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Rodney hastily pulled on his shirt, roughly tucking it in, ignoring John’s sounds of protest, even as he tugged on his shoes and ran an annoyed hand through his hair. He looked at the door and back down at the floor, looking for anything that he might have missed.

“Oh, c’mon, Rodney…we can skip the meeting,” John drawled from his reclining position on the bed, still gloriously naked under the covers. “It’s not like Carter can fire us, after all…”

The scientist glared over at the colonel and snapped back, “No, but she can make our lives a living hell, and if we’re both missing then someone might think—”

“That we’re doing exactly what we’re doing?” John interjected, looking entirely too smug.

Rodney rolled his eyes.

“Look, we’re keeping this under wraps for a reason,” Rodney retorted, noticing his jacket poking out from under the bed. He reached down and pulled it on, and John questioned, “And what reason is that, exactly? I’ve forgotten…”

“The whole DADT—”

“That was repealed a month ago,” John snipped.

“And there’s the team dynamic to worry about—”

John snorted and snarked, interrupting him a second time, “Like that’s gonna change. You still annoy me, I still annoy you, and the rest of the base still thinks that we hate each other…or are secretly doing what we’re actually doing,” he added, finally sitting up and looking for his clothes.

Rodney spotted John’s black t-shirt on the floor and reached down at tossed it at the man, who caught it with a small smirk on his face.

“I think it’d be best if I had my underwear first, McKay…”

Rodney flushed a light pink, and then looked around the room and his face got even more red as he pulled a pair of dark blue boxers off of a lamp. He felt like he was living in a cliché, but where John was the woman, and he the lover who was caught trying to sneak out the next morning. Not that he was ashamed of him in any way; the complete opposite in fact. He watched him lovingly as John unabashedly pulled the sheets off his lower half and then slid his boxers up over his long, lean hips.

No. He was not trying to hide him. He was just…protective. Private.


John sat on the edge of the bed as he tugged his shirt on, and swiveled his head as he muttered, “Okay, now where are my pants?”

Rodney glanced around and let out a frustrated sigh as he spotted them on the floor next to the door. Grumbling under his breath, he walked over and picked them up, rolling his eyes as he heard John let out a low whistle of approval as he bent over.

“Will you stop ogling my ass and get dressed?” the scientist said brusquely, throwing his pants at him, which John took hard to the chest. The colonel glared at him, but his eyes were still lit with amusement, and he stood up as he pulled his pants on and replied, “Can’t I do both?” and cast a pointed look down at what he’d been staring at moments before.

Rodney’s eyes were getting a workout, as he rolled them one more time.

“Sheppard, can we just get dressed and go?”

John smiled up at him, and slowly stood up from the bed, Rodney’s bed, to be precise, and answered, “Only if you help me find my shoes.”

That was the last straw.

“Find your own damn shoes,” he said, and stalked out of his room at a brisk pace, knowing that despite his urgency, he was going to be several minutes late to the briefing. He resented the briefings on so many levels, as he mainly felt that they were redundant and an insult to not only his, but many other’s intelligence on the Atlantis expedition. They were all the best in their fields, after all…although, thinking of some of his colleagues, that was entirely debatable.

Rodney hesitated as he approached the door and took a moment to compose himself, running his hand once more through his hair. He could still feel it sticking up and it seemed determined not to cooperate with him. Oh, well. At least he was there before Sheppard.

He walked in far more confidently than he felt.

“Dr. McKay,” said the usually stunning Colonel Samantha Carter, looking up from her tablet. “So good of you to join us…”

He swallowed and nodded and said apologetically, “Sorry I’m late. I was busy doing…” He paused a long time, and then finished awkwardly with, “…Stuff.”

Unfortunately for him, John wasn’t as far behind him as he’d hoped.

He heard the man’s smug tone as he walked past Rodney into the room and settled into the nearest empty chair saying simply, “I’m stuff.” His hair was spiked in every direction, even more so than usual, and it was unmistakable from the way Zelenka choked on his coffee, the way Ronon rolled his eyes, and the way all three women in the room tried to hide amused smiles, that everyone knew exactly what John meant.

Rodney glared at John. John smiled back, propping his feet up on the table, softly wincing at the motion, letting everyone in the room know exactly what had gone on behind closed doors. Rodney continued to glare at him, not believing how he was acting.

Colonel Carter coughed, breaking the tension, and said, “Alright, as I was saying,” and went back to explaining exactly what was written on their tablets in front of them.

The meeting ended soon enough, but one look from Carter had both John and Rodney staying behind. It was obvious that their small, albeit roundabout confession, was going to be addressed. Rodney braced himself for the worst, of course.

“Colonel Sheppard, Dr. McKay, may I speak with you for a moment?”

They stayed standing, waiting by the door, and she approached them, lowering her voice.

“First of all, let me say that I am very happy for both of you, and second of all…” She turned to John. “You’re needed in Bay 6. Private mission, first thing this morning. You’re dismissed, Colonel.”

