Chapter 1: Alphabet Soup
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.
Chapter 2: Miscellaneous Bits and P(ea)ces
A collection of 40 standalone drabbles written for Team Peace on McShep Match Drabble Tree plus 3 offered as bribes for voting. The bold indicates the word or phrase 'leaf' I selected to sprout from.
"Hey, buddy. Want to try one of my cookies? Jeannie showed me how to make meringues.
"Uh, no thanks, and can you just keep the plate over there? I mean way over there, maybe even back in the kitchen. I know they're just basically sugar and egg whites, but my mind keeps automatically inserting the word 'lemon' in front of 'meringue' and my throat closes up."
"I was afraid of that, so I came up with a Plan B. How about one of these instead?"
"What are they?"
"Sheppard family secret recipe. Triple chocolate chip."
"You're a genius. Marry me."
Flirting With Disaster
There were more than a few times when Rodney resented being stuck on Sheppard's team, forced to follow his lead into the nightmarish horror of diplomatic receptions as well as the ordinary everyday heart-stopping danger.
The problem was Sheppard was a shifting, dynamic presence, radiating heat and energy and, whenever the damn rakish-haired colonel sauntered by, Rodney suddenly became invisible to all the women in the room.
Then John would take his usual place next to Rodney and nudge him with his bony shoulder and grin, and Rodney would decide it wasn't so bad being on Sheppard's team after all.
"But Rodney, I don't understand. You were ascended. You knew all the secrets of the universe and had unlimited powers. Why did you return?"
"It's not as wonderful as you seem to believe, Radek. I mean, yeah, so I win at everything forever. Where's the challenge in that?"
"So you came back because you were bored being a god?"
"Hey, Rodney! Ready to get your ass kicked again? I've been working on the gear ratios and you're eating dust tonight."
"Hah! You'll be eating those words, Sheppard! Stupid flyboy. Now what were you saying, Radek?"
"Never mind. Forget I asked."
The Play's The Thing
"Sheppard, you have to be the worst casting director ever in the history of holiday pantomimes. Ronon as Sir Walter Raleigh is a fiasco by itself, but Teyla as Queen Elizabeth is…"
"I know you're not implying Teyla lacks regal bearing. That's ridiculous. Right, McKay?"
"She's standing behind me, isn't she?"
"Yep. Got her sticks with her, too."
"…is simply inspired. It's the only thing that's going to save this production from being complete disaster. Well done, Sheppard. I don't know what we'd do without you."
"Thanks, Rodney. I appreciate it."
"But you still love me."
While other children were raised on stories promising the handsome prince would always prevail, Rodney read himself to sleep with equations promising nothing but the absolute truths hidden behind chaos. A bleak future, yes, but he couldn't bring himself to believe in imaginary numbers.
In an ice palace, a dark mass of cowlicks represented chaos while hazel eyes flirted suggesting Rodney revisit outdated proofs. He recalculated the odds that the other children had the right idea, but it didn't add up to ending very happy when his prince flew away.
A roll of divine dice and it all changed again.
John shuts his eyes hard, gasping at the effort it takes to pull himself back from the brink. He'd been able to keep it together when Rodney had pressed him up against the wall, strident voice and heavy muscle taut with impatience at any delay. Thick, blunt fingers hadn't undone him, measuring and stroking until John ached for release. It wasn't until he gazed into those wide blue eyes that opened wider still on John's glide into soft, tight, wet heat; it was then that his control was put to the test.
Eyes that will own John's dreams for life.
Slash and Burn
"You called me Snookums, Sheppard!"
"What the hell, McKay? I'd never be able to give the Marines orders with a straight face again if I used words like that."
"Seriously! I can deal with all those romantic moonlight picnics on the balcony and the kissing's good, damn good, especially that thing where you nibble. In fact, I can snuggle with the best because I'm confident in my masculinity, but the pet names have got to go. If Miko does it again, I'm pulling out the sparkly boots of OOC and kicking her out of the forum."
"Whatever you say, cupcake."
The edges of the quilt are a little frayed, faded and worn with age and many washings. It's wide enough to cover their bed and long enough to wind around them both on the chilly nights; Jeannie had made sure of that as she'd pieced together her creation of geometric memories. Concealed by kind moonlight, gnarled fingers stroke not-cotton and almost-linen while weary eyes seek the fabrics' origins in the distant constellations. Each treasured piece holds a story; tales of clothing torn in battle, souvenirs and gifts, rewards and bequests.
They are bound together forever, kept warm by their past.
"I've never done this before," Rodney whispers, his voice sounding as unsteady as his legs feel. His eyes widen as he watches his lean-bodied visitor check the locks on the door and then prowl across the carpet toward him. A silk tie is hanging loosely from his hand and two buttons of his shirt are undone, a few dark curls contrasting against white linen.
Rodney's heart stops as the mysterious stranger grins and leans close enough that his warm breath tickles along Rodney's neck to his ear. Then he hears, "I have," and knows he's died and gone to heaven.
Winning At Life
"So what you're trying to tell me is the Nobel Prize isn't really what you want most out of life. Who are you, and what have you done with Rodney McKay?"
"Oh, how very clever you aren't. Listen, I'm not saying it isn't in the top three or four, but I like to think I've matured over the years and there are other things equally, possibly even more, important."
"Really? What are they?"
"Come on, you can tell your best friend, can't you? It's family, right?"
"Sure, and friends and…uh…you, love…you."
"Me? Not Jennifer? That's…cool."
"And that's number one."
They say it every night.
There was a time they couldn't speak at all. The words would shrivel in their throats, fear of final rejection or legal consequence choking back any display of emotion.
It was in their eyes when they watched, the brush of a hand, a smile, but one mistake and archaic conventions would tear them a galaxy apart.
Then Death stood too close to them, one too many times, and bitter regret stepped in.
The rules haven't changed, so they take what little solace they can risk.
They say it every night.
And then walk away untouched.
See You In the Funny Papers
"I told you not to touch that!"
"It looked perfectly harmless, Rodney."
"Hello, typical whacked-out Ancient laboratory. Nothing is harmless, as evidenced by this…whatever fresh hell this is! Look at you! Quick, I need a mirror."
"Uh…I have…. Here. Don't lose it."
"Right, there's a chance you'll actually be able to comb that stupid hair. Why would they want to transform into cartoons? I'm...cute! Everything's round, fingerless, red cheeks and you with the hair and wristband…. We're anime!"
"Actually, I think we're chibis."
"I don't know what disturbs me more, Colonel; turning into 'chibis' or you actually knowing the difference."
Drive Me Crazy Sometimes
Rodney could have asked for the address.
He'd listened to John explain about the trip to Dave's place, and then he mentioned he was thinking about visiting Jeannie and that was it. John knows it's his own damn fault for not asking, but still thinks Rodney could have made it easier somehow.
The flight is noisy and crowded and lonely, but then John walks off the plane and there he is, crooked grin in place. He tosses John a set of keys and has a good laugh at his expression.
"Jeannie says 'Hi,' and I went with the Porsche."
On the Air
"Yeah, that's a great song. It went naquadah in less than a light-year. Oh and hey! We're live again here at ALTS - Radio Atlantis - and speaking with everyone's favorite heroic couple, Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard and Dr. Rodney McKay! Say, why don't you two lovebirds share with all our listeners out there in the Pegasus Galaxy just how you met?"
"Well, first I shot him and then I shoved him right off a balcony."
"Rodney? Rodney? Wake up. You're crying in your sleep."
"John? God, what a nightmare. Remind me to never let Chuck near the karaoke machine again."
Naked, lacking hair as useful as Ronon's, John carefully grasped the sharp blade of the broken knife between his teeth and started climbing. Despite the darkness, he somehow managed to find hand and footholds in crumbling mortar, his focus the pinpoint of light overhead promising freedom.
As he climbed, John reviewed Kolya's mistakes. He'd wasted time gloating about what he was going to do to McKay, hadn't killed John before throwing him in the well, and kicked a weapon away thinking it useless.
John's going to get out.
He's going to get Rodney back.
He won't make the same mistakes.
"Kiss, Unca!" With a chubby hand on each cheek, Torren holds Rodney still and, with his nose wrinkled and drooling mouth pursed, kisses him, clumsy but infinitely sweet.
John watches creases at the corners of Rodney's eyes deepen and an aggravated furrow begin to form between his brows, but then his face relaxes and he changes his reaction to a simple 'Thanks, kid' and a swipe across his mouth with the back of a hand. John snickers, Rodney meets his eyes over Torren's head, and John's seen that evil grin before.
Rodney turns Torren around and points. "Uncle John's turn."
"Ready to place your bets on what's going to go wrong this time?" Lorne's teasing carried into the front compartment of the jumper, closely followed by suggestions of volcanic eruptions, wraith worshippers and, if they were lucky, sex pollen.
Rodney called back, "There are too many variables to predict this early in the mission. You're wasting your money."
"There are a few things that can be guaranteed to cause trouble," Lorne insisted. "Like your big mouth, McKay."
"Some people like the size of my mouth." Rodney's chin went up, John slid down in his seat, and Lorne's team just snickered.
A la Carte
"No, no, no, that's totally wrong. What kind of idiots are you working with over there? I've spent weeks with you online and over the phone and it's not that difficult…."
"You know, I think we could work this out better face-to-face. Maybe over dinner?"
"I…sure. Dinner's probably a good idea. No citrus, though, Sheppard. I'm deathly allergic."
"That's John, remember? I know a great steakhouse with a microbrewery. Pick you up at the office at seven?"
"Cool. Oh, and Rodney? Fair warning. I checked you out on the company website, and I'm really looking forward to dessert."
Home on the Range
It's not a bad life really, now that they've gotten used to living without the constant threat of the Wraith. Rodney's finally able been to admit it was worth the loss of Atlantis. There are times he's surprised at how little he misses of his past life. He keeps himself busy with designing low-tech automation for shearing, cleaning, and weaving the almost wool they trade through the gate, while John happily tends to their herd.
The best part is, when he looks out their window, he sees blue skies, lush fields, and John looking back at him and smiling.
The lock releases with a buzzed click and John cautiously pushes inside. Rodney's on the other side, blue eyes cold and distant, complaining, "You're late. I follow a tight schedule."
John winces. "Flight was delayed."
Turning with a jerk, Rodney precedes him down the hall, stopping at a door. "Your room, Colonel. Your letter didn't mention how long you're staying."
"Rodney, don't," John sighs.
His mouth's a familiar stubborn line. "I have everything under control, John."
"You…." Dropping to his knees in front of the wheelchair, John buries his face in Rodney's lap, pleading, "Please. Take care of me, too?"
Out of Character
Squaring his shoulders, John stepped out of the alcove where he'd been sent to change by the temple's high priest. His team stood there with their eyes wide and mouths a little ajar; staring above his face like he was naked or his hair was green. Impatient to get the whole ridiculous thing over with, he huffed "What? Haven't you ever seen anyone in a toga before?"
Teyla recovered first, her smile serene as she apologized. "I am sorry, John. It was just a little…unexpected."
Ronon nodded in agreement. "Yeah. It…."
"Looks ridiculous!" Rodney snorted. "A halo? After last night?"
John's fingers itch sometimes when he looks at Rodney's desk.
The piles of messy paper, stacks of out-dated journals, random equations scribbled on napkins and coffee-stained receipts; they all trigger John's need to organize. Unfortunately, his life was threatened after his first aborted attempt to impose his notion of order in place of Rodney's mental map.
Finally, he concedes the battle and settles for mounting a sign on the wall above, a bright rainbow of letters; "Caution: Genius at Work. Disturb at Own Risk."
Then he proceeds to do exactly that.
After all, their first kiss happened under fire.
Return to Sender
John paused in the doorway of what had been their room and watched Rodney folding clothes. He smiled when he recognized other possessions he'd left behind, empty cardboard boxes stacked against the wall.
Rodney jumped when John cleared his throat, looking up dismayed. "You're back. Early," he stammered, dropping John's shirt. "I know you told me not to wait for you, to put your things in storage, but...."
"You wanted to put everything back," John finished, walking closer. When Rodney stiffened, John looked around the room again, puzzled. Suddenly understanding, he pulled Rodney in, whispering fiercely, "It's okay. Stop packing."
"I have to admit that I'm jealous as hell that she had her hands all over you, but watching that, God, I'm so fucking turned on," Rodney whispers as he traces the lines of ebony and scarlet recounting epic battles across the landscape of John's back. "I just hope this doesn't smear too badly."
John arches back against Rodney, the ache between his legs on the edge of agony after hours enduring teasing brushes and leather restraints. The pressure isn't enough and he groans, "I don't care if I end up looking like a goddamn abstract painting, Rodney. Fuck me."
"Hey, buddy. Here for the free trial?"
"No, a favor for my sister. Where's the pickup counter located?"
"What's the big deal? Just give it a try, and I promise you won't be sorry. Besides, there's a money-back guarantee."
"The big deal is that I've never wanted to try one of these before and a money-back guarantee obviously means nothing if it's a free trial. Do you actually listen to what you're saying or is the hair interfering with your reception?"
"I really like how your mouth does that. Dinner?"
"That really works for you?"
"Okay, but no citrus."
Clothes Make the Man
By his precise calculations, Rodney predicted that John would be through the door in three…two….
Rodney learned early in his career that pretending innocence is a snap when a very complex computer program spits out fake statistics requiring your attention every few seconds. His response was pitch-perfectly absentminded. "Mmmm? Something I can help you with, Colonel?"
"My closet's stuck again. I'm due at the Silesian reception in less than an hour!"
"Oh, is that the one with that lady ambassador who liked your…."
"Damn it, Rodney. You can't hold my dress uniform hostage every time you get jealous!"
Hide and Seek
Cautious footsteps approached and he pressed himself back into the shadows, waiting. They paused for a moment and then he heard a muttered, "Where the hell did he go?"
Feeling a wave of relief, he reached out to grab Rodney by the vest and dragged him close, covering his sputtering mouth. "Quiet," he hissed. "They'll hear you."
Rodney tugged at the hand until he could whisper back, "Who, John?"
"Them." Tucking Rodney behind him, John warned, "They can't find us."
"There's no one out there except Teyla and Ronon."
"It's going to be one of those nights, isn't it?"
"So this is the whole 'lady or tiger' conundrum except it's not a voluptuous blonde and a tiger and really I wouldn't have hesitated on that one because at least I could look at her while I was dying but you've set me up with the choice between potentially choking to death due to some unknown ingredient in a voodoo potion or guaranteed impalement by those very sharp-looking not-quite-spears…."
"Or we just could go home."
"There you are, Colonel. What took so long? I'm telling you I could be standing here dead waiting for…."
"McKay, get in the damn jumper."
They'd looked at a dozen houses, but none had seemed to be quite right. There'd been a couple John had thought he could live with, but Rodney had vetoed them for one reason or another. Standing on the porch of the latest likely to be vetoed, Rodney suddenly bent down to pet the cat winding around his legs, speaking in an indulgent tone as he asked its name.
John knew it was a good omen when the owner of the house explained it was a stray, and Galileo purred in Rodney's arms as they signed the offer for the house.
Best Foot Forward
"So that's it? It's over?" Rodney sputtered, a look of dismay spreading across his face.
"I'm truly sorry that I can't do more to help." Her smile became even more apologetic, and aimed entirely at Rodney. "It's not that you're not both gifted, in your own ways. Sometimes it's simply a case of choosing the wrong partner."
"But we've worked so hard…."
John grabbed Rodney's flailing hand, squeezing gently, and then smiled and nodded at her. "We appreciate the honesty. So we'll skip learning a routine for the first dance thing and feed each other lots of wedding cake instead."
Only the Lonely
Sometimes he dreams of Siberia and Antarctica and the kind of sharp, bitter cold that settles deep in the bones and he shivers in his sleep, despite days trudging through desert heat.
Sometimes he dreams of endless days and nights with computers and whiteboards and immutable numbers and of the solitude that gnawed at the edges of genius in self-imposed exile.
