Author: jenn (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Spoilers: none specific, second season in general
Summary: In which Elizabeth tries not to laugh, Rodney tries to save the day, Zelenka tries to avoid paternity suits, and John tries to save his virtue.
Author Notes: Crackfic. Seriously so. svmadelyn for audiencing the original, chopchica for the same, and cjandre and chopchica for the beta.
cjandre chose the title. Trust me, the things I was coming up with were--bad. So bad.
It's hard to make sense of.
Two (2) exhausted scientists in makeshift loincloths standing in the conference room. Zelenka looks paler than his usual lab pallor, listing slowly toward Kavanagh, who hasn't looked away from the wall just to the left of Elizabeth's head since they came in.
Four (4) unhappy looking Marines, wrapped in what could be someone's bed sheets, hovering by the far side of the conference room table. Lorne hasn't met her eyes once.
One (1) John Sheppard, who is actually carrying off defiant military dignity, mostly because he's sitting and therefore, the skirt is out of view, leading to….
Rodney McKay, having herded everyone into the room, barking orders like a terrier rounding up a small pack of Great Danes and assorted mongrels, has taken to pacing the length of the conference room floor, looking a cross between homicidal and utterly ecstatic. He's also the only one who's fully dressed.
Elizabeth reminds herself that she's a Leader, capital L.
"So," she says, since this is a little different from other post-mission briefings. Carson, just beside her, keeps blinking, like he's almost certain that last batch of liquor from the mainland was tainted, and come to think, that could be the best explanation. "What happened?"
Rodney was just *waiting*, turning to face her, self-righteous satisfaction almost oozing from every sharp jerk of his hands
"Oh, *that*. We had a little problem, if by little, you mean our people are *insane*." Rodney's all big movements and sudden stops. It makes her wonder how much coffee he's had today. "But luckily, *someone in the room* realized what was going on, and got everyone out in one piece." The pause has to be for dramatic effect. "With their virtue intact."
Elizabeth blinks. "Rodney--"
Sheppard turns in the chair, eyes narrowed, but Elizabeth detects the beginning of what could be--Christ--a blush. "That's so not how it happened."
Rodney points one gleeful finger. "Oh yes, it is."
It happened like this.
There are many things that are a given in the Pegasus galaxy. No matter where they go, what they do, or how bizarre the culture is, Sheppard can charm them. Sometimes, the charm takes the shape of grunting cheerfully over weaponry, and sometimes, by randomly and chastely seducing natives, female and untyped.
And sometimes, it's to go *whoring* in the MwhateverX equivalent of the red light district.
"I can't believe this," Rodney says, staring at Simpson, who is all the colors of the sunset, curling up in the desk chair like she's trying to disappear. Grabbing the back, Rodney spins it into the center of the hotel room, the better to pace around her. "You are telling me--you are *telling me* that all my scientists--not to mention our *military escort*--are cavorting with intergalactic *prostitutes*--"
"Geishas," Simpson manages faintly. "I think. Leader Palov--"
"The *pimp*, I take it?"
Simpson tries and fails to meet his eyes, hands twisting in her lap. "Dr. Zelenka agreed with Colonel Sheppard that it was important for our status as negotiators--"
"To *pick up hookers*? Now that's a intercultural exchange they didn't cover in school."
It's like waking up and realizing that you are the only sane human being in the universe. The only sane sentient being, period. Rodney thinks of the rational, normal lab he just left--though come to think, that Dr. Amelle had been a little touchy-feely for a microbiologist-- "Do you hear the words coming out of your mouth, Simpson? Are you making this up? Because if you are, I will be really amused. I will *kill you*, but really, I have a sense of humor. Tell me you're kidding. Tell me you did not let them leave."
If possible, Simpson shrinks even further as Rodney circles her chair. "Dr. McKay--"
"Don't 'Dr. McKay' me! You let them leave!"
Simpson looks resentfully at the floor near her feet, as if she's imagining it's Rodney's head. Oh, when he gets her back to the lab…. "How was I supposed to stop them? I could have stripped to my underwear and offered myself as a distraction, of course--"
Rodney spins around. "Ha! Prostitutes!"