John sent a smug grin in Rodney’s direction, acting for all the world like a kid who’d just gotten out of detention with the principal. Which, of course, left Rodney alone to fend for himself against the very formidable Colonel Carter, who was now giving him a look he didn’t quite understand.

“McKay…Rodney,” she quickly amended, “I have to ask. Is this--?”

He cut her off.

“It’s not a fling, Carter, Colonel,” he hastily corrected himself, “To be honest with you, John and I have been seeing each other for some time.”

A corner of her mouth quirked up as she asked, “How long?”

Rodney hesitated, swallowed, and then answered, “Uh, about a little over a year? Give or take a few days?”

The look on her face turned into a full-fledged smile, and she mused out loud, “I thought it was a lot longer than that,” and at seeing the confused look on the scientist’s face, she clarified with, “General O’Neill told me about when you two first met. He said that he wasn’t entirely sure if you hated each other or were just doing your own very strange way of flirting. I always figured it was the first one until I spent time with you two here on Atlantis,” she admitted, while Rodney stood there stunned.

Finally, he managed out, “Oh.”

She gave him a formal nod.

“You’re dismissed.”

He didn’t move. He stood there for a while, and after a moment, she realized that he wasn’t about to leave and carefully inquired, “Is there something else, McKay?”

Rodney shook himself out of his stupor and then shook his head and absently replied, “Oh…no. Nothing. It was just…uh, nothing,” he clumsily finished, turning back towards the corridor, one hand tucked in his pocket…and then he pivoted back around on his heel and blurted out, “That’s it? Just a pat on the head? No accusations about how this is going against protocol?”

“What protocol?” she shot back, one eyebrow arched. “DADT was repealed a month ago.”

“What about how it’ll mess up the team dynamic?”

Colonel Carter let out a laugh at that, put down the tablet in her hand, and crossed her arms over her chest and said, “Rodney. Do you think that if I thought that for one second that having you and Sheppard as a couple might jeopardize what might be the best Stargate team I’ve ever known, that I would have let him walk out that door?”

Rodney was confused…but slowly shook his head.

“Uh…no. I guess not…”

“Then you can go. Have a nice day.”

Sam turned away from him and picked her tablet back up and headed for the door on the opposite side of the room, which lead directly into her office…and Rodney stood there. He was still feeling like something was off, and he was determined to get to the bottom of it.

Feeling much braver than he should, he stormed into her office right after her and said, probably much too loudly, “That’s it? Really? I mean, aren’t there rules and protocols for these sorts of things? I’m pretty sure that Sheppard and I are breaking about fifteen rules just by admitting it to you!”

The colonel let out an aggravated sigh and corrected him, “Eighteen, actually, but on Atlantis the rules can’t be applied in the same way.” Rodney looked at her, still confused. She finally seemed to snap, and half-shouted out, “What do you want me to say, McKay? That I disapprove? That Stargate Command disapproves? That we’re actually giving you both Court Marshals and sending you back to earth to spend six years in a military prison?”

He shrugged.

“Well, no, but…”

Suddenly, her eyes lit up with comprehension. And she laughed.

“Oh my gosh…you want me to be jealous, don’t you?” The scientist looked at her in shock, not quite believing what she’d just said, but then realized the truth of it when she added, “After all this time, you still think that I…” She couldn’t even finish the sentence. Finally, she got out, “McKay, if I had known that you thought me getting angry at you every single time we talked was your form of flirting, I would have been nice to you a lot sooner.” She walked behind her desk and sat down. “Jack was right. It was your own weird way of flirting…”

Rodney self-consciously shoved his hands into his pockets.

“So…you’re okay with me and John, and our…stuff?”

She looked up at him, a wry smile on her lips.

“Yes, McKay. I am fine with you and him and your stuff. Now, could you please get out of my office before I throw you out?”

He smiled and nodded.

“Of course, Colonel.”

Just as he left, though, she called out to him with, “Oh, and Rodney?” He turned. “I might be a little bit jealous…”

“Of who?” he couldn’t help but ask, desperate to know, even though he was hopelessly in love with John, and not even Samantha Carter suddenly falling at his feet, professing her undying love could change that. But still…he needed to know.

She laughed.

“Never mind, McKay. By now, Colonel Sheppard will have been dismissed and I am fairly certain that he’s heading back to your quarters.”

At that, the doctor froze and then said, unable to keep the excitement from his tone, “But…you mean…there was no private gate mission this morning?”

Sam smiled.

“Have a good day off…”

Suddenly feeling incredibly light on his feet, Rodney practically skipped down the hall to his room, and grinned when he saw the light that said the was door already open. He walked inside, closed the door behind him, locked it, and then just about swallowed his tongue when he saw his boyfriend already half-naked on the bed with a book in his hands.

“How’d the meeting with Carter go?” John asked, not even looking up from the pages.

Rodney half-growled, half grunted, as he quickly stripped off his clothes and then knocked the book from John’s hands as he pinned him to the bed. John looked up at him in surprise and smiled.

“That good, huh?”

Rodney smirked.

“She said she was perfectly okay with our…stuff.

John grinned.


There wasn’t much talking after that.