the chicken is your superior (lavvyan) wrote in reel_sga,
the chicken is your superior
lavvyan
reel_sga

"Eighty Days Give Or Take" by lavvyan (McShep, R)

Title: Eighty Days Give Or Take
Author: lavvyan
Rating: R (mostly for language, though)
Pairing: McShep
Warnings/spoilers: Includes some explicit spoilers for season two up to Grace under Pressure.
Prompt: I chose "Around the World in Eighty Days", although I'll shamefully admit that I kind of did the book, not the movie (there are some excerpts from the Penguin Popular Classics edition in here). Bad, bad me.
So: When Phileas Fogg is challenged to prove his contention that a man can go around the world in 80 days, he bets his entire fortune and leaves with a new butler on a world tour. This Victorian adventure has a kicker: the bank of England has been robbed. Is this Fogg's way of avoiding arrest? The detective following him believes so, and his butler is becoming unsure.
Notes: This is one of two stories I ever talked about with somebody before actually writing them. If I hadn't, this would have gone very, very differently. So, Denis? Thank you! And it would also have gone very, very differently if my sister wasn't used to me writing in a certain way – broet_chan? Thanks!

Download Eighty Days Give or Take as podfic

ETA: Cover by tardis80

80 Days

~~~



Eighty Days Give Or Take


"Please specify your scenario."

It was the third time the cute Ancient girl – a hologram, but that didn't make her any less pretty – had said that, and John wasn't any closer to figuring out what the hell she wanted from him than the first time. He had more or less stumbled over this room purely by accident, surprised when the lights had come on automatically, inviting him in. He had raised his P90 – because you'd have to be stupid to go exploring this city without at least one of the bigger guns – and stepped over the threshold, and that's when she had popped up. After the initial "Whoa!" John had quickly progressed to "Cool!", so now he was trying to figure out the controls of this thing. Without much success, granted, but this was more relaxing for a free day than watching the same damn movies over and over again. Sure, the Daedalus dropped by regularly, but-

"What are you doing?"

The voice was impatient and irritated, and feeling guilty was a reflex as John turned to face Rodney, who was standing in the doorway holding a scanner. Before John could think of an answer that didn't sound entirely stupid, Rodney was already talking again, waving him out of the room.

"I won't even start on the idiocy of exploring the city without backup," Geez, thank you Rodney, "or playing around with unidentified technology, but did it perhaps occur to you that you're using precious power? Dr. Zelenka almost had a heart attack at the sudden energy spike you caused."

"Well, tell Dr. Zelenka I'm sorry. Besides, now that we have a ZPM, we can afford a little extra energy."

And judging by Rodney's huffing, John was right with that estimation.

"What were you doing down here, anyway?" Without me, was the implied accusation.

"Relax, Rodney. I just went down the corridor when the lights came on all by themselves, so I looked in to see what it was."

"Well, since you've already turned it on, we might as well investigate."

With those words, a small team of scientists who had been quietly waiting in the hall picked up their various gear and invaded the room. At John's glare, Rodney grinned smugly.

"I already cleared it with Elizabeth. We'll call you if we need you, Major. Now shoo."

Colonel. John sighed, knowing he had lost this one. All right, the Hail Mary tape it was.

~~~

Three days later the scientists were still occupied with John's room, and Elizabeth had decided to hold a briefing on it.

"So, what is it?" John drawled, leaning back in his chair in the secure knowledge that it drove Rodney crazy when he did that.

"We call it the NIMHE-room. It's a neural interfacing multidimensional holographic environment."

John sat up straight. "A holodeck."

"Well, yes, if you want to take an incredibly complex and intriguing concept and reduce it to the level of a third-rate sci-fi show," and Rodney's face was clearly telling what he thought about that, "congratulations, it's a holodeck."

"Cool!"

