John stood out on the end of the West Pier, alone. He gazed out over the ocean and then looked back at his watch.
Rodney had promised he'd be on time. He'd promised.
And John was absolutely not pouting about it. He was indignant. Which he had every right to be.
Because Rodney had promised. And he wasn't here.
John leaned over to pick up the controller to his RC car and decided to get some solo practice runs in. He needed work on his cornering anyway. He was the king of speed and stealth on the straightaways, managing to make McKay swear and shout as he passed him within a hair's breadth to just eke him out at the finish line.
(And didn't he love to hear Rodney's voice ratchet up several notches til he was almost squeaking sometimes whenever he managed to pull off a particularly close winning finish.)
But he was terrible at the really sharp turns, more often than not overshooting his mark by a few critical inches.
Rodney, however, always seemed to be able to calculate down to the micro-second when to roll into his turns with extreme precision. He also liked to rub this particular expertise into John's face every chance he got because Sheppard was supposedly a hotshot Air Force pilot and how humiliating it must be for him to be second best to a 'desk jockey'. John may have possibly called him that one too many times during his own taunting sessions.
Boy did he ever enjoy taunting McKay. They were both fairly competitive in their leisure activities as well as their professions so the blood was usually pumping fairly fast when they raced.
Also, snarking at each other was as natural as breathing for the two of them so the emotions were usually running pretty high and close to the surface. Rodney's eyes would shine and glitter when he won and the rapid fire insults that shot from his mouth were ingenious and stimulating. When he lost he'd rake his deft fingers through his soft, silky brown hair, making it all fluffy and little boyish looking and his insults were even better when he cried foul play on Sheppard's part.
John brought his car to a halt and dropped his eyes to his watch again.
He was really getting irritated now. Rodney had promised him at lunch in the mess hall this afternoon that he would absolutely keep an eye on his time in the lab today. He tended to get caught up in his work and didn't watch the clock.
Sheppard knew that for everyone on Atlantis, not just Rodney, it was not a normal nine to five job atmosphere. Just the same, once in awhile he wanted to be important enough for Rodney to want to watch the clock, to count down the minutes til they were together in private, even if it was only racing toy cars.
He bent to grab his car, then walked back towards the end of the pier and sat down, folding in his long lean legs Indian style and laying the toy across his lap. He'd give McKay five more minutes before he gave up and went back to his room. He knew he could just call him over the radio and demand to know where Rodney was but he was feeling obstinate and neglected and, yes, he wanted Rodney to feel really bad when he finally did decide to show up. Because he'd promised.
John was so lost in his own internal pity party and listening to the waves crashing below him against the city that he failed to hear the rapid footsteps behind him and was startled from his reverie by a strong jacketed arm stealing over his shoulder and coming to rest across his chest.
He jerked his head back in surprise and found himself looking into two familiar wide pools of blue set in a harried looking face. Despite his current state of mind he felt their familiar magnetic pull deep inside himself.
Why could he never stay mad at Rodney?
Before he even had time to open his mouth and lay on the guilt, McKay let it rip, huffing like he'd been running with Ronon again and pleading his case against John's ear at his usual nervous speed of several hundred miles an hour.
"Sheppard, I am so so sorry! Please don't be mad, seriously, even though without looking I can tell you're probably really pissed off, not that I blame you or anything, cause I'm late...really, really, really late, I know, ok, but just hear me out, because I was on time, I swear, but one of the idiots caught me as I was leaving the lab...you would not believe the moronic nonsense they were proposing either, I mean it was completely laughable and I don't even know how this pathetic excuse of a scientist ever even made it out of preschool...his diploma must be handwritten on a Bazooka Joe wrapper or something...."
"No,no,no,no. Let me finish explaining before you go ballistic and give me one of those black ops ninja stealth karate chops and leave me forever because..."
"... I think we'd really both regret it, well, I know I would, because, you know, look at you and I know I'll never ever get this lucky again.."
"Sheppard would you just let me get a word in edgewise? I'm trying to tell you what happened so would you just shut up a minute, please? So anyway, I managed to pawn off the dimwit on Radek and left but then I was halfway here and realized I forgot my car so I had to go all the way back to my room and of course I couldn't find the stupid thing, it must have gotten kicked under the couch by accident, it took forever before I saw it, and by then I had to go to the bathroom. I also figured since it was late I'd grab us some snacks so after I left my room I headed towards the mess hall, then I realized you were probably wondering where I was and getting mad so I tried to radio you but my radio must have fallen off when I was on my freaking knees looking for that stupid car so I turned back and practically ran here to find you before you up and left and...hey, why aren't you saying anything? Are you mad? You're mad aren't you? I knew you were gonna be..."
Rodney was hushed by Sheppard reaching an arm up behind himself to hook around Rodney's neck and pull him down into a forceful but heartfelt kiss. They broke apart with a resounding smack of the lips, Sheppard sporting a wide grin.
"...mad." Rodney finished breathlessly. He cleared his throat.
"Or not," he went on, questioning Sheppard's enthusiastic but entirely welcome reaction to his scrambling explanation of why he shouldn't be in the dog house.
He tilted his head and uncertainly returned Sheppard's infectious and winning smile.
"Not to rain on this parade or push my tenuous luck or anything but what was that for?"
John pulled McKay's head down further until they were cheek to cheek and rubbed his face against him.
"Because, Buddy. You promised."
"Yeah, so?" McKay sounded confused but pulled his arm tighter across Sheppard's chest, testing his apparent forgiveness.
"You promised me and you came through. Just like always."
"Yeah," Rodney whispered happily. "I did, didn't I?"
"You sure did, Buddy." Sheppard answered. "I have one question, though."
John untangled his legs and stood up, pulling Rodney to him.
"Ninja stealth karate chop? Really?"
"Shut up, Sheppard. Grab your car and let's race. If you win I'll take you to dinner and maybe a walk around the city."
"What if I lose?"
"My place, a bag of chips, and making out on the couch."
John squeezed him. "You promise?"
Rodney laughed and set his car down, racing it away.
"Only one way to find out, Flyboy."