Seamus had been a firm believer in alien life forms long before he was ever recruited into the SGC. Granted, he’d been more of a little green men, protective foil hats, anal probes fan at the time - he was still pretty sure the Asgard weren’t divulging all their kinks to the human race – but when the American government came knocking, he’d braved through his disappointment, closed up the tiny alien welcome center he’d been running out of his mum’s attic, and moved to Colorado.
Technically, he was an anthropologist, but mainly he’d been strong-armed into the program because he’d taught himself Ancient – which he’d penned Early Martian – and managed to hail an Asgard spaceship, thus gaining their admittedly absent and only slightly quizzical attention, without even possessing the coveted ATA gene.
His mum had called him gifted growing up, but his da always claimed he was a neurotic optimist with a dangerously large brain and a mild case of Tourette’s. Seamus tended to think his da had the right of it – though Seamus was just generally foul-mouthed and he’d grown out of the compulsive hand-washing, forehead swiping and completely justified midnight bouts of vacuuming by the time he’d left for uni - but since he was currently living in an entirely different galaxy, he figured the large brain was a good thing, and that his neuroses just helped him fit in.
Seamus was close to a select few in Pegasus. Most notably Ron and Finch-Fletchly, because Seamus was self-admittedly annoying, and Ron had adopted a fatalistic attitude that mainly turned people off, and Finch-Fletchly was possibly the most obnoxious man in two galaxies.
So there was Seamus, sugar-happy, and Ron, man-shaped Eeyore, and Finch-Fletchly, indescribably disgusting in all ways, and then there was Hannah, who was like Katie Brown – cheerful enough to make even Seamus want to fucking off himself occasionally - only more power hungry. Seamus thought if anything ever happened to Dr. Weir and Sheppard and Dr. McKay and Carson, Hannah would be battling Chuck for dominion over the control room. And she’d probably win.
He was friends with Hermione, but Hermione didn’t count. He only ever saw her once every two weeks on stuffed shells day in the commissary, except when Ron was dying, of course. Or threatening to die, or getting captured by Wraith, or possibly shagging Malfoy. Since all these things and more had been suspect over the past few months, Seamus spent an inordinate amount of time with her in the infirmary, trying to approximate how many bits of broken pottery he could stick in her hair without her noticing.
He’d only actually tried it once. Hermione was sort of scary.
Seamus had a secret crush on Major Lorne that wasn’t so secret, since Seamus couldn’t keep his mouth shut about anything. Lorne started actively ignoring him, and Seamus started leaving anonymous love notes – read: smutty poems - in his locker. Not that he thought it’d lead anywhere, but Lorne was adorable when he blushed.
A plump little botanist with dark, too-long hair and big ears had a secret crush on Seamus that wasn’t so secret, since he’d made the mistake of telling Finch-Fletchly, and Finch-Fletchly was the biggest sleaze in Pegasus.
Also, Finch-Fletchly was a fifteen-year-old girl.
He jostled Seamus’ elbow and snickered when Neville stumbled into the mess, scrubbing fingers over bleary eyes. It was late, but everyone kept weird hours on Atlantis, so there was a steady supply of something in the mess at all times. A smattering of scientists and a couple of Marines were at various tables around the room.
Seamus pinched Flinch-Fletchly’s arm and hissed at him to stop giggling. Neville was all right. He was sort of cute, in a shy, bumbling way, and he was brilliant with plants. Which, okay, wasn’t too impressive, but he wasn’t McKay. Botany was a completely valid science.
Neville blushed red to the roots of his hair when he caught him staring, and Finch-Fletchly started convulsing with little gasps of stifled laughter, and Seamus slapped the side of his head.
“Ow! Fucker,” Finch-Fletchly growled, giving him a good hard shove.
Seamus shoved back, and then Finch-Fletchly twisted his nipple and Seamus kicked him in the shins, and it was late, and they might’ve been a bit punchy, and Ron ambled up with his ho-hum frown just as Seamus was about to shove a perfectly good bowl of jell-o down Finch-Fletchly’s trousers.
“You do that and McKay’ll have your head,” Ron pointed out.
Seamus glanced down at the jell-o poised for destruction, his fingers hooked in Finch-Fletchly’s belt-loop. It was blue, too.
