A collection of 26 standalone drabbles written for Team Peace on 2009 McShep Match Drabble Tree. The bold indicates the word or phrase 'leaf' I selected to sprout from. As an additional personal challenge, each drabble does not contain the word being 'defined.'
A - Aphrodisiac
"John, have you seen my…. What is this doing here?"
"What did you find?"
"Why do you have a jar of M&M's hidden in the back of your closet? There must be at least three pounds of them here. All green."
"Oh. You know, I forgot I even had those. Took me almost a year to collect them."
"That doesn't explain why."
"Umm, it's a little embarrassing to explain, Rodney. Do you remember our first time?"
"I'm not likely to forget a surprise picnic under the stars on the mainland. You were quite the romantic."
"Well, they were Plan B."
B - Bare
Without warning, shade-cooled lotion stripes John's shoulders, stealing his breath away. Still, he's too relaxed to summon more than a half-hearted growl. "You could have warmed it first."
Rodney grumbles right back, although his touch remains gentle as his palms sweep across John's back. "And you could have asked me to put it on before you came out and draped yourself across the sand like some sun-drunk lizard."
"Like yesterday?" John's body hardens at the memory. "By the time we finished, it was sunset."
Rodney pauses at the base of John's spine. "That a complaint?"
John's hips lift in denial.
C - Cynical
"Drink your coffee, Rodney," John said sweetly, and smiled.
Rodney scowled suspiciously at the oversize mug John handed him, placed it carefully on the lab bench, and began typing rapidly. He muttered indistinctly under his breath as he entered a password and a calendar popped up. With a sigh of relief, he picked up the mug, cradling it in his hands as he savored the aroma.
John rolled his eyes and grumbled good-naturedly, "Not an anniversary. Can't a guy be nice?"
Rodney closed his eyes in bliss at the first sip and murmured in satisfaction, "No, it's the good stuff."
D - Diagram
As expected, the execution of his plan was flawless. He'd mapped out all possible routes and stationed backup at each intersection primed with all the ammunition they could possibly need. Their stubborn quarry was smug in his conviction that he'd hidden his tracks, so he had no clue he was being herded straight into the situation he'd struggled so hard to avoid.
Rodney didn't bother to hide his triumphant grin when John walked into Auxiliary Lab C and flinched at the shout of "Surprise!" After all, he'd been plotting this birthday party for years.
Victory cake tasted twice as sweet.
E - Exercise
"Hi, honey. I'm home!"
"That's never going to be amusing and I'm not speaking to you."
"Aw, come on, Rodney. What did I do this time?"
"Why should I waste my extremely valuable time talking to you, Colonel? You obviously pay no attention to me unless the words 'flying,' 'bed,' or 'big honking space gun' are in the sentence."
"Hey, that's not true. I listen to everything you say."
"Really? What did I tell you about taking your shirt off in the gym?"
"Simpson just posted 'Back of the Day' to the server."
"Only if you beg."
F - Frustration
"All right, where did you hide it this time?" John yanked his hand from under the pillow and scowled at the naked man splayed underneath him. He knew perfectly well who was responsible and he was looking up at John with a playful 'who me?' expression plastered across his face.
With a huff, he resorted to kissing away the crooked smirk, flailing one hand across the table next to the bed. A cascade of physics journals slithered to the floor and John displayed his find with a triumphant "Ha!"
Rodney grinned at the lube and insisted, "I didn't hide it."
G - Genius
"I can't believe you got us tickets on the fifty-yard line."
Fifteen minutes into the first of those quarter thingies and John's voice still hadn't lost its tenor of delighted awe. Rodney congratulated himself on his ability to keep his own glee at his success under wraps and shrugged. "I just happened to mention that you like college football, and that you'd missed most of the season, when the dean called me with his offer."
"The Rose Bowl, Rodney. I can hear the coaches calling plays."
Rodney basked in the sun of John's grin.
Three more quarter thingies to go.
H - Hidden
You know my name, but refuse me the pleasure of hearing it, my rank standing firm as your invisible shield. A glance in a mirror or midnight glass reveals your scrutiny, yet your eyes continue to refuse to meet mine, choosing distance when face-to-face.
Once we shared dark nights, the pleasure of touch and release, but betrayal sliced too deep. Now any smile is brief, turning bitter as memory intrudes, and words no longer spill free, choked back in regret. We walk a precise line, never faltering in our resolve while begging silently to be saved.
Please say my name.
I - Insomnia
"What the hell? Turn off the light and go back to sleep, Rodney."
