Notes: 1) you know how sitcoms set up ridiculous and wacky scenarios and then wrap them up without any attempt at reason? HAHAH YAY SITCOM LOGIC
2) iibnf, you now owe me TEN THOUSAND internet dollars.
3) WHAT HAVE I BECOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOME
Rodney sometimes forgot, if he was very tired, that kissing was not allowed. Fortunately for the status quo, John always reminded him.
"Fuck off, McKay," John huffed, pushing Rodney's face away none-too-gently. "You got come all over my shirt, thanks. That's great."
Rodney could point out that John had gotten come all over his face, but he decided not to bother, and just wiped it off with his sleeve. When he looked up, John had already left.
"What'd you do to Sheppard?" Ronon asked one morning, and Rodney walked into a wall.
"What?" he asked, horrified. If Ronon had noticed-- god, he didn't even want to know what Sheppard would--
Ronon shrugged. "He seemed mad at you today."
Rodney tried to modulate his breathing. "Oh."
"He's seemed mad at you for awhile," Ronon finished, and Rodney shrugged. That, at least, was normal.
"God, yeah," John managed, humming contentedly as Rodney swallowed and rolled off of him. "Were you just a total slut in college, or what? You are way too good at that."
Rodney didn't answer, just nudged closer to John, resisting the urge to just rub up against his hip.
John rolled his eyes. "Oh, right. Fine."
It wasn't the sort of pillow talk Rodney normally preferred, but he just shut his eyes and bit his lip as John gave him a half-assed handjob. His silent litany of John, John, John made it easier to bear.
John refusing to look at him after didn't, so Rodney just rolled over and kept his eyes closed.
It was a Wednesday, and when Rodney sat down at the staff meeting, he winced. John had been...a little rougher than he liked, really, and he shifted, trying to find a more comfortable position. When he looked up, John was staring at him, and Rodney shrugged, smiled a little. A what are you gonna do? smile.
John's face went dark, and he stood up quickly. "Hey, Elizabeth, I need to have a word with Rodney before we start. Back in two seconds," and then he was hauling Rodney out into the hall with one hand clamped too tightly on Rodney's arm.
"Colonel, what are you--"
"You come in looking like that, sitting like you just-- and then you smile at me? Are you fucking kidding?"
Rodney frowned. "Looking like--"
"This is my career," Sheppard hissed. "It might be all fun and games for you--"
Rodney laughed, his voice hoarse. "You think this is fun for me?"
Sheppard looked ready to hit something. "Fuck you. This is over. You get me? Never again." He stalked into the conference room before Rodney could say anything, but it didn't really matter. This had happened at least four times in the last six months, and it always ended with Rodney on his knees while Sheppard came apart above him, so whatever.
Rodney headed back into the room without acknowledging any of the curious looks cast his way, and he managed to get through the entire meeting without looking Sheppard's way once. As everyone was packing up, Elizabeth signalled for their attention. "One final item, everyone-- the Pentagon has agreed for a limited number of Atlantis personnel to be granted permission to own small pets, so please let your staff know that they can submit an application if they are interested."
Sheppard snorted. "You have got to be kidding me."
Heightmeyer glared at him. "Pets are proven stress-relievers, and if you are implying that people here work in a stress-free environment, then you clearly haven't been paying much attention."
Sheppard gave her a disgusted look and stomped off with Lorne, but Rodney pulled Heightmeyer aside as everyone was leaving, feeling oddly nervous. She smiled warmly. "Dr. McKay?"
"I-- I'd like a cat. I mean, I don't know if I need to fill out--"
She shook her head, her expression kind. "Oh, no, Rodney, I've already put you on the shortlist for people to get one the next time the Daedalus arrives. Apart from being senior staff, you also endure more stress than most people, and probably need a pet that much more as well. Any breed preferences?"
Rodney's chest felt tight. "I-- no. Thank you. Anything. Well, not hairless, but anything."
She smiled again. "Excellent! I really think it will lift everyone's spirits."
The next time they were offworld, a frolicking emu-thing knocked Rodney into a ditch, where he twisted his ankle. "Fuck, fuck, fuck," he ground out between gritted teeth. "Can someone help me up?"
Sheppard stepped back and let Ronon pull him out. "Wow, that was really impressive, McKay. Good job."
"I-- my ankle--" he gestured, but Sheppard was shaking his head.
"Yeah, sure. Come on, the village is only half a mile from here-- I'm pretty sure your 'broken ankle' will be all better by the time they sit you down to dinner."
"I can't walk, I sprained my ankle, so can we just--"
"No. Suck it up."
Teyla shot Ronon an uncertain look. "Colonel Sheppard, if Rodney is truly injured--"
"He's not," Sheppard said flatly. "Let's go."
"You don't need me with you," Rodney heard himself saying. "I'll just head back to the stargate. You can handle the trade negotiations without me."
"I will accompany Dr. McKay--" Teyla began, but John shook his head.
"If he wants to play the martyr, he can do it by himself. McKay, when you decide you're more hungry than hurt, you can follow us to the village. Okay?" Sheppard turned and started walking, and Rodney had to nod convincingly to Ronon and Teyla.
"I'll be fine. See you later."
They were both reluctant to leave him, but he could see that they were both silently convinced that Sheppard was right, that he wasn't really injured. That he was making it up.
Once they were both past the treeline, Rodney turned and headed for the Gate.
"What the hell was Sheppard thinking?" Carson was muttering to himself as he wrapped Rodney's ankle.
"Hey, he helped me get back to the gate," Rodney lied. "Anyway, I'm fine, and they can handle this one without my help. No big deal."