Simpson's back straightens like someone shoved a broomstick up her ass. "It was important for the mission."
Oh yeah. Rodney knows *all* about how important space sluts are. He's got the temper tantrum--and the lack of a viable ZPM--to prove it. Oh yes, of *course* Sheppard goes chasing after the first piece of tail he sees--but *Zelenka*? He has more sense. Or so Rodney'd thought. Christ, *Kavanagh*? Do these bimbos have no standards?
"All right." Rodney runs a quick hand through his hair, trying to think. He's still dressed for the field, and the jumper surely has something Simpson can use. "All right. I can do this. Come on."
Simpson blinks. "Sir?"
"Get up. I know where Sheppard keeps the extra weapons." Like Rodney wouldn't notice a miniature arsenal cleverly disguised as water rations beneath the back seat.
"Weapons?" Standing up, she stares at him blankly. Rodney makes a mental note to check her credentials again. Atlantis needs *quick thinkers*. "Why do we need weapons?"
Feeling noble, Rodney unholsters his guns and wisely checks the ammunition. One thing down. "We're going to rescue them, of course." Snapping his fingers, Rodney gives the room a quick once-over. At least Sheppard had the sense to go armed. "Chop chop, Simpson. We have men to save."
"That," And who knew Sheppard could turn that color? "--is a complete and total lie."
It turns out Sheppard looks just as ridiculous as anyone would in a fluorescent pink skirt when he's standing up. A fact which doesn't escape anyone's attention.
Rodney rocks back on his heels, eyes narrowed. "Which part? The part where you *abandoned your team* to get some a--"
"I'll ask that you don't finish that sentence," Elizabeth says, trying to keep a straight face. "Colonel?"
Sheppard gives Rodney a last, burning look, then turns to face Elizabeth. "They weren't prostitutes--"
Sheppard flinches. "They were legal concubines of Leader Pavov--"
"Oh, will you shut the f--"
Enough's enough. "Colonel!"
Sheppard turns back around, frothy lace swirling around his knees. Elizabeth forces herself not to laugh. "Sorry, Dr. Weir."
Elizabeth nods, straight-faced. "Continue, please."
"Right." Shifting from foot to foot, Sheppard nods shortly. "Leader *Pavov* asked us to join him for an evening's entertainment."
Rodney snickers. "Is *that* what they're calling it--"
Good God. "Rodney!"
Rodney gives her an offended look, but subsides, leaning moodily against the wall, arms crossed.
"As I was saying," John says, voice louder, blush brighter, and Elizabeth watches in fascination as it spreads slowly down his chest. "We were invited to an evening with Leader Pavov. Simpson was running some simulations for Rodney, who, it must be stated, was spending an inordinate amount of time in a locked lab with Dr. Amelle--" Rodney opens his mouth, but Sheppard's voice raises, drowning him out-- "so I accepted on behalf of the team."
Elizabeth swallows sharply. "And then?"
Sheppard shifts again. From the corner of her eye, Elizabeth sees Zelenka shiver.
"It got kind of complicated."
John blinks slowly at Zelenka. "They want *what*?"
It's like waking up and realizing that you've gone completely insane. John stares out the open door, where his Marines seem to be engaging in activities not strictly covered by protocol. The thick smell of the incense is beginning to make his nose itch annoyingly, and John wipes his eyes, trying to focus on Zelenka.
"They want--to mate." Somehow, and John has no desire to find out how, Zelenka lost his uniform, something is wrapped around his nether regions that looks in danger of slipping any moment. John suspects it used to be a curtain.
John can't quite make himself look away, train-wreck fascination style. His head's starting to hurt from all the incense. "Mate."
"Colonel, I listened to them talking when they thought I was--otherwise occupied." Zelenka's arms cross defensively over his chest, eyebrows drawn sharply together behind smudged glasses. "They wish to be--*impregnated*."
"Impregnated." This is new. This is very, very new.
"Must you repeat everything I say?" Zelenka's hand snaps out, catching the top of the thing that's pretty much the only barrier between him and the world, and his voice rises in hysteria and accent both. "Impregnate! To implant our seed--"
"Yeah, got it, stop there." But. He has to ask. "What happened to your clothes?"
