"Right, then," said Rodney briskly. "Having won the toss" – he shot John a smug grin and John rolled his eyes, making a 'get on with it' gesture – "I'll kick us off with MAPLE. Mmmm, delicious maple syrup pancakes." He rubbed his hands together. "So what with the center square doubling, that's 18 points to me." He scribbled busily on the back of an abandoned mission report.
"Should have put the M on the center square," offered John, cocking an eyebrow annoyingly. "Then you'd have got a double-letter score for the E."
"Yeah, right, for a whole extra point – like that's going to win you the game! Dream on," muttered Rodney, inwardly kicking himself. Damn. He was a numbers guy, not letters and words. But it was all code, and letters were a numeric code in Scrabble so he should be able to wipe John off the board if he just concentrated. Mind you, John hadn't been too shabby in solving that puzzle on Dagan…
"Continuing the food theme, here," said John breezily, adding MRE vertically onto Rodney's E.
"Oh, wait, wait, I'm sure acronyms aren't allowed," protested Rodney, frowning at the board, then up at John.
"They are in Pegasus Scrabble, McKay. MRE's definitely a goddam word here."
"We should have agreed on what dictionary to use before we started," fretted Rodney, casting about John's quarters. There was only War and Peace on the nightstand, so that was useless, unless they suddenly needed to spell "troika", and then it was still useless because how would they–
"The linguists have got dictionaries but it's too far," John interrupted his train of thought, "and they'll all have gone to bed by now. C'mon, we can wing it. No proper nouns, right? And no Pegasus names or words either. Just good old English."
"Canadian or American?" asked Rodney sharply. Oh, there were too many variables; this was not going to end well.
"Jeez, I don't know. Both, okay? Just get the fuck on with it – it's your turn." John folded his arms and nodded pointedly at the board.
"Yes, yes, Colonel Impatient-Pants," sneered Rodney, eyes flicking slightly desperately between his rack of letters and the board. Finally he added E to make ME down from MAPLE, in a desperate move, hoping to get a better replacement tile and have something more to work with.
"Ego getting the better of you again?" enquired John smarmily. Rodney stuck out his tongue and John snorted a mouthful of beer up his nose, which totally served him right.
"My ego and I are the best of friends, we're like that," said Rodney, holding up two crossed fingers.
"Or possibly like this," smirked John, flipping him the bird with a long middle digit. Rodney treated that with the contempt it deserved, trying not to remember where that finger had been last night and how it had reduced him to a boneless, writhing heap in John's bed. He shook his head, trying to get his game face back on. John wiggled his finger suggestively.
"Will you stop with the salacious finger puppetry and get on with the game? I'm sure distracting the opposition with sexual innuendo is against the rules. And it's your move." Rodney folded his arms and glared at John, shifting slightly to ease the sudden pressure in his pants. "I bet you're just delaying because you've got nothing."
"Far from it," said John, rocking forward in his chair and adding another RE alongside the M of his first MRE. "Can never have too many MREs."
"Normally I'd agree, but after that stew tonight with – what was it? Purple pork? I think I'll pass. I'd go some ice-cream though, if you've got any?" He eyed John hopefully.
John smiled blandly. "Maybe, maybe not. You'll have to earn it. Play on, MacDuff."
"The correct quote, of course, is 'Lay on, MacDuff'," muttered Rodney prissily, ignoring John's 'well, duh' expression as he laid his tiles. "There, GURU on your MRE. Ha! I'm an avant-garde poet."
John snorted, but then his eyes narrowed. "Hang on, you made RU as well – that's not a word. Domain names aren't allowed."
"Symbol for Ruthenium, a rare transition metal," said Rodney crisply. "It's used in the electricals of naquada generators." He shot John a smug grin.
"Symbols now, huh? Two can play at that game," said John, and quickly added PER around the E of Rodney's ME, also making AR below the R of MAPLE.
Rodney frowned. "Oh, wait one cotton-picking minute. AR's definitely not a word."