The briefing would have gone downhill from there – Next Generation wasn't third rate, it had Data! – if Elizabeth hadn't intervened. She asked how the room could be useful to their mission, and after a bit of discussing it was decided that Atlantis desperately needed the distraction the holodeck – Rodney's name had quickly gone the way of the Dodo– was promising, so it would be used for recreational purposes. After a lot of additional testing, of course.

John had an inkling just who might be chosen to be Rodney's guinea pig. But hey, holodeck.

~~~

It was another week before Rodney and Zelenka were satisfied with the work they had done so far, and John predictably was called down to do some testing. They had programmed three scenarios; all of them classical literature, of course, because they were the best and brightest. They were also the geekiest, though, and so you could cast the leading roles with Atlantis personnel. There had been a lot of scanning to make that last one possible, and almost everybody had been delighted to take part. Even General O'Neill had sent his file with the latest data burst from Earth, wanting to "be a part of the fun", if only in spirit, not in person.

He was the strangest general John had ever met.

But, three scenarios to choose from, and John played around a bit with Homer's Odyssey. It was fun; even though the storyline was linear and couldn't be changed, fatal mistakes would still get you a game over, which gave the entire experience a bit of an edge. But the whole no sense of orientation thing was hitting a little too close to home for comfort, and that was more or less the end of John's Greek Phase.

Beowulf was next, but John had so seen that Voyager episode, and he kept getting distracted by looking for the Doctor.

It got him killed four times in a row. Damn.

Rodney was grinning for three solid minutes after that, a new personal record. It almost made John go back inside to 'die' for a fifth time, because in his opinion, his scientist didn't grin nearly enough. But as far as he would go for friendship, humiliation really wasn't his thing, so scenario number three it was.

Playing Phileas Fogg was a lot more fun than John would have ever admitted. He was exploring the painstakingly realistic streets of 19th Century London on his way to the Reform Club, bartering with street vendors, chatting with townspeople, and then playing Whist for hours before he finally noticed the time and ended the tutorial, hurrying home to start the actual storyline.

So what? He liked card games.

His house in Saville Row was actually a little too neat and tidy for his liking, despite his being military, so he was kind of glad that he wouldn't be spending too much time there. In fact, seeing how it was magically twenty past eleven although he had left the house at half past twelve, his 'new servant' would appear any second now, and soon after, they'd get going. It was all set: Passepartout, his acrobatic sidekick, would be played by Ronon, and Teyla was – quite naturally – cast in the role of Indian Princess. Detective Fix would be played by Lorne, and the other roles were to be covered by Ancient no-name extras, because otherwise the setup would have taken hours, and Rodney wasn't all that patient. No surprise there.

It was a surprise, however, when the door to John's virtual home opened and a far too familiar woman strolled in, introducing herself as "Jeanne, if monsieur pleases. Jeanne Passeparteyla."

What the fuck?

"What the hell did you do?" he demanded of an annoyingly smug Rodney once he had gotten over his initial shock and frantically thought off! at the controlling device.

"Ah, you see, that's the price for testing these systems before everybody else gets to play: we'll actually be testing them." Rodney turned towards Zelenka, who gave him a thumbs up. "And yes, Character Randomisation up and running, thank you very much Colonel, now go and pull a number like the rest of Atlantis."

"Has anybody ever told you you're an asshole?"

If anything, Rodney's grin just grew wider.

"They wrote it into my yearbook."

~~~

John's pout lasted him for two days before he gave in to the lure of what amounted to interactive TV of the best kind, and put his name on the list. He was pleasantly surprised to get an early slot – obviously one of the merits of being on an offworld team: VIP ticket. And yes, he would have liked to take his time getting used to the idea of Passeparteyla, but the storyline would not be changed: it was ten past six, and he was playing Whist with his 'usual partners': the engineer Collins, Elizabeth and Kate Heightmeyer, who were bankers, and Lorne – a brewer, so obviously not Fix then. There was also Zelenka as one of the directors of the Bank of England, and wow, anybody who'd ever played poker with the Czech would never put him in charge of that much money.