Zelenka's free hand takes up a distinctly Rodney-flair of waving about, like that can possibly distract from the fact he is, well. Mostly naked. "I am talking to Yselle--"
"Talking." So that's what they're calling it these days.
Zelenka puffs himself out. "*Talking*. She asks, do I wish to be more comfortable? Then she takes my clothes!"
John notes the vivid hickey just below Zelenka's ear. "Against your will."
Zelenka blinks, then deflates. "Perhaps not so much."
Right. John checks his gun, then nods sharply. "Where is she?"
"In the bathroom. Freshening." The combination of lust and abject terror is a little freaky, but this is the Pegasus Galaxy, and John Sheppard was trained by the best minds in the military. He can handle this.
"All right. Get the others--"
John turns slowly toward the far door, where his escort had exited moments before, and feels his fingers go numb on the butt of his gun. Beside him, he can hear Zelenka swallow. Hard.
Leaning into the door--naked--she waves a long nailed hand at them both, a sharp smile curling up the corners of her mouth. Still. Naked. "Can I assist you with anything, Colonel?"
"Yes!" It's too much to expect that Rodney could control himself through that, Elizabeth thinks in resignation, wishing for aspirin. "Right there! Mistake my *ass*."
John closes his eyes briefly. "I was unaware of the reason behind Pavov's invitation until Zelenka informed me of what he overheard. Of course, at that point, I--"
From across the room, Zelenka makes a choked sound. "You did not have your gun."
John's eyes widen, turning on Zelenka. "Zelenka, I swear--"
"No gun, no *shirt*, if I remember correctly." Pushing unsteadily from Kavanagh, Zelenka leans into the table, looking considerably less drunk and a lot more pissed. "No shirt, no shoes, and *lipstick* on your--"
John's hands clench on the edge of the table, and Elizabeth wonders if she'll be able to separate them before there's an unseemly display in the conference room. "You really want to go there, Zelenka? Because we can go there. We can *so go there*."
Zelenka's eyes narrow. "You are telling it *wrong*, Colonel."
It actually happened like this.
"Oh God," John says, and wishes to God he hadn't taken off his gun when the evening's--entertainment--had begun. Beside him, Zelenka is frozen, eyes huge. "Radek--"
"We should leave," Zelenka says, with absolutely no conviction in his voice. "We should--"
Mselle slowly crosses the room, moving in ways that physics and a lot of United States laws do not allow. Leaning over--God--she picks up a decanter and pours three drinks. John finds himself staring at the golden liquor as she lifts the glass "You should drink, yes? Before you leave?"
From behind them, John hears another feminine voice--Yselle, he assumes--murmuring something to Zelenka that he can't quite hear. He almost thinks he should, just maybe, get Zelenka and-- "Colonel?"
She's a lot closer than she was a second ago. And equally naked.
John nods slowly, reaching for the glass she extends. "Yes. Yes, we should."
"I could get very tired of being right all the time," Rodney inserts in the dead silence. Pushing off the wall, he crosses to the conference room table, giving John a slow once-over, lingering on the skirt with deliberately raised eyebrows. "But really. It never stops being fun."
Elizabeth licks her lips. "So you--had a drink with this--Mselle?"
"Pavov's chief concubine," John says, chin up, and Elizabeth fights down another inappropriate urge to laugh.
"For diplomatic purposes," Zelenka says, straight faced. He sways slightly, and Elizabeth watches Kavanagh reach a hand out and tilt Zelenka forward when he would have toppled. "We did not want to insult our hosts."
"Right," Elizabeth hears herself say. "So you had a drink with Mselle? Then?"
Sheppard's eyes fix on the floor. "Well. The thing is. We were drugged."
John grins as Mselle picks up his wrist, running sharp teeth against the soft skin. "So handsome. Are all the men of Atlantis so handsome?"
"No." It's true, they're not. Still grinning, John lets her lift his arm, stretching it over his head, something soft wrapped carefully around his wrist. "Whatcha doing?"
"You will like this, Colonel," she says, leaning down to lick a slow path from the center of his chest to his other arm. John sighs. "You will like this much, and I, I will like this too."
John believes her.
