John had disappeared as soon as they’d gotten back from their week-log mission negotiating a trade deal with the people of P9X-441.
For the first few days, Rodney wasn’t concerned. The deal had gone well, no one was shot, and for all that John was good at schmoosing and diplomacy, he was actually a fairly solitary person and probably just needed a little time to himself. But after an entire week of not even seeing John at dinner, Rodney started to worry.
A possibly not-so-subtle questioning let him know that John was still going on runs with Ronon, still practicing Bantos rods with Teyla, still avoiding Lorne and his paperwork like normal.
So, it was just Rodney.
He’d hoped they could just forget what had happened on P9X-441, but apparently not. Rodney hadn’t thought he’d done anything bad – well, not anything worse than his usual behavior – but John avoiding him suggested otherwise.
For some reason, the people of P9X-441 had assumed that Rodney and John were married. Before Rodney could correct them, Teyla had elbowed him, hard, and he stayed quiet until she could explain. Apparently, the village chief’s youngest daughter had recently married the daughter of another village chief, and the Atlantis team having a leader in a same-sex marriage was a point in their favor. Teyla promised that she’d explain John and Rodney were private people and they wouldn’t have to do anything to demonstrate their love.
And for once, everything had gone just fine.
At dinner, they had been expected to eat from the same plate, like all the other married couples, and at night they were lead to a small cabin with a single large bed, better than most of their off-world accommodations they’d shared.
But otherwise, Rodney hadn’t noticed much difference. Atlantis was trading the repair of the village’s irrigation system, as a sample of their technology, for a small supply of a carrot-like vegetable, and of course Rodney was doing most of the work. John was always nearby, handing tools, bringing snacks, generally being his usual annoying self – with added drawls of “Yes, dear,” and Rodney couldn’t think of anything either of them had done then that was out of the ordinary.
But going on two weeks without John was just too much. So, Rodney resolved himself to apologize and rang John’s door chime.
“Hey, buddy,” said John, and there was something odd about his voice. “What’s up?”
“Why have you been avoiding me?” Rodney demanded.
He expected John to claim he hadn’t, but the colonel just sighed. “I’m sorry. Just give me a little more time, okay?”
Rodney blinked. “Time for what?”
“I just…” said John. “I lost where the lines were, and I just need a little more time to find them again.”
“Another week,” John said, instead. “Then I’ll be fine, I promise.”
“You…” said Rodney, frowning. “You mean, this isn’t about something I did on P9X-441?”
“What? No, of course you didn’t—” John began, but Rodney had already taken in this new data, seeing the last two weeks from a different angle.
“You’re not upset at something I did,” Rodney said, “You’re upset at something you did. Or,” he added, with sudden inspiration, “something you think you can’t do anymore.”
“I—” John began, but Rodney was frowning at his own statement.
“But we didn’t do anything,” he said. “I mean, not anything you couldn’t keep doing here. Except… You know, you look terrible.”
“Gee, thanks, McKay,” drawled John.
“No, you’re fine, you just look like you haven’t been sleeping.”
“Another week, Rodney,” John said again.
Rodney took a step closer. “Did you sleep better when we were sharing a bed?”
“Would you let me share with you again?”
“Would you let me kiss you?”
“What?” said John.
“I think I found your line,” said Rodney. “And I don’t think I like being on this side of it. I’d much rather be over there with you.”
“Rodney…” John said again, but he didn’t move away when Rodney moved closer, brushing their fingers together before cupping John’s face with both hands.
He meant the kiss to be short and light, but John just melted against him, surging up to deepen it and wrapping both arms around Rodney’s waist like he never wanted to let him go. When the lack of air forced them to break the kiss, John was grinning.
“That’s a ‘yes’ on the bed-sharing, then?” said Rodney.
John laughed and kissed him again.