They talked a bit about the recent bank robbery that had cost the Bank of England fifty-five thousand pounds, and how it was absolutely impossible for anyone to make it around the world in eighty days.

"I think you're absolutely right," John said, just to see what would happen.

"But, in order not to exceed the minimum of eighty days, you must jump mathematically from the trains upon the steamers, and from the steamers upon the trains again!" Elizabeth cried, her eyes wide with disbelief.

"No, see, I really don't think it's possible."

"You're joking!"

"I'm not."

There was a bit of murmuring among the others, then: "We accept."

John just sighed, and sighed again a few hours later when they left London for Dover, because Passeparteyla had forgotten to turn off the gas in her room although John had reminded her at least five times to check it.

He suspected that playing a book might have been a little more fun if you hadn't read it already. But Rodney had told him that there was a real possibility they'd get to programming some movies over the next few weeks, and John was trying to show his eagerness and goodwill, so that maybe Back To The Future would be among them.

Yes, it was transparent, but transparent usually worked just fine with Dr. McKay.

So he kept playing, and once he and Passeparteyla reached Suez, he caught his first glimpse of Fix – that persistent detective who thought that John was the bank robber, and who would follow him all the way around the world right back to England to arrest him. It was Carson Beckett, of all people, and John got a good laugh out of that. There weren't many people on the Atlantis expedition who were less likely to fit into that role – in fact, he couldn't even think of one. So having the skittish Scot 'trick' Passeparteyla into them visiting the English consulate to have John's passport stamped was a little surreal. And it didn't really get better when John had to fight the urge to salute the consul, just because he was cast with General O'Neill.

This game kept throwing him for a loop, and if he didn't know better, he'd say it was on purpose.

~~~

Their next mission went so far south it just wasn't funny anymore. One moment, it was exploring some Ancient ruins for salvageable tech, next thing he knew Rodney was asking "Colonel, did you hear th- oof!" and going down with a Genii bullet in his chest.

John would have loved to say that he'd never seen that much blood before, except he had, and not once had it ended well. He pushed those thoughts aside, though, and kept pressing down on Rodney's chest, ignoring the way his friend was entirely too still under his bloodied hands, or the way his shallow breathing was accompanied by a strange, whistling sound.

Lung shot.

"How is he?" Teyla.

"Call Atlantis and tell them to send a jumper, we can't move him! Go!" he ordered, and went back to pressing down and ignoring everything else. Ronon had already taken care of the Genii sniper, and nobody could run as fast as Teyla. If here was any chance that they all would make it back home alive, this was it.

Beckett performed hours of surgery on Rodney, just to come out of the OR to tell them tiredly that he just didn't know. After that, it was waiting. Waiting for Rodney to start breathing on his own. Waiting for him to pull through like the stubborn son of a bitch he was.

Waiting for it to be John's turn to step into the little private room and say goodbye.

Seeing the usually so energetic physicist all silent and hooked up to practically every machine of Beckett's infirmary was positively painful. Then the heart monitor began to stutter and blare a high-pitched warning before the irregular saw blade pattern faded into that terribly long, flat, line, and John wanted to hit something even as the medics pushed him out of the way and back through the door. The last thing he saw of Rodney was his friend's slack body arching under the current of the defibrillator. John rested his forehead against the cool wall next to the door and closed his eyes.

"Come on, buddy," he whispered, hands clenched into fists, "don't let that be how I remember you."

It was two more days and several cardiac arrests before Rodney proved that his will to live was stronger than the shit the Pegasus Galaxy kept throwing at him.

Another month before John even thought of playing again.

~~~

Eventually, the worst of Rodney's recuperation was behind them, and John returned to the Mongolia, their trusty steamer to Bombay, and went back to pretending he didn't already know exactly how it all would turn out. They made it on the train to Calcutta just to learn that the railway wasn't finished, and they'd have to make their way through the jungle. Which was every bit as hot and humid and crazy smelling as John remembered from posts in that particular climate, so he started wondering if maybe the Ancient technology had a direct link to his brain – well, okay, duh, neural interface and so on, but maybe it was more than that – and was filling in the gaps, uploading straight from his memories. He asked Zelenka about it, but the Czech just started laughing.

