Characters: McKay, Sheppard, Beckett, Zelenka, Kusanagi, Weir, Emmagan, Dex
Relationships: Beckett/McKay, Zelenka/Kusanagi
Summary: This is all lillyjk's fault for telling me "Just a sec" in chat and then disappearing for the rest of the night, which got me to joking about chat sessions on the Atlantis server, though it was mice1900 who poked it along into a full-blown plotbunny.
Disclaimer: In some parallel universe, they are undoubtedly mine. Unfortunately, that's not the case here.
Saltire: Well, I liked it.
Obbligato: Oh, please. *Elves* at Helm's Deep? Give me a break.
Icarus: They kept to the spirit. It's not like you can actually keep to the timeline in the books. That would be the most boring plot ever.
Obbligato: What was that?
Obbligato: Are you okay?
Saltire: Sorry. brb
*** "Saltire" signed off at Tue Jun 21 19:53:20 2005.
Obbligato: That was weird. You still there, Colonel?
*** "Icarus" signed off at Tue Jun 21 19:53:29 2005.
"Huh," Rodney said, staring at the screen. He checked the server, but Carson's and Sheppard's machines were still connected-- the two had just quit the chat. He shrugged and went to get more coffee and a power bar. He began working on power distribution equations while keeping an eye on his buddy list.
*** "Vedec" signed on at Tue Jun 21 20:09:17 2005.
Vedec: Rodney, Dr. Kusanagi and I had idea about that fluctuation we were seeing in the east quadrant of the shield
Obbligato: Hey, Radek. Good! I was looking at some of the power distribution figures
Obbligato: Nothing major. What's your idea?
*** "Benten-san" signed on at Tue Jun 21 20:10:56 2005.
Benten-san: Hello, you two.
Obbligato: Hi, Miko. Radek says you've been workin gon the shield fluctuation problem and had an idea
Benten-san: Oh, yes!
Benten-san: It is mostly Dr. Zelenka's idea.
Vedec: I'm still sore all over from last night! You have to go easy on me tonight
Rodney nearly choked on his coffee.
Vedec: Sorry. Wrong window.
Obbligato: Should I ask?
*** "Benten-san" signed off at Tue Jun 21 20:13:05 2005.
*** "Vedec" signed off at Tue Jun 21 20:13:54 2005.
"Good morning, Rodney," Carson's brogue interrupted Rodney's suspicious examination of breakfast.
"Morning. What happened to you last night?" Rodney asked.
"What do ye mean?"
"You disappeared from chat last night and not more than ten seconds later, the colonel did, too."
"Really? That's interesting," Carson said and headed for the food line.
Sheppard wandered in while Carson was still in line, waved at Rodney, and joined the back of the line. Rodney watched as he said something to Carson, who turned, glanced around and leaned closer to say something back. Sheppard's shoulders lifted and dropped as he responded.
Radek came in just then, walking a little gingerly. Rodney didn't want to imagine what could have caused that.
Rodney returned to his scrambled eggs-- too orange for his liking, but better than the reconstituted powdered crap they'd lived on their first year.
"Hey, Rodney," Sheppard said, dropping his tray and slumping into his seat.
His eyes looked a little dark and puffy, like he hadn't slept well. They darted to Carson. Rodney followed the glance and took in the look of fatigue on Carson's face.
"Oh!" Rodney exclaimed as everything fell into place.
"Oh?" the colonel asked.
"I, ah, just figured something out... about the, uh, shield fluctuations."
"Cool," Sheppard answered, looking wary of the oncoming deluge of science-speak.
Rodney smiled, feeling it stretch his face unnaturally, and pointed with his spoon. "Leptons."
"Leprechauns?" Carson asked.
Rodney rolled his eyes. "Proof right there that medical 'science' is voodoo-- you haven't the slightest grasp of basic concepts outside of your specialty."
Carson just smiled and shook his head. Sheppard flung an arm over the back of his chair and grinned.
Rodney suddenly found he couldn't look at them and returned his gaze to his eggs. "You know what? I think we ought to just import chickens from Earth for the Athosians to herd."
"Herd?" Sheppard asked.
"Raise. Coop. Whatever it is you do with chickens."
"It might disturb the natural ecology," Carson said.
"Yeah, because all the trading between worlds never does that," Rodney snapped, unaccountably irritable.
"You have a point," Sheppard said.
"Thank you, Major, but I knew that."
Sheppard pushed his plate away, almost untouched. "I'm out of here."
"Hold on a minute, Colonel," Carson said, practically inhaling a Danish and then standing and grabbing his tray. "I'll see you later, Rodney?"
