Summary: 3,529 words; Rodney is dissed by one of his colleagues. But John knows how to make it right.
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Pairing: Rodney McKay/Jennifer Keller, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard,
Original story:Professional Jealousy by bironic
Notes: Post Season Five story; Spoilers for Brainstorm and Enemy at the Gate
Much thanks to my dear betas crysothemis and lamardeuse and thanks to bironic for gifting me with such sweet inspiration!
The struggle to return Atlantis to Pegasus was the bureaucratic nightmare that they had assumed it would be. The members of the IOA were divided about the usefulness of having a ship the size and power of Atlantis so near at hand and so readily available to defend Earth. It had taken all the persuasive powers of John, Woolsey, Colonel Carter and General O’Neill but within two months (and unfortunately for John, three weeks before the start of the new NFL season) they were back in Pegasus, safe and sound.
The time they spent on Earth had been eventful to say the least. John took Ronon to the Richard Petty Driving Experience in Daytona, where Ronon was singularly unimpressed (“Puddlejumper’s faster,” he said, while John was still breathless and dizzy from driving 8 laps at over 161 miles per hour.) He’d shown Teyla, Torren and Kanaan the wonders of the ferris wheel at California Adventure Park. And in Colorado, they discovered, to no one’s surprise, that Ronon and Teyla were naturals at snowboarding.
Everyone agreed it was a good time. Everyone, that is, except Rodney, who spent his time with Keller and her family.
John didn’t think the romance had a chance, despite what had happened in that other timeline. Maybe it was just wishful thinking on his part but when Rodney and Keller came back to Atlantis, still hand in hand, John was surprised.
Because like with Katie Brown, Rodney just wasn’t himself when he was around Keller. He was careful and restrained -- John could practically see Rodney bite his tongue whenever Keller was in earshot. And if there was anything more wrong than Rodney McKay tied up in a straitjacket of his own making, John didn’t know what it was.
The thing was Rodney tried so hard; it was clear how much he wanted this and so John tried to put aside his personal feelings and be happy for them both. But Rodney kept bringing Keller to team movie night and to the team table in the mess hall so John stayed cranky a lot and assigned himself to more night duty.
The turning point came about a week after they returned to Pegasus. The Terrans had brought with them a pile of mail that had been waiting at the SG-1 and which usually came aboard the Daedalus’ regular run.
Since his father’s funeral and for the first time in three years, John had been receiving mail other than magazines and catalogs. Though it was by no means a regular thing, he had begun receiving an occasional letter from his nephews and more rarely, something from his brother, forwarded from his last APO at Petersen. The Sheppards had never been known as great communicators and Dave’s letters were little more than notes scribbled on his office scratch pad. What John sent back wasn’t much better. But they were both trying and that was good enough.
John was in the mess hall when Rodney strode up to the table, a typically full tray in his hand and his mail tucked precariously under his arm. John almost breathed a sigh of relief when Keller appeared seconds later and slid into the seat next to Rodney.
He ignored the heavy feeling in his chest and hooked his arm over the back of his chair. “McKay, what did I tell you about bringing your homework to the dinner table?”
A smug little grin curved Rodney’s mouth. “Yes, well, I’m sure that you’re on your third rereading of the latest issue of Gnarly Magazine, Colonel, but some of us have important work to do and we’re only just now getting to our snail mail.”
Keller reached over and pulled an envelope from the stack. “Oh, look, Rodney. You may already be a winner -- ”
Rodney’s face colored a little, even as he smiled at her. He gently took the envelope back and threw it on the stack. “On the other hand, I guess there are some advantages to working in another galaxy,” Rodney muttered.
Keller smiled sweetly at John, trying to include him in the teasing and John pretended not to notice and dug back into his lunch. But his eyes kept being drawn back to Rodney, despite efforts to do otherwise. Rodney’s ability to multitask had always attracted John and today was no exception. Rodney managed to eat, hold a conversation with Keller and get through half the mail stack, all while being aware of everyone who walked into the mess hall.
After he finished his second pudding cup, Rodney picked up a slightly battered box and turned it in his hands. “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me.”
John grinned as Rodney ripped into the box. “Whatcha got, buddy? Your backorder from ThinkGeek finally catch up with you?”