"Look, Colonel, you think perhaps that scientists are boring people who spend the whole day in their labs before going home to eat a TV dinner, but in fact, most of us are a little… extreme. Anything you can imagine doing, one of the members of this expedition will have done on vacation."

Followed by examples. It was a scary thought that shy, love-struck Miko was actually a passionate cliff diver. And when John asked for Zelenka's hobbies, the physicist just winked at him.

"When Rodney wants to relax, he builds things that blow up. Let's just say that we aren't so different."

Okay, not a comforting thought.

Still, riding the elephant he had bought to get to Allahabad, where the railway started again, was fun and took his mind off astrophysicists and weapons of mass destruction. There were certainly worse fates than travelling with Passeparteyla – who had gotten herself the cutest shoes after losing her own in some temple or other, and John had not just thought like a member of the rainbow brigade – and their newest companions, Brigadier-General Sir Chuck Cromarty, who was on his way to join his corps in Benares, and their guide Rononee. The large Satedan-Indian seemed to be made for handling the huge animal, and he didn't talk all that much, which was pretty in character. And the journey through the jungle was really cool, although John was becoming a little restless, wondering who had been cast in the role of Phileas Fogg's love interest. Teyla was out of the picture, so were Elizabeth and Dr. Heightmeyer, and he just hoped that it wouldn't be Lt. Cadman, because for some reason – which had nothing to do with her having been stuck inside Rodney's head – she made him feel incredibly uncomfortable, even though she was one of his best men. Well, women. And it would probably go against the chain of command, even if it was just virtual. So hopefully it'd just be one of the nurses, or a female scientist – though please not Katie Brown.

The whole thing kept John occupied until well into the second day, accompanied by growing nervousness, so he was actually relieved when they finally stumbled over the Brahmin funeral procession and hid in the underbrush to wait.

The Indian Princess was Rodney.

John didn't know if he should laugh or cry. Rodney was wearing a light green tunic spangled with gold, covered with a darker muslin robe, and he was laden with jewellery from head to toe which just looked hilarious. He was also visibly drugged up and clumsily stumbling along the path between the heavily armed guards, and that was so wrong that John's heart missed a beat or two.

Off, he thought, and radioed the next person in line to tell them they could have his remaining time as well. Then he went to find Rodney, the real one.

"Do you know my cast?" he demanded, barging into the lab without straight away.

"Well, hello to you, too, Colonel. And no, I did not check the who is who of your little set-up. In fact, let me explain the word random to you, as in, Character Randomisation. Random means accidental, haphazard, arbitrary, unsystematic, and indiscriminate. If you want more synonyms, I suggest you visit the linguists on E23."

"I know what random means, Rodney. Is there any way to change the characters?"

"I could reset them for you if they're too much of a problem, but that will also reset your game." Rodney looked at him expectantly. "What got you so spooked, are you married to Colonel Caldwell?"

"Hell, no!" John didn't want to reset the whole game. "It's just… Detective Fix is played by Carson, for God's sake, and my servant's name is Passeparteyla."

Rodney grinned as the scientists around them sniggered.

"Well, if you don't want me to do a reset, you'll just have to get used to it."

"Yeah. See you around."

John had gotten used to them ages ago, it was Rodney he had a problem with. Still, he didn't want to reset the whole damn game.

