Rating: PG for one swears
A/N: A short tag to "The Best Laid Plans", but you can read this one on its own. As always, this is for littlebuttercup.
Rodney quickly handed his drink off to John when Caden, eyes still glued to the television, tried to scoot up into his lap. As they had watched one thing go wrong after another for Eli and the Giants, Caden had slowly migrated backwards, from the floor in front of the television, back to the coffee table, to the foot of the couch, up onto the couch, and now into the comfort of his papa's arms.
When the clock ticked down and the Eagles began to celebrate, Rodney shifted with him as Caden turned away and buried his face in Rodney's shoulder. He didn't say anything, simply kissed his son's hair, held him tight, and waited, watching as John quickly changed channels to some cartoon marathon and cleared away their hardly-touched snacks, removing all obvious reminders of the disappointing afternoon.
Some rustling noises in the kitchen, the utility room door opening and shutting twice, and John was back with them, sliding up next to Rodney and kissing him on the temple before he added to the hug for Caden. A tap on the shoulder alerted Rodney to a one-handed message composed in their own mixed-up sign language, part ASL, part Special Forces, and part Pegasus Galaxy. Rodney read what John had in mind and nodded his agreement.
“Hey kiddo?” he asked quietly, “I was thinking that it's, uh, been a while since we've been ice skating. What say we go down to the park and give Daddy another lesson?”
“You go.” Caden sniffed.
“Buddy, Papa can't hold me up and show me what to do at the same time. I need you to go too.” John chimed in.
Caden sat up, still in the circle of Rodney's arms, but didn't say a word. He was such a mix of the two of them, Rodney mused. The kid was biting his lip like John did when he didn't want to talk, but he could see in the blue eyes that matched his, that deep thoughts were being had and variables were being weighed.
"Penny for your thoughts, kiddo." That earned him a little grin and Caden stuck a hand out.
"Give the man a quarter, Sheppard." Rodney would pay for that smile any time. Especially out of John's wallet.
John dug around and came up with the required coin. He popped it into Caden's palm and Caden promptly shoved it into his own pocket. "So what's up, Padawan?"
"I don't know if I can play football any more." The grin disappeared.
Rodney was startled. "What? Why not? Not that I won't mind you not being brain damaged, but what changed your mind?"
"Peyton and Eli are the best players and they lost. Being better than them so I wouldn't lose sounds really hard," Caden explained. "I think I can't do it."
"Buddy - " "Kiddo - " Rodney and John ran over each other trying to explain.
John deferred to Rodney. "You first."
"Oh. Okay." He slid his hands up onto Caden's shoulders. "Kiddo, if you want to be the biggest, baddest, bestest football player in the whole world, then I'm sure and Daddy is sure that you can do it."
"It's not 'bestest', Papa, it's 'very best'."
"Yes, yes, I know, but that broke up the alliteration. And never mind alliteration, I'll explain that later. As I was saying, we are sure you can do it. You can do anything you set your mind to and we will help you as much as we can."
Out of the corner of his eye, Rodney saw John looking at him in amazement. That was a good look. Putting that look back on his face after Caden went to bed sounded like a good idea too. But back to immediate problems.
"All I mean is, you should play football if that's what you want to do, okay? Worry about winning the Super Bowl when you're a little older."
Caden sighed. "Are you sure?"
"Positive." Rodney patted his shoulders for emphasis.
"Daddy, are you sure?"
"Absolutely." John added a pat on his back.
"Can we get hot dogs at the park? I'm hungry." Oblivious to his non-sequitur, Caden slid off Rodney's lap and went to the coat closet, bobbing and weaving in some imaginary play pattern of his own design.
"He sure does take after you..." "That's you all over..."
"I'm not the foodie around here, McKay."
"And I'm not a charter member of the Bobby Flay fan club."
"Neither am I! He's a wimp. I just borrowed some of his recipes."
"Fan boy." Rodney got up off the couch and pulled John up behind him.
"Borrowed them and made them better."
"Likely story." Rodney grabbed John's shirt and pulled him in close. "How about this recipe?", he hissed. "You plus me minus the kid. Remove artificial outer skins. Add to bed. Mix."
John whispered back. "Sounds like a killer late night snack."
"Sooner we wear the kid out, the sooner we can cook." Rodney kissed John, at first soft, then easing into deep and urgent. Just as it was getting good, he was hit in the back of the knees and they both almost went over into the couch.
"Just playing football, Papa. 'Cause I want to." The impish grin of a miniature Sheppard.
"Your son is going to be the death of me yet, Sheppard."
"Not if I kill him first!" John scooted around Rodney and Caden squealed as he ran away in mock fear. Rodney joined the chase and the two of them managed to corner a giggling Caden back in the big chair.
Rodney picked him up and threw him over his shoulder. "Oh god. Either you're too big or I'm too old for this."
"You're old, Papa."
"Good, then I can claim senility next time you ask me for your allowance." He carried Caden back to the closet, and waited for John to dig out their coats.
"I'll ask Daddy for it."
"I got news for you. Daddy's older than Papa."
"No, he plays football. He's not old."
"And being an genius chess player and expert ice skater doesn't count for anything?"
Caden grinned and shook his head.
"Is that so? Well. Here, Sheppard. I think this is yours." Rodney pushed Caden over to John and turned away, arms folded, mouth taut. He wasn't really jealous of John, though. Well, maybe just a little. He felt a little body wrap around him from behind and grabbed on.
"Papa... I loves you!"
"More than football?"
"More than football!" He felt Caden kiss him on the head, and then John's firm hands on his shoulders, turning him around. And if Caden's declaration hadn't already transformed him into a puddle of goo, the smile in John's eyes surely finished the job.
“Me too, McKay. More than football.”