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The Pegasus Society

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Movie Poster made by Slodwick.


"Sally likes 225 but not 224," says Dr. Zelenka, the Czech. "She likes 900 but not 800, she likes 144 --"

"Sixteen hundred!"

Radek sighs. "You're cheating now?"

"I'm not cheating," Rodney says, yawning. "That's a classic, that's on every single -- just, never mind. Go on, another."

"Look, Rodney, you're smartest person in city, okay? Smartest person in the whole goddamned Pegasus galaxy if it pleases you. Can I now go to sleep?"

Rodney's OCD manifests itself in the recalcitrant pursuit of the quantifiable, and, in ideal situations, applicable science of making things work. It has been called alternately an idiosyncracy and a neurosis, creepy and cute. Unlike many, though, and fortunately for Atlantis, Rodney can put together the things he takes apart. In return, Atlantis is kind enough to break down all the time.

Rodney looks at his watch. "Sleep? It's five in the morning, are you kidding me? Here, hand me that -- pass me my laptop, and I know I saw donuts around here -- actually, you know what? You go. I'm good; I've got it under control. Kill the overhead lights on your way out."

Radek is ruffled. His right lens is smudged, and Rodney is half-blurry to him. "I'm sleeping now," he says. "Call me if city burns to ground." He heads for the door. "On second thought, don't."

Rodney has the IQ tests, a database of them, saved to his laptop.

He brought twenty of his collection to Pegasus as part of his Mensa startup kit, and because he uses them on potential dates. When he first got the chance to assess his staff, two million lightyears too far away to do anything about it, he was grudgingly forced to admit they were adequate and some, like the Czech Zelenka and that jerk with the ponytail, might even be pretty bright underneath all that bad training and lack of ingenuity. According to his IQ litmus test, Rodney is allowed to sleep with nearly three quarters of his staff. He hasn't yet.

Atlantis examined the IQ tests when the humans arrived, and watched with interest, or what could be called interest, as Rodney continued to update the database with new analyses and rankings and scores. Rodney is still at the top, eligible for the Prometheus Society, clocking in at 179, an IQ most commonly seen in children under twelve. Atlantis thinks the Alterans would have been impressed. Rodney's sitting at the computer in his lab at five in the morning with a donut in his mouth, his eyes fixed on the computer screen and his hand down his pants.

Lateral thinking gets Rodney hot, but then, so does nonlinear mathematics and anything by Aerosmith. Right now he's just sort of idly rolling his dick around in his hand, between his fingers, examining the weight of his balls. By anyone's standards he's right out in public, in the lab with both doors unlocked, but Atlantis knows nobody's going to bother Rodney for a while. There are many mornings when Rodney takes care of a morning wood while multitasking breakfast and paperwork, and Atlantis thinks of it as their private time together.

Down the steps, down the causeway and on the far side of the southeast pier, John Sheppard is waking up to his own morning ritual. There have been days where John's climax and Rodney's are near simultaneous, but no one knows that but Atlantis, and Atlantis never tells.

Later. "Major Sheppard!" Rodney is in the control room eating another donut. He takes it out of his mouth and calls again. "Major Sheppard!"

John ambles over, because it's important not to hurry. If he trains Rodney to expect him to come at whim he'll have to go through the trouble of untraining him later, and John, two million light years from the air force, relishes the fact that his you-say-jump-I-say-how-high days are over. "Yep?"

"First," Rodney says. He doesn't know what second is yet, and leaves open the possibility that if it turns out John Sheppard is both a genius and a military hero Rodney might be forced to punch him in his smart cocky mouth. And he appreciates the likelihood that it will end up harder on the knuckles involved than the teeth. "Seven hundred thirty-three thousand, six hundred twenty-six. Sixty-one thousand, two hundred forty. Um. Five thousand three hundred twelve, a hundred and two. What comes next?"

John looks around like he's forgotten to bring something. He pats down his pockets. This is for show. "McKay, I have no idea," he says.