He sighed and stepped away from the food. “Thanks, droopy.”
Ron narrowed his eyes. “Har har, Seam.”
“Honestly,” Seamus went on, “you’d think shagging Malfoy regularly would turn your frown upside-down.”
“I’m not shagging Malfoy, regularly or otherwise.” He said it tiredly, though, as if he was sick of protesting the fact.
Which was Seamus’ point entirely, since if Ron really was shagging Malfoy, he wouldn’t be tiredly disputing it. It was a vicious cycle of needless celibacy, and it wasn’t as if Malfoy wasn’t willing. Anyone with eyes could see he’d been lying in wait for the brawny redhead for months. Maybe Ron would stop being such a gloomy gus if he was getting laid on a routine basis.
Although a great deal of Ron’s morose outlook on life in Pegasus had to do with the sad fact that the galaxy itself seemed to be trying to kill him – more so than the rest of them, that is, what with the constant threat of Wraith and robots and fashionably-challenged Genii with their overabundance of shiny buttons.
“How’s the chess game going?” Seamus asked, rolling his eyes.
Ron, typically, ignored him and limped – which Seamus was just insensitive enough to think was cool, yet romantically tragic, thus proving that he was also, in fact, a fifteen-year-old girl - towards that day’s pasta surprise.
Seamus was pretty sure the surprise was that it tasted like old shoes and parmesan cheese. Luckily, Seamus was particularly fond of cheese.
Seamus was ace at first contact. He was charming and witty without coming off too smarmy – which was Finch-Fletchly’s downfall, though the charm and wit were arguable in his case. But since Seamus’ off-world team, led by the estimable Lieutenant Townsend Hicks, was comprised of Finch-Fletchly and that twitchy Canadian private, Teague, they weren’t all that successful with trade.
They got shot at a lot. Mainly by people with horrible aim, though, and they held the record for most missions gone pear-shaped with the least amount of injuries.
When Dr. Weir started giving them the boring, uninhabited planets, Finch-Fletchly started bringing along his stash of hooch. So that was why they were all completely pissed when the flying monkeys attacked on PX5. They weren’t actually flying monkeys, but they made howler cries and Teague was screaming something about opposable thumbs and it was really, really dark outside the ring of firelight. Feathers were involved, and clothes-ripping, and something sticky-sweet, and Hicks was just sober enough to remember to send his IDC through to Atlantis before fleeing into the puddle.
They got the mother of all dressing-downs, standing in the gateroom wearing the bare minimum of underwear with disgusting yellow goop all over their heads and trying very hard not to giggle, because that was bound to just make everything worse.
As it was, they were confined to Atlantis for the foreseeable future, grounded with city exploration. Hicks kept saying bummer and Teague’s shorts, elastic torn, kept falling past his skinny arse and Sheppard looked a little like he wanted to giggle himself.
City exploration wasn’t so bad. It would’ve been better with the gene, but the therapy didn’t take. Seamus was crushed about that, since lighting things up with his mind would’ve been fantastic and Finch-Fletchly was a bitch who wouldn’t shut up about how amazing it was and how he sometimes heard Atlantis talking.
And if Seamus had to sit through another fucking hour of Finch-Fletchly petting a blinking console, high as a fucking spaceship, pupils big as five pence, he’d have to kill somebody. Hicks was completely out of it, as well, and Teague was busy trying to push him off his lap and alternately banging his head on the wall out of sheer frustration.
Hannah was talking them through it, since the city had decided all four of them were contaminated, even though Hicks and Finch-Fletchly were the only ones showing symptoms – and had been showing symptoms for the past three hours, and Seamus really, really didn’t get paid enough for this shit.
“You’ve taken their weapons, right?” Hannah asked, almost as an afterthought, and of course they had, because they weren’t stupid, except Finch-Fletchly occasionally fancied himself a ninja (which he insisted Dex, his personal hero, actually was) and had also received the highest marks ever in “Hive Ship Survival” – he’d gotten a little medal from Sheppard and flashed it whenever possible. He hid knives in his boots and the small of his back and taped to his upper thighs so when he dropped his drawers and rolled behind the computer console he’d been nearly humping minutes before, Seamus reckoned they were all in an enormous amount of trouble.