It's because we're already in India, he told himself, ignoring the slight twinge at the memory of drugged-up Rodney. Too far to give up now.

~~~

It took Atlantis catching the space flu – Carson's long Latin name for the virus didn't change its nature – for John to get back into his game. The coughing and sneezing all around meant no missions until further notice, and he was just bored enough to rescue Rodney for the hell of it.

Still, seeing his friend being led to the funeral pyre where he lost his consciousness from the heady smoke of smouldering hemp, slack body laid out to be burned with the corpse of his 'husband', almost made John switch the whole scenario off again. Or storm right into the middle of the Brahmins and kill every last one of them. He didn't do either, though, and after a very long night, Rodney was rescued by Rononee – apparently even the Ancient game had realised that having Passeparteyla carry Rodney anywhere would have been asking a little too much.

None of the Brahmins got killed in the process. It was a shame.

John pushed all thoughts of romance and love interests aside, determined to see this through to the end and just laugh about it while at the same time resisting the strange urge to run his fingers through his unconscious friend's hair. Until he remembered that this wasn't real, this was a game; he could indulge himself all he wanted and no one would be the wiser. Even if his notions were a little crazy, but he blamed that on Rodney's still too recent brush with death. So he played with the short strands after a bit of hesitation, and tried not to wonder if they felt that soft in real life, because that train of thought led into directions he just wasn't prepared to go.

He was still doing it when Rodney finally came around, and was surprised at his own reluctance to pull his hand away.

~~~

All that virtual travelling and the ensuing trouble were getting a little stressful: from Calcutta to Hong Kong to find Rodney's relatives, who of course weren't there anymore, so they were now a regular group of three. Four, once they had crossed over from Hong Kong to Yokohama in the company of dear Carson Fix and kept him after Passeparteyla had almost broken his nose for playing her and drugging her up with opium, just so that John and company would miss their steamer. The detective promised to play nice from now on, and so John let him tag along. Rodney was also following him everywhere he went, a brown-haired, blue-eyed, pale-skinned Indian prince. They reached San Francisco just in time, and John had to take a break or keel over.

Rodney looked at him a little funnily after a few days, and finally asked him if everything was all right with his game.

"It's fine, just a little stressful. Why?" John asked, terrified by the thought that Rodney might know about how they had spent a few virtual weeks 'getting to know each other'. All friendly-like and without any hidden agendas, of course, but with Rodney, you just never knew where to expect the mine fields.

"Oh, I was just wondering why you didn't play anymore. You've been, uh, quite obsessed with the game up until now."

Curiosity, then. That was good. And yet John checked the files twice to find out if they contained anything about the characters after the initial setup, but they weren't accessible that way. Which was also very, very good, because humiliation? Still not his thing.

Duranda happened a short time after that, and the fallout wasn't pretty. John said a few things that in hindsight he wasn't too proud of, Rodney resignedly gave up trying to get back on his good side after a while, and finally John found himself missing his friend like crazy and not knowing how to make it better.

He started playing again.

~~~

The scientists kept tinkering with the holodeck controls – you could even play from your own room by now, which meant that several people could access the systems at once – and had added a feature that made the characters more realistic while still making them fit into the storyline. It meant that virtual Rodney was almost as sarcastic as the real one, and suitably unimpressed when John got into a fistfight on the streets of San Francisco to protect him.

"You really are a grunt, aren't you? Also, while I highly appreciate your willingness to sacrifice yourself for the sake of my wellbeing, you're an overprotective moron. That Colonel Parrish wasn't even trying to touch me, so-"

The rant went on, and John found himself smiling for the first time in weeks.

It got even better at Fort Kearney, when John rushed off to save Passeparteyla after their train had been attacked by Indians of the American Native variety. Rodney was looking sick with worry when they finally returned, just like old times, on past missions, and John felt a little bad for wanting this.

"You are without any doubt the single most insane, suicidal, terminally and foolishly heroic man I ever met, and that's saying something! Do you have any idea what would have happened to me if you had died and just left me here in the middle of nowhere? Did you even stop to think about that?"

Yes, that was his friend blowing off steam, and he told himself it was still just a game, but then Rodney took his hand and fell silent, his eyes very blue, and John wished, wished that this were real, that there was anything between them but stony silence.

It was just possible that he might have a slight problem there.

