep. 24th, 2012 07:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! I'm always hesitant - I mean, writing something in another person's verse - especially when it's not only famous, but brilliant. I'm glad I was able to add to this!
Sep. 24th, 2012 12:53 pm (UTC)
Aw! So adorable!
Sep. 24th, 2012 07:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you!!!! I love this one so much!
Sep. 24th, 2012 03:53 pm (UTC)
Lovely add! :-D
Sep. 24th, 2012 07:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you, sweetie! I really appreciate it - as I've said before, you're one of the people that I use to judge my fics! :)
Sep. 24th, 2012 04:22 pm (UTC)
*happy sigh* Perfection!
Sep. 24th, 2012 07:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! That really means a lot to me!!!!
Sep. 24th, 2012 06:12 pm (UTC)
Ah, you reminded me of when I was a kid and picked apples from my grandma's trees. *happy sigh*

Also a happy sigh for more Iowa-verse. I love seeing Finn and Merrie growing up. Thank you for such a lovely little story.
Sep. 24th, 2012 07:08 pm (UTC)
I dolove this 'verse, and Finn & Merrie, very much. It's perfection for me... And I'm really glad you liked it! That means a great deal!
Sep. 24th, 2012 06:37 pm (UTC)

Completely and utter gorgeous! Not only do we get another delicious slice of the Farm life, but we get a fic with a seasonal feel. And, man, am I ready for Fall. Loved it! :)
Sep. 24th, 2012 07:09 pm (UTC)
::swoon:: Thank you so much!!!! I loved writing this one, and I'm in awe that it came out so well - and that people like it!
Sep. 24th, 2012 07:22 pm (UTC)
Of course they're Isaac & Johnny & George! Silly Baffa & Daddy.... <3 <3 <3 !!!
Sep. 24th, 2012 07:32 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah - Finn is their son; of course he'd name them. He's very partial to his trees! :)

Sep. 24th, 2012 07:41 pm (UTC)
This is just such a wonderful 'verse and I loved this little snippet into their everyday lives, it's beautifully written and I just love that they names the trees and the reason behind the names.
Sep. 24th, 2012 07:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for the very kind words!!! I love sheafrotherdon's writing style, and hoped I could at least approach it when writing this. I really, really appreciate it!
Sep. 24th, 2012 11:15 pm (UTC)
bearing fruit
It's simply adorable!

Did John end up planting a whole fruit salad orchard for them, or was it just apples and cherries. :P

Sep. 25th, 2012 12:36 am (UTC)
Re: bearing fruit
Thank you, sweetie!!!! :)

Oh, you know John... And how he's not gonna exactly tell you verbally what's going on, but he'll do something crazy like plant you a tree or kill you a mastadon for dinner, and then stutter like, "Yeah, you know... Okay," and then give you that goofy smile when you realize what he's trying to tell you, and he realizes you finally figured it out. ::grin::
Sep. 24th, 2012 11:47 pm (UTC)
You're captured the Farm 'verse beautifully. This was sheer delight to read and made me ridiculously happy.
Sep. 25th, 2012 12:37 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!!!! I was nervous about writing it, but honestly, it felt *good* to have this connection to the words that I'd not felt when writing Iowa before. I'm glad it came through! ::hugs::
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