McKay's thumbs get crooked, the way they do when he's agitated. "Oh, no you don't," he grumbles. "This isn't going to be like that thing, you know, with the cartoon frog and he sings until the guy's got a chance to make money off him, because you know I saw what you did down there, and if you passed the test it means at the very least there's hope that you can develop the kind of perspective to realize the scientific and humanitarian benefits to my proposal to test Asgard transporter technology -- " Rodney stops to breathe, and to wonder again whether he's bucking for Sheppard to succeed.

John shrugs. "Got another donut?"

"Come on," Rodney very nearly whines. "Seven hundred thirty-three thousand, six hundred --"

"Yeah, yeah," says John, picking up Rodney's half-eaten donut. Rodney slaps it out of his hand.

"Seven hundred thirty-three thousand, six hundred twenty-six --" Rodney rattles.

"Yeah, sixty-one thousand, two hundred forty, five thousand three hundred twelve, and, um. A hundred and two?"

"You have an eidetic memory," Rodney says in a tone that suggests his next words might be, "Crack open your brain so I can see it."

John shrugs again. This is eating Rodney up. "Just a good head for numbers, I guess," he says. He does not say that the missing number is ten. He'll save that for when Rodney really needs a spanking. Now he says, "Are you coming to the meeting?"

Rodney shoves the rest of the donut into his mouth, and around it says, "I'm reaoy gizzy. Kake 'otes for me?"

John thinks there's nothing sexier than Rodney when he's really busy, even when he's really busy spilling donut crumbs down the front of his jacket. He licks his lip. "What was the second thing?"

Rodney has scuttled over to the main control console, and he's pulling out crystals and holding them up to the light. They prism. "Huh?"

"You said 'First,' implying there was a second thing you wanted to tell me or ask me."

"Oh," says Rodney, like this is the first he's heard of it. "Sure. Um. About the nine stones, the Brotherhood of the Fifteen? I woulda gotten that, I just, was looking for something more complicated and I'd already moved on to more sophisticated algorithms in my head."

"It was no big deal," John says, but he smiles, because Rodney's wearing the same shirt he wore yesterday, with a little splotch of computer grease or something on the chest, and that means he's stayed up all night poring over Mensa-related mysteries. "Have some coffee," John says. "Meeting in ten."

Now, Rodney is hungry for something that eludes him.

It's not the first time John Sheppard's made him feel this idiotic combination of awe and frustration, almost jealousy. The first time, and of course it still gets him, was when a punk-ass chopper pilot sat down in the chair in the middle of Antarctica and the thing lit up like Mardi Gras. The second time was when John sat down a second time, in Atlantis, and powered up the Naquadah generators and made the jumper engines leap into action. Rodney only sulked for a day. Then he saw it as an opportunity to study subspace pockets in Pegasus; John didn't know the science of subspace pockets and that, at least, meant job security. Emotional security, in a city that rejected him, meant gene therapy.

Atlantis was so fascinated that it clung to Rodney all that next day, and the day after that too, while Rodney tripped gleefully around the city powering up systems with his mind.

"Okay," says Rodney, and he watches John's narrow hips wiggle under the weight of his belt as he walks away.

Radek Zelenka, having spent the morning in the quarters of Dr. Elizabeth Weir, has slept all day, and Rodney is enjoying having the lab to himself. He's come up with a short version of the Hoeflin test, using questions from his files and some he's labored over himself. Atlantis solves and re-solves for x, for creatures called foxes and chickens crossing a river. It maps permutation loops for a series of numerical clues, if Bertha is forty years old, then she does not have a pet ferret. Rodney takes paper and a box cutter and folds a strip to a cube and from there proves x^5/5! is (139/12)(5!) and = 1390 possible larger and greater shapes. Rodney's hands are strong and remarkably precise; all the caffeinated tremors stop when he uses the edge of his thumbnail to draw a perfect crease. Atlantis waits patiently for Rodney to input the data to his laptop, and into the Alteran mainframe where Atlantis can fold and re-fold and thrill with this doctor of physics in the pure, inapplicable science of a dodecahedron.

Rodney sends the test to John without a note. Fifteen questions. Rodney waits. The message comes back. "Are you nuts?"

