by Nel

Rating: PG-13
Category: First time
Pairing: Sheppard/McKay
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Spoilers: Nope
Summary: Wherein there is something strange about Rodney.
Author's Notes: For aurora_84, who requested John/Rodney, hints.

Thanks to Suz and Kylie. *smooooooooch*


Something was up with Rodney—something that made John frown, made him frustrated. It was like when you were watching a movie and an actor seemed familiar, but you just couldn’t place him. The past week, every time John had hung around Rodney, he’d gotten that niggling feeling, like he was missing something just out of his grasp. And it didn’t make sense, because Rodney was just being Rodney, like always.

He hung out with John, he snapped at John, he laughed at John (more times than not at John’s jokes, and not John himself, which was nice). He whined on missions, snapped his fingers impatiently at everybody, and ran for the gate when the mission turned sour. Just another day in Pegasus. Just another day with Rodney.

But there was something...different. Something John couldn’t put his finger on.

“So, you’re saying we can safely scratch MF4-291 off our list of possible trading partners?” Elizabeth asked at the debriefing.

Rodney snorted loudly and shot John a look.

“They didn’t even say hi before they started throwing spears at us,” John said lazily, shooting Rodney a look back.

Rodney turned to Elizabeth. “I doubt they would have provided us with anything remotely useful. We smelled them before we saw them, and anyone incapable of making soap can hardly have anything to offer.”

“The Genolans have always had notoriety for not welcoming strangers, though I did not think their resistance to trade would be this severe,” Teyla added. Ronon grunted in agreement, and MF4-291 was taken off the list.

As John strolled out of the briefing room, Rodney caught up with him. “Hey, you mind swinging by the lab after dinner? I’ve got some stuff for you to try to make aglow.”

“You only want me for my gene,” John said, mock-hurt.

Rodney ignored him and clapped his shoulder once. “Great. I’ll see you at dinner.”

And there it was, that niggling feeling that something was up with Rodney. It was driving John *nuts*.


“I am not getting a tattoo,” Rodney said around a mouthful of food, glaring at Ronon.

Ronon shrugged. “Okay.”

“Don’t you okay me. I know that okay. It’s the same okay you used when I said I didn’t want to spar with you, and next thing I know, I’m on my back.” John blinked. Rodney rolled his eyes at John’s reaction. “On the floor, smart ass.”

John raised his fork defensively. “Hey, I didn’t say anything.”

Ronon just smirked.

Rodney pointed at Ronon. “And you were wearing that smirk, too!”

“I am sure Ronon would not make you do anything against your will,” Teyla said reassuringly.

“You’re the one who thought I should ask him to spar,” Ronon said, and Teyla gave him a withering look.

Rodney stared at her, feeling betrayed if his expression was anything to go by.

“Do not listen to him, Rodney.” Teyla glared at Ronon. “All those years on the run have clearly driven him insane.”

Ronon just grinned.

Rodney looked a little troubled, though. John patted his hand and stole the muffin next it. “No one’s saying you’re not pulling your weight. Teyla just wants you to be as safe as possible.”

“Yes, which is why she made Conan the Barbarian throw me around for an hour,” Rodney huffed, but his shoulders relaxed, and he stole his muffin back.

“Well, I never said it was a *good* idea,” John drawled, smirking at Teyla as she was too far away to kick him. She settled for quirking an unimpressed eyebrow at him.

“Which is why I should make all the plans in this team,” Rodney said with finality, and he ate his muffin.


“Okay, hold still for just...a few seconds.” Rodney rapidly tapped away on his laptop, and John tried to stand still.

“What does it do?” he said, glancing down at the belt.

“Holding still includes not talking.” Rodney looked up, approximately at John’s ear. “Colonel?”

“Present,” he drawled, quirking an eyebrow at Rodney, and watched a delighted grin spread over Rodney’s face.

“Have I mentioned how much I love being right?”

“Once or twice,” John said dryly. “What’s this thing doing?”

“It’s a cloak! A huge power drain, I grant you, but still.”

“You can’t see me?” He looked down on himself, flinching a little as he saw just thin air and the floor beneath his feet. Freaky.

“Which part of ‘it’s a cloak’ was confusing for you?”

John glared at Rodney and twisted his face into a grimace.

“We won’t be able to use it for any long stretches of time, but if we could modify the power source...” He trailed off and looked in John’s direction. “You’re making a face at me, aren’t you?”

“No,” John said.

