McKay often worked late, sometimes even multiple days straight even, without any sleep. These past few days had been one of those multi-all nighters.
Asurans had been on their doorstep. This type of technological problem required their best ancient tech expert, which meant McKay had to get to work.
Three highly stressful and over-caffeinated days later, and McKay was finally winding down. The remnants of the stimulant drugs that were constantly injected into his system were finally dissipating, and he was nearly approaching sleep at his lab bench for the first time since the situation started.
He was so tired he didn't hear his laboratory's door open, or the heavy footsteps that followed, but he could feel the muscular arms that enveloped him in a gentle hug. He jumped startled, then slumped when he recognized the tattoos.
He tried to ignore the invasion of personal space from the caveman and go back to trying to drift off, but the arms cradling him didn't go away.
He slowly and reluctantly stirred at the familiar touch and felt a hot breath on his cheek.
He blearily opened his eyes to see himself face to face with the warrior's gaze. He fought down the nervous feeling rising in his chest to scowl at him instead. "I'm trying to sleep."
The warrior gave no reply, nor any acknowledgment to the complaint. He just picked up the geek and carried him across the room towards the exit.
Rodney flushed and his heart fluttered slightly at being carried like a bride over the threshold. He knew Ronon had done this for him before, but that was typically when he was unconscious, and someone had to get him through the gate.
"I'm not a baby." He griped meekly, trying to regain his dignity, as Ronon carried him through the halls. He was really glad it was late and no one was out and about the corridor to see him like this. "I can walk by myself."
"But you didn't. You stayed in the lab."
"I'm tired! You try working days without sleep!" He defended.
Ronon peered down at him. Memories of his time as a runner, constantly on the move, entered his thoughts. "I know very well what it's like."
Rodney was about to banter back that he'd never seen Ronon work on coding or technology ever when he realized his meaning and involuntarily looked away feeling slightly guilty.
Ronon's stone gaze looked away from him with a grunt trying to break the tension. Then looked ahead as they neared McKay's room. "Which is why I'm taking care of you."
Rodney felt his body melt into the bed when he was placed upon it. The gentle cool surface felt good after so long in stiff and unwieldy chairs.
Ronon gazed down at him as Rodney curled up in his usual fetus position. McKay's eyes were already fluttering to a close.
He also noticed that while unguarded, Rodney's expression almost looked peaceful for once, unlike his usual slant mouthed frowns.
Something stirred inside Ronon's gut. A feeling he couldn't place, as he gazed down at the tired and defenseless scientist. Almost like he wanted to protect him, or perhaps stay just until he falls asleep. He wasn't sure.
Rodney willed his eyes to stay open long enough to peer up into the dark at Ronon's frown. The warrior seemed deep in concentration.
Ronon nodded, then glanced around awkwardly, still not sure why he hadn't left yet. When he looked back down, the overworked scientist was fast asleep. Like a spell broken, he could finally leave. He peered one last time at the man as he exited the room then let the doors close behind him, confident his geek was going to be fine, tonight at least.
Rodney didn't know how long he overslept, as he started to awaken and tried in vain to go back to sleep once more. He earned a day off, didn't he? Unfortunately, his mind became more aware of its surroundings and once his mind was alert there was no stopping it.
He sighed reluctantly, giving up the battle of sleep, he turned onto his back, only to be instantly started by the cold wetness he felt there.
Rodney's face paled mortified.
Maybe drinking at least thirty cups of coffee and not peeing before bed wasn't the best idea.
He slowly willed himself to sit up and looked over the soggy sheets, ruefully.
Flashbacks of his father being pissed off at his accidents, and Jeannie teasing him as a kid, alongside the more recent memory of his sister telling his whole team he was a bed wetter, came to mind and he felt his insides twist with anxiety, self-loathing and shame.
At least this hadn't happened in the lab, or he would have died from embarrassment. He supposed he could thank Ronon for that.
He started to pull off the sheets when his door chimed. Rodney froze.
He hoped whoever it was would figure he was asleep still and leave if he was lucky... Which admittedly, he rarely was.