Rodney laughs, and the low sound echoes in the lab. "It's estimated that the top one percent of the population is eligible for Mensa," Rodney writes. "The Prometheus Society takes one in thirty thousand. The Mega Society is way more competitive than either of those, and the only reason I didn't get in is because they have, literally, two members, and they're both in Europe. Take the test, flyboy."

When John doesn't respond in over an hour, Rodney goes to bed.

John Sheppard is the first human Atlantis met, and the human it knows the best. When John was young, he was puny, undersized. He sang: I WANNA BE AN AIR FORCE RANGER! I WANNA LIVE A LIFE OF DANGER! He jumped off the roof onto the tire swing, and never once broke his neck, despite his mother's assurances.

Rodney is dreaming of the potentia, the ZPM that they almost brought Atlantis. In his dream he tries to see the face of the Suderian New Master Handler, the girl John said had a crush on Rodney, but his mind slips from her like liquid, pooling instead toward the potentiae buried somewhere in space. It isn't until she takes the ZPM from him that he finally registers her face. "She was hot," he thinks, as she races off.

Today he doesn't even remember her name was Allina, but he remembers the smooth, cool amber of the ZPM, the few precious moments he had to hold it in his arms. He remembers John's hands, unlocking it from the wall. And he remembers John's brain. He wakes up hard.

He has a Power Bar for breakfast, in the lab, and he checks the daily report, the weekly report, and Weir's request for a feasibility study before he opens the message from John.

John awakens with a jump like he just got caught jerking off in the school bathroom, and first thing he does is check to see that the door is closed. It is, he's in his quarters, facedown on the mattress and grinding his dick into the sheet. It's the third night in a row he's had a sex dream about Rodney McKay, so long after he'd thought he'd put that behind him. He shoves his face into the pillow, trying to scrub away the image of Rodney, his worried mouth sloped down on the left and his big crazy blue eyes, but Rodney's reaching for him and then he's grinning and he's teasing. John bucks hard against the mattress and comes.

When John exits the bathroom twenty minutes later, McKay is standing in his doorway.

"Oh," says Rodney. "Hi. I --" he jerks a thumb. "Let myself in."

John narrows his eyes. "Oh, you did, did you." Rodney steps in and Atlantis closes the door behind him, and now they're alone.

"Yes," says Rodney. "Um. I wanted to talk about, the test, you know, the test I sent? You did very well. Surprisingly well. Actually. Really very surprisingly well which leads me to wonder why you haven't, I mean, you would have made a great mathematician."

"Thrilling," John says, toweling at his hair and then tossing the towel back in the direction of the lavatory. "I can't imagine why I chose to fly fighter jets."

"Yeah, me neither!" Rodney says, before he realizes John is joking. "Oh, I get it. Sarcasm. Clever."

"I thought so," says John, sitting down on his bed. "You gonna sit down, or what?"

"Sure, yes," Rodney says, and sits. "I think I have an idea for how we can go after the next ZPM on Weir's list. The planet's in a yellow dwarf system, and I think if we come in cloaked we can enter orbit on the dark side and hang under its satellite's pole so that we don't get picked up by the Wraith scanners. Then all it will really require is for me to find a way to adapt the Asgard's transporter technology, which is really just a matter of isolating the phase variance and finding a way to modify the jumper's systems to interface with a singularity-based peripheral. The actual technology of the transporter device itself is fairly simple, physicists have been toying with --"

Truthfully, John finds transporter technology fascinating, and he's known what physicists have been toying with since his first engineering course as an undergrad. Non-entropic transference is a key concept in space tether theory, and plus, John's seen every Star Trek movie ever made. But Rodney is talking with his hands, sort of chopping the air and his fingers are clawed and John is mesmerized by his chewed fingernails and the crooks of his strong, knobby knuckles. It turns out that working beside Rodney has actually made John stupider, because it's always right about here, when Rodney's eyes light up and his wide downward-sloping mouth opens even wider and he's caught in the sheer ingeniuity of his own idea, that John tunes out and starts thinking about kissing McKay instead. Really, it's frustrating.

"We've got Wraith showing up on our doorstep in three weeks," John says, when Rodney pauses to take a breath. "Let's deal with one problem at a time, okay?"