Hannah insisted the cut running the length of his cheek made him look dashing, and Carson assured him it wouldn’t scar. Maybe a bit of a white ridge if he didn’t stop picking at it. Seamus pouted and Carson clucked his tongue, and Finch-Fletchly had the nerve to find the whole thing incredibly funny.
“Oh, come on, I didn’t stab you or anything,” he said, grinning winningly, which was certainly true. He’d stabbed Teague in the foot, though, and left the private shouting about gangrene and peglegs and Carson actually had to knock him out completely to treat the minor wound.
Ron sat next to him on the exam table, and Seamus gripped his hand manfully when Hannah sewed him up. He felt a new appreciation for Ron’s stoicism as he forced down a grimace. Imagining suffering through having his leg mauled was enough to make him lightheaded, and he was suddenly jealous of Teague’s unconscious body on the next bed over.
Ron chuckled and squeezed his fingers. “You’re fine, Seam.”
“Am I rakishly—”
“Don’t talk,” Hannah admonished, nails digging into his jaw to keep him still.
“You’ll look just like a space pirate,” Ron said, nodding, because he always knew exactly how to talk to Seamus, despite being terribly depressing on the whole, and it was one of the things Seamus loved best about him. Space pirate. Brilliant.
“Dr. McKay is fucking sexy.”
Ron blinked at him. “You’re aware you’ve said that out loud, right?”
“God. Yes. I mean.” Seamus squirmed in his seat. He’d gotten yelled at again. He had to stop getting into those situations, because Dr. McKay yelling at him was hot, and Colonel Sheppard would kill him.
Across the commissary, McKay was loudly berating Ellis and jabbing the air emphatically with his fork and Seamus couldn’t help himself.
Ron followed his line of sight, and then gave an exaggerated roll of his eyes. “Stop staring at him.”
Right. He shouldn’t stare, because staring would lead to more yelling, and also Sheppard in a jealous rage. He’d never actually seen Sheppard in a jealous rage before, but when Seamus was in a mood – read: horny – his eyes threatened jealous rage, and Seamus was almost always not willing to press his luck. Bonding over Roxette only stretched so far, even if they both knew all the words to Joyride.
Finch-Fletchly dropped into the chair next to him, tray clattering on the table. “Teague’s driving me bloody mad.”
“You stabbed him,” Seamus pointed out.
“Last week. You’d think he’d be over it by now. What’s this?” He poked at a mound of green spongy things with his spoon.
“Roughage,” Seamus said.
“Actually, it’s, uh, similar to a classification of Taraxacum.”
Seamus tipped his head back. Neville was fidgeting behind him, gripping a tray with white-knuckled fingers.
“Like a, a,” he stuttered slightly, and Seamus couldn’t help but find that slightly endearing, “dandelion.”
Seamus smiled upside-down. “Roughage.”
“Right.” Neville grinned back at him. He had dimples.
“Right, well,” Finch-Fletchly knocked a bony elbow into Seamus’ side, “thanks, Longbottom.”
Seamus jerked his head back up and shoved Finch-Fletchly’s arm away, growled, “Wanker,” and Ron looked at them both with furrowed brows.
“Seriously, when did you two turn twelve?” he asked. “I would’ve gotten you a pony.”
“Fifteen,” Seamus automatically corrected. Finch-Fletchly sniggered behind his hand, and Seamus sent him a dirty look, then added grandly, “And ponies are appreciated all year round.”
So far, Seamus had only been frightened out of his mind two times in Pegasus. Once, when Ron’d been calmly and steadily drowning on the collapsed south pier, and Seamus had been impotently stuck on the other side of the city, connected to him only by his comm. link. He’d been starkly, silently terrified, and he knew there were much worse ways to go, much worse fates to face in the galaxy, but the thought of Ron being there one moment, talking to him, and then suddenly not being there, had given him nightmares for months.
The second time was when Miller’s team took Finch-Fletchly for an extra pair of engineering hands and disappeared for two weeks.
Ron was pale and hollow-eyed, and Seamus left his radio tuned to the control room every night, and Hicks and Teague had to bully him into eating, because everything tasted like paste, sticking to the back of his throat.