"Of all the--*you were drugged*, you--you--that's your *excuse*?" Rodney's mouth works soundlessly for a few eternal seconds, and Elizabeth wonders if his blood pressure is up to the challenge. "There aren't words for what you are! Besides a hormone crazed *moron*. *You let her tie you up!*"
John stares at the wall, arms crossed over his chest, and doesn’t say a word.
"It was not--exactly," Zelenka offers, blinking rapidly. "More of a--and there was--" His voice trickles off at the look on Rodney's face. "We were drugged. Very, very drugged."
"Your friend--Zelenka?" Her hands are gentle on his shoulders, and she kisses him lightly, tongue flickering against his. Is that a tongue stud? This is the best. Planet. Ever. "He's very energetic, yes?"
"You *wouldn't*," Zelenka hisses, and Elizabeth watches as Kavanagh carefully peels Zelenka off the table as he attempts to crawl across it, depositing him in a chair, all without once looking him in the face.
Sheppard's eyes narrow. "As I was saying--"
John hears the sound of Zelenka, speaking a rapid, ecstatic stream of Czech one room over. Two cooing voices answer. Two?
"Yes," says John happily as her hands pull his thigh holster off, sliding his pants down. Such a friendly planet. "It's always the quiet ones."
"Colonel!" Zelenka slumps into the table, covering his face with his hands.
"Some virtue," John says, face straight, eyes dancing, "was *irretrievably* lost."
Around the time that John's boxers hit the floor, it occurs to him that this might not be a good idea.
He's an officer in the United States Air Force. He's commander of a *base*. And also, apparently, the fun and games could lead to later intergalactic paternity suits, and there's no way that can end well.
"Mselle," he hears himself say, and Mselle is there, tongue in his mouth to stop the words, and it works really well. Wet mouth. Tongue stud. Best planet in the galaxy. The *universe*. John forgets what he was going to say.
Abruptly, Mselle lifts up her head, snapping back to look at the door. Blinking himself back into the room, John thinks he hears raised voices. Sliding off him, she picks up a robe from the floor--and that's a tragedy, John thinks, trying to reach for her, but the damn restraints make it pretty much impossible. "Mselle?"
"Just a second," Mselle says, tossing a smile back before reaching down and picking up his gun from the couch. "Just want to check on something before we start." She tosses another smile back, licking her lips. Yes, tongue stud. Thank you God and black marks. "Think of me."
Like John can think of anything *else*.
Elizabeth takes a deep breath. "And that's when--"
"I rescued them," Rodney says smugly, and Elizabeth can honestly say she's never seen Rodney this happy.
John tries to stare Rodney down. "You didn't rescue us. We were just about to--"
"Make tiny little Atlanteans with the nice space tramps," Rodney says cheerfully, but the long fingers are clenched on the edge of the table. "Now, let me explain what *actually* happened."
The first thing Rodney sees is Kavanagh getting disturbingly close to post-coital.
Really, that's all the incentive he needs. Raising the gun, Rodney fires into the ceiling, cleverly angled so to avoid having plaster fall on his head. God knows what these hussies would do with his unconscious body. "Okay, everyone--*get your hands off my team*."
Simpson, beside him, turns in a slow circle, gun pointing at anyone who moves in the large reception area, where various--and completely inappropriate--social activities come to a grinding halt. Rodney does a head count--Marines, there, Kavanagh there (eww), missing one Radek Zelenka and one bimbo-magnet John Sheppard. Well, hell. Pointing a gun at the closest underdressed woman he sees, Rodney snaps, "Where are the other two?"
Blinking, she starts to stand up, what little clothing she claims falling at her feet. Simpson makes a strangled sound, but Rodney's made of sterner stuff. And also, she's not a blonde. "I do not understand, honored Dr. McKay--"
"Of course you do. You have kidnapped important representatives of the former city of Atlantis." Keeping his gun trained on her--you can't trust these trollops, God knows what kind of weapons she could be hiding--Rodney wishes suddenly that he'd not loaded up on quite so much ammunition. It's getting kind of heavy. "Get them. Now."
"They are otherwise--occupied," she says, and Rodney sees a far door open, another severely clothing-challenged woman emerging. Rodney's eyes snap down to see the gun in her hand. "Simpson. Run."
