Blue Skies

by The Grrrl

Title: Blue Skies

Author: The Grrrl

Author's email: thegrrrl2002@gmail.com

Author's URL: http://thegrrrl2002.slashcity.org

Archive: Ask first.

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis

Pairing: Sheppard/McKay

Summary: Post "Tao of Rodney" ficlet.

Life is good.

Especially when you are alive.

Rodney enjoys himself after his ordeal. He teases Elizabeth for days--sure, he knows she said we love you, but she's the one who actually came out and said it. She is the one who has known him the longest. Yet she still said it. And meant it. And nobody denied it.

People smile at him when he walks past and that's a nice change. Even though when Ronon does it, Rodney is afraid that he might be in for another rib-cracking hug, but the funny thing is he's pretty sure he wouldn't mind it at all.

All in all, it makes up for the fact that his brain feels relatively sluggish. He still tries to understand the volumes of work he produced during his ordeal. He does pass it along to the SGC, though, hoping they can make sense of it there. And adds a note to Samantha saying "Smarter than you, for a little while, at least".

So life goes back to normal--Atlantis normal, of course. Even so, it's just a bit more sparkly around the edges. Like the way that Sheppard seems to be sticking close to him. He follows Rodney around the city, into the lab, the mess, even his quarters. Which isn't too different than usual except that John seems to be hovering a lot closer. And sometimes Rodney catches Sheppard looking at him with an odd expression that is almost sad, maybe even wistful. Rodney wishes for a moment he could still read minds.

But for the most part, Sheppard seems normal.

"Had to spend a hour scraping candle wax off my furniture," he complains.

"Hey, Rodney, did you think of trying to levitate yourself?" he asks over lunch. "Because that would be like flying. Did you think to try that?"

"How about x-ray vision?" he asks as he follows Rodney down the corridor. "If you really thought about it, do you think you could have seen under people's clothes?"

"Oh yes. Because being a peeping Tom was the first thing on my mind," Rodney says. "Right up there in front of solving the mysteries of the universe before I died." Although privately he's a little annoyed he didn't think of it.

John just gives him a pained look, forehead crinkling, and goes quiet.

***

One evening, when they're all having dinner together, Rodney figures out Sheppard's problem.

"Hey, buddy," Ronon says, sitting down in the chair beside Rodney. "They put out fresh walnut cake. Here you go." He slides a huge slice of cake onto Rodney's plate, then clasps Rodney's shoulder. Rodney steels himself for what comes next, the affectionate hug/shake combination that leaves Rodney perilously close to whiplash.

Still, it's cake, and he thanks Ronon profusely. Then notices Sheppard's eyes on them, hears what might be a small sigh with a hint of longing. And it hits him.

Sheppard wants to hug him, too.

Either that, or Sheppard wants a piece of cake. But the hugging makes more sense with the way Sheppard has been lingering so close. And the way he touches Rodney's arm sometimes. He needs reassurance, that Rodney is truly okay, and doesn't know how to go about it.

Rodney grins as he eats his cake, impressed with his own perception. It's entirely possible he does have a few superpowers left.

***

It might be easier for Sheppard if they were alone, Rodney figures, so after dinner he leads Sheppard back to his quarters with talk of his new math, which he might have figured out one tiny bit of. Sheppard scoffs, makes cracks about "Flowers for Algernon" and follows Rodney right through his door and into his room.

Once there, Rodney's not sure what to do. "Sheppard," he says, and something in his tone makes Sheppard go quiet.

They stare at each other, and Rodney is again reminded of those hours of meditation, or of attempting to meditate, how it seemed so impossible, so out of his reach but Sheppard had tried again and again to show him how to do something he barely understood himself. "John," Rodney says, and steps closer.

"Rodney," Sheppard answers in a wary voice.

Rodney puts a hand on Sheppard's shoulder, and Sheppard turns his head to look at it. "I'm not sure I ever thanked you--"

"Rodney," Sheppard says, sharply this time. He tries to pull away, but Rodney tightens his grip.

"You never gave up."

"Of course not." Sheppard looks at Rodney's hand again, then raises his eyes to meet Rodney's. "It's what I do."

And it's true, Sheppard has never given up on him, not once.

So Rodney is not going to give up on him.

He tugs Sheppard closer and slides his arm around his waist. He half-expects Sheppard to push him away, or to make an exasperated complaint, so he's astonished to hear a hitched breath and to feel Sheppard's arms circle around him.

It's nothing like Ronon's hug--Sheppard is holding on carefully, almost cradling Rodney in his arms, and after a moment leans his head on Rodney's shoulder and lets out a content sigh, as if this is all he ever wanted to do and it makes Rodney's throat go tight.

"Hey," Rodney says, petting Sheppard's back. He's warm in Rodney's arms, and it feels good to hold him. Rodney eventually eases his hand up onto Sheppard's head, touching his hair and it's somehow soft and prickly at the same time.

Sheppard raises his head, leaning it into Rodney's hand. Despite his sheepish laugh, he makes no attempt to move away. He simply turns his head and rubs it against Rodney's palm. His eyes fall shut and he's intensely beautiful, even more so than usual and Rodney can't help but slide his hand around so that he can touch the line of Sheppard's jaw, gliding his thumb over it and then he's cupping Sheppard's cheek.

When Sheppard opens his eyes Rodney almost stops breathing because it's all so perfect and fantastic to be touching like this and when Rodney manages to whisper "We're good, right?" John leans in and kisses him and it's the best answer ever.

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