He was useless for three days straight, wandering around Atlantis like a zombie. Then McKay snapped at him to get his act together, and he threw himself into his work, burying himself in sector four, lab five, under mounds of Ancient tech, and he didn’t surface until the ‘gate opened up nearly twelve days later. Samuels and Lee were holding Malfoy up in between them, Finch-Fletchly limping tiredly behind.
They’d lost Miller.
Ron clenched his jaw and stood silently next to Seamus and Hicks and Teague in the infirmary late into the night, ‘til Carson ‘rounded a curtain, yawning wide, surprised to see them still there. Then he shooed them out of the room with assurances that Malfoy was stable, Finch-Fletchly’s ankle was only sprained, and they were all just dehydrated and malnourished. It was nothing that a few days in the infirmary wouldn’t fix.
Seamus felt like crying. He figured he was just overtired.
“Hey, look.” Finch-Fletchly wriggled his hand out from behind his back and waved at Seamus. “These knots just slip apart.”
Seamus kicked him. “Stop it. You’ll ruin their fun,” he said, because of course the knots just slipped apart. Seamus was holding his together with the tips of his fingers.
“What’s more fun than chasing us down again?” Finch-Fletchly asked.
It was a good point, actually. They were playing space explorers and vengeful villagers with Mahim, Lally and Tim on the mainland, and Seamus could hear Teague shouting from somewhere deep in the forest, and Hicks was giving the all-clear owl-hoot he liked to use on away missions.
“All right. Let’s make a break for it,” Seamus said, shaking off his bindings and moving into a crouch. “Ready?”
Finch-Fletchly nodded, and just as they were about to disappear into the tree line, Hicks’ owl-hoot segued into the duck call that sounded more like a kazoo than a duck, and Teague broke into the clearing, face streaked with mud, Lally on his heels and menacingly brandishing a half-rotted tree branch.
Seamus and Finch-Fletchly froze in place, and Teague yelped, “Run away, run away!” as he flew past, Lally laughing manically behind him, proving that kids were kids no matter where you went, and they all thought beating up adults was the funniest thing ever.
For the first time in a good long while, Seamus felt a little homesick.
Ron and Malfoy were hardly ever in a room at the same time – except when either of them were hurt, or when they happened to accidentally synchronize their mealtimes, which led to brooding, lustful stares from Malfoy and complete obliviousness from Ron – and that was utterly ridiculous, so when Seamus caught Malfoy rubbing his chin over the ever-present chess board in the common lounge, he was sorely tempted to hold the blond down and radio Ron.
Instead, he snuck up behind him and shouted, “Boo!” in his ear, because watching Malfoy jump with that little girl squeal never got old.
Then he smoothed down the front of his shirt and arched a slim brow at him and said, “Someday, Finnigan, you’ll get a knife through your throat for your troubles.”
“But not today,” Seamus said cheerily. Plus, he knew Sheppard made doubly sure Malfoy didn’t carry any weapons when he wasn’t off-world ever since the giant seagull incident out on the eighty-third balcony. Malfoy had insisted it’d been trying to eat his eyeballs, but Ron ended up having to care for three giant, demanding seagull babies for five months.
He considered giving Malfoy a bit of free advice on the Ron front, but the pathetic mooning was actually kind of entertaining, and Ron may’ve had his own speed for doing things, but he got to the finish line eventually.
Seamus was the sort who’d rather run than fight. Sometimes that wasn’t an option, of course, and he’d taken all the required classes, including “Identifying Genii Weaponry” and “Zealous Humanoid Factions in Pegasus That Want You Dead” and “The Wraith and You” – Seamus strongly considered requisitioning chain mail covered Kevlar after that one, but he had a feeling not even layers would help with those Claws of Death – so he knew by the slim, knobby guns that the backwater natives on MM3-477 were old, uninformed allies of the Genii Brotherhood that they’d probably armed and promptly forgotten about.
It just figured that their first time allowed back through the ‘gate would end up with them imprisoned in an underground bunker.
