- Explicit Sex
- Science Fiction
“How are you settling in Chase?”
“It’s been great so far, sir,” Dr. Chase Harris said as he slid into place at the conference table. “I have a lot of catching up to do, and there are some issues in the infirmary which is why I requested the meeting with you, Dr. Weir, and Dr. McKay.”
McKay entered the conference room with Elizabeth. Both of them appeared to be out of sorts.
“What’s wrong?” John questioned.
“Stupid people doing stupid shit,” Rodney muttered under his breath.
“Yes, something like that,” Elizabeth agreed and went to get coffee. “Dr. Harris, you have the floor so go ahead and get started while I eat my feelings over here.”
Harris shared a look with John but then nodded. “Very well, as you may know, Dr. Kusanagi was having an allergic response to the penguin. We tried several different medicines and fortunately came up with a solution at the end of last week.”
John nodded. “I got an email from her letting me know that I could let Sebastian bring Avery back to her lab.”
“Fortunately, she just had some nasal decongestion, but it did highlight an issue that was largely ignored by Beckett and in turn his staff. Dr. McKay’s allergies are well known and documented, but he’s literally the only person on the whole city whose been tested thoroughly for allergy related issues on Earth. No one has been tested for allergies—not even common animals and plants—for the planet we’re living on. I’ve tasked Dr. Biro was testing every single person on the city for new allergen-specific antibodies—we started with Dr. Kusanagi since she had an active reaction to work with. I wish this was the only place where Beckett dropped the ball.” Harris sat back. “Not a single military asset on the city has had an annual exam since your arrival here in Pegasus. Most of the female civilians have scheduled and received their annual exam—not unexpected they’re used to scheduling and taking care of their yearly pap smear.”
“Is this something my team should’ve handled?” John questioned.
“It normally falls to the medical staff on the base to conduct a PHA event,” Harris said. “There has never been one on Atlantis.”
“Beckett is a civilian from Scotland,” John said. “I don’t think he ever…but he should’ve at least scheduled annual exams or passed it to me.”
“What’s a PHA?” Elizabeth questioned.
“Periodic Health Assessment,” Rodney said as he stared moodily into his coffee cup. “Health screening, basically. The SGC has them ever six months. I really didn’t notice that we weren’t having them.”
“Why every six months?” Elizabeth asked. “And not annually?”
“It would be stressful and difficult to get the whole Mountain in for assessment at the same time, so they stagger them,” John said. “We’ll have to do a staggered schedule ourselves since the infirmary couldn’t see every single member of the military in a single day.”
“I’m going to schedule a PHA every Monday for the next three months—we’ll work around schedules and the like to get everyone. Since most of the civilians haven’t bothered with it either—we’ll just do the whole population except for those who have had a workup done in the last six months.”
“Some of the civilians couldn’t pass a military physical,” Elizabeth pointed out.
Harris winced. “Ma’am, do you honestly think we need someone out here in a war zone who can’t pass a basic physical? But this is a readiness exam, not a field assessment. I won’t be checking their marksmanship or anything. Moreover, I need to know if someone has a condition that could lead to a stroke or a cardiac event.”
Elizabeth nodded. “Right, of course. We can address field assessments at another time. Atlantis wasn’t staffed as a combat posting, and perhaps that was a mistake from the very start.” She exhaled sharply and focused on John. “Colonel?”
“The ability to function in the field is important,” John allowed. “But there are valuable scientific assets that would never qualify. Too much science happens around here for us to try to place that kind of physical and mental burden on civilians. Some of them might do well in a controlled environment with a weapon then turn around, and others are a friendly fire waiting to happen. Some of them don’t even make it to work every day in appropriate clothing or even shoes in some cases.”
Elizabeth chuckled. “Simpson’s had that problem since I’ve known her—she just doesn’t care what’s on her feet. And on the city, she doesn’t have to worry about the weather so…well.” She shrugged. “But I do agree that it would be a detriment for us to try to force that kind of standard on some of the civilians. Those that do well in the field are the exception rather than the rule. I think sometimes, Dr. Jackson has given the rest of a false sense of prowess or maybe set a standard many would struggle to meet.”
“He was uniquely motivated,” John said. “After all, he joined a field team to search for his kidnapped wife.”
– – – –
“Nope,” Sebastian said firmly and Avery nooted curiously. A little sparkle of light danced in the air to his left, and he turned a sighed as the wall slowly faded to reveal a corridor. “Come on.”