"It's what pirates say," retorted John, screwing up his face one-eyed. "Ar and shiver me timbers, me hearties!" he croaked in the worst old-salt accent in two galaxies.
Rodney shivered. "Okay, that's just terrifying. No parrots for you, ever, and I'm cutting off your access to pantomimes as well. Still not a word."
"It's also the symbol for argon," said John cheerfully. "C'mon, genius, you're supposed to be the scientist here."
Rodney gritted his teeth and totted up the points. It was that damned black turtleneck shirt, the unzipped neck offering a tantalizing glimpse of chest hair – who could blame him for being distracted? "Well, as I have 35 so far and you have 18, I'll rest my case."
John scowled and pored over his tiles. "It ain't over 'til it's over, McKay," he growled.
"Yeah, yeah," scoffed Rodney, rapidly adding EEL down from one of John's MREs, thereby making RUE as well. "And another 8 points for me."
"Oh yeah?" said John, lifting an eyebrow. "Well, take that!" and he slotted in JUM before his PER. "Jumper, see? And the J's worth 8 plus it's on a double letter square. So that's a cool 26 points, putting me in the lead at 44 to 43." He rocked back, beaming, and took a swig of beer.
Rodney gaped at the board. Trust John to pull a move like that – even in Scrabble he could do anything with a jumper. He grudgingly wrote the 26 points down on his scoresheet. All right, gloves off: this was war. Unfortunately, his ammunition was crap. He added HA above John's AR, making HAAR. "Before you quibble, it's a Scottish word for sea fog. I got it from Carson."
Carson, oh hell. Rodney was bombarded by a slew of memories. The explosion, the grim weight as they carried the coffin through to Earth, Carson's mother weeping, the scent of fresh-baked scones in her cottage. He swallowed.
John grimaced. He sighed, and leaned forward, adding an A beside the H of HAAR. "Symbol for a hectare, since apparently we're allowed symbols. Also, you say it all the time."
"What would you know about hectares?" Rodney groused, still unsettled after waking Carson's ghost.
"My family own land, Rodney," John said mildly. "And horses. I know measurements."
"Oh well, area," sniffed Rodney. "Anything less than eight dimensions is beneath my notice." John's monied upbringing always made him feel ever so slightly middle class – it was that whole easy charm, golfing, prep school thing he had going. Rodney put two tiles above the A of HA. "There: ATA." Another thing in which John was privileged.
"Nice," John said appreciatively. "Well, if we're playing each other's favorites, how about this?" And he added BATMAN around the A of ATA. "I'll see you and raise you 13 points."
"Good to see you appreciating the most intelligent superhero around," said Rodney, adding 13 to the tally. "So, continuing the theme of each other's favorites, here's an obvious one for you," and he added BABE down from the B of BATMAN.
John rolled his eyes and added EE beside the G of GURU. "Will you quit the goddam digs about me and space babes? I would've thought fucking you into the mattress last night was kind of a hint I prefer guys." He sat back and crossed his arms. "Of course if you'd rather I looked Chaya up again, I could always–"
"That's quite enough of that," Rodney said firmly, slamming DIBS across the B of BABE with more force than was really warranted.
John grinned, and with a flirty look from under his eyelashes, he set out LUBED, down from the L of MAPLE. "Mmmm. Nice to hear you're in a possessive, masterful mood tonight. I'm ready and waiting."
"Oh that is so–" Rodney shoved the heel of his hand into his crotch and bit his lip. "Damn you. You're using underhand tactics again to put me off my game!"
"Is it working?" smirked John, stretching lazily so his black t-shirt rode up slightly, exposing a strip of hairy belly.
Rodney whimpered and panted a little, getting himself back under control. There was a triple letter score on the B of LUBED as well, just to add insult to injury. "Okay, I'm dragging this game back out of the gutter and into the realms of science again," he said, carefully slotting RADAR around the D of LUBED not thinking about John's ass not thinking not not not. He shook his head sharply, ignoring John's hand, now resting on that strip of exposed skin, idly playing with his belly hair. "A tad obsolete now we have long-range sensors, granted, but a worthy chapter in history nonetheless. And that's 14 points for me, to boot." His voice was rather too high-pitched, but honestly, he was doing a sterling job in the face of extreme interference. As usual.