His mouth twisted with disgust, Rodney pulled a book from the box and turned it around for John to see. “Can you believe the ego of that man? Sending me this piece of tripe?”
John looked at the cover. It was The Pluto Files by Neil deGrasse Tyson and his amusement faded. Rodney had told him about the way Tyson and the others had treated him at the big gathering. He’d also told him about Keller’s reaction to the whole thing and John wasn’t sure which made him more angry.
“Toss it,” John said darkly.
Rodney’s expression almost softened into something like gratitude and John’s heart pounded. “Yes. My thoughts exactly.”
He started to slide it down to the opposite end of the table when Keller grabbed it. “Well, wait a minute. Isn’t it possible he’s making a gesture here?”
Rodney crossed his arms over his chest. “Yes. And I think I know the gesture he had in mind.”
“Rodney.” The back of John’s neck got prickly at the admonishing tone of Keller’s voice. “If he went to all the trouble of sending this, I’ll bet he --” Keller opened the book and smiled. “Yes, he signed it, with a message. It says, To the eminent Rodney McKay, this has --”
Her voice trailed off, her smile flagged and she looked at Rodney with big, sad eyes. Rodney frowned and took the book from her hands. As he read, Rodney’s face reddened and one corner of his mouth dropped.
“What?” John sat up straight. “What?”
Rodney carefully closed the book, his gaze drifting past John. “Nothing, Colonel. Just a little joke.”
Keller patted Rodney’s shoulder. “That’s right. It’s not important. Who cares what that blowhard thinks?”
John couldn’t look away. It was like watching a football game in which his team was blowing a huge lead -- it was only loyalty that kept him from changing the channel. He could see the debate going on inside Rodney -- whether to keep silent or speak. Then, he looked at Keller, his face hard and angry. “I care. Don’t you get that by now?”
“Rodney, I do --” Keller started but Rodney had already gotten up from the table with his tray.
Keller threw a helpless look at John. He stared back. “Told you he should have tossed it,” John said in a flat voice and she grabbed her tray and took off after Rodney.
John picked up the abandoned book and read the rest of the inscription. “This has a lot of pictures and letters from third graders, so it's right on your level. Looking forward to hearing from you in another twenty years. Yours, Neil D. Tyson. P.S. Let me guess: the eight-year-olds stole your ideas too. Do me a favor and don't write any more letters to the editor. That's just sad.
John slammed the book shut and scowled down at it for a little while. Then, he went to his quarters and sat down at his desk. He grabbed a piece of paper and pen and started to write. Hey, bro. Hope things are well with you guys. Thank David for the bookmarks he made me. I can sure use those. So, anyway. I need your help...
Three months later
Woolsey had kept to Elizabeth’s policy of a day off a week for all personnel and John was planning on spending most of his day at the east pier driving range. He was meeting Rodney for dinner but he still could get in some solid practice time before that.
Rodney. The dinner. Just the thought of what could potentially happen in a few hours had him hard in his jeans. After Rodney and Keller broke up, John had waited over two months before making his move.
And while Rodney had been receptive -- the way Rodney had pushed John into a corner and kissed him had been very encouraging -- John wanted to make sure he was over Keller, so they had agreed to take their time. This was their third dinner together and as the last dinner had ended with a hot make-out session on John’s couch, John had high hopes for the conclusion of this evening.
John gave in to a full body shiver. But that was later. He picked up his bag and started for the door when the door chime sounded. John ran his hand over the keystrip and Rodney was on the other side of the door. At once, John’s body flushed with heat and he breathed out a raspy, “Hey.”
Rodney smiled at him, his blue eyes soft. “Hey.”
He still wasn’t used to seeing that look on Rodney’s face so John blanked out for a moment and just stared. Rodney seemed to be doing the same thing and they stood there a while longer until John’s golf bag slipped off his shoulders to the floor with a clatter and they both woke up.
John cleared his throat and tried to regain his composure. “Uh. Did I mix up the time? Because I thought we were -- you know, tonight --”
“Oh. No. I mean, yes, yes, you’re right. That’s -- later. It’s just that something came up and I need to --” He waved a couple of sheets of paper at him. “Can I come in?”
