By Enola Jones

John paused in his typing and smiled down at the child in his lap. Rodney was staring, wide-eyed, at the screen.

He blinked and turned his head to focus that eager cobalt gaze on John. "Is it ready?"

"Almost, Buddy," John said. "I just gotta close the equation."


John smiled, even as his heart squeezed. "Because it's like a see-saw, remember? It's gotta balance or it won't do anything."

Never in John's deepest, most dark nighmares did he ever dream he'd be teaching Rodney McKay math.

Even though the five-year-old could already understand junior-high concepts.

Rodney nodded and turned back to the screen, balancing his hands like the see-saw Miko and Evan had created out on the Northern Pier. "Go on, Daddy," he cheered. "Make it balance!"

"Okay, then!" John resumed typing. "Wanna hit the equal sign for me?"

"Yeah!" Rodney poised his finger over the key.

"Go ahead."

Rodney hit it, grinning as the "=" appeared on the screen.

"Okay, here we go." John added another string of numbers, letters and symbols. "And....we're....done!" He lifted his hands from the keyboard.

Rodney frowned, turning again. "Nothing's happening."

"That's because I'm double-checking my work," John said as his eyes scanned the screen. "Making sure it's all down right."

"Like when Uncle Ronon writes one of his poems?"

John blinked, grinning down at him. "Yeah, exactly like that." It had been a surprise to find the fighter of few words had a poet's soul.

"Okay," John said. "Ready for the magic?"

"Yeah!" Rodney laughed.

"Press 'Enter', then."

Rodney obeyed, and gasped as the screen filled with a swirling, undulating pattern. "Is that it?" he whispered, his voice full of awed wonder.

"That's it," John said, running a hand over the boy's blond curls. "It's called a fractal, and it's creating a painting using equations."

Rodney turned awed eyes to him. "Can we use that for our Christmas cards, Daddy?"

John grinned at him. "We sure can, Buddy. Let me show you how to print it out...."


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