"From the looks of this, he didn't help you much-- it looks like you walked a long way on your already sprained joint, you idiot. Since when do you disregard your own pain threshold, Rodney?"
He just smiled. "No big deal."
After Carson had given him painkillers and a pair of crutches, Rodney headed back to his quarters. When he got there, a beige crate was sitting on his bed with a note from Heightmeyer. He opened the small metal door, and a young cat peeked out, her orange face looking up at him solemnly.
"Oh," Rodney said. "Hello."
Sorry about the name Kate's note read. The SGC thought it best to send trained animals, and she's been called Buttercup since the day she was born. You can change it, of course, but she might not pay any attention.
Rodney felt something tickle his hand, and when he looked down, the cat was pressing her nose against his wrist, huffing warm breaths against his skin.
"You have a stupid name," Rodney said.
Buttercup purred against his arm.
"Well, so do I," Rodney added.
Carson had ordered Rodney to take the next day off, and when he woke up late, Buttercup was curled against his belly, twitching in her sleep. Rodney ran a hand down her back, and she arched into the touch, rumbling approval.
"You are oddly friendly for a cat," Rodney muttered, but it wasn't a complaint, exactly. Just an observation. Rodney was very observant.
Teyla stopped by in the afternoon to apologize. "Rodney, had I realized the extent of your injury, I would never have left you behind. Truly, I expected that you would follow us to the village, and I am most sorry for doubting your word."
Rodney waved her words away. "Don't worry about it, I'm fine. And hey, I got a cat, so it wasn't a terrible day, right?"
Teyla scratched Buttercup under her chin, and Buttercup squeezed her eyes shut in bliss. "She is lovely."
It only took two weeks.
Rodney was working on some calculations, Buttercup nestled on his feet, when John slunk through the door without knocking first. "Hey."
He had already apologized for the ankle thing, a day or two after Teyla, and he'd stopped glaring at Rodney barely a week after that. Rodney looked at him expectantly.
John ran a hand through his hair self-consciously, eyes darting around the room. "So, I was wondering..." he trailed off, because that was usually as much as he had to say before Rodney would relent, pull him down and start yanking at his pants.
"You were wondering what?" Rodney asked, keeping his eyes on the screen.
"Uh," John answered.
Buttercup shifted, then slunk up to arrange herself on Rodney's knees. Her purr grew louder.
After a little while, John left. Rodney hadn't looked up once.
It wasn't that Rodney was in love with his cat, or anything. That would have been pretty creepy, if not entirely unexpected for the Pegasus Galaxy.
It was just that she was happy to see him when he came home, and she liked sleeping next to him. She liked it when he petted her furry head, and so did he, and if the only way for him to get any decent reciprocity of affection was by hanging out with a cat named Buttercup instead of John Sheppard, then he was willing to make that trade.
Two months later, John showed up at his quarters again. "So I've been seeing Heightmeyer."
Rodney frowned, more in baffled horror than jealousy. "You're sleeping with a woman? Wow. That strikes me as highly unlikely."
John sighed. "No, shut up, no, I've been seeing her as a therapist."
John sat down at his desk chair. "So look, I'm gay."
Rodney stared at him.
John cleared his throat. "And I'm really jealous of your cat."
"I guess I just had so much of this internalized homophobia that having you touch me was what I wanted but also what I hated about myself, and I took it out on you, and I'm really sorry. I don't blame you for choosing a cat over me. Probably a good idea, and she seems nice, and trust me when I say that I am not proud of the fact that I am jealous of a cat named Buttercup because she gets to sleep in the same bed as you and touch you whenever she wants."
"So I guess you and Kate have made some progress."
John sighed. "She's very good at her work."
"Anyway, I just wanted to apologize. I have some anger issues, and my dad talked about dirty faggots a lot, blah blah. I'm kind of a mess."
"Seriously, Kate said she almost told Elizabeth to relieve me of my duties a couple of times. I'm totally unstable."
"I could have told her that."
John smiled shyly. "Yeah, she wasn't even sure I should come here-- I think she's worried that I'll go into a mad rage and end up in a catatonic state on a thorazine drip or something."
John squinted. "I'm feeling fine for now. No promises for later, though."
"Understood." Rodney thought for a second. "So let's say, hypothetically, that I was willing to give it a shot-- you'd stop calling me a slut and refusing to kiss me?"
John looked unhappy. "I'm so, so sorry--"
"Get over here, you ignorant homo," Rodney ordered, snapping his laptop closed.
John stood up, but then he stopped, looking uncertain. "I-- you really--"
"If you're going to stop acting like a phenomenal asshole over your as-yet unfulfilled desire to suck my cock, then I think the least I can do is let you. Now get over here and sit on my lap."
John seemed oddly fragile as he straddled Rodney's legs, his cheeks going red as Rodney put his hands on John's waist. "You're even skinnier than before, you insane freak."
John looked up at him through his lashes. "I stopped eating for awhile, once I realized that I had made you walk on a sprained ankle because of my own psychological issues." He was swaying closer, his eyes locked on Rodney's mouth.
Rodney rolled his eyes. "For fuck's sake, do you keep a journal and cut yourself too?" With that, he pulled John in and kissed his perfect mouth, relishing the way John seemed starved for it, hands winding up through Rodney's hair, his breath coming quickly as Rodney bit at his tongue. Rodney felt familiar furry movement against his thigh, and pulled away, grinning at John's dazed expression. "So, John. This is Buttercup. She's my cat. She's probably going to end up watching while I fuck you."
John hitched himself closer. "Yeah, okay," he managed, shooting Buttercup a brilliant smile before leaning in and licking at Rodney's stubble. Rodney grabbed his ass, and Buttercup purred.
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