Rodney's question surprised John, especially because it was kind of out of the blue and John had no idea what he actually wanted to know. "Why what?" was the only answer he could give to that while he rubbed a towel over his head to dry his hair. They'd been smothered in … something and Beckett generally liked them to stay in the infirmary until he was sure they hadn't brought anything dangerous with them. Or had any bad reaction towards the stuff. This time it was just some red paint and John didn't really think either of them was allergic to it.
"Why is it always us?" Rodney said with a glare towards John. Rodney didn't like the communal showers in the infirmary, but numerous missions where the team had been forced to get naked together had taken care of that boundary pretty fast. "Why don't the natives ever think I'm married to Teyla? No, it's always you!"
John had to exert every bit of self-control he possessed not to let it show that he felt like someone had just punched him in the gut. "Dunno," he said and turned away from Rodney, who was still glowering at him like it was John's fault. "Maybe it's because we make such a cute couple?" Why was that such a big deal anyway, he wanted to ask, but he didn't. He couldn't exactly tell Rodney that he didn't mind. That he had actually liked pretending to be married to Rodney for the duration of the mission.
Rodney probably thought it was just one big joke when John threw his arm around him or held his hands – and on some level it was a joke, at least it had started like that – but it really wasn't. John wasn't gay, but he wasn't straight either. On the Kinsey scale he was probably a solid 2 and he'd always avoided any 'incidents' since he's joined the Air Force. But damn it if Rodney didn't tempt him at times.
"Cute?" Rodney asked. "I just don't get you, why don't you care that about twenty percent of the people we meet think you and I are an item?"
John chanced a glance at Rodney and was met only by a wide eyed stare and a curious expression. "It's no big deal, Rodney."
Rodney just kept looking at him for a moment and John already felt like he'd done something wrong, that Rodney had seen through the ruse, that he hadn't been subtle enough, that Rodney had somehow figured out everything. But then Rodney frowned and his mouth was suddenly pressed in a thin line as he hastily finished toweling off and got dressed quicker than John had ever seen him do it. He left without a word.
John couldn't help but thinking he'd done something incredibly wrong.
For the rest of the day John didn't see Rodney again, though it certainly wasn't for lack of trying. John had looked everywhere: the mess hall, Rodney's lab, even Rodney's office. It was like Rodney had fallen off the edge of Atlantis, or like he was actively avoiding John. John was pretty sure it was the latter.
By ten p.m. John wasn't just annoyed, he was also on edge because Rodney hadn't turned up to their customary game of … whatever it was. They'd had a date and John wasn't going to let Rodney get out of it just because he was pissed off with John because of who knew what. Wrapped in his righteous anger at having been stood up John stormed down the corridor – and god, he hadn't just thought that, because they weren't actually on a date-date. They were just playing a game together.
And that – of course – was when he reached Rodney's quarters and before he'd realized what he was doing he'd rang the door bell. Crap, John thought.
"Go away," Rodney's voice drifted through the closed door.
"Rodney," John yelled, "open the door." Again with the not thinking, but now that he was there he damn well wanted to know what the fuck had crawled up Rodney's ass and died. They'd had a date. A date. And … John really didn't know why it hurt so much. They were friends. Just friends, nothing more. Still, nothing happened and John decided that it just wasn't Rodney's choice anymore; he asked Atlantis to open the door for him and the city – bless her – obeyed instantly.
"God, even the doors are traitors," Rodney snapped as soon as John stepped into the room. He looked so sad, though, that John couldn't help but feel like an idiot for barging in. But then Rodney crossed his arms and looked at John like he was something dirty he'd found underneath a stone and Ronon tried to sell him as food. That was when John's patience snapped.
"What is your problem?" John asked, his voice low with anger, he really couldn't help it. "What the fuck is your problem? And don't say it's nothing, because I'm not stupid. Why didn't you come to our," don't say date, "date." For fuck's sake.
"My problem?" Rodney looked stunned, but of course that didn't stop him from talking. "What my problem is? We've been married – or pretending to be married – on so many planets that I lost count. Can you imagine that? Me? Losing count? That should tell you something, Colonel." And it hurt that Rodney had retreated to his rank. "And it's no big deal? What the fuck is wrong with you?"
Now it was John's turn to feel stunned, but contrary to Rodney, he couldn't think of anything to say.
"You want to know what my problem is?" Rodney asked and suddenly this sounded like it was a much more dangerous question than it had been when John had asked it. Especially because Rodney was suddenly in John's space, pushing against him, trapping John between the door and his body. And then Rodney kissed him, snapping him out of his haze and John's arms came up to hold onto Rodney's shoulders, kissing back with everything he had.
"We're such idiots," John whispered when they parted hesitantly.
Rodney snorted. "Talk about yourself," he muttered and let John push him to the couch, "because I'm a genius."