Sometimes he dreams of a teasing grin and laughing eyes and hair defying description, of the person who insists on more than he'd ever dreamed possible.
Then he wakes to warmth, hears his whispers, feels his desire, and smiles.
Though the quiet beeps and antiseptic smells seem familiar, Rodney's unconvinced he isn't still curled up in the corner of his cell dreaming like he does so often during the dark, freezing nights. Opening his eyes helps calm his suspicion, especially when it's to the one face he'd wanted so much to see one more time before the end. Somehow, he manages to rasp, "I'm…home? Atlantis?"
John nods. "Yeah. You are." He's holding Rodney's hand right there in the infirmary, as if it didn't matter that someone might see.
Rodney closes his eyes in despair, knowing it can't be real.
Do You Believe In Magic?
The wizard peered deep into the scrying glass, wishing he'd found time to work on those dual-mounted hand-held miniature telescopes. He located the invading forces and adjusted the focus to zoom in on their leader. Despite the limitations of his own vision, the wizard was soon convinced of the black knight's identity.
Galvanized into action, he began to pack the scrolls and potions he'd require in the coming battle, mumbling compression spells under his breath to fit more into the valise than it could normally hold because he knew he wouldn't be back.
Sir John would make certain of that.
John was slouched on a lab stool, staring at nothing. He didn't stir when the door opened, not until a frustrated, "Do you know how long I've been looking for you?" caused his shoulders to hunch even further.
Despite his resolution to ignore the angry scientist, John couldn't prevent the automatic softening of dread-stiffened muscles under warm, clever fingers. After a few minutes of unusually quiet ministrations, he sighed and relaxed backwards, confident he'd be supported by soft-padded muscle. The fingers shifted to his scalp, dispelling long-held tension with soothing circles.
He closed his eyes, thankful he'd been forgiven.
The denizens of Atlantis hum and swirl around him, faces and voices urgent, movements abrupt, everyone hurrying to pass him by as if Rodney's a ghost. He tries several times, but he can't get anyone to tell him what's going on, what the latest emergency is, why he wasn't called in to help.
Suspicion settles in and he heads for the control room, hoping to find Sheppard, but neither he nor Elizabeth are there. Rodney decides the infirmary is his next logical choice.
He steps inside, looks up at the ring of faces around his bed, and says, "Found you."
To the Mattresses
"Warned you not to drop your guard," Ronon growled, offering a hand. With a smooth jerk he had Rodney back on his feet, albeit a little unsteady. "You'll be fine." With a hearty clap to Rodney's shoulder, he returned back across the room to continue his solo practice with knives.
Rodney turned at a choked sound behind him, one hand pressed against his reddening cheek, where John had hit him. His tirade about training scientists in stick-fighting evaporated at the look in John's eyes. He even managed a half-smiling nod at John's winced, "Ice?"
His reward was John's grin promising more.
John wondered when exactly he'd begun to wear his emotions on his face, clear to everyone. He'd once prided himself on his skill at poker and stonewalling superior officers, not to mention negotiating with aliens, felt smug at how often he'd left his opponents scrambling for clues to his secrets.
He was obviously slipping when an arrogant scientist with almost zero social skills was able to read John like some large-print book, one without anything longer than four-letter words.
Then again, maybe it wasn't such a bad change, especially when those words happened to be 'kiss,' 'bed,' 'fuck,' or 'now.'
Send In The Clowns
Joyful shrieks approved the splash of freezing liquid soaking John to the skin, adding to the insane cacophony that had become John's life over the past four hours. He was shuddering, stretched to the breaking point, more from the terrifying image facing him than the weapon's temperature. It was straight out of his worst nightmare, the one that would leave him clutching Rodney tight in the hope that he could save John from his demons.
It didn't help to finally hear, "Let's have a nice round of applause for the birthday girl's Uncle John, shall we?"
Thankfully, Rodney's hug did.
One brow rose above kohl-enhanced eyes, a signal that the newly-crowned monarch was becoming impatient at the delay. The nervous vizier clapped his hands and ordered, "Bring the newest slave immediately to attend to His Most Serene Highness."
The slave seemed reluctant to comply, his objections strident behind his escort of harem guards. "I'm telling you I'm not going to make this guy happy. Why don't you pick a pretty one, instead of wasting my brain on peeling grapes or…."
His Highness drawled, "Rodney, get in here."
The slave's head popped up, eyes wide. "John?"
"About time you showed up."
"I keep forgetting to ask why you decided on a Ferris wheel for your company's logo, Rodney. I mean, how does a carnival ride translate to a dotcom?"
"It doesn't, Sam. It's there to remind me of something I learned the hard way the summer before I started at MIT."
"Really? What was it?"
"To stay as far away as possible from anyone who'll give up everything so that they can fly."
"Ouch, I'm kind of sorry I asked. That reminds me, though, we have a new pilot coming into the program next week. Turns out he has the gene."
The following three were written as bribes to vote for Peace. :-D
For: equusentric who requested McShep and Oreos
The post-it stuck to his laptop wasn't unexpected, neither were the words penned in a familiar scrawl, "Find me." What caught Rodney's attention were a few pieces of dark matter scattered across it, sweet-tasting crumbs that reminded him of late nights hiding under sheets with a flashlight and the latest issue of Batman.
A pre-programmed life-signs detector narrowed the search down to a few choices. The most logical bore fruit in the form of a messy-haired colonel sprawled across Rodney's bed, holding a tempting package and wearing nothing but dog tags and a chocolate-flavored smirk.
He was willing to share.
For: ailurophile6 who requested McShep with Rodney finally getting a clue
Radek looked over at Rodney's workstation and winced. The other man was fuming, supported by the abuse of his keyboard. Sighing, Radek queried, "Something wrong?"
"Nothing important," Rodney snapped. "Just Sheppard canceling our game and the mess out of my favorite pudding."
"Important enough to ruin equipment over," remarked Radek.
"Of course it…." Rodney paused to consider Radek's point. His puzzled face suddenly cleared when the missing colonel appeared bearing two pudding cups.
"Too late for our game?" Sheppard asked tentatively.
Closing his laptop, Rodney smiled an answer. "No." He glanced at Radek, nodding, admitting, "And yes, it's very important."
For: me_ya_ri who requested McShep, Ronon POV on them
"He's more than you think you see. Give him a chance, he'll grow on you."
Sheppard seems a good leader, so Ronon watches to find his own truth.
As time passes, he learns of a mind that sparks bright in the dark of circumstance, a heart filled with courage concealed behind stammered fears, and dogged perseverance despite a body that fails warrior standards. There's more to the man reserved for Sheppard alone; laughter over a shared game, sharp bickering hiding warm smiles, furtive touches of relief and grieving late-night vigils.
Ronon's found his truth; he protects both leader and mate.
Chapter 3: 12-06-09 Prompts
For: gyri who requested John loses his memory, Rodney helps him get it back.
"There you are. Missed you at breakfast, Sheppard."
"Hey, McKay. Yeah, um, hell of a hangover."
"Feel up to lunch?"
"Sorry, got stuff I need to get done."
"Can't. Flying over to the mainland. I'll be back late."
"I should have known you'd freak out and pretend it never happened, Colonel."
"Rodney, wait! What the hell are you talking about?"
"Last night? You, me, a bed?"
"The last thing I remember is a second bottle of Radek's vodka."
"What about this?"
"Whoa, I think it's coming back to me."
"You, me, a moonlight picnic on the beach."
For: blackchaps who's a McShep fan minus a prompt.
Catch as Catch Can
After rolling to his back with a heart-felt groan, Rodney turned his head to scowl at the man lying next to him on the rock-strewn plateau. "Do you have any idea how lucky you just were?"
John nodded, his gaze focused on the blue sky above. "Yeah, I do. Thanks, buddy."
"I suppose after this I'll have to stop mocking you about the perennial gap in the back of your pants, since that's all that saved you from certain death." Rodney waved his hand in the general direction of John's hips. "However, it's still open season on the Wild Woodies."
For: rsharpe who requested John/Rodney - in their own unique way celebrating any holiday *except* Christmas.
"We should do something special tonight, Rodney, maybe take the jumper into orbit and do some stargazing."
"Not that I mind, but why tonight?"
"It's April 12th, 2011."
"April twelfth…. You know how terrible I am with dates, John."
"Fifty years ago, Yuri Gagarin was the…."
"…first man in space! Just think; back then a single orbit in 108 minutes was a world event and now we're living in another galaxy. We should definitely celebrate. We still have that bottle of Kthosian wine, and I can get the mess to put together some sandwiches."
"I'll grab the other supplies."
For: djaddict who requested John/Rodney Mistletoe (First kiss a plus!)
Rodney rants his way down the hall. "….lost control of the meeting when the botanists and anthropologists ran amuck."
"Amuck?" Ambling at Rodney's side, John chuckles at the hyperbole.
Pausing in the lab's doorway, Rodney rolls his eyes. "Corrigan was excited about some arboreal parasite Parrish found on MX5-633, and a comparative analysis degenerated into arguing about Norse mythology and misinterpretation of pagan traditions."
Rodney blinks, surprised. "How…" Soft lips muffle his question, then retreat as John points up. "Oh," Rodney murmurs.
"That a problem?" John asks tentatively.
Rodney frowns and snaps, "Only if it never happens again."
Chapter 4: Piper Payment
Response to mcsheplet prompt # 62: Borrowed
"John? I thought you were supposed to be catching up on your paperwork?"
"Lorne's handling it just fine while I'm keeping you entertained. In fact, he offered."
"You're taking advantage of him feeling guilty, aren't you?"
"Well, the way I see it, when you borrow something you're supposed to return it in the same condition. You didn't have a broken arm and a concussion when you left, Rodney."
"I'm usually the first to point fingers, but it really wasn't his fault."
"I have to suffer - he has to suffer."
"Suffer! Hey, who's the injured man here?"
"Your move, genius."
Chapter 5: Superfluous
mcsheplets prompt #63: Fall
"You know, my mom always kept her hair short." John's eyes met Rodney's in the mirror. "She loved being outdoors, especially riding. Said it was easier that way."
Rodney snorted as John hugged him from behind. "Probably a lot cooler, too, if it was as ridiculously thick as yours."
"Yeah, I got her hair." John chuckled before sobering. "Thing is, whenever she and Dad went out, she would pin this extra piece on top, like she wasn't beautiful enough without it."
John brushed his lips across soft, smooth skin, his breath ruffling wisps of thinning hair, and murmured, "She was."
Chapter 6: Rewind
mcsheplets #64: Epiphany
You stand just inside, the door clicked locked behind, and watch. Wary, he buzzes around the room a precise distance away, refusing to look at you while stammered apologies spill over worry-slanted lips. Shorn of the beard worn too long as armor, you feel naked, skinned raw under dark clothing that carries no memory of endless days in the sun.
He pauses exactly three feet away, his eyes finally meeting yours in startled question when you narrow that to none. It's been one night for him and too many more for you, dreaming regret for rejection.
He tastes like home.
Chapter 7: All Honor's Wounds
McSheplets #66: Honor and Obey
Title from quote: "All honor's wounds are self-inflicted" - Andrew Carnegie
"You did everything you could," mutters Rodney, his fingers fumbling on the last buckle of John's sodden tac vest. When it finally releases, the vest falls with a clanking thud and then slides a few inches, leaving behind dark crimson splatters. Ignoring the same color staining his hands, Rodney removes John's shirt, then tackles his pants, the muddy boots and socks already tossed aside. Rodney's heartfelt "I wish I'd gone with you," is ragged with relief when he's finally certain that none of the blood is John's.
Held close, shuddering, John whispers into the hollow beneath Rodney's ear. "I don't."
Chapter 8: Atlantis RPG
McSheplets #68: Play
"Are you serious? He's a were-giraffe by night?"
"What? You said that we're allowed to create our own characters, Rodney. Rollo's cool. He's the natural enemy of were-crustaceans. It's the sharp hooves."
"Okay, John. I get it. You don't want to play the game with me. I guess I can understand that after what happened in the last one."
"Hey, I admit it's not as much fun as racing the cars, but I could get into it. Besides, you're ignoring one advantage Rollo has."
"What? Seeing long distances?"
"No. Giraffes have really long tongues and very deep throats."
Chapter 9: Tender
For mezzo_cammin's prompt: John and Rodney - tenderness
John walked in the direction of the irritated voice, grinning when he caught sight of Rodney lying on his stomach in a corner of his lab. "So that's why Teyla handed this stuff to me when I said I was headed here. That floor can't be comfortable."
"Let me save you the effort. It's a pain in the ass."
Ignoring the crankiness to help Rodney shift onto the Athosian rug now spread on the floor, John then gently applied a cold pack. He sat close and rested a warming hand on Rodney's back. "I know you'll find Ronon."
Chapter 10: Seeing the Potential
For melagan, set in her Sensual Magic 'verse
Standing there in front of you, bright enough to burn away the night, you knew him without knowing how. You had lost your daylight centuries long gone, wandered always cold, ever seeking the legend you would risk the sun to claim. Accepted where no other had been, you surrendered your title of libertine for the sake of a renewed bond. Claimed, he restored color to your midnight black world and shared the blood-deep warmth you craved, even as he wielded a tongue sharp as the teeth that opened a heart lost in the past.
Reunited, you face the future.
Chapter 11: Sitting in a Tree
For mcsheplets #70: High
"How'd you manage to get up there, McKay?"
"You did notice that whatever-it-was you just killed? Twenty-inch fangs - thankfully without matching claws - took three shots from your supergun? Highly motivating, even for someone who failed tree-climbing 101. Besides, Sheppard helped."
"Took a while for you two to call for help."
"Yes, well, I lost my radio and Sheppard was uh…busy. Wasting ammo and such. Ow, watch it, caveman!"
"Bark in your hair."
"That happens in trees."
"All down your back, too."
"Cadman taught me a song about people in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G?"
"She's so very dead."
Chapter 12: Rekindled
John comes out of the cold.
In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. ~Albert Schweitzer
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
An orange-fleeced stranger demanding the moon and the stars under a hundred feet of ice stirs the ashes to reveal the tiniest ember of wonder buried deep. An oxygenated challenge from a general leaves behind a glowing edge of self-respect a few degrees warmer under a coat of grey.
The blunt-worded gauntlet of a colonel fans the tenacious coal hot enough to blister with resolve and responsibility. Brown eyes and an alien smile waft friendship into sparks brightening the darkness.
Trust and a blue-eyed grin fuel the lick of flame.
Courage steps into the black and sets a heart blazing.
Plot bunny from quote on phinjay's LJ.
Chapter 13: Six Smooches
A collection of drabbles written to prompts for April 2010 McSmooch.
For queenbarwench, who asked "How about something involving ice cream?"
John remembers how Rodney's nipples had perked up when Rodney'd bent over to examine the open solar-powered freezer. Rodney had abandoned the unexpected technology when he'd tasted what was stored inside. Sweet, creamy, flavored with darchi berries, it had been as close to ice cream as they'd found to date in Pegasus.
Purchasing the ingredients and equipment in the market stalls moved to the top of Rodney's list that day. John appreciates Rodney's single-mindedness, as he tastes the first batch delivered to John's room. Rodney's lips are chilled and berry-sweet, his nipples peak again under John's palms, and John shivers.
For mecurtin, who asked for Dark (ashy?) skies, red sunset. Grit or gritty.
"Look. Red sky at night, sailor's delight."
John glances up at Rodney's ramblings, notes the crimson sky that owed more to flame than a setting sun. "Yeah, tomorrow'll be something." John doesn't bother to point out neither of them will be around to see it.
Dampening the strip torn off his t-shirt, John wipes across Rodney's eyes, removing the ash irritating them, knowing it will return with the next shift in the wind. John blinks his, allowing tears to wash away what they can, then he bends so his lips rasp against volcanic grit, breathes with Rodney as they wait.
For mezzo_cammin, who asked for Absolutely! No, um, that's the prompt. Absolutely! Without a doubt, even! *g*
"Your turn, McKay. Best beer."