Atlantis, which knew John was going to say that, knows even before Rodney proposes his theory that it isn't getting another ZPM, not any time soon. Atlantis knows that the humans will choose to destroy the city before they let it fall to the Wraith, and it is ready to go.

Rodney, in turn, knows he is too valuable to the effort of protecting the city to be wasted on the effort of chasing a distant ZPM, and he takes a moment to bemoan his own indispensibility. His hands only twitch a little.

John knows that the last time his IQ was tested, it turned out he was far beyond Mensa's cutoff, and in fact could do just about anything he set his mind to and would probably spend a lifetime getting PhD after PhD and being exasperated by his slower peers. He was eight at the time. "So how'd I do?" he asks Rodney.

Rodney's jaw moves. "Huh? Oh, the test? You did fine. You did great. I told you that when I got here. Do you want to hear it again? You're a genius. Technically speaking."

"I think I got a couple wrong," says John lazily, knowing he got exactly one wrong, the last one.

"Did you?" Rodney asks, knowing that John got exactly one wrong, the last one, the hardest one, the one Rodney'd solved on an IQ test when he was ten. "Well, either way."

"Cool," says John.

Rodney hoists himself to his feet and looks down at John, who is in a t-shirt and boxers. "Well, I should go, only four hundred ninety-two hours till the Wraith show up and this shield's not going to power itself."

John stands up too, and then they're face to face and John's staring into Rodney's clear blue eyes. And he sees Rodney's chin tremble and then he sees Rodney's brow furrow, just a little, as pink spreads across Rodney's cheeks. They stand there just long enough for John to feel nervous heat radiate from Rodney's chest, and then John leans in, takes Rodney by one shoulder and kisses him. Hungry. Slow. Hot. He pulls away, flicks a tongue out to lick his lower lip. Rodney just stands there with his big wet mouth half open and stares.

"Um. What?"

John sits down on the edge of the bed again, legs falling open. "You mean to tell me you didn't wanna do that?"

Rodney's hands are back, grasping at the air. "Oh, no, are you kidding me? I mean, obviously I wanted to -- let's face it, you're hot as fuck, you have to know that about yourself, seriously, and it's not like there's a whole lot of options, which is to say of course I mean even if there were, I'd still pick --" he stops and his heart is splashing against the inside of his ribs and his stomach is roiling. He sits down next to John, but not close enough so they're touching, just in case. "I'd still pick you. Obviously."

For John, it is just that suddenly Rodney is everywhere, all big hands and chest and flesh and mouth, and it's pretty damned hot and he's glad he was invited.

"Oh, screw it," Rodney says, and pushes John down onto the pillows and straddles him and kisses him, hard, a lot. And then he tears his jacket off and his radio off and tosses them to the floor and then comes back, hungrily, because it's Major John Sheppard and his poky hobgoblin hair and there's lots of kissing to be done.

Atlantis, at the intersection of every desire thrumming from the minds of one and one-half wild Alterans, swells a little under water.

Rodney realizes where he is, and freezes. His hand is reaching for Sheppard's shoulder, and it shakes in the air. He makes a fist. He is generating heat, a lot of heat -- he estimates himself at about thirty-eight, thirty-nine degrees, add another degree for what's coming in waves from John's chest and John's flushed face -- and on his knees, straddling a US Air Force Major in outer space somewhere. He sits back on his haunches, on John's hips.

"Questions?" John asks, raising an eyebrow. He reaches up and folds his arms behind his head, wiggles his shoulders down into the pillow. Big smile. Rodney feels his dick complaining in his pants and he lets out an accidental moan. "Oh," says John. "Just so we're on the same page."

Rodney looks down at him. "Hm? Page? You're -- what are we doing, here?"

John rolls his head on his neck, languorous. "God, I can't wait to find out."

The last question on the Hoeflin test concerned isospectral point-sets and John could only blink at, but not interpret, the accompanying graph. And so when his brain told him that the indicator polynomial could be predicted using f(x,y) = 1 + x + x2 + y + x2y, he felt very much like he was cheating and so instead he guessed D, none of the above.