John rocked forward, frowning at his tile rack and giving up his teasing games for the moment, thank the fucking stars. Then he grinned and added SI to the R of RADAR, to make SIR. "Feel free to call me that any time you like, Rodney. I am your Team Leader, after all."
"In your dreams," sneered Rodney. He was pretty sure John's dreams did sometimes feature Rodney on his knees calling him 'Sir'. Rodney's dreams certainly did. John just waggled his eyebrows suggestively in response. Rodney snorted and rapidly made PAR by placing AR below the P of JUMPER. "Another one for you, then, O Great and Powerful Leader."
John grinned. "Cool." He placed Z and TT around the A of RADAR. "With the double word score that Z's sitting on, and the Z being worth 10 all by itself, that's a cool 26 points. Oh, and another 24 for EZI!" He leaned back triumphantly.
"What the–" Rodney was speechless. "In what universe is EZI a word? And you've misspelled ZAT, it only has one T." He reached to remove the tiles from the board, but John's hand flashed out, catching his wrist in an iron grip. Damn, that shouldn't be hot.
"It's an alien fucking gun, Rodney, there's no accepted spelling. But anyway, that's not the Zat itself, it's the noise it makes. ZATTTTT! I shortened it a bit, to fit on the board. And Ezi is too a word: Ezi-buy, Ezi-glide. I let you have 'google' last week, remember? 'English is a living language', you said. 'We have to keep up with popular culture', you said." He released Rodney's wrist and sat back, looking smug.
"I think you'll find that particular atrocity against the English language is generally spelled EZ or Eze, Sheppard," muttered Rodney, rubbing his wrist and glaring at John. Fifty points in one hit: of course he was going to protest.
"Ah," said John pertly, pointing at Rodney. "But not in New Zealand, as I found out when exploring the Christchurch shops on endless Antarctica taxi-run turnarounds."
Rodney raised his hands, capitulating. Really, he'd thought better of the Kiwis. Ezi-glide for fuck's sake. But no! He was not thinking about John's ass. Sullenly, Rodney took several tiles from his rack and put WRAITH around the T of ZATT (which was so not a word). "Not to harsh your mellow," he sneered, "but if we're pulling out the dirty tricks then I'm not going to pass up using my W and my H. And it's a word in English as well." Unlike Zatt, he muttered, sotto voce.
John winced, and gave a one-shoulder shrug. "Yeah. Pity your W missed the triple letter score," he said snidely, piling a whole handful of letters on the board to spell PUDDLE down from the U of JUMPER. "Taa-daa!" He leaned back, arms behind his head, and beamed at Rodney. "And I think that's game, set and match, to mix sporting metaphors."
Rodney held up one finger. "I still have two letters left." He slotted in a U and a B, linking PUDDLE and PAR to make DURB.
"Durb is not a word," said John pityingly, shaking his head. "I know you're desperate, but–"
"I beg to differ," retorted Rodney, swivelling around to grab the laptop onto which he'd loaded the latest version of Urban Dictionary the last time they were on Earth. He typed rapidly then turned the screen to face John. "As do 191 people giving it the thumbs up."
"The act of fellatio. To give head or oral pleasure," read John, eyebrows up near his hairline. "Well, I'll be–"
"Yes, yes, you most certainly will be," said Rodney hurriedly, jumping up and pulling John with him, not caring if his need to distract John with sex was a last-ditch attempt to derail John's inevitable crowing over winning the damn game, or his own pent-up horniness. "Right after you've conjugated the verb 'to durb'."
And John, bless his horny little heart, proceeded to sink to his knees and demonstrate that he could get his tongue around a new term without any difficulty.
the link to the podfic of this story by librarychick_94 is as below