A swirl of light traveled down one wall, and Avery wiggled excitedly in his carrier. He groaned and activated his radio only to be rewarded with a burst of static. Sebastian turned the radio off with a groan of frustration. Avery’s feet pushed against his back as the penguin lifted a little and rested his beak on Sebastian’s shoulder.
“Yeah, be curious,” the kid muttered. “From here. We’re not going down there.”
“No seriously. We’ll totally get grounded. You’ve never been grounded—it’s boring and sad.”
The swirls intensified, and he was reminded of the stardrive that almost exploded, and he groaned.
“Great, fantastic. I’m going to get grounded and lectured. Probably by multiple people. I’ll end up being escorted around the city by some giant Marine with no sense of humor who resents me from taking him away from real work and being turned into a babysitter for a ten-year-old who can’t do what he’s told.”
Avery wiggled excitedly as Sebastian started down the hall.
“And you’re an enabler, Avery. This is not how emotional support works. I’m going to look up some articles and read them to you so you’ll know your job. Because you only got one and you’re adorable, but you can’t get by on your looks forever.”
They turned the corner, and the walls were glowing like the city was excited. At the end of the hall, a pair of double doors slowly started to open.
“That looks like the start of a boss battle,” Sebastian said grimly. He tried activating his radio again, and it worked. He shifted through the channels with a series of taps until he reached the family channel. “Daddy.”
“Hey, buddy, how’s hydroponics?”
“I wouldn’t know—the city sort of lured me down a hall I’ve seen before. It’s not on the city plans.” He bit down on his lip as he listened to his dad hiss and curse under his breath. “Sorry.”
“No, it’s…well, it’s not fine, but I understand. I know how distracting and alluring she can be. Don’t move, I have McKay searching for you right now. Is everything okay?”
“Yeah, I mean except I standing in front of a pair of double doors that look more like secure lab doors than regular doors. Total boss battle territory.” He bit down on his lip when his dad laughed a little. “I think the hall was hidden by some kind of security hologram or something. Very Star Trek.”
“That’s got Janus written all over it,” McKay cut in. “Do not touch anything, I mean it.”
“I’m not in the room,” Sebastian protested. “There could be some kind of creature in there or some Ancient experiment gone wrong. Or both.” He huffed when they both laughed at him. “So listen, what are the chances I’m not going to get grounded for this?”
“Zero,” John answered from behind him with a whole group of people.
Sebastian turned and shut off his radio. “Daddy, Dr. McKay.” He paused. “Marines, etc.”
Avery nooted his own greeting.
Rodney sighed and gave him a look that spoke to a very long lecture as he passed him. “Don’t you move.”
“Yes, sir.” He saluted, and that earned him a brief glare. “Not moving, seriously.”
“I bet your whole paternal line is full of fluffy-haired idiots who can’t follow instructions.”
“Rude, McKay,” John said and hooked his finger into the strap of Avery’s carrier. He pulled gently and motioned for one of the men with them to follow McKay.
“John? I’m going to need him.”
“What? No, McKay. Come on.”
“No choice,” McKay said flatly. “The single console in this room is asking for him by name.”
Sebastian winced. “I…I won’t touch anything, Daddy. I promise.”
“Take Avery off,” John said shortly. “I need you to be able to move quickly if something goes wrong.”
Sebastian put his messenger bag by the wall and loosened the straps of Avery’s carrier. “If I put him down, he’ll follow me in there.”
“That’s why Chief Frost is going to penguinsit.” He jerked his head toward one of the larger marines. “Right, Frost?”
“Sure,” he said with a grin. “The Navy trained me extensively for that duty.”
Sebastian raised an eyebrow but gamely handed Avery over. “He’ll act like has to go potty to get down. Don’t fall for it.” He turned to find his dad holding a hand, so he took it. “What do you think she wants with me?”
“I don’t know.”
John ignored the way his stomach tightened with worry as he led his son into the room. He wanted to pick the kid up and run for the stargate. It wasn’t the first time he’d had that urge. John had never once thought that the city could be manipulating him, but she was clearly leading his son around in a disturbing way. It didn’t feel malicious but it also clearly wasn’t safe, and he wasn’t sure what he could about it. His son was safest on Atlantis, which was appalling on several levels, but he needed the city to back off a little. He wasn’t sure how to ask.