No rescue, however brilliant, can be accomplished when the rescuers are *dead*, Rodney thinks as he leaps behind Kavanagh's couch.
He misjudges the angle, though.
"So that's why Kavanagh started screaming," John says suddenly, eyes turning on Kavanagh thoughtfully. "I thought someone was killing you."
"Well," Rodney says, teeth bared in a bloodthirsty grin, "it could be that teeth were involved in a very, very inappropriate way."
John jerks up against the restraints at the sound of Rodney's voice. Clarity comes with adrenaline, and blank, unending horror. That's *McKay out there*.
First thought: oh God, he's going to kill me.
Second thought: oh God, he's going to *see this*.
John starts to struggle against the silk.
It doesn't have a lot of give.
Rodney snorts. "Yeah, you were fighting *so hard* when I came in."
Mselle comes back in, no gun, mouth in a wide smile. "Small trouble. The others are taking care of it." Sinking down on the bed, she settles between John's knees, licking her lips as she stares down.
John's cock makes it known that escape is the stupidest idea in *history*.
But. "Mselle. I heard--" Rodney's out there. Maybe he's joined in? That can't be good. That can't be--well. It could be. Interesting.
"A minor distraction." Leaning down, warm tongue and warmer metal brush the head of John's cock. Suddenly, the world shifts. "Don't worry. All is taken care of."
John stares straight ahead. "I was very, very high."
Elizabeth doesn't have words.
From somewhere above him that isn't silk, therapy-inducing amounts of Kavanagh skin, and squealing female, Rodney hears Simpson curse and a gun go off. Oh God, this is so not going as planned.
Pushing at the silk, Rodney tumbles to the floor, looking up to see Simpson is standing over a redhead, one booted foot resting on the wrist holding the gun.
Simpson looks kind of scary, her own gun pointed right between the woman's eyes.
"Got her, sir," Simpson says steadily. "All of you--" She waves the gun meaningfully at the assembled women "--get in that corner, or the supertramp gets it." Rodney almost grins. Such a bright girl. He's always thought so. Sparing Rodney a glance, she smiles shyly. "I'll get everyone out of here. You get Zelenka and the Colonel."
Zelenka straightens. "I came out on my own." The dark eyes look into Elizabeth's pleadingly. "I came and helped Simpson retrieve our people and take them back to the puddle jumper." Zelenka glances at Rodney. "While McKay went looking for Colonel Sheppard."
Rodney cocks his head. "I don’t remember that."
"I think that was after you had--left the room." Zelenka's eyes glitter oddly, and that smile really makes Elizabeth wonder. "To find Colonel Sheppard."
Rodney circles the bed, eyes fixed on Sheppard's face. It's just safer that way. "So. This is so not a surprise."
The woman's head jerks up around the same time Sheppard's eyes flicker open, glazed and almost black. So very, very stoned. Rodney wonders if anyone would really blame him if he accidentally shot them both. "Who are you--"
"Stupid question." Rodney points his gun, feeling a little silly--he's holding a gun on a naked, defenseless woman. On the other hand--just *look where her hand is*. It's completely justified. "You just--just get away from him."
"Mine," she says, eyes narrowing as she sits up. "How *dare* you--"
"Oh hell no," Rodney hears himself cocking the gun. It's a little easier, now that she isn't engaged in oral recreation. Those nails would be classified as deadly weapons in some parts of the galaxy, surely. "One, *mine*, and two--there is no two, get *out* and tell your whatever he is that we're *leaving*."
She doesn't move, and that's a problem. Rodney just doesn't think he can shoot an unarmed woman, even if she is molesting his--team leader. But he thinks maybe he could wound her somewhere insignificant with no problem whatsoever. He learned how to shoot from John Sheppard. He can *so* do that.
Her head tilts, blinking in what looks like honest confusion. "Yours?"
"You think I came in here for decorating tips?" It's all very bordello, now that he's looking around, red and mirrored and kind of creepy, now that he's looking. John grins crazily from the bed. This is so not what he expected when he woke up this morning. "Mine, not yours, no sharing, no borrowing, and *get your hands off him*. Atlanteans *kill our rivals* And eat them."