His door chimed again.
The person wasn't leaving. Rodney felt his already fast heartbeat quicken painfully.
"Brought food." Ronon's voice called from outside.
Rodney peered from the door to the sheets.
He was indeed hungry and being reminded of food in general only sparked the desire, but now was not the time. He could only imagine Dex laughing at him, or worse telling Sheppard and he'd never hear the end of it from the colonel.
"No thanks. I'm fine."
Ronon paused and teether on staying or leaving. He wasn't sure why he felt obligated to come, but the scientist hadn't been down for breakfast or lunch yet, which made him concerned. "You sure?"
"I'm uh... Not hungry."
Ronon made a slight disbelieving frown. McKay was never 'not hungry'. "Are you sick?"
"What? No! I-... I'm uh... Busy... Very busy."
"Then I'll just give you the tray now so you don't forget to feed yourself during your work."
McKay made a frustrated noise. "Then leave the tray outside. I'll grab it later."
"Just go away, Ronon!"
The whole situation seemed rather suspicious. Plus, Ronon didn't want McKay working himself to his death bed. The guy couldn't take care of himself at all.
"Open up." The scientist made no response and Ronon grunted, his eyes narrowed at the door determined. "Come on, McKay. Just take the tray." Ronon tried not to feel so tense. He lowered his voice. "There's no citrus in it."
The door finally swished open and McKay leaned on the entrance out of breath. "I'll take that, thank you." He grabbed the tray and just as he was about to turn away with the door swish back to a close, Ronon stopped it with his palm and made his way inside, forcing himself past the scientist.
"Hey!" Rodney whined as Ronon scanned the room for intruders or threats. He didn't find anyone there or anything out of the ordinary. "What are you doing?" When Ronon turned around back to face Rodney, he gave him a silent shrug, but his eyes were looking over the anxious and distressed scientist carefully.
Rodney breathed a quiet sigh of relief. While he had kept Ronon talking, he had managed to hide the sheets under the bed for now, with one of his shirts covering up the spot on the mattress. He was in the clear. So why was Ronon staring at him like that?
Ronon was looking down, and Rodney followed his gaze and to his horror, he realized the flaw in his master plan.
He had hidden his bed's evidence, but he was still wearing his clothes from the night and his pants still held a large dark damp patch, not to mention the smell that he had probably gone nose blind to.
He slowly looked up to meet Ronon's eyes mortified. He wasn't sure what to say. All he could do was belatedly try to hold the tray over the area, trying not to expose himself further.
Ronon said nothing. He just took a step closer, and McKay winced. The man took the tray from his trembling hands and set it aside on his desk then reached up and touched his cheek.
Rodney blinked as he realized Ronon has wiped away a tear. Was he crying? He was so humiliated he hadn't even noticed, but now that he was aware of it he could feel the wetness on his cheeks. "Please... Don't tell Sheppard." He whispered. The man teased him enough as it was. He didn't was this to be his next ammunition.
Ronon's face was unreadable to him. McKay didn't know if that was because the warrior was just naturally hard to read, or his own ineptness with people, or the fact that he couldn't see clearly through the tears, but what he could interpret was the way Ronon hugged him. Okay, now he was now really crying.
He doesn't know how long Ronon held him quietly, letting him settle down in his own timing, but he was slightly aware of Ronon picking him up again. It felt like a surreal deja vu dream, more than reality. Then, Ronon set him down in his tub.
Rodney sniffled and shivered as he felt the water envelop him. Ronon sat on the edge and began helping him out of his clothes and cleaning him off.
He didn't even wonder why he was complying with stripping in front of the other man. His thoughts were elsewhere. Too busy ruminating on the discovery that the warrior's large, strong, calloused hands could be so gentle and caring.
Rodney leaned into the caressing and looked up blinkingly at the man looming over him. Taking care of him. Being so... good to him.
He wished his dad could have been so patient and understanding...
He closed his eyes and laid against him, basking in the feel of his comforting touch and safe arms embraced around him.