He kept Sebastian far enough from the console that he couldn’t reach out and touch it even by accident. A slim glass panel slid out of the back of the console and displayed a ZPM. The image spread out into a series of structural design images, and John took a ragged breath.
“That’s a ZPM,” John said.
“Yes, it is,” Rodney murmured. “The city has changed….ah. I see.”
“She incorporated some of my Mini-Z design into the ZPM,” Sebastian said. “Oh, she doesn’t want you to retrofit the ZPM cradle, does she?”
“No, she greatly prefers the ZPM, but it looks like she’s used your work to fix the depletion problem,” Rodney said. “Or at least slow it down so much that she’s quadrupled the life of a single ZPM.”
“She wants to use naquadah to build her maze,” Sebastian said and leaned forward just a bit to stare at the image. “Something we couldn’t do if we wanted to manufacture on Earth. Can we work naquadah like that?”
“No, but apparently she can,” Rodney said. “This part of the lab is dormant. There must be other control centers.”
“How dormant?” John questioned.
“Offline since the Ancients left if not longer,” McKay said. “Per Old Elizabeth, they had three full ZPMs, so they didn’t need to run the lab at that point. They were still converting facilities to use ZPMs, and there are plenty out there that rely on other energy sources. They must have stopped converting facilities when they realized they couldn’t win against the Wraith.”
“Well, they were never really invested in winning that fight, to begin with,” Sebastian said. “They always had somewhere to retreat to, and they didn’t consider this galaxy their home. Giving it up to the Wraith probably didn’t bother them at all.” He tilted his head. “What does she want with me? She’s already done all the work.”
“Permission,” McKay said. “She’s apparently been paying attention to us in a way I hadn’t anticipated. The city knows it would be inappropriate to use your work in her design without permission.”
“Oh.” Sebastian flushed. “That’s so weird. Okay, she can use it.”
The glass panel slid back down into the console, and a large window appeared in front of the console. John edged them closer but kept a firm grip on his kid. Below them, a single pedestal stood in a small white room. A swarm of nanites poured down out of the ceiling and started to work.
“Holy shit,” Sebastian breathed.
McKay snorted. “Get him out of here, John. And set up security for this whole area. We can’t afford any mistakes in here. Supergene plus stray thought could equal disaster.”
John picked his son up and made for the door.
“Have fun making ZPMs, Dr. McKay.”
“Go to hydroponics and feed your penguin,” McKay ordered over his shoulder.
– – – –
McKay sat down in front of Weir’s desk beside John. “So.”
“We don’t have to do an all-out search of the city to find the nanite lab, now,” McKay said cheerfully.
Elizabeth pinched her nose and closed her eyes briefly. “Rodney.”
“I get that you’re concerned—that you both are—but we can’t control Sebastian’s connection with the city any more than we can control John’s. She obviously pays very close attention to him, and I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing. The more power we give her, the more she can do. She obviously wants to be a full power because everything she’s done since his arrival has been working toward that goal. She used him to reveal the cause of the power drain, she used him to further John’s access in the control chair so the stardrive could be repaired.”
“Speaking of the stardrive, where is it?” John questioned.
“Back where it belongs,” Rodney said. “I had Miko check. It’s fully operational, except for the fact that we don’t have enough power to use it. Nothing terrible has happened because the city finds it easier to communicate with Sebastian.”
“So far,” John said. “I’ve been trying to pay more attention to her, but I spent too much time pushing her aside. I don’t think she resents me for it, but she’s used to only being able to get my full attention when something is very wrong or dangerous. I want to believe she wouldn’t put Sebastian in harm’s way but…we don’t know enough about what is going on beyond our reach to make that determination.”
“We know she’ll push you when things are dangerous,” McKay interjected. “We also know that she didn’t try to compel him to enter the room.”
“But she did prevent him from reaching out to me when she first caught his attention. He said his radio wouldn’t work.”
“I know, I checked that. He was in a dead spot for the network. There is no signal there at all. I think it’s because of the security field that normally hides the corridor,” Rodney said. “So she didn’t do that on purpose—no one’s radio is going to work there ever as long as the security is activated and we should certainly leave it activated. Currently, only gene carriers can enter that area and only when the city allows it. Which is definitely for the best.”
John relaxed and took a deep breath. “Okay. I want to take him off-world.”
“To what end?” Elizabeth asked curiously. “And which world would be safest?”
“I need to make sure the city will let him leave,” Sheppard admitted. “And I thought I’d just go back through the gate bridge and check the progress of Midway while I’m there.”