"Eat them?" Her hands snap away and the dark eyes flicker to John, who, idiot that he is, nods along, like he has any idea what they're saying.
Slowly, she slides off the bed with jerky movements, groping for her robe. "I did not know. I assumed, when he accepted our invitation--"
"Well, he's slow on the uptake." John's mouth opens at the worst possible time. Rodney slaps a hand over it before something stupid comes out. "You. Shut up. Just *wait* until we get home."
From the other side of the bed, Mselle bows her head. "We did not know. The others--they are yours--?"
Even for the sake of Atlantis, Rodney can't claim Kavanagh. Giving Sheppard a suspicious look, Rodney removes his hand. "They're Simpson's. She's pissed, by the way. I'd get out of here before she gets back."
Nodding quickly, Mselle leaves the room just short of a run, conveniently closing the door behind her.
Well, that went well.
Rodney turns to see John, still grinning like the college freshman at his first beer bash.
Zelenka's fingers tap a discordant rhythm on the table, breaking into Rodney's narrative. "I meant to ask--what took you and Colonel Sheppard so long to return?"
Rodney's eyes glaze. Just a little. "Negotiations."
"Are you *high*?"
John snorts, but there's no way to hide how stoned he really is. "We *so* don't eat our rivals."
"Well, she didn't know that." It's hard not to look, but Rodney manages, feeling very noble and very, very awkward, reaching for the slick silk wrapped around John's wrist, almost wet beneath his fingers. "And you--what were you *thinking*? Scratch that, you *weren't* thinking, you were *fucking*."
John shrugs, quite a feat with both arms stretched out over his head. "Didn't get that far." His voice takes on a disgustingly wistful quality. "They seemed nice."
"They're *evil*." Tying up helpless colonels to commit unspeakable acts on their undressed persons. Perhaps he should have shot *at* her. Just for fun.
John rolls his eyes. "They just wanted our genetic material. Acquired in the most fun way possible."
"Well, *that's* comforting." It's hard to get a grip on the stuff. Doesn't help that John keeps moving, stretching on the bed like a big cat, rucking stereotypically silk sheets around him like some really, really good porn. No no no. Callused fingers brush Rodney's with every pull at the silk, and God, the most stupid parts of his body are reporting in how much fun could be had right now. "Stop that." He's not even sure he's addressing Sheppard. "I can't believe you did this. Just--is it anything with a double x-chromosome that gets you going? Cause this was old the *last time*--"
Sheppard frowns, a imminent pout threatening. "You really have to get over Chaya."
Rodney lets his fingers slip off the silk, pulling a foot onto the bed and pulling the utility knife from the ankle sheath that Teyla had insisted they start wearing. John's breath catches, and Rodney looks over to see him flush.
Christ. "You have got to be kidding me."
Elizabeth frowns. "Negotiations? But the team was--"
"It was important to establish a few--things." Rodney shifts uncomfortably. For some reason, Sheppard is staring at the table, mouth tight. "Important things. For the good of the team."
"Oh no. No, no, no."
"Well, you're the one that claimed me, after all." John shifts again, deliberately, Rodney *knows* it. "Put up or shut up, McKay."
"You get turned on by *weapons*? This is so not a surprise. This is the anti-surprise. This is the very epitome--"
"Rodney." John's head tilts back to catch Rodney's eyes, and God, it only makes him look *better*, just spread out on the bed like some kind of really fantastic offering to a very, very tasteful god. A sex god. "It's not the knife."
Elizabeth snaps her fingers, and Rodney jerks, blinking his way back into the room. "What?"
"Right." Rodney shifts, looking anywhere but at her. "After--negotiations were completed, I found the Colonel some clothes--" Sheppard gives Rodney a look that makes Elizabeth glad he's not armed, "--took him back to the jumper, flew us home--personally, by the way, since our wonderful Colonel was engaged in singing *drinking songs* with the remainder of our brave team--and then we came here and that's--er, it."
Uh huh. "That's it?"
Rodney nods firmly, staring at the table. "That's it."
That's not it.