"McKay," Sheppard nodded.
Rodney watched the two of them walk out, saw Sheppard hesitate in the doorway and then turn and follow Carson in the direction of the infirmary rather than toward his own office.
"What do you mean you've switched teams?" Rodney asked.
"I believe Doctor Corrigan could be more useful on this mission, so I'm sending Stackhouse's team," Elizabeth explained.
"So what are we supposed to do?" Rodney asked.
"We won't need you till next week. I expect you could use the time to catch up on departmental issues."
Rodney sighed. "I suppose."
He'd actually been looking forward to going off-world. Radek continued to wince at odd moments, reminding Rodney that Radek and Miko were doing something really athletic at night. His evening chats with Sheppard and Carson were sprinkled with strange pauses where he could only suppose the two men were privately messaging each other.
He'd even caught Lorne having a friendly chat with Katie Brown.
It seemed everyone on Atlantis was getting laid but him.
"So, Carson's gotten hold of a copy of Flight of the Navigator. It's been years since I've seen it," the colonel said.
Rodney grunted non-committally.
"I was thinking of doing another team movie night, but maybe invite Beckett, too, since it's his movie. What do you think?"
Rodney fixed him with a glare. "You don't have to make up excuses, you know."
"You and Carson. I figured it out a couple of days ago."
Sheppard choked on his almost-chicken. "What?!"
Rodney glanced around them, but no one was nearby. "You and Beckett. It's okay, really. Doesn't bother me."
"We're not together."
"Please! You don't have to lie. After I noticed a few things at breakfast the other day, I started thinking back and a lot of things make more sense now."
"Rodney, I am not involved with Carson," Sheppard said, glancing around the cafeteria nervously, even though it was mostly empty.
"Oh, please, Major! You couldn't be more obvious! Everything is Carson this and Beckett that. While I may think the homophobia of the American military is completely idiotic, you really ought to try to be more discreet."
"That's Colonel, and for the last time, Rodney, I am not involved with Dr. Beckett. So. Very. Not. Involved."
"Right. Because I'm supposed to believe he's with Cadman even though he calls her by her last name."
The colonel banged his head on the table, repeatedly. "I give up. How can I convince you we're not involved?"
"Methinks you doth protest too much. You wouldn't be denying it so hard if it weren't true."
The colonel stared at him. "Oh, God! I'm in The Life of Brian."
Rodney gaped at him for a moment then looked away, mouth in an unhappy line. "Don't try changing the subject."
Sheppard just buried his face in his hands.
"So... you and Radek?" Rodney asked.
Miko blinked. "You know about that?"
"Him limping into the lab every morning is kind of hard to miss," Rodney blurted out.
Miko smiled. "I guess I am too hard on him."
He shifted uncomfortably. Why had he brought this subject up anyway?
"Oh! I'm sorry. Were you trying to ask to join us?" she asked.
"I do not think Doctor Zelenka would mind. I could easily handle two at once."
Rodney backed away, knowing his eyes were huge. "Uh. N-no thanks. That's... uh... really generous, but... uh... I don't want to intrude."
"Oh! It's not an intrusion. Major Lorne has also talked about joining us. But I would give preference to you."
"Ah... I'm flattered, but... really... not my thing." He glanced at his watch. 10:56. Close enough. "Oh! Look at the time. I'm going to lunch. Just... uh... shut that down for me, would you?"
He headed for the infirmary to see if Carson would be interested in an early lunch, wondering if he should even bother. It was likely Beckett had plans with Sheppard. Maybe he should just call Ronon or Teyla. Without thinking, he walked through the door to Carson's office and froze.
Sheppard sat in a chair, his shirt off, as Carson bent over him, hand making careful circles around one of the colonel's nipples.
They hadn't seen him.
Rodney started to back out.
"I'm not feeling any change," Carson said.
"What did the biopsy say?" Sheppard asked.
"It was a wee bit unclear. That's a risk of fine-needle aspiration."
Rodney let the door shut. He stood staring at its surface in shock for a moment. Biopsy...
But that meant Sheppard was... No. That couldn't be. Sheppard was destined to die idiotically and heroically saving everyone else's asses, not... He backed away, his mind shying from the thought.
"I've decided that it makes more sense for a botanist to take this one, so I'm sending Lorne's team with Parrish," Elizabeth said.
"Why don't you just explain the real reason?" Rodney asked.
Elizabeth shifted uncomfortably, but Rodney caught the quick glance in Sheppard's direction. "What makes you think there's another reason, Rodney?"