“I wouldn’t mind seeing that myself,” Rodney admitted. “We don’t have to tell him what we’re testing. I think it would freak him out.”
“Yeah,” John said. “Agreed.”
– – – –
Avery was nooting hysterically as they cleared the wormhole. John looked over his shoulder and found his son struggling to contain the bird.
“He did not like that,” Sebastian said wryly.
“Well the first trip through can be traumatic for some,” John said. “Even super cold in some cases and despite his species he’s from tropical waters. The trip back should be fine. If not, we’ll have to be careful about how and when we take him through the gate to avoid traumatizing him unduly.”
Sebastian nodded and bit down on his lip as he rubbed the bird’s back.
“Come up here and check out the space construction,” Rodney suggested.
John shifted the jumper around to give them the best view. About ten pen people were working on the exterior of the station in space suits. There was a shimmer of gold around the whole thing indicating a shield of some sort. “Asgard shields?”
“Yes, built especially for the station,” Rodney said. He reached out and took Avery from Sebastian and put him down in his own lap. “Calm down, bird, you’re going to miss out on cool stuff if you can’t handle stargate travel.”
Sebastian leaned against John’s chair as he stared at the nearly-built station. “It’s a huge security liability for Earth.”
“How so?” John questioned. He knew how but he wanted to hear what the kid was thinking.
“Right now only Atlantis can be used to dial Earth. Since you used Pegasus gates to build our half of the system, they’re connected with the others. We run the risk of them being exposed, and the Wraith do know we come from a different galaxy. What if a smart one figures out how to hack into the bridge and use it to get to Earth? Or worse, another planet and we never even know about it. They could spread through the Milky Way like a plague.” Sebastian frowned at the station. “I’m not sure a better connection with Earth is worth the risks, honestly.”
John actually agreed, but the IOA had been adamant about the construction of the station.
“What are some ways you’d use to secure it?” McKay questioned.
“Ancient DHD like on Atlantis so only gene carriers can use it,” Sebastian said. “Sensors to detect both Goa’uld and Wraith. The last thing Pegasus needs is a Goa’uld acting like a savior and enslaving them in the process. Dr. Weir says that sometimes people can be so desperate for safety that they’ll sacrifice everything to get. A Goa’uld could have a field day in Pegasus using that mentality against the people who are the hit the hardest by the Wraith or even the ones that already suffer from desperation-fed poor decision making like the Genii. A dead man’s switch.”
“I’m already building a sensor to detect Wraith and to prevent them dialing certain gate addresses in the Pegasus system,” Rodney said. “Midway will be protected from that.”
“Unless they can force a human to do the dialing for them,” Sebastian said and raised an eyebrow when McKay looked at him. “You said some Wraith are scary smart. If they notice someone using the Midway gate address successfully how long would it take them to suss out they need to use a human dialer?”
“Not long at all,” Rodney conceded. “I couldn’t prevent that—what if one of our teams was seeking shelter and were on the ground fighting a Wraith?” He took a deep breath. “I’ll keep thinking.”
“Wide spectrum stunning upon entry,” John interjected. “We learned from the Genii that even our IDC system isn’t foolproof. But if we had a system set up in the gate room and on Midway to stun anyone or anything coming through the gate unauthorized—we could sort them out unconscious. Maybe certain genetic signatures are stunned on sight, and there would be an option for person operating the gate to stun travelers as needed.”
“I’m not sure Chuck needs that kind of power,” Rodney said thoughtfully. “He’s Canadian, and we have a lot of built up resentment.”
Rodney glanced at his tablet as it pinged. “We’re getting a communication from the last Earth gate.” He hummed under his breath. “Data package.”
“How’d they know we’d be here?” Sebastian asked curiously.
“We sent a message using the communication buoys telling them that we were going to visit the construction site,” John explained. “There is an Earth ship in the area. They’re housing the work crew for the project and also helping with the construction when problems arise. We wanted to make sure the Apollo was aware of us and didn’t mistake us for an enemy.”
“Does the Apollo have an Asgard engineer?”
“No, the Daedalus was the prototype, and it was the first we’d integrated Asgard and Earth tech,” Rodney said. “Hermiod requested to join the crew to monitor the integration then stayed because he liked it.”
“Cool.” Sebastian looked out the window. “We should probably ask the geneticist on the city to look at the Ancient database for information to help the Asgard. I mean, they were supposed to be super advanced right? They created the ATA gene so one would assume their research into genetics is quite extensive.”