So Rodney comes down for the kiss again, all mouth and hands up in John's hair, and Atlantis closes one of a thousand eyes and dims the lights, just a little. Rodney is lucid just long enough to thank his unbelievable, incredible luck.

He pushes up John's shirt and trembles with almost ridiculous joy at the dark swath of hair and all that hard, brown, muscular flesh he gets to explore. He reaches out to touch John's stomach and it is warm, and firm, and it trembles under his touch. He lifts his hand away. This elicits an "Oh!" from John, so Rodney puts his hand back, and he's going to really need these pants off now as he spreads his fingers and crawls his hand up John's ribs, nudging the black tee over the pink sproing of a nipple. Rodney starts working at his own belt with his other hand.

And then John is saying "I can help," and reaching for Rodney's belt, tugging at Rodney's shirt to free it from the waistband. It comes loose and hangs down as Rodney leans in to lick John's nipple, and John shudders when the tongue comes and shudders at the air when it pulls away. He relaxes his back, which has arched alarmingly from the mattress, driving his cock harder into Rodney's thighs. Rodney sits up on his knees, then, and John's erection swells to fill the space where Rodney's hot, heavy pressure had been. The pants come off.

John is pulling at the shirt now, pulling it up, over Rodney's head, and Rodney's arm is tangled and from down here John can see Rodney's broad pink chest and the pink roll of pudge hanging over the top of his boxers. Rodney's arm comes up and the shirt comes off and there's Rodney again, red-faced with his hair hanging shaggy down the middle of his forehead and his eyes electric. John grabs him by the neck and rolls him over.

"Rough," says Rodney, thoughtfully, and John grins because Rodney has no idea what rough is. But there is also something tremendously vulnerable about seeing Rodney like this, and it's almost as scary as it is exciting. And John didn't join Mensa, but he took the time to send in the fifty dollar check for the qualifying test.

When John was in seventh grade he moved to a new school, countywide, with six times as many kids and no gifted track. And apparently Cecily Klaas was powerful social currency, because as soon as she found him slouched in a chair in the library and told him to come get pizza with them in Leon's brother's F-150 John was part of the cool kids and no one ever took the time to teach him D&D. When the letter from Mensa came, John had already shipped out to Afghanistan.

Rodney does not like being naked, even with the lights dimmed, and tries to find a way to shimmy under the covers without seeming conspicuous. This plan gets derailed whenever John moves his hand or his mouth, or a hard, slender, hairy calf, and Rodney tenses and lies very, very still, waiting for the shockwaves of sensation to pass.

John doesn't sense it, in fact, John has no idea that Rodney's holding his breath, sucking in his gut, fighting to keep from ejaculating simply from the proximity. John wants to kiss Rodney again, to feel that weird scratchy stubble against his chin and feel Rodney's solid weight and all that brilliance and babyfine hair. His sphincter tightens and he shudders and rocks his head on his neck.

Rodney says, "I haven't ever actually slept with another man. Or any man. Besides myself, I mean. I've never actually slept with a man."

John looks up. Rodney's eyes are scary blue before he hides under his arm.

"But I know," Rodney starts, and John is heavy on top of him, the hard muscle of John's thighs against Rodney's waist and Rodney can feel his breathing getting labored. "I mean, I've read a lot, and I've been around and talked to people and I've had the opportunity to --" He stops. John is in charge. Rather, they are on equal footing, because Rodney's sure John has never been with a man before either, but that puts John in charge, because Rodney's not good with equals. Rodney has never had an equal, not until now.

John laughs, because of course Rodney's read books, and he laughs because he can't imagine how this matters. "That's okay," he says. "Everything pretty much goes where you think it does. I'll hold your hand through the hard parts."

"Easy for you to say," says Rodney, under his arm and his enormous watch. Rodney's forearm is tanned, mysteriously, the top browner than the white-pale underside. His hair is almost reddish. John reaches up and peels Rodney's arm from his face. Rodney scowls, and rolls his eyes, but that means everything's all right, and so John takes Rodney's other arm and pins them both up behind Rodney's head and says "Stay."

He lets go, and points. Rodney's hands stay. "Hold on to something, if you want to," John says.