"Jackson took me to this microbrewery in Colorado Springs, the best honey oat seasonal I've ever tasted. Best burger."
"Okinawa, stopover when I was deployed to Antarctica. Matsusaka beef. Enough about food, I'm getting hungry. Uh, let's see…. Best kiss."
"Um, no, let me think…. Got it! On P76-MX9. Lenat was incredible."
"Wait. Wasn't Lenat a…."
"A little young? I wasn't the one chasing."
"No, a guy. He was the best?"
"So far. Uh, Sheppard? John? What're you doing?"
"Going after the record."
. . .
"Well? Better than Lenat?"
"Who? I mean, absolutely!"
For mezzo_cammin, who asked for Want some more? Ha - that's a prompt, too! (I'm slaying myself, here)
You weren't prepared to have him drag you away from the lab and into your room. It was completely unfair how he was able to strip you better than you can protest, manhandled you into your bed with a threat of sedation if you climbed back out before sleeping at least six hours. Smelling so good after a too-long day was just wrong, his hands shouldn't have been so gentle despite his aggravation, and he certainly shouldn't have given in so easily to your sarcastic demand.
How dare he leave you here alone, with just a kiss to dream on.
For melagan, who asked for Panic! Yes, panic kisses. Causing or caused by.
In Case of Emergency
Rodney knew that any attempt on his part to avoid retribution didn't stand a chance. He could put all his security protocols into place, but, if John wanted into Rodney's room, Atlantis would let him in without even pretending to hesitate. It wasn't fair. They had been a series of unavoidable accidents, nothing Rodney had done on purpose, even though he looked guilty. Besides, no one had been hurt, just embarrassed.
When the door to his room opened, Rodney jumped to his feet knowing what he had to do. John had never resisted The Kiss.
It worked like a charm.
For gyri, who asked for Tentative kisses.
They've touched, frantic after a mission that left them needing something other than their own rough hand. Under lights too dim in a place neither owned, there were no words beyond urgent demands, nothing exposed save the minimum required. They've spent their nights alone, denying any craving, pointing to rules instead of claiming fears.
Standing outside, he wishes for an Ancient device to detect the presence of other than life, measure want, gauge the chance of failure.
Stepping inside, he reaches out, trembling, longing reflected in the eyes that close under the gentle touch of his lips, his kisses returned.
Chapter 14: Brief
My report was accurate and concise: an unsuccessful mission, three missing in action and presumed dead. No words could describe adequately how Lt. Colonel Sheppard had supported Dr. McKay while Ronon Dex carried Teyla Emmagan, or their grief at the culling of M4X-488 and the subsequent destruction of the hive ship carrying Dr. Keller and two Marines.
Although I informed the IOA that the weapons outpost activated by Dr. McKay had unfortunately self-destructed, I failed to include what I witnessed when I visited Dr. McKay's room unannounced.
I assured Colonel Sheppard that I wouldn't.
I sincerely hope he believed me.
Chapter 15: McShep Match Drabble Tree 2010
Collection of McShep Drabbles written for 2010 McShep Match Drabble Tree. Each of mine was written in response to words from someone else's drabble (the words in bold).
1. Towel Dry
"Hey, Rodney! Do you know where my towel went?"
"What? You have got to be kidding! You had it not two minutes ago, under your jacket!"
"Rodney, stop unpacking and come out here and help me find it."
"I was obviously mistaken in my assumption that being promoted to full-bird colonel meant you were a man to be reckoned with and perfectly capable of taking care of your own damn towels. Sometimes I can't believe how helpless you… Uh, forget the towel. Where are your clothes?"
"I'm pretty sure they went missing with the towel. So, you wanna go skinny-dipping?"
2. Big Game Hunting
John had been looking forward to the Big Game for weeks, since Rodney had held up two tickets during lunch, saying, "You like college football, right?" When John reached out eagerly, Rodney had held them out of reach and teased, "Stanford and UC Berkeley?" and John had yelped and jumped out of his chair to grab them.
Despite his excitement at being there in person, John still managed to miss more than a play or two, due to a very distracting yellow splodge of mustard lingering at the corner of Rodney's mouth. John had to remove it, of course.
3. Mind the Gadget
John considered first dibs on cool ancient toys one of the advantages of being Rodney's best friend. He really didn't mind the calls telling him to stop by the lab to touch the latest find, even though he pretended he did. Grumbling about it just made Rodney's sarcasm shift into high gear and that made his visits even more fun.
Discovering what the latest glowing gadget could do changed everything for the better. John dragged it and Rodney into the closest storage room, and learned what they'd been missing by spending all their free time on remote-controlled cars and DVDs.
4. Downhill All The Way
"Two feet of snow last night! You know what would be fun? Going sledding."
Rodney frowned at John. "Right. Except that we don't happen to own a sled, and most of the stores around here are closed due to the weather."
"I knew I should have kept that tray from the mess hall." John sighed. "There's a great hill only a couple of blocks away, too."
"I guess it's a good thing you live with one of the great innovators." Rodney pointed to the cardboard box their enormous flat screen television had arrived in and smirked. "Now, hats and gloves?"
5. Poker Face
Teyla watched John and Rodney argue with only a hint of a smile, not wishing to embarrass them into stopping. She shook her head when she caught Ronon about to say something to them, because it had been far too long since she'd last seen the two friends so relaxed and playful with each other. Although she held a winning hand in the new game that they'd taught her and Ronon, she willingly relinquished her cards and pleaded fatigue, dragging Ronon along out of John's room.
When Ronon asked, she revealed her hope that they'd both be late for breakfast.
6. Rules of the Game
Sam Carter couldn't help but notice that Sheppard and McKay had the tendency to turn anything and almost everything into a competitive sport. The radio-controlled cars and the 'name the villain' competitions weren't so bad, although she had to admit the bowling in corridor 5G-SE had been hazardous to that one tech's health.
Of course, there was the time she walked in on a strip chess game in McKay's room. The door had opened when she knocked, although it was apparent neither man expected it. She was still trying to forget that McKay was losing and didn't seem to care.
7. Tempting Aroma
Rodney had a problem staying focused whenever John showed up in his lab, especially after John played basketball in the night league Lorne organized. Of course, John always showered first, so it wasn't as if he smelled bad. In fact, it was the exact opposite. He'd lean over Rodney's shoulder to see what he was doing and, although Rodney could barely detect the warm male musk under the new aftershave John had started wearing a few months earlier, the combination smelled delicious. Rodney's mouth would start watering, John would just happen to touch him anywhere, and Rodney's day was over.
John woke up startled, nearly precipitating himself overboard as his hammock creaked and swayed. Rodney's face was only a few inches from John's, and he seemed torn between apology and laughter.
"Didn't mean to wake you, but there was a bug." Rodney straightened and gestured with his fist. "Big and black. I know how you feel about them." He walked over and pushed open the porch door to release the culprit back to the wild.
"My hero." John scooted sideways to make room. "Ready to claim your reward?"
Rodney pondered for a whole two seconds before smiling and climbing in.
9. Food for Thought
"This reminds me of the fruits we bartered for on Melnos." Teyla smiled as she selected another slice of watermelon. After nibbling the edge, she frowned. "Those did not contain as many seeds."
Sitting on the edge of the pier next to Rodney, John laughed and took a huge bite, before spitting his seeds forward into the water. "They're the the fun part! We used to bet on who could spit one the farthest."
Ronon's rind splashed down about ten yards out. "What'd you bet?"
"Winner picked the next game."
Rodney smiled and set a few pieces aside for later.
John knew that smell, a heady mixture of cotton candy, fried dough, and barbeque. He'd waited impatiently for it every year when he was growing up, for that one night his parents would take him and Dave to the volunteer firemen's parade and carnival. Filling up on junk and riding every ride at least twice, finishing up with the Ferris wheel, was something he indulged in every chance he got since then.
It was even better this time because he wasn't alone, and he added the taste of ice cream, peanuts, and Rodney McKay to his stash of treasured memories.
11. Penalty Box
"Alright, McKay. You made your point. Now get me out before I lose my temper."
"You make it sound as though I had something to do with your current situation. Maybe we should wait for Zelenka to arrive so he can testify to my innocence."
"Wait! I didn't say that. I know it wasn't your fault."
"Well, I might be persuaded to to save your dignity, if I hear the magic words."
"Pretty please? With sprinkles on top?"
"How amusing, Colonel. You slay me."
"That's exactly what's going to happen…. Fine. I was wrong."
"Curling is a manly sport."
12. Lighter Than Air
Rodney had studied the small bottle that had a plastic wand sticking out of it for hours, frowning as he'd carefully considered his options. Torren had enjoyed the bubbles Jeannie had sent as a gift, but the original and refill solution had disappeared quickly. Teyla had assigned him the task of finding a replacement that wouldn't irritate the toddler's eyes, and he wouldn't fail her.
He solved the problem quite brilliantly, as usual. Unfortunately, Torren rarely got the chance to play with his new super bubble gun, at least not until Rodney finished making two more for John and Ronon.
Immersed in equations, Rodney didn't look up at the swish of the door, but he couldn't ignore the thump and groan. Worried, he spun around in his chair ready to leap into action, but ended up chuckling at the sight of a very muddy John sprawled across their bed. Chuckling changed to grumbling when John rolled over, leaving a faceprint behind in the middle of Rodney's buckwheat pillow.
"Coaches are supposed to watch, not play," Rodney huffed, resigned to wearing mud he didn't deserve. "Let's get you into the shower before that hardens and I have to chip it off."
14. One for the Gipper
Responding to a sharp tug, Rodney slowly began to play out the fishing line, allowing his single catch for the day to run until it tired enough to reel in. It didn't take long, not compared to the first time he'd hooked one of the 'record-breaking space trout' Carson had boasted about. When it was finally within reach, he netted it carefully then removed the hook before releasing it.
John met Rodney on the bank, taking his gear while Rodney peeled off his waders. "Ready to go back?" he asked, gently stroking Rodney's cheek.
Rodney nodded. "That was number twelve."
15. Riding High
John tried to plan ahead for missions, but who the hell knew what was going to happen next? One time they'd show up ready for a simple meet-and-greet and end up running for their lives, the next he'd be loaded for bear and look silly standing next to vegetarian natives wearing nothing but muumuus and smiles while offering platters of fruits and nuts.
The one bright point on the current mission was the surfing competition. He always liked watching Rodney attempt (and usually fail) to conceal his Pavlovian reaction to John without a shirt. It made after-mission showers more exciting.
16. After Hours
"McKay, why am I still sitting alone in our quarters at 2300?"
"I don't know, Sheppard. Why don't you enlighten me?"
"Because you didn't meet me here at 2200 like you promised?"
"My simulation's almost done, and what about all that 'patience is a virtue' crap you're always spouting at me?"
"It was almost done an hour ago. I've been more than patient and your time's up. You have five minutes to get your ass here, and then the last person naked has to top."
"Uh, sir? You're on a public channel."
"We all know that now, sir."
17. Not For Sale
"If you don't leave, Colonel, you'll be late meeting up with your latest conquest."
John reached out, struggled to find the words to convince Rodney that what he'd seen earlier wasn't what Rodney believed. "I, that's not…." When Rodney turned away, pretending to scan the equipment scattered around the cave, John growled and jerked him back around to listen. "How the hell do you think I found out about this place?"
Rodney's eyes narrowed as he spat back, "You sold yourself."
"I played nice. That's all." Brushing a kiss across Rodney's lips, he murmured, "I wouldn't sell what you own."
18. Easy to Detect
After checking the corridor in both directions, he scurried across to the darkened lab, two doors closer to safety. Crouching behind the nearest cabinet, he tried to keep his breathing quiet as he listened for pursuers. It was a long minute before he heard the faintest scuff of stealthy footsteps and, as they neared, he held his breath.
All his efforts at concealment were in vain. There was an evil chuckle and the overhead lights clicked on. "Let's make this painless, McKay."
Rodney scowled up at his captor. "Life sign detectors aren't fair in hide-and-seek."
John shrugged. "Tag, you're it."
19. Keeping Time
John had lost the coin toss, so Rodney was leading, although John wasn't willing to call what they were doing dancing. It may have been in time with the music, because Rodney did have a good ear, but it was still just shuffling in a circle, completely lacking any style or flair. Nevertheless, John couldn't help enjoying the strength in the arms that held him close, loved knowing he could depend on Rodney being there when John needed him the most. As the song wound down, John leaned in and whispered, with a smile and a sweet kiss, "Happy anniversary."
20. Brilliant Disguise
"I don't think I'd have chosen that as a costume for you, but it suits you." Rodney twirled his finger to indicate John needs to turn around. "The color is definitely you." Stepping close, he stroked his hand down over the black silky feathers of the wings suspended from the harness crisscrossing John's shoulders. "Too bad they don't work."
"Yeah," John sighed. "Guess I'll have to stick to puddlejumpers."
"I could try to make it up to you after the party." Rodney walked around to face John, a devilish look in his eyes. "The fallen angel look is pretty irresistible."
21. Same Old Story
"So the princess looked around the tree to see what was smoking. Guess what she found."
"A firebreathing dragon?"
"No, a smokebreathing giraffe. He couldn't breathe fire because it took too long to make it up his long neck and only smoke came out!"
"You're silly, Uncle John."
"Yes, he is, Torren. You should ask Jinto about the supposedly scary stories he used to tell him."
"Hey, it's not my fault he didn't know hockey masks are scary."
"Uncle Rodney, do you know any scary stories?"
"How about 'Chaya the evil Ancient and…'?"
"I think it's Torren's bedtime, don't you?"
22. Figuring It Out
Clear blue sky x plus enough breeze to keep annoying bugs away y plus the temperature hovering comfortably between 'I need a jacket' and 'everything's sticking to me' z equals 1 perfect day. Well, not quite perfect, because a certain someone insists on adding sweat-inducing activities negative n to the equation, which throws it all out of balance.
When I factor in no shirt and shorts just barely hanging onto hips m-squared, the result begins to approach a more satisfactory solution. Add 100SPF sunscreen and Canadian beer, and watching volleyball on the beach works out to be positive.
"Sheppard, did you get a chance to check out the link I sent you?"
"Yes, Rodney, somewhere in-between submitting the last of the mission reports and Ronon kicking my ass."
"And? Isn't it great? Five-star restaurant, breakfast served on the balcony overlooking the beach, free wireless, masseuse on staff, enormous tub with whirlpool jets, king-size beds. I don't know about you, but it sounds like heaven to me."
"Golf course, surfing, parasailing, horseback riding - it's pretty cool, alright."
"So you're interested? Um, I mean going on vacation. With me."
"Of course. One thing, though. Uh, make it one room?"
24. Sharp-Dressed Man
Rodney hadn't been snooping in John's dresser when he found the leather pants half-hidden under three identical pairs of BDUs. He'd simply been looking for a pair of sweats to borrow, since his had succumbed to a messy collision involving mashed root, beast gravy, and John.
When John emerged from his bathroom wearing nothing but a towel, Rodney debated on whether to take a second shower with freezing water or depend on a strategically placed laptop. In either case, a leather-clad John would play a leading role in Rodney's fantasies, after they'd finished the movie and called it a night.
25. Game On
Watching Rodney crawl around on his hands and knees obliterated John's good intentions. He'd shown up at Rodney's apartment bearing pizza and beer, anticipating a night of friendly first-person shooting and trash talking. After years of practice resisting temptation, John had figured he could handle spending time alone with Rodney minus the career-destroying threat of someone noticing.
When the game console wouldn't cooperate, forcing Rodney to fuss with the various cords tangled together behind the television, John had started to sweat.
Then Rodney wiggled his ass in front of John's face and growled, "Come on, you bastard," and John pounced.
26. House Rules
When he heard a rolling clatter and Rodney's shout of dismay, John jerked around just in time to watch Rodney's head hit the floor with a wooden thump. Heart in his throat, John hurried across the room and dropped to his knees next to Rodney's too-still form.
"Jesus, Rodney!" Fearing he'd make things worse, John hovered over him without touching, voice shaking as he asked, "Can you hear me, buddy?"