~~~

The air between him and the real Rodney was still helplessly frosty, even after the Aurora, and John played as much as he could. They reached New York, but missed their ship to England by barely an hour, and so they had to find another. John kind of wished that they wouldn't, just to spend more time with virtual Rodney, and told himself that he wasn't clinging. On the other hand, he remembered very well how this story would be ending, and when his heart started beating stupidly faster at the prospect of marrying Rodney – really stupidly, because while he was a hopeless romantic, this was just bizarre – he admitted to himself that he was maybe a little bit in love.

"They, um. They say that misery itself, shared by two sympathetic souls, may, uh, be borne with patience," Rodney stuttered when they were back in London.

Okay, a lot.

"So they say," John agreed with forced gloom, trying to play the role of someone who, while proven innocent, had lost his bet and with it his wealth. Ignoring his pounding heart, because this was it, this was-

"Mr. Fogg," and Rodney was grabbing his hand, shaking with nervousness, "do you wish at once a kinsman and a friend? Will you have me for your, um. For your husband?"

John squeezed the slightly sweaty hand he was holding, swallowing hard – and thinking, off.

He wanted to have this, except he couldn't.

~~~

Life went on: they found and lost Ford, John almost died, Rodney almost killed himself with an overdose, and then John got trapped for half a year in what turned out to be a time dilation field.

He didn't know at first if his team was even alive, and it was driving him crazy. Worse, he was missing both Rodneys, and that was schizophrenia just waiting around the corner. So when Teer said, "You're not alone," for a moment he thought she could see it in him, how close he was to losing it.

"No, I mean your friends have come," she added, and still he knew that she had to have sensed something from the hostility with which she was treating Rodney. Rodney, who had worked his ass off to get him back home as quickly as possible, and it was all a bit overwhelming.

Then far too soon, it was the other way around, with Rodney trapped in a broken puddle jumper almost six thousand feet beneath the ocean surface, and John abandoning everything else, digging up everything he had ever learned about engineering to give Zelenka the time to find their missing friend. And they made it, just in the nick of time, saving Rodney from the watery grave that seemed to keep trying to drag him down.

Rodney was studying the modified jumper the next time they met, turning when he heard John come up behind him.

"I, uh, I heard what you did. You know, to save me." The scientist cleared his throat, looking back at John's wild construction underneath the little space ship. "Pretty good thinking, actually. I, uh, couldn't have done it better."

And this sincere if a little awkward praise was a first; even though Rodney usually recognised his staff's achievements, John rarely got points for anything but good shooting. He didn't quite know what to say besides "You're welcome."

It seemed to be the right thing, though, and even better: they were friends again, probably closer than ever, and that was good, that was great.

Too bad it wasn't enough.

John found himself thinking more and more of the book Around the World in Eighty Days and its blessed, cursed, ending. And however firmly he told himself that he didn't need this, it kept luring him in.

What was the harm if he played just one more time?

~~~

It was just as he had left it, of course, with Rodney's question – Marriage! It was crazy! – still in the room. John thought about doing the sensible thing and decline, but figured that the scenario wouldn't let him do it anyway, and so he agreed, nervous as hell even though it wasn't for real. There couldn't be more than a few pages left now, and all too soon he was standing in the Reform Club, claiming his victory – it stung a little to see the dead Collins there – and winning twenty thousand pounds. A triumph that left a slightly bitter taste in his mouth.

But he got to go home one last time, got to play those last few moments, Rodney looking at him like he was the centre of his world. John took a deep breath.

"I love you."

It was part of the script, after all.

Rodney's next inhalation sounded strangely ragged, and suddenly, John was irrationally angry. Screw Victorian chastity or whatever Age this was, and screw Ancient holodecks with fixed storylines: he'd get to kiss Rodney, even if it wasn't in the book.

He leaned in, and before Rodney could pull away, John brushed their mouths together. It was nothing more than a short contact, without even the thought of tongue, but Rodney's lips were warm and soft under John's own, and for a brief, glorious moment, they were in love. Then the scenario faded, and he was faced with the Ancient equivalent of "Start New Game? Y/N."