"What would I --" Rodney is saying, but John shuts him up with a kiss and then a nip to the chin, to the collarbone, to the left nipple. That's when Rodney's hands come grabbing at John's hair, and John decides to let them stay there because they do feel good, gripping his shoulders, the back of his neck. John grabs a hunk of Rodney's gut in his teeth, gently, and shakes it, and buries his nose in Rodney's navel and stops to inhale his warm yeasty musk.

Rodney is a solid line up the fly of his boxers, hard and rounded like a train car. John reaches for it and lets his fingers barely trail along the cotton, barely flick against the shaft, and Rodney thinks that this is really more than any sane man can be expected to bear, and he groans, "Jesus, do something, anything!" He pulls at John's head and drags John up to kiss him sloppily on the mouth. And then Rodney lets go, and looks for something to hold on to and finds the headboard right where John said it would be. John tugs off Rodney's boxers.

Rodney has made do with magazines for far too long. He's gotten used to orgasms being quick, perfunctory orders of business to be taken care of with dispatch, as frequently as necessary to ensure proper focus on his work. He has forgotten how stubborn actual humans can be. John is tracing tiny circles with the pointy tip of his tongue on Rodney's inner thigh, and Rodney is counting the permutations of the solution to the Suderian magic square before he will allow himself to release the headboard with his hand and grab his own cock and take care of himself.

He never gets to the answer because John shoves his fingers into Rodney's curly patch of hair and wraps a thumb around the base of Rodney's dick and Rodney can't count any higher.

The thumb finds a spot it likes, a tender spot just before the testicles, and John rubs the two centimeter strip of skin gently, lightly, over and over. It's an asymmetrical strip, off to the right, and Rodney can feel the tiny nerve endings in his groin fire and scream out and John's still there, two centimeters up and down and Rodney opens his eyes to see John Sheppard resting a chin on Rodney's chest and grinning, wickedly, up at Rodney.

"Comfy?" John asks.

"God, you're gorgeous," Rodney says without thinking. "I mean, holy hell. This can't be --"

John curls his hand around Rodney's cock and starts to pump.

"Mnnnnuhhhh," says Rodney. He grips the headboard and John rolls a knuckle over the top of Rodney's dick, and slips back down the length of him with his own slickness, and squeezes up one more time and Rodney tenses, and comes.

Atlantis has felt Rodney come before, but this is a different set of neurons firing, different centers of the Alteran gene shimmering with kinesthesis. It lasts long enough for Atlantis to settle on its platform and long enough for Atlantis to send the stimuli back to its computers to save, to thrill in later. Rodney's orgasm rolls out in a long, slow, sloppy moan, and he slaps a hand on the mattress and then swipes the sweat from his face and stares at John.

John is frowning. This is for show. "I didn't even get to the good part," he pouts. "There's a part where my mouth gets involved that, I've heard, is really awesome."

Rodney is a thousand times too embarassed to put together right away that this means John's given blow jobs to people, people with penises, and this is too much for him to process right now, so instead he is stupid with lust. John collapses on his side beside Rodney, head propped up with his elbow. Rodney leans in and kisses him.

John grabs for Rodney intuitively, feeling for the round, smooth shoulders and the ropy muscles buried there under years of hibernation. Rodney is broad, and solid, and surprisingly strong, and his sarcastic tongue knows how to kiss. John's dick springs to attention and then Rodney's not wasting any time bravely wrapping his big wet mouth around the swollen head.

Atlantis knows the Alterans would have allowed for rotations and reflections in the Suderian square, and because of that there is just one solution to the puzzle, John's. While John drives Rodney's head down into his cock, Atlantis proposes that bd+1 = (3x+k)^2, and Rodney reaches around and slides his thumb up John's ass.

Allina wasn't bad looking. She had dark, smoky eyes and a gun and a ZPM and John's ready to admit that half the reason he engaged the part of his brain that knew things about algebraic conditions to decode that damned square was to make sure Rodney'd take notice. John opens his eyes.