Rodney debated revealing what he knew. It wasn't right that Sheppard was hiding this from his team, his friends. On the other hand, it still wasn't Rodney's place to reveal it.
"I believe that Colonel Sheppard is ill," Teyla said, gazing at the colonel.
Sheppard's eyebrows shot up.
"Yeah," Ronon grunted. "He's been easier than usual to run against."
Rodney looked into Sheppard's eyes for a moment before the colonel broke the eye contact. "And you've been going to the infirmary an awful lot lately. At first I thought it was for, ah, personal reasons, but now..."
"John?" Elizabeth said.
Sheppard sighed. "I'm not ill. Or, at least, we don't know that I'm ill. I've got a... a lump and Beckett's worried it might be cancer. I've just lost a lot of sleep lately and I'm not exactly in prime form because of it."
"You have been worrying," Teyla said, nodding.
"Why didn't you tell us? We would've listened. Helped. Whatever," Rodney said.
Sheppard grimaced. "You didn't need to know till I was sure."
"Yes, having Elizabeth lie to us is so much more effective in dealing with your stress."
"Rodney, please," Elizabeth said.
Rodney ignored her and turned to Sheppard. "So, now that we know, give us an idea what's going on."
"Carson's decided he wants to remove the mass whatever it is. I go under the knife tomorrow morning."
"And you weren't going to tell us this?" Rodney asked.
Sheppard shrugged. "You'd have been busy. You wouldn't even have noticed."
Rodney gaped at him, then turned and walked out.
Rodney stepped back from his door to let Carson come in.
"Everyone missed you at team movie night."
"Yeah, well... Never did care for Flight of the Navigator."
"I thought it was a lovely film."
"It's for kids," Rodney answered.
"Sometimes those are the most enjoyable," Carson answered, shifting uncomfortably. "Ye're angry at him."
"Wouldn't you be if you were me?"
Carson considered a moment. "It's hard for me to put myself in that place, bein’ the doctor usually keeping the secrets, but probably, yes."
Rodney sat down on his bed. "I feel like some grade six girl, but I can't help it."
"What do you mean?"
Rodney motioned vaguely. "I just feel so... left out, I guess. You and Sheppard have obviously been private messaging when we're all in chat and--"
"We're not together," Carson blurted.
"Colonel Sheppard told me you thought we were together, but we're not."
"I kind of decided that was probably the case when I found out about the..." Rodney motioned toward his chest, "... lump."
Carson nodded, started to speak, and then stopped and narrowed his eyes. "Wait. How did ye know where the lump was?"
"Ah... he... uh... Damn!"
Carson put hands on hips. "Rodney?"
"Okay, so I accidentally walked in on the two of you discussing things. I didn't hear much! Just something about a biopsy."
"Ye should learn to knock instead of bumbling through doors without so much as a by-your-leave!"
"And you should learn to lock your door like a civilised person."
They stood silently a moment.
"Sorry," Rodney said.
"I'm sorry I couldn't tell you. You understand that, right?"
"Yeah, I do. Doctor-patient thing."
"And I'm sorry you got left out."
Rodney shrugged. "I do think there's a bit of, uh, transference going on."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, he's always talking about you-- Beckett this, Carson that."
"Oh?" Carson said. "Oh!" His eyes sparkled suddenly.
Rodney found himself unaccountably irritated at Carson's mirth. "I don't see what's so funny about it."
"I'm afraid the colonel has found me out."
Rodney looked at him in confusion. "Found you out how?"
Carson stepped across the room and laid a hand on Rodney's shoulder. "Only this," he answered, then leaned down, his lips meeting Rodney's. Before Rodney could react, Carson stepped back. "Good night, Rodney."
And then he was gone, leaving Rodney staring in shock at his door, fingers touching where Carson's lips had been.
"Hey," Sheppard's voice was rough.
"Hold on a minute, Colonel," Rodney said, setting his laptop aside, calling out to Carson and getting a glass of water. "Here. Drink."
Sheppard took a couple of swallows, then laid back. "Didn't expect to see you."
"You don't deserve to see me, either," Rodney answered. "But I had to come by and tell you that you make the worst yenta ever."
Sheppard's eyebrows shot up.
"Well, I hear you're awake, Colonel," Carson interrupted, stepping around the dividing curtain. "How are you feeling?"
"Fine," Sheppard answered.
Rodney snorted. "Tell me another one."
"Rodney!" Carson scolded.
"Sorry," Rodney answered, smiling at Carson. "I'll see you at lunch?"
"Aye, lov-- er, Rodney."
Rodney touched Carson's shoulder lightly. "Love is fine."