"I have to write myself a note, John. I keep forgetting things. Vitally important things like arranging the music for the reception. Do you have any idea how hard it is to plan a wedding when you're a galaxy away from any decent shopping, even online?"
"You know, considering I'm currently lying here wide awake at three-thirty in the morning, I think I have an inkling."
"Fine, be that way. Just don't blame me if you end up walking down the aisle in a leather tuxedo."
J - Jealousy
He knew that if he just shifted her tiny hand a little to the right, there'd be enough room for him. One inch at a time, he carefully implemented his strategy, freezing whenever it seemed discovery was imminent. The last thing he wanted was to end up with two pairs of blue eyes laughing at his clumsy attempt. Finally settling into his favorite spot, he sighed in frustration when soft lips kissed his temple.
"Moron. You know you could have just asked."
John nuzzled deeper into worn cotton and listened to Rodney's heartbeat instead of answering.
Maybe next time.
K - Kindred
"Colonel, you must retrieve particular annoyance from lab before I am driven to damage precious technology by throwing it at over-inflated head."
"What's he done now, Zelenka?"
"Nothing but claim he is sole reason Wraith have not drained us all and tossed away leftovers."
"You know that he doesn't really mean that, right? He just hasn't slept for days."
"If he had not wagered he will solve Trabanian code first, that would not be problem."
"You want him gone so you can work on it yourself, without interruptions."
"Yes. It is worth two bottles of finest."
"Make it three."
L - Luggage
"That's odd. I don't remember packing this shirt."
"You didn't, Rodney. I did. Why don't you put it on for me?"
"But we have dinner reservations, John."
"The things I do for you. There. Happy?"
"Yeah. I always kinda liked that one.
"But it's ripped and it has this stain down the front."
"Uh-huh. I remember when I made you snort that redberry wine at the Athosian harvest festival. Lorne rated it at least a 9.5."
"You are an evil man."
"And it just so happens that I can slip my finger right inside here."
"So very, very evil."
M - Mission
"I'm sorry, Dr. McKay, but in no way does the IOA consider violating sacred temples acceptable protocol."
"I don't give a flying fuck what the IOA thinks, Woolsey! He didn't do anything to deserve being locked up. You need to send Lorne with as many guns and Marines as he needs to get John back!"
"You know I'm right, Teyla! Walking past the entrance to that place and making it light up wasn't a violation. It was just slutty alien technology having an orgasm over his damn all-the-good-toys-love-me gene."
"Jealous much, McKay?"
"You obviously enjoy ice-cold showers, Ronon."
N - Naked
You always make certain the room is dark, that you're safe behind shadow before you give in. You can't chance your face will shout what you've kept hidden for so long, that your secret will crawl free from bite-reddened lips, that you'll bleed salt from eyes bereft of hope.
You don't touch; you remain anchored instead by yearning fingers twisting in the sheets because even a single, simple caress might reveal the depth of your desperation.
Alone once more, you allow yourself the luxury of a single word, wrapped in the scent of satiation, regretting brief warmth now fled.
O - Obsession
It was late and Rodney was the lab's only occupant when John sauntered in, making it simple to lock everyone else out with a thought. Leaning over, he whispered into the oblivious scientist's ear, "I'm guessing you haven't seen tonight's databurst yet."
Rodney only flinched a little, his fingers barely stuttering on the keyboard. John had played that particular trick once too often. His reply was dismissive. "Busy."
Spinning Rodney's chair around, John bent him backward with a toe-curling kiss, then lifted his head to announce, "I've fucked a Nobel Prize winner."
The look on Rodney's face was priceless.
P - Pilot
Rodney fell silent after John pulled the lever releasing them to the wind's domain. Granted, the buffeting of the wind against the glider's canopy required shouting, but that never stopped Rodney in the past.
John recalled the flash of fear in blue eyes when he'd asked Rodney to fly with him, but that chin had gone up and it was clear John wasn't leaving him behind.
Now, glancing in the mirror, John marveled at the gentle curve of Rodney's lips as he gazed down at the gleaming spires of the city.
John smiled and carved another arc in the sky.
Q - Queasy
Rodney stopped trying to sit up after the third failed attempt. The marble-like tile was cool against his fevered cheek and, when John poked him, he barely twitched. "Next time there's gooshy food, you can have mine. Deal?" he moaned pitifully.
John's response was another round of retching into the bucket that was already much too full. Finished, he wiped his mouth with the back of a hand and then folded to the floor in a series of creaky jolts. He slowly turned his head toward Rodney and grunted, "No fucking way. I vote Ronon."
Rodney nodded and rasped, "Deal."