“I’ll send a memo,” Rodney said absently. “Transmission complete. We can go back to the city now if you’d like, John.”
John glanced his way and found Rodney frowning at the tablet. “What is it?”
“This entire data package is for you,” Rodney said.
– – – –
Jesus fucking Christ. I don’t even know what to say to you. I wasn’t sure I wanted to know what you were doing but as you suspected my curiosity got the best of me and I met with O’Neill. Besides that very long NDA, I also ended up signing sixteen different contracts for Sheppard Industries.
David is currently at the SGC and said he’d make sure our packet of emails and videos would reach you as soon as possible. Matt is in Nevada working on the next generation of the X-302. They’re both excited to be a part of the whole thing but also horrified to learn the history of the SGC. I’m in Washington, but I’ll be returning to Virginia to start retooling several aspects of SI to deal with the new contracts. I did hire Nancy—I need all the engineering help I can get. I didn’t know her maiden name because you eloped, you little shit, and introduced your new wife as Nancy Sheppard.
I had two Trust spies in my company and on NID agent undercover. We’re still reviewing personnel files and background checks. I expect to find more. I had one of the Trust spies charged with industrial espionage, so that made me feel better. I’ve had a meeting with the POTUS and O’Neill about the both the Trust and the NID. You can be assured that I’m doing everything I can to make sure this planet is safe for you and Sebastian.
I checked on the lawyer handling Karen Reilly’s estate and hired an auditor to review the finances. Everything is in proper order, and he makes the appearance of being an honest man. I’ll keep an eye on that regardless.
I was furious to discover that Sebastian is with you in Pegasus. I get it, of course, but I’m horrified that removing him from the planet was the safe choice, for fuck’s sake. I’ve seen some video footage of the Wraith. The fact that he’s safer in a galaxy overrun with space vampires than on the planet he was born on is…well. I’m sure you feel exactly the same way about it.
I’d very much like to see a picture of this emotional support penguin.
– – – –
Your father is a terrible human being.
– – – –
I’m never, ever going to forgive you for flying space ships and not telling me. I don’t care that it was classified, you asshole.
Your son is beautiful, and we can’t wait to meet him. Claire sends her best. Nancy is working for SI now, Dad said you suggested it. I’d honestly forgotten how much I liked that woman, so I’m glad she’s on board. She’s doing a great job. Nancy and Claire are now best friends. Sorry. I’m not sure what I should do about it? I mean I know you guys weren’t hostile when you divorced. Also, Nancy went out on a date with Colonel Cameron Mitchell. I checked around—he appears to be the okay sort. I’ll keep an eye on that situation.
To give you a head’s up that even Dad isn’t aware of—Matt wants to come to Atlantis. I don’t think any of us are getting a choice in that. Just FYI. He’s pitching an idea about outfitting the city with X-302s to O’Neill and coming out there as the engineer for the project. He’s been at a bit of a loose end since grad school. I think he really wanted to join the Navy but didn’t want to have that fight with Dad. Regardless, you will soon have one adult child and one actual child to deal with on a regular basis.
– – – –
Can you check around and see if you can find a room close to yours for my quarters? I’m bringing twelve pilots and with X-302s to match on the next Daedalus run. David knows it might happen and Dad is entirely in the dark. Also, make a list of anything you and Sebastian might need since I’m currently packing. I think we’ll have one more data burst from Atlantis before I leave.
– – – –
“Thank you for agreeing to speak with me today.”
Sebastian stopped watching Avery who was sprawled in the sun next to the window in Dr. Thomas Grant’s office. “Daddy’s worried about me, and I was rude to Dr. Heightmeyer. I didn’t mean to be. I just couldn’t…stand to be around her another second.”
“Because she reminds you for your mother?”
“Yes.” Sebastian frowned. “And it makes me…” He exhaled sharply. “I’d give anything to have her back, but then I wouldn’t have Daddy so it’s all just hard and I can’t figure out how I could have them both with me. It’s all really unfair.” He picked at the seam of his jeans. “But life isn’t fair, right? My mom put me in school when I was five, but I don’t think she realized then how…smart I was because I was around all of these other five-year-olds and most of them could barely write their name. A few of them knew the alphabet, but none could really read. I felt like a freak. It was unfair, so I tried to blend in. I tried to be just like the others but I wasn’t, and it got really hard to pretend.”