Rodney smiled as he walked out of the infirmary to hear Sheppard say, "So... I guess I don't need to keep throwing you two at each other?"
Carson's body felt right against him-- warm, just the right combination of soft and firm, pliant-- and Rodney couldn't imagine why they hadn't done this before.
"Ah, love," Carson murmured between kisses. "How I've wanted this."
"How come you never said?"
Carson's eyes met his-- blue to blue. "I did. Just not in a way you understood."
The halls of Atlantis were mostly empty as Carson and Rodney walked hand-in-hand from the out-of-the-way balcony where they had talked and kissed and touched for several hours.
There was a thud and "Boze!" emerged from one of the rooms.
The two men paused and exchanged a glance.
"Are you all right, Doctor Zelenka?" Miko's voice emerged.
"Fine. I'm still not getting how to fall, though."
Curiosity overcoming sense, Rodney stuck his head through the doorway. Miko was dressed in a gi, helping up Radek who was dressed in grey sweats. "Oh!" he said, surprised.
Miko glanced up. "Doctor McKay! Did you change your mind about joining us?"
Rodney chuckled and shook his head. "No, thank you, Miko. It's still not my thing."
The door to Carson's apartment had barely shut behind them before they were in each other's arms, hands slipping under clothing to touch skin, sliding into soft hair, tracing spines and lips and jaws and ears. Carson's mouth slid off Rodney's and traced his jaw back to his ear and down to his pulse point.
"God, I need you naked... now," Rodney gasped.
Carson leaned back. "Are you sure you're ready for this tonight? It's kind of sudden."
"How long have we been friends?" Rodney asked.
"Three years." Carson smiled. "I see your point."
They fell silent, then, losing themselves in the tease of clothes slipping off, the slide of skin on skin, hands, mouths.
"Bed," Carson ordered, voice rough with need, pulling Rodney toward the sleeping area.
Rodney allowed himself to be pushed down, pulling Carson in after him. "Need you," Rodney gasped.
Carson kissed him while rummaging into the bedside table. Rodney barely registered his hand coming away with the lube and a condom, but moaned into Carson's mouth as he felt a slick finger circling his entrance.
"God, yes!" he gasped as Carson's finger slipped into him. He closed his eyes and just allowed himself to relax and feel as Carson slowly worked him open, shuddering as Carson curled his fingers and stroked against his prostate. Soon, he was bucking up to meet Carson's strokes until the fingers withdrew. Rodney whimpered.
"Soon, love," Carson soothed.
Carson tore the condom's packet open and pulled it out, quickly rolling it over his erection and then slicking himself. "Hold your legs open, love."
And then Carson was leaning over him, pushing into him, stretching him so full and hot and... "Oh, God!"
Carson paused, panting. "Oh, yes, love."
"Take me," Rodney gasped. "Need you."
Carson nodded, visibly fighting to maintain control, and pushed into Rodney filling him completely.
Rodney moaned, wrapping his hand around his cock and picking up Carson's rhythm as Carson thrust into him. "Not going to... God! ...last long."
"It's all right. I want to feel you." Carson shifted slightly, his cock head sliding deliciously against Rodney's sweet spot.
"Nguh! You feel so... so good..."
"Yes, love. Come for me." Carson's eyes stared into his, watching every expression that flickered across Rodney's face. Carson thrust forward hard, drew out, and thrust in again. "Now, love."
And Rodney threw his head back and came, spilling over his hand and belly.
Carson shuddered, sheathed himself deep and throbbed into him. "Ah, Rodney. Love you..."
They lay wrapped around each other afterward. Rodney leaned back and looked into Carson's eyes. "L-love you, too, Carson."
Rodney turned and saw Sheppard walking toward him, the outline of a small dressing showing through his shirt. "Colonel! How are you feeling this morning?"
"Just fine." Sheppard grinned, practically splitting his face. "The biopsy came back negative."
"Benign?" Rodney asked.
"That's good. That's really good."
"I've got to go," Sheppard said. "Stuff to catch up on."
"All right. I'll see you at lunch, Colonel."
Rodney walked into the lab where Radek and Miko were already hard at work. "Good morning!" he said, grinning at his scientists. "How are we all today?"
Radek smiled. "Fine."
Miko blushed. "Good, thank you, Doctor McKay."
Radek grinned at the Japanese scientist. As Radek turned back to his laptop, Rodney noticed a bite-shaped bruise on Radek's neck.
Rodney decided he really didn't need to know and simply smiled at his coworkers.
Undoubtedly tomorrow or later today there would be a life-threatening emergency. But, for now, everyone was okay.