“Yeah. Sure. Come on in.” Rodney moved past him and John’s dick throbbed and, Jesus, he really had it bad because even the smell of him --
“I just got a couple of emails from Jeannie that have me strangely curious and I wanted to run a few things by you. Get your opinion.”
John nodded, struggling to concentrate through a fog of lust. He could do this -- he’d waited this long, he could wait a while longer. “Okay. Shoot.”
“Well, it seems that Jeannie received an email from an old colleague of mine, one Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson.”
John froze. “Uh huh.”
“Apparently, he was trying to find my email address and of course, it eluded him but he did find Jeannie’s and he asked her to forward something to me.”
“Wait. Just look.” Rodney shoved the paper at him and John started to read from the top sheet.
It’s taken me a while to track you down and of course, you know I didn’t succeed. But your sister was good enough to agree to forward this to you.
I owe you an apology for the derogatory tone of the inscription I wrote in the book. I have since learned of the very pivotal work you are doing and have a clearer understanding of why you have been absent from our usual circles. Perhaps, one day, we can sit down and exchange ideas.
PS. I’m still smarter than you.
Rodney was watching him when John looked up again, his expression fond. John tilted his head thoughtfully. “Well. Maybe I don’t have to kick his ass after all, huh?”
“Please. That would have been reckless and juvenile. You wouldn’t have done that.” Rodney looked away and then back. “Oh, my God, you would have, wouldn’t you?”
John grinned slowly and watched Rodney’s cheeks turn an appealing shade of pink. “You said something about two emails.”
Rodney blinked. “Oh. Right. So, Tyson apologized, which is so unlike that egotistical, boorish, string theory-bashing hack --”
“-- so I started thinking -- what would make him do a one-eighty like that? It’s not like a Rodney McKay Wikipedia article popped up in the last six months.” Rodney paced back and forth, gesturing enthusiastically, the remaining paper in his hand flapping like paper bird wings. “Obviously, someone clued him in on how valuable I am, what an asset I am to the universe, but who would have done that? Jeannie wouldn’t. She couldn’t, not with the confidentiality agreement. And the SGC isn’t exactly manned by a bunch of blabbermouths.”
John thought about playing it coy. He thought about denial. He thought about lying through his teeth. He decided to go with the heavy thud of his heart. “So what did you come up with?” John asked roughly.
Rodney stopped in front of him, close enough to touch, close enough to do a lot of things. “Well, I was baffled at first,” Rodney said, still and quiet and un-Rodneylike. “But Jeannie did some research and she sent me this.” Rodney lifted the page between them, his gaze never leaving John’s.
Reluctantly, John looked down at the photo that had been printed on the paper. The picture quality was not the greatest but John recognized it at once. It was the same photo that he’d seen on a shelf in his brother’s den when he’d been there last year. It showed a foursome of men dressed in golf shirts. The caption read --
Team Takes Top Honors: Winners of the 2008 Annual National Science Center Spring Celebrity Golf Tournament held at Lansdowne Resort in Lansdowne, VA -- from left, Dr. Andrew MacFayden of NYU, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium, Senator Bobby Jones of GA and David Sheppard of Virginia Power and Energy
“Huh,” John said, feeling breathless and dizzy, “I guess Dave got some help for that wonky backswing of his.”
Rodney flung the photo over his shoulder. “It was you,” Rodney said, looking at John like he was a ZPM and a star drive and a hot blonde rolled into one. “You did this, like, months ago. How? What --”
John swayed a little. Rodney was so close but he still wasn’t touching him. “My brother knows Tyson,” he said, watching the moist, pink curve of Rodney’s mouth. “I asked Dave to put a bug in Tyson’s ear the next time he saw him. About my colleague, who’s doing world-class work but since it’s all classified, no one knows about it. That’s all.”
“That’s all? That’s all?” Rodney took John’s face in his hands and kissed him hard. John groaned when Rodney’s tongue slid into his mouth but he reluctantly pulled away.
“Rodney, wait --”
“No, no more waiting,” Rodney said breathlessly, shoving John backwards toward the bed while John tried to suck on Rodney’s neck, “I know we said we weren’t going to rush anything but, no, I can’t wait any longer.”
John fell onto the bed and Rodney followed him down, settling his warm weight over John. Their mouths found each other again and their kisses were messy and wet.