"Rodney," Sheppard says, and God, it's not fair, no one should sound that good, look that good, be that high, and that tied up--and wait, where was this thought going? Nowhere good, that's for sure. Rodney reaches up and puts the blade against the silk. His hands are not, are *not* shaking. "You don't have to untie me."
Dearest God. "Colonel--"
Sleepy hazel eyes look into his. "Leave. Them. On."
Taking a deep breath, Rodney thinks of all the myriad ways this is the worst idea in creation. "You're *high*--"
"Not that high." Another shimmy. "You know--" A slow stretch, and there's no way that Rodney can look away from that, no one *breathing* could blame him, all that pale gold skin and long muscle and spiky dark hair, just on *offer*-- "There's a really easy way to prevent these sort of problems in the future."
Rodney pulls the knife back before he accidentally cuts Sheppard's hand off. "Wh--what?"
Sheppard smiles, wide and white and utterly reasonable. "Keep me entertained at home."
No one can carry off hot pink silk and lace skirts, but Sheppard makes a valiant effort, and if anyone's laughing, they're sure as hell not doing it where Sheppard can see it.
And it's not that he's following Sheppard, per se, it's that they're going in the same direction. Kind of. If Rodney had been planning to go to Sheppard's quarters. "So."
Sheppard shoots him a sidelong look, and Rodney bites his lip before he says something incriminating and highly confidential when they're still in public halls, where many residents still pass them, carefully not laughing.
In quarters, however-- "I can't believe you said--*negotiations*?"
Yeah, that hadn't been a shining moment for quick thinking. "She caught me off guard!" And Radek's fate is going to be terrible, involving working with Kavanagh and coffee restrictions and possibly overflowing toilets. Rodney's getting *creative* on his ass.
"*Negotiations*." Sheppard looks down at the skirt in disgust, stripping it off without regard for audience or fragile material, stepping out of the pile of silk to stalk to his closet. Rodney thinks, just maybe, that at this point, it's probably inappropriate to watch, but--well.
"Well, what was I supposed to say? We spent forty-five minutes with you high as a kite *propositioning me*? Because that would go over well. Seen Heightmeyer lately? Want to see her again?"
Sheppard turns around, t-shirt clenched in one fist. "Oh yeah, you fooled her. Elizabeth completely buys it. Next time? I'll give the report. *You* can sit there and hope to God nothing slips out--"
Okay, that's *enough*. "Your trauma is tragic. Really. I'm sure the *humiliation* of begging for sex when you were stoned--"
"It'd be a shitload *less* humiliating if you'd just *agreed*!"
Rodney blinks. Wait. "What?"
Sheppard throws up his hands. "I give up." Unwadding the shirt, Sheppard jerks it over his head, going to the dresser. "You know the way out."
That's just unfair. "How was I supposed to--" Rodney stops short, the full horror descending all at once. He *turned down sex*. Christ, he *turned down sex with John Sheppard*. Rodney wonders why in the name of God he'd started being ethical. Because wow, didn't *that* backfire spectacularly. "You were *high*," he hears himself say helplessly.
Jerking on a pair of track pants, Sheppard turns around, glaring at the door. Obediently, it slides open, almost enthusiastically, Rodney might think, if he were the paranoid type. The message is clear. "Right. I'll. Just be going." Stepping outside, he turns to face Sheppard. "Colonel, I--"
The door slams cheerfully shut in his face before he can figure out what on earth he thought he was going to say.
"So," Elizabeth says to a fully dressed briefing room twenty four hours later, trying not to smile, trying not to look like she didn't spend three hours with Carson, almost herniating something important in her office from laughter, trying to appear the Leader, capital L. "Should we worry about paternity suits in the future?"
There are frantic nods from everyone. Zelenka, slumped two chairs over, glares at her over the top of his glasses. "I think not."
She's just being cruel now. "You're sure?"
His mouth tightens. "Absolutely."
Right. Leaning back, Elizabeth surveys the room. "I understand Carson's given you all a full exam for--unexpected--"
Rodney, unsurprisingly, doesn't have her tact. "I think the term you're looking for is alien STDs," Rodney says, and the smugness hasn't diminished in the slightest, though he looks like he hasn't slept in two days. The blue eyes focus on Sheppard with unusual intensity. "So I suppose not one's the worse for the experience. I hope we all learned something from this."