Finch-Fletchly tried to reason with them, highlighting why they never, ever let Finch-Fletchly do the talking, since he just ended up with a bloody nose. And somehow a screaming match sparked between them, with Seamus accusing Finch-Fletchly of sabotaging all his chances of getting laid and Finch-Fletchly yelling about Seamus not appreciating his friendship and who wants a dumpy botanist anyhow and Hicks just watched them lob insults at each other with wide eyes, ‘til Seamus wound down to a petulant, “It doesn’t mean I’d spend any less time with you.”
Finch-Fletchly crossed his arms over his chest and scowled and said, “Of course it does.”
Hicks snorted. “You girls done fighting yet?”
“No,” Seamus and Finch-Fletchly chorused, but then Teague burst through the door with a huge grin on his face, two P90s cocked in the air, a sweaty bandana pushing his hair back with explosions and shouts echoing behind him, and they were all suddenly running for their lives.
Hannah’s lips were pursed in annoyance when she sat across from Seamus in the mess, but she slid him a small folded square of paper and said, “I’m to wait for a response.”
The note read: Fuck. You know I love you, right? All that girly shit and stuff? So meet me in the lesser greenhouse at five. JFF.
Seamus cocked his head at the paper, turned it upside-down, but it still said the same nonsense. “This isn’t a proposition, is it?” he asked warily, because Finch-Fletchly was nearly his best mate and all, ‘sides Ron, but he didn’t really want to... touch him or anything. It was Finch-Fletchly.
Hannah rolled her eyes. “Just say if you’ll come so we can all get on with our lives.”
He wrote: You better not be naked.
At five, the lesser greenhouse was dim to mimic twilight, even though it was buried windowless three levels under the sea. It was packed with alien and earth flora, hybrids bred through hydroponics, and the air was thick and sweet and humid.
Seamus called out, “So why’d you want to...” but trailed off as he stepped past what looked like a waxy liana and came face to face with a romantic table set for two. Or, well, a big storage box covered with a white sheet and Dr. Weir’s gourd-candle propped up between two plates of steaming hot cooked mermaid - which was actually some sort of fish the biologists had found, but it never stopped freaking Seamus out to look at.
Seamus spun around to find Neville big-eyed in the doorway, fingers twisting together, shifting from foot to foot.
“Hello,” Neville said, then waved a hand towards the table. “I think this is, uh—”
“Finch-Fletchly’s doing, right,” Seamus finished for him, because Finch-Fletchly’s apologies always involved something horribly embarrassing for everybody involved. Still. Freshly cooked mermaid was a terrible thing to waste. “Want to eat?”
Neville smiled at him, dimples showing, and Seamus thought if they could just find something to talk about other than plants it’d be all right.
Seamus’ desk was a mess of tech and papers and empty coffee cups, and he was bent over one tiny clear space with a notebook when Finch-Fletchly dropped down on the stool across from him and planted his chin in his hands, pushing papers out of the way with his elbows.
Seamus gave him an annoyed glance, and Finch-Fletchly fluttered his eyelashes and said, “Dear diary, last night I met the most amazingly boring botanist with big teeth and stubby legs—ow! Fucker.” Finch-Fletchly scowled, rubbing his head where Seamus’d flicked his pen at him.
“I forgive you,” Seamus said, and Finch-Fletchly kicked him under the table with the side of his foot.
“Good. So,” he fiddled with a chewed pencil, “mainland tomorrow? Teague’s got a new plan, and Dex said he’d come if I knocked off the inappropriate touching, whatever that means.”
Seamus eyed him narrowly. “Can Neville tag along?”
“Sure. So long as you don’t mind losing.”
“We always lose anyhow,” Seamus pointed out. The boys knew the area ten times better than them, but mainly they lost because Teague was loud and Seamus and Finch-Fletchly usually ended up having giggle-fits.
“Right. There’s that,” Finch-Fletchly agreed.
He pressed his lips together, and slumped a bit, and stared at the desktop, and Seamus drummed his fingers and said, “You know. You should ask Hannah out.”
“Really?” He straightened up. “Think she’d go for me?”
“I think she puts up with us for a reason,” Seamus said sagely. Plus, it’d come out of nowhere, and her face would be hilarious. The absurd was commonplace on Atlantis, so he took his thrills where he could. He half-hoped she’d taser him. “Lunch?” he added.
“Pasta surprise again,” Finch-Fletchly groused.
Seamus grinned. Cheese and old leather. “My favorite.”