Rodney rolled his eyes, clearly unconvinced, and turned back to the computer as John unclasped the belt. He watched with relief as his body came back into view. It was a little disorienting not being able to see where your feet—and the rest of you—were.

“Hmm,” Rodney said, studying the screen. “It drew less power than I’d thought.” He turned around and snapped his fingers. “Give it here.”

“Gee, since you’re asking so nicely,” John said, voice dripping with sincerity, watching as Rodney gave him that reluctant smile, like he didn’t want to be charmed into smiling. John stretched his arm out to hand it over, his fingers brushing against Rodney’s, and suddenly something clicked: Rodney looking at him in the briefing room, his face softening a little; Rodney clapping him on the shoulder, fingers dragging just a smidgeon as he pulled away; Rodney stealing his muffin back, his fingers brushing against John’s.

John froze with his arm stretched out toward Rodney, belt dangling. Rodney frowned at him. “What?”

“You’re totally hitting on me,” John blurted out. He would have felt mortified for how very suave he wasn’t being if Rodney hadn’t suddenly looked extremely uncomfortable.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Rodney’s eyes flickered away from John’s.

“You’ve been hitting on me all week.” John waved the belt in front of Rodney’s face, feeling more certain by the second. “I knew something was going on! Christ, no wonder I was confused. Since when are you subtle?”

“I, uh,” Rodney said, staring at him helplessly. He swallowed. “I didn’t think you’d notice.”

John frowned. “What’s the point of doing it if I didn’t notice?”

Rodney shook his head. “I wasn’t hitting on you. I was just...indulging myself.”

John frowned at him. Rodney crossed his arms and looked defensive.

“Huh,” John said. “You weren’t hitting on me?”

“No,” Rodney said, his cheeks a little pink now.

“ like me, right?”

“Yeah, okay, there’s no need to rub it in. You noticed, I can’t do subtle, message received.” Rodney uncrossed his arms and yanked the belt out of John’s hand, frowning at that instead of John. “So I’ll stop, and yes! This device. Which I need to work on.”

John shook his head as Rodney ostensibly fussed. “You got it all wrong, Rodney.”

Rodney looked up at him, glaring warily.

“You *were* subtle,” John said, touching Rodney’s arm. “I only noticed because I keep looking at you.”

Rodney frowned like he didn’t know what John meant. Then John touched Rodney’s cheek and Rodney groaned—and not in pleasure. “Brain the size of Jupiter and still I act like a fourteen-year-old girl.”

John frowned, his hand dropping. “What?”

“I mean, how much more of a cliché can I get?” He was starting to look agitated, glaring at the belt in his hand. “Who doesn’t have a crush on the great Colonel Sheppard, after all? You’ve slept with everybody and their grandmother.”

“Hey,” John said warningly.

“It doesn’t exactly take a lot of brain cells to, to,” he gestured toward John’s head, “find the rakish hair attractive, and the smirk, and the slouch, and the unfortunate—though, in my case they’ve been fairly fortunate—heroic tendencies.”

“You’re...upset because liking me makes you less smart?”

Rodney continued as though John hadn’t spoken. “And what’s with the pants? Seriously. I’m pretty sure the military issued belts.”

John blinked at him. “Are we even having the same conversation?”

Rodney stared at him intently. “You know what? To hell with it. I can be mainstream.” He said the last word like it was contagious, and possibly somewhat dangerous. “I deserve to get laid as much as anyone else.”

“If you mention grandmothers again, I will shoot you,” John said, vaguely trying to remember if he’d actually slept with any grandmothers lately. “And hey—who says I want to sleep with you?”

Rodney’s face lost its righteous expression. “You don’t?”

John rolled his eyes. “Would I still be here listening to you if I didn’t? And while your faith in my sexual prowess is flattering,” he narrowed his eyes at Rodney’s snort, “I haven’t actually slept with everyone on Atlantis.”

Rodney stared at him hard.

“One Ancient and two Athosians,” John admitted.

Rodney gave him a nod. “Fair enough.” He dropped the belt on his chair and yanked John forward by his shirt, just missing John’s nose with his forehead.

“Ow, hey, careful,” John said, throwing a glance over his shoulder to make sure the doors were closed before stepping even closer to Rodney, watching his eyelids droop a little as he stared at John’s mouth.

“I can’t believe you were subtle,” John murmured.

Rodney snorted softly. “Don’t you know I can do anything?”

“Shut up, Rodney,” John said, and Rodney finally stopped talking and quite unsubtly pressed his mouth to John’s.



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