Title: Henry
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Summary: “’He’s a multi-directional, self-instructing, renewably charged cleaning bot.’
‘He’s basically a Henry hoover.’ John said. ‘But a little advanced.'”
John and Rodney add to their dysfunctional little family.
Author’s Note: Another fic in the Domestic UnBliss series.

Henry

John walked into his quarters with a happy anticipation that he’d come to realise he had never before felt when going into any of his residences. It had very little to do with his own mattress, clean clothes in the drawers or his favourite brand of coffee in the cabinets. The feeling stemmed from the knowledge that when he opened the door, someone would be waiting for him. Celo would wave at him from the wall-tank, maybe even haul himself out for a full-body cuddle if John had been gone too long. Rodney’s mess would be scattered over the desk, and the couch and, if he was lucky and timed it right, Rodney himself might be there, sharing lunch with Celo. At some point, having someone living with him would stop being so new and exciting. He thought the feeling of secure comfort would probably never leave.

He was off his guard, it was the only excuse he could think of. When he walked into the room and something skittered across the floor in front of him his first reaction was a panicked shout and to reach instinctively for a gun that wasn’t there.

“What? What happened?” Rodney shouted, running into the room from the bedroom. John was still panting in shock, looking for whatever it was that had moved in the room.

“Something – something moved.” John said, avoiding Rodney’s gaze. He caught sight of the thing again, peeking out from under the sofa, and promptly tried to pounce on it. He ignored Rodney’s cry from behind him, and cursed when the thing darted around him and escaped. He pulled back and frowned, the thing was… mechanical?

He turned around still on his knees and tried to see where the thing had gone. He stopped when he found Rodney glaring down at him, arms crossed, the creature peeking out from behind his legs.

“Rodney.” He said quietly. Rodney huffed and stared at him.

“John, what are you doing?”

“I saw something skittering around the room!” John protested, still eyeing the thing warily.

“So you screamed like a little girl and tried to jump on it?” Rodney retorted, and snorted at him.

“I didn’t scream like a girl!” John protested. Rodney laughed, arms dropping and body relaxing.

“Oh you did, you totally screamed like a girl. A twelve year old girl.”

“I hate you.” John said. He sighed, and looked at the little mechanical creature that had started edging slowly around Rodney’s shoes. “What is that thing anyway?”

“This? This is our new robot!” Rodney said, beaming at John again. He picked the thing up, where it appeared somehow to go – not dormant, but limp, like it was relaxing into Rodney’s hold. It was odd. Rodney handed it over to John, who took it gingerly and didn’t miss the legs promptly stiffening and coming out, like it was ready to jump down and run away.

“A robot.” John said sceptically. He looked it over, noting the bright red paint over its – hull? Shell?

“He’s a multi-directional, self-instructing, renewably charged cleaning bot. Radek painted him red..”

“He’s a hoover.”

“He’s so much more than a hoover! He can polish and tidy, and he has an internal CPU so he can process information – for example, he knows to clear the rubbish off my desk and clean my coffee cups, but he can distinguish my work and knows not to touch that.”

“He’s basically a Henry hoover.” John said. “But a little advanced.”

He’s so well advanced that he even appears to have a bit of a personality – which is why he hid from you. He’s a bit shy.”

John looked at the little robot in his hands, and he realised he could actually see it. The little machine was shaking a tiny bit, internal rotors working in a way that mimicked fear. John sighed and caved completely, stroking one hand soothingly over the red shell. Rodney knelt across from him, the smile on his face sweet and a little shy as well.

“Henry,” Rodney said, and smiled at John, who couldn’t help but smile back. “He likes it when you stroke his sensors.” Rodney murmured, stroking one hand very gently across one of the sensors on the side of the head part. “Just avoid his eyes.”

John stroked the sensor as well, feeling the robot go still in his arms and limp in a way that he realised was completely content. The little leg stalks withdrew into the body and the internal motor stopped running like the robot was trembling and prepared to run away. If it was a cat, it would be purring.

Rodney grinned encouragingly at him. “Celo likes Henry as well.” He offered, motioning to the cephalopod in the wall that waved one tentacle back lazily. John looked steadily at Rodney for a second, then leaned in and kissed him.

Henry, showing all the intelligence Rodney had bragged about, scooted out of the way as Rodney pushed forward, responding with gratifying enthusiasm to the unexpected kiss. John sighed into it and wrapped his arms around Rodney, thinking, ‘this is home’. It felt like family.

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