R - Respite
"Oh my God, this feels fantastic," John groans as he lowers himself into the gently steaming water. He relaxes against the marble side of the sunken tub and smirks across at Rodney. "You have the best ideas."
With a snort, Rodney slides down until the lavender-scented water laps against his shoulders and his feet brush against John's. "Of course I do. Genius, here."
"You know what would make it perfect?" John rasps, biting his lower lip and gazing at Rodney with heavy-lidded eyes.
Water ripples as Rodney reverses polarity and settles over John with a crooked grin. "Still a genius."
S - Seduction
"Come on, Rodney. It'll be fun," John wheedled from the doorway of the office. "You don't want to spend the entire day inside."
Rodney waved a dismissive hand. "Too busy to look for my sunscreen just to amuse you."
Determined to win the latest round of 'Tease the Geek' and get laid at the same time, he brought out his secret weapon. "Did I forget to mention it's laundry day?"
With a choked sound, Rodney spun his chair around, eyes wide at the sight of tattered jeans, skin-tight shirt…and nothing else. He swallowed hard and nodded. "I'll be right there."
T - Temptation
Rodney's arm curls warm around him and he loses his hard-fought battle for dignity. It's no longer possible to resist the urge to nuzzle against the soft skin under the corner of Rodney's jaw, right where it dimples beneath his ear. Rodney smells like nothing he can describe in words, but he tastes even better; the hidden places hold an even stronger wash of flavor against his tongue. He stretches and presses still closer, his approval of Rodney's clever fingers shivering deep in his throat.
"Hey, watch the claws, Sheppard."
He can do that, as long as Rodney never stops.
U - Uncanny
"Wait! Don't go…" John groaned when Rodney stepped outside. "…on the balcony."
"This is all very bizarre," he commented, poking at one of the long tentacles trying to wrap itself around him.
"It's from those seeds that priestess gave us after we saved her village from culling," John explained with a sigh. "Teyla thought they were some flower she remembered seeing in the fields when she was a kid."
Rodney stepped back into John's arms with a shudder. "John, by no stretch of the imagination could this be described as the average garden-variety plant."
John grinned. "I'm thinking magic beans."
V - Vacation
It had been months since they'd been able to string together more than two days of downtime. The constant pressure of exploration and maintenance had worn them both to the breaking point.
Woolsey had known there'd be no rest for them in the city. The cabin on the mainland's beach was declared theirs for the duration.
Fireplace lit, they sprawled on the soft, thick pile of fur and linen, sweet biscuits and wine within reach. Sharing slow deep kisses and lingering caresses, they were both determined to savor each taste and touch.
Time enough to fly.
W - Wish
"Out of all of the places on Earth you could pick from, you want to visit someplace called The Funky Chicken Art Project?"
"You asked, Rodney."
"Okay, birthday boy. It's your choice. So where is this place of dancing poultry located, anyway?"
"It's in the mountains, couple hours east of Chattanooga. I saw it on Oprah, back when we got kicked off Atlantis. I remembered laughing in the kitchen when my mom tried to teach me the dance. I think I was five or six. It's hazy."
"You said she died when you were seven."
"I'll book the tickets."
X - Xenophobic
"I'm not sure I can do this anymore." John stripped off his shirt and stuffed it inside the biohazard bag that already held his tac vest and boots. "Maybe it's time to quit when it feels like guns are better than the trust rituals they keep coming up with."
After checking to see who else was in the infirmary, Rodney pulled him on to the bed, needing to hold him tightly. "Hey, I thought it was my job to be the pessimist," he murmured into the sticky curve of John's neck.
John shuddered. "There are no optimists in bug pits."
Y - Yield
Rodney usually tries to avoid walking by the florist shop more than twice a day. He limits himself to two short glimpses through plate glass as he holds himself to a leisurely pace, hoping for at least a hint of rakish hair and a smile. A mumbled litany of allergies and bad habits forestalls any ill-advised attempt to brave the belled door and step inside.
As often happens in the best fairytales, a third time is the charm. A silk flower extends into his well-worn path, crimson temptation crowned by hazel eyes and a grin.
His name is John.
Z - Zealous
John rolls over carefully, frowning at the irritating chirp that he's ignored twice. Snatching the earbud from the nightstand, he slips it on, taps twice, and then growls, "This better be an emergency. He's sleeping." John's lost his patience with Rodney's staff calling about trivial problems. Even with the Wraith out of the picture, Rodney spent the night attempting to resolve the latest system crash, finally tumbling into bed scant minutes before the rising sun streaked the sky with reds and pink.
Satisfied by the stuttered, "Never mind," John curls around Rodney, closing his eyes.
They're taking the day off.