He had experienced his share of game overs, but none of them had ever left him feeling this disappointed.

It was an automatic reaction to leave the holodeck and go straight to the gym, exhausting himself with a brutal workout – the Coping Mechanism of Man. He was still far too able to move when Rodney found him.

"Colonel. I hear you've completed your game."

"Yes," John gave back shortly, gritting his teeth as he threw another vicious jab at the punching bag.

"Well, then you might be pleased to know that we've added your beloved Back To The Future to the database, entirely ludicrous science included."

Rodney beamed at him, bouncing on his feet.

"That's nice," John answered with a forced smile. "Thank you."

"Uh, well, you know, it's, uh, what friends do," Rodney said with a strangely shy grin, then ducked his head and thankfully stormed off to God knew where just before John's own brittle smirk broke into tiny little pieces.

He had no intention of playing, not ever again.

~~~

Almost two weeks had passed before Rodney approached him again, seeming like a man facing the firing squad but determined to stand tall. Maybe it was that bravery-in-the-face-of-danger expression that made John let him into his quarters in the first place.

"You, uh, don't play anymore?"

"No." The short answer was meant to tell him to go away, but obviously it wasn't sledgehammer-subtle enough for Rodney, because he sat down in a chair although John wasn't even looking at him.

"You want to talk about it?" Idly, John wondered if Rodney's nervous fidgeting would be even worse if he knew exactly how that game had ended. And how much John still wanted to go back to that.

"Not really."

There was a pause.

"Um. They say that misery itself, shared by two sympathetic souls, may be borne with patience." Rodney didn't look at him, not even when John slowly raised his head and stared.

"McKay?" Anything you want to tell me?, the tone implied.

"I take it you didn't know that there was a multiplayer mode."

John inhaled sharply.

"Since when?" he wanted to know, and Rodney didn't even try to pretend he didn't understand what John was asking.

"Somewhere between Hong Kong and Yokohama."

"And you didn't think it might be appropriate to say something?" He was caught somewhere between fury and incredulity, not wanting to believe this although it was so typically Rodney.

"Well, we weren't exactly on speaking terms back then, if you'll remember."

"So why tell me now?" John demanded hotly, temper rising.

"Because you kissed me!" Rodney yelled back, and then visibly ran out of steam. "I mean, you, uh, you said, you kind of, well. It's, uh, entirely possible that I might, um. Look, can't we just-?" and he broke off, clearly frustrated, before raising his chin and impatiently muttering, "Oh, for God's sake."

John was too stunned to respond when Rodney grabbed his face with both hands and just pulled him in, pulled him down, angrily pressing their mouths together and when that didn't get a reaction, impatiently stabbing his tongue at John's lips. It was enough to make John finally get with the program, and with a sigh that very definitely wasn't desperate he opened his mouth, letting Rodney in, hell, sucking Rodney in, and then the world kind of faded away for a few minutes because, God. Rodney was kissing him with a determination that made John hang on for dear life, kisses that were wet and sloppy and a little frantic.

His pulse was hammering when they finally parted, and he was pressed so close to Rodney that he could feel his friend's answering rapid-fire heartbeat against his chest.

"What say we move this somewhere a little more comfortable?" he panted, glancing meaningfully towards the bed.

"Yeah, pretty good thinking," Rodney agreed, and started to work on John's pants.

Thinking wasn't the only thing John was good at. A few hours later, Rodney told him as much.

~~~

Another four days, and John still wasn't using his free time to play around with the Ancient holodeck.

"You know, there's a perfectly ridiculous DeLorean, just waiting for you," Rodney said, nudging his shoulder.

John smiled and leaned in for another kiss.

"It can wait a little longer."

~~~

The perfectly schmoopy happy ending – thank you for reading! :)

Nominee 2007
Tags: fanart, fanfic, mckay/sheppard, slash
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