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Ask and Tell

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Rodney watched the stroller trundle down the hallway, only the lightest touch of his hand guiding it, John walking quietly by his side. A little voice within Rodney was nagging at him, telling him that he shouldn't have let Carson be in the room when he put the kids in the stroller. Rodney tried to stomp on the voice because he'd always found that beating himself up was counterproductive and a deterrent to making brilliant conclusions. Trusting himself always worked better than self-doubt. But still…

"I wish Carson hadn't seen that," John said.

Rodney sighed. "Yeah, me too."

"You didn't expect that to happen?"

"I believe the stroller has protective capabilities like the personal shield. The material has similar qualities. The initializing was unexpected because there can't be a required mental component."

"Wait a second." John stopped walking, turning to face Rodney, who'd taken another step before stopping too. The stroller ceased its motion, responsive to Rodney's touch. "You put our kids in a device that you don't know how to use?"

"Of course I know how to use it. But I think it may have additional capabilities beyond forwards and backwards."

"That means you don't know how to use it!" John was almost yelling and it occurred to Rodney that he was seriously pissed.

"I wouldn't endanger our children," Rodney said tightly. "And look who's talking, Mr. Take Over and Take Charge. If you'd found it, you would've just plunked them in it."

"If I'd found it, I wouldn't have known it could do anything else."

"But that wouldn't have stopped you. Just like you move my furniture and talk to Elizabeth about our relationship and arrange our lives without asking me." Rodney glared, putting his hands on his hips, and the stroller deactivated, sinking to the ground. "I'll probably walk into our quarters and find you've moved things again." John gaped, and Rodney yelled, "Oh my god, you have!"

"Not a lot," John said defensively.

"What did you do?" The tone of their voices must have disturbed her, because Kathleen started crying, her little hands waving with her displeasure. "Well, pick her up. She wants you," Rodney ordered impatiently.

John scooped her into his arms, snuggling her to his chest. Kathleen quieted, blinking sleepily at him. "I got a bed. A regular-sized bed because I'd like to be able to fall asleep in your arms without worrying about rolling onto the floor during the night."

"Oh." That mollified Rodney a little, because John thinking about the two of them falling asleep together gave him a warm feeling in his stomach, but he didn't relent. "What else?"

"I moved our clothes into the same dresser. Yours are in the top drawers, because I figured you might have trouble bending until the incision heals. I got rid of the other bed and furniture and moved a desk into that bedroom. Zelenka set up a spare laptop so you can work there in the evenings."

"You didn't touch the nursery?"

"I didn't touch the nursery."

"Well. That's okay then. But you need to start asking me."

"And you need to start telling me what you're doing, particularly when it involves untested equipment around our children."

Rodney glared because he hated feeling in the wrong, and John was certainly far from Mr. Perfect himself. John's return look was steady, surprisingly scared, and it wasn't fair because Kathleen's eyes were open, gazing at him innocently. Her eyes were vibrantly green, even more intense in color than John's.

And then John started shaking his head, chuckling quietly for some unknown reason, pulling Rodney to him. He kissed Rodney gently, sweetly, still chuckling as his tongue softly tasted Rodney's mouth. Kathleen squirmed between them, her small hands waving, smacking them on their faces.

"What's so funny?" Rodney grumbled, as John's lips moved off his, and kissed their way to Rodney's ear, John's teeth nibbling at his lobe as he answered, and it was unfair how good John's touch always felt on Rodney's skin.

"Ask and tell. I promise to ask if you promise to tell."

~ the end ~