With a groan, Rodney squinted up at John, bleary-eyed for a few moments before he segued into a classic pissed-off glare. "What did I say about skateboards in the house?"
27. Sweet Victory
The lure of should be called coffee, and pastries worthy of the finest patisseries, tugs Rodney back to the aromatic stall he discovered at the edge of the market. John rolls his eyes and follows, hiding his own eagerness to sample the sweet flaky squares Rodney insists remind him of baklava.
When Ronon and Teyla meet them there, the vendor is smiling widely and John's traded everything he brought with him. John's never been able to resist a certain smile on Rodney's face.
He considers it a bargain when he sees the smile again, while feeding Rodney baklava in bed.
28. Playing the Odds
"What do you think, Teyla?"
"It is my understanding, Colonel, that the pink is a sign of a good breeding and intelligence in tilcheks."
"Okay. That's a really pink, uh, tail over there, so I guess I should bet on that one."
"I'm going for that skinny one."
"But, its tail is blue, Ronon."
"A pretty pink butt doesn't mean it can run fast. Look at McKay."
"He's got a point, Rodney."
"I don't have to stay here and be insulted, Sheppard. Wait. You really think it's pretty?"
"Let's just say I'd bet on you to win every time."
29. Surprise Attack
Rodney knows he's being watched. In fact, he's counting on it. The time John wastes studying Rodney's moves is time John's not spending on developing his own strategy, and Rodney will take any advantage he can get when it comes to the game.
Thinking at least four steps ahead, he explodes into a flurry of maneuvers, chortling with glee at John's surprised shout of dismay. It isn't often he can defeat John so dramatically, and Rodney's looking forward to claiming his prize.
He's had plans for those Belgian truffles since he found John's requisition.
John tastes delicious covered in chocolate.
30. Scoring Points
It wasn't what John had expected when he'd made the joke, so when Rodney flips him off and stomps out the door, John turns to Radek and asks, "What was all that about?"
"I believe it is natural to resent being mocked for something you could not control, Colonel."
There's no trace of amusement in Radek's face, and John knows he's fucked up badly. He rubs the back of his neck and grimaces. "I guess I should apologize, hunh?"
Radek nods in agreement. "It should be accompanied by a new car to replace the one he sneezed off the pier."
31. Evening the Score
Whenever they're forced to walk single-file, John always walks behind Rodney. He's always thought Rodney's shoulders and biceps look kinda impressive, especially when he wears those dark grey t-shirts, and the curves of his ass can't be beat.
John's pretty sure Rodney knows when he's watching, because he straightens up more than usual and adds a tortuous bit of swing to his hips. The wordless teasing makes it a little more difficult for John to do his job and keep track of their surroundings, but he pays Rodney back when they're inside their tent and Rodney can't make a sound.
32. Play it Safe
John isn't sure why Lara Croft suddenly needs to know whether Ronon uses a straight razor, especially since she should be paying attention to the mountain she's climbing.
When Lara morphs into Rodney - still naked - and that spot on his rib starts complaining about poking, John sleepily responds, nudging in closer to trap Rodney's irritating finger.
His ploy fails. Although his finger's been deprived of poking rights, Rodney's mouth is still unrestrained. "I can't get to sleep."
John tugs Rodney closer for kisses, grumbling, "I'm going to kill the person who picked 'Sweeney Todd' for movie night."
33. Word Play
"You should back away slowly and carefully, Dr. McKay. You don't want to attract their attention."
"I don't usually make a target of myself, but what are you talking about Teyla? They look like rabbits, fluffy and adorable, not dangerous."
"Unless you're in that movie. The one with the knights."
"Ronon's got a point, Rodney."
"On his head under all that hair. See, they're perfectly… Ow! Those teeth are sharp!"
"We should return to Atlantis quickly. It is not possible to predict the effects of a plot bunny bite."
"Whoa, Rodney! Hunh. I guess that explains the kissing."
34. Playing His Part
"The IOA decided the ratio of Americans on Atlantis is too high. Assigning a new military commander was an easy way to keep them happy." John shrugged as he delivered the news from Elizabeth.
Rodney avoided John's eyes as he suggested, "You could marry a foreign national and apply for dual citizenship. You probably can't transfer to their military, but Elizabeth could hire you as a consultant."
"I guess I could do that," John said, pretending to consider Rodney's suggestion. "Teyla's foreign." He waited a beat then relented at the sight of Rodney's devastated face. "Then again, so are you."
35. Out of the Dark
Rodney forces John to confess he still feels bugs crawling on him, though it's been three days since they'd visited the Lorantan caves. Giant spider-like creatures thriving inside had hissed and skittered, disturbed by their lights, and even Ronon had abandoned stoicism and announced he'd wait outside with Teyla. John couldn't leave Rodney to search alone, so he'd pretended he didn't care and kept going. It turned out Rodney couldn't handle bugs landing on him, so John called the mission.
"I'll fix this," Rodney declares. After a hot shower and massage, John feels nothing but Rodney's hands, and finally sleeps.
36. Pick-up Game
"Try that one." Rodney pointed at a rectangular block in the center of the perfectly balanced stack, one whose vibrant stripes labeled it as a high-point piece. "All we need is one more of those to win."
John nodded and rubbed the tips of his fingers together, before gingerly plucking the piece free without disturbing any others, whooshing out a sigh of relief as he added it to their collection. Rodney jumped to his feet with a yell of triumph. "We did it!"
The judge bowed then announced, "Now, powhen wrestling!"
"With feathers and mud," Rodney groaned.
John grinned. "Kinky."
37. Dreaming in Color
It was hard for John to look away from the brilliant yellows, blues, greens, and reds of the fireworks in the New Lantean sky, but he was unable to resist the lure of Rodney's shining eyes. John reached out to tuck Rodney into his side and proclaimed in-between the sparkling explosions, "You did a great job this year."
Rodney tipped his head, peeked up through his eyelashes in the move that made John want to kiss him, and smiled. "Yeah?"
John nodded and rested his hand over his heart, saying, "The best every time," meaning more than the display overhead.
38. Child's Play
Carson looked at the colorful additions to Rodney's hair and clothes and teased, "It looks like you had fun with the kiddies. Did you leave them any paint for the next time?"
Rodney rolled his eyes and extended his arm for the obligatory blood sample. "Ha. Ha. The colonel left me defenseless while he played football with Keras."
"Hey, I stuck around for some of the painting," John protested, and Rodney's scowl softened to a smile when he glanced at John's red-stained fingertips.
Since Carson only needed blood, the heart with arrow and initials painted over Rodney's remained a secret.
39. Sweet and Creamy
"Da-arn it! I had maybe two licks off that!" Rodney glared down at the Swiss chocolate almond waffle cone that had ended up on the ground.
Madison tugged at his t-shirt, offering an apologetic, "Sorry, Uncle Mer. I didn't mean to bump into you. You can have mine."
"That's…" Rodney's face softened as he refused the dripping pink cone. "That's okay. I don't care for strawberry." Bending over to clean up the mess, he huffed, "Your Uncle John should know when tickling is ill-advised."
"Mine?" John held out his dish of butter brickle.
Rodney smiled and accepted a spoonful. "Ours."
40. Clearing The Board
John reached over for the third time and, for the third time, withdrew his hand from his knight.
Rodney rolled his eyes and mocked, "The pieces haven't changed their positions in the last ten minutes, Sheppard. Are you waiting for another tsunami to rock Atlantis and shift them for you?"
"This is important, Rodney. Don't rush me." John rubbed the back of his neck then finally used the knight to take Rodney's bishop. "Check."
Rodney stood to remove his boxers, leaving him naked.
John looked up at him and licked his lips.
Rodney knocked over his king. "Took long enough."
It still surprises John sometimes how much Rodney likes being watched. It isn't just when he's performing his latest miraculous save; it's also when he's quietly working on a problem. Rodney might appear oblivious to the rest of the world, but John has seen the slightest smile tug at the corner of Rodney's lips, when there's a noise revealing that John has him under observation.
Rodney takes it to another level in bed. Sometimes John's not allowed to touch him, can only watch as Rodney touches himself and, when orgasm washes across Rodney's face, it carries John over the edge.
42. Home Run
Sheppard was hot and sweaty and, every time McKay reached up to change the score on the board, it just kept getting worse. McKay's t-shirt would stretch across his shoulders and biceps, outlining muscles acquired under protest.
When McKay caught him watching - again - he frowned and waved toward the muddy soccer field filled with running children. "Aren't you supposed to be at least pretending to coach those hellions?"
Sheppard shrugged. "Already taught them everything I know. Rest's up to them."
Shouting signaled another goal, McKay grumpily changed the score again, and Sheppard daydreamed about coaching him.
Flutie throws, this game is over. Hail Mary, it is caught!
"Yes! Can you believe that?!"
"Great, Sheppard. I always wanted to wear my popcorn instead of eating it."
"Sorry. I'll help you clean it up."
"What I can't believe is that you still get that excited by the same play you've watched too many times to count. If I didn't know better, I'd think this mess was an excuse to grope me."
"Honestly? So not really that excited?"
"Oh, I'm pretty excited, just not about Flutie scoring. So, what'dya think?"
"I'd have to rule this pass as complete."
44. Boys Will Be Boys
Teyla struggled to keep a straight face when her tipsy teammates decided to engage in a 'who can make the most disgusting sounds' contest around the campfire. Ronon began by imitating velbest grunts, then Rodney surprised her when he started belching the alphabet - in Ancient. In the end, John emerged the clear victor with his armpit rendition of Ring of Fire.
Proud of her ability to remain giggle-free under the most trying circumstances, Teyla declined to participate beyond judging. The giggles escaped, however, after overhearing Rodney declaring he'd be sleeping alone if John played another chorus of Solitary Man.
"What's the problem, Rodney?" John frowns at the console holding data Rodney hasn't been able to decipher. "You used to be able to do it in your sleep."
Scrubbing his hands over his face, Rodney whines, "Sleep is the problem, as in I haven't been getting enough for days. My brain feels like mush."
"Why not?" John asks worriedly.
"It keeps replaying in my head, when you and the Wraith…." Rodney breaks off and looks up at John in horrified embarrassment.
"You need new material." John smiles and squeezes Rodney's shoulder suggestively. "Maybe I could help."
Rodney whispers, "Yes, please."
46. Smooth Operator
When spots of water and a sprinkle of sand land on his book, Rodney scowls at the dripping idiot that dropped onto the beach chair next to him. "Do you mind?"
Scrubbing a towel through his rakish hair, the offender flippantly replies, "Nope." Leaning in closer, he asks Rodney, "What'cha reading?"
"Nothing you have a hope of understanding." Annoyed, Rodney shakes off the sand and starts reading again.
"Wanna go fuck?"
Rodney's book goes flying as he bursts out laughing. "That's how you used to pick up strangers?"
John shrugs, grinning sheepishly. "Never claimed I was good at it."
47. Squeeze Play
"You really want to go on a roller coaster ride with me, Sheppard? You do remember how I react to certain death scenarios?"
"Rodney, it's perfectly safe. You'll have fun. I promise."
"And if I don't? I mean asking what happens if I don't survive is kind of moot because I won't be around to care, but I am interested in how you'll make it up to me if this sucks as badly as I think it will."
"Go on the ride, and I'll prove to you that I don't suck badly."
"As many times as it takes."
48. Master of Disguise
"John, what are you…you're wearing a Nehru jacket? I don't think I've seen one of those outside of a movie or television show from the sixties, and there's a good reason."
"Hey, I'll have you know that Johnny Cash used to wear one, even started a line of clothing based on it."
"Operative phrase? Used to. For that matter, so did The Monkees, which still does nothing to recommend the style to me."
"Says the man who wears geeky t-shirts. Teyla thought I looked handsome."
"So do I, but I happen to think you look best without any clothes on."
49. Feeling Cheated
You played the game by their rules.
Watching him walk the halls next to her, you hide how you feel behind an awkward smile, always pretending it doesn't matter.
Your nights are lonely now, no movies or challenges fill the hours between, and the scores he left behind mock you, remain the same for weeks.
Determined that his choice won't take it all away, your own scores steadily rise, until you find talking trash to your electronic opponent leaves you feeling a little insane, so you erase both sets.
You regret it.
Offered a rematch, you'd say, "Fuck the rules."
50. It's How You Play the Game
Thirty-five minutes before game time, John pushes away from the table and announces it's time to suit up for their match against the Wraith.
Teyla and Ronon head for the locker room without a word, but Rodney always has something to say, although it's questionable how useful it will be so close to face-off. This time, Rodney suggests using a strategy that failed on the first two attempts, insisting he's solved his problem with the null-G maneuver.
John grins and agrees it's worth another shot, if only to see Rodney's eyes light up over his crooked smile.
Winning isn't everything.
Chapter 16: Monday, Monday
The first day of the week is always the toughest.
click for full size
Mondays definitely suck, and not in a good way. It'd started out fine, but then kidnapping and people shooting and the running…. He's going to erase the day from every calendar in Atlantis, presuming they ever escape the cave of weird noises and creepy shapes. He can do that, he controls the technology. Who needs Mondays, anyway? They live on a planet whose rotation doesn't match Earth's, so why cling to outmoded units of time?
"Rodney, if I promise you a blowjob when we get back, will you stop babbling back there?"
Okay, Mondays did suck in a good way.
Chapter 17: Snapshots
Drabbles requested based on my SGA icons.
Sunglasses at Night
Every time you close your eyes, the same scene plays again. You see her standing just out of reach, ordering you to leave her behind, a superhuman sacrifice. Sleep eludes you and you wander the halls, alone, until you pause outside an empty room.
He finds you, sitting suspended above the city, counting foreign stars she'll never see. Sliding down next to you, he says nothing, only offers a hand. There, on her balcony, you finally speak sparse words of loss and regret, and he slips the dark lenses from your face to kiss away the tears you'll never shed.
A missing moment from All That We Sever
No Riches Compare
Anyone considering the columns of numbers on the papers scattered across the expanse of mahogany might think John a lucky man. All tallied and told, he was worth more than he'd ever wanted or needed. Shoving the evidence into a single pile, he rubbed his eyes, like any child insisting he's not tired, even as the grit of too many sleepless nights scraped under his eyelids.
The silence kept him awake, missing the hum of Ancient walls and gentle lap of waves through a night-cracked window, needing the absent voice recounting daily complaints in the dark, too far from home.
"The Otaran council has authorized me to make you an offer for Dr. McKay's services. We are willing to pay a fair price to have him remain for a variety of projects that require his expertise to go forward. In fact, we insist."
John inserted himself between Rodney and the official, raising his P90 when the Otaran guards began to move forward. "Tell your council we're not interested," he growled through a forced smile. "We'll be leaving." With a jerk of his head, he sent Rodney to the gate with Ronon and Teyla as escorts. "And we won't be back."
A snippet of the sequel to Detour To Bethlehem
Rodney looked at each of his fellow refugees and shook his head. "I can't believe I'm actually saying this, but finding someplace safe to stay isn't enough. We need to figure out what's going on and maybe even stop it."
"Got any ideas?" asked Ronon from his post by the containment room door.
Sheppard's wings shuddered as he answered for Rodney, "This is where it all started."
"You have remembered?" Teyla's voice was hopeful. "What else can you tell us?"
"Not really, it's all bits and pieces except…" Sheppard frowned. "Something about a bridge?"
Suddenly, Rodney had the answer. "Tunney."
For His Eyes Only
Dr. Rodney McKay had never wanted to be the one driving customized sports cars, parachuting from private planes, or romancing beautiful diplomats. He'd been perfectly content to work long hours in his well-equipped lab, creating the complex devices that John Sheppard needed in his role as special agent for the Solar Galactic Corps.
All that changed when Sheppard disappeared on a mission inside Genii territory, captured by the intergalactic terrorist, Kolya. Unlike Director Weir, McKay wasn't willing to write Sheppard off as an acceptable loss. Every available gadget tucked inside his tuxedo, McKay set out, determined to get his man.