“So you stopped pretending?”
“I lasted until Christmas,” Sebastian admitted. “And my mom went to school to ask that I be evaluated. I tested right out of elementary school much to the surprise of everyone. My mom taught me to read when I was three, and she really didn’t pay attention to what I read. She was very hands off on that front actually. She said I should explore the world and everything in it but my world was kind of small at the time so I explored her bookshelf. By the time I started school, I’d read everything in the house except for her romance books which she kept in her room.”
“Your mother had a doctorate in marine biology.”
“So you read her textbooks, her research….” Grant trailed off.
“And a full set of Encyclopedia Britannica,” Sebastian said and shrugged when the psychologist’s mouth dropped open. “I have a good but not perfect memory.” He frowned. “But the assessments made everyone look at me like I was a freak. Everyone but my mom. The school didn’t know what to do with me, so she withdrew me and started homeschooling. The state really didn’t know what to do with me either but decided I should start with sixth-grade work.”
“And you’re now, technically, a junior in high school.”
“Yes, but I could take and pass the GED at any point. I mean I could’ve done that two years ago but mom didn’t want me in college at eight. She said, she’d prefer that I be at least sixteen.”
“Many parents would’ve pushed you harder.”
“She said being a child genius was burden enough and that she didn’t want to force me to grow up too fast. Mom always thought it was appalling and kind of sad to see a little kid in college at an extremely young age. She said it was more about their parent’s vanity that the kid’s actual needs or desires. And she’s right about that part—I really don’t want to be in college right now. I don’t need that structure to learn or grow as a person. I’ll go eventually, but it can wait a while. I can probably do my undergraduate work here on the city as a long distance student.” He grinned. “A really really long distance student.”
Grant laughed. “There are study groups and the like for the enlisted men and women on the city pursuing undergraduate degrees.”
“I know. I visited one early on. It was a lot of fun, but I decided I probably shouldn’t attend them often since they are all enlisted and my Daddy’s their CO. I don’t want to make them uncomfortable.”
“What do you miss most about your mom?”
“Her laugh,” Sebastian said wistfully. “When she got really amused—she’d laugh so hard she’d get hiccups. I miss that. She made me Mikey Mouse pancakes on Sundays, and I pretended to be appalled by her tribute to capitalism.” He wiped at the tears he couldn’t keep at bay. “She loved to wear yellow. I had Mr. Blake buy her a new yellow dress for the funeral part, and we got her yellow roses. She looked so peaceful and pretty in the casket…like she hadn’t been hurt horribly. Mr. Blake thanked the man at the funeral home for making her like so nice. I hated that, and I don’t know why. She would’ve wanted to look nice.”
Grant passed him some tissues. “Perhaps seeing her like that made it difficult for you to process because she didn’t look deceased.”
Sebastian shuddered. “Yeah, probably. I had them close the casket for the actual service. Mr. Blake cried.”
“I tried not to. I wanted to be strong for him because Mom wasn’t there to make him feel better and I thought…she’d have wanted me to help him. But after the service, we just sat there together and cried. He’s a good person. Daddy said I could email him, but I don’t know what to say.”
“Tell him about your studies in a general way and make sure he knows you’re safe and happy,” Grant suggested. “It’s what I’d want to know in his place.”
“He loved my mom,” Sebastian said. “He asked me a few weeks before she died if it would be okay if he asked her to marry him. I told him she was allergic to weddings and he just laughed. He said he was going to try anyway because she was worth it. He said I could call him Mason and he asked me if it would be okay if he called me his son and I said…yes.” He bit down on his lip. “Do you think that would make Daddy mad?”
“No,” Grant said gently. “Of course, not. I’m sure your father would be relieved to know you had a good man in your life when he wasn’t there. You can tell him if you’d like—I don’t think he’d be surprised.”
Sebastian nodded. “I hurt him—Mr. Blake.”
“How?” Grant asked.
“He asked me if I wanted to stay with him, but I knew I couldn’t. I knew he wouldn’t be safe because….well. My mom’s death wasn’t an accident, and I didn’t want him to get hurt. I didn’t know why she was killed at first but…” He exhaled. “But I figured it had something to do with me then General O’Neill came, so I agreed to go with him to meet my Daddy.”
“I’m sure Mr. Blake understands.”
“I hope so,” Sebastian said and picked up Avery who’d waddled across the room to him. “I wouldn’t want him to get killed because of me like my mom did.”