Dr. Rodney McKay was one of the most brilliant people in the world today. Well, in two galaxies actually but he wasn’t one to brag… all that much. However, his social graces had a lot to be desired. They had once been on par with that of a flea—annoying, aggravating, itchy and irritating as all hell, but they’d slowly been getting better since he’d come to Atlantis and gained some real friends. And one truly incredible lover.
But he still had his moments where his social ineptitude was quite blindingly obvious. Like now, for instance. But it actually worked in his favor that he was so awkward about sidestepping wounded lions that were obviously in ‘I’m hurt and snarling and taking it out on the world’ sorts of moods. It meant that he could get away with being so totally ignorant of when to back off and run away. It also helped that he was sleeping with said wounded lion, so he stood a better chance of avoiding being mauled than the rest of Atlantis.
"What the hell was your problem today? You snarled at Elizabeth, took a chunk out of Carson’s hide and reduced Nurse Evans to tears. Teyla even threatened to beat you with her sticks when you were out of earshot, and I really, really thought Ronon was going to shoot you over that last crack you made," Rodney demanded as the door to John Sheppard’s quarters slid shut and locked behind him.
The room was dark and silent, which gave Rodney pause. One of the little luxuries that John had brought back with him from Earth on their trip home to report was an MP3 player and speakers. Ever since their return, whenever Rodney stopped by, there was usually music playing in the background.
But now there was only the sound of crashing waves. John was sitting by the open window, staring out at the ocean, just one more shadow to blend in with a room full of them. However, Rodney knew this room as intimately as his own, so he knew what shadows belonged and what ones didn’t, so navigating in the darkness wouldn’t be a problem.
Walking over to stand behind Sheppard, he rested a hand on the shoulder of the military officer in charge of Atlantis. "Hey, you listening to me?" he queried softly. Even Rodney’s woefully limited people sense was suggesting that something was not quite kosher with his lover.
The tight muscles and hunched over posture were even more of a giveaway that something was wrong. Rodney’s other hand moved up to grasp John’s remaining shoulder, and he slowly began to knead at the tension. So he wasn’t Mr. Sensitivity, but it didn’t mean he couldn’t try when it mattered. And John Sheppard mattered.
Oh, they’d had their ups and downs of late. The whole shooting down of the Wraith dart with him still in it, his subsequent melding with Corporal Laura Cadman and forced lip lock with Carson—which still gave him the heebie-jeebies—and all the other little irritations which cropped up in any relationship had left both men a little battered and bruised.
And there was the whole ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ thing which meant that outside of their quarters they had to act like friends and co-workers, make the hard and fast decisions and not act like they hurt more than they did. It made it very difficult to give comfort even when it was needed. But now they were alone, and Rodney could try and act as a sounding board for John even if he couldn’t make things better.
Finally he got a sigh, or maybe a moan of relief as too tight muscles began to relax under his fingers. All that manual dexterity from piano lessons and the delicate work of taking apart and putting things back together again had definitely paid off in spades when it came to giving back rubs.
John silently held up a letter he’d been holding, handing it to Rodney. It had arrived with the other letters from Earth on the Daedalus just that morning.
The moonlight provided the chief science officer enough light to make out the official looking letterhead of a fairly prestigious sounding law firm. He also made out the important parts. ‘We regret to inform you of your mother’s death…’
"We hadn’t spoken in years. My dad was military and died in Vietnam. She didn’t want her only son following him to the grave. The last time we saw each other was the day I shipped out for boot camp. We had… words. And now I can never take them back," John choked, turning abruptly and grabbing Rodney tightly around the waist, holding on to him like a lifeline.
Rodney’s arms wrapped around John’s shoulders, and he clung to the other man with all the strength a lover could give. Pressing a soft kiss against the top of John’s head, Rodney rested his cheek against the hair he so often teased John about and offered what comfort he could. "Tell me about her."
John took a shaky breath and pulled Rodney onto his lap, resting his head on his lover’s shoulder. "Her name was Janet…"
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