A snippet of the sequel to Detour To Bethlehem
Stumbling Toward Redemption
Eerie lighting and the strange mist had made it difficult for Rodney to find Tunney's lab. He'd only visited it once; a quick tour after Landry approved the space/time bridge, despite the gaping holes in Tunney's theories. The gun in Rodney's hand trembled at the snarling that issued from the end of the hallway, and only Sheppard's steadying presence kept him on course.
"Sure it's the right place?"
Rodney shrugged without looking at his winged bodyguard, afraid he'd miss something suddenly leaping toward them. "Malcolm's project is the only one that could have caused this."
Sheppard nodded. "Let's do it."
A tiny tag Refining Gold
The cool water made John shiver, but he was reluctant to leave the shower knowing his skin would warm and the itch of peeling sunburn would reawaken. A dozing thunk against the tiled wall was his five-minute warning, and he finally gave in and retreated to his bedroom to drip dry.
It took several shoves to appropriate enough bed to lie down, something John regretted when the heat of Rodney's body seeped across the scant inches between them. Regret evaporated when Rodney scooted down and provided first aid, his mouth as perfect as John had dreamed during his desert trek.
John's uncertain how long he's been walking or his destination. No landmarks before or behind, just a road beneath his feet and the sky above his head. An indeterminate time later, he takes inventory; not hungry, thirsty, or tired, and his clothes seem familiar but wrong, yet he can't recall what's right.
An indistinct figure appears in the distance, a goal, although his speed never varies as he strives to reach it. Finally, he's close enough to make out features; blue eyes, broad shoulders, and a crooked mouth that grumbles, "Took you long enough."
John takes his hand.
Hard to Resist
All it had taken was a simple comment from John and a compliment from the pretty blonde, and Rodney was off and lecturing. John couldn't resist a smile as he watched Rodney wave his hands and explain exactly why no one else could match him when it came to solving unfathomable problems within impossible time limits.
The blonde slowly backed away, her smile slipping under the onslaught of information, and John knew he'd won again. Although he had to admit it was petty, John was willing to use any advantage to ensure Rodney tumbled into the right bed every night.
On the Waterfront
It'd been a long day cleaning up the boat, getting it ready to go back out in the morning. A hot shower and clean clothes later, John was ready for food and a couple of beers. On his way to Frank's, he noticed the guy with the blue eyes and shoulders, the one who'd been watching John earlier. He pretended to study a poster as John approached, but John knew the guy wasn't missing a thing. It'd been a while, so John decided to try his luck.
Maybe he'd find a reason to delay leaving for another day or two.
Chapter 18: Safe Harbor
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Their arrival is unaccompanied by shouts or explosions, hard experience granting a softer landing for both aging bones and metal this time around. A few creaks and rattles can be heard on touchdown, even a protesting groan or two, but they're to be expected. It had been years in the making, a voyage spanning galaxies, and they shudder and rock as they test the fit in their new location. With each shift and adjustment, the pleasure of connection seeking completion shimmers around and through, familiar yet exotic.
They finally settle pressed together, long-empty spaces no longer aching.
Home at last.
Chapter 19: Block Breakers
Drabbles based on prompts or my SGA icons (requested in an attempt to break through writer's block).
"I'm turning into an ice-cube here." Rodney shivered and tucked his hands under his arms, abandoning his tools on the half-dismantled console. "I can't make my fingers work right anymore."
John winced in commiseration, not feeling the cold since he'd been up and moving around, sweeping the perimeter while Rodney had been stuck in one spot for hours. "Why don't you take a break and I'll try to warm you up," he offered with a smile.
Shaking his head, Rodney picked up a screwdriver and went back to work. "I'll wait. I want more than a few minutes with you."
So We're Screwed, Right?
"I can't believe it's today! I thought I had another week. You promised me that you'd put the date in your calendar so we wouldn't miss it."
"I swear that I did, John. See, right there? I must have dismissed the reminder when it popped up."
"How did this suddenly become my fault? You're not a complete moron and perfectly capable of setting up your own calendar, you know."
"I was going to, but I guess I got distracted and forgot."
"In the meantime, we're an hour late for Torren John's naming day party."
"And we don't have gifts."
Sorry, but your third choice was a Teyla icon that demands a Teyla-centric fic, not a McShep.
Prompt: Lantean Winter Costume(?)Ball, mistletoe.
Dressed for Success
For Rodney, the most annoying tradition of the season was the kissing under the mistletoe at the holiday party. It wasn't that Rodney didn't enjoy the kisses from women ambushing him under the white-berried sprig; it was the disappointment of knowing he wouldn't, no, couldn't be surprised by the only person who counted.
Just in time for both men to enjoy the holiday fun, Jeannie's quirky sense of humor had come to the rescue. Rodney felt cheerful for a change because he was guaranteed at least one mistletoe-generated kiss in private when he modeled his new silk boxers for John.
Prompt: How about what Shep thought at the end of Tabula Rasa when he was all worried about Rodney and he found out Rodney was at Katie's bedside?
But Not Forgotten
John was afraid to ask for specifics when Teyla mentioned the Kirsan fever cure arrived too late for some people, but Rodney's absence from John's bedside had been too unusual. Teyla's sympathetic look, as she explained Rodney was waiting for Katie to waken, only made John feel worse. It was selfish to want Rodney's concern focused on him, when John had been the one to break things off, but John didn't care.
When Teyla showed John his photo on Rodney's tablet with a note saying, 'He's the most important to you,' John knew he had a chance make things right.
Prompt: Since tomorrow is St. Andrew's day (patron saint of Scotland), how about something with either Lex or Rodney in a kilt?
"Where does Jeannie come up with these ideas?" Rodney twisted in front of the mirror, attempting to see how the kilt that he was trying on looked from the back. "What's wrong with getting married in a traditional tux? It's not like it's a family tradition!"
John grinned and stepped between Rodney and the mirror, slipping his arms around Rodney's hips and pulling him back against his chest. He slid one hand lower, rumpling the careful pleats as he nipped the back of Rodney's neck and murmured, "I can come up with at least one good reason to wear one."
In A Slump
Rodney doesn't think it's fair that John can fall asleep in seconds almost anywhere. He claims it's a trick most (that manage to stay alive) soldiers learn. Granted, Rodney has crashed in some odd places, such as under a lab bench or standing in a shower, but that requires complete exhaustion, not simply opportunity.
John looks so peaceful propped against the fence that Rodney can't resist. He scoots closer and slowly, carefully, leans into John's shoulder and relaxes against him. Smiling, Rodney thinks he's finally mastered the stealthy move.
A kiss dropped on Rodney's head says he still needs practice.
The screams of frightened, running people echo those of the needle-nosed ships overhead while searing white beams slash across the broken ground in predatory patterns. Sheppard and too few stalwart Marines stand firm as the only defense against the aerial assault, the barking thuds of their SAWs a heavy bass line in a deadly symphony. Behind their staggered line, McKay works frantically to bring the Ancient shield back to life, creating new connections to replace those worn through by time and trouble. Defeat seems inevitable, but then McKay shouts in triumph behind an invisible barrier and fiery flowers bloom overhead.
"feels angsty or pining....."
John backs out of the room and lets the door slide shut before he turns away. He'd known Rodney had been interested in Keller, but hadn't realized how far it had gone until he'd walked in on them.
Together in Rodney's room.
He turns at Rodney's shout, sees him hurrying down the hallway, and doesn't understand why he looks so worried.
Rodney catches up in a breathless rush to grab John's arm. "That wasn't what you think."
"It's none of my business." John twists free, but Rodney stops him.
"You're wrong, and she's not who I want."
And Then I Did What?
I can't believe there are people out there who spend their time writing stories about me. I mean, I'm just an ordinary guy with mostly vanilla tastes! I'd never even heard of half these things before I found this stuff online. What makes it worse is that it took me forever to get Rodney to stop calling me Kirk. If he ever gets hold of the stories with Mara or Larrin or, oh my god, Teyla, I'll never live it down.
Although I have to admit, that one position certainly sounded interesting.
I wonder if Rodney can bend that way.
"This has to be some sort of hoax. How else would the two of them end up looking so sappy sweet together? I mean, come on, McKay and Sheppard? Talk about an odd couple."
"It is no hoax." Zelenka frowned across the lab bench at Kavanagh, who was holding a framed photo he'd picked up from Rodney's desk. "They were celebrating end of stupid rule. I suggest you return picture before Colonel…."
"Hey, Radek. Missed him again, didn't I?" Reaching over Kavanagh's shoulder, Sheppard tweaked the picture from his shock-loosened fingers. "Great shot, hunh?"
All Kavanagh could say was, "Unbelievable."
Prompt: John's reaction in "The Brotherhood," when Rodney offers to find the ZPM for Kolya, in exchange for "letting my team go!"
The Wrong Hero
Although John had admitted they'd had no other options, he hated Rodney's plan. John was supposed to be the one taking the risks, offering himself as a hostage to save the others. That was his job, not Rodney's.
John watched helplessly as Rodney climbed the rope out of the Quindozum's vault, knowing he would never forgive himself if Kolya took his hatred of John out on Rodney. The moment Rodney and his captors moved out of sight, John took a deep breath and turned to Ford and Teyla.
They would make sure the time Rodney had bought them wasn't wasted.
John wing fic is love. Detour to Bethlehem anyone?
A snippet of the sequel, which isn't anywhere close to being done.
"Wait, now you're admitting you're not an angel?" blurted Rodney, anger at the lie rapidly supplanting fear.
Sheppard shrugged, his wings stirring for a moment. "Never really said I was. Just easier to let you think it."
"How does that make any sense? Here I was, willing to accept…." Sheppard's confession left Rodney flailing, almost impossible for Rodney to assimilate after the day they'd had. He waved at Sheppard's tattoos and feathered appendages, demanding, "So what are you?"
"If I'm remembering right, I volunteered for an experiment." Pointing over his shoulder, Sheppard smiled and admitted, "They promised me the sky."
Chapter 20: Vulcans Have It Easy
Sometimes he wishes he had more than the ears.
click for full size
As the credits rolled on the laptop, John responded to Rodney's teasing in a sarcastic drawl. "Yeah, yeah. I've heard all the Vulcan jokes before. Try something new."
Although John had sounded amused as usual, Rodney had felt him stiffen against Rodney's shoulder before he shifted away. Worried that he'd somehow gone too far, Rodney asked, "Um, John? We okay?"
"Sure." John turned to Rodney with a tentative smile and shrugged, then slowly reached out. "Sometimes I wish I had more than the ears."
Decoding the warmth of John's hand on his face, Rodney smiled and leaned in. "Not needed."
Chapter 21: Half-Dozen Tiny Pops
Drabbles for the Drabble Tree
Most people who know Rodney, who have dealt with his need for instant gratification or rapid resolution, believe he's never mastered patience. If Rodney weren't embarrassed about the circumstances, he'd inform those people that they were so very wrong in their assumption and why. Whenever the subject is raised, Rodney limits himself to frowns and frustrated huffs that do nothing to support an opposing opinion.
John, on the other hand, smirks and raises an eyebrow without sharing what he knows, and Rodney understands a refresher course is slated for his near future.
That makes Rodney smile and those people wonder.
Head down, oblivious to anyone passing by, Rodney grumbled and tapped notes into his tablet as he walked down the corridor to his quarters. He didn't bother with lights when he entered, his movements quiet and automatic in the darkened room after many years; tablet on desk, boots under chair, clothes in hamper, left-hand toothbrush. Sliding under the covers, he sprawled onto his stomach, sighing in contentment at the waiting warmth that settled in closer.
Soft lips pressed against Rodney's shoulder, day-old stubble scratching as John muttered in sleepy shorthand.
Rodney smiled and finally released the day.
John plopped down next to Rodney with a grunt. "Okay, I've done enough digging. Good thing it's not supposed to rain, 'cause there's no way I'm helping with the seeds today." An attempt to mop sweat with the back of his hand merely transformed the dirt on his face to mud, and John grimaced at the gritty slide. "The village has showers set up. Share one?"
Busy with his laptop, Rodney ignored the suggestion until a damp, grimy arm squeezed his shoulders. "I don't have a choice now, do I!" he squawked.
John grinned, unrepentant. "Saves water. Wash my back?"
Rodney groaned and blinked watering eyes, trying to banish the spots left behind by the light pulse that had strobed across the lab. Across the room, Radek perfected his meerkat impression, both comm and hair askew from ducking. Before either man could utter anything useful, John slammed his hand down on the globe gathering power for another pulse and thought, "OFF!"
The device immediately responded, returning to its former state of mysterious paperweight. John flipped Rodney's empty coffee mug to cover it before asking with a sheepish grin, "So I guess I shouldn't have touched that. Lunch?"
Then he ducked.
Change of Heart
The ZPM glowed as it lowered into the waiting slot. Rodney's smile was nearly as bright when he turned to John and said, "I can't believe Allina and the Brotherhood decided to let us have their precious Potentia after all. How did you convince her, Major?" His smile dimmed when one answer came to mind. "You played Kirk, didn't you?" With a disheartened sigh, Rodney turned away, muttering, "Guess it's a good thing one of us is charming."
A choking sound brought him around to see John's hand clenching the handle of his holstered gun. "Yeah, a good thing, McKay."
"The Memnor's visit may present us with an excellent opportunity to improve Atlantis' reputation in Pegasus, as long as we take care in how we present ourselves."
"Why are you all looking at me like that? I'm not the one who asked the Hernon matriarch how she managed to train a trackle…"
"…whatever to sit on her head. That was all Ronon's fault."
"Looked like one."
"John, you know that your laughter only encourages them. Ronon, I believe we're scheduled to spar."
"Come on, McKay. We'd better go grab the cars and disappear before Teyla decides to hit us too."
Chapter 22: Phase Four Drabbles
A set of unrelated drabbles written for the stargateland Phase Four Multi-Media Bingo Card and the 'Anywhere but Here' challenges.
"My first kiss?" Teyla smiled at Aiden as she answered, "Falor, a boy I met in Minora."
"Mine was Miranda Gaines under the bleachers." With a wide grin, Aiden pointed across the fire at Rodney. "That April chick, the one with mono. Right?"
Rodney must have had too much Telden wine because he shook his head and admitted, "Jason Whitmire. Tall, dark, and disease-free."
When Aiden turned to him, John just smirked. "A gentleman never tells."
Later, after they'd settled into their tent, Rodney was nearly asleep when he heard John whisper, "Doug James."
Rodney's dreams started with a smile.
"Come on, Rodney. Dinner." John poked Rodney in the arm. "Quit being such a pain in the ass."
Rodney scowled, rubbing the newest hematoma that would likely throw a clot to lodge in his heart and kill him, which would serve Sheppard right. "If I'm that much of a bother, why are you here?"
"Because I haven't had my daily quota of bitching?" John shrugged and wheedled a little more. "There's a rumor of brownies tonight."
Rodney huffed, shut down his laptop, and walked out the door, the corners of his mouth twitching up at John's quietly triumphant, "I win."
The time may vary from gate to gate, along with the celestial bodies overhead, but it still arrives at the end of each day. Rodney once detested the dark hours, resented his body's need to rest, but that was before he acquired an incentive to give in. Whether crawling into a tent, stretching out on a bed, pallet, or even a cot, the time before sleep is always better shared, as are kisses and caresses.
After all, exploring John's body under one moon or many, a dark, cloudy or starlit sky, is a perfect occupation for a genius and astrophysicist.
"I'm not talking just to hear the sound of my own voice, you know."
"Could have fooled me, McKay. It's the same thing you said last night and…."
"Do you want me to put this on you or not? I don't see anyone else lining up for the dubious pleasure of spreading calamine lotion over Colonel Sheppard's scabby back."
"Shutting up now. Uh, there's a bad one right, oh yeah, that's it."
"So you'll listen the next time I suggest taking the jumper over instead of trekking through a bug-infested jungle? And use the smelly insect repellant."
"Yes, dear. Ouch!"
"Groovy, Laidback and Nasty."