Sheppard's back to normal, maybe looser than usual, draped over his chair in a way that's just this side of invitational. "Yes, we certainly did," he says shortly, and Elizabeth watches Rodney's face blank instantly, eyes flickering down and away. "Off duty for twenty-four hours, and a safe sex lecture as a bonus. Thank you for that, by the way."
Elizabeth carefully does not smirk. "I thought everyone could use the refresher." And the security tapes will be hours of entertainment. "Very well. Dismissed, gentlemen."
Sheppard's the first out, a lazy stroll that doesn't hide his irritation at all. The others leave as quickly as possible, carefully not meeting her eyes.
Rodney's last, eyeing the door speculatively. "Rodney?"
His shoulders jerk a little, but the expression doesn't change. "There's something I need to check in the lab." Standing up, he tucks his laptop under one arm, wandering out of the conference room, almost bumping into Teyla, fresh back from the mainland.
Pushing her chair back, Elizabeth smiles at Teyla's puzzled expression. "Teyla. It's good to have you back. How is Halling?"
Sitting delicately on the chair beside her, Teyla frowns slightly. "Good, of course. He send greetings and hopes that you can accompany me on my next visit." Hands folded on the table, the dark eyes study Elizabeth carefully. "Did something happen while I was away?"
Elizabeth doesn't hide her smirk. "Let's have some tea and I'll tell you all about it."
The door's already closed by the time John recognizes that the scent in his quarters isn't Athosian air freshener. "What the--"
"It was ridiculously easy to reproduce, believe it or not." The voice comes from the left. John thinks at the lights, but for once, they seem to be uncooperative, and that's new. "I disabled the lights, so don't bother."
"It's not a psychotropic, just extremely relaxing. I checked Carson's results before I synthesized it." John turns toward the voice, but the dark's too intense. Rodney must have covered the windows; there's almost no ambient light. "So it begs the question--is it anything with two x chromosomes? Or anything, period?"
Cheap fucking shot. John closes his eyes, focusing on the sound of Rodney's voice. Hard left, seven feet at most. The room isn't that big. "What are you doing?"
"Testing a hypothesis." Closer, and Christ, John hadn't even heard him *move*. "Chaya, Mselle, and now, me. What's the connection?"
"There's not one." John concentrates. Three feet, left, back. John untenses, beginning to enjoy this. He's never heard Rodney sound quite like that before. Something brushes his wrist, warm and soft. John holds still, fighting the urge to grin as slick silk circles his wrist. "You kept the pieces?"
"I was careful when I cut them." The loose end dangles against his fingers and John holds out the other wrist blindly in Rodney's direction. This time, he gets a slow brush of rough fingers, curious and almost tentative, before the silk winds around, looping his wrists loosely together. Enough give to be comfortable. Not nearly enough to get free, unless he really works at it. He's not tempted to even try.
Rodney's close enough to feel, warm and solid and not quite touching, not yet. "Rodney." He could move closer himself, but that would be cheating, somehow.
Rodney makes a soft sound, and John feels the brush of fingers against his cheek. Almost tentative. "What is it, then?"
There are easy answers to that, hard ones, too. None of them are close to the truth. "I have no idea."
The fingers freeze, and for a second, John reflects that honesty is rarely, if ever, the best policy. If Rodney leaves now, John will have to chase him, and if there's anything more humiliating than running through the halls in a pink skirt in the middle of Atlantis, doing it in proto-bondage gear *would* be it. "I want to find out, though."
Rodney pulls his hand away, and John thinks morbidly on the fact that at some point, he'll be giving Elizabeth some totally fabricated reason for being seen chasing Rodney through Atlantis tied up when he's pushed into the wall. It's rough on his wrists, but he doesn't care, grinning when Rodney's hands close over his hips, pressing them together.
"I didn't lie to Mselle. I don't share." Rough breath is hot against his ear, and John will have fingertip bruises from the grip of McKay's hands tomorrow morning.
John turns his head, just enough for a brush of lips, light enough to make him ache, rocking his hips deliberately, feeling Rodney's jerk against him. "I'll remember that."