Rodney is crouched beside him, gripping his ass and working his mouth around John's cock with brow-furrowing determination. Rodney's tongue flips half circles under the head and John swells, and Rodney adds two more fingers to the thumb up John's ass and thrusts, sliding his lips down, almost flicking John's balls with his tongue. John shudders. This is clearly the answer, the logical single output to a fixed series of logic gates that include Rodney McKay spending a day with the science of set theory and John Sheppard suddenly very naked in a bedroom that, he could have sworn, used to be more well-lit.

"You still think you're smarter than me?" Rodney asks, pulling his mouth away from John's dick too suddenly, driving John crazy with frustration.

"God, no," John says. "Are you kidding?" But Rodney cocks his head like he doesn't believe a word of it, like somehow John's too stupid even to realize how smart he is, but John instead is stupid with the thought of Rodney's mouth again and Rodney's big hands and the broad planes of his face, all eyes and cheekbones and chin and determined set jaw. John reaches up to touch Rodney's face, and Rodney leans into his hand and closes his eyes and exhales a little puff of air through his nose, and then catches himself and scowls at his own weak will.

At which point John's dick positively aches with need. "Please," John says, shuddering from the palpable wave of wild genius in Rodney's blue eyes. "You're very good at it." And really Rodney is, because that's all the encouragement he needed -- John suspects that after a lifetime as Rodney McKay, hyperbole probably doesn't mean much -- and he's back with his mouth wrapped around John and everything Rodney lacks in grace he makes up for in fervor and ingenuity.

When Rodney rocks his head back to open his throat and takes John in, all the way, and squeezes John's ass and then slides his hands up the small of John's back, and around John's ribs and then up to John's nipples, John lets out an "oh, man," and Rodney's rolling John around in his mouth and licking and sucking and John arches his back off the mattress and then collapses and wraps his legs around Rodney's shoulders and bucks, and comes, and comes.

Rodney pulls away with a grin so huge and eyes so wild John twitches and almost gets hard again, and then Rodney clambers off the bed and ducks into the bathroom to spit, and John rolls over on the mattress and grins himself.

Radek Zelenka has returned to the lab to find Rodney gone. The counter is strewn with scribbled combinatoric equations, and Zelenka, who learned thirty phrases in Greek to use on Weir, knows exactly what it is that has driven Rodney to inapplicable science distraction. He powers on his radio, but Atlantis has jammed him with static and patches him through to Lieutenant Bates instead.

"Science lab, Zelenka," says Zelenka, who assumes Bates has called him. "How can I help you?"

"I'm looking for Dr. McKay," says Bates. "We're expecting his feasability study on the ZPM treasure hunt Weir left us. Any ETA?"

Zelenka takes a peek at Rodney's laptop, which is open to a map of the galactic cluster, the areas Weir indicated lit up and color-coded in red, yellow and green. "I will have to call you back, Lieutenant," Radek says.

Down the steps, across the causeway and on the southeast end of the city, Atlantis builds a subroutine for its very own elite high IQ society of two. Tomorrow John will be confused, and Rodney will be embarassed, and both of them will try and solve for their side of the equation, as if it breaks down that way, as if it can be quantified. And later, when John comes to the lab with his guns strapped on and Rodney and Zelenka are fighting and cursing Atlantis's failing defenses, Rodney's stomach will flop and his palms will get cold and clammy, and John will be unable to remember the last time he wanted to kiss someone and couldn't.

Rodney's local Mensa chapter, being Rodney, Radek, Linus and Gail, will cease to seem important. Eventually Rodney will miss a meeting, and then another, and without him the group will dissolve because in Pegasus, no one but Rodney McKay really cares. And instead Rodney will find that John has some pretty good ideas about phased particle beaming, and John will wonder what he could have done with his intellect, and what he could have been, and he will fight and fly twice as hard because of it. Rodney will challenge John, and John will remind Rodney that pure mathematics is only as valuable as its applications, and it will take many months for them to realize that they are working for the same goals and that what is missing, what has always been missing, is one another.

Within two years, if they live that long, they will learn the technology to rebuild Atlantis, to return it to its former Alteran glory. It isn't likely that they'll live that long, and less likely that Atlantis will survive to see it, but Atlantis will maintain some hope anyway, and in the quiet it will think of itself as the third member of the Pegasus Society.