John straightened out his slouch and glared at Rodney's back, not sure what he'd done to deserve being insulted, at least he thought it was an insult. "The hell?"
"What?" Rodney turned around with a puzzled look, which cleared after a few seconds. "Oh! I was answering your question about favorite album in college." His brow furrowed in thought. "Maybe it was Paul's favorite. I wasn't paying much attention to music at the time, and he left when I didn't pay enough attention to him."
John pulled Rodney up into a kiss. "His loss, my gain."
"Hand the kid over, McKay, or your remote control gets it."
"Sure, after I get him changed and fed, you decide to turn into Uncle John."
"Come on, kiddo. Let's go flying high in the sky!"
"That might not be such a good idea right now. And that would be the reason why."
"God, that stuff's disgusting. He really got me good. Maybe we should think about using him as a secret weapon."
"Here, give me Torren and get in the shower. I suspect that if regurgitated tuttle root porridge dries in your hair we'll have to cut it out."
"Damn, that's the last until Jeannie sends more." Rodney frowns down at the empty jug and the small puddle of maple syrup spreading across the table. Before he can move, Ronon swipes his last pancake through it, leaving nothing behind. "You're welcome." Rodney grimaces at his sticky fingers, "I'd better wash up."
John follows Rodney to his quarters, not saying a word until they're inside, then he shoves Rodney up against the wall, growling, "I'll help." His tongue feels hot and a little rough licking up every trace and, after John drops to his knees, Rodney craves his own taste.
There are days when Rodney wants to take his time, to linger over kisses, to touch soft and slow until John's breath catches and his fingers tighten and urge Rodney to move now, damn it. Rodney simply smiles, determined to stay the pace in golden sunlight and take his fill of each sweet sensation.
There are nights when Rodney swears John's hands and mouth reach speeds greater than two hundred miles per hour. Long fingers flexing deep in shadowed places, he demands Rodney's full attention, coaxing moans from between Rodney's passion-roughened lips, pleas that John stop to let him breathe.
Prompt: Your [My] Choice - Cloud
"I remember my first ride on a Ferris wheel. I'd finished my cotton candy and wanted more." John stretched up toward the sky, his fingers reaching toward the white fluff. "I thought that if I reached high enough I could get more." More than sun-drunk, he laughed at the memory, the dry, brittle grass crackling under his head as he shook it back and forth. "My mother told me I was silly and kissed me."
"She was right." Rodney's shadow fell cool across John's face, blocking the sunlight, as his lips tasted the sweet spice of John's wine and smile.
Prompt: Anywhere but Here
You know you'll never apologize when you get out of this hellhole because that's not how it works between the two of you. He'll bitch about your inability to let someone else make the kamikaze run and your failure to take his advice, and you'll listen without arguing too much.
Letting him wash every part of you, as though you're something precious when you know you're not, means more than "I'm sorry." That goes double for not complaining about sleeping with the light on so he can wake up and see that you really are alive and where you belong.
Chapter 23: Separated From Earth
A brief glimpse into the To Walk on the Wind 'verse.
"Why didn't you ever teach Uncle Meredith to fly? Was he too afraid?"
"Got that one wrong." Johnny shook his head and chuckled at young John's question. "Mer's the one who taught me wing-walking then how to fly. Fact is, he won't let me go up until he's checked out a new design by himself."
John's eyes widened in disbelief. "But he said…."
With a scruffle of John's every-which-way hair, Johnny explained. "He sees in his head everything that can go wrong thousands of feet above ground and he still goes up. That makes him the bravest man I know."
Written for McSheplets #96: Separated from Earth
Chapter 24: Atlantis Will Rise Again Someday
Bad!fic Challenge Entry
The entire journal entry is included because, well, you'll see why.
Title: Atlantis Will Rise Again Someday
Pairing: Rodney McKay/John Sheppard
Rating: PG-13 because I know the boys are thinking about kissing later.
Spoilers: Atlantis never sank again except right before Elizabeth died and then she flew away, so I don't think so.
Word Count: 100
Summary: This one actually hurt to write. That's more than enough for a summary. Written for the Phase Four Bad!fic challenge. Did I mention it was a BAD fic challenge?
They stood next to each other and watched Atlantis go under the water that was bloody red from the sun that was setting.
John said, "I can still hear her crying." A single perfect tear was on his cheek.
Rodney said. "Don't worry, John. I will figure out some way to get the power we need and we will come back to here together and make Atlantis rise again." His crystal blue eyes made a promise that made John smile a little because he knew Rodney was the smartest man in two galaxies and would get his beloved Atlantis back.
Standard Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters herein although I sure wish I did because they'd look good on my couch and playing with my puppies.
Feedback is both welcome and appreciated except if it's bad in which case just don't bother. *grin*
Chapter 25: Reparations
Written for McSheplets #98: Season 2
"When you said I could earn your trust back if I really tried, this wasn't quite what I expected."
"Quit whining, McKay, and move your damn borders back where they belong. You're not getting that coal, and don't even think about digging a tunnel under."
"But you're not even using it! I'm not sure this is worth it, Sheppard."
"Yeah, yeah, suck it up. Twizzler?"
"Thank you, but I still have some.... Oh, right. Here, why don't you just take the rest so you can finish sucking every iota of life from me."
"Thanks, Rodney. Don't mind if I do."
Chapter 26: 18 McShep Match Drabbles
A set of unrelated drabbles written for the 2011 McShep Match Drabble Tree.
01. The 1% Solution
John was 99% certain that Rodney was straight, but there was still a niggling doubt that wouldn't let John say 100% and just give up hope. Yes, there was Rodney's oft-stated preference for short-haired blondes, but then he'd almost proposed to a redhead with long hair, so John couldn't count on what Rodney said. Unfortunately for John, it couldn't matter either way as long as certain regulations governed his options.
His chance arrived with a change in restrictions, rank, and responsibilities. A long night in the lab, an offer of a neck rub, and an unmistakeable lean solved the mystery.
"You were supposed to think 'Off' not 'More'!" Rodney shouted as the water rose to his waist.
He could barely hear John's return yell of, "I did!" over the hissing from the leak, but the failure didn't surprise Rodney. The only person who could solve the problem was on the wrong side of the door. For a while, he could hear vague clanks through the wall, then his attention focused on swimming and breathing.
Too many liters later, he pressed his nose to the ceiling, his limbs heavy with fatigue.
Suddenly, John's lips were there.
Rodney coughed back to life.
03. Snipe Hunt
John only managed "What's up?" before he was shushed with frantic motions. Crooking a finger, Rodney beckoned him closer, and John crept forward to join him behind a screen of bushes. When he didn't see anything, he nudged Rodney with an elbow.
"I finally found one of the birds on the list Ronon made for me. A male gruntwark, see?"
John peered through the proffered binoculars for a minute before handing them back with a laugh. "Did you notice how that bird hasn't moved?" He stood and waved to make his point, ignoring Rodney's protest.
Ronon flipped him the bird.
04. Color Coordination
Horrified by what he saw advancing down the corridor, Rodney escaped into his room but found himself thwarted by a door that answered to a higher, extremely pissed-off authority.
"It wasn't my fault!" he babbled as he backed away. "Well, it was, but they asked for it!"
Following until Rodney bumped into his bed, John leaned in and growled, "Are you claiming my marines wanted to look like six-foot smurfs?"
Rodney's chin rose in a show of defiance. "They needed to learn some respect for my people."
"And what about me?"
Rodney winced. "I think you look good in blue?"
05. Wake-up Call
Always ready to complain about too few hours in a day, Rodney had never stayed in bed past seven until Atlantis, or rather, until John Sheppard. He's discovered something wonderfully decadent about an occasional morning spent drowsing while John runs through the halls of Atlantis, Rodney's mind at half-throttle after he wakes and waits for John's return.
The languor never lasts long. A swish-click of the door sets Rodney's pulse pounding and, although Rodney tries to pretend he's still asleep, John's scent makes Rodney's nose twitch, and he's usually betrayed by a smile at John's raspy chuckle and salty kiss.
Whenever Jeannie made snotty remarks like "Of course, there's Meredith's bizarre romance with John", Rodney contemplated murder. Mocking him for his unrequited crush on their neighbor was sibling torture at its worst, until the day the cute boy showed up in Rodney's house, laughing with Rodney's sister.
Rodney's attempt to creep upstairs unseen failed.
Sighing, Rodney walked back downstairs into the living room. "Can't you give me a break, Jeannie?"
Rodney, this is John Sheppard."
"Hey, Jeannie says you're into astronomy too. Want to come over and check out my telescope?"
Rodney decided Jeannie could live a little longer.
07. Change Step
The idea that the repeal of DADT would send scientists and soldiers dancing through the hallways had once struck John as a little ridiculous. Yes, the change was long overdue, and John himself would be glad when he no longer risked discharge under that regulation, but he'd firmly believed that his sexual preferences shouldn't affect anything outside the bedroom.
He'd changed his mind the first time Keller told him he couldn't stay with Rodney and that John had no right to make decisions on his behalf.
Paperwork signed and filed, John took Rodney's hand and showed everyone how to tango.
08. Cold Comfort
It'd been about fucking bazillion below zero outside and John's trying not to shake his way out of his clothes, but maybe that would be easier because son of a bitch the couple of fingers he can actually feel aren't working on zipper pulls, laces, or buttons.
"Here, just let me...." Rodney's hands are unexpectedly gentle as he brushes John's out of the way, as though Rodney's afraid they'd break off, which John's not willing to bet on. Even Rodney's complaining is soft for a change, but John doesn't care because hot cocoa, warm blankets, and Rodney's grumbles mean home.
09. Fluff and Fold
Pushing buttons frantically, cursing under his breath at 10,000-year-old systems, Rodney tried a different combination of commands. Despite his best efforts, he still wasn't able to make the connection needed to shut down the process, and then he heard a ding, a click, and a horrifying groaning shout that he barely recognized as John's.
Shoulders hunched, Rodney turned in time to have John's favorite t-shirt – four sizes smaller – waved in his face. "I told you I would do my own laundry, McKay!"
Rodney gingerly poked at the much tinier panda then suggested, "Torren always did like that shirt."
10. Lost and Found
John's aggravation at Rodney's careless meandering shifted to fear at a wordless yell. Moments later, breathless from his headlong run, John hid his relief at finding Rodney unharmed under an irritable, "McKay, what have I told you about wandering off?"
John's worry returned when Rodney failed to defend himself, his attention focused on a bundle John realized was Rodney's jacket. A piping cry issued from the jacket's soft folds, and Rodney raised his head with a pleading look. "A hawk thing took the mother."
Rodney peeled back the cloth to reveal soft, spotted fur and pale-blue eyes.
John couldn't refuse.
11. No Ruby Slippers Around Here
The scarlet flowers blanketing the sunny meadow are perfectly harmless but, for some reason, Rodney thinks they look... scary. That reason continues to elude him as the team starts across, and that lapse makes Rodney even more wary because he's always relied on logic, not intuition, to provide answers. Lagging behind the others, his steps unconsciously slow as he ponders, until John turns around and provides the missing piece in a teasing shout.
"Hurry up, McKay! We don't want to be out here when the flying monkeys show up!"
Rolling his eyes, Rodney calls back, "I'm too sleepy to run!"
12. No Contest
During a short detour on the way back from the mainland, John notes the coordinates of an emerald island, enticed by its long, smooth expanses of glittering sands washed clean by high-rolling surf. He keeps it a secret until just before the next 'Sunday' then commences his campaign for Rodney to join him on their day off.
Knowing Rodney's weakness for well-prepared arguments, John arrives with list and secret weapon in hand.
Too sunny - shady trees and sunscreen
Uncomfortable sand - soft, thick blankets
Too hot - shade and cold beer
Boredom - John in/out of board shorts
It starts as a game, a way to practice some stealth techniques Ronon had shared. John's fun dims after Rodney bumbles past without seeing him standing in the shadows, Rodney's attention too focused on the giggling woman who's walking too close to him.
Waiting until the couple is out of sight, John heads for their assigned hut, assumes he'll be alone that night. His plan changes when he sees Rodney standing outside, then changes again after he watches Rodney refuse a kiss. The stammered, "There's someone...." and the look in Rodney's eyes when he finally sees John, revives John's smile.
"That was... I should probably go?"
John detested the uncertainty in Rodney's eyes and voice, hated the people who'd made him think he wasn't anything more than an experiment, a one-night stand. They'd never taken the time to find the man hidden behind the arrogant mask. After months and shared missions, John had succeeded.
Heedless of the sticky mess between them, John shook his head and then pressed Rodney back into the pillow with a deep kiss. There would be time later for them to clean up but, right then, John needed to make sure Rodney knew he was wanted.
Entering the steam-filled bathroom required cautious steps because there was water everywhere. Only the tile floor's slight incline to a towel-clogged drain had saved John's room from flooding. Wrapping another towel around his arm, Rodney reached through the near-scalding spray and forced it off manually since John had been preventing a mental override.
"Had enough, or do I need to call Beckett?"
John shook his head, remaining silent as Rodney carefully patted dry the tender, reddened skin under peeling, blue scales.
"I'd lecture about patience...." Rodney sighed and let John hide his face against Rodney's neck. "But, you're still you."
Rodney had expected the chime at his door since shortly after the team had left the infirmary. He considered not answering, but decided he might as well get his humiliation over with. He released the lock and stepped back to let John walk inside.
Sprawling lazily on Rodney's couch, John didn't say anything, merely smirked as he watched Rodney's nervous pacing between bed and door. Finally, Rodney blurted, "What?"
John answered with a question of his own. "Was it me pushing you up against the wall, or the order to keep quiet?"
Rodney answered, "Both," and John did it again.
"C'mon, McKay! Move it!" John's slightly breathless command sounds like he's only a few feet behind Rodney. His next is even more urgent. "Pick up the pace, or we're both doing lunch the hard way!"
Scrambling over a log interrupts Rodney's protest that he can't run any faster, then a bloodcurdling scream that sounds entirely too close blots out his next attempt. Rodney looks over his shoulder then over John's and decides that he can run faster.
Later, while gently washing John's back, making sure the stitches stay dry, Rodney silently vows no more complaints on their too-early morning runs.
18. The AI(r) Above
Shifting his queen six spaces, John announced, "Checkmate." It wasn't hard to predict the response to his too-easy victory.
"Whatever, McKay." John yawned and knuckled his eyes, not bothering to conceal his fatigue and depression. "Let's call it a night, buddy."
Not waiting for a response, John closed the channel, tossing the comm on his desk before climbing into bed. His sleep was restless, his dreams edged with horror and regret, until he woke to a familiar voice and warmth.
"You probably think you're clever, reprogramming my artificial intelligence construct to lose."
John smiled. "Got you back, didn't it?"
Chapter 27: 3 Drabbles - 'Words Are a Powerful Thing'
3 unrelated drabbles written for the Stargateland 'Words Are a Powerful Thing' challenge.
hildejohanne's prompt: Vikings! Or cupcakes!
Vikings and Cupcakes and Kisses, Oh My!
"D'know what I wonder 'bout sometimes, Rodney?"
"No, but I'm sure I'm about to find out. Uh, John, you should sit.... Or that works, too."
"Ceiling's real pretty. Hey, so'er you! Kiss?"
"How can I resist someone who's rated my charms on par with architectural details?"
"Do I get a kiss, or not? Wait! Cupcakes!"
"You really shouldn't've had that second glass."
"Or the four...fifth."
"Watch the spitting, okay? And what was that about cupcakes?"
"Tol' you s'what I wonder 'bout sometimes. Did Vikings like cupcakes? You prob'ly know 'cause you know everything."
"In this case, I'll stick to kissing."
sgamadison's prompt: Favorite music/band from high school!
"My turn? Okay, Canada Boy. Roth or Hagar?"
"I have to choose? They each had their strengths. I'd have to pick Roth, because I liked his followup. The first one, anyway. You?"
"Hot For Teacher? Roth all the way."
"I actually bought a keyboard and taught myself the hook for Jump, even after I'd sworn I'd never touch another piano."
"And Hagar's Why Can't This Be Love?"