“Rodney,” John whispered against Rodney’s mouth, his whole body shuddering with need. “Are you sure?”
Rodney’s hot blue eyes darkened with impatience. He fumbled between them and pulled John’s hand to his groin, where his dick was straining against his fly. “Does that feel like I’m sure?”
John choked out a breath but Rodney didn’t wait for a more coherent answer. His quick, capable hands went to work opening up John’s jeans while John squeezed and rubbed Rodney’s swollen dick, evoking a hot series of moans and curses from Rodney. “God, fuck, you’re so -- oh, that’s it -- there, yeah, lift your hips up -- Christ, John.”
Rodney sat back long enough to pull John’s pants and boxers down to his ankles in one move and John let him. He was so far beyond his usual need to control the situation, he didn’t care what Rodney had in mind. And luckily for John, Rodney had the dirtiest of intentions because he wrapped his hand around John’s dick and gave it a couple of long, tight pulls.
Drunkenly, John rocked his hips into it and the third time, Rodney’s mouth was there, sucking John hard. Almost immediately, John’s entire body started to draw up, a tingling sensation suffusing the heat of his skin.
Rodney’s hands found their way to the inside of John’s thighs, pushing them further apart. John let him, was willing, for maybe the first time ever, to let someone else take control of his body. And John realized there’s was no better person than Rodney McKay to do that because Rodney knew just what he was doing. He was sucking John’s dick like he was born to do it, just the right amount of suction and tightness and wetness to make John insane. And when John felt Rodney’s blunt fingers push between his ass cheeks, he lifted his hips and came and came.
John lay there, panting and watched through half-open eyes as Rodney quickly opened up his pants. “Oh, that was -- John,” he said, his voice strained and almost broken, “I want to --” Rodney pulled his dick through the slit in his boxers and though he was feeling as weak as a kitten, John grabbed it, determined to make it as good for Rodney as it had been for him.
Rodney made a sound deep in his throat at the first touch, and his dick was so hot and silky and Christ, so wet. Rodney was looking down at him, shaking, his pupils blown, clearly on the edge of orgasm and it was the hottest thing John had ever seen.
“C’mere,” John whispered, and then, at the vague confusion in Rodney’s eyes, “rub off on me.” Rodney moaned and pushed John’s shirt up to his armpits and pressed down, his hot face pressed against John’s neck. He started rocking his hips, dragging the wet tip of his dick through the hair on John’s stomach.
“That’s it,” John said hoarsely in Rodney’s ear, sliding his hands down to Rodney’s ass to give him a squeeze of encouragement, “yeah, come on, Rodney, I want you to come all over me.”
Rodney’s breath caught and then, he did just as John asked, coming hard all over everything. John held him through it and listened to Rodney groan and say his name with such longing that John would have given a shitload of drones to be able to get hard again.
Afterward, Rodney shifted over and wrapped his arms around John, almost painfully tight. “Awesome,” Rodney muttered in John’s ear and John laughed and pressed a kiss to Rodney’s cheek.
After a while, they cleaned themselves up and got dressed, just in case there was an emergency that required their immediate appearance in the gateroom. Then John pulled Rodney down on the bed with him and they sprawled there, arms and legs tangled.
“I still can’t believe what you did,” Rodney said with a happy tilt to his mouth.
“Oh, that was nothing, you should see me when I can take my time. I’ll have you coming so hard you’ll --”
“Not that,, you sexy moron. The thing with Tyson.”
John shrugged and looked at the fine hair on Rodney’s forearm, rubbed his thumb against it. “I told Dave that Tyson was giving one of my friends a hard time. That you were doing highly classified work on a high security base and could have won the Nobel twice over if anyone knew.”
Rodney traced John’s face with his fingertips and John looked up. “You always got it, didn’t you? Why it was important to me. John, I --”
John kissed him, a sweet slide of lips that left him aching pleasantly. “Stop. Tyson’s got nothing on you, you understand that, right?” John said, nuzzling Rodney’s neck and placing a tender kiss just below his ear, where Rodney’s skin was still red from John’s mid-afternoon stubble.
Rodney shivered and pulled him closer and John relaxed against his solid warmth. “Yeah,” Rodney said thickly against his hair. “I believe I do.”