"You aren't going to sing if I say 'yes' because you, John Sheppard, couldn't carry a tune if your life depended on it."
"Don't need to. I've got you, babe."
"Wrong decade, moron."
rsharpe's prompt: A secret guilty pleasure . . .
Cold Hands, Not-so-warm Heart
"Hey, Rodney. Ready for the movie, or can we just skip to the good stuff?"
"Your hands are like ice, John! Did you put them in a freezer before coming over here?"
"Oh, sorry. I'll go run some warm water over 'em, okay?"
"Seriously, why are they so cold? Are you developing a circulation problem? We need to get you to Carson so he can run tests and...."
"Damn it, Rodney, calm down! I had some ice cream before I came over, all right?"
"Chubby Hubby, perhaps?"
"You knew all along, didn't you?"
"And you didn't share. Any left?"
Chapter 28: Seven Smooches
A set of unrelated drabbles written to prompts for sga_smooch.
1. For hildejohanne
Prompt: John/Rodney golf and kittehs!
"I've been looking forward to this....The hell? Rodney!"
"Yes, yes, I'm coming.... You bellowed?"
"Look at this!"
"Your golf bag? Your very shiny clubs? You'll have to be more specific, John."
"No, this! Your damn cat chewed a hole in it and stole all my tees!"
"You're lucky he didn't leave a hairball in exchange."
"I knew picking up your cat early was a mistake."
"Come on, lighten up. You can buy more at the golf course. Tell you what, come over to this nice big bed and get comfortable. I'll make it up to.... Ouch!"
"Found the tees."
2. For sexycazzy
Prompt: John/Rodney gentle kisses
Rodney hadn't wanted anything close to his face while he was still wheezing, especially not John's face or lips after Carson had left them alone. When Rodney finally slept, John scooted his chair closer, then gave into his own needs. Ignoring the sour metallic tang of exhausted snores, John leaned in to press a kiss to the corner of Rodney's slightly open mouth, careful about obstructing Rodney's airflow, thankful the thin lips were no longer tinted blue.
Back in his chair, his fingers on Rodney's pulse, John counted breaths and beats, unable to forget when the sum had equaled zero.
3. For paraoptimistic
Prompt: John/Rodney stressed out!
"You! Get that workstation cleaned up now!"
"McKay, I need to see you in your office. Now."
"Well, what is it, Colonel? I'm very busy...."
"The door is closed. You can call me John."
"All right, John, what's so important an hour before Sam arrives?"
"You've made it quite clear this past week that nothing is more important than her."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Never mind, Rodney. I've got work of my own to do before the SGC inspection."
"You can't just.... Oh."
"I've never kissed her for real. Not like this."
"Good. Keep it that way."
4. For trobadora
Prompt: John/Rodney, beer on the pier :)
"Sorry! Must have shaken them on the way here. Here, let me...."
Trying to use the tail of his plaid shirt to mop up the beer he'd just sprayed all over the arm of Rodney's jacket, John forced himself to ignore the scent of body-warmed leather as he leaned in. Rodney attempted some mopping of his own, until their hands tangled and then stilled, as did Rodney's sputtering protests.
"It's not mine anyway, Arthur."
John had deliberately let that go, until now. Closing the distance between their lips, he smiled into a tentative kiss.
"Maybe you should take it off."
5. For davincis_girl
Prompt: Rodney/John, coffee withdrawal
"I know the Athosian's call it 'stout' tea, but it just isn't cutting it." Rodney pressed the heels of his hands into his eyes and rubbed, groaning, "I haven't had a headache this bad since my last concussion."
"You need to relax." John sat on the bed, pulling Rodney over so that his head was resting on John's shoulder. While rubbing the back of Rodney's neck, John also dropped soft kisses into Rodney's wispy hair. "All this tension in your muscles isn't helping."
Rodney sighed into John's shirt. "Better than caffeine. Don't stop for at least two more days, okay?"
6. For qzee
Prompt: John/Rodney Fading Memories
Nights past, resting under foreign skies, John would recall certain touches and kisses to help him fall asleep. Although they were ofttimes erotic - leading to a hushed, concealed release - most of the time he merely needed the soothing warmth of remembered hands and lips to banish harsh reality for a few short hours.
Now, in another galaxy, each kiss received from the soft lips of a crooked mouth, every caress from broad, strong hands, erases a memory, replacing dimmed history with a brighter present. John trusts they won't be needed anymore, believing the promises whispered into the night.
7. For rellan
Prompt: John/Rodney after DADT goes the way of the dodo, an average Atlantis day with no world shattering crisis.
Just Another Day in Paradise
"Hey, buddy. Ready for lunch?"
Rodney looked up from his tablet and scowled in John's direction. "I'm right in the middle..." He interrupted himself with a sigh. "...of nothing that's close to functional."
John offered a hand up that Rodney accepted with a quiet groan. "Radek, we need better chairs for the labs."
"You say that every time, and yet, no chairs have appeared," was Radek's exasperated retort.
Grinning at Radek, John wrapped an arm around Rodney's shoulders and squeezed. "You prefer the nightly massages, anyway."
"You've figured me out." Rodney turned his head to snatch a quick kiss. "Lunch?"
Chapter 29: A Mixed Bag of McShep Treats
A set of unrelated drabbles and artworks created based on prompts for Halloween 2011
1. For hildejohanne
Prompt: First annual Halloween Party on Atlantis! Rodney/John and their costumes :)
All Tricked Out
"This is ridiculous, John. Why don't I borrow something from one of Teyla's friends and say I'm an Athosian?"
"C'mon, Rodney. That's not any better than wearing Carson's lab coat and saying you're practicing voodoo."
"It's not as if we packed costumes or can spare the time and materials to make them."
"Yeah, and Wraith are scarier than anything from Earth."
"So, what are you going as since none of my ideas are good?"
"Oh, I thought I'd go as, uh…."
"Hah! You don't have one either!"
"We could skip wearing anything and stay here."
"Now that's a Halloween treat."
2. For patk
Prompt: wrote: "In the unexplored parts of Atlantis at midnight." *g*
Whatever you'd like to do for it, icon, wp, drabble or anything else.
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3. For sg1danny
Prompt: Atlantis decides to play tricks on Rodney.
Nothing but Tricks
"Your city has an utterly abysmal sense of humor."
John looked up from his paperwork and burst out laughing at Rodney's appearance. Sporting blue hair and skin, a lemon-yellow shirt two sizes too small, baggy green pants, and mismatched shoes, Rodney was the first clown in ages who hadn't given John the heebie-jeebies. He didn't get a chance to say anything about that before Rodney started ranting.
"I am going to slaughter whoever thought it was a good idea to upload Earth holiday traditions into the Ancient database. Halloween sucks!"
"It's your turn next."
4. For katrina_lefay
Prompt: McShep wallpaper supernatural.
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5. For goddess47
Prompt: Oohhh... a McKay and/or Sheppard icon, maybe something from Willoughby?
Writing Journal and Ferris Wheel
6. For jx_walker
Prompt: John and Rodney get turned into cats - big or small.
Third Times the Charm
Lorne stared at the sleek black cat curled up in Teyla's arms. "Please tell me that's a gift and the Colonel decided to stay overnight with Dr. McKay."
"I'm sorry to say that is not the case." Teyla glanced back at Ronon, who was carrying an orange tabby of his own. "Unfortunately, Dr. McKay was also affected and thus could not assist in reversing the change."
"I'll tell Dr. Z. to meet us." Lorne sighed and led the odd procession to the infirmary. "Why cats again? That's three times in a row."
Ronon grinned. "Who cares? I won the pool."
7. For mckaysmonkey
Prompt: I love your artwork, so a piece just for me would be great, or a short story/drabble if that's where the muse takes you. Anything McShep is good, but since I love wingfic, something with bats would be really cool.
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8. For clavally
Prompt: McShep, full moon
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9. & 10. For Jessica
Jessica asked for:
Prompt: The Atlantis database burps up an archive in a language completely unlike Ancient. The only recorded match: a strange symbol burnt into the side of a barn in Kansas in February 2003.
Since this is a crossover - a double drabble - one for McShep and one for CLex
"Is that a good 'hunh or a bad 'hunh', Rodney?"
"The jury's still out on that. It seems that one of my linguists has been working on a side project and found something quite interesting in the Ancient database. When she ran across an obscure set of symbols that didn't match any Pegasus references, she ran a search against Milky Way variants."
"One showed up burned on the side of a barn - quite the mystery in 2003. You know, it's been a while since we've taken time off together."
"Where're we going?"
"Ever been to Kansas, John?"
"Not exactly a problem, Clark. More a puzzle. Why would one of the most intelligent men in the world, someone who seemingly disappeared from the face of the Earth six years ago, suddenly show up in Smallville?"
"Should I go take a look?"
"Dr. McKay isn't likely to be dangerous, but I can't say the same for Lt. Colonel John Sheppard. He's carrying a concealed weapon while 'on vacation.' Just be careful and don't let them see you doing anything I wouldn't do."
"So speeding on foot is bad, speeding in a car is good."
11. For timespirt
Prompt: More Detour to Bethlehem?
"Travel through the rifts really messes you up." John rubbed his temples, squinting as if the memory was painful. "I... I flew my Osprey through one and woke up in a lab about 25 years in the future. There wasn't much left of me after the crash, but they had something called nano...nano...."
"Nanotechnology?" Rodney asked, excitement vying against disbelief.
John nodded. "Yeah, that's it. They put me back together, then offered me wings so I could fly back through."
Ronon spoke up from his post by the door. "Safer in the air than on the ground with those things."
12. For tarlanx
Prompt: John/Rodney and puddlejumpers :)
"I know recharging or building a ZPM is top priority, but a puddlejumper factory would be great too." John leaned over Rodney's shoulder, his breath tickling the back of Rodney's neck. "Can't you adjust your database searches....?"
Rodney sighed and shook his head. "And you want shiny space guns and personal shields for all your men and, hey, how about some puppies in my spare time?"
"I'd settle for puddlejumpers to replace the ones we've lost. It's kind of empty in the hangar."
Rodney swiveled to look up at John. "Convince me."
John grinned and whispered, "Please" against Rodney's lips.
13. For paraoptomistic
Prompt: mcshep drabble please and thank you! <3
"Brrrr." John shivered and scrubbed his hands together as he walked into Rodney's quarters. "Did you know we were going to have winters like this when you picked out this place to land?"
Rodney rolled his eyes and opened the quilt he'd tucked around himself to let John inside. "We've had this conversation before. No water deep enough at the equator means seasons. Rapidly depleting ZPMs meant we needed to land as soon as possible and the environmentals set to minimum."
John tucked his cold nose into Rodney's neck. "And a good excuse for something we'll never admit is snuggling."
14. For qzee
Prompt: Athosian Harvest Festival. Drabble from Rodney's POV if possible.
Rodney couldn't help comparing the first harvest festival he'd attended on the mainland with the latest, a few months after the Athosians' rescue. Untended fields hadn't fared well and, where rough-planed boards had once groaned under glad offerings, meager pots and plates barely dotted the tables. Still-thin faces struggled to smile as they shared what they had, but Rodney's appetite evaporated as he walked through the village.
Drawing John aside, Rodney quietly suggested a quick trip back to Atlantis. An hour later they'd returned with their own contributions to the celebration and an explanation of an Earth custom called 'potluck.'
15. For ameshinju
Prompt: a Mcheppy drabble pretty please!
Time to Shine
A final adjustment and John turned away from the mirror to strike a pose. "So what do you think?"
"Your President's reception is going to be hellish. You walking around in dress blues and medals was bad enough, but adding that hat ...." Rodney frowned and then shook his head in resignation. "I think I'm going to ask Teyla for that stick after all."
John grinned, took two steps forward, and tilted his head to steal a quick kiss. "Hey, no sticks required, buddy. Just keep reminding yourself that you're the only one who gets to take this stuff off."
16. For goth_clark
Prompt: um anything that is stargate related.
"Another day wandering around not finding anything useful beyond another village of tava bean farmers. What a waste of my valuable time!"
John just smiled as he watched Rodney mutter the usual complaints as he punched in the symbols that would take them home. As far as John was concerned, any mission that the team returned from minus injury wasn't a failure. Leaning over, he whispered into Rodney's ear before they walked through the shimmering blue.
"Less time with Keller, more time in bed."
Of course, then he had to make sure Rodney didn't sprain something on the other side.
Chapter 30: Still in Love With…John and Rodney Drabbles and Art
A set of unrelated drabbles and artworks created based on prompts for McSheplets Still in Love... with John and Rodney
01. For velocitygrass
"Uh, John? You awake?"
"Is… is this okay?"
"Oh. I'll just stay then, although I can't guarantee…."
"You can stay, but you have to stop talking so I can sleep."
"But do you want me to stay? I mean, maybe you're just saying that…."
"I'm tired, Rodney. Do we have to do this now?"
"Okay, fine. I'm awake now, anyway."
"Never mind. Yes, I really want you here, Rodney. Now put your arm back where it was and go to sleep so I can."
"So you enjoy cuddling?"
"Shutting up now."
02. For tallihensia
Prompt: Grateful to have lines in the face, arthritis in the knees, and to still be together after all this time.
John scowled at his reflection, thinking it'd been easier to shave without wrinkles, but at least they weren't from a Wraith. He couldn't decide if he missed trying to keep up with Ronon, back when his knees twinged instead of crunching. Long hot showers had replaced morning runs, and John tackled more paperwork than offworld missions these days. With a sigh, John turned away from the mirror and opened the shower door to step under the steaming spray.
"Want me to get your back?"
John smiled at Rodney then turned to enjoy one of the best parts of settling down.
03. For busaikko
Prompt: What kind of a home *would* they have? Where would they be? And who'd be in charge of decorating?
"A surfboard, skateboard, guitar, golf bag, and poster." Rodney frowned at the meager pile John had deposited just inside their door. "That's all you have other than clothes?"
John shrugged. "Not like I've needed much. It's the first time since my divorce that I've had more than what fits in a duffle."
"Just sports equipment and Johnny Cash?" Rodney indicated the empty space - three times bigger than their original quarters.
"You're not much better with your diplomas and laptop collection."
Smiling, Rodney conceded defeat. "At least there's an adult-sized bed and a balcony with the best view in Atlantis."
04. For rellan
Prompt: John/Rodney, coming out after DADT goes away
Even after it supposedly became acceptable, John and Rodney never announced their relationship while stationed on Atlantis. There were never any kisses of welcome, farewell, or relief in the gate room, just a hug or two tighter than before after a danger-filled mission. While they might've sat a little closer during movie night and left together, they never reached out to the other - even in the dark - and were often observed bidding quiet goodnights outside their distinctly separate quarters.
The expedition's curiosity wasn't satisfied until General John Sheppard's retirement party, where the couple wore matching rings and smiles.
05. For sg1danny
Prompt: "No... really?"
Ronon watched his teammates pair off again after the Athosian's harvest feast; Rodney's arms busy with descriptive waves, John steering them toward the darker side of the bonfire with a grin and not-so-gentle nudges. Leaning over, Ronon murmured for Teyla's ears alone, "I think they're doing it."
"No... really?" Teyla didn't bother to hide her amusement.
A little irritated at his exclusion, Ronon growled, "You knew?"
Teyla shrugged, "It isn't as if they hide it well, although no one is to notice or say anything as it could injure John's status on Atlantis."
"Ah," Ronon said, understanding. "I'll be careful."
06. For hilde
Prompt: Of mice and men
"What the hell?" Rodney stood in the doorway, breathing hard from running upstairs, eyes wide in shock, voice edging toward shrill. "You shot our bed!"
"I was aiming for under it." John shrugged, although he never stopped watching for movement. "Aha!" He raised his Beretta and loosed another round that clipped the mattress.
"You shot our bed!" Rodney achieved shrill and exceeded it. "Twice!"
John bent with a groan to peer under the bed. "It was black and fast with too many legs." He straightened with a sheepish look. "And furry. It was a mouse."
"But, you shot our bed!"
07. For syble4
Fuzzy, was he?
"Hey, Rodney, got an extra power bar?" Rodney's backpack was propped against a nearby pillar, and John opened it without waiting for an answer, scrambling backward when something moved inside. "The hell?"
Rodney popped up from behind the damaged console, wide-eyed, his mouth working soundlessly at the sight of John pointing a gun at the backpack. He finally managed to squeak out a pleading, 'Don't!" as he rose to his feet, hands outstretched. "It's harmless!"
A furry head poked from the backpack with quizzical, "Meep?"
John holstered his gun with a resigned sigh. "Let me guess. It followed you home."
08. For goddess47
Prompt: children (theirs or others')
John smiled as he watched Rodney approaching down the forest path, Torren's hand tucked safely in Rodney's broad palm as he chattered away about the trees and birds and bugs and anything else his bright, young eyes had detected on their hike. Despite Rodney's protests to the contrary, he enjoyed spending time with the little boy, and John couldn't help wondering how he he'd handle one of theirs, should they ever decide to adopt.
Banishing the question to a Wraith-free future, John trotted to meet the two halfway, bestowing kisses to a grubby, chubby cheek then a slightly crooked smile.
09. For katrina_lefay
"Geez, Rodney, could you get any closer? You're just about in my lap."
"You're the one who wanted to go through Haunted Mansion. It's not my fault my nervous system is hyper-reactive. Besides, it looked like a Wraith!"
"Ix-nay on the aith-wray while we're in Disneyland, McKay."
"Oh, right. Here, is that better? After all, I wouldn't want to intrude on your personal space, Sheppard."
"Hey, I'm sorry. You just startled me, Rodney. Come on back here - that's better."
"Hah! So you admit you were spooked by the… thing, too!"
"Let's just say we should stick to Ferris wheels."
10. For paraoptomistic
Signs of the Season
"Have you picked every…" A sneeze interrupted Rodney's complaining, and he needed to blow his nose before continuing. "…planet that's in the middle of spring?" He sneezed again, groaning when military-issued tissue scraped against the tender skin of his nose, his eyes red and swollen from alien pollen.
John frowned in sympathy. "Pissed off Zelenka lately? They're his suggestions from the database."
"That Czech bastard! Just because I…." Rodney sneezed again.
"That's it. I'm calling this one." Gripping Rodney's elbow, John helped him stumble towards the gate. "Antihistamines and bed for you."
Rodney rasped his agreement. "And scutwork for Zelenka."
11. For timespirt
Prompt: wingfic H/C?
Sequel Snippet: Grounding (because I know you want Detour to Bethlehem)
Reaching out before recalling his manners, Rodney stopped to ask, "Is this okay?" When John nodded permission, Rodney stroked the iridescent curve of the closest wing, marveling at the softness accompanied by a faint tingle. "So beautiful."
John's less than heartfelt gratitude prompted Rodney to ask, "What's wrong? You got your wish to fly."
John's shrug ruffled the feathers under Rodney's hand. "I guess I didn't expect to end up the only one. Kind of feel like an alien."
Rodney huffed and continued to stroke. "After discarding the angel hypothesis, I never thought of you as anything but human."
Cowboy Up - Jump in the Saddle for a new McShep AU!
Warning: Most definitely not arriving anytime soon in my journal
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Holodeck = Cool
But you said Atlantis didn't have one, Rodney.
For the last time, it's not a holodeck!
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Chapter 31: SGA Saturday Anniversary Amnesty Drabbles Prompts 1-10
A set of unrelated drabbles created based on the weekly prompts for SGA Saturday.
For week #1: Coffee
John had had started making his plans weeks ago, shortly after reading through Rodney's personnel file. Along with proof that Rodney really was as smart as he claimed to be, and that he'd spent some time in exile like John, John had noted Rodney's birthday. With Atlantis still cut off from Earth, the pickings were slim when it came to gifts, so John had to use creative bartering to get what he needed.
Being able to wake Rodney up with a kiss - before presenting him with fresh-baked cinnamon rolls and the best coffee John could finesse- was an unexpected bonus.
For week #2: Rain
Long Trudge Home
Thick, black mud threatens to take Rodney's boots hostage with each slogging step, its heavy weight dragging at the end of exhausted legs. His arrhythmic stumbling pounds out 'hot bath, hot bath' punctuated by splashes through puddles, which seems counterintuitive considering the amount of water streaming from the sky, the surrounding trees, and his clothes.
John's voice cuts through Rodney's waterlogged haze. "Almost there, buddy. You okay?"
It's too much trouble to do anything but nod, but then there's a supporting hand under his elbow. Blinking sodden eyelashes, Rodney offers a grateful smile, 'hot bath with John' his new cadence.
For week #3: Conduit
A cascade of sparks follows every pass of Rodney's hand, the electric sting awakening every piece of naked flesh it grazes. John arches into each searing erotic caress, whimpering against his restraints, dreading yet straining for more. Rodney ignores the begging, intent on his own inexplicable plan for John's pleasurable pain.
Rodney thinks higher at the device in his palm, earning a harsh, "Fuck," for the arc that snaps against John's nipple. With a wicked grin, Rodney trails down to circle the tip of John's cock with a shimmer of violet-tipped current, triggering a groaning explosion.
Then Rodney begins again.
For week #4: Orange
"Why is this happening?" Rodney turned away from the mirror to frown in John's direction. "I drank the purple punch thing because you said the other one had citrus in it."
John nodded. "And you drank a lot of it. You should be looking like Violette Beaureguard, not an Oompa Loompa."
"Willy Wonka? Gene Wilder or Johnny Depp?"
"Wilder all the way. He owned bug-eyed crazy." John smirked as he tugged a reluctant Rodney out of the bathroom. "Come on, Carson might have something to remove a fake tan."
"He'd better. I'd rather not have my skin match my fleece."
For week #5: Sense
Bereft of light, all sound subdued deep underground, they feel their way around rough-hewn dungeon walls to reach each other, hands outstretched to touch fingertips, grasp hands, and then cling tight. The scent of coffee and burnt wiring anchors John in the crook of Rodney's neck while Rodney rests against John's shoulder after a whiskery rasp across his lips.
An immeasurable time later, they blink under harsh lemon-scented sunlight, birdsong and laughter sharp across their skin, too many bodies too close, sour against parched tongues. Freed, declared well enough, Rodney's room is their refuge, safe together beneath soft, clean blankets.
For week #6: Pariah
Exiled yet again, because that's how the SGC handles geniuses who don't fit inside its narrow-minded boxes of behavior, Rodney paces along a catwalk overlooking his latest set of incompetent minions. Icing over, frozen by his isolation, he stabs his cell phone's buttons in search of warmth he can't find in the desert so many stories above.
"I swear zombies would starve in this place."
"Nice. I'm about to leave for the airport. Need something?"
"I'm pretty sure you'll be bringing it with you."
John's low chuckle begins a thaw.
"I'll be there in a couple of hours."
For week #7: Launch
"I christen thee, The Lady Meredith." John sprinkled a few drops of his beer on the bow of the four-foot-long schooner bobbing in the gentler waves off the mainland point before pushing a button to send the boat gliding forward.
Rodney rolled his eyes. "Nice way to say thank you for the very cool remote-control boat I built you."
"It's considered an honor." John tugged Rodney close to demonstrate how grateful he was. Lifting his head a minute later, John checked the schooner's position. "She's beaut… fuck! That thing just ate my boat!"
"You are never surfing out here again."
For week #8: Rare
"Do you know how many gate destinations are in this galaxy and yet five was all Janus gave the other Elizabeth for ZPM's?" Rodney's hands waved erratically as he stomped around his room, and John retreated to the bed to keep out of the way. "They had the technology to make them, but I can't find it in what we've laughably labeled a database." He plopped on the bed with a discouraged sigh. "They had them and lost. We're never going to win against the Wraith."
"You're wrong." John pinned Rodney, kissing quiet his protests. "The Ancients didn't have you."
For week #9: Bow
"I'll run, Ronon can take the wrestling, and Teyla is a shoe-in for the bantos competition."
John clapped his hands to signal the end of the assignments and that they were ready to go, but then Rodney interjected with a tentative, "The more points we accumulate the better. I can try the archery. It's been a while but…."
"Not something I'd figure you for." John tipped his head quizzically. "It's a sport."
"I had to take something, and it wasn't going to be with the jocks." Rodney shrugged and then grinned. "Besides, all the girls signed up for it too."
For week #10: Spartan
"Hey, are these…?" Rodney plucked a bright-red apple from a bowl and held it up for Jeannie, who nodded.
John grabbed one for closer inspection. "You telling me you don't recognize an apple, buddy?"
"They're Spartans, Canadian apples," Rodney informed him with a grin before raising the apple high and shouting, "Sparta!"
Jeannie snatched back both apples with a sigh. "And they're for pie. Now go amuse Madison while I bake."
Later that night, Jeannie tiptoed downstairs to spy on her brother and his boyfriend as they decimated the leftover pie, their forks held high, whisper-shouting with each bite, "Sparta!"
Chapter 32: Ancient City Bingo
My Bingo Card
Prompt: Didn't See That Coming
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Long Ago Not Far Away
John always insists he's the first into any area they explore, one way of keeping his Rodney safe. Face-to-face with another him in stasis has John wishing he'd let Rodney go first for once. Studying familiar frozen features, noting lines and strain he hadn't seen in the mirror a few hours earlier, John wonders if thawing himself out is a good idea.
Rodney's determination to save John from dying alone forty-some centuries ahead is a bright spot in a bleak future, notwithstanding miscalculations returning John ninety-six years too soon with Atlantis underwater.
Their first problem to tackle?
John doesn't share.
Prompt: To the rescue!
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Rodney began to panic as the water poured in through the jammed control room door. Drowning was one of his least favorite ways to die, but everything he'd tried to keep Atlantis afloat during the storm had failed. She was sinking fast, her shields gone, bulkheads crumpling under tons of pressure. His only consolation was everyone else had evacuated safely and he'd be the only fatality, which wasn't actually that consoling.
A rumbling whoosh banished Rodney's fear. Gliding through the stargate and rising water, a 'jumper turned 180 degrees, hovering by the stairs, hatch open.
John hadn't left Rodney behind.
Prompt: Who's in my body now?
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"Did you find it?"
Glancing toward the Ancient communication device sitting in the co-pilot's seat, Rodney grimaced. "Not…exactly."
"What to you mean 'Not exactly'?" John pointed toward himself. "Just how long am I going to be stuck in here?"
"Look at the bright side. At least you're not waiting to be executed like Jennifer." Rodney's attempt at a smile drooped. "We just need to find the kid who stole the stone. And your body."
"Right." Dropping his head with a heavy sigh, John pinched his nose and tried to will away the headache pounding inside a head that wasn't his.
Prompt: On Life & Lemons
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Rodney held John back as the rest of the meeting attendees left the room. Leaning forward, Rodney carefully placed a fake lemon on the polished wood between them and waited for John to start explaining the small yellow elephant sitting on the conference table.
Although John didn't say anything for almost a minute, his mobile lips twitched at the corners as if he were trying to suppress a grin.
Rodney couldn't resist an impatient, "Well?"
John shrugged. "Just wanted to make sure you were motivated to come back to Atlantis."
"You were jealous!" Rodney crowed before John kissed him quiet.
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The music soars in his dreams, majestic chords he's never heard in his waking world. He follows the alien strains through dark, twisting corridors in his sleep, desperately searching for the source. A high-arched room resonates with the sound pouring from the shimmering pipes, and his fingers twitch, eager to stroke the gleaming keys of the Ancient instrument.
John comforts his distress when the haunting vision fades again and gently suggests Rodney seek help, who then reluctantly agrees.
A database search yields a map to an unexplored area and walking into the grand hall with John feels like coming home.
Prompt: Crossover/Fusion (X-Men)
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No one in the Atlantis expedition expected the two men to like each other, let alone end up sharing quarters and lives. A laconic flyboy only happy in the sky, an earthbound scientist whose speech sizzled with sarcasm, they bantered and argued their way through missions and games into bed, their different mutations strangely compatible.
After their worst days, they have their own routine. Rodney greets John on their balcony after a twilight flight, eager to share the dark energy that thrills John to his quivering wingtips. Afterward, wearily content, they sleep twined together, mantled within John's equally dark feathers.
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The call from John is unexpected. It's not as though he's popular with the botanists, especially since they're convinced he's at least partly responsible for Rodney's breakup with Katie.
Rodney hurries to the upper level conservatory opened a few days ago, wondering if he's going to need to rescue John from the jaws of a carnivorous plant or evil dream crystal imported by mistake. The sight that greets him is a much more pleasant surprise.
John grins at him, surrounded by desert plant life and fanciful Ancient glassworks. "Hey, it's cool. There's nothing you're allergic to!"
The invitation is irresistible.
Prompt: Viva Las Vegas
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Step In Time
Sheppard warily watched the thing they called a 'Stargate' rumble and rotate then lock on strange symbols, barely suppressing a gasp when a whooshing blast of something exploded from the ring. McKay scrubbed his hands and started up the ramp, then turned back to Sheppard with a frown. "Well? Change your mind?"
With a shrug, Sheppard walked forward, the clank of his boots sounding as final as his signed nondisclosures. In front of the glimmering circle, he wanted to ask whether it hurt, but then took a deep breath and stepped through with McKay.
Atlantis said 'hello' and John smiled.
Prompt: Under The Sea
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John smiled, happy that they'd finally found time to retrieve his 'jumpers locked in the underwater bay. It had been too long since Jack O'Neill jammed the controls, leaving it open to the ocean. Landing on a new planet had forced water inside, and John needed to free the jam to pump the bay dry.
Walking was awkward in the suits they'd taken from the submerged platform, but John still found time to admire alien seaforms glimmering in the flooded compartment. Although he felt a little regret they'd be losing their home, his puddlejumpers came first.
After Rodney, of course.
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Possibly Lost, But Not Alone
Despair and visions of doom clouded Rodney's eyes, resignation to their fate written in every line of his weary body. John couldn't bear how defeated Rodney looked, so he bit back any words of blame knowing he shared it. He'd had the chance to step in earlier and make it plain Rodney wasn't available to Allina, but he'd retreated behind mockery to hide jealousy. The result was an ill-thought remark leading to the loss of the ZPM that might have saved Atlantis.
Tugging Rodney around to hold him close, John promised, "We'll make it. You and me, all the way."
Prompt: Set the Mood
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John gazed out over his darkened city and sighed. "I suppose there're some advantages to cutting back on power use to save the ZPM."
"You mean besides being able to run computers and dial out when we need to?" Rodney grumbled. "I stubbed my toe walking over here because I couldn't see where I was going."
"How about no one can see where you're going?" John turned to Rodney with a smile. "We're alone under an incredible moon."
"We're on a moon, that's a gas giant," Rodney huffed, but didn't resist when John pulled him in for an unmoonlit kiss.
Prompt: Geeks vs. Goons
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"Random number generator? I say we use a coin toss to choose who goes first."
"That's no surprise coming from the person who used a silver dollar to decide whether to join the expedition."
"Worked out pretty well, too. You geeks would have been sunk without me and my so-called goons."
"I'll grant you've been useful at times, John, but everyone knows it's the scientists that keep this city afloat. We're going to prove it."
"So I've been… useful? At times."
"I didn't mean you, exactly."
"Now I'm not useful."
"That's not what I meant!"
"Too late. You lose, Rodney."
Prompt: Laundry Day
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Mix And Match
Rodney didn't bother buzzing at John's door. Hands too full with the basket of mismatched clothing, he thought open and barged in. He winced when he saw John staring at his favorite I'm With Genius t-shirt.
"You ever get the feeling Atlantis is trying to tell us something?" John asked, tossing the t-shirt aside. "This is the third time I've ended up with half your clothes."
"Honestly?" Rodney dropped the basket to wave his hands. "You really believe this is happening on purpose?"
"Maybe she's onto something." John stood, kicked the spilled clothes aside